it has been quite a while since the 100 days fitness challenge ended. the official date was 25th of september, 2018. therefore in this article i will cover these following topics:
- main goals of the challenge;
- tools used in order to achieve these goals;
- experience of applying these tools;
- results and conclusions.
this article will be the last one in the related series. each of them can be found in this category.
first of all i would like to notice that the article is not about me. its purpose is not to show how great i am and how great someone is not. in this story i am just a tool which expresses the idea.
the whole challenge was just another attempt to answer to all questions i am interested in. and these are related to physiology, psychology, nutrition, sports and so on.
the main goals
the challenge had many different aims. therefore i will try to list the most important ones.
1. challenging a stubborn view towards sports
everyone who has ever gone to a gym at least once most likely has had an opportunity to listen to various people talking various things about sports, nutrition and so on. there are plenty of opinions online, at the office lunch table, on the tv show, etc.
i do not want to say that everything said there is a total nonsense. i do really appreciate tips from experienced people. also i am not saying that everything you can hear or reach through one of above mentioned channels is a total bullshit.
however, the majority is. and people believe in that, spread that and are happy by adhering to some crazy mythological fitness ideas.
people still do believe that:
- sauna is a perfect fat burner;
- wrapping one’s belly into a plastic bag will result in spot fat burning;
- there exist substances in a form of a pill that after swallowing burns fat automatically;
- drinking a protein shake is equivalent to using steroids;
- creatine is some dreadful chemical that initiates the shrinking of your genitals, grows beards not only for men but for women as well.
- cardio burns muscle. if you touch the treadmill you are doomed to be skinny.
- 8 – 10 reps in one set grow a muscle while 12 and more reps is only suitable while cutting. therefore if you by a mistake perform 12 reps instead of 10 during your bulking period, you are suddenly starting to burn off the fat. however during the next set you can perform 8 moves and the body will appear the muscle building phase again.
- the hour, minute and second are crucially important when taking creatine supplements. without the exact time this supplement will not work.
- if you do not consume 5g of sugar together with each scoop of creatine you are just wasting your money.
- muscle tissue can be transformed into fat tissue and vice versa.
- carbohydrates as soon as touch the tongue go straight to one’s butt. everything else does not, but poor carbs really do! they increase the volume and surface area of the butt!
- other girls eat as much as they want but i do gain weight after looking to a bar of chocolate.
- fruits – sugar. that is so bad. a banana before bed will increase the waistline so dramatically.
- eating carbohydrates at night is a sin.
- breakfast is the most important meal of the day. no nutrition plan can go without it.
- if you do not consume a protein shake right after your workout, the gains will be doomed.
- it is so crucially important what is being eaten first: carbohydrates or protein. most likely this will determine if you have a six pack or not.
- the six pack cannot be seen because i do too little sit ups.
- i am buying some supplements – the muscle tissue will definitely start growing.
i could continue the list further. neither of these above mentioned ideas were created in my head. all of them i have at least once heard somewhere in the gym’s locker room or read in the web or some magazine. sometimes even coaches working in gyms spread such knowledge.
so what? what is my problem?
- an extremely strong attention towards infinitesimally important details. most of these details might be important for elite athletes. and 99.99% of gym buds will never be elite athletes. and that is perfectly fine, majority of them just want to be active and do not seek to take part in olympic games.
- a lack of fundamental information about how the human body works. it includes information about digesting food, producing energy, storing fat and so on. together with this issue a denial to try to read more and ignorance goes hand in hand.
- a blind confirmation and acceptance of such beliefs as soon as they are heard.
- thinking that the human body is as simple as a set of rules:
if banana_before_bed then i_am_fat else: i_am_super_fit
i enjoy investigating stuff and searching for answers. therefore i just wanted to check many of these popular fitness myths and draw my own conclusions upon them.
2 personal goals
another aim was to prepare for the marathon that took place in vilnius, lithuania on the 9th of september, 2018. at the same time i wanted to lose weight by maintaining the current muscle mass as much as possible.
i also wanted to overcome the issue of binge eating. i have written an article about it before. it is obvious that the binge eating problem is connected to the obesity and weight gain issues. i used to eat at mcdonalds and various sweet things as crazy. therefore i wanted to end that endless rollercoaster.
also one of the main goals was to investigate phenomena related to processes in the head of a human being. for example how far a person can push himself or herself. what happens in my mind when all comfortable existing habits are exchanged with uncomfortable and new patterns of behaviour. what my mind tells me when it is hard and cold, when it is hard to proceed. of course without trying to put myself in unfavourable conditions i could not have a chance to perceive this.
all in all i just wanted to find a way of improving my own physical and mental health, test my abilities.
it is really nice to have goals. however without tools to implement these goals they are only ideas written on a piece of paper or gliding somewhere in one’s mind. therefore i made up a pile of tasks and rules and started to live up with them on an early morning of june 18, 2018.
