Full disclosure: I am currently working for YAWP! but that has nothing to do with my decision to write a cookbook, nor are they sponsoring or endorsing any of this. I just happened to have some of the bars on hand when I made this monumental breakfast discovery.
Whoops! Did I Say ‘Writing a Cookbook’?
Well, it’s true. I am. I’ve always wanted to, but could never find my angle to separate myself from the sea of cookbooks that already exist. Think this is a whim? Just a passing idea? How do you explain the nearly 4,000 words I’ve already written?
But sadly, this post isn’t about the cookbook. This isn’t about the niche, or why I’m different. It won’t allude to types of recipes and why you’ll find them in my book.
Instead, this is simply about the recipe that finally made the light bulb turn on. That made me say, “Ah-ha!!”
So as a little preview of what’s to come, I give you…
Fancy Peanut Butter and Granola Mush
Typically granola is eaten with yogurt or milk or plain. However, we can get rid of the need of storing milk or yogurt and still combine it with things that are nutritious and delicious.
- Favorite nut butter (peanut butter is cheapest)
- Bulk granola
- Banana(s) and/or other fruit
- Mixed nuts
Basic: Add 1 or 2 spoonfuls nut butter in a bowl. Then cover with bulk granola and smash together.
Intermediate: Follow the basic recipe, this time add a banana, berries, or dried fruit
Gourmet: Follow the steps through the intermediate recipe. Add mixed nuts, honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar (if you have it). Smash all everything together in the bowl and be amazed at how delicious this tastes and how much it fills you up.
Alternatives: If you don’t have access or ability to store bulk granola, you can crush up your favorite granola bar first. This is also an example of leveraging pre-made food goods, however it is typically cheaper to buy bulk granola if you can store it.
Since my garden has started to produce more kale than I know what to do with, I thought I’d publish an ongoing post in which I update it with new and exciting things to do with kale. It’s not always all about me, so I want to share your kale recipes and cooking methods too!
I could easily go on Pinterest or Googles and find abajillion different things to do with kale, but I want your original ideas (or heavily modified recipes). I’ll start with mine and add yours as you submit them. You can do that by leaving them down in the comments, emailing me through my contact page, Facebook message or post, or my direct email (if you’re a lucky person that has it). Don’t forget to include a link that you want me to include to give you credit!
And now, I shall organize all the kale recipes like a menu as such:
Fennel, Tomato, and White Bean Soup with Kale recipe (rolls right off the tongue doesn’t it?)
I got this recipe from a friend on Facebook, and then I made it better…
Make your own chicken stock with real chicken and add the meat to the soup.
Roast bell peppers and a jalapeno to the existing list of veggies.
Use kale instead of spinach.
Use roasted tomatoes instead of the plain tomatoes it calls for in the recipe.
Turn grill to medium low heat.
Brush kale with oil on both sides.
Season with your favorite dried spices (salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, whateves)
Spread in a [mostly] single layer on the grill. Watch closely so as not to let them burn. Flip when needed. Should be crunchy in 10 minutes or less.
Grilled Flat Bread (Naan) Pizza with Kale
Brush one side of the naan bread with your favorite type of cooking oil, add a little salt, pepper, and other favorite dried spices and toast that side on the grill.
Once it’s toasted to your desired crispiness/darkness, remove it from the grill, brush the other side of the bread with oil, and then top the toasted side with your favorite sauce, kale, other vegetables, cheese, and/or protein.
Return it to the grill (untoasted side should be down) on the lowest setting, close the lid, closely monitor for darkness of your bread or melty cheese.
(Click thumbnails for higher resolution and maximum drool factor.)
Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta with Chicken Recipe (From Lynne at lgsmash)
- 1/2 bunch of kale
- 16 oz spaghetti
- 10 oz package of grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 4+ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound pan cooked chicken breasts, cubed
- s/p to taste
De-stem and wash kale; chop into small strips. Bring a pot of water to boil, cook spaghetti as directed; drain pasta and set aside in a large bowl.
Cook chicken in large saute skillet with a bit of olive oil and salt and peper, to taste. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside to cool. Once cooled, cut into bit sized cubes.
In same pan, add a bit more olive oil and bring pan to medium heat if cooled. Add garlic and onion; saute for a few minutes until slightly brown. Add chopped kale; cook for a few minutes or until kale is completely wilted.
Add kale, garlic and onion to cooled pasta. Add tomatoes, pine nuts, juice of lemon half and chicken. Toss/mix well. Top with fresh, shredded Parmasean cheese.
