Willpower. It Only Works When Your Heart is Really In It.

In order to preempt the inevitable post-cylcocross depression, I put together an extensive off-season fitness plan with clear, measurable goals, and clear steps.

On Monday morning after the USGP I knew exactly what I needed to do, so I woke up and did it.

I did my "intake" test and measurements for P90X.  The week before, I’d made an appointment in Beaverton to have my body fat tested with the only measurement that I really trust – the Bod Pod (I came in at 22.5%).  In fact, I scheduled four bod-pod appointments spanned over the next three months; one at the beginning of the program, one at one-month in, one at two-months in, and one when I’m completed.  Why?  Because, well, accountability is about a bitch.  Know what I mean?

This is my first foray into the "at-home fitness" industry, and I have a lot to say about it, which will be coming out over the next few weeks.  For now, let me just say that, having completed week one, this program is really intense.

It kicks ass and I’m loving it.

As part of this program, I’m following the P90X nutrition plan and integrating some of the gems from Precision Nutrition (as well as some of the yummy recipes).  The first phase of this program is called the "fat shredder".  I’m aiming to take in 1800 calories with a ratio of 50% protein, 30% carbs, and 20% fat. 

I’m tracking every single thing that goes into my mouth.  I’m eating 140-180 grams of protein per day.  I’m killing it.

My mother wanted to know why I’d chosen to start during the holidays.  My response is two part:

  • First, there is always a better time to start.  Just do it.
  • Secondly, I consider cross my "holiday" period as I allow myself to eat smokehouse cheeseburgers and mac and cheese after races – and I definitely partake of the dark beers and spanish coffees.  My playtime is over.  It’s time to get completely ripped.  No more kidding around.

As such, when Saturday rolled around we wanted to go out to dinner with my parents, so we did.  I ordered the small beet salad with grilled chicken.  I did not have my beloved Lompoc Strong Draft on Nitro.  When we went to Pix, arguably the best dessert place on the planet, I gritted my teeth and breathed through my nose as Sal had pistachio ice cream and my parents finished off Cheryl’s Chocolate Ghetto Cake.  I passed on the champagne.

I held my ground.

It was extremely hard. Trust me, I wanted the ghetto cake!  And yet, despite being so exposed, I felt pretty calm about keeping my shit together.


Because I know what I want.  And I want an elite level of fitness more than I want chocolate cake.  Period.  I want an elite level of fitness more than I want wine.  I want it more than I want egg nog.

If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to pull off such self-control. 

I’m gunning for 17% bodyfat (starting from 22.5) and 9 pullups (starting from 2) by the end of February.  Those are both pretty aggressive goals but if I miss them, I miss them.  I chose them because they leave me little room for error – and, like I always say, if you’re going to go… go big.

Stay-tuned for more on P90X, protein shakes, and strategies for surviving the holiday onslaught.  My gears have been shifted – it’s time to really work now.

In the meantime, I’m getting a bike fit today at 1:00pm from Michael Sylvester.  I’m excited to finally have my beloved Pinarello fit me like a glove.  I’ll be writing a review of that fitting later this week.

Peace, love, and Protein.


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  1. Hi,
    Just wanted to say that I love reading your blog.

    But I have some concerns regarding your c,p,f intake plan. The 50%( protein intake seems very excessive. The body needs at least 13og(30% carbs of 1800kcal diet=135g) of carbs a day. This is for central nervous system, red blood cell production, and tissues dependent on glucose; it does not support any physical activity.
    If you start using protein as an energy source then repair and restoration of muscle may be compromised.

