It’s hard to imagine I am half way through The Program. It feels like I have been doing it forever. That hasn’t stopped me from going off the rails and attempting to make compromises that end up with me almost missing my workouts.
Every now and again I work a string of evening shifts at the hospital that throw a wrench in my plans. I like getting up at 5am, gym at 530am, then work at 7am. That hasn’t been the case recently. Trips out of the country, evening shifts, fatigue and family obligations are ever present. To date, I have only missed one or two cardio sessions.
There are aspects of this program that I do not enjoy. I hate being limited to 20 minutes of cardio (with four peaking intervals). It’s not the intervals I mind, it’s the time limit. In addition to the time limit, unfortunately the exercises are best on an elliptical machine where I can easily control the resistance and therefore the intensity. It’s hard to be running on the trail when I need to be at an intensity level of six and I’m climbing a steep hill, practically hand over hand (level 10 intensity!).
For better or worse I have been modifying parts of the program. I plan on continuing after I finish the initial program and want it to fit into my lifestyle. As I mentioned in week one, the protein shakes are likely toxic if you take three a day, so I only consume two (one right after a workout). That leaves four more meal times instead of three. I don’t stress if I only get three meals in, I am way over the daily protein intake to get the result I am after. The carb and veggie portions are easy; no fat yogurt, oats, apples, bananas, mangoes, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, carrots, celery, broccoli, asparagus (I can live with asparagus pee), spinach and kale.
Quality protein isn’t always easy to come by quickly so I’ve been crock potting 4-6 chicken breasts at a time. I shred the chicken and put it away in a big bowl. I only need a fistful per meal and generally use a small amount of BBQ or hot sauce on it and away I go. I have also been eating a ton of salmon and mahi mahi. There are literally hundreds of ways to prepare fish and unless I cook it too long they are all delicious. My favorite fish recipes involve a cedar plank. With the exception of coconut oil, any fat that’s solid at room temperature should be avoided. Hence, the awesomeness of fish.
There is really no way around the weight lifting. It sucks, but it is absolutely necessary. I go to a wellness center gym that is part of the health system I work for, it’s free. Free is good. The funny part is, at 35 I am easily the youngest person in the gym most of the time. Gyms can be intimidating at first, but most folks just mind their own business. I don’t even notice other members unless they are using a piece of equipment or free weight that I am after. Most people are there because they are into the fitness thing too, because of that they are accepting and helpful. Other than the initial jitters associated with working out in a gym for the first time, my fears were unsubstantiated.
Ultimately, what I have found is nothing feels better than feeling good. I know now, without a doubt, that putting crap in my body will result in feeling crappy. The other week I had one of those black-bun Halloween Whoppers at Burger King. It was my free day (Sunday) and I was in the mood for something naughty. The burger is part trick, it turns your poop green. It is also part treat, it’s f*cking delicious. However, it gave me constipation for the first time in my adult life and I will never ingest another one. The Program practically begs me to eat junk on my free day, just to knock me down a peg. Instead, it just makes me want to avoid junk food all together.
The highlight of week six was my morning run around Durand Lake. Outdoor running is still painful the day after, but I feel small improvements each time I get out to enjoy nature. I hope you enjoy the pictures!