For folks who have been following this blog this is no news, but for the rest, I recently relocated to India and am in the process of launching The Quad along with chill-meister Arvind Ashok. I am of the habit of posting periodic updates about my health, nutrition, training, bodycompoisition and goals and this is one such post.
The last time I posted an update was on the 21st of July and in that post I had mentioned that I ate per MY optimal traditional diet, listed out what exactly I ate and posted a picture of show body composition. You can read that in detail here. From July 21st to now (15th August) the following happened…
I spent my last two weeks in the US eating all kinds of junk food. Every night my taste buds thanked me for the awesome ice cream or frozen yogurt or pizza or stuffed french toast or pancakes or croissants and every morning my gut cursed me for the damage that happened within the four secure walls of my restroom. And this continued till the moment I actually boarded the plane out of San Francisco.
Last meal in SF! Thanks to Arvind for the chocolate hazelnut croissants!
Once in Chennai (India), I have been hanging with my parents in their house (while painfully looking for a place of my own which will be closer to where The Quad operates). This means a purely vegetarian fare with eggs being an exception. My mom, who is a super staunch vegetarian, was nice enough to allow me to cook eggs in the house. And yes, she has deemed certain vessels and utensils as egg-stuff and they won’t be used to cook anything else for the family anymore.
While my parents are super cool and will put up with my bringing meat home or cooking meat in a crockpot in my room, I respect their choices and outlook towards meat eating and will never do something that will make them uncomfortable in their own house.
As a result, my diet for the last couple of weeks has been basically PLENTY of vegetables, 3-4 country eggs a day, 1-2 cups of grass fed dairy a day, sweet potatoes, soaked and cooked lentils, rice, whey, coconut oil, sesame oil, ghee and ice-cream. I’m not one to demand things even at my own house and hence eat whatever is available (ensuring it falls within my dietary recommendations for the most part) or whip something up for myself (eggs etc.). But what is awesome is that we have a new cook (Saraswathi) who has decades of experience cooking south Indian food and she amazes me every single day with whatever she makes. In addition to the usual rice, sambar, rasam etc she makes it a point to make a huge serving of some spinach dish, a mixed vegetable dish, a third vegetable dish and some form of lentils. Lucky lucky me!
But you know why else I’m lucky? For the last 20 days, all I did was to try to eat right, train smart and maintain my body composition. But instead I ended up getting leaner than I expected!
Now let’s get into the details.
My typical day:
8 am – Wake up
8:30 am – Walk the dog for 15 min.
9:30 am – Black coffee on some days. Nothing on the other.
1 pm – End fast with a fruit. I eat only tropical fruits that are in season like guava, mountain banana, orange, avocado etc.
2-3 pm – Lunch. Typically huge servings of 2-3 types of vegetables cooked in a typical south Indian fashion along with a cup or more of yogurt and another fruit or two. Below is an example. I would typically eat twice the amount shown on the plate and finish the meal with a cup of fruit.
Homemade whole milk yogurt, paneer subji, beans & carrot, cabbage kootu
5pm – Black coffee.
5:30 to 7pm – Workout & stretch
7:30 pm – 1 scoop whey in whole raw milk, some starch like sweet potato or lentils and a fruit or two.
9pm – Dinner. Typically 3-4 country eggs, a whole bunch of vegetables cooked in ghee, a cup of lentils, a cup of homemade yogurt. In addition to whats shown below I ate another cup of homemade whole milk yogurt and maybe some whey.
11pm – About 1/2-1 cup ice-cream. (I know my buddy JC will be proud of this. So tonight’s cup of chocolate ice-cream it dedicated to you brother!)
Country eggs, capsicum sauteed with idly, daal, okra pachadi, yogurt
Clearly I didn’t count anything and ate to appetite. I’m guessing I ate about 90-100 g of protein (from eggs, yogurt, whey, lentils & vegetables). I ate starches and sugars in the post workout meal only. But since I ate only 2 meals and my post workout meal was the one with significant number of calories, I ate plenty of carbs. I kept the fat intake fairly low and, as usual, got all my fats from whole foods (yogurt, avocado, eggs, homemade paneer). But if you asked me how many grams of what I ate or how many calories I consumed or what macronutrient ratio I ate per, I have no idea and I’ll say I ate real food and I ate to appetite!
Micros & Supplements:
Since I ate more than copious amounts of a variety of vegetables I didn’t take in any supplement. But considering I am getting in some vegetable oils (sesame oil) I should probably supplement with some omega-3s.
I had none. When I eat, I like to eat big. But seriously? You can’t go from lunch to dinner without food? 6-7 hours without food is such a big deal? Really? I’ll write a detailed post on snacking soon.
Only whenever I’m thirsty and since I’m in hot and humid Chennai that works out to be about 2+ liters a day.
You can check my Facebook group for specific exercises, reps, sets etc. but I did ONLY bodyweight exercises with absolutely no equipment. My training was built around compound full body moves like multiple grip pushes/presses, pullups, sprints, handstand pushups, pistols etc. I didn’t do any cardio or bicep curls or ab work or use any machines or even step into a gym. I worked out at home every single day making do with whatever was available. So pullups were done on a ledge and farmers walks were done with suitcases.
I didn’t eat a full fledged cheat meal ‘cos I didn’t crave anything really. All the real food along with the daily ice cream and/or chocolate kept me very satisfied. Honestly, I would call my 2-3 non-vegetarian dinners outside as cheats ‘cos I’m more than sure the meat was not good quality, the oils used were sketchy and freshness/cooking methods were questionable.
- Feel: I feel absolutely awesome. No indigestion. Bowel movements are better than ever. Sleep is great. Energy level is awesome. Recovery is super.
- Strength: I have no way to check if my squat and deadlift numbers of gone up or down ‘cos I got no equipment and I haven’t been doing them. But all my bodyweight exercises have been progressing solidly and hence I’m not concerned about strength.
- Endurance: I’m definitely building it back up. No questions there.
- Mobility: Like a well oiled hinge! No aches or pains either.
- Body weight: Down from ~ 148 lb to ~ 144 lb in 2-3 weeks.
- Body fat: Definite drop. My chest, arm and thigh measurements are the same while my waist and belly button circumference are down 1.5″ each.
- Overall body composition: See the picture below. I’m definitely lean in both cases but clearly leaner now. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- The are only about 20 days between the two updates and hence such a change in bodycomp is significant mainly because I wasn’t even trying.
- After July 21st I went on a crazy junk food eating spree when I gained a bunch of body fat. Too bad I don’t have a picture of myself just before leaving the US ‘cos that comparison would’ve been something to look at!
- During the first update, I was eating plenty of protein and weight training using barbells etc. and for this one, it was all bodyweight training and real food vegetarian diet.
Why this improvement in body comp? What did I learn from this? How can you benefit this n=1 experiment? Will this change any of my recommendations? If yes, how?
I’ll answer these questions and more in the next post. Until then share your experiences wrt change in diet or training in the comments section and share my vegetarian experience in your social networks!