It used to be bad....
Back in the old days of my allegedly healthy, nearly vegetarian diet, I would spike and crash insulin all day long. Have a whole-grain-oriented breakfast, get crazy fucking hungry, have a whole-grain-oriented snack, or even a piece of fruit by itself (hint: fruit by itself is a really crappy snack; it's all sugar and other carbs and does nothing to keep you full.... Fruit is good for you, but by itself, it is incomplete). Get crazy fucking hungry. Eat more grainy "goodness." Get crazy fucking hungry. Repeat. All. Day. Long.
My mood was totally dependent on my hunger. Full equaled shiny/happy and anything less than full was part of a quick descent into "feed or die" crabbiness.
Paleo/primal changed one important part of that: everything.
It's not that a totally empty, hungry me isn't an asshole. Oh, I am. I just don't get there very often. (And I can already hear my friends saying, "But what if we *still* think you're an asshole?" Heh...that's why I love you). The fat and protein of this way of eating keep you full for longer and -- here is the kicker -- you can see the hunger coming from a very long way away, and you have plenty of time to do something about it. You rarely bottom-out into psychocrab city.
Paleo/primal introduces a Zenlike predictability to your eating patterns, and what follows is a higher level of predictability to your life, particularly moods and.... athletic performance.
What I have learned is that if I properly dial in sleep and food, exercise works itself out in wonderful -- and predictable -- ways.
I have been sleeping and eating really well lately. I am still less than two months out of nasty elbow surgery, but I PRd my five-rep deadlift yesterday.
Not just a post-surgery PR, mind you -- the heaviest weight I have ever deadlifted for five reps. and, best of all, I *knew* I was going to do it. Sleep has been nearly perfect. Even when I went out to see a band on Wednesday night, I made sure to schedule my work hours the next day in a way that I still got seven hours of sleep.
So, when I checked our CrossFit gym's website yesterday morning and saw that we were deadlifting, I pretty much *knew* I would PR. And it wasn't extreme cockiness, pride, etc that got me there. It was as simple as: I have been doing everything right for the past few weeks; surgery inflammation is almost gone; fuck this... I am PRing that lift.
It wasn't a massive PR -- just ten pounds up from the previous one -- but it was utterly predictable. Equally predictable was the way I could tell where the rest of the workout was headed. At one point, I turned to the trainer and said, "I have a choice; I can either PR my deadlift, or I can sprint fast in the workout that is coming up. But there is no way I am going to be able to do both. Fuck it. I am PRing this lift and just running as fast as I can afterwards, which isn't going to be crazy fast." And I was right on the money. PRd the lift; sprinted OK, but not as fast as if I had backed off on the lift.
Complete and utter predictability.
When you are talking the holy triumvirate of sleep, food and exercise, predictability is awesome.
And *that*, my friends, is the point of this seemingly pointless ramble-icious ramble. Crazy can be fun when it's the Black Keys throwing down the badass riffs and backbeats on a gathering of the faithful. It's not fun at all when it is your hunger, your mood swings and your athletic performance that hang in the balance.
And best of all, in the closing week of a 30-day challenge at our gym, I am hearing similar comments from folks who have dialed in their own sleep/food habits in a big way.
This is really easy. Get on it.
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