If I were completing a 30 Day Challenge, I’d be done today. I’m glad I’m not, as while learning never ends, remaining within a ‘challenge’ mindset keeps me to task and allowing me to pivot.

Towards Timeless Simple & Sinister

Kettlebell practice has been fantastic, I’m feeling stronger and so much more capable - it’s incredible how badass you can feel being the only one swinging a bell around in a commercial gym!

Working with Strongfirst Coach Deb, I’m confronted by someone who challenges me, but believes in me when I have doubts, and most importantly laughs with (at?) me! We check in weekly for personal training, reviewing my form, and evaluating what worked and where I’ve struggled in the program, with her guidance correcting and adjusting where needed, while also advancing me.

I got to deadlift with dumbells this week!

Where I’m at after 30 days

I’ve trained 5-6 days per week for the last four weeks. As a reminder, this is what I’m working towards:

Source: Pavel Tsatsouline, Simple & Sinister

In the four weeks, I’ve progressed from almost owning the 16kg one-hand swing (1HS) to almost owning the 20kg and commencing two-handed drills with the 24kg bell, and owning the 8kg Turkish Get-Up (TGU) to getting up with 12kg and down with 14kg.

But - this is not about getting to the destination fast! It’s about technical precision and perfect form, stopping when you lose power, and owning the bell before you lift heavier. As such, this progress is not about the speed in which I have reached these weights, but a testament to focus and continuous effort to be strong in each move, learn how to engage my muscles and actually do it, and it’s showing me that I’m stronger than I realise!

There is so much to be grateful for just from this cannonball with a handle - who’d think something so simple, would be so powerful!

In the last 30 days, I’ve:

  • Felt stronger and more confident
  • Felt more alert and had clarity of thought
  • I’ve heard that I’ve lost weight - people are starting to notice!
  • I’ve been more confident buying summer clothes, and able to choose the next dress size down
  • I’m 3.8 down in both kilos and body fat percentage

I’m grateful for:

  • My partner, Ben, who listens to me rattling on about kettlebells non-stop, for adapting our pattern of life to accommodate this intensive training, and for being my number one fan
  • Deb, and how quickly under her tutelage I am growing and learning - I will always be an apprentice, but I feel less of a bumbling one
  • My accountability buddy who makes sure I get to gym each night and for making me laugh, particularly during the hard sessions. High five!

A Squeaky Clean... plate of everything

While fitness practice is going exceedingly well, old behaviours persist with food. Unsurprisingly, I have had trouble sticking to plan of Squeaky Clean Keto, and while I’ve remained Keto 95% of the time I’ve had too many grab foods and higher carb foods than I wanted to.

I was tracking macros and on plan until I experienced heightened anxiety, leading to suboptimal choices. I’m most disappointed that I reached for grab food, a habit I specifically wanted to break because despite being low-carb mostly, they are not whole foods and do not foster behaviour I want to engage in.

Further, I ate protein bars with sugar in them, which led me to a bite of a sugar thing, which led me to a packet of a thing with sugar, and so it snowballs. Not only is sugar addictive, it hurts my stomach causing bloating and other intestinal issues. I do it for the momentary pleasure, followed by a whole lot of pain, but once I let that one taste in I find it particularly hard to say no.

30 days in, 70 days to go and I need a shake up.

The fitness practice part is easy - emotionally easy - it gives me a high and can be broken down into steps, and once done I feel good, so my resolve and motivation is strong.

But food - food is annoying.

I come to food un-thoughtfully and hedonistically, a pleasure to enjoy rather than a practice that is nutritious and a momentary blip in my day. Of all habits to break, I need to sever the impression of food as pleasure. For example, one thing I admire about my partner is his resolve around food, saving pleasure for special occasions and otherwise eating what he has to, because once its eaten it’s done.

I want food to be practical, nutritious and to satisfy me - and easy, so I don’t need to think and make decisions in the moment, giving me distance so I can look at the behaviour clearly and adjust.

For the next week, I’m going to follow a highly realistic and predictable plan that I know will bore the shit out of me, but it’s just seven days: PhytoFire Protein and Collagen for breakfast (7am), bunless burger for lunch (12 noon) then a protein shake post-training and sautéed egg and greens for dinner (7-8 pm). Plenty of coffee in between, sometimes with collagen creamer.

I am a huge fan of podcasts, and am seeking out interviews and discussions on developing mental toughness and breaking free from emotional eating. I welcome any recommendations!

Repeat until strong

I love this quote, and it means so much more than physical strength.

Instead of starting again, as many challenges suggest you do when you fail,
I keep practicing, adjusting, listening, adapting to my body, emotions and food needs until I find the control and cadence I need, repeating until my food game is as strong as my lifts.