CAC W7D1: Analysis Paralysis and the Fitness Flip-Flops

Woo! I’m halfway through this cut!

I think I am going to stop reading about other plans, nutrition theories, exercise routines, and such until I am finished with this challenge and taking my much-deserved rest week. Sometimes it is just better to do your research ahead of time, select a course of action, and then STICK TO IT for the duration of your cycle instead of continuing to gather information throughout your program and giving yourself a case of analysis paralysis or the fitness flip-flops.

The former causes many people to second-guess their plans and progress, and causes the really susceptible ones to put off starting *anything* at all while they weigh the pros and cons of each diet, lifting routine, and cardio schedule against the next.

The latter results in once or twice a week program changes that provide no useful data or results for customization because the flip-flopper never sticks with a given routine long enough to see if it is effective for his/her body.

I’ve got my plan, I know it works, I have a schedule of minor tweaks I am allowed to make every 2-4 weeks, and I am now officially going to plug my ears and shut my eyes to any external input until late September.

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YESTERDAY’S EATS

1. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
2. 1 peach, 1 scoop whey
3: 4 oz. chicken breast, 1/2 c. (dry) rice, 1 c. steamed broccoli
4. 1 plain rice cake, 1/2 T. all natural peanut butter, 3/4 scoop whey
5. 4 oz. chicken breast, 4 c. Romaine lettuce, 2 T. Kraft Free Zesty Italian dressing
6. 1 c. light soy milk, 1 Instone High Protein chocolate pudding

Water: 16 cups

Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine

Calories: 1603 calories (52.0% carb/37.9% pro/28.6% fat)

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YESTERDAY’S WORKOUT

* YF Cardio (45 min)

Calories burned: 263 calories

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DEFICIT: -459 cal (Target: -632 cal/day)

BUDGET NOTES: $0.75 for rice and broccoli

CAC W6D7: Week 6 Groceries and Expenses

I’m working in reverse this week since I didn’t have time to do pics and measurements this morning. Instead, here’s the skinny on my Cheapass Challenge expenses for the week.

I hit up the $1.79 / lb chicken breast sale at Albertson’s on Saturday and bought 21 lbs of lovely lean chicken, enough to last me through the rest of the challenge.

21 lbs x (4 servings/1 lb) x (1 day / 2 servings) = 42 days = 6 weeks

That took a big $37 chunk out of my remaining budget, but my weekly expenses are pretty low anyway since I don’t need to worry about picking up a protein source besides eggs.

I skipped the rice cakes and peaches this week since I still have enough left over from last week to tide me over.

Week 6 CAC budget

End of Week 6 budget status

I have spent $403.66 out of $480.00 so far, and have $76.34 left in my budget to get me through the remaining 6 weeks of the Cheapass Challenge. My future weekly groceries need to average $12.72/week for me to come in within budget.

Overall I’m feeling pretty good about my chances of hitting my CAC budget target, though it’s a good thing I’ll be starting to remove the “extras” like raisins from some of my meals soon as I get closer to goal. My weekly allotment is tapering off, but then again, so are my calories, so it will all work out fine. I’m also not using as much of the salad dressing I bought in bulk in week 1, so I might wind up subtracting the cost of the stuff I don’t use at the end.

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YESTERDAY’S EATS

1. 1 banana, 1 scoop whey
2. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
3: 3 rolls of misc. sushi, 1 chicken yakitori skewer, 1/2 c. light soy milk, 2 T. raisins, 1 c. Go Lean Crunch cereal (Official cheat meal!)
4. None; not hungry yet
5. 4 oz. chicken breast, 1 banana, 1 c. mixed Mandarin veggies
6. 1 c. light soy milk, 1 Instone High Protein chocolate pudding

Water: 16 cups

Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine, Instone Pre-Workout Intensity

Calories: 1603 calories (52.0% carb/37.9% pro/28.6% fat)

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YESTERDAY’S WORKOUT

* Back / Rear Delts / Abs (60 min)
* LISS Elliptical (6.5 mph/ lvl 9 / 30 min)
* YF Cardio (45 min)

Calories burned: 944 calories

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DEFICIT: -1006 cal (Target: -632 cal/day)

BUDGET NOTES: None

CAC W6D6: Mmmm….Raw Fish and Rice

I swapped out my cheat meal this week from Sunday to Saturday since I have to work 10-10 again tomorrow and today was the only chance I’d have to grab some sushi with Chris for (very likely) the next two weeks as we get our beta build ready for approval by Sony and Konami at work.

We went to Gizmo Sushi near the UCF campus and had some fabulous fishy/ricey/wasabi goodness for 25% off using an Entertainment book coupon. I have SO missed white rice and fish on this challenge, as the former is not clean eats according to the BFL plan and the latter is too expensive to fit into my Cheapass Challenge budget.

