Programming when you can't get enough protein / calories Programming when you can't get enough protein / calories

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Thread: Programming when you can't get enough protein / calories

  1. #1
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    Default Programming when you can't get enough protein / calories

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    Summary: I am rerunning my NLP after a 4 month long COVID break, but about to stall prematurely because I can't get enough protein rich food due to the COVID wave. I am actually losing weight since last week as I am forced to ration my food intake. How should I programme in such a scenario?

    Background: COVID is spreading like wildfire in my city and the locality where I live is declared as a containment zone. Roads are barricaded and entry and exit are strictly allowed only for emergencies. We can order basic provisions online which will get delivered at an outpost half a mile away, but getting good quality protein food has become difficult. We live under a democratically elected Communist Government and they are doing a good job so far by providing absolutely free health care to COVID patients and by providing free ration consisting of rice, wheat, pulses, spices and oil to everyone.

    I had anticipated the second wave of lockdowns and had stocked up well. I now have enough meat, eggs and milk to carry my family through a few more weeks, if I cut my protein intake 5o about half of my daily requirement. I am trying to restock, but that is not happening. Also, many parts of my city is waterlogged now due to incessant monsoon rains and there is some talk about floods too. Our house will not be flooded, but the supply chain would be hit and the COVID situation will get really worse. So I think it is safer to ration my food intake to save the kids from a possible starvation if this containment mess lasts longer and/or the river overflows. Also, I am left with my last packet of Whey powder with no chance of getting fresh supply anytime soon. I can get almost unlimited supply of rice and pulses, thanks to the Government Ration, but pulses give me gastro issues and I can't rely on them for my protein requirements. Despite all this, I have to continue working from home and keep my family away from possible depression (wife thinks that she might lose her job soon and so...). Okay, enough whining.

    Detailed Question: Lifting three times a week is what is keeping me sane. But I can't chase the numbers as I did during the pre-COVID NLP and I am stalling early because I can't gain weight. What is the best way to programme in this situation?

    a) Continue pushing by stalling, and resetting, again stalling etc.
    b) Reduce volume. Keep intensity going up.
    c) Maintain volume and intensity to maintain strength till things get better.
    d) Move to intermediate style programming and improve weekly.
    e) Lift twice a week instead of thrice.
    f) Go figure yourself, you moron.

    Any other bright ideas?

    PS: This question is strictly about programming, and not about the politics of the COVID. I mentioned about the Government only to indicate the kind of food I can easily find.

  2. #2
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    Kill something and eat it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Kill something and eat it.
    The only thing I can kill is TIME, but I can't eat it.

    (Then there are little and big human beings, insects, rats and snakes. Sorry, I don't eat them).

    Okay, so I guess the official answer to my tantrum is "option f) Go figure out, Moron".

  4. #4
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    Your question is essentially, "I cannot do what I must do. What do I do?"

  5. #5
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    My question was supposed to be "I cannot do what I must do because of the factors beyond my control. What is the next best thing that I can do till the things get better?"

    English is sort of my third language, so please excuse me if I could not express what I really meant.

    Since you have indicated that my question didn't merit an answer, I guess I have to figure this out myself.

  6. #6
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    Sorry you're in such an impossible situation.
    This is a super off the wall idea so forgive me.

    There's lots of interesting research about how intermittent fasting and/or keto can have a muscle sparing effect during a calorie deficit. It most closely mimicks historical conditions where there are food shortages, and your body created adaptations to keep muscle mass in those situations. Basically, fasting elevates growth hormone. There's also been studies that show it lowers total protein need by promoting autophagy, aka the recycling of old proteins. I'm not saying it'll take your protein needs from 200 to 40. But it might help you get by on 150.

    Could you experiment with shorter eating windows just around your exercise? Like eat, lift, eat. Get all your calories in that 4 hour window?

    It totally sucks to fast at first, but once your body stops expecting food at your normal meal times, it actually becomes a much less painful way to be in a calorie deficit.

    Of course there's a point where it's just downright stupid to be lifting weight when you don't have access to sufficient calories and protein, because you'll be breaking down muscle without the tools to rebuild it, and could actually end up hurting your lean body mass in the long run. Hopefully you can judge for yourself if you're at that point yet - mostly by monitoring your ability to recover.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PuliMorgan View Post
    My question was supposed to be "I cannot do what I must do because of the factors beyond my control. What is the next best thing that I can do till the things get better?"

    English is sort of my third language, so please excuse me if I could not express what I really meant.

    Since you have indicated that my question didn't merit an answer, I guess I have to figure this out myself.
    Your English is at least as good as mine, and you have expressed yourself well. I'm suggesting that you stop being limited by what you think are impossible constraints and start being more resourceful. Like I said, kill something and eat it -- perhaps not literally, but maybe so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elle View Post

    There's lots of interesting research about how intermittent fasting and/or keto can have a muscle sparing effect during a calorie deficit.
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb says that intermittent fasting makes one "anti-fragile". I think I have the opportunity now to test this hypothesis.



    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Your English is at least as good as mine, and you have expressed yourself well. I'm suggesting that you stop being limited by what you think are impossible constraints and start being more resourceful. Like I said, kill something and eat it -- perhaps not literally, but maybe so.
    I get it, Coach Rip. But I don't know if you can see through the cultural barrier, but the fact is that my country is predominantly a vegetarian society where meat eating is looked down upon. Suspected beef eaters occasionally get lynched in certain parts of the country. Our state, Kerala, is the most progressive and the most non-vegetarian among all the Indian states, still the efforts of someone to get hold of meat during pandemic + flood situation will be viewed as taboo. By the way, the meteorologists think that it won't flood this year and that is why people are almost convinced that it is going to flood.(Dread of deluge adds to pandemic scare- The New Indian Express)


    I am trying to adapt. To start with, I am now taking pulses like green gram and pigeon pea in small quantities to raise my tolerance levels towards them. One tea-spoon today, one and half tea spoon tomorrow - just like doing the NLP. On the programming side, I think I need to introduce a light squat day too early in the programme to keep things safe and simple.

  9. #9
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    I understand the vegetarianism. This is why India does not participate in heavy sports -- too hard to recover from heavy training without the protein. But we cannot make physiology suit your cultural circumstances. The problems you are experiencing are mitigated by an increase in protein consumption, and that cannot be made otherwise. Can you order from Amazon?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    I understand the vegetarianism. This is why India does not participate in heavy sports -- too hard to recover from heavy training without the protein. But we cannot make physiology suit your cultural circumstances. The problems you are experiencing are mitigated by an increase in protein consumption, and that cannot be made otherwise. Can you order from Amazon?
    Amazon does not deliver to the so called "Containment Zones". Nor do the food delivery services. Only the basic provisions, medicines and newspapers easily get through the barricades. The
    extent of enforcement varies from region to region, but in my area it has been a bit stricter.

    You see, I am out of chalk, out of good coffee, out of printer cartridges, and only a little bit of whey is left.- all these things were just a click away on Amazon or Flipkart until this mess happened.

    Okay, I will find a way. Hoping that the restrictions would ease in the coming week.

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