This year our No BS challenge had an added level of difficulty. With Lockdown 3.0 we were all under more stressful conditions that usual. From my perspective it has been an interesting time. I have been working with the elevated stress levels caused the restrictions to the business added to the steep learning curve and altered sleep patterns and 2nd son brings about.
As a result this year I made a conscious decision to scale the challenge. I fully eliminated the booze and sugar but continued with the bread, carbs, and limited amounts of processed food.
I gained 5kg! That is correct I put on a significant amount of weight. Now obviously there are multiple factors that caused this:
· I made no effort to plan meals or track macros.
· I replaced my usual evening snacks of chocolate with variations of bread and cheese.
· The increased stress and decreased sleep combined with being forced to train alone has caused a big reduction in my training intensity.
· The reduced sleep most likely has caused a large spike in my cortisol levels, especially when combined with increased stress. Cortisol causes increased insulin resistance which means my ability to deal with carbohydrates is reduced causing increased fat storage.
The fact put on bodyfat during this time was no surprise the amount of weight gained however was more than expected. Since Ezra was born at the end of November, I have gained a total of 7kg, moving from 89kg to 96.
Does this mean I feel the challenge was a waste of time of a bad option?
No, in fact I have learned a great deal from the last two nutrition challenges. This one has reinforced the importance of planning and staying on top of my macros. It highlights how badly I can miscalculate my intake levels when eyeballing portions and eating by ‘feel’. At no point throughout this period have I felt I have overindulged to any great extent. What has happened is what I have seen on multiple occasions with PT and nutrition clients. I have eaten what I consider a healthy diet and I have not binged on foods or been indulging in excessive junk food.
This is a message I get from clients who are gaining or just not losing bodyfat. They eat what they consider a healthy diet of moderation but see no results or sometimes negative results. It is because it is so easy to miscalculate your intake in doing so for each meal and snack you can quickly be hundreds of calories over your daily requirements.
Would going all in have made a difference?
If I had gone ‘all in’ I do believe my results would have been different, however I may have just found another way to replace these calories, albeit this may have been more difficult. Bread is my weakness so giving myself a green light to substitute sugar with bread (which is close in its effect to sugar) was I believe a large contributor.
What would have happened without the challenge?
Without the challenge I may have seen the same weight gain. I do not know if the stress factors throughout this time would have caused the same results by different means. I suspect that the results would have been similar.
The great news is that we have the Open starting on March 11th. This is a fantastic motivator for me to get my body composition back competition ready. My weight can fluctuate quickly so I hope that with the right plans in place I can get back close to the 90kg mark by the time of the first workout. To do this I am going to back on my food planning and ensuring my macros are on point. I am back on the sugar, but the challenge has removed my cravings for it. This puts me in prime position to be able to stay on track. In addition I am upping my game for workouts, fortunately now Ezra has a more regular sleep pattern which is allowing myself and Francesca to feel a little more normal!!
In conclusion I have benefitted from the challenge by really reducing my reliance on sugar. Now the plan is to use these improved habits alongside some better food planning and get back on track from when we can return to training together.
Let me know how you have got on and if you have any questions please put them in the comments or drop me a message at email@example.com
Congratulations to Dave Burne and Maria Jarmola for topping the members points table this year! Both athletes win a complimentary PT session. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to organise.