I started my annual (mostly annual) cleanse yesterday I had been procrastinating for the last month, as I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, and had not made the 20 minute trip to the local health food store to get the remaining items. As it turns out the local store I had in mind had closed its doors back in November. I then remembered another store almost right next door to my gym They, too, had closed their doors. Thus, I was forced to my Android Google Maps app, and found another store, apparently the last brick and mortar legit health food and herb store in my area (i.e., not a GNC or Vitamin Shoppe). Google Maps also apparently feels that CVS and Walgreens are health food stores.
Peachtree Health Foods, had the Parafree equivalent, ParaResponse, bulk psylliym husk fiber (though generic Metamucil will do in a pinch) which I was lacking. I still have a good stash of bentonite clay and Senna tea.
With the change from Parafree to ParaResponse, I made a couple of tweaks to my 2012 cleanse recipe. It is still broken into three 10 day phases, with the following tweaks in the Parafree capsules. I made these changes purely for economic reasons. The bottle at $24 had 90 pills. To make the 90 pills last 30 days.
First 10 days follow the recipe as before except:
- Days 1-5 Take one capsule each morning
- Days 6-10 Take two capsules each morning (15 capsules)
Second 10 days all the same except:
- Days 11-15 Take two capsules each morning and one each evening
- Days 16-20 Take two each morning and two each evening (35 capsules, 50 total)
Third 10 days: Maintain the same protocol two in the morning and two in the evening (40 capsules, 90 total)
Keep all other aspects of the protocol the same as described in my earlier post
Some modicum of prior planning could save you a lot of money, time and aggravation by shopping for and ordering your ingredients online.
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Confession: I weigh myself on a scale several times per week.
The scale, or more specifically, body weight, is something of a loaded subject in our modern ego-driven, hyper-sexualized, glamour driven, air-brushed, before -and-after culture. Most people associate its use singularly with weight-loss. Weight loss being about as pervasive, yet non-specific a topic as can be found in health discourse.
I do not weigh myself with the aim to lose any weight. A few things I am looking for:
- Significant fluctuations, and corresponding behaviors
- Ensure my nutritional intake is in line with my training volume: specifically to stay in a certain range above what I’ve determined to be my best racing (fighting) weight.
- As a figure in calculating body-fat percentage. Again monitoring body-fat for significant fluctuations, and to stay in a certain range.
- To keep my training weight a couple of pounds over my race weight. My race weight being that number I was at when I felt the strongest in a race. Not sluggish, and not depleted. This is only known by tracking weight against performance, along with some other numbers, and adjustments for other impacts on weight like detox and cleanse.
What I don’t care about is the number for its own sake. I don’t care about height weight charts. I don’t care what other guys at the gym weigh (many are bigger and weigh more, but can’t lift more). If the FDA or USDA said it, I probably don’t care about it, and will likely do the opposite, knowing how wrong they are. I don’t care what some guy in Men’s Health looks like, as he probably can’t out-lift, out-run, out-swim, out-survive me, especially once the airbrush work is done. (Wow, how’s that for some vanity)
I track body weight in correlation with several factors, and have determined what is healthy for me.
For example, after Augusta last year, I noted a significant weight loss. I also discovered I was overtrained. The low body weight began before Augusta and also accompanied an increased resting heart rate for a few months post race. My deduction from all this was that I had overtrained going into Augusta. It was likely the result of injuries a month or so ahead of the race, and then my push to compensate for the lost training time.
Lesson: Carefully monitor my training volumes against my recovery times and nutrition, using several measurements to augment my own intuitive sense.
Another use for body weight it determining my hydration levels. If my weight is low, and my body-fat numbers are screwy, despite how I feel, I’m likely dehydrated. It could be my plasma hydration is fine, but my general electrolyte levels are off, affecting my muscle hydration.
Low body weight (below my training weight), can indicate I’m not taking in enough calories, or maybe my protein intake is off. Each of which can cause training to be a negative, or can lead to overtraining.
As mentioned a couple of times above, I track body-fat composition and use that as an indicator for several things.
A pop in body weight, especially after an out-of-town trip, can indicate I was eating too much crap on the road, and am now bloated. Time to flush my system.
Almost all of these indicators are accompanied by a feeling, that if I tune into, my body will tell me what is going on. However, one of the things about being an athlete, is ignoring certain signals our body sends us, despite how loud they may be screaming.
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First the low down: Just came in at 9.8% body fat, at about three pounds over my fighting weight.
