Tyler: Did you know that if you mix equal parts of gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate, you can make napalm?
Narrator: No, I did not know that. Is that true?
Tyler: That’s right. One can make all kinds of explosives using simple household items.
Tyler: If one were so inclined.
OK, actually that recipe won’t work. When the book went to screenplay, the producers didn’t want an actual working recipe in a major motion picture, so they insisted on a fake. Rumor has it that the first printing of the novel had the right one, but subsequent reprints were edited.
Knowledge is power.
Whether or not this recipe is exact, the essence of the dialogue remains: chemistry works. Not that gasoline is an inert substance to begin with, it’s already powerful, but adding it to other elements, it becomes even more powerful. There are many examples of other substances that are seemingly harmless individually, but put them together, and whoah baby. I knew I was dealing with the real deal when I bought a tube of marine sealant and it came in two sections that had to mixed together right before use.
So to the point: DIET AND EXERCISE.This is the recipe. It’s a combo.
After delving into triathlon world, I’ve been really encouraged by everything about the community. A nice surprise for me was meeting people who have completed serious distance triathlons, up to Half-Ironman, while still really heavy. I’ve mentioned the book, The Slow Fat Triathlete. It’s really awesome to know that you don’t have to “arrive” at a goal weight to be able to train to make the distance. Frankly, if I hadn’t met those folks, I would not likely have set out to do a sprint in April.
So that’s the good news. Fatties are welcome. Doughboy can run the short course, and keep training for the next longer one. Awesome. Inspirational even for some. Good good good.
But, let’s face it: I don’t want to be doughboy forever. It will be novel to show up in the tshirt for races all this season (with a tech shirt underneath from now on though, cause I paid for that cotton nonsense in Annapolis.) But I am not interested in doing a HalfIronman at this weight.
Everyone I know is telling me I must be losing so much weight! But it’s not happening yet. I am not just referring to the scale, which isn’t 100% reliable. Even so, people grossly overestimate the whole “gaining muscle” thing. Toning is a BS word invented by the industry. Lean mass is incredibly hard to gain. Burning fat is much easier, but still difficult in itself. Anyway, I also have objective evidence in inches measurements. I’ve actually gained around my navel since my last measurement (weeks apart, BTW) and the rest is stable. It is not uncommon for people to get a shock when they discover that endurance sports may help overall fitness, but it is not a magic bullet to losing weight. Diet diet diet diet! Look at all the people who never exercise but simply change their eating habits. They lose weight. Now of course, many of them gain it back without the energy and motivation that an active lifestyle add to the maintenance of the new body.
Put diet and exercise together, and you have the explosive power of napalm.
So yeah, it’s great that I’m moving, and I am far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point, endurance-wise. But since mid-March, when I really started to take the lap swim challenge seriously, I have almost completely toppled my eating plan. I took a home A1C test and saw dramatic results, then stopped caring about it. Well, it’s all great that I can schlep 274 through the courses, but that’s a beginning, not the end.
Luckily, I know enough about what to do right, and have done it before, to get back on track. From December to midMarch I was eating great, lowering my A1C, which is really important right now. Home test went from 7.2 to 6.0 (accuracy questionable), but then back up to a whopping 7.8%. That spooked me a couple weeks ago. Took one again today, from the same batch, and it’s down to 6.5%. (Goal is to get well under 6%)
Time to pursue better living through the chemistry of combining diet and exercise. I’ve built up a base of training experience to know how to push myself on the bike, the run and in the pool. Weight training is coming into play finally, albeit slowly. And now I am past the self-delusion of needing to eat tons to fuel the training. I only need a couple hundred quick calories before and after a workout, the rest of the day needs to be back to the glycemic sensitive methodology that worked before. I’ve kept a good baseline of nutrition all along, with my power protein breakfast first thing, and generally enough protein and proper fats, but I’ve piled a lot of junk on top of it. Well, playtime is over, and the over cautious attitude that if I’m not full of sugar I may bonk on a workout, is ready for retirement. Hard fact: every study ever done has shown that overweight and obese people routinely underestimate what they’ve eaten and overestimate their exercise efforts.
Hopefully after this season, the DOUGHBOY t-shirt will be retired. But if I ever get to a full 140.6 Ironman, I will have a custom trisuit made with that on it. That and a walrus of course.