Read Part II of The Workout here.
Five £30 bus lane tickets. One £100 speeding ticket. One £55 phone bill. One overdue car insurance bill. Multiple bank charges. One bag of potent bud. These are my excuses and I’m sticking to them.
Yeah, The Workout is a week late. Way to go, Mr Over-Achiever. I may have had my reasons, but still, that’s pretty lame. I managed to live off McDonald’s for a month while training errday and blogging twice a week. Now that I’ve cut back to one blog a week, I’m struggling to keep up.
Still, it’s not all been bad: in the last two weeks I’ve trained hard (for the most part), eaten clean (for the most part) and avoided bread and gluten (for the most part). The less said about alcohol the better.
I’ll confess my sins shortly, whereupon Dr Chris Fenn will amplify the guilt by expounding upon the effects alcohol has on the body. You think you know the worst of it, but it turns out there’s more to drinking than surplus calories and added sugar. If I could only tape her words across my mouth, I’d never touch another drop.
Other notable developments within the past fortnight: my descent into fully-fledged gym bro is assured now that I have a pec deck and barbell set in my room. Sorry guys: I tried my best not to become one of them, but in the end frat boy fitness won out.
I guess we can add that to the list of things I need to apologise for today: excess alcohol consumption, failure to blog, unnecessary accumulation of bus lane penalties, failure to check Gym Bro-isms and, worst of all, Cooking White Fish In An Unvented Kitchen. We’ll get to the latter transgression shortly – it’s lurking in My Workout Diary. They’re all lurking in My Workout Diary. Let’s do this.
Monday 16th June (Day 8)
Last month, my lulzometer was tickled upon realising why PureGym have turnstiles:
This morning, I finally got to witness the barrier in action as a rotund woman endeavoured to squeeze through. The spectacle was everything I had hoped it would be, best likened to ground beef passing through an industrial mincer.
Oh Pure, you truly are a bunch of wags.
3pm: I’m driving with my five-year-old when she reaches into the door-well and produces a nutrition supplement that came with a fitness mag. She stares curiously at the cover for a moment. “Is that a poop?”
I glance over and stifle a laugh. “He’s just a muscly guy. But you’re right, he does look a bit like a poop.”
E examines the cover, trying to make sense of it all. “Do lots of people want to marry him?”
In the evening, I take the gf round to my mate’s where I grill dinner upon its cherished ceramic surface. We watch the World Cup while Coz provides helpful analysis.
“Does David Beckham play for USA? They like their boots don’t they? Why are their t-shirts so tight? I guess it would make sense cos I don’t like walking around with baggy trousers on.”
I load up my gf and head home.
Tuesday 17th June (Day 9)
“Do you go to the gym every day?” asks E, who likes to begin every conversation with a question.
“Yeah, most days,” I reply.
She looks at my arms. “Why are these big?”
That’s my girl.
Now she’s pointing at my tupperware snack tub. “Avocado, peanut butter and jalapeño peppers.”
“Ugh I hate that lunch or whatever it is!”
19:30: As I’m leaving my mate’s, I pause to grab a Gooey cookie that’s making eyes at me in the kitchen – its vagooeyness is too much to resist. Heading out the door with the cookie clenched between my teeth, I stop in my tracks.
“Fuck’s sake, now I’ve got to log the damn thing!”
I return to the kitchen and scan the barcode into My Fitness Pal. While there are undoubted benefits to recording everything I eat, it’ll be nice to be freed from the ritual of detailing every last morsel. I might continue using MFP at the end of The Workout, but I’ve yet to decide: it’s taught me a lot, but I don’t think I can face being tethered to a calorie-counting app.
You ate what?
I had been planning to run themed days during The Workout including Cheap Tuesdays where my food has to come in at under a fiver. As I should have anticipated however, every day is turning into a cheap day. Last week I lived on chicken breasts; this week I can’t afford a protein-rich cut of anything. My gf was red hot but now she’s feeling unloved.
8pm: I may not be able to purchase food, but I can still play with it. I’ve discovered a new game: searching for the weirdest foods listed on the MFP database. To my dismay, there is no human flesh, afterbirth or foetus to be found.
It’s for the best: looking up human flesh presumably opens a direct link to an NSA server that immediately instructs an operator to begin manually analysing your meal plans for evidence of cannibalism.