A couple weeks ago, I read this post by Movement mentor Craig Keaton: Two Questions That Forever Changed How I Eat. I passed it along to several friends that struggle with eating/nutrition belief systems and the resulting brain dump ensued after the following statement was made to me:
In regards to this quote in the post: “Do you have positive responses from ‘bad’ foods?” I’m guessing this was a gross oversimplification of a more complex system, because all it makes me think is that if I like eating 25 chocolate bars, I should do it.
Ask Better Questions
Eating chocolate bars to feel good is absolutely what he means, but there are several other factors at play as well. It’s ok to eat bad foods as long as you’re conscious about the reason you’re eating them and/or how many of them you’ve eaten. It depends on the questions you asked yourself before deciding to eat them too, whether it’s because you’re celebrating or you’ve just received some bad news.
The questions you need to ask yourself are based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These are the necessities to life itself, and at its core, the brain is programmed for self-preservation. By relieving your brain of these (real or perceived) stresses, you free up more mental space for fun and positive thoughts.
1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.
2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, freedom from fear.
3. Social Needs – belongingness, affection and love, – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.
4. Esteem needs – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.
5. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
There are infinite options within each of these needs so to provide some specific examples, I usually ask myself the question, “Can I ______?”, in this order, from good to bad:
- Air – Sit and breathe. Relax. Think.
- Movement – Climbing. Kettlebells. Bodyweight training. Mountain biking.
- Self-Actualization – Writing. Social media. Brainstorming. Daydreaming.
- Time in nature – Go for a hike. Go for a walk. Work in my garden. Climbing. Camping.
- Drink – Water. Coffee. Tea.
- Eat – Meat. Fruit. Vegetables. Nuts. Trailmix.
- Sex – (lol?)
- Sleep – Power nap. Bed for the evening.
- Lack of movement – Watching TV. Facebooking. Watching a movie.
- Drink – Beer. Alcohol. Fancy coffee (tons of sugar and cream and chocolate)
- Food – Chocolate bars. Chips. Cookies. Cake. Ice cream.
Bad Stress (Distress)
Because my goals revolve around freelance, living in a van, becoming a stronger climber, and my overall physique, you can see why I’ve prioritized the list in the way I have. Most of the activities and alternatives support those goals. The bottom three, do not. But they do serve a purpose.
The reason eating chocolate, or even eating 25 chocolate bars, isn’t bad for you is that it’s resolving stress.
The expedient resolution of a distressful state through bad food may actually be better than prolonging, or making worse, a distressful state.
If you’re eating them for stress relief or boredom, you also need to ask yourself, “What else could I do instead?” If you can answer that question easily and the resulting action is not self-destructive, great! Go do that instead! But if you’re in a funk and nothing comes to mind immediately, start asking yourself the questions above.
Good State/Good Stress (Eustress)
If you’re having a fantastic day and feeling great about the world and your life and want to celebrate, you can still go down that same list. Start with things that support your goals and ambitions and work your way down to the bad stuff. If you’ve determined that eating chocolate is the best thing you can do for yourself, great!!! But that’s not a free pass to overindulge. Calories are still a thing and you should still be mindful of your goals. Celebrate, acknowledge your achievement, and move on.
Be Conscious because Calories Still Mean Something
Whether you’re eating because of a distressful state (this is where chocolate has a negative association) or a eustress state, you must still be conscious of how much you’re eating. Calories mean something but you might not know everything they mean.
There are mechanisms inside the brain and the body that are triggered by eustress and distress. That stuff is complicated and absolutely no one has them figured out in a system-wide application. Some people have some parts of individual mechanisms figured out in isolation, but when you start adding in the endless variables of the human body, psyche, and external environment (real or perceived), almost no ‘facts’ are agreed upon. What more and more people are agreeing on though, is that when you’re under distress, you don’t utilize the nutrition and calories available in your body as efficiently as when in a eustress state.
I am firmly planted in the Calories in, calories out camp when a diet is analyzed over a significantly relevant period of time, but, on a day-to-day basis, I know that’s not all that’s going on. This is why sometimes you just look at food and gain five pounds, and sometimes you eat five pounds of food in one sitting and still manage to lose weight the next day. Eating an excess of 3,500 calories in a single day will not lead to a calorie-for-calorie match in fat storage, but if you string three, four, five, 14 days of those together, you will start to notice a change for the worse regardless of your reason for eating that much.
