Near the conclusion of my 5 week break from any training following Ironman Arizona I had my body fat % tested at Kaminski Pain and Performance Care. Dr. Kaminski invested in some new high tech body composition machine and I was excited to see how fat I had gotten in my break from training. I weighed in at 172 lbs. and my body fat % was 18%. I was not surpised but was excited to get back to training to see how quickly I could diminish that number. About 10 days ago I went back to retest at Dr. Kaminiski's office. I weighed in at 162 lbs. before they put the electric pads on my body for the test. I was nearing the end of 10 weeks of training and felt very confident I would see a good result. I even made a "prediction" with a high level of confidence that I would be between 12 and 13%. My pride was checked when I heard the number "16" come out of Dr. Kaminski's mouth. Are you kidding me? I have worked my butt off for 10 weeks and all I have to show for it in terms of body fat % is a lousy 2%! I went home a bit frustrated to say the least. I kept thinking...I'm already trying to compete against a majority of guys who can train all day without having a full-time job outside of the sport. On top of that I'm trying to compete against a lot of guys who don't have a family of their own. Now I'm trying to do this at twice their body fat. I had a few ways to look at this number 16 in my head and all of these were things I thought about.
1. Maybe the machine is wrong. Maybe it's not very accurate...then again I know it's the most reliable body fat machine I've ever been hooked up to.
2. Maybe I'm genetically overmatched here and I'm not going to ever see much lower than 16.
3. If I'm at 16% now and feeling as fit as I do, I'm going to be better than I ever thought once I get that number down to 8
With scenarios 1 I was in denial. With scenario 2 I was just being pessimistic. I chose to go with scenario 3. I believe I've never been close to my ideal body fat % or race weight yet and when I get there the results will be better than I or anyone else could have ever predicted. With that decision I declared war on 16.
For the first time in my life I decided to count calories. I made myself a list of everything I eat around the house. The list is growing. (click on it to make it bigger) When I eat something that's not on the list I add it to the list. My list has a title spot for the food, what the serving size is, how many calories are in it, how much protein, carbohydrate, and fat are in the food, and how much the food weighs. The weight is important because if I'm going to restrict calories I want to make sure I'm eating foods that will keep me healthy without adding too many calories. On the pages that follow "the list" I write down every single thing I eat and how many calories are in it. I add them up and keep track. I've been amazed with my short term results on only 5 days of this test. Here are my early findings on a limit of 3,000 calories/day.
I can't believe how many carbohydrates I was consuming before keeping track of this! I was eating 1,000 calories of Wheaties Fuel for breakfast plus another 500 calories of other food. I was easily consuming 5,000 calories which is maybe where I'll be when I get to my ideal body fat % but way over what I needed to eat. I was eating 5 or more granola/protein/cereal bars a day. Those did next to nothing in terms of satisfying my hunger but they were packing on a tremendous amount of calories and carbohydrates. In my brief 5 days I have found that I can eat 3,000 calories and not feel hungry at all. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I use measuring cups and even a cool new food scale to measure out my servings so I'm accurate in keeping track. The food scale I bought has over 1,000 foods stored in it so I can type in "orange" and then put my orange on the scale and it will weigh it and tell my how many calories are in it. Doing this has forced me to think about what I'm eating and how I want to "spend" my calories. It has actually been very fun to do. I am making up my own rules as I go. For example if I eat less than 3,000 calories on a given day I get to "bank" them and carry over the remaining to the next day. I have decided that every Tuesday morning my bank will empty anything over 500 extra calories so Monday will be the day if I have lots of extra to give I can enjoy that stove top oil cooked popcorn that I crave and love (55 calories/cup and the last time I made it I ate 8 cups). What are some of the foods I'm really enjoying you may ask? Here is a list of a few...
1. 1 serving of Wheaties Fuel mixed with Fat Free Dannon yogurt. This is 290 calories but is very filling and has a good mix of carbohydrates and protein.
2. Chicken Breast- 4 ounces is a serving and has only 90 calories and 22 grams of protein with only 1/2 gram of fat.
3. Smoothie- 1 cub fat free Cookies and Creme Frozen yogurt, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1 fat free Dannon vanilla yogurt all blended and it has 320 calories
4. Strawberries- 1 cup only has 50 calories
5. Baby Carrots- 3 ounces only has 35 calories. I could spend my daily calories eating 18 lbs. of these things...all for only 3,000 calories.
6. Mr. Dells Hashbrowns with green peppers and onion- 60 calories a serving and I no longer cook it in oil.
7. Yogurt with Raisins- This is a very filling snack and I try to eat 1 snack between breakfast and lunch and another between lunch and dinner. This nets 210 calories with 1 6 ounce fat free yogurt and 1/4 cup of raisins.
I'm sure a lot of people will think I went off the deep end here...I'm actually having a lot of fun and it's incredible to see how much of a difference I can see and feel in only 5 days. As I get closer to my goal body fat percentage I will begin adding in calories because I know the quality of workouts will get even better when I'm allowing myself more of those. I still have lots of time before any big races so the count is on. I'm at war with 16 . I may find that I can race 10 lbs. lighter than I've ever been and I know from past experience what that will mean for my biking and running. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!