Getting Your Desired Body and Keeping It

Tacos del Gnar in Ridgeway, CO
On the way to Telluride, worth the stop

Last week, I was in Telluride with my buddy, Mark. He asked me a question, very much on point…

Aren’t you afraid you’ll gain weight?

Why yes, I am terrified!

The context was my current “far less than I used to” training program. Sure, I was scared, and that’s why I kept the volume rolling for so many years.

However, like so many fear-based quirks in my life, my fears proved groundless.

Further, creating a lifestyle catered to misplaced fear crowds out a lot of useful work!


Telluride

Get Off the Wheel of Sugar

AC has been crushing with a series of threads encouraging athletes to improve their stamina and fat burning. The lessons run much, much deeper. Creativity, cognition, and metabolic health – all benefit from working on the low-end of our fitness.

Many of us use training protocol as a way to justify our food choices. With the best intentions, we remove a food group, and end up replacing it with sugar.

OR

Starting to train, we shift our nutrition towards “sports nutrition.”

My buddy, Jonas Colting, calls this getting caught in Gel Hell.

Not a win.


Removing the friction towards better choices

Two tips work here:

  1. Aim to eat more veggies than my vegetarian pals.
  2. Stay below my sugar threshold.

#1 requires a bit of effort, but not too much. My main gig is salads and stir-frys.

#2 can be scary – it implies less total duration, less intensity.

Both these changes nudge us towards sustainable choices and, as we age, reduce the risk of ruin from following a Chronic Endurance lifestyle.


More Telluride

Get Strong

Back in the day, folks used to debate the utility of strength training for endurance athletes. Do y’all still do that?

I’m not into debating, I’d rather use something that works.

Strength Training Works.

There is a conscious, and unconscious, attraction to people who move powerfully – moving well, is attractive.

You want to be more attractive, trust me (see below).

Being attractive improves our self-image, which sets up a virtuous circle in our larger lives.


Door #1 was fast, but I’ll go out on a limb and predict my wife would prefer Door #3

Remove One

Trying to change everything at once leaves me feeling scattered and distracted.

It doesn’t work.

Again, here’s what works:

One person, one habit, one pattern, one choice…

Each of us has a habit, relationship or pattern that we can eliminate, for gains.

  • 2 beers before bed
  • A basket of bread with lunch and dinner
  • Cheese
  • Bread + cheese = pizza 😉
  • French fries
  • Soft drinks
  • A friend who’s a feeder

Don’t try to do everything.

Don’t think you need to change “forever”.

Simply take a break for 30 days and pay attention.


With all this stuff, letting go of my fears seems daunting.

No way, I’ll be able to pull that off.

You don’t have to.

Try it out for 30 days and pay attention.

Iterate towards better.


Where do you go that makes you feel at peace?
For me, it’s the mountains.

Sunday Summary 20 Feb 2022

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Getting A Better Body

Generating Family Wealth

Using High-Performance Insights

Elite Athletic Performance

Tips for Getting Jacked 2017

Everything about my life is better when I am strong.

I wanted to pass along what worked across my six month campaign of Getting Strong.

#1 – the biggest change, and challenge, for an endurance athlete… cap your cardio sessions at an hour and drop all group training. No more than two cardio sessions per day but you can walk around as much as you like! This is the only way I save the mojo to truly push myself in the gym and get-it-done.

#2 – add plyometrics // the leg blaster program that I used is here – combine with traditional gym work (focused on squats and leg press) – total time investment for the plyometrics was 12 hours over six months – outstanding return on investment!

#3 – track total movements // my plyometric routines built up to 420 movements in 15 minutes – during base training, my traditional exercises were focused on getting to 100 movements per exercise (sets of 20-25 reps with short rest) – the total gym session would be 400-500 movements (during base/prep training) – I did best my splitting plyometrics away from lifting days.

#4 – use a four-day cycle // for example…

  • Base; Cardio; Plyo; Cardio
  • Heavy Legs; Plyo; Cardio; Cardio
  • Upper Body Blaster; Maintenance Legs; Plyo; Cardio

#5 – gains come from working the legs // my entire body benefits from improved leg strength. I didn’t focus on my upper body until I had been focusing on my legs for 20+ weeks. The upper body gains came fast from a month of adding push ups, burpees and the PT Pyramid.

Most my gains are hidden: better range of movement in my knees, improved energy and being able to toss my kids around.

It was a lot of fun and I ended this block feeling jacked, rather than exhausted.

