Non-Final Final Paleo Update
So as of yesterday, it’s been two full months of following a mostly (85-90%) paleo diet. My original goal was to stick with it for two months and then re-evaluate how I felt about the whole plan as a whole. The tl;dr version is this: I really liked the way I felt while following a mostly paleo diet, and plan to continue doing so for at least another month.
- I did not follow my original workout plan of alternating days in the gym with days spent either surfing or at Krav Maga. I have a lingering shoulder issue which will likely require surgery some day, and Krav Maga aggravated the issue if I would attend more than one class a week. Also, it turns out that I can’t control the weather so some days (and some weeks even) surfing was not an option. As much as I enjoy it, I think I’ll be dropping Krav Maga from my schedule entirely.
- I remained very regular about going to the gym, averaging 3 or 4 times a week. I favored heavy, compound, multi-muscle group lifts. If you’re on Fitocracy (and you should be) you can see my workouts here. For the most part, I stuck to the basics of deadlifts, rows, squats, cleans, presses, pullups, etc. with the exception of avoiding the bench press - again, due to my shoulder.
- My version of paleo allowed coffee, cream in that coffee, red wine, and - on days when I worked out - fruits and some small chocolate. For the most part I skipped breakfast unless it was a breakfast meeting.
- Over the course of the two months, I had a couple days where I sort of just let myself eat whatever. Some were scheduled, some were weddings or parties (I refuse to be a PITA at someone else’s celebration) but for the most part it likely ended up being about a week total spread out over the two months.
Highlights and conclusions:
- I dropped from 170-ish pounds down to 157-ish pounds over the course of two months.
- Each of my lifts increased by between 10 and 30%. Some of this comes down to consistency of working out, some of this comes down diet.
- I am definitely leaner overall in terms of visible definition, meaning I’ve likely lost a significant amount of fat. I’d estimate that I was 15-17% bodyfat before, and am down to about 10-12% now.
- I’m also definitely bigger in my chest, arms, thighs, and shoulders, meaning I’ve managed to put on a couple pounds of muscle along the way. If the goal is to lose weight and either gain or utilize more muscle, this program works pretty well.
- I felt better overall - I felt more on top of things and was sleeping better. On the other hand, I started getting colder easier - likely due to fat loss(?)
- It’s really hard to work your chest when you can’t do bench press. The pec machines only do so much, and unless I get myself at the perfect angle, they also hurt my shoulder. As such, my chest is a little weaker than I’d like, and my back is stronger than I expected. I’d like to find a way to keep from becoming imbalanced.
- On a good cheat day (like my birthday yesterday) I could put on 7-8 pounds, but most of it is retained water and by the middle of the week I’m usually back to around normal.
- When I do eat processed and/or overly sugared carbohydrates now, I feel…well, kinda shitty. I feel slow, generally uncomfortable, fuzzy, and generally off for the next 6 hours or so. Sometimes it’s worth it (ice cream, gnocci, buffalo wings) but generally the “eat ALL the ice cream!” feeling is quickly replaced by a much more prevalent “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
- When your body is storing less water than usual, hangovers can come on from even two glasses of wine, and they really, really suck. Also, my overall tolerance was shit, and the effects seemed to last longer than usual so I needed to pace myself if I was going to drive. On the other hand, by the end I was a really cheap date.
- Overall, I’m very happy with the results. Happy enough, in fact, that I’m going to continue to follow it for at least another month. I’ll
I’ll be taking this data and making some changes to the program and my expectations. Specifically:
- I’ll be deleting Krav Maga, and adding in yoga and tire/sledgehammer workouts. Ideally my schedule will be Mon - Yoga/Sledgehammer, Tues - gym, Wed - Yoga Sledgehammer, Thurs - Gym, Fri - nothing, Sat - Gym, Sun - Sprint.
- No matter what anyone says, I’m not convinced that deadlifts and squats work the core and abdominals enough. I’m going to incorporate more core exercises (hence Yoga and sledgehammer workouts) as I feel that lack of stability is the weak point in some of my larger lifts at the moment.
- Much to my chagrin, I’m going to find a way to incorporate some kind of sprinting into the mix. Instead of doing windsprints, I may join a soccer game some weekends.
- I’m probably going to spread my food over more meals, instead of two 1000+ calorie meals at lunch and dinner. Although I sometimes enjoy eating a pound or so of meat in one sitting, it can sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable. Maybe a second meal at 3 or 4pm. I will likely continue to skip breakfast though.
- I took pictures at the start and at the end. I’m looking forward to comparing them with the pictures I’ll also take a month from now.
As I said, overall I’m very happy with the results. I’m continuing my goals of being a little bit better every day, and have gotten some very good data about how to continue to push myself to get continually healthier. I see this initial experiment as a huge success and look forward to refining it further.
18 Notes/ Hide
- ultrafastx said: Interesting post! I wonder if part of why the simple carbohydrate consumption makes you feel so bad now is because you’ve modified your gut flora/fauna, so the nutrient mix available in your gut, for your body, is different?
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- nslayton said: Very cool! I think I’m in the same boat, minus the heavier lifting and Krav Maga. I think I might take a week or so off the diet, just because I miss so many foods.
- cvxn said: Glad it worked for you! I’ve had to go gluten-free because of celiac/wheat allergy, and it’s comforting to see how much easier that is to achieve nowadays.
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