Monday morning, 8am.
Mondays are a real dilemma for me. Getting up at 4.30 am and leaving the house so early always fills me with the thought of going to the gym when I arrive at my destination, between two and a half and three hours drive later. The thought sometimes even turns into an intention.
But as we all know, and in the words of Chris Rea, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
OK, I guess somebody said it before CR put it into that song (fairly slow running pace on the i-pod)...
But then the drive and the available time not doing much sets my brain a-working. And my brain is an unbelieveably highly tuned device. Highly tuned at finding alternative plans, excuses, and reasons why not.
The usual Monday excuse relates to tiredness. You see, with the early start, it's touch and go whether I am too tired to take on the day properly, give it everything at work, get stuff done...or whether I meander through the day, blogging, killing time, drinking coffee and longing for a bed, any bed, for the night, hoping that a decent night's sleep will see me fitter for the Tuesday and the rest of the week. Margins are tight. Get to bed before 10pm on a Sunday night and my chances are reasonably good. Stay up to watch even just the Sunday matches on Match of the Day 2 and I've lost the Monday already, before it's started.
There was a time when my boss in Belgium would arrive on a Monday morning full of all the "great" ideas that had occurred to him over the weekend, and Mondays always seemed to turn into a huge post-mortem. A day filled with trying to find the pearl among the dross of his "great" ideas, persuading him that not all were indeed the pearls he believed them to be. Time spent steering him back towards the direction we had set over the previous weeks rather than "another" new direction that would be rejected by most people...not so much actively rejected but more passively, as they were convinced - usually correctly - that next week would see a new favourite flavour, a new beginning, a new direction. Pointless to follow this week's if it was going to change again next week. But that way, every week becomes the same week of waiting it out, keeping your head down, seeing things fail, thinking "I told you so" and vaguely looking forward (with a small level of interest rather than any desire or longing) to next week's offering.
I have learned over time to be very careful with Mondays. I never work very late on a Monday if I can help it...that kills the rest of the week. And gym sessions have to be handled very carefully.
That's the thought that always hits me on the long drive, usually as I'm speeding past Heathrow Airport (yes, I am normally there so early that I can speed past Heathrow on the M25...just ahead of the traffic build-up). Is it really wise to go training on a Monday morning? Tired already from an early wake-up call and long drive, should I really expect my body to cope with a workout?
And yet I know that, while being careful with Mondays is a wise thing to do, Monday is so incredibly important to set the tone for the week, that no workout on a Monday nearly always spells a bad workout week, while training on a Monday sets the tone, starts the week off with a good habit, and inevitably leads to much calorie buring over the whole week. But only as long as the other Monday rules are followed...otherwise disaster lurks.
Wary of that post-workout tiredness though, I decided this morning to stop for breakfast as well as the planned double espresso. That decided it finally. Well, at least it decided that I wouldn't train this morning. Whether I get to the gym at lunchtime, as the revised plan calls for me to do, remains to be seen...
There is a nagging doubt lingering at the back of my brain though. Was the change of plan really down to sensible protection of energy and a desire to be productive, or was the usual sinister self-sabotage kicking in, the smell of the bacon overpowering the lack of desire to stand in the long queue at Costa?
I guess that will only be answered at 1pm, and the reality of whether I am in the gym, or whether I am at the sandwich vending machine...
Weigh in at the weekend. 116.9kg. Down 1.4kg since the start of September, way behind my target and basically steady for the last 2 weeks...I did a calculation that always shocks me at the weekend...to turn maintenance into a 1kg per week loss, I am currently running at a deficit of over 1,200 calories per day. Yes, PER DAY!!! Ouch. My DirectLife monitor has me averaging 1,257 calories in October so far. Hitting my targets would get me 400 calories more, but that still leaves a whopping 800 calories I have to cut from my eating. From a normal eating base that might be doable, but from what I have convinced myself is a reduced, already-doing-pretty-well base it feels impossible. Yet I know that if I really analysed the recent calorie intake it wouldn't be as low as I've convinced myself.
And if I train a little bit more, then 110% of my calorie burn target is also possible. And that's another 170 calories a day. 170 calories I don't have to cut from food. So from today, that's the target...to get to 110% consistently and cut the food intake.