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New progress photos; A few words about alcohol, and some changes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

March
4
2014

It’s hard to believe that my 2014 cut is nearly over–the past eight weeks have flown by in a flash. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year’s cut, and part of me is actually sad that it’s ending soon. Well, sort of ending soon. More on that below the photos.

As of yesterday morning my scale weight was 161.2 pounds–just 1.2 pounds away from my goal weight of 160 pounds. My body fat caliper indicates that my body fat percentage is 7.0% and, based on what I see in the mirror, I think that’s a fairly accurate assessment (give or take a few tenths). While aesthetics are not even a remote priority on this cut, that aspect sort of takes care of itself when your diet is tight and you’re training hard every day. Even though my goals are 100% athletic performance, it’s a great feeling to be shredded up, vascular and lean.

This year it’s all about pedal power. In other words, STRONG LEGS! Along those lines, here are a couple of photographs I took on Sunday and yesterday:

March 2, 2014. 7% body fat here, quad separation coming in nicely at this body fat percentage. A cyclist tan (quads, fingerless gloves, RoadID wrist band) are part of the deal when you're putting in the big miles under the Florida sun!

March 2, 2014. 7% body fat here, quad separation coming in nicely at this body fat percentage. A cyclist tan (quads, fingerless gloves, RoadID wrist band) are part of the deal when you’re putting in the big miles under the Florida sun!

 

March 3, 2014. Calves, 7% body fat.

March 3, 2014. Calves, 7% body fat.

 

So, what did I mean in the first paragraph when when I said my cut was “sort of” ending soon? A lot…

Even though I was in excellent shape and feeling good before I started this cut, how I’m feeling now is an order of a magnitude improved. I am more positive, energetic, clear-headed and strong than I’ve been in a long time. Considering that I’ve been eating under maintenance for nearly two months while training my butt off, I am surprised at the stark positive difference. As someone who has been keeping meticulous tabs on his diet, health and fitness for more than a decade, I don’t get caught off-guard very easily. Well, color me surprised.

Feeling this good is intoxicating, and very addictive. I don’t want any of it to change, and so I’ve put a lot of thought into why I’m feeling this good. Clearly a clean diet and plenty of exercise are major contributors, but since 2003 I’ve always done those things…

…and that leaves alcohol. I’ve not had a drink in almost eight weeks, and I believe that is playing a significant role in how good I’m feeling–perhaps the most significant role. I am waking up earlier than I ever have before (between 4:00 AM and 5:00 AM), I am sleeping deeply and I seem to require less sleep now. When I get out of bed each morning I feel clear-headed and ready to rock-n-roll almost immediately.

Instead of a few beers or a couple glasses of red wine after work, I’ve been drinking Yogi Peach Detox Tea (incidentally, I don’t get peach from this tea at all–it’s more of a delicious spicy cinnamon and ginger flavor). In the evenings before bed I have a cup of Yogi Bedtime tea (by the way, as of this morning Amazon has 6 boxes of 16 on sale for $15.54. It was around $24 last week, so stock up!)

After big rides I used to come home and have “recovery beers”, but now I have a real recovery drink, followed by plenty of water and a cup of hot tea.

I’m not saying there’s no place for moderate alcohol consumption in an otherwise healthy, hard-training athlete’s life; I’m simply saying that for me those occasions are going to be drastically reduced going forward. I’ve decided on a few rules that I will adhere to after my cut ends:

  • Alcoholic beverages will not be kept in the house.
  • Alcohol will be permissible with planned cheat meals, but on no more than two occasions per week.
  • Alcohol will only be purchased on the day it will be consumed, and only in the quantity that will be consumed.
  • Alcohol is permissible in occasional social situations (out to eat, a couple beers with friends after a big ride, etc.)
  • Trumping all the above, alcohol may only be consumed a maximum of three times per week, and only in moderate quantities.

If you think creating rules governing alcohol consumption is a little over the top, that may be true for you, but it’s appropriate for me. Alcoholism runs deep in my family, and so I have to be very careful about that. Not only do I enjoy drinking, as most of you know I have a very “all or nothing” personality. That trait is a doubled-edged sword, but I’ve become fairly adept at harnessing the positive aspects of it. Still, I have to remember there’s a sharp side there. 🙂

Once I return to eating maintenance, I may just sliiiiiiiiiiiightly reduce my calories below maintenance for a time. I wouldn’t mind inching my way down to around 155 pounds, so long as my performance on the bike doesn’t suffer.

John Stone Fitness Comments

26 Responses to “New progress photos; A few words about alcohol, and some changes.”
  1. Especially when you love beer, and bring home a mixed 6 pack or two…. The natural beerfan desire to taste them all is pretty strong.

