The Intellectual Wilderness There is nothing more useless than doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

2020.08.15 20:28

Day 30, Summary Data

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — Tags: , — zxq9 @ 20:28

Unfortunately the digital data for days 28 through 30 was lost before I could write the final three days of posts. All data on hardcopy (food receipts, nutrition information and the final medical testing information) still exists and whatever was able to be scannable I have posted below. I’ll eventually format this into a table, but for now the images will have to do!

The results of my blood tests at day 0, day 15, day 30 and day 45 (15 days after returning to a normal diet) are posted below. McDonald’s did not have any significant effect on my blood levels, though working out at such a high intensity across the month certainly had some impact, though nothing unexpected according to the doctors.

The killer finding turned out to have nothing to do with health and everything to do with cost. McDonald’s is expensive! It cost me about $750 to eat at McDonald’s for one month — and I’m just one person! This explodes the myth that “poor people are fat because they have to eat at McDonald’s”. It appears more like that poor people who eat at McDonald’s are poor because they throw their money at nonsense luxuries like McDonald’s instead of saving it and cooking at home!

Blood work from 2009-05-09
Blood work from 2009-05-23
Blood work from 2009-06-09
Blood work from 2009-06-23
Vitals (body composition, etc.) scans from 2009-05-09 and 2009-05-23
Caloric intake and cost per day throughout the month.
~$750 for one person for one month! AH!

Day 29, More digital terror!

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — Tags: , — zxq9 @ 20:17

Unfortunately the digital data for days 28 through 30 was lost before I could write the final three days of posts. All data on hardcopy (food receipts, nutrition information and the final medical testing information) still exists, so I can still present at least the performance data, but unless I can recover the workout bits I won’t be able to catalogue exactly what I did on these last three days in terms of workout.

This is a placeholder page just in case I am able to recover the data at some point.

Day 28, Digital Terror!

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — Tags: , — zxq9 @ 20:15

Unfortunately the digital data for days 28 through 30 was lost before I could write the final three days of posts. All data on hardcopy (food receipts, nutrition information and the final medical testing information) still exists, so I can still present at least the performance data, but unless I can recover the workout bits I won’t be able to catalogue exactly what I did on these last three days in terms of workout.

This is a placeholder page just in case I am able to recover the data at some point.

2010.02.5 20:18

Day 27, In Need of Sleep

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — zxq9 @ 20:18

I’ll be the first to admit it: I have a hard time getting to bed on time. I did it last night, and it told on me today! Oh noes!

Despite that, I was determined to move forward with my workout routine. I had intended this entire month to be a solid training period, but I can see I have let the last few days get a little unbalanced, and going to bed early enough to recover (at least somewhat) from the day is an important part of keeping myself on a solid routine. When I don’t have enough rest I feel not just the normal tired, but training tired… which means what most people would call sluggish and sