It’s 4 weeks in, and I’m still going strong on our friends Joel and Arnel’s 1000 Calorie Challenge diet.
Yeah, believe me, Adam’s as surprised as you are… No one expected me to put up with restriction for that long. Myself least of all! Even Dashiell — my staunchest supporter —looked down her nose with that skeptical housecat stare.
So how is it halfway through?
Well, I’m pleased to report that it worked — in spades!
I really didn’t have much fat to loose. Just a little roll I wanted to melt away. I was more interested in the theory behind the program, and I wanted to experience the waving caloric intake paired with very intense exercise. I got the best of both worlds.
I found the first week tough, but I think it was mostly psychological. I HATE being told what to do, and the Murd in me rebelled at all the rules and regulations. To make matters worse, I was reading a book about classic cocktails by the novelist Kingsley Amis. I tell ya, it took every jigger of willpower I possessed to resist shaking up a few of these new recipes… But the first week’s cheat day was enough to set me straight. I blew off some steam, I reassessed my energy levels, and I took a fresh look at the road ahead.
By week two I had gone beyond being pissed off, and I actually started to enjoy the light feeling these meal plans were giving me. I also liked waking up with a hearty appetite and devouring my breakfast like a grizzly fresh outta winter hibernation. Something about that seems to start the day right. Even for those of us who prefer to sleep in…
Now I’ve finally made it to the really intense exercise sessions: the monster calorie burners that separate the champs from the chumps. I honestly wasn’t sure if I could get through them on those hard dieting 1000 calorie days. But Arnel knows his stuff! And the best part is, the afterburn effect — that 36 to 48 hour period of accelerated post-exercise fat burn — only increases as the workouts get tougher. By the end of the day I feel like that guy in the Stephen King story who was slowly digesting himself. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?
Okay, so what am I taking from this program? What new tools have I added to my toolbox?
First and foremost, if you’re already pretty athletic like me, this is a great diet plan to help you get shredded. I’ll use the 1000 Calorie approach to prepare for photo or video shoots, to gear up for my next beach holiday (well… if i ever get a vacation…), and as a rapid method of getting back on track after the liver-pounding craziness of travel writing assignments. It won’t even be necessary to follow the entire program again — a few weeks would be enough. And it’s easy to combine the diet plan with our own BodyweightCoach workouts if I’m focused on other training goals. That’s going in my toolbox for sure.
But what of general nutrition? The 1000 Calorie Challenge is a great approach if you have a lot of weight to lose, or if you have to get shredded in a hurry. But what about the rest of the time?
I tend to eat pretty clean, but I follow a set of principles rather than a strict diet plan. Every once in a while I like to tighten things up, revisit the basics, and give myself a nudge to make sure poor nutrition habits aren’t slipping in. Between the two of us, Adam and I draw on a range of eating plans and styles. I like Joel’s Cheat Your Way Thin because I love those cheat days. Adam’s into intermittent fasting, and he’s got a lot of experience with Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat. We both like Kathryn Woodall’s Satisfaction Transformation, another great approach to healthy eating that takes a long term view.
As with anything, the key is to find an approach that works for you. There’s a lot of great material out there, but the only “ideal” plan is the one you’ll stick to.
So yeah. Joel’s 1000 Calorie approach is now my go-to method when I need to get shredded.
The other big thing I’m taking from this product is the recipes. I’ve got an excellent catalog of healthy, easy to prepare meals for lunch, or for any other time I’m forced to fend for myself (and let it be said: I only fend for myself against my will). The pre-set meal plans and recipe guide are one of my favourite aspects of the program. They make it quite easy, and they taste really good too.
Finally, the workouts have been a fun way to revisit and boost my GPP. It’s been several years since I’ve done most of these dumbbell exercises, and they revealed and shored up a few gaps in my strength. I like when that happens because it gives me new goals to focus on. I’m looking forward to sophisticating that strength and taking it into new ranges in the weeks ahead.
So how about you? Are you one of the many who grabbed Joel and Arnel’s program, and got our bodyweight exercise package in the mix?
Have you started yet? Post an update in the comments below. I’d love to compare notes!