Recently I embarked on a month long excursion that took me to some of the most extreme places on earth. That might be slightly exaggerated, but I did travel to parts of the world that topped temperatures of 120 degrees. As part of that travel I was engaged in activities that were high in exertion, for hours on end. At the same time I was limited in the fuel (food, nutrients, supplements) that I could travel with and/or acquire along the way. Since my return home (approximately 4 months as of the writing of this article) I have still not regained my pre-travel form. In this article I will share my pre-travel workout and diet regimen and discuss what I have had to do to get back to that level, which is still a work in progress.
I was notified of my departure date approximately 1 month prior to leaving. In that month I radically adjusted my diet, workout / fitness and supplement plan.
Body Weight prior to date of notification of upcoming travel: 189lbs.
Body Fat %: 12%
Weight Workout: Mon-Fri (alternating Chest/Shoulders/Tri and Back/Bi’s; 4 sets; Reps: 8-6-4-1)
Cardio: Jiu Jitsu M, Tu, Wed, Thur, Sat
The weight workout generally involved compound weight movements (bench, squat, military bench, etc), using free weights (bars/dumbbells). This type of workout is best for building muscle. Pure and simple. And there was a reason for this. My weight classes for jiu jitsu tournaments (all weigh ins include gi, which is 4-5lbs depending on type of tournament) range from either 181lbs or 195lbs. This means I cannot weigh more than either 176lbs or 190lbs. For someone that has ‘walked around’ since college at about 182lbs this put me smack dab in the middle of the medium and medium heavy weight classes. In jiu jitsu technique is paramount to speed and strength. But if you had to pick one, and I did, to compliment technique, I chose strength. So my aim was to compete in the 195 class. And there are some big boys at that level. Most guys drop weight to get to 195 before fights. I decided to add weight. That meant for my workouts, heavier weights, lower reps, and compound exercises as the best way to add that bulk. Coupled with 3000+ calories a day, I was packing on pounds and the jiu jitsu training cardio was the only way to make sure it was evenly distributed.
Supplements: Creatine loads 1x / month. L Glutamine, Carnitine and 180g-200g of protein daily.
That was my regimen and had been for the better part of 12 years. And for the most part it worked. The downsides have been the injuries. Carrying around that much muscle meant added stress on joints, ligaments and tendons. Prior to my world adventure, I had a torn labrum (shoulder) and torn meniscus (knee). The world adventure was a blessing in disguise as it would force me to adjust my workout regimen, adjust my body design and balance my muscle mass to better fit my frame.
When I learned I would be taking part of this world travel adventure I had 39 days to adjust my workout, diet and supplement plan. I knew that racing with added weight (pack, travel gear, etc) would add another 20-25lbs to my already overloaded frame. I knew that racing in extreme temperatures or through unknown and precarious terrain would only exacerbate the need for more cardio, less muscle, and better agility and flexibility. This is what I did.
|Flat Bench Press||3||4 to 6|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||3||4 to 6|
|Decline Barbell Bench Press||3||4 to 6|
|Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly’s||3||4 to 6|
|Lat Pull-Downs||3||4 to 6|
|Dumbbell Shrugs||3||4 to 6|
|Seated Cable Rows||3||4 to 6|
|skull crushers funny bar||3||4 to 6|
|Barbell Bicep Curls||3||4 to 6|
|over head dumbell tri extensions||3||4 to 6|
|Dumbbell Shoulder Press||3||4 to 6|
|Lateral Dumbbell Raises||3||4 to 6|
|Upright Rows||3||4 to 6|
|Squats||3||4 to 6|
|Standing Calf Raises||3||4 to 6|
|Leg Extensions||3||4 to 6|
|Reverse Curls||3||8 to 10|
Cardio: Jiu Jitsu 4x / week
Hybrid: Cross fit 3-4x / week
Other: Pilates 2x/week, spin 1x/week, swimming 1x/week, surfing 1x/week
Diet: Green vegetables breakfast, lunch and dinner. No meat. No dairy. No sugar. I think the diet had the biggest impact on my overall physical transformation as it was the first time I had cut out three of the notorious food pyramid groups; meat, dairy and sugars.
(2 days before departing)
Body Weight: 176lbs
Body Fat %: 7.5%
During the excursion and within the first week I could feel my body changing. I could see my clothes fitting differently. My food was limited to usually a breakfast consisting of a sugary croissant or similar pastry, an equally high in sugar fruit juice and either a piece of chocolate or a piece of fruit. That was it. During my time traveling I equipped myself with the Hammer series electrolytes and sodium tabs. I weighed myself approximately at the 2 week mark. I had dropped to 172lbs while noticing a dramatic visual difference in my body tone. Additionally, there was no opportunity for fitness (weight lifting, training, etc.) The only exercise was I was getting was from strapping on a 25lb pack and running various distances, in various terrains, in various temperatures.
By the end of my first week at home I weighed 168lbs. By the end of the second week my weight dropped to 162lbs. That would be the lightest I have ever weighed since my senior year of high school when I wrestled at 158lbs weight class (although my walking around weight was probably closer to 165lbs). Even though I had begun eating properly again and restarted my various fitness programs, I believe the ongoing weight drop was due to me contracting some moderate level intestinal infection along the excursion route. Due to that infection, the bacteria continued to deprive my body of the nutrients I was ingesting.
Approximately one month after returning home my weight started climbing back up to 170-172lbs.
Today, 4 months from my arrival home date, I weigh 172lbs. My body fat is 9.5%. I am still off 5-8lbs from my ideal walking around weight.
My diet is slightly less restrictive then before I left for the excursion. I have amended my workout routine to include:
M: Cross Fit / BJJ
Tu: Cross Fit / BJJ
Thurs: Cross Fit / BJJ
Fri: Pilates / Cross Fit
My diet looks like this:
Meal 1: Grande Americano / Hot Soy 2″ / 1 pump Pumpkin Spice. Whole wheat flour tortilla, egg white, spinach/feta wrap.
Snack 1: 1 piece of fruit. handful of almonds/walnuts.
Meal 2: Lentils / chopped chicken. Carrots / Celery sticks.
Snack 2: 6 egg whites. 1 piece of fruit.
Meal 3: Protein (chicken/fish) spinach salad with arugula/feta, vegetables, avocado.
Snack 3: Tuna fish on crackers. Dried fruit.
Dessert: York Peppermint Patty.
Throughout the day I drink 2-4 Nalgene 32oz of water.