Wow, so here I am into week 3 of clean eating and P90X2 (although this is my 4th week of X2, but the first week was an “eat anything” week). I’m seeing results. I can tell I’m slimming up, my core is better, my shoulders hurt less, and all the other good things that come with getting into a routine that just doesn’t beat you senseless.
And on top of it, in my physical therapy, we’re are doing less strengthening and more work to challenge the body and the shoulders in the form of Tough Mudder training (more on this later).
This week is an odd week for me with some traveling coming up (heading out to Las Vegas for the Team Beachbody Summit). So not a full X2 week on tap, but with 2 scheduled workouts with Tony Horton, I’m sure I’ll get plenty of X-style workouts in.
So I’m pleased, but….
I’ve been doing some research into how men (and women, but mainly men, since I am one) on why we store fat differently and what may be the cause behind it. I’ve also read a lot about leptin, another hormone involved in weight loss, and am coming to a few conclusions about an experiment I plan on running with my body.
First, I want to refer to this diagram (taken from http://www.healthhabits.ca/2009/08/12/hormones-problem-areas-and-your-body-fat-map-part-2/):
The theory here is that hormone imbalance lead to men storing fat in different areas. The chart is fairly self-explanatory, but the reasons behind may not be all too obvious. The link has a lot of great information behind what may cause things such as low T levels, high E levels, and Insulin levels that cause the fat storage.
So I started thinking about my trouble spots and decided that its time to make some changes to my diet. So here we go:
1. My Chest
I don’t have large man boobs, but I do seem to store a decent amount of fat in my chest. This is very annoying, and while I’m losing the fat, I cannot help but to wonder if high E levels may have something to do with it.
The problem is, this is the only symptom of high estrogen that I show. All of the other things I have read about do not line up with how I feel. But its worth the experiment.
So the correction: Lower E, Raise T, manage insulin. Back to the Primal Blueprint style diet, but with a slightly higher carb load (120-150) with some possible carb cycling, which I’ll talk about a bit later.
2. My back
Of all the places that REALLY annoy me, its my back. I have back muscles, but this big blob of goo covering them makes me look a lot bigger than what I really am.
The correction: Again, Primal Blueprint diet, but increase fiber. More on this too….later.
3. My abs
This is common for all men. I’m not stressing as much about this as the others, but the results should take care of themselves. Our lower abs are usually the last place fat leaves. And this one may be the trickiest due to cortisol.
The good thing is, cortisol can be corrected overall by a few steps: Better rest days (P90X2 has 2, which is good), better sleep (7+ hours), and unwinding time away from the TV. I personally am trying to read and listen to music more to help manage stress.
Outside of this, the other thing of note here is “Low Growth Hormone” levels. I’m not sure if this is the issue, and I’m going to assume it is not (I get a decent amount of aminos).
Correction: Primal Blueprint with more fiber.
The correction is just simply holding to the path I’m taking now. I attempted the X2 diet, but just kept slipping back to a paleo/primal style diet. I felt better on days I ate more fat with the lower carbs.
But I’m going to make some other adjustments and see how it works as well.
1. Carb cycling – On days where I have an X2 routine and PT, I will opt to eat higher carb, lower fat. My carbs will come mainly from sweet potatoes (1 or 2) and extra fruit. I will aim for 30-40% of my intake from carbs that day, with 25% protein and the rest in fats. The thought here is that doing this can help regulate leptin. Regulating leptin should help keep the fat burn consistent.
2. Cheat days – This is a bit controversial. I am 16 days into my focused diet and have been eating well above the 90/10 I set out for myself. The only day I did anything extra was on Father’s Day where I allowed myself to have some rice as well as a handful of popcorn chicken and (literally) 4 fries.
But, the last thing I want to do is burn out. And I’ve had success following the 1 cheat meal a week plan.
I’m going to start out with 1 cheat meal every 2 weeks starting in phase 2. When I do that, the 2 days after the cheat day, regardless of what is going on, will be normal lower carb intake primal eating days. I will probably opt for only one cheat meal, as opposed to the full day.
3. Fiber intake – Honestly, I do not eat nearly enough veggies. I could eat fruit all day (have I ever mentioned how much of a sugar addiction I have?), but veggies are just harder to come by. And with a primal/paleo style of eating (no beans, no whole grains, no oats, etc), fiber can be difficult to get. So I did research and ran across this list of highest fiber fruits and veggies. Seems like a complete enough list to give me some ideas of what to eat.
I like avocado on salad, so I will start incorporating it more. And while not 100% primal compliant, I will probably opt to get the Shakeology Fiber boost. This would give my shake a total of 10g of fiber, roughly 30% of what I’m going to aim for each day. If I can reach 30g a day I may see the affect of the hormones correct themselves.
All of this I must do without risking performance. I believe the carb cycling will actually help performance, and the cheat meals should keep me from hating life, so to speak.
After I return from Summit I’ll be blogging more with more details about how I’m trying to reach these goals.
Nutrition And Diet, P90X2, Primal/Paleo Eating