As promised, today’s post will talk all about the food I ate in the lead up to and during my competition on Sunday.
10 days before the competition, I weighed in at around 76.5kg. I had 1.5kg to lose in 10 days, which I thought would be easy. After “dieting”, I was 75.5kg on the Thursday morning before the comp. Better, but not good enough.
I put the word “dieting” in quotation marks, because most people wouldn’t consider what I was doing anything close to a diet. That said, my apologies to anyone around me who had to listen to the endless whingeing about how hungry and carb-depleted I was!
I counted my calories from Sunday June 1 to Friday June 6. Please don’t compare yourself to these numbers – what works for me won’t for most people. I didn’t target any particular macro split, but tried to keep my calories around 2000-2200.
Sunday: 2300 calories, 104g protein, 258g carbs, 84g fat
Monday: 1900 calories, 131g protein, 163g carbs, 72g fat
Tuesday: 1970 calories, 129g protein, 161g carbs, 79g fat
Wednesday: 2230 calories, 139g protein, 165g carbs, 108g fat
Thursday: 2120 calories, 148g protein, 154g carbs, 93g fat
Friday: 2060 calories, 110g protein, 136g carbs, 114g fat
I think it’s important to note that I was still able to lead a fairly “normal” life throughout this week: I went out for dinner, drank Starbucks frappucinos, and ate bacon and red meat. I still had carbs with lunch and dinner, and I had two squares of dark chocolate every night to keep me sane. The only real changes I made were cutting back on the desserts, grains and dairy, as those foods tend to make me bloat and retain water.
I was so hungry in the late afternoons/evenings, I suffered two low-carb-induced headaches and my meals never seemed to fulfil me. I felt leaner than I had in months, which is why I was somewhat surprised to see that I hadn’t lost more weight than I did (perhaps I might have failed to listen to my own advice and actually cut my calories too low?).
This is the first time I’ve tracked a week’s worth of calories in almost three years, and I found it very interesting! I obviously run well on high fat and I don’t need as much protein as I was once led to believe.
I was on track to be under 75kg by Sunday, but I wanted to give myself enough room to eat big all day Saturday. I was feeling pretty weak due to the lower amount of carbs in my system (I usually have 400g+ a day) and knew I needed to get my energy back before comp day.
So I decided to do a half-arsed attempt at water loading. If I was doing this properly, I wouldn’t have had any water about 12-16 hours before weigh-in, I would have completely cut sodium and I would have avoided all grains and dairy until after weigh-in. Instead, I just drank a shitload of water (6-8 litres) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to flush my system out, and ate normally on Saturday. I should have actually started this earlier in the week because the water filled my tummy and took my mind off food completely!
This was all the food I bought to feed me and one strongman for the weekend (excluding dinners and Sunday breakfast). I didn’t end up eating the two packs of granola or any of my yoghurt-covered raisins, which have been a competition staple so far.
This picture doesn’t do it justice as you can’t really tell how big the tupperware containers are. Put it this way: I made 4kg of spaghetti bolognaise, 1.5kg of meatballs and mashed potatoes, and 2.5kg of chicken, rice, veggies and feta.
My carbing up officially began on Friday night. I tried a few of each of the dishes, and I had a bar of chocolate.
In the car to Hastings on Saturday morning, I ate two bagels with bacon, eggs and cheese. I swear carbs had never tasted so good! Throughout the day, I had one serve of each of the meals I’d made, as well as a couple of Reeses’s peanut butter cups, bananas, vitamin waters and iced coffees (I was trying to keep my water intake high but was sick of drinking plain water). I actually had not one but two strongmen comment that I was eating more food than them, when they were the ones competing! Awkward.
On Saturday night I had bread, steak and fries. We then marched all over Hastings looking for ice cream with no luck – we ended up in McDonalds with chocolate brownie McFlurries! It did the job (ice cream is my pre-comp tradition!) but I was not completely satisfied.
I stopped drinking water at 8pm, which was more difficult than I thought it would be. My body was so used to drinking loads of water that I felt constantly thirsty. I did crumble and had half a glass of water in the middle of the night.
I weighed in at 74.9kg at 8am Sunday morning, and then headed straight for breakfast. Here is where the real fun began! I wasn’t paying attention to everything I put in my mouth, so this is going by memory, but I estimate that I consumed 6000 calories on Sunday. Given that the total time of exertion is roughly six minutes (one minute per event), that’s 1000 calories for every minute!
For breakfast, I had two eggs, two rashes of bacon, two sausages, two pieces of toast and a latte. Again, the restaurant offerings in Hastings were abysmal so this was a slightly disappointing start.
I made it through warming up, the overhead press and deadlifts without any food. Before the keg toss, I had about 300g pasta with meat sauce and two bananas. I had about 100g rice and chicken and a chocolate chip cookie before the Hussafel stone carry, but didn’t want to eat too much right before an event that involves weight bearing down on your stomach!
Right after that, I ate about 300g rice and chicken, two Reese’s peanut butter cups and an iced coffee, before realising we were heading straight into the van pull. Usually we have about an hour between events as every competitor has to cycle through, and there were 25ish competitors on Sunday – thankfully not all in my weight class 😉
However, we split into two groups, which meant that we only had about 15 minutes between finishing the Hussafel carry and pulling the van. Thankfully, I had no problem with regards to eating all that food.
After the van pull, we were told that we would have a 15 minute break before the atlas stone loading. I try to save all my sugary foods until before the last or second last event (depending on how long the comp is dragging on for).
I perfectly timed my eating so that I had another portion of meat and pasta, and a Reese’s nut bar right before we were about to start. But things never go to plan, and we ended up having to wait another 45 minutes before starting the stones! So I had another banana and two Reese’s cups right before we actually went up. I had two Jaffa cakes somewhere in there too, but I can’t remember if it was before the van pull or atlas stones.
I should point out that not all competitors eat like me. Some people can’t stomach any food at all because of nerves or they just don’t want food in their system while they are doing maximal effort events. I’d say the majority of people stick to sugary foods the whole time, so I am unique in that I like to eat proper, heavy meals and save the sugar until the end.
The reason I eat so much – not just during comps but also before and after regular training – is so that I can never blame food for a bad performance. If I perform poorly, I can only blame myself and not the fact I haven’t eaten enough.
It was really hot (well, by English standards!) so I drank loads of water throughout the day. After deadlifts, I’d already gone through 3 litres. I tried to slow down a bit so I didn’t end up peeing myself during an event (which has thankfully never happened to me, but I saw it happen more than once on the day!). In total, I probably had 6-7 litres on Sunday.
After the competition was done, I had one more peanut butter cup as a celebration, and then we headed back to London. Traffic was a nightmare so the usual 90 minute journey took almost three hours. We headed to one of our favourite burger joints (Urban Diner in Richmond for any interested London peeps) but when we arrived all I could think about was peeing! Holding my bladder for that long after all that water was not fun.
I had a pulled pork burger with sweet potato fries, and a peanut butter and Nutella milkshake (this is not on the menu but I made a special request).
As if I hadn’t consumed enough sugar over the course of the day, we then went for salted caramel frozen yoghurt topped with oreos and peanut M&Ms. I had barely had any sugar all week so my body went into slight shock. I was comfortably full, but still managed to wake up starving on Monday.
On Monday and Tuesday, I felt starving all day as my body recovered. Thankfully, I was able to eat according to hunger and enjoy some big meals once again.
Now I am off to Paris for a few days, where I can thankfully enjoy all the crepes, croissants and wine that I like without having to worry about making weight!
Did anything surprise you about my food intake? Do you feel sick after reading this? 😉