There is no placenta to be found on MFP either sadly – only placenta pills (though if you’d taken the pill in the first place you would have no placenta to fry in a quart of house red.) There is no urine to be found either: the internet may know the micronutrient value of a pint of piss, but you won’t find it on MFP.
You will find squirrel though, available raw, cooked and roasted. Two slices will give you 200 calories and 10g protein. I’m thinking about starting to catch greys in The Meadows. Pest control + lean protein = winning.
I also find Buckfast in the database. Who the fuck drinks Buckie and then has the acuity to log it in MFP? A deep fried Mars bar, meanwhile, contains 640 calories and 28 grams of fat, 12 of which are saturated. Mmm. Scotland, your food is the best.
Fellow MFPers: get involved. Send me the freakiest foods you can find on the app’s database and I’ll publish the most gruesome candidates next week.
Wednesday 18th June (Day 10)
It may have taken nine days, but I finally did it: on Tuesday I met my daily calorie target. As I noted in Part II, I’m not interested in neurotically calorie counting. I am interested in gauging the difficulty of eating without excess however. ‘Pretty hard’ is the verdict so far: any more than a single beer or unplanned snack and MFP’s calorie clock goes into the red. Oops.
8am: Driving away from the gym, I glance down to discover a bee crawling over my leg. He must have been lured into the car by the scent of my delicious vanilla shake.
When we stop at the lights, I carefully flick him out the window. Sorry bro, you ain’t stealin’ my gainz.
10:30am: I may be jakey skint but the sun is shining and I’m feeling good. Fit, healthy and just a little bit smug.
I also feel hella tired. Before I attempt anything else, I’m off for a sleep. Clean eating can work wonders for the body, but it can’t mitigate the tiredness caused by 5:30 starts. Sleep is the only answer. It’s always the answer.
12:30pm: The intense sun (Aberdeen intense, not Brazilian intense) is taking its toll. I open a tin of hair gel that’s been in the boot of the car all morning:
2:30pm: Last night I tried my first home workout – a half hour circuit of pull-ups, sit-ups, press-ups and other ups. Today, my legs feel like jelly. Jelly legs are generally a sign that you’re doing something right, even if your body doesn’t thank you for it. Home circuits FTW.
Thursday 19th June (Day 11)
My phone is packed with healthy ingredients but I’ve no money with which to buy them; my last £1.50 was spent on almond milk for my morning smoothies. The gf may be getting neglected, but at least the blender is seeing some action. Almond milk + banana + oats = cheap and healthy start to the day.
During The McWorkout, my mates helped by handing out discount vouchers. Now they hand me actual food. I return home from Coz’s nursing a tin of chickpeas and tired legs. I wasn’t even exercising intensively – merely helping to walk her clients’ dogs – but coupled with Tuesday’s circuits (did I mention that I did mu’fucking circuits?) it’s taken its toll.
According to her pedometer (Hurr it says ‘pedo!’) we completed 13,000 steps in two hours. I may not have broken a sweat, but I’ve burned a few calories nonetheless. I’ve never had much time for dogs, but I’m starting to see the benefits to owning a mutt that demands daily walks. This doesn’t explain why most dog owners are fat however; I can only assume that all the fresh air fuels their appetite for cake and biscuits.
Or is it because they assign all dog walking responsibilities to Coz? On reflection, it’s probably that. Don’t buy a dog if you can’t be arsed walking it yourself.
6pm: My fuel light has been on for 24hrs, but I’ve no funds with which to top up. Even my fumes are running on fumes.
7pm: I’m amusing myself by reading about body transformations, some of which are downright hilarious. Then it dawns on me that I’ve spent the last hour looking at men’s chiselled torsos.
I’m just doing my research…r-right?
8pm: My mate and fellow MFP-er has invited me round for a low calorie dinner. This proves to be far more enjoyable than it might sound, aided by the refreshments that have caused her to seek out guilt-free recipes in the first place.
“What would you like to drink?” she asks as I step through the door. “We’ve got mostly wine, or there’s a can of IPA in the fridge.”
Ah, what the hell. I’ve stayed off the drink all week and the Guffs are about to take on Uruguay. YOLO.
Dinner – roast vegetable ratatouille – proves to be a resounding success. The best bit? I don’t have to scan each ingredient and painstakingly add it to MFP.
“I can enter it into mine and you just copy it over!” exclaims my mate.