:eat:

I’ll probably be puffy in tomorrow’s pics, but I don’t care at this point. My leg workout will no doubt be fantastic thanks to the carb boost anyway. :slappy:

On the exercise front, I got in 15 minutes of YF core, 60 minutes of back/rear delts/abs lifting, and 30 minutes of elliptical LISS at level 9/6.5 mph while chatting with the 50 year old woman on the machine next to me about our respective military experiences, so I’m good on the workouts today. I am considering doing a second 30 or 45 minute round of YF tonight to burn off some of the three rolls of sushi and the chicken yaki dori skewer I inhaled since Chris is going to geek out with his fellow gaming nerds in a home Magic the Gathering tournament.

Yes, my boyfriend is possibly geekier than I am in some respects, hard though it may be to believe.

I am staying in to catch up on 2 weeks of laundry, research some children’s video game ideas, write up a pitch for a DS game, prep my food for the week, and divvy up 21 pounds of chicken breast from Albertsons (enough to go through the end of my challenge!) with appropriate marinades and seasonings.

This week’s grocery run was pretty spartan aside from the 21 lbs of chicken breast–7 small bananas, 1/2 gallon 8th Continent soy milk, 24 oz. canister of raisins, and 18 large eggs. I still have enough frozen veggie mix, rice cakes, ANPB, and peaches to last another week. My Drugstore.com package arrived yesterday with my 4-pack of Instone protein pudding as well, so I’ll be giving that a try for meal 6 tonight along with a yummy cup of light soy milk. I just hope the pudding isn’t too gross.

:crazy:

At least with the Instone Pre-Workout Intensity capsules, I don’t actually have to TASTE anything since I swallow them whole.

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YESTERDAY’S EATS

1. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
2. 1 banana, 1 scoop whey
3: 4 oz. chicken breast, 1/3 c. (dry) oatmeal, 1 c. mixed Mandarin veggies
4. 1 unsalted rice cake, 1/2 T. all-natural peanut butter, 1 scoop whey
5. 4 oz. chicken breast, 4 c. Romaine lettuce, 2 T. Kraft Free Zesty Italian dressing, 1 apple
6. 1 c. light soy milk, 1 scoop whey

Water: 16 cups

Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine

Calories: 1460 calories (48.6% carb/36.5% pro/17.6% fat)

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YESTERDAY’S WORKOUT

* HIIT Run (5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 mph / 0% incline / 30 min)
* LISS Run (5.3 mph / 3% incline / 10 min)
* LISS Incline Walk (3.8 mph / 12.5% incline / 5 min)
* YF Cardio (30 min)

Calories burned: 550 calories

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DEFICIT: -873 cal (Target: -632 cal/day)

BUDGET NOTES: None

CAC W6D5: How To Exercise on a Tight Schedule

I was browsing the Fitness for You eDiets.com forum today and noticed a question from a busy member who wanted suggestions for quick workouts. Mind you, she was still working fewer hours than me and no mention of weekend work hours was made, but hey, I guess “long” hours are relative.

I work in the video game industry which is heavily deadline- and project-based, so I’ve been “crunching” at work for the past 2 months. This basically means I work 10 am – 10 pm seven days a week, not counting my round trip commute of 1.5 hours each day. There have been more than a few days when I’ve worked until midnight or beyond.

This is how I’ve been squeezing in my current volume of exercise despite my schedule:

– I alternate between lifting free weights and doing cardio for 45-60 minutes in the mornings before going to the office. I just make it a point to get up earlier so I can do this.

– If I happen to oversleep because I didn’t get home from work the night before until 2 am, I squeeze in 30 minutes of cardio at a gym close to work during my lunch hour.

– I also keep resistance bands/tubes at work in a desk drawer so I can do strength exercises.

– I have Yourself Fitness (a virtual personal trainer/workout program with over 500 cardio, strength, and flexibility moves that are mixed up EACH time you run a workout) installed on my computer at work and on my Xbox at home.

– I keep a backpack with my gym gear and a change of clothes packed in my car at all times.

– I take brisk one-mile walks around the office complex while other people are having a cigarette or water break.

– I have even snuck into an unoccupied office room to do random sets of 20 push-ups or chair dips during the day. I realize this probably sounds a bit weird to anyone who has not had the pleasure of enlisted military service in their past, but once you get used to dropping to the ground ANYWHERE and knocking out 20 push-ups and coming back up with a grin, all kinds of exercise opportunities open up to you during the day no matter where you are.

