Theme of the Week: Sickness, Body Inspired, Weight Gain, Rejuvenated & Microbiome Results
Wow – what an incredible experience
Spent all of April 2018 travelling around Australia. 30 days of deeply connecting with my family, great sights, new locations, lots of activity, excellent food, training hard and reflection. We made sure every day had a purpose, and as a result got to see so many different things and have lots of wildly different experiences each day.
Now back home in the UK. Wouldn’t change anything. That said, 8 Flights, 6 different Accommodations, constant travel in taxis and coaches, pounding the streets most days. It DID takes it’s toll on Michelle and I – we both were ill for a few days. Boo. 🙁
All good though, we made sure that we did everything we could to recover quickly and adjust the schedule accordingly so the chill days aligned with being under-the-weather. Meant we got lots of Vitamin D chilling by the pool/beach! 😁
Update on Body Goals / Health:
#1 – Met up with Nick Cheadle & Body Goal Inspiration
Whilst in Sydney, I jumped on a train to meet Nick Cheadle – considered the No.2 Global Fitness Influencer of 2018. As a natural bodybuilder, Instagram star and online coach, I was keen to connect with an important peer in my new industry. Great guy and awesome physique. He is solely focussed on body composition and physique, so there are a couple points where we had different perspectives, but that’s natural.
One thing I realised when we met and took the photo below, is that I’ve got a way to go on the physique front. I knew that TBH, but standing next to Nick made it very clear that I’m not as close to my ideal shape as I had allowed myself to believe. Changes nothing, as the plan is bang on to reach my goals, just put the emphasis on needing to do a lot more bulking to build up my muscle mass.
#2 – Holiday Training
I’m really happy with how I handled my commitment to training. Six different accommodations, and I managed to get to the local gym at each one! And not just lip-service workouts. I strength trained hard, and I got to the gym 4-5 days a week. Not too shabby for being on a holiday. Oh, and we still did everything we wanted to do – training didn’t get in the way at all. 😄
For the most part, I followed the APR-18 #HyperWorkouts Training Block, and made only a few substitutions where the equipment was lacking. More reps and sets where the weight was too low, so to get in sufficient volume. To be honest though, it was too difficult to make much progress on weights etc. Just too many changing variables, plus mentally I wasn’t always dialled-in to take it that seriously. Saying that, I matched my maxes on Deadlift and Bench several times throughout the Holiday.
#3 – Holiday Nutrition
I opted to not calorie count at all. It just didn’t feel right to be that anal when the focus was on the experience and letting your hair down. Plus, it would have been too difficult considering the amount of meals we had from restaurants.
We had amazing food! Honestly, I can think of only two meals where they were bad/average. The rest of the time, the food served up from restaurants was incredible. Tasty, natural, catered for the health-conscious and served/presented immaculately. We made sensible choices across most of the meals – i.e. going for great taste with the best nutritional benefit and the least processed/inflammatory ingredients. That said, I opted for desserts probably 60% of the time. I just can’t say no to refined and sumptuous restaurant desserts. 🙄
Luckily, Michelle and I had a pre-agreed and strong desire to limit the damage of holiday eating habits. Michelle prepared a meal a day at home most days, meaning we were able to control one of the 2-3 daily meals from a calorie and nutrient perspective. We ate the good healthy whole foods that we would do at home. Think Sweet Potato, Beetroot, Turmeric, Chicken, Eggs, Hummus, Salmon and Sauerkraut. We also had four home-made barbecues throughout our time away – you kinda have to when in Oz! Nothing wrong with that. 😄
For most of the days, we also adopted the approach of skipping a meal a day to control the calories and give our stomachs a break from all the rich food. This meant skipping Breakfast or Lunch. ‘Too Easy’, as the Aussies would say.
Some Food Inspiration – It appears that Australia is a couple years ahead of the UK from a healthy whole foods and superfoods perspective. For example, their whole foods sections in supermarkets is bigger, more diverse and with bigger vegetables. They also also cater for dairy-alternative Coffee’s at EVERY coffee shop you can go to, with Almond milk being a staple. They even had much more accessibility of things like Kombucha and Kimchi in every store, leading me to truing both for the first time. I will be adding Kombucha into my diet when at home if I can, and will also be amping up my Beef & Salmon consumption in replacement for my overdosing on Chicken. Both are better for you from a nutrient perspective.