This simple process proves to be surprisingly tricky – trickier than it would have been just to enter the ingredients myself – but I get there eventually. I also succeed in making it through the evening without further augmenting my alcohol intake. That’ll do.
Friday 20th June (Day 12)
Today’s post-gym shake is kiwi, oatmeal and vanilla. It tastes fucking horrific. I chug it for the gainz and then hot-tail it to McD’s for a coffee. Do not want.
12pm: An email informs me that my week’s efforts have been remunerated in the form of ceshmunni which, once withdrawn from PayPal, can be spent on healthy victuals. Hallelujah. It’s time to instigate an exercise that Ron and I have been eagerly talking about for days: Meat My Grill Friend.
Gainz on the brain
The gfs are lined up at Ron’s and an almighty cook-off ensues. My gf takes care of the chicken which has been marinated in Reggae Reggae Sauce and a tandoori/yoghurt mixture respectively. I also make a Mediterranean salad, while Ron grills lamb kebabs on his own, more sizeable, gf.
The inaugural MMGF proves to be a resounding success. As we eat, we contemplate launching our own Fat Reducing Health Grill, simply named The GF.
Its slogan? “She’ll brown your meat.”
Target market: gym bros.
“We’d have to have some sort of rear entry system,” reflects Ron.
“We’ll just make it so you can pack your meat in from both sides,” I add. “Get a bro round and double team her.”
So there you go: The GF. Who wants to help turn our dream into reality? £20,000 buys you a 30% stake and all the lean protein you can grill.
Saturday 21st June (Day 13)
My day starts as usual with a smoothie. After yesterday’s horrific effort, I’m determined to identify and eliminate the guilty party. Was it the kiwis? The almond milk which, unlike last week’s carton, is unsweetened? The badly mixed protein powder? The absence of a banana?
I mix the almond milk, banana and oats together. Yep, tastes OK. A bit bland, but certainly no flavour crime. Then I add in a couple of kiwis.
Ooft. They can fuck right off. The pepperiness of the kiwis is so rank I’m forced to add a teaspoon of honey just to force it down.
12pm: En route to the gym, I stop off on George Street for a cappa.
> “Eat Fresh Be Healthy”
> Fridge full of preserved carbs
“If you bring your cup back before 5pm we’ll give you a free refill,” says the woman in Dublin Dave’s Coffee House.
This revelation both impresses and confuses me. How can they tell whether I bought this generic cup from them?
In fact how do they know I even bought it today? Could I return to claim a free coffee and then return that cup to keep getting unlimited refills for life? So many questions.
3pm: I take my girls swimming at the Beach Leisure Centre.
All the mums are fat. All the dads are fat. Half the kids are fat. It’s like an aquatic McDonald’s. These aren’t land whales: they’re whales.
Every time the wave machine is turned on, the girls clamour to be led on a circuit of the pool. In doing so, I’m forced to nudge my way past a series of morbidly obese mums positioned like pinball bumpers along the route.
I used to dislike the middle classes for their pretentiousness and smug douche-baggery. As I glance around the pool however it dawns on me that they are no longer my bete noire.
To misquote Renton, “Some hate the middle class. I don’t. They’re just wankers.”
My venom is now reserved for the working class who, in the past decade, have degenerated into a feckless mass bloated by fried food, ready meals, Jagermeister and gross over-indulgence. The sooner they all catch diabeetus and die climbing the stairs to Jeremy Kyle’s studio the better.
Sunday 22nd June (Day 14)
I’ve abandoned all pretences of being a normal dad: my girls are happily watching Home Alone in bed, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to complete a home workout.
“I see muscles on your tummy,” says E as I’m stretching to complete an abs exercise. Damn, girl, I’m not supposed to have a favourite daughter but you ain’t making it easy.
20:30: An unquenchable thirst for wifi compels me to visit McDonald’s regularly, but I try to enjoy at least one day a week without propping up their corporation. (If it wasn’t for my cappuccino addiction, McD’s would be barely profitable.)
My local gainz station is particularly unbearable on weekends when Aberdeen’s working class (yes those bastards) descend en masse to stuff their fat faces with fatty food.