– I take advantage of the following amenities at work:
** Stairs: Running, climbing 2 at a time, push-ups with feet elevated
** Desk: Dips
** Chair: More dips, elevated push-ups again, curls with resistance band, swing kicks (one leg at a time) over the chair and back
** Unoccupied Floor Space: Push-up variations, jumping jacks, crunches, isometric yoga poses (like plank, side plank, wheel, tree, etc.), jogging in place, 15 minute Yourself Fitness workout, bodyweight squats and lunges, plyometric jumps

– I also do not do passive TV watching–I always try to do crunches, lift weights, pedal on a stationary bike, do push-ups…anything active really…while “watching” TV. In my view, if you have time for television, you have time to exercise!

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YESTERDAY’S EATS

1. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
2. 1 banana, 1 scoop whey (blended with ice and water into workout energy shake)
3: 4 oz. chicken breast, 1/3 c. (dry) oatmeal, 1 c. mixed Mandarin veggies
4. 1 unsalted rice cake, 1/2 T. all-natural peanut butter, 1 scoop whey
5. 4 oz. chicken breast, 4 c. Romaine lettuce, 2 T. Kraft Free Zesty Italian dressing
6. 1 c. light soy milk, 1 scoop whey

Water: 16 cups

Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine

Calories: 1379 calories (46.0% carb/39.5% pro/17.5% fat)

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YESTERDAY’S WORKOUT

* Bike Sprints (25 min)
* LISS Incline Walk (3.8 mph / 12.5% incline / 20 min)
* YF Cardio (15 min)
* YF Physical Challenge (15 min)

Calories burned: 550 calories

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DEFICIT: -836 cal (Target: -632 cal/day)

BUDGET NOTES: None

A Little Disclaimer About the Cheapass Challenge Menu

As a caveat to anyone watching my Cheapass Challenge for nutrition tips or sample menus, I am going to point out that while my meal plan for this challenge is certainly healthier, cleaner, and cheaper than what most Americans eat on a daily basis, it is NOT an optimum diet for maintenance or even from a vitamins/minerals standpoint due to the lack of variety and dairy (calcium) in my meals. That is why I am taking both a multivitamin with minerals and an additional calcium supplement.

It is pretty close to a pre-competition diet before the last few weeks of true hardship when the calories drop even lower and bonuses like raisins and rice cakes are taken away, protein is increased, and carbs are reduced even more.

You absolutely don’t NEED to eat this way to lose fat. I suspect that most people would go crazy from boredom doing so anyway and be back to their pizza-snarfing, chocolate-noshing ways if you tried to put them on my diet. You can eat a much wider variety of foods and recipes (check out my PDF of 175 healthy recipes for getting in shape and staying that way) for just a little bit more money each week (think $35 vs. $15-$22) and still probably spend less than you do now for groceries and dining out.

So just take this for what it really is: an unusual, semi-extreme experiment in budgeting and body transformation performed by one of the few gals on the net who is results-oriented, OCD and penny-pinching enough to see it through to the end.

CAC W6D4: BFL Made Me Skinny!

I was organizing the files on my laptop last night when I ran across some photos from September 2004 taken some time near the beginning of my second BFL challenge.

Now I present to you proof that BFL by the book is great for transforming a sedentary, fluffy girl with no arm muscles into an active, skinny girl with no arm muscles.

The reason I actually widened in the shoulders and packed on some lean mass in my most recent 7/30/06 picture on the right is because I stopped doing BFL, ate at maintenance for a while, and specifically worked on bulking last year.

2004 vs. 2006

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YESTERDAY’S EATS

1. 1 banana, 1 scoop whey (blended with ice and water into workout energy shake)
2. 1/3 c. oatmeal, 3 T. raisins, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites
3: 4 oz. chicken breast, 1/3 c. (dry) oatmeal, 1 c. mixed Mandarin veggies
4. 1 unsalted rice cake, 1/2 T. all-natural peanut butter, 1 scoop whey
5. 1 c. light soy milk, 1/2 scoop whey, 3 egg whites, 1 c. mixed Mandarin veggies stir-fried with 1/2 T. olive oil
6. 1 c. light soy milk, 1 scoop whey

Water: 16 cups

Supplements: multivitamin, calcium 600+D, EAS l-glutamine, Instone Pre-Workout Intensity

Calories: 1410 calories (39.9% carb/41.2% pro/20% fat)

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YESTERDAY’S WORKOUT

* Chest/Arms (60 min)
* Elliptical (6.5-10 mph/ Lvl 10 / 30 min)
* YF Cardio (30 min)

Calories burned: 876 calories

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DEFICIT: -1131 cal (Target: -632 cal/day)

BUDGET NOTES: None