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Nobody puts “Pudge” in the Corner! (Ooooor… what I learned about nutrition the hard way….)

I posted a few days ago about Getting my “Pudge” handed to Me and how my trainer decided it was a good time to prove a point. (Insert eye roll.) For the record, he’s been my trainer and best friend for years so this was not a surprise to me. And also for the record, I *might* be a *little* stubborn, and there is zero chance him just laying his cards on the table in a nice way was going to do any good. Sometimes you just have to learn it. As I mentioned in the post, I think it was a great thing to be pushed like that– it was a helpful reminder, and it felt good (errrr… that’s one of those love/hate things. It felt great to have done it, not so awesome to be doing it!) At any rate, we left the gym as friends even though he’d successfully taken me waaaay out of my comfort zone. At least he was nice(ish) about it.

Buuuuuuut. I turned it into an experiment and learned some valuable things from it. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was playing around with my nutrition. Meaning I had dropped my carbs pretty low. Carbs are important– they have work to do in the body. I teach people this, and believe in it. But I’ve also been very stuck for 2 years, despite trying everything that makes good sense. Further, I believe that some people don’t do as well with carbs as others– and that consuming too many has the same fatigue associated with it as consuming too few carbs. I started playing around with the Keto Diet– which reduces the carbs and increases the fat. The science makes sense to me: fat is a very dense energy source, so it ought to be able to do the work of quicker working carbs– only at a slower rate. I went into this knowing it was a big gamble, but my body doesn’t care to follow the rules. Besides, years ago I did Atkins very successfully, and dropped 40 pounds while feeling great. (However, it’s worth noting that my “activity” level then was a snail’s pace walk.) My trainer’s contention was that the fat could not be converted to ketones fast enough to handle the type of training that I do. And he was right. It wasn’t pretty.

When I started thinking of “Pudge” at the beginning of this blog, I wanted to make “Pudge” something of which I was proud. “Pudge” is a person who won’t quit, who is determined to keep reaching for her/his goals, who learns from their mistakes and who may get knocked down 1000 times, but figures out how to get up 1001. Nobody puts “Pudge” in a corner! So I marched the pudge that was handed to me back into the gym, and repeated the exact same workout. The only difference was that I had eaten just as I normally would have before a workout. (For me that was about 32 grams of carbs, plus 32 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat…or 300 calories).

If you’re a client of mine, pay extra attention. This is exactly what I’ve been telling you, but it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced it. (And unless you’re doing exactly what I described, you won’t have an opportunity to compare your workouts!)

Here’s what happened:

I had an Awesome workout.

The first time, I was just shy of 2 rotations (out of the intended 4) and made it 29 minutes. This time, I rocked out all 4 rotations, and probably could have gone a little bit more had time not been an issue.

My triceps started failing early on the pushups early during the first workout, but the second time didn’t start failing until I nearly finished the 4th rotation.

The deadlift weight that felt like a struggle the first time through wasn’t enough the second time. I probably could have gone up 10-20 pounds.

I didn’t need all of the rest time I was allotted. The first workout, 2 minutes wasn’t nearly enough. The second time, I could have been ready to go at 1 min– or at the outside, 1.5 minutes.

My heart rate didn’t go nearly as high as it did the first time, despite everything being completely the same. It got up there but it didn’t stay in the “extreme” range for very long. Not eating properly (don’t forget: food is nothing more than fuel!) stresses the body. The first time, my body did not have what it needed and was trying to make do. But it wasn’t happy about it.

I didn’t have any of the ugly symptoms of “falling out”. No lightheadedness or nausea, nor did I have to lay on the ground with my feet up in the air against a wall to recover. In fact, just the opposite. I felt great– and it was a fun workout. I’m ready to do it again, instead of slinking out of the gym feeling crappy.

I didn’t need to eat immediately. The first time, I knew I needed to eat. And it needed to be quick. That’s no time to sit there and ponder macronutrient values. I needed sugar. (Yes, dear clients. I was in the “Sweet Tea Club” too!) . But the second time, my blood sugar levels had done what they were supposed to, so I had a normal sensible meal that was on my meal plan. I could make good choices.

Lesson learned. The body needs fuel to do its work. Want to have a crappy workout? Try not eating properly beforehand.

Not sure how to eat for your workout? Don’t worry! I’ll post on that soon!

You’ve gotta eat. Going into the gym when you’ve not eaten enough or properly isn’t doing you any favors!

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