I enter to a scene of utter carnage. The restaurant is queued out the door, as it has been all day, there’s water flooding through the roof and a sign announces that they’re out of Big Tasties. The latter doesn’t concern me – I’m here to work, not gorge – but it does amuse me. I have a suspicion who may be responsible for the Big Tasty famine and for once McD’s customers aren’t to blame…
Monday 23rd June (Day 15)
3:30pm: The health food store at Tesco is dispensing samples of protein and casein. I chug down a lurid pink shot for instant gainz on the go. It tastes pretty good but I’m not about to start buying casein. Not yet.
Calorifically and alcoholically, the last week has been a success: not only did I meet my weekly calorie quota but I only drank two beers. My reward?
2% less body fat and a lean muscle increase of 1.5kg. To celebrate this achievement, I conspire to wildly exceed Monday’s fat and calorie total – a feat that I will replicate six times in the coming week.
I may be consuming healthy fats, but according to MFP I’m eating way too many of them. With 9 calories to every gram of fat (compared to just 4 calories per gram of protein or carbs), the excess cals quickly stack up.
23:00: I round off my day by reading a fitness mag in bed, because as everyone knows, reading about exercise is as effective as actually doing it.
Tuesday 24th June (Day 16)
This morning I am going to have boiled eggs for breakfast, I have decided. This morning I am going to have the perfect boiled eggs for breakfast I have decided – which means consulting the internet. I know how to boil an egg (I’m not completely retarded), but I figure I should ask Google for the optimum boiling time. This proves to be a fatal mistake.
The internet knows all sorts of stuff but one thing I can state with confidence: it has no fucking idea how to boil an egg. Well, someone out there does, but who do you believe?
Following a quick browse, I elect to put my faith in this method, but the more I read, the more rustled I get.
“Altitude, egg size..”
JUST TELL ME HOW LONG IT TAKES TO BOIL A GODDAMN EGG.
“Pan size, water depth…”
HOW FUCKING LONG?
Eventually I find the answer I’m looking for: six minutes.
When the eggs start to boil, take them off the hob and leave to sit for six minutes it instructs, whereupon – hey presto – perfect eggs.
Six minutes later and I’m chipping away at the shell of my internet-perfect eggs. I perforate the egg white and out falls a gloopy mess of raw egg. Hard boiled? It’s not even par-boiled.
Lesson of the day: Don’t ask the internet how to boil an egg.
For goodness hake
4pm: Some white fish I bought from Lidl needs used up so I wap it on the gf. Seven minutes later and my hake is grilled to perfection. So good.
11pm: I return home from having dinner at my mate’s, the Tate laden with a Gumtree acquisition I made en route.
Half of the bolts are missing and I have to Google the assembly instructions for my workout bench, but I get there eventually. Fuck it, I don’t need the leg press attachments anyway – I’ve got gym membership for that. In fact come to think of it, why am I turning my home into a gym? I’d be better off turning my gym into a home.
Despite its paucity of hardware, I’m pleased with my latest fitness purchase. I’m less pleased with my flat however, which is reeking of grilled hake.
I fall asleep with the windows open, praying that the malevolent odour will have dispersed by morning.
Wednesday 25th June (Day 17)
8pm: I’m starting to think my flat is destined to smell of fish forever.
> Cook fish
> Torch apartment
> Start new life
I can still smell it. This is starting to feel like an elaborate school prank – has someone stashed the hake packaging in my flat somewhere? Why does everything smell of fish – is it me? Where is it coming from?
Hake: not even once.
At the gym, I scrub myself with shower gel to remove the smell and then delve into my bag to retrieve a clean t-shirt. Immediately I’m greeted by an all-too-familiar scent.
Jesus. All of the clean laundry in my flat has been contaminated with this shit. No one told me that hake had the half-life of uranium-235.
Thursday 26th June (Day 18)
In my desperation to decontaminate the flat, I chopped a couple of onions before going to bed and left them in the kitchen.
My flat doesn’t smell of fish anymore: it smells of onions.
Friday 27th June (Day 19)
After falling asleep at 3:30am, I’m awake and out of bed two hours later for the gym. 30 minutes after completing my workout, I’m parked up in a lay-by with my head resting against a pillow. The traffic’s too heavy to return home at this time, and besides, I only have an hour in which to snooze before collecting E from school and driving to Elgin for the day.
I have a feeling I may be ruing the lack of sleep by lunchtime. Exercise is an important part of The Workout, but rest is also kind of a big deal. Unfortunately it’s a luxury I can ill afford right now.
