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