Getting Strong 2017

It’s been eight years since I gave strength a big push.

I’m going to ramp things up over the spring and summer.

Sunday – standard program with 2×25 back squat (95 lbs) (25 minutes)

Tuesday – 5x mini blasters on 30 seconds rest (7 minutes)

Thursday – standard program with 3×25 back squat (100 lbs) (30 minutes)

Saturday – 10x mini blasters on 30 seconds rest (15 minutes)

The progression will mirror what’s outlined in my book, Going Long.

All going well, this will end up being a 20 week campaign and I’ll post as I transition between the phases. The plan is to leave myself ten weeks for a little ski-specific prep.

Total time is 1:20 => the highest physical return (per minute) of my week.

Losing Five To Ten

Undercover

Every athlete that I’ve ever coached has thought that their life would be better if they lost five to ten pounds. This belief flows through most of my friends, my coaches, my wife and myself.

Nothing in my life, requires me to be in a state of perpetually losing weight, yet I spend 95% of my year trying to whittle myself down. In case you’re wondering, the other 5% of the year sees rapid weight gain. My personal best is gaining more than 20 pounds in the two weeks after Ironman New Zealand 2004.

Similar to my athletic goals, my desire to be unnaturally lean has caused me to make poor decisions.

Where do my irrational desires come from?

Can I moderate the influence of irrational desire in my life?

As a recovering addict can tell you – if you want to make a change then you need to take a break from the sources of your addiction. The first step in freeing myself was changing my health club.

I used to train with the fastest group of triathletes on the planet. For an athlete with ample self-confidence, it is an ideal environment to motivate oneself to do whatever it takes to win races.

As my life shifted, I noticed the group was having an adverse effect on my self-esteem and I was being a dick to people. I listened to how we spoke about each other and what we valued in ourselves. I’d get a kick out of the most-skinny triathletes in America commenting about which one of us was “too skinny.” Of course, Mr. Too Skinny would head out the next weekend and crush the field – reaffirming our collective desire to get lighter and lighter. With my pals, losing weight is always the right answer.

Here’s the lesson – the neuroses of our peers will become our goals.

We can’t create self-esteem by changing to match the requirements of others. However, we can change the people with whom we spend our time, and let behavioral psychology do the work for us.

What do you need more of?

Spend time giving to people with less.

Drinking 1-2-4

When I was sixteen my grandfather took me out to dinner and offered two pieces of advice:

  • Use French condoms
  • Your great grandfather was an alcoholic, be careful with the booze

I went 0-for-2.

I managed to avoid disaster, mostly.

In my 40s, I came across a much better system for managing alcohol. 1-2-4.

If you limit yourself to

  • one drink per hour
  • two drinks per day
  • four drinks per week

…then you’ll avoid most people’s problems with alcohol.

I’ve been using this system and it works great (for a guy that enjoys concrete rules).

I arrived at University at 17 and was soon drinking a lot. Even as a young man, it was clear to me that there were rapidly diminishing rewards per drink (and per sip). For me, nothing tastes as great as the first pull off a bottle of Sierra Nevada. Each sip that follows… a little less great.

Also, by avoiding hitting three drinks, I never get to the point where I don’t care:

  • about what I say
  • about what I do
  • about the next drink
  • about the next day
  • about what I eat

…so the cascade of alcohol-related errors never gets a chance to start.

1-2-4 means that I have a minimum of three days per week without a drink. I tend to end up with four or five days off. Given my addictive personality, the days without alcohol are more important than avoiding excess on the days with alcohol.

I’m a fatigue addict so there are parallels with exercise.

I don’t have the courage to try 1-2-4 with coffee!

If you smoke weed then you can substitute “share a bowl” for “drink.” You don’t get a second allocation to mix in!

If something happens to me then please teach 1-2-4 to my kids.

I’ll leave the bit about the French condoms to your discretion.

Nutritional Vigilantes

Paleo diet is back in the news.

Please remember that branded nutrition is a distraction from what matters in your life.

Let’s free our minds by taking nutritional dogma and throwing it in the trash.

We do this by discounting the advice of:

  • Sedentary, obese experts
  • Underperforming athletes
  • Anyone with an agenda to sell us

This leaves us with:

  • Eat less sugar
  • Eat more veggies

…but it can’t be that simple.

Have you tried those two changes and watched what happens?

Focus on simple adjustments that capture the bulk of the improvement available.

Everything else is details.

Don’t debate the details.

Focus on what works.

More veggies, less sugar.