So again, on a singular day, if you need to resolve a stress in order to move on and the only way to do that is by eating 25 chocolate bars, go on with your bad self. That’s better than eating 10 chocolate bars 10 days in a row if you haven’t resolved the stressor or tried something else to continue positives in your life.
Simplifying the Complex
Up to now, I’ve confirmed the belief that the original comment was a gross oversimplification of a complex system, but I felt you needed some background information. All of that complexity should now disappear by disregarding mechanisms, variables, psychology, and taking the ‘black box’ approach.
The Movement creators and practitioners use a method to test which choice (Maslow’s hierarchy) is best for you at that specific time, given a specific stress. Once you find which method is best, you can then test specific items beneath that. For instance, if eating chocolate bars is the best thing for you to do to resolve that stress, you can test which chocolate bar you should eat (if you want) and how many you should eat. Until your intuition, knowledge, and experiences are sufficiently informed through testing, you could test after each bite if you’ve had enough. This will prevent you from overindulging (assuming you’ve bought into the validity of the test which is a monstrosity of a barrier for almost 100% of new practitioners).
After you’ve used this method and noted which methods work the best to resolve specific stressors over time, you will start to inform your intuition for any time you encounter a stress in the future. When your test results start to match what your intuition is telling you a significant number of times, the test becomes obsolete (but can still always be used when there’s doubt).
In application, this ‘overly complex system’ looks like this:
1) Why do I want to eat chocolate?
2) Can I do something else instead?
3) Test other options
4) Chocolate is best? Ok. How much?
5) Test quantity
So, is the decision to eat chocolate a complex decision? This novel makes it seem like it, but it’s really not. It starts with psychological state at the time of the desire to eat chocolate, a few simple questions, and the test. The complexity goes away by being sensitive to the sensations of my body, informing my intuition and experiences through testing, and being conscious of the outcomes of my actions. After a while, the test goes away, and then it becomes even simpler.
This is why all of my training and nutrition advice is counter to what people believe. Because my only belief system is to not believe in belief systems and only do the things that test well for you, at that given time, to support your goals. I question everything. I question good food vs. bad food. I question good form vs. bad form. I question reps and sets. I question the usefulness of an FMS exam. I question if foam rolling is actually doing something for you physiologically or psychologically. I ask you questions that force you to question your own beliefs.
It is only once you start listening to what your body is telling you that you can make the fastest possible progress, no matter what Men’s Fitness and Shape are telling you.
This is why, regardless of the actual question you’ve asked me to help you with, I almost always address your psychology, whether you realize it or not. Because a lot of people have a lot of belief systems that are holding them back.
If you’re interested in more of this rabbit hole, I’ve included some additional reading I wrote four years ago. This is important because 1) It shows how far ahead The Movement has been in regards to the rest of the industry, 2) The quality of writing may be less than you’re used to, and 3) The pictures got lost in the domain transfer from AthleteCreator to LowGravityAscents.
Psychological state management Part 1: lowgravityascents.com/2010/10/20/my-journey-with-state-management/
Psychological State Management Part 2: At what cost? lowgravityascents.com/2010/12/16/psychological-state-management-part-2-new-methods-but-at-what-cost/
The most anabolic things in life (this is a psychology post masked in humor with ‘on the surface’ examples.) http://lowgravityascents.com/2010/07/19/the-most-anabolic-things-in-life/
It’s time for another installment of Dave’s Diner. Today on the menu we have Roasted Chicken Hippy Deliciousness.
Editor’s Note: I’m fairly proud of these pictures as a whole. Feel free to click them and make them life-sized. Then, be sure to tell me how great they are. (Conversely, how average they are. Reluctantly, how not good at all they are.)
The hippy part is simply because it contains Fennel and Leeks. I associate those with hippies. Not just those things. Lots of things. Like tie dyed shirts. But I digress, or we could be here all day.
- Chicken thighs
- Bacon grease (ya damn right!)
- Sage (probably dried)
- Salt and Pepper
Tools that will make it better:
Instructions to create delicious (yes, I am using delicious as a noun in this instance):
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place dutch oven on stove top, set heat to medium/medium-low, add dollop of bacon grease to generously coat the bottom of the dutch oven
- After bacon grease has liquefied and coated the dutch oven, add the chicken thighs. (You may want to wait until the bacon grease is heated up enough to start sizzling the chicken when you add it.)
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and sage to taste. Bro tip: don’t be scurred, add liberally.
- After 5’ish minutes (P.S. there should be a very good/loud sizzle going on at this point, but don’t incinerate the chicken either, mkay?), flip it over and season the other side.