Saturday 28th June (Day 20)
I passed out on my mate’s sofa last night (following the consumption of multiple alcoholic beverages I’m ashamed to say). By the time I return home on Saturday evening, 36 hours have elapsed. I open the front door and walk in.
My flat smells of fish.
Sunday 29th June (Day 21)
My flat smells of fish. My flat will always smell of fish. My Workout Diaries will forever be filled with talk of the smell of fish.
My clothes will always smell of fish.
FFS. FML. OMG. WWJD.
Actually, what would Jesus do? He’d probably convert those fishy remains back into loaves of bread, but since I’m off the gluten this month, that’s out of the question. There will be no miracles occurring in this household – just a lingering smell of grilled fish and an air of desperation.
For fuck’s hake.
Two weeks of My Workout Diary = a fuckton of words. We’ll keep the remaining features to a minimum then – there’ll be plenty of time for delving into the minutiae of fitness next Monday. One feature that’s certainly making the cut is Dr Fenn’s column; this week she’s talking ’bout booze. (For more information on liquid calories – including coffees and fruit juice – this MFP blog is pretty good.) See what you make of this:
Dr Chris Fenn
“Alcohol is a small molecule and doesn’t need to be broken down before it can pass through the digestive system and into your blood stream. In fact, some alcohol can be absorbed in your mouth via the fine blood vessels under your tongue. Once in the bloodstream, alcohol circulates around the body – but the impact on your brain is why folk enjoy its effects! Alcohol is a narcotic – it numbs the brain.
The first area to be affected is your frontal lobe, responsible for judgement and reasoning. As you continue to drink, the mid brain is then affected, responsible for large muscle control (which is why when you get up to fetch another round your legs might give way). The hind region of your brain is affected by a lot of alcohol, which is serious as this is the part which controls your breathing. However, before you get to this point, most folk are sitting in a gutter somewhere not quite knowing which way is up.
In terms of fat production, alcohol is a toxic substance. Your body converts alcohol to something less toxic – which is fat! However, only the liver has the specific enzyme to do this (alcohol dehydrogenase). Once the alcohol has been converted to fat, it does not have the same effect on the brain. Some folk are good at detoxing alcohol and so can drink a lot before they get drunk. Men have a higher muscle composition (and therefore water content) compared with women. This is why alcohol in men is diluted more, and has less effect on the brain. Women (in general) tend to get drunk more quickly than men. Chinese people also have less of the enzyme to detox alcohol, which is why they tend to get drunk quickly.”
Dr Fenn can be found on Twitter and at ChrisFenn.com
Witness the fitness
Week 2 workout:
Monday: Shoulders, 60 mins
Tuesday: Circuits @ home, 30 mins
Wednesday: Chest + Biceps 60 mins
Friday: Triceps + Lats, 60 mins
Saturday: Interval training (treadmill) 20 mins, Biceps + Abs 40 mins
Sunday: Circuits @ home, 30 mins
Week 3 workout:
Tuesday: Chest + Triceps, 60 mins
Wednesday: Lats + Biceps, 60 mins
Thursday: Shoulders + Abs
Friday: Chest + Legs, 60 mins
My Fitness Pal
Weight and body fat have both increased slightly in the past week. A quick glance at last week’s calorie consumption (image 4) should reveal why – I consumed 4,500 cals more than in week two. I seem to be alternating between low and high alcohol weeks at present.
Rather than detail every meal I’ve eaten in the last fortnight I’ve elected to publish some of the more notable entries throughout this blog. Wanna see more? Everything I’ve eaten this month can be found in MFP diary. The healthy meals; the unhealthy snacks; the extremely unhealthy alcohol – it’s all in there.
I’ve shunned bread altogether for the past fortnight – up until this weekend, when I went Full Doughboy including an open sandwich at my mum’s and scrambled egg on toast at my mate’s. I shall burn in hell for my sins. 6/10.
Two weeks ago I drank two beers, which in my book qualifies as a roaring success. Last week I had four drinks on Friday, three on Sunday and a couple more somewhere along the way. Not such a success. 5/10.
Pretty much where we were a fortnight ago: Gym work = good. Everything else = bad. Am I degenerating into a weights-loving, cardio-hating gym bro? Probably. 6/10.
Catch up on The Workout and its unhealthy predecessor here.
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