There are one or two things you need to learn to give up with this ‘Comp Prep’ malarkey, and one of them is basic reason. Oh no, no, no, don’t start thinking straight whatever you do! As the calories come down, so the weights go up. Seem to lack a little logic to you, too? Ummmm! Anyway, the good news is that our weight is dropping, and the even better news is that we haven’t killed each other. Er … yet.
Early in week 2, James pushed me a little closer to the inevitable sulk when I happened to mention that the food rations we are being allowed still taste surprisingly good. He was quick to assure me that the delicious Fresh Fitness Food take upon your classic lasagna will not reappear in my cool bag during the final weeks. It will give way to FFF’s very best attempts at making white fish and cabbage as appealing as they can be. The ‘prison food’ is coming so now is the time to appreciate every last bite of my protein-packed, flavoursome Tupperware treats while they last.
Talking of Tupperware feasts, Week 2 featured a new experience (and I thought I’d seen it all!) when I attempted to dine out with my family while continuing to follow the million diet rules set for me. These diet rules take the material form of plastic see-through boxes containing no more and no less than my body requires on its journey to the optimum shape.
I suppose I was lucky in that I chose ‘Boma Green’ as the restaurant to entertain my mother and her partner while attempting to continue with my personal vigil. We sat down and ordered drinks: that would be water for me, wine for them (the waiters thought I was the designated driver presumably!). So far, so good, but then came the food requests during which I followed two burger orders with a request that was odd even by fitness freak standards …
“I’m really sorry to be a pain,” she said looking down at a black and green bag that would usually have filled me with genuine anticipation, “but I am currently following a rather strict diet and I was wondering if there was any possible chance of you allowing me to eat my food from this Tupperware box whilst dining with my parents?”
Like I am now in a restaurant asking the staff if I can eat food that I have brought in myself … a bit like going to a gig with your own guitar and mike!
“Yes of course!” came the response with an unreasonable reasonableness. At which point I thought I would push the obvious sympathy for my simple fare by asking if the establishment that was supposed to be selling food to me would microwave my own food for free!
“Yes,” came the ridiculously kind response once more. I honestly believe that the look on my face could have come close to the one when I crossed the London Marathon 2015 finishing line. Pure delight (mixed in with more than a little relief).
Now there is a reason I feel it necessary to include this story amid my recap of Week 2 and it is that just maybe health freaks are no longer freaks! It is quite ok to make a personal request in today’s ‘fashionably fit’ society. In this 21stcentury of ours it is actually a regular occurrence to hear someone ask for a modification to the printed menu. I am becoming more and more convinced that not only have we identified our nut allergies and wheat allergies and the like, but that we have also found a tolerance and even a respect for those that choose to go a different route with vegetarian or healthy options. What do you think?
It is easier for us because we spend most of our days in London and surrounded by people that are aware of what we are doing and have at least a basic understanding of the potentially anti-social side-effects of sticking to the prescribed diet. We are under no obligation to explain our regime or our reasoning to them. If only it were the norm. There is probably a sizeable proportion of the population that would still deem this 12-week adventure as extreme and a self-indulgence that not only tests yourself but stretches the endurance of those around you too. If it is considered strange or even rude to go out to a restaurant and not order something from their published menu then it could lead to embarrassment or worse.
It is too easy to become so wrapped up in what you are doing that you err towards a rather selfish approach to everyday life. In order to achieve that peak physique some sacrifices must be made. You hope that those who support and care for you will understand, and that you can take them with you but it is important not to allow your own chosen course of behavior affect the lives of those around you. It is an accepted fact that for all its benefits, sport itself can be very self-absorbing and this is a kind of sporting challenge. Respect for our commitment and ambition is something we can hope for from our nearest and dearest but we must not expect everyone to ‘get it’.
It is like that annoying cyclist who pulls out in front of you at the lights, we must be aware that life goes on outside our own little bubble and that no matter how much we want to achieve the absolute maximum in results, this is a temporary lifestyle change and not one we can maintain forever. We will return to the planet in 10 weeks’ time!
Beyond being mindful of all this, Week 2 has been a good progression in terms of both strength and weight. When you are being guided by people that you trust and respect it is easy to follow the programme they set out for you. Results are the main driver. When you start to see changes in yourself, there is genuine motivation to believe and trust in the process. These two weeks have allowed us to begin to develop an understanding of our bodies’ requirements. For my own part, I have learnt that I was overeating for the results I desired. I cannot promise myself that I will not eventually go back to consuming similar amounts again because I do enjoy my food and indulging myself at the dinner table is a genuine pleasure and a huge part of my social life. I need to recall that when I’m asking restaurants to heat up my rations and telling ‘rents I can’t have a coffee!
For now, we are enjoying the specific challenge and the tangible results that come with it. The next two weeks will see a further change in our training and diet before things somersault completely and we begin to really knuckle down to achieve what we have set out to do … to become ‘Comp Ready’.