I have been ostensibly following the slow-carb diet–of which I have had some success, first going under 10% briefly a few months ago. I say ostensibly because in Ironman training, my calorie burn, delivery and demands are fairly high–not so easy to fulfill on Tim Ferris’s guidelines. My monthly training calorie burn had been around 15,000 for the past six months, and just spiked to 25,000 in July. I expect it to stay in the 25,000-35,000 range until I race. I have not dropped weight, but I’ve been hovering around 11% the last few months.
The main diet rules I’ve been actually adhering to are:
- Food selections very similar to my old simple diet rules
- High protein breakfast, and no fast carbs–generally 4 eggs, and often 1/2 can of black beans. Coffee is a must.
- High protein meals throughout the day.
- No fast carbs in the morning.
- I’ll increase starch consumption, if necessary, later in the day.
- Virtually no sugar throughout the week.
- Religiously observe my cheat day on Saturday–often including two dozen chocolate chip, or peanut butter cookies.
- Drink virtually nothing but water and coffee through the week. I don’t even really hit sodas on my cheat days.
- Consume massive amounts of yogurt (home made, organic)
- Make my own sports bars.
- Make my own sports drinks.
- Drink mucho agua, especially during workouts.
- Maintain my weightlifting regimen, especially olympic and heavy lifts.
- Not to mention the 6-10 additional training sessions each week.
Well there are some more, especially surrounding food selection, but these are the gist. Many of the points above could be technically grouped together, but I’ve separated details for clarity.
For those who’ve paid attention, there are many rules I am breaking. However, adhering to these above is working.
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I finished the Tour de Pike Century bike ride on Saturday. Sunday, I took some weight & body fat measurements, and was struck by the result. Hence this short update on my progress with the Slow Carb diet.
I began this slow-carb diet going into Thanksgiving, of all weird time frames. Given the one cheat day per week, I simply shifted my chosen Saturday to Thursday for that week, no biggie. The bigger hurdle was that I had to get on the road the evening of Thanksgiving. Maintaining a diet on the road is not easy. Tim Ferris has some helpful ideas.
The other immediate challenge was eliminating sugar from my coffee. I drink coffee black with sugar. Taking the sugar out was a HUGE leap for me, particularly in breakfasts meetings at restaurants with bad coffee. In the end, it wasn’t and isn’t that bad.
The three biggest changes I’ve been able to stay fairly consistent on are a high, mostly protein breakfast right after rising, eating high protein meals for most meals, and eliminating sugar. Eliminating other white carbs, though now greatly reduced, has been challenging.
The slow-carb model meshes well with my other diet protocols.
I also did a 30 day detox cleanse, which I calculate took five pounds of crud out of my intestines and cell tissues. However, my body fat readings for that period were extremely screwy. Two days later they stabilized, around 11-12 percent.
As mentioned (and perhaps revealed in the title), I took my body fat measurements this past Sunday, and registered . . . drum roll . . . 9.9 percent. All last year, I did not drop below 10, even coming out of Augusta 70.3 Half Ironman. Whereas, the sub-10 may be the result of several concurrent protocols–slow carb, ongoing nutrition, detox cleanse, training regimen–The slow carb component is the one aspect I have not done or been on previously.
At any rate, I’m down to my fighting weight (top secret), and below 10% body fat (at last measure). I’m lifting more, running better, and riding harder than I was going into Augusta last year. Take it for what it’s worth.
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As always, your comments are welcomed.
Day Thirty of my 30-Day Detox Cleanse ended three days ago (cleanse recipe here). I would rate this a success, and recommend it to anyone.
Get it done early. Getting the cleanse done the year has several benefits, some of which I mentioned in cleanse recipe post. From a training perspective, there are three major benefits to getting it done early: It is free weight-loss; It will improve your nutrient absorption for the season; and It gets the disruption to your diet plan out of the way.
A word on Duration. There are benefits to doing a shorter time period (say three or seven days), but I didn’t see the real effects until day 10. That means it took 10 days to get ramped up, and another 20 of full benefit from that point.
Free Weight Loss. I mentioned before that my second of third go round on a similar cleanse several years ago resulted in a permanent 10-pound weight loss. This would have been mostly crud and compacted fecal matter lining my small and large intestines. It is estimated that many people may have 45 pounds of this stuff. This stuff inhibits nutrient absorption, holds onto toxins, aggravates your intestinal walls. Eliminating it reduces these issues, and the potential complications arising from them.
