First and foremost, I was entirely skeptical of how the whole thing was supposed to work. I still don't buy the evolution idea – I think humans are entirely capable of evolving the digestive tract to manage refined carbohydrates and sugar intake (among other things). I think our diet has changed substantially in the last thirty years, and that is the problem. Nutrition, especially in America, is a moving target. We buy "organic cane sugar" and "100% agave nectar" and "local wildflower honey" instead of sugar cubes made in a plant in latin america, but the bottom line is it's sugar, we're eating more of it than we ever have, and the same is true of wheat. And dairy. And even soy.
The reasoning for this is likely that it's cheaper to produce these crops because of government subsidies than it is to produce quality meats or broccoli and so on. It saddens me that these derivative crops – crops which are less valuable in their raw form than as corn syrup etc – are being produced in greater volume, for less, than more nutritious and frankly tastier crops. But this strays into soapbox territory.
So my performance at the gym improved. I can't tell whether it's because I was working harder at the gym or because of the nutrition aspect of the program, but I don't think it's relevant unless you're trying to just evaluate the Whole30 program on nutrition. I think that is mostly a waste. If you're not exercising while you're doing it, you're wasting the good nutrition you're preparing for yourself at great time and expense. You'll see better results with the exercise. I'll post my new CF Total (should be on Thurs) when that happens. It will be lots bigger. There is no question that the delta is due to nutrition in some part, likely in large part.
My sleep improved. Now I normally don't talk directly about my taking drugs in public, but I will say that for six solid weeks, I had only two nights that I didn't take something to get to sleep. Those nights when I had 11+ hours of sleep (there were a number of them), I did okay at the gym, but I suspect that this is because I slept off whatever I took and got reasonable, healthy sleep afterwards. On the nights I got 4-5 hours of sleep, if I was able to get to the gym, I did poorly. A couple of days I propped myself up with caffeine and really suffered at the gym. If anything, the nutrition challenge eliminated a lot of variables from what I considered prior to the challenge to be a nominally healthy lifestyle. This allowed me to focus on independent variables – sleep, what I ate that day (to quote Siddharth, "irreducible atomic food transactions"), and anything I took, be it caffeine, sudafed, and so on. I was also able to evaluate the amount of water I consume at a workout, and gauge how dehydrated I was on average. I digress a little from sleep here, but in general I consume about 1L of water during a WOD.
Let's talk for a moment about timing of eating and the WOD. I like to have a larger breakfast in the morning. Like, 4-5 eggs, 4-5 pieces of bacon, and maybe 2 cups of broccoli. Obviously if I wake up at 0530 to hit the 0615 WOD, it would be downright stupid to eat that much beforehand. I've found that I need to be entirely finished eating ninety minutes before the gym. I also need to be entirely finished drinking around the same timeframe. I need to get 1-2L of water (just water; not juice, not tea) done before I work out. I do lots better that way. I of course need to bring 1L with me, and sometimes I drink as much as 1.5L at the gym. Because it's a diuretic, I avoid things like black tea now. I had a couple really bad days due to caffeine and dehydration. I also found that if I ate something spicy (I love hard boiled eggs with Melinda's Naga Jolokia hot sauce as a snack), it's gonna come up if I have it even remotely close to the time I go to work out. So I need to do that after the WOD, not before. Even if it doesn't seem like a lot of food.
Now, lessons learned:
- We spend about $225/head/wk on food, eating compliant. This is mostly inclusive of eating out and shopping.
- We go through three pork chops, one ribeye or strip steak, two chicken breasts, a dozen eggs, half a pound of bacon, four pounds of frozen vegetables, three pounds of fresh vegetables, 1 fluid ounce of pork lard, one cup of dried nuts (macadamia, brazil, cashew), half a cup of dried fruit (pineapple, mango) and 2-ish primal pacs/paleo kits per person per week. That's not counting eating out.
- I tend to eat as much as five times a day when I am going to the gym regularly. 2-3 times tops when I'm not (I got sick during the challenge, and missed the gym for ten days).
- I've noticed is that my sleep tends to be bad on Monday and Wednesday nights, and then I over-compensate Thu/Fri/Sat. This is unhealthy and means I miss the 0600 workouts that I enjoy going to.
I still haven't figured out exactly how much to eat (or what) before the WOD. I also am not sure exactly how long before I need to have eaten and finished. I am nauseated sometimes during the WOD and I feel like I should probably have eaten less. A couple times I have felt totally gassed, making me think I should have had more to eat. And one time I went to the gym, I had about a cup of Cheerios before hand (maybe 45 minutes before) and did great, had energy, wasn't ill, etc. I tried to repeat the experience and was not successful. I've been trying to do it with carrot juice so I get the carbs without the gluten, but still haven't gotten the timing or quantity right.
There are a lot more things to add to this post that I've forgotten or just can't get organized into something that makes sense to anyone else. And indeed this might not make sense. So it's mostly my notes for myself.