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The Four Hour Charlie #4hb

This is the shake I had for breakfast this morning:

  • About a cup of water
  • Some ice
  • 4 tablespoons of almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of sauerkraut
  • A tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of a protein mix

All in all, greenish, a little chalky, 55g of protein, and mostly tasks like cinnamon and almond butter.

The cinnamon reduces the glycemic index of a meal, as well as bad cholesterol and triglycerides.  The sauerkraut is because fermented foods contain lots of good bacteria.  

So what am I doing to myself?  I've been doing the Four Hour Body for about six or seven weeks and I love it.  If you want to feel amazing, look better, lose weight, etc... you should seriously consider buying this book.

My results?   I was pretty athletic to begin with--will be doing my 3rd triathlon this year--and yet I still shed 8 pounds and, more importantly, about 2 percent bodyfat.  Going from 6.5% to 4.5% isn't really that easy to do, either... but I was always a little conscious that, for the amount that I worked out, there seemed to be another level of fitness that I couldn't really break through.

Here's the breakthrough chart.

So why would a guy who does triathlons want to go on a diet?   I wouldn't have otherwise, except for the snow on the ground this winter in NYC.  I bike to work 4 or 5 times a week, but missed a whole month because of all the snow we had.  In that month, I gained 8 pounds.  That bothered me.  I'm turning 32 this month, and if the only reason I stay at my current level of fitness is the excessive amount of working out I do, I'm in trouble.  One, its only going to get harder and harder to maintain over time from a metabolic perspective as my body changes and two, I assume (if I find someone willing to put up with this diet and exercise routine!) at some point I'll settle down, have kids, etc... and won't be able to workout and play sports as much.   

I'd rather not wait, so I wanted to address the level I could still pull effectively--my diet.  I'm a pretty decent and balanced eater, but not without some low hanging fruit (no pun intended) bad habits.  Take bread, for example.  I make everything into a sandwich and eat a loaf of bread at any restaurant meal that brings over that bottomless basket.  I also tended to have a bagel before I go to bed on a pretty regular basis.  I also like dessert.  I don't really *need* dessert, but I'm someone that has no one-off will power.  If I have a system--like the fact that I don't drink--I don't even think about being disciplined, but if I have to make individual decisions, I'm toast... literally.  So when Howard's assistant comes in and says "We have bagels this morning!" I'm automatically going to have two, even if I've already had breakfast. 

The diet in the book, written by 4-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferris, starts with a simple premise: Something is better than nothing--and if you can't stick to a routine, it isn't worth it.   So, for every tough requirement, like cutting out "white" carbs (bread, rice, pasta, etc), you have mechanisms to help you get through it--like a "cheat day" once per week.  Cheat day, for me, has become something to get excited about and look forward to, but it is no longer about excessive gorging.  The first cheat day I did, I gained 7 pounds.  I ate two back to back lunches with a big cupcake to start with.  It wasn't just a bit much, it was exhausting, actually.  The next time it came around, I had zero interest in eating that much.  It just seemed silly.  I did get to have my ice cream and some pizza, but I wasn't stuffing my face all day.  Since then, I probably average about 3 pounds of gain each cheat day, and have always (even on the 7 pound day) returned to my starting weight within 36 hours. 

I'm not going to go into the whole routine, but I will note the highlights and some things I've learned.  This is just about the diet part--I will discuss the exercise in another post and will absolutely not be discussing the sex stuff anywhere or anytime on this blog.  :)

  • Get used to having repetitive, basic meals: seasoned grilled chicken with spinach or other greens (love kale) now makes up a big chunk of my diet.  This isn't a problem for me at all as I often eat kind of the same stuff.  If you need lots of variety, this is going to be tough.
  • I don't follow the diet 100%, but for me, cutting out sandwiches meant cutting out about 95% of my cheese and bread intake.  (Something better than nothing)  I'm off bread, but I'll eat cheese if its in a salad or stuffed into something, even though cottage cheese is the only one you're technically allowed to eat. 
  • I got head faked by yogurt, because he says no daily, but then brings up yogurt as a way to get good bacteria into your system.  I'll still have a cup of non-fat, plain greek yogurt if I can't find another way to get protein in, but I don't put it into my shakes anymore.
  • Turns out I wasn't supposed to be eating oats either--just learned that yesterday.  I think I'm ok with that, though... I might just keep that in on occassion. 
  • I go with unsweetened vanilla almond milk if I feel like milk.
  • I cannot recommend enough taking calcium and magnesium before bed--noticeable difference in quality of sleep.  In fact, if you just do one thing, do that, for the rest of your life.
  • At first, I experienced "heavy legs" when I went off the carbs, which for an athlete kind of sucks.  I started taking potassium throughout the day around meals and that went away completely.
  • I don't do PAGG yet, but just started taking Alpha Lipoic Acid after some research.  I'm cautious about all the supplements mentioned, so I wanted to be thorough about my research.
  • Mixing almond butter and cottage cheese is a yummy, tummy filling snack.  I know it sounds gross, but try it.
  • My fridge has a ton of spinach, cottage cheese, and almond butter.  My closets have a ton of beans.  There is always a piece of grilled chicken somewhere.  Welcome to simplicity.
  • I've grown fond of not feeling stuffed after meals--which was definitely a by product of the bread and carbs.  I'm hungry more often, and so I eat more, smaller meals.  I snack on celery sticks and hummus/almond butter, but try not to overdo it.

 Will I do this diet forever?  Well, I didn't want to lose too much weight... and now that I've started the workout routine, I've definitely added muscle, so I'll prob stick around this weight indefinitely.  To be honest, I really like it and I feel amazing.  I want to tell people how amazing I feel when they ask me, "So how've you been?"  I really do feel noticeably different.  Thank you Tim Ferriss!

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