- Brown this side for 5’erish minutes too. Then flip the thighs back to their original starting positions. Turn off the burner. Remove chicken from dutch oven once sizzling has stopped.
- If you’ve done this right, your chicken should not have stuck to the dutch oven, and there should be a delicious conglomeration of bacon and chicken fat waiting to tantalize your taste buds upon completion.
- Wash and prepare your leeks and fennel (or if you’re really good, you’d have already been doing this simultaneously):
- Cut tops of leeks off and throw away
- Be sure to peel back the outer 1-3 layers and make sure all the dirt is gone
- Cut fennel stalks off of bulb and set aside
- Wash fennel
- Slice fancifully in a way that pleases your eyes
I have no idea what this would be called because I just made everything up on a whim. What I can say is this: it was amazingly delicious.
Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
Line a baking dish with tinfoil to make clean-up easier.
Halve the Brussels sprouts and garlic, and chop the onion. How much? However much you feel like eating, duh.
Drizzle the veggies with olive oil (or grape seed would be better), dust them with salt, pepper, and sage.
Pour some red wine vinegar all over errything. Maybe around 4-5 Tablespoons? I just go by look.
Generously salt and pepper the poultry, and then place it directly on top of the veggies with the skin side up.
Cover the dish with tinfoil. Seal as best as possible.
Bake for 30 minutes covered.
Bake for 30 minutes uncovered.
Broil long enough to make the skin nice and crispy and delicious.
Proclaim me the best long distance chef evar.
Tips ‘n such of the sorts ‘n stuff –
Covering the chicken while cooking fairly key. It gives the poultry a chance to soak up as much aromatic goodness as it can from the onions, garlic, seasonings, and vinegar. Then, when you uncover it, all of those flavors, plus the fat drippings, condense and get absorbed into the Brussels sprouts.
Use a baking dish that is “just” big enough to hold everything. This will help concentrate the flavors better rather than letting the juices flow into unused portions of the dish and evaporating into nothing.
When I made this, the total cooking time was about 70 min. in order to get the skin crispy. I was using two 1-lb. turkey thighs.
Don’t forget to proclaim my genius or it may not taste as good as possible.
I’m going to keep this rather short and to the point because it’s a pretty simple recipe. But I’ll be honest, I’m just rehashing this from 2010 so the video at the bottom doesn’t match the ingredients or the steps. Hopefully you’ll still be able to figure it out. If not, just ask.
Anyways, I was scheduled to do a pretty epic hike on Sat. to try summit South Arapaho peak for the 4th or 5th time. And so, I wanted to make sure I had something hearty, healthy, and in excessive quantity to replace all those calories when I got back. Chili it is!
Prior to make the previous version of this recipe, I’d never actually made chili before and figured I’d throw caution to the wind. Even if it didn’t turn out great, I knew it wasn’t going to kill me.
Without further ado, here is the latest and greatest version of my chili recipe!
Here’s what you’ll need for ingredients:
1 lb. of ground burger
1 lb. of cubed steak
1 lb. of turkey bacon (or regular if you’re not a health nut)
Bottle ‘o beer
Smoked poblano peppers (you have to smoke them yourself)
Jalapeno Peppers and/or serrano (based on your heat tolerance)
Beans of your choice (probably not baked, gross)
- Cook the meat in a BFP (Big Fuggin’ Pot), starting with the bacon
- Drain the fat if you want to but please don’t
- Season the crap out of everything with the dried seasonings mentioned above and add the garlic
- **Note: this a LOT of volume, it’s near impossible to over-season it. “near”
- Let it all cook for a couple minutes until the meat is evenly coated with the seasoning and rendered fat
- Add the veggies and let them “sweat”. Again, allowing them to be coated with seasoning and fat
- Add beer and let it come to a boil
- Add stewed tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, smoked peppers, and the spicy peppers
- Add enough tomato juice for your desired consistency or the pot overflows
- Simmer errythang until the celery and mushrooms are cooked, and let the flavors blend together
I highly recommend serving it with freshly chopped onions and colby cheese.
I highly recommend you NOT doing something silly like adding macaroni noodles. We can’t be friends if you do that.
As I said, there are a lot of changes I made above that are not shown in the video. You’ll have to use some of your won skills. Lastly, remember to season everything to taste and don’t worry about exact quantities.
I have lived in Broomfield, worked in Boulder, and visited Denver since January 2013. I moved from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Minneapolis/St. Paul has a very large Vietnamese population, and on top of that, I’ve been dating a Vietnamese immigrant for 2.5 years. So now that we have that information, I feel confident in saying that I know good pho when I taste it.