Be aware that weight and body fat readings during the cleanse period may be all over the place, particularly if you use a bioimpedence device. Be sure to take a good weight and body fat reading before you start to compare to what you get the day after your done.
Nutrient Absorption. Training-wise, eliminating this crud along your intestinal walls increases the amount and rate your body can absorb the nutrients you feed it in your nutrition plan–Get this benefit going as soon as possible. Additionally, albeit temporary, side effects, of the cleansing process (frequent pooping, increased allergic sensitivity) can create problems during the more intense portions of your training season.
Disruptions. One issue I had trouble with was the degree to which the cleanse schedule interfered with other aspects of my diet plan. For example, I am already bad about taking supplements on schedule. I’ve therefore developed a little morning routine the entails drinking water right out of bed, brushing my teeth, making coffee, and taking my supplements while I wait for the coffee to brew. Well, the requirements for the cleanse sucked up the supplement time, and then my work day was upon me, and well. . . I’m not too upset as it is only a short interlude, and when it’s over, my supplement absorption and effectiveness will go up.
Another example surrounds my Slow-Carb diet plan, which again entails consuming a fair amount of protein right out of bed. Again, a temporary disruption, and one with high long-term payoffs. Well worth it.
TMI. There important aspects of a detox cleanse, that are not good dinner conversation. The major action of the cleanse process is excrement. Your body excretes toxins several ways, the top four are respiration, perspiration, defecation, and urination. There are a few other more minor ways. Of these four, you will notice major effect in defecation and urination, and perhaps perspiration.
If you don’t already poop at least once a day, you’re not pooping enough. When on the cleanse, particularly early on, you will have urgent and immediate need to hit the toilet. This is why I highly recommend a 30 day cleanse around any trips or major competitions. You poop will come in all manner of varieties, as your body rids itself of excess crud. You may notice actual parasites (tapeworms, etc.) In fact, the majority of Americans (15% at any one moment, some say %25) are infected with an intestinal parasite at one time or another. At any rate, you should have improved regularity once after the 30 days.
Similarly with urination. Additionally, with urination and perspiration, there may be some odd odors as your body expels toxins. Just be prepared and adjust accordingly.
Drink lots of water. If you already drink a lot, drink more. If you don’t drink a lot, get it together. Flushing, expeling, excreting all depend on having plenty of extra water to get the job done. Funny odors will only be concentrated if you are dehydrated.
Comments are always welcome.
This is a thirty-day detox cleanse based on a system from Unicity. The Unicity cleanse pack runs over $100. This setup costs closer to $30. The Unicity system is very good, but perhaps a little pricey, so the Queen and I put our heads together, visited our local longevity/detox expert and came up with a good (equal) alternative.
30 Days, broken down into ten-day sections.
- Parafree–flushes intestinal parasites, and loosens intestinal gunk and compacted fecal matter.
- Bentonite solution–binds with inorganic compounds (typically toxins) in your intestines, and also draws them from body through intestinal walls
- Psyllium husk fiber. A good fiber plug moving through your system is like a bottle brush, and is perhaps the most important part of the system. Not all fiber is created equal. Metamucil and it’s clones are generally inferior.
- Senna tea. Naturally stimulates intestinal movement, provides that extra kick in the last third of the program.
First 10 Days:
- Two droppers full of Parafree.
- One tablespoon of Bentonite.
- One tablespoon of Fiber.
- First thing in the morning, on an empty stomache, 2 droppers full Parafree, and one tablespoon Bentonite, together in about 8 ounces of water.
- Wait twenty minutes, and take the Fiber in a tall glass of water. Mix well, and drink straight away. The fiber gels quickly and will become a thick mass if not drunk straight down. You can mix with orange juice, as a more palatable alternative.
- Wait about twenty minutes, then feel free your breakfast as normal.
In the event this takes too much time in the morning. . .
Protocol option B (a lessor, but viable alternative)
- At night: Take the Parafree and Bentonite mixture at night, just before bed, after allowing any dinner to clear you stomach.
- First thing in the morning: Take the fiber first thing in the morning. Wait twenty minutes, then eat breakfast as normal.
A couple of key points:
- It is important to take the Parafree and Bentonite on an empty stomach, to allow the supplements to work without interference, dilution, or unnecessary absorption from actual food.
- Wait the twenty minutes between the detox mixture and the fiber mixture and your first meal, again to allow the fiber to work as a cleansing unit, without unnecessary dilution from actual food.
