One half of the Balanced Existence Challenge is the minimalist workout that I hope will lead to massive strength gains over time without adding bulk. The other important half is diet. The word “diet” shouldn’t conjure images of restriction it’s just a symbolic label to describe what you eat. In effect everyone is on a diet and everyone diets because we all eat food.

Dietary Considerations
The below food pyramid by David Getoff describes what I consider healthy eating perfectly. As much of the food as possible should be certified organic. While fruit is great too much of it does not represent what my genetic Irish forefathers and mothers consumed. This might be different for someone who is a descendent of people who lived in a tropical location.

Regardless I’m not aware of anything in fruit that is not in vegetables. With modern conditions there is too much sugar around already. Adding more sugar from fructose (the sugar in fruit) is unlikely to help the situation. I eat a Granny Smith apple every day and try to eat berries as often as I can. Those are two fruits that were available to my Irish ancestors.

A regular day for me starts with a big glass of filtered water, at least 500mls. More like 1ltr. Usually while I get sucked into checking my morning email. A habit I would like to eliminate. Then I go downstairs and take a probiotic and then go outside and do my two sets of deadlifts.

Shortly after I eat breakfast, which consists of some form of protein, usually animal and either some fruit or vegetables. Protein for breakfast may be two organic free-range eggs, or a few handfuls of raw nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, Cashews, hazelnuts and so forth. Never peanuts. Never cooked nuts and never salted. Other protein sources for breakfast might be a tin of Tuna or some cold organic steak from last night’s dinner or some organic sausages that I almost always boil in water to cook.

With the protein for breakfast I have either some fruit such as an apple and maybe a banana or some raw veggies such as broccoli, English spinach and carrot. After I finish breakfast I currently take some cod liver oil and some flax seed oil.

An example of lunch is often Tuna, carrots and broccoli. I eat English spinach a lot and olives when I have them. I’ll regularly eat small handfuls of nuts throughout the day whenever I feel a little hungry. If I’m not hungry I don’t eat and if I feel like I’ve had enough food I’ll stop and put it away instead of keeping on eating. Once a day I’ll often have two teaspoons of psyllium husks in 100% no sugar added orange juice that has been watered down in half. In a normal day I’ll drink 3 – 4ltrs of filtered water.

A normal dinner involves organic chicken, a sweet potato baked in it’s jacket with organic butter and cinnamon, and a pumpkin salad with baked pumpkin, spinach, raw onion, carrot, maybe some cheese, broccoli, other leafy greens, and so forth. Another example of dinner is a lamb stir fry with organic lamb, cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, onion, a whole garlic, celery, zucchini, lots of pepper, chili, maybe some fish sauce and so forth.

Also during the day I regularly eat a tablespoon or half a tablespoon of organic coconut oil and I do enjoy eating small amounts of organic butter. I don’t eat bread or any grain products for that matter so I just slice a little sliver of butter and eat it. When you get over your fear of healthy fat it becomes a very handy source of sustained energy and can be used to reduce the glycemic index of your meals just like fiber does. Avocado also features regularly in my diet.

I also use organic coconut oil as a moisturizer when the chlorine and other chemicals in the shower water dry out my skin. I plan to get water filters for our showers soon. The reasoning being if you’re showing in it you might as well be drinking it. That goes for putting creams on your skin such as chemical laden moisturizers. If you wouldn’t eat it don’t put it on your skin.

The Workout
No thrills no spills. Really enjoying starting my day with deadlifting. It energizes me for the rest of the day without itself using much energy or taking much time.

95kg (209lbs) x 5
85kg (187lbs) x 5

TGU (each arm)
20kg (44lbs) x 1
32kg (70lbs) x 2

At this point I was unsure if increasing the deadlift weight by 5kg was too rapid but as someone who is starting out I expect that I will increase the poundage by large amounts compared to someone who has been doing this a long time. I will go by feel. Still no clue what my 5 rep max is and still not confident enough in my technique to want to try to find out.

I think I will just progressively discover my 5RM probably sometime next week and then back off from that back down to 70% of whatever my 5RM turns out to be. Then take a run back up the hill on a longer cycle. I promise I will write much more on the important topic of cycling very soon.

Later on in the afternoon I had energy and wanted to do something so I did a stack of bottoms-up (BU) cleans and a couple of BU presses with the 20kg kettlebell. Then did one ladder of three rungs of clean and press with the 32kg kettlebell.

In hindsight I wonder if I should have put that energy to better use in a second deadlift session rather then pressing the 32kg kettlebell? I think next time I’ll have a play with the bottoms-up stuff and then at least do a few deadlift singles. Though it is nice to maintain my pressing strength. So many interesting paths to strength so little time.

In case you’re wondering what bottoms-up kettlebell exercises look like, please enjoy the video below.

Read more in Day 3.

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