Since moving, I’ve tried four different pho restaurants. None of them were that great. In fact, the only “good” pho is the pho that I, or we, made in the apartment. Thank goodness her family taught me how to cook it.
Black Pepper Pho (Boulder)
The soup was good as long as it was just called “soup” and not “pho”. It was quite bland and the broth tasted old. It was missing anise, cinnamon, and cloves to be certain. I needed to add bunch of fish sauce at the table too.
Pho Duy (Broomfield)
Again, this broth was missing stronger anise and clove flavors, but it was better than Black Pepper Pho. I would at least call this “pho”, just not that great. The upside of Pho Duy is that the serving size was ginormous. That said, for the amount of pho they give you, they barely give you enough bean sprouts, basil, and lime to even notice they’re in there.
Viet’s Restaurant (Denver)
This was by far the most authentic restaurant of the four that I’ve been to so far. The host and server at least spoke Vietnamese. The employees of all the other restaurants were predominantly white. (That’s already a red flag when looking for good Vietnamese food.)
The pho was really quite decent. Good amount of sprouts, basil, lime, and jalapeno’s. Sadly, the soup wasn’t very hot. Not even hot enough to blanch or tenderize the sprouts. According to my Vietnamese lady friend, the temperature of the broth when served is a very very important custom. If it’s not hot, you should send it back. Almost like ordering a steak medium-rare but getting it well-done, here in America.
Vietnamese Cuisine Young’s Cafe (Fort Collins)
There is no way this should have been the best pho I’ve had in Colorado so far. It’s in a “small town” compared to Boulder and Denver. The dining area was way too nice and way too modern. There were no Asian patrons to be seen, just white people everywhere. They didn’t even use Vietnamese names for the menu items. “Pho” was “Vietnamese beef noodle soup”.
“Oh boy, this is going to be horrible.”
So far, it is the best pho I’ve had in a Colorado restaurant. The broth was a little light on flavor, but much much much better than the other three. It was served hot. It had ample amounts of side veggies.
On top of good pho, we were feeling risky and ordered sweet and sour hot pot too. That wasn’t even offered in all of the Vietnamese restaurants in Minneapolis/St. Paul so I really didn’t have high expectations. Again, we were pleasantly surprised.
Hopefully these reviews help to encourage you to try other pho restaurants before these (except in the case of Young’s Cafe). I will add more restaurants to the list as I experience them.
If you’re anything like me, you love iced coffee, but you hate spending $6 at Starbucks or the like. This iced coffee protein shake is good anytime of the day, but especially when you’re done working out. It’s incredibly simple and takes no time at all as there are only four (4!!) ingredents.
Brief History of Fail
I’ve tried this before. It did not turn out well. I first got the idea from using vanilla protein powder just as you would with regular coffee creamer in hot coffee. That also tastes pretty good. But then I wanted iced coffee. I tried to replicate the ease of the cup of coffee by using only vanilla protein and Foldgers instant coffee.
I do not recommend that. That’s 2 scoops of protein down the drain.
I could have looked on the internet for some recipes but A) I’m lazy and B) I like to create. Nevertheless, I was a little gun shy to try this again.
And then an Idea came to Me
I just got back from an early morning mountain bike ride, and seeing as the weekends are usually when I allow myself to indulge in a coffee shop iced coffee, I was actually craving one before I actually got done with my ride. I thought, “man, how great would it be if I could have an iced coffee protein shake? I’d get the protein I need from the ride as well as satisfy my craving.”
So now I try again.
Unlike last time, just using vanilla protein, it had finally dawned on me that the iced coffee I normally get is an “iced mocha latte”. DON’T JUDGE ME!!
“Ok, ‘latte’. That’s like, steamed milk in coffee or something, right? Ok, I don’t have milk, but I do have vanilla protein powder and water. That’s kind of like milk. I also have instant Starbucks Via; that’s way better than Foldgers.
“Mocha, that’s chocolate, and I have chocolate protein powder too.”
Deep breath, let’s try this again…
Iced Coffee Protein Shake
- 16 oz. cold water
- 1 or 2 ice cubes
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1.5 scoops chocolate protein powder
- 2 packets of Starbucks Via instant coffee
In a blender, add 16 oz. of cold water. Throw in a just a couple of ice cubes for good measure, like only 1 or 2. Turn the blender on low and gradually increase speed so everything will mix smoothly once you start adding things. I’ve had problems in the past with the protein clumping together and never being evenly distributed. Having the water moving before you add the protein powder solves this problem.
