Monday, December 24, 2007

Confounding Factors

As alluded in my prior post, a range of confounding factors are preventing me from training more frequently. I think one of the issues I am having is with my nutrition.  Other than eating out, I eat very little junk. My food budget just does not allow for it. However, I have gotten incredibly lazy with my meal preparation. In the simplest sense, I'd rather go hungry than spend 20 minutes cooking and eating a meal.

This has lead to an ability to maintain my weight, even when I intentionally loosen my diet to add extra calories. Last week, concerned by the 2lb loss to 175 the prior week, I opened things up. During that week span, I ate out Italian twice, ice cream once, Chinese twice, and pizza once. I also spent every day at work foraging on Christmas cookies, chocolates, and meeting left overs. Saturday morning, I weighed in at 174. This drop was with a single workout all week.

There are a lot of problems with this. The biggest is I need to just barely run a caloric deficit to make real progress towards my goal of relative strength. Extreme deficits will only exhaust me and eat away at the little muscle I do have. The second problem is the quality of food I end up eating as a result of my poor preparation.  Take out and office snacks are not the basis for a sound, healthy diet.

So, what to do? For starters, I have ordered 4lbs of mixed nuts from amazon, in 2 32oz plastic jars. I will keep one at work and one at home. During the day, I will make a point to snack from them on a regular basis.  My hope is they will push out the crap at work and solve the issue of just going hungry at home. I am not sure if they will get my calories to the point where I need.

If this doesn't fix the problem, I will phase calorically dense foods into my meals. Initially, I have begun eating my pasta with a topping in addition to cheese (pesto, butter, or red sauce). The other idea I have is replacing my cottage cheese with a higher fat yellow cheese, but I'd rather not.  Eating more isn't a terribly realistic option for me. I will not stick to that with quality foods.

This morning I also ordered a two pairs of warmer pants for training in the cold garage. Hopefully that helps with another of my confounding factors - training squats and turkish get ups in the cold garage makes my knees ache. Short rest periods help, but they are not enough.

The biggest confounding factor I am working with is the week before Gripmas I put in notice at my job.  There are a variety of factors not appropriate to discuss in a public forum, but time has come for me to move on. I am in great shape financially and do not have to work for at least a year. However, I can't stand the prospect of doing nothing! I am very strongly achievement motivated.

So, this occupies my time, pushing back other life priorites. Since giving notice, I have identified my first choice organization and team, evaluated what they do, submitted an application, and made contact via my personal network. While waiting for callback, I am learning more about the working environment I want, doing introspection on my personal priorities. Add to that my ongoing commitment to professional development, and I have a full schedule.

Realistically, lifting isn't going to take priority over figuring out how I went to spend 40+ hours a week for the next 5+ years of my life. So, until I have the work situation sorted, lifting gets minimized.