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Physical Freedom 117/365 - 20220430


Pretty much 4 months into doing this every single day (bar one) now. That's a little crazy for me. For those who aren't aware, I started this blog on the 3rd January this year for two key reasons; to hold myself accountable to a task daily, and in response to the amount of people that thought there was some super secret recipe to what I do. Some days I record the bare minimum under the headings of training, equipment used, and food eaten. Other days I try to add a little value and expand a little. Today I'll talk a little about calories in the food section, albeit I'll not go too deep via this medium. I trained, briefly, at 1030am for around 30 minutes.


1 Snatch Pull + 1 Snatch


8 sets at 75kg


Snatch Grip Romanian Deadlift


3x8 75kg


ATG Split Squats


3x5/5 2x15kg Dumbbells



Pull-Ups & Dips


I haven't counted, but some sets of 10 at home


Equipment


Made sure to grab the Bulldog Gear to lift with at CrossFit Napalm for my snatches. I have a few of these for sale second hand if anyone has a good home and wants to purchase one. The picture is clearly of a new item for illustrative purposes only.



Food


At 6am (I know right!) I had 3 rashers of bacon, 3 eggs and some berries.


At 11:30am I had a pack of meatballs and a peperami.


At 1pm I had a lamb shoulder steak, some halloumi and a 3 egg omelette.


At around 5pm I had a couple of lumps of cheese


At 8:30pm I had a lamb shoulder steak, 2 bacon rashers, some halloumi and some smoked salmon. I followed this with mixed berries in Greek yoghurt with honey.


I get asked/told a lot of things about the way I eat. I get told I eat badly. I get told I eat a lot if junk. I get told I eat too much fat, too many calories, not the right macros for intense training, and a whole host of other things. In spite of this, my weight hasn't shifted, for any length of time, all year since I manipulated it downwards at the end of January for the British Weightlifting Championships. I have set records, across strength, endurance and gymnastic modalities, and I continue to get fitter. My resting heart rate is as low as it has been, and I haven't counted a single calorie, or weighed a single portion. So how does this work? Well, you have likely heard that energy balance dictates your weight (when water is corrected for) and that calories in must equal calories out to maintain weight, you must exist in a calorie deficit to lose weight, or a calorie surplus to gain weight. This is all true, but in my honest opinion, it's utterly useless (and might even be damaging) to the everyman and everywoman.



Why so? Well, allow me to use a hire car as an analogy. You get a hire car dropped off at your house for a trip to London. It has precisely enough fuel in to get you to the nearest fuel station. You want to put fuel in the tank, but you're tight and don't wish to leave even a drop for the hire company when they collect it from your destination. So naturally, you check Google maps for the distance, as the crow flies, to your destination, search average fuel consumption of cars, and fill the tank accordingly. Wait, this sounds wrong. There are a few variables here. Which route will you take? How much traffic will there be? Which car have the hire car company given you, and which version? How much luggage do you need to take? Passengers? What about diversions? Are there any steep hills? What speed will you drive at? Will you use the air conditioning? It's worth noting at this point that the human metabolism is infinitely more complex than an internal combustion engine, and the variables ,more numerous than you can count. So clearly there is a little more to it than just kilometres per litre, or miles per gallon. Similarly with our bodies, there is a lot going on. There are fancy formulae out there that will tell you how to do the maths, but bear in mind 3 simple facts before you start down this path:


  1. Every single calorie related data point you can find is an estimate! From the calories on the food wrapper to the calories your watch thinks you have burned. From the calories My Fitness Pal tells you are in an apple, to the readout on the machines at the gym. In fact estimate is a kind term, some of them are simply fantasy.

  2. Trying to detail every calorie is dull. It's really boring, painstaking work that takes too much time, and often gets people down.

  3. Working this way blunts your sensitivity to the body's natural feedback mechanisms; hunger and satiety.

So what makes more sense? Start with protein. Don't weigh or measure it, but eat a portion of meat, fish or eggs with every meal. Not food with these ingredients, but actual portions of whole foods. Cook it yourself if possible. Use fatty cuts, or fats from avocado, olives and meat if you have higher energy requirements, or you're just hungry. Proteins and fats are both satiating and, once your hunger signals have recalibrated, you should feel full for longer. Eat some fruit, and don't be scared of dairy IF your body handles it well. It's not essential though so if your gut or skin struggles, leave the dairy out. Avoid snacking too much, and don't be afraid of going a while without eating. If you're not hungry, leave it a while to eat, but also remember being hungry sometimes is okay! Add salt to your meals, rock salt preferably, and stick to mainly water. If you're struggling for energy after a week or two to adapt, add some sweet potato, root veg, or even a little rice. Avoid grains. They bloat you, cause digestive issues and are almost entirely devoid of nutrients. Energy balance is a complex equation, for which we know none of the numbers with any degree of accuracy. A more effective use of the principle is to look at your body composition and weight after a period of time and draw the conclusion that you either have or have not maintained energy balance.



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