Sorry, got off track there…
So, you’ve got the water moving, now gradually add 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder and 1.5 scoops of chocolate protein powder. Again, go somewhat slowly to avoid clumping, but don’t take too long or the protein will foam up and make it too fluffy to drink.
Now add 2 packets of Starbucks Via instant coffee. Again, let this blend for about 3 sec. and immediately turn off the blender. Viola!!
Pour the mixture over a bunch of ice in a glass. Drink. Be amazed. Share and ‘Like’ the shit outta this post with your friends. Thanks!!
Editor’s note: Jay and I “met” via Twitter in 2010. He’s been my web designer since I was “Athlete Creator”, then “Dudes With Tents”, and now “Low Gravity Ascents”. Unlike me, who’s fussy, picky, and sporadic (making him start 2 other websites I never followed through with), Jay is an ideal distant client. As he explains, I’m not there to hold his hand and make sure he’s doing everything I say. I just have to hope he follows through, stays motivated, and asks for help when he needs it. As you can see, he does all of those things. Thanks for being a great friend and a great client, Jay! Hope the rest of you enjoy his story…
Last year in November, I looked like this:
I have been hitting the gym since 2008, with the (losing) attitude of merely fighting off the ravages of a sedentary lifestyle brought on by a long commute and a desk job that allowed for way too much time of mindless eating. I was strong because the sheer mass let me move weights that I wouldn’t even try now, but I didn’t look the way I wanted. I wanted to look lean, I wanted to have the sillhouette of someone in shape, and yes: it’s totally something that’s made popular in culture and by you. I’m not sorry I aspired for it.
How Dave trains
I came across Dave on Twitter in 2010, and I had reached out to him because he cut through a lot of the BS that was floating around in the fitness industry. (And that is enough subject material for its own site.) He irreverently called out peddlers of “broscience.” And he’s in great shape, then as now. So I asked him for a few pointers at first. And at first, I was stubborn and didn’t really follow what he said.
Story of the lives of so many of us. We hear what we need but then discard it because we didn’t actually want to hear it, right? So for a while, I kept on lifting the way I did, and eating the way I did, and instead of fighting off the ravages of time, I was losing to them.
When I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, I opened my mind again, and asked Dave again. And he gave me the same pointers: “try out intermittent fasting,” he said. “I couldn’t possibly hold out for 18 hours,” I complained. But Dave walked me through the process of taking baby steps. There was no need to dive right into 18 hour fasts. So I tried 12 hours at first. And every day I moved the clock a little. Half an hour at a time until I was able to function on an 18 hour fast every day. And day by day I saw the fractions of pounds just slowly but surely shed off.
At the same time, I asked Dave about my lifts. I’ve been lifting willy-nilly, following such formulas as “four sets of eight,” or “five sets of twelve,” and really, wasn’t going anywhere. He introduced me to biofeedback and Adam T Glass’ Gym Movement, and a very scientific, methodical way of testing whether a particular lift was leading towards your goals. As I was losing fat weight, my musculature was still growing. My shoulders started rounding out, and my already bulky legs started gaining definition. My back was getting broader, as was my chest.
I was burning fat and gaining muscle, simultaneously. I wasn’t going through “cutting and bulking” cycles, nor did I put myself through unsustainable dietary restrictions at any time. I ate what I wanted, in the time frame I had alloted to keep with the fast, just keeping calorie counts and rough macro proportions in mind. I bought a kitchen scale and I realized just how tiny a serving of pasta was and how many calories it dumped into you.
Where was Dave in all of this? He checked in and followed up. And that’s the thing about folks who choose distance training: it’s all on you. He wasn’t around me at the gym to “motivate” me by shouting in my face about how weak I am. And even if we lived in driving distance of each other, I know he’s not that kind of “trainer.”
Dave, as my distance trainer, served as the mirror that can only tell the truth. He’d review my workout routine and logs and ask me: “why do you choose that movement,” and when I don’t have an answer, I realize that it didn’t serve my goals and I would find something else instead. He also paid attention to my social media updates and would call me out when he saw something that didn’t make sense to him, or perhaps could have been done differently in order to be more effective.
Time is not fungible, and gym time is priceless. Dave helps by making sure you don’t waste that time.
7 months later, I look like this:
I am now training to enter a physique competition. I want to do it by next year. It’s going to take much harder work than what it took to get to where I am now. I am not an after. I am still a before. There’s more work ahead, and I know my distance trainer will keep me on track.