#4 – Weight & Physique Management
Take a look at the Feature Image above of me on the beach, and the weighing scales below. I put on 5-6lbs in a month of indulgence, freedom and once-in-a-lifetime fun. I’m happy with that, especially as I was in a bulk phase anyway, and hoped to use a calorie surplus to fuel some muscle growth.
You can see I look a little softer, fuller and less defined, but no real negative changes. Of the six pounds, I had estimated on Instagram yesterday that I’d put on 1lbs of muscle, 3lbs of fat and 2lbs of water retention from constant travel and more sugary carbs.
I think that’s pretty accurate, as I weighed in this morning at 190.6lbs. That’s a 1.9lbs drop in two days. That will be the water adjustment. Meaning that I’ve only put on 4lbs of Muscle+Fat in month. Winner! 👍
#4 – Deep Dived into my Customised Nutritional Guidance from Viome
I had tested my Microbiome earlier this year with a firm called Viome. It was a fecal stool test. Yep, it’s as gross as it sounds. I used one of my ‘sick’ days to hang by the pool with my laptop and do a deep dive into the foods I should Indulge, Enjoy, Minimise and Avoid based on the bacteria profile in my gut.
For example, I will thrive from a health perspective by eating as much Apple, Rocket, Spinach, Garlic and Sauerkraut as I can every day. I can indulge in foods such as Whole Eggs, Salmon, Avocado, Sweet Potato, Spinach, Walnuts and Blueberries with most meals, as my body does great with them. I can enjoy some grains (non-GF), most green veggies, black/green tea, most nuts, healthy oils and most meat and fish with no downside.
I should minimise my consumption of food like Potatoes, Corn, Onion, most Sweet Fruits, Beer, Honey, White Chicken, Tuna, Peanuts and Heavy Cream as they will not process in a beneficial way in my gut. Moreover, I should avoid a list of 15 ingredients completely as they are considered harmful to my body as they are poorly processed by my Microbiome. The list includes many of the sugars, Wheat, Margarine, Raisins, Couscous and Dates.
For the most part, the recommendations are practical and/or the changes have already been deliberately made over the last six months. There are some issues for me, such as Coffee, Wine, White Rice, Dark Chocolate and White Chicken where the recommendation was to minimise. I’ll do my best to follow the recommendations, whilst flexing where I feel the downsides are limited in comparison to the emotional benefit the food provides.
#5 – Learning & Developing
Lastly, I used the time on planes, by the pool, in the gym and some evenings to catch up with getting through my book lists and podcasts.
Read three great books that I would highly recommend. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by Scott Galloway and Own the Day, Own Your Life: Optimised practices for waking, working, learning, eating, training, playing, sleeping and sex by Aubrey Marcus.
About to start the Autoimmune Fix by Tom O’Bryan.
You can check out all my book recommendations below:
- Nutrition / Wellness / Microbiome
- Mindset / Habits / Relationships
- Bodybuilding / Mobility / Injury
- Modern Business / Entrepreneurship
- Steve’s Reading List
Focus For This Week
In terms of Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness and Body Goals, here’s my focus for this week:
- Back to Reality – That means overcoming jet-lag as fast as possible using a few hacks, settling back into the normal life routine and jumping back onto work at AdapNation with greater energy and productivity.
- Progressive Overload In The Gym – It was great to try a bunch of different gyms, but I love my own Gym! No excuses now, it’s time to get back on progressing with the weights and muscle density. No planned changes to training, just more intent and focus on adding on more weight to the bar.
- Losing Holiday Water Weight & Calorie Counting – I will keep on a slight Bulk this week (say 400 kcal over maintenance) as opposed to abstaining and starving myself. I suspect I’ll get some water weight off, look less puffy and feel less bloated. Will reassess next week if I need a mini-cut.
- Designing the ‘Perfect Day’ – Now I am full-time on my own business AdapNation, I need to create the structure in my day to maximise energy, mood and productivity, so I can train hard, do creatively hard work and still get balance to spend with my family.
I’ll let you know how I get on next week… 🙂
Follow Steve’s Body Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.