Way back on August 16th, I started a 100 day journey that ends today (November 23rd). The Challenge had two parts. The first part consists of not eating any sugars or grains. The second part consists of doing 100 body-weight exercises each day. I’ve done 30 day challenges before, but I knew doing anything for 100 days straight would be tough…so that’s why I chose such a long period of time. I’ve done No Sugar November for the last few years, but honestly, I just counted down the days and felt like it wasn’t really long enough to completely get me off of sugar. However, I felt like 100 days would be long enough to hopefully provide some insight into some of my eating and exercise habits that would lead to a permanent change.
As I reflect on the last 100 days, I think about how this way of eating just became the new normal. For me, after the first few weeks, staying away from sweets, bread and pasta was not very difficult. The No Sugar November challenges over the last three years have taught me about hidden sugar and sweeteners, so I knew what to look for. Cutting out rice required a small change, but once my wife Jessica and I settled in to the changes, it’s been fairly painless on the eating side – which is why we will likely continue to keep sugars and grains out of our diet. I would also say that finding 100 body-weight exercises to do each day was kind of fun. I would search online for new ones to try and saw a steady improvement in my strength along the way.
Over the last 100 days, I’ve explained the “why” more than anything to inquiring people. The answers I gave were basically a condensed version of what I outlined here. The most common response I got back had to do with questioning the need to remove grains. Everyone seems to know that sugar and sweeteners are bad for you, but most people believe that grains are a necessary part of a “healthy” diet. There is also a lot of confusion out there as to what exactly a grain is. Most people don’t think of rice or oats as being something they should avoid of even limit. Another common thought was that I was trying to follow a low carb diet. This is also not true. I eat tons of carbs…they are just not processed. My daily diet still consisted of close to 50% carbohydrates – in the form of vegetables and fruits (these are carbs too people)!
Despite cutting out most foods that people think of as being “fuel” for exercise, I was able to get in not only my 100 body-weight exercises each day, but also some strenuous bike rides and runs five or six days a week and never ran out of energy.
So over the 100 days, I completed the following body-weight exercises – I’ve included some video links to the one’s that are not as common:
1,370 Hip Abductors
660 Fire Hydrants
530 Ab Rollers
320 Kettlebell Swings (Technically not just body-weight)
285 Calf Raises
280 Dead Lifts
235 Lateral Jumps
150 Bird Dogs
100 Russian Twists
50 Box Jumps
For a total of 12,810 exercises over the 100 days
I tracked several metrics along the way, because I’m a data geek.
The first was my weight. Although losing weight was not a primary goal of this challenge, I had gained a few unwanted pounds since my race season ended in July. Cutting out sugar and grains definitely trimmed off the little bit of fat that I had gained. Here’s a chart of my weight. I was 184 when the challenge started, and this morning I weighed in at 170. While I didn’t expect to lose 14 pounds, I don’t feel like I’ve gotten too skinny – which I do sometimes leading up to a big race.
Since weight is not always an accurate measurement of fat loss, I decided to also keep track of my waist – as this is where I store most of my body fat. Here’s a chart of my waist. My waist measurement started at 35-1/2″ back on August 16th and this morning it was 32-3/4″.
I also tracked my Heart Rate Variability (which you can learn more about here). For the two weeks leading up to the challenge, but average HRV was 53. Over the course of the 100 days, my HRV steadily moved up, indicating a healthy nervous and endocrine (the collection of glands that secrete hormones directly into the circulatory system to be carried towards distant target organs) systems. For the final two weeks of the challenge, my average HRV had moved up 6 points to 59.
Since I had such great success with this, I plan to try and stick with the No Sugar & No Grain portion going forward. I will likely organize another 100 day Holistic Hundred Challenge next summer leading up to Ironman Louisville…so keep your eye out next June!
As for night now…I’ll finish out the day and then indulge in some Thanksgiving goodness tomorrow with no guilt!
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Wishing you optimal health and peak performance,