1 waking up early
thus, the first tool – waking up pretty early in the morning. it all started with 5 am. however as time passed i decided to go even harder and suddenly reached the mark of 3:50 or 4:00 am.
what is the point of that? obvious: self discipline. it was not comfortable. however at the same time uncomfortable was everything i aimed to embrace. getting my ass out of the bed at the same second when the alarm goes off appears to be harder to do than to think of. it demands some effort.
they way i felt did not matter. i used to ignore every single cry for some comfort spitted out by my mind. the alarm is ringing – i am waking up.
2 cold shower
the second tool – cold shower. i have read about benefits of this habit. however i have acquainted two very different opinions. one group of people say that it is extremely beneficial while others claim it might even hurt sometimes.
however i was not interested whether the cold shower is actually healthy or not. the only thing i addressed was the way it makes me feel. it was cold and uncomfortable. and again this was my main goal.
by today i have taken more than a hundred of cold showers. i can claim that it is still hard to start pouring that cold water on myself every time. even after such practice time.
i decided that during odd days of the week i will only run and during even days of the week i will only visit the gym for some strength training.
running did not depend on the weather outside. if it was a running day and hour and if it was raining cats and dogs outside i would still leave the house. however i was really lucky. the summer was awesome: during the whole challenge period there were only 3 rainy runs. and one more rainy day during the beginning of autumn – september.
meanwhile in the gym i decided to concentrate on compound movements only. i also kept intensity in mind. most popular exercises were deadlifts, squats, lunges with carried weights, etc. sometimes i did the bench press, other movements.
during working days i used to start running between 4 and 5 am in the morning. gym training usually started at 6 am before work. it was really comfortable. the gym used to be almost empty, city streets were not crowded and no traffic jams i had to go through.
the goal of this tool was to keep up to some predefined schedule and also prepare my body for the marathon race.
the last and by far not least (actually the hardest for me) tool was nutrition. i decided that there will be no more candies and sweet stuff in my daily life. cakes, chocolate, waffles, cookies, honey, sugar. everything was banned.
i also decided to completely stop the consumption of junk food. i had to say good bye to my beloved mcdonalds meals. i refused to eat pizza as well.
therefore at the very beginning all these tools appeared to be kind of demanding. also without inventing all of them i had to start living up with them as well.
1 waking up early
the very first day i woke up at 5 am. was it hard? yes, especially at the very beginning. however later i noticed that it is actually possible to get used to it. the longer you adhere, the easier it gets. the fact that i noticed so many benefits of waking up early helped a lot. the morning was prolonged. i got rid of hurrying in the morning. there were no rush. i had time for myself, for sports. the way to start a day was amazing.
problems appeared at approximately day 70. suddenly i started sleeping as a day during the hibernation period. there were days when i could not get out of the bed. i was too weak to do that. the cries for comfort used to win against my will during these mornings. however after some time i managed to come back to the usual early routine.
now i can claim that waking up very early in the morning definitely increases the quality of my day. it was a well defined experience. i felt really active, agile and alive during these days. that simple decision not to hit the snooze button made me feel like a super man. i could feel the boost of power. at least in the morning.
tikrai nestovėsiu viešojo transporto stotelėse ar prie laiptų į pėsčiųjų perėjas su plakat
2 cold shower
during the whole challenge period i have taken between 100 and 150 cold showers. as i have already mentioned before it is still uncomfortable to pour the cold water on myself. all in all it is a matter of getting used to this stimulus. the cold water is always the same cold water. what you can change is how you react to it.
a lack of comfort during the process of cold water running on the surface of one’s body actually does pay off. it gets compensated by an extremely nice feeling afterwards. especially during hot summer days. it usually makes all my senses so strong. i feel really fresh, light and capable of attacking all the trouble that is up there for me.
i used to apply this tool always. it did not matter if i was sweaty and warm after an intense gym workout or if i had just been finished a rainy and cool run outside. the only days i ignored the cold water was when i had a fever. also a few days during the hard waking up period (approximately at day 70) which i have mentioned before.
with this tool everything was going smoothly, just as planned. i used to do many things in a way that is contrary to all beliefs listed in the beginning of this article. i just wanted to check them. for example i used to train for the marathon and worked out with heavy weights in the gym at the same time.