  2. Hey Dillon,
    Thanks for your comment – and your concern.
    The initial phase is very short and the carbs increase 4 weeks into the program. I’ve done high protein phases before without much issue – Earlier this year I took my bodyfat percentage from 24% to 19.5% with a high-protein approach (not quite so high, but 40-45%) and remained the same weight, in pounds, the entire time, dropping fat and building muscle.
    I’m also careful to get the bulk of my carb intake before and closely after my workouts, to ensure my body has enough glucose to work from. In addition, I use an energy drink during workouts toward the same end.
    This ratio is not sustainable long term, to be sure, but has been successful in the past for me for working through plateaus.
    I’ve found that everyone processes macronutrients differently and guidelines are just that – guidelines. I’m always careful to monitor my energy levels and be realistic about the what kind of intensity I am getting in my workouts. If the quality of the workout is compromised or I find myself sluggish, I adjust accordingly.
    I think this is a really interesting debate and it was recently brought on Julie Berg’s site:

    She is an ultramarathoner, burning far more calories than I am, and eating less (1500 calories – 150g protein, 150g carbs). Her post is interesting. You should check it out.

    I, like Julie, absolutely do not claim to be an expert, but I have spent a great deal of time determining what works for me and this approach has been successful when carefully tracked and monitored.


  3. Heidi,

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I really enjoy your blog and it almost inspired me to take up cross but I like sleeping in on rainy, wet, and cold Sundays. Oh, you also know an aquaintence of my mind, Amit K from your team. Great guy.

    Anyway, how do you avoid eating some bad stuff at night? I have a hard time feeling full between meals. I want to snack on things too much.

    Again, great blog and keep up the great work.

  4. Hey Murray,
    Thanks for the comment (I love love love to hear from readers!) and question. Night-eating is something I have really struggled with too – and I think a lot of people are with us. Seems worth of a blog entry so today I’ll post some strategies!

  5. Reading your posts makes me dig deeper into my own excuses and reasons to put off a deeper level of fitness. Thanks.

    You are a constant source of inspiration. And pretty hard core to boot.

    We awoke to a deep snow here in Colorado so I didn’t go to my 5:30 am ski conditioning class. I was sitting here drinking coffee and reading your post instead.

    I’m now inspired to head to the basement to get in some plyometrics and core work on the ball before I shovel snow and go to work.

    I’m anxious to read the night-eating strategies as well. I think that’s the hardest for us all. For me, something hot to drink–herbal tea, no-sugar-added hot chocolate, seems to help.

    I’m also trying to find a BodPod in either Co. Springs or Denver. Their site isn’t very helpful…but thanks for the idea. I’m pursuing it.

  6. I think this is very cool.

    I have decided to reign some stuff in for myself as well and I signed up with a personal trainer for the first time in my life. People have made similar comments to me about “why at the holidays?” and frankly, I am just tired of making excuses and need to quit it. I want to start marathon training in January and I need to get through December with “no excuses” so that I am where I want to be when I start.

    “I’m not being intimidating. I’m doing my job when I hold you accountable,” my trainer said. “You’re telling me what you want and I am not doing anything but reminding you of that. This is your goal, not mine.”

    Can you tell that I like him?

  7. Hey Ed,
    Thanks so much for your kind words… I’m glad you went downstairs to kill it this morning. :) Also, the bod pod is an amazing tool but, yes, very hard to locate. I think I may have found the only one that is generally accessible to the public in the Portland area. It was by way of a lucky google search. If you find one there, let me know so I can tell people – I know there are at least a few of you out there from Co. Springs/Denver.
    The alternative is the classic water-dunk test – basically almost as accurate, (same exact concept at work, just using water to fill up the space around you instead of air) just a lot more hassle. Having those measurements is really, really motivating, I have to say.

    I love your trainer, too. :) And I’m so stoked that you’re trying it out. Thanks for support, as always. I’m so glad you are reading here.


  8. Lompoc LSD my Favorite recreation beverage!

  9. Omygod, Guy. You don’t even know… :)


  1. The Everyday Athlete » Blog Archive » Boogie Monsters: Taking the Fear out of Nighttime Munchies - [...] - Big thanks to Ed for inspiring this discussion with his comment on my willpower post from December [...]
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