I’ve looked at nutrition many different ways in the past. As I’ve gotten older, I have really looked for simplification. That search has taken many forms over the years, from a bit neurotic to a bit more relaxed. Through experimentation on the most willing guinea pig, myself, I have found quite a few things.
When I first got into fitness at age 17, I was a bit crazy and my wrestling background had quite a bit to do with that. I had a goal to get strong and to be big, but I never saw that start for a year. However, the place where I started has some importance to me. It may have been a eating disorder, who knows, but the point is, that I have always monitored and adjusted in my fitness quest. Fitness started for me in those first days to be about eating, and eating and eating; working out so I could eating more than any human being should in a single sitting, not to mention all the diet soda I ingested. Hey, we all have to start somewhere, right?
I quickly learned that this would make me ripe for a stomach ache, and gave me no real improvement for my senior year of wrestling. I had an average year in my senior year, I did not have a losing record, but did not exactly achieve anything. It made me look back at what I did to get there. This retrospect made me realize that I wasn’t exactly taking successful actions, eating then working it off was a poor idea for creating a more successful body; phase two.
After my first attempt, I made a commitment to be successful and to do it right, but I went a little crazy in the process, as did the next 6 years of my life. I cut out every single sweet, fat and thing that should not be in my diet. I cut out condiments, cake, ice cream; everything I believed to be in the way. Those years saw me drinking way too much milk, eating only a few things obsessively: chicken, steak, fish and brown rice. I was also downing protein shakes like they were going out of style.
Not only had a went a bit crazy in my eating, I was impossible to eat out with. I went through life drinking a gallon of milk a day, bringing a cooler everywhere and proceeding to freak out every time my eating schedule might be affected. As you can guess, I was a lot of fun to be around. It was working, I bulked up from 5’7″ and 135lbs to 217lbs; I smelled like a sewage plant. I could never duplicate my success with others, because my decision was so extreme.
Then a funny thing happened, I started traveling with my fiancé, and got to be just a bit more lenient with what I was eating. I rapidly dropped weight to 165lbs, but I looked good. I did not get fat and loose every ounce of muscle on my body like I believed. I started to allow myself a cheat meal, and surprisingly, life got more enjoyable. At my new weight, I was lean, but I looked the best I have ever looked in my life.
I looked at the success I had created with this new model but had some issues. So, I decided to look for a framework, and through that I found “If It Fits Your Macros.” No, I didn’t pay for the whole program but did a lot of reading. The concept behind this diet is that you can eat what ever you want as long as you hit the big numbers. It made a lot of sense. Basically, as long as you hit your protein, carbs and fats for the day, nothing mattered; not even the three hour window that I believed I must eat during or every ounce of muscle would fall off of my body. I gave it a shot, and stuck to the numbers for 12 hours. That’s right, a whole 12 hours. Now, instead of my life begin run by a weird sense of time, it was run by a calculator. I still had some growing to do.
This past July, I went to Florida to do a month long body purification program, and had some big wins. Besides, completely cleansing my body and breaking my former eating habits, I was able to look at what I was doing and enhance it a bit. Now this new method of macros made sense to me, for those that still believe in nutrient timing, they’ll say I’m nuts, but I’ve tested it and it works. I learned that nutrient timing does not matter! As long as I made a rough estimate of what my macros need to look like and adjusted them according to goals, Yes, I could put on some size, and maintain my body, but I gained the ability to estimate my macros and not give a crap when I was eating them. The greater gain her is that I am physically close to my strongest, leanest but I am living enjoying life and grabbing some Chipotle whenever I feel like it. Macros matter, just not by the calculator.