Saturday, May 2, 2009

Living to Train – It Sucks!

Happiness has no real impact on productivity. Over the past few months, my training has evolved to reflect that attitude. I drudge through workouts and nutrition I dislike, consistently eking out minor increases in strength as my weight drops. In exchange for spending every day hungry and pushing myself so hard I cannot sleep, I am rewarded with marginal success developing strength relative to my body weight.

The only strength related activity I enjoy outside the gym is bowling, and I am a terrible bowler. Meanwhile food restriction and sleep deprivation degrade my mood for the activities I do enjoy. I gain no real health benefits snatching a kettlebell that is half my body weight, yet I persist in abusing myself on a daily basis to further the goal.

Given my place in life, the behavior is entirely irrational. Chasing an amorphous training goal only makes sense when it augments participation in activities I truly enjoy. While lifting is one of those, there are others (like eating!) that have been neglected.

The biggest change in my training approach will be to loosen my nutrition. Achievement of sub-15% body fat at my activity levels appears to require a consistent diet of 1500-1800 high protein calories a day. Supporting that is rather unpleasant. I am going to return to eating around 2500 low protein calories a day. I expect my weight to stabilize in the mid to high 150’s, around 16-18% body fat.

With the warmer weather, running in the forest preserve is something I enjoy and excel at. Due to the direct conflict with strength development, I have been avoiding it. No longer. I am going to switch over to full body training sessions 2-3 times a week, accompanied by runs as I see fit. My only training “goal” will be a Turkish Get Up PR.

I will retain the decision to cease eating out for now. The effect on my health has been dramatic, with zero illnesses from January through April. The last 6 months of 2008, I was sick on a monthly basis. Coupled with the financial benefits, the net impact on my quality of life is significant. Eventually, I may relax this to allow meals out with family.

Training to Live – I like it.