Second 10 Days:
- Continue as above, plus:
- Add a dropper of Parafree in the evening right before bed. (or first thing in the morning, if you were on Protocol B).
- After Five days, increase that dose to two droppers.
Third 1o Days:
Add the Senna tea in the evening, time is not super important. The key here is gradually increase the steeping time. Start out with two-minutes, then increase 30 seconds each day to reach five minutes. This is a very important point, Senna tea is a powerful “motivator” and you will definitely regret going too strong, too soon.
I’ve found this regimen to be extremely effective. You’ll want to be sure your not traveling too much during this time frame, because the bowel movements can be unpredictable as you settle in.
It’s been a few years since I’ve done this cleanse, but the last go round I lost 10 pounds–mind you this was not fat, but gunk lining my small intestine, and compacted fecal matter in my colon (TMI?).
At any rate, you’ll likely experience some strange effects as your body starts to unload toxins and crap in your digestive tract. Parasites, tapeworms, acne, multiple bowel movements, frequent urination. Just ride it out, and try not to plan any long trips. I waited until my first half-marathon was out of the way. For me, getting this done as early in the year as possible is ideal, as it is usually the slowest time, with the least travel demands, and the race season still a few months away.
From a training perspective, this cleanse is great because clearing the gunk from your intestine is free weight-loss, but also will increase the nutrient absorption, making your training diet, and nutrition strategy much more effective.
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Now a few weeks into the “Slow Carb” diet, a check-in seems appropriate. Setting up my 2012 training (peak
goal being Ironman Florida), I incorporated some specific programs. One of these is the so-called Slow Carb diet–basically a low-glycemic index diet. Generally, I follow my own modified version of the “Abs-Diet” with certain other elements mixed in. My approach has been to make the Slow Carb diet an addendum to my existing plan.
The plan is promoted (designed?) by Tim Ferris in his book The Four Hour Body. The idea being to prevent blood sugar spikes, the subsequent insulin spikes with its accompanying issues, one of which is fat storage (other goodies include blocking fat burn, risk of diabetes, risk of cancer). Ferris has added some other specific ideas surrounding protein intake, not generally found in generic low-glycemic index approaches.
The Slow Carb diet is significant in that it not only emphasizes reducing fat storage, but also looks to increase relative muscle mass.
- Avoid anything that can be white (with a couple of exceptions, e.g. cauliflower).
- Make protein the focus of each meal, especially breakfast eating protein rich meal 30 minutes after waking.
- Eliminate refined sugars, corn-syrup.
- One cheat day where food type & quantity are unrestricted–cheat day is mandatory.
- A good list of the rules and review of the diet can be found at Fitnessblackbook.com
The first thing I did was stop sweetening my coffee. I drink a fair amount of coffee, generally strong, black and sweet. If I’m drinking bad restaurant coffee, or on the road (e.g. one particular weekly morning meeting), I would mask it with sugar and sweetener.
The shift to straight black at home wasn’t so shocking, as my coffee is quality and strong. Coffee on the road is another issue, but now instead of drinking sweetened, creamed, bad coffee, I just drink bad coffee. It has been tolerable, and certainly hasn’t killed me.
The immediate effect of this one simple change was to level out my emotional peaks and valleys throughout the day, especially the crash I would typically feel around 2pm. I still have a dip around 2pm, but it isn’t the crash it used to be. Additionally, I smooth it out with my siesta plan.
I’ve also had fewer headaches. But this could be the result of several changes I’ve instituted. However, many of my headaches are blood sugar related, and with more stable insulin releases, come more stable blood sugar levels, and I’m sure this is a part of the equation.
The fat loss portion has been there, but not super. Check out Fitnessblackbook.com for some good thoughts on this as well. I’ve lost about a percentage point, and I’ve stopped adding pounds from my Augusta Half-Ironman low. This has been pure fat loss, based on body weight percentages I’ve maintained muscle mass.
However, I’m still in the adjustment period, so we’ll see. The hardest aspect has been adjusting to not eating bread and cereal. I still occasionally eat these, but it is far less than what I used to. This has created a couple of challenges:
- What to eat for breakfast, if cereal is out of the equation.
- An endurance athlete in training has a real need for and benefit from dense carbohydrate sources.
- Bread and cereal were mainstays in my fiber sources (fiber being a key part of my existing plan)
- What to eat so that I actually feel full.
I’m working on some solutions and tweaks, which I will need to post in a future update.
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