i used to to the following: on the monday morning i could run 10-15 kilometers (usually on an empty stomach) and on the next morning i could go to the gym and do all these compound movements. also with an empty stomach. then the day after that i used to run again (10-25 kilometers) and during the fourth day i used to repeat the gym workout.
i followed such program during the first 40 days. without rest days.
most likely everyone would call me an idiotic muscle burning machine. however it turned out to be quite the opposite.
such statement rises not from the endless naivety of mine but from results that i have observed. during the first 40 days i could incorporate all three aspects simultaneously: losing weight, improving running heart rate/pace ratio and increasing the volume or load of weights at the gym. it makes me believe that actually somehow the body received the amount of rest necessary to heal itself and progress.
i will give a few facts about running that i have started to note down a few weeks before the official beginning of the challenge.
- 940km in total;
- 50 activities in total;
- 2 marathons: 3h47min, 3h38min;
- 1 run 40km of length;
- 3 runs 30km of length;
- a few runs longer than a half marathon but shorter than 30km;
- 10 half marathons.
more statistics, facts and experiences from the marathon preparation period could be found in this article.
this one, oh dear, was hard. more difficult than running, lifting weights and placing my butt under the stream of cold water. at least in the very beginning. unfortunately as well as at the very end.
after a few weeks it was very easy to live up with. it became an automatic autopilot – like action. i did not want junk food. there were no cravings towards the sweet stuff. however at the middle of this challenge i discovered the almighty protein bar. i started consuming them in large quantities. i do not know if this is a coincidence but after this moment all these old problems with binge eating appeared again. all old cravings were back.
looks like the protein bar acted as an alarm clock for my sleeping urge to eat sweet stuff. it was extremely hard to avoid all forbidden foods. at the very end of the challenge it was so bad that i almost cancelled it at day 90. no other tool of self discipline made me think that far. luckily i was smart enough to stop this madness and continue the challenge.
during the whole 100 days period i deviated just a few times: they had been planned in advance. i ate a pizza a day before the marathon. after the run i had a few portions of ice cream and a pizza as well. and of course these protein bars. i did not consider them to be cheating. it was a legit way of getting the sweet stuff, however. they were stuffed with artificial sweeteners which i believe made the craving even worse.
i never called myself a health guru. and i do not claim that i eat a healthy diet. however such label is usually put on me. i sometimes do eat potatoes, dumplings and a huge variety of other stuff that is considered as unhealthy.
i used to eat pasta, oatmeal, bread with peanut butter, sandwiches, bagels, fruits, other foods rich with carbohydrates at any time of day i wanted. even before bed. however i managed to lose the weight successfully.
sometimes i used to apply the strategy of intermittent fasting. these periods of eating nothing usually lasted from 8 to 20 hours. as mentioned before usually i trained with an empty stomach. i was used to that. simply used to that.
and nothing dreadful actually happened. i can clearly state that the level of energy and activity during the 45 minutes length intense strength workout did not suffer at all from my eating habits. sometimes while training on a fasted state i even improved results of a week ago.
nieko blogo nenutiko. kadangi esu tai išbandęs, galiu drąsiai teigti, kad mano jėgų bei aktyvumo lygis 45 minutes trunkančios intensyvios treniruotės su svoriais metu tuščiu skrandžiu ir pavalgius absoliučiai nesiskyrė. dažnai sportuodamas bado periodu dar ir pagerindavau prieš savaitę pasiektus rezultatus.
this is a brief summary of what has been achieved:
- decreased body mass by 7 kilograms.
- 100 days spent without a piece of chocolate, cookie or other similar treat.
- 100 days spent without binge eating on sugar or junk food.
- successful marathon race.
- improved self-discipline.
- improved heart performance (sometimes the rest heart rate is as low as 39 bpm)
- visited places of my mind that would have never been visited.
obviously not every single day was awesome and joyful. many things i actually failed to implement. there are many aspects of life at which i fail every single day. i serve my mind by fulfilling its demands still.
therefore there is a lot of space for improvement. however i consider it as a continuous process which does not end at the mark of 100th day. this challenge was like a night vision tool that let me see all these amazing things that start when the comfort ends.
it has been a positive experience.
only the disciplined ones are free in life
the author of this phrase is eliud kipchoge.
a person who has improved the world marathon record a month ago.
please share your thoughts on self discipline, uncomfortable experiences and similar things if you have any. it would be extremely interesting to know what other people think about that,