    I found that drinking 2 or 3 really good beers is a good substitute for 10 mediocre national brands.

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  2. Your blogs have been intoxicatingly inspiring lately. When will we get the spring time to-do list? 🙂

    And, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a torso shot?

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    • Thanks, Dan.

      I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing this year with regards to spring projects. Between my training schedule and my work schedule spare time has been very limited as of late. Lisa and I have literally not been in our home theater in more than two months.

      Last year’s spring project list took several weeks to accomplish, and I wasn’t able to ride at all during that entire time. Not a chance of that happening again this year.

      I’m sure I’ll do some of the usual stuff, but I’m strongly considering hiring people to complete some of the more time-consuming tasks.

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  3. You are a machine. I agree with the alcohol assumption, I’m always a bit slow to get moving in the morning after a few beers. I usually only have a beer on Saturday nights or after a big race. But I have not had one since January 1 and wont until after I podium at Sea Otter or finish my Ironman 70.3.

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  4. Great work John.
    I reckon having rules re alcohol is a good idea. I gave it up for January and felt similar to you – amazingly clear-headed, with plenty of energy. Trouble is, once you start again, it’s easy to slowly ‘enjoy’ it more and more… that’s where the rules come in.

    Keep up the great riding. Certainly am jealous of you guys in Florida with your amazing weather. It’s been a hard winter here in the UK!

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    • Thanks, Shrubby.

      “Trouble is, once you start again, it’s easy to slowly ‘enjoy’ it more and more…”

      Bingo. This has always been my problem. After my last cut (which was in 2012, and I avoided all alcohol for the duration) I didn’t even want alcohol. Eventually I had a few drinks, then the drinking became more frequent than I would have liked. The rules, which I will adhere to, will prevent that from happening again.

      I feel so bad for everyone experiencing this horrible winter. We really have lucked out here: not only has this been one of the mildest winters I can recall, there have been so many “perfect” riding days I’ve lost count. Sorry. 😮

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    • Shrubby – the weather has been horrendous here in Canada, I wish I could of been John Stone for this winter lol, much rather be out riding a bike in shorts than shoveling snow in 3 layers of clothing.

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      • Understood. Over this part of the world if you’ve got an understanding wife and enough cash you go and ride in Spain for a week or two. Perhaps someone should start winter training camps in FL…

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  5. Alcohol is a big factor, take it from someone who has logged over 500 different beers. I didn’t drink the whole month of January and dropped 10 pounds. It’s easy to knock off 10 beers on a Saturday and when you factor in calories and carbs it’s no wonder I’m sluggish the next day. Great post.

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  6. Good post and thoughts relating to alcohol (especially beer) and its impacts on overall vitality and weight cutting. As a home brewer, this one is difficult. I have four taps (20 gallons) at a pull of a handle. I’m trying to find a balance between maintaining this hobby while realizing my fitness goals. In no uncertain terms, they oppose each other. I’m afraid that one day, I will have to exit the home brewing world. Until then, I just brew beer that ages well. Since January, I’ve only had a few pints of homebrew and the positive effects are quite noticeable.

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  7. Although I strive to race at the highest level that I can attain with the amount of time available to train, this is a sacrifice that I am never going to be willing to make…I shall also continue to eat gluten…I have a severe case of reverse restraint.

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  8. I don’t feel I’m sacrificing anything all. I’m just striving to maintain a more healthy balance so that I can gain something in return. As for gluten, I’m right there with you. I think the whole gluten thing is so overblown.

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  9. I was on your site for like 2 hours yesterday, reading and actually learning about how to get into proper shape. After I while I kept thinking you should write a book, especially since self publishing on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, & Google Play is so easy now.

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  10. Evan, I was at one time working on a book, and had an agent (who approached me) and a major publisher interested in the project. Unfortunately my agent came down with some serious health issues and got out of the business. After that, the project fell apart. I’m not much interested in self-publishing, but interestingly enough I was contacted today by someone who is interested in rebooting the project. I have the first chapter published here: http://www.johnstonefitness.com/my-transformation/about-me/

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  11. Well done John.
    I think you could substitute out ‘Alcohol’ with any food or drink that you feel isn’t the best for you but you want/enjoy it e.g. chocolate, crisps, chips …

    Looking forward to you doing a new FTP.

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    • Thanks, Andrew.

      The FTP test is going to wait a bit. With my cut likely wrapping up this week I figure I’ll get more accurate results once I return to eating maintenance. Also, I’ve got some big training rides happening in prep for the 275 kilometer XFL ride, and I want to be fresh for the FTP test. Plus the power meter should be here any time now… probably won’t be doing many trainer rides over the next week or three. Lots of riding outside.

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