TT W5D5: And I Thought *I* Was Cheap!

Those of you who were watching my Cheapass Challenge last year might want to check out the One Month Challenge Mash Up over at the Tight Fisted Miser. The Miser is conducting four tough challenges simultaneously: tracking all expenses for a month and judging whether each one was necessary or not, spending only $30 on food for the entire month of February, working out BFL-style for 4 weeks, and trying to establish exercise as a permanent habit.

I posted the following tips for grocery shopping on the cheap in the comments area of the TFM blog:

Cheapest healthy foods in my experience are:

– Whole chicken (as low as $0.39-0.69 / lb on sale) Roast or nuke one and you’ve got lunch and dinner protein for a week if you don’t mind smaller portions.
– Eggs (They range from $1-$2 for 18 in my area. 1 whole egg + 3 egg whites = one protein serving, so you can get about 4.5 servings of protein for just a dollar or two)

Protein/Carb combo:
– Dried beans
– Frozen peas

– 5 – 10 lb bags of potatoes (baked, nuked, mashed, cut into wedges and seasoned with cheap Creole salted seasoning to make baked “fries”, hash browns)
– rice (steamed, stir-fried with veggies and egg or chicken)
– oatmeal (the big tubes, not the individual flavored packets. Scavenge Splenda packets from restaurants for flavoring and cook with nuked apple pieces. Can also be used instead of rice in savory recipes or blended with eggs and banana to make a fake pancake.)

– Apples (5 lb bag for under $4 usually)
– Bananas ($0.39-0.49 / lb on average)

– iceberg lettuce (not the best in terms of nutrition, but cheap)
– Romaine lettuce (slightly better)
– Frozen mixes like the $0.98 Asian veggie mixes at Wal-Mart (I get Peking or Mandarin)–each bag is around 4-5 servings
– Check farmer’s markets and Asian markets for good deals on unusal veggies. Basically, if it is cheap, leafy and green and not a lettuce, you can stir fry it.
– Carrots
– Celery
– Cabbage

Misc. Useful Stuff:
– 1 can of non-stick cooking spray (Wal-mart store brand is only $1)
– 1 can multipurpose Creole seasoning (Tony Lachere brand I think–only $1.50 or so)
– Sam’s Choice brand salsas (Wal-mart, $1.50)

Seafood (unless you fish it out yourself), red meat, berries, bread, pasta, soy, whole grain processed cereals, and such are NOT good deals.


– TT Week 4 Workout B
– YF Cardio (45 minutes)

90% Nutrition Compliance Spreadsheet

By request of one of the 90% Challenge participants, I’m posting a downloadable MS Excel version of the spreadsheet we are using on Google Docs to track our missed/cheat meals. If you are using Precision Nutrition or just want to play along with us this month without posting your results publicly, save this spreadsheet to your own computer and open with either MS Excel, OpenOffice, Quattro Pro, or any other spreadsheet application capable of reading .XLS files.

I have included two versions: a 6 meals/day version and a 5 meals/day version.

Download 90% Nutrition Compliance Tracker

TT W5D4: A Minor Discovery About Running

Yesterday’s DOMS from the Monday evening capoeira class was the absolute worst I’ve had in years. My glutes, hamstrings and calves in particular were just screaming every time I had to flex or lift my feet above, oh, 1″ from the ground. I fully admit that I busted out the Icy Hot and stayed in downward dog pose in the living room for at least 5 minutes trying to alleviate the pain. :ouch:

I haven’t been able to get in a decent lifting or cardio workout since the class due to my near inability to, you know, WALK.


I wasn’t very optimistic about my chances of doing HIIT cardio today either, but I went to the gym anyway for my upper body session with Ashlee the trainer (who is very interested in the capoeira class as well since she has several years of dance training and would like to work on her gymnastics skills with an eye to competing in fitness one day). After our session, I headed over to Cardio Row to do some intervals on a stationary bike, but some sort of masochistic impulse made me step on a treadmill instead. I hadn’t run since the 5k on 1/20, my calves were still sore, though not nearly as sore as they were yesterday, and my arms were hanging like limp noodles.

For some reason, I decided to try the full 20 minutes BFL HIIT cardio pattern at 4, 5.5, 6.5, 7.5, and finally 8.5 mph. (Hey, I know those are weak speeds, but give me a break; I’m still hobbling around here!)

My legs were a little sore on the first set. By the second set I no longer felt any pain in my posterior chain leg muscles, and sets three and four were a breeze.

However, the minute I stepped DOWN from the treadmill, my calves were mooing again. Loudly.

So today’s takeaway lesson is this: Running, whether at low (4-6.5) or medium-high speeds (7.5-8.5), doesn’t really engage the calves or hamstrings. If it did, I would have been unable to complete my HIIT session today without a whole lot of screaming and bleeped-out exclamations. 😉

It then (unfortunately) follows that in order to achieve those coveted sprinter’s glutes and hamstrings, I will have to go a LOT faster than 8.5 mph in the future…and most likely have to do so outdoors, because sprinting on a treadmill at crazy high speeds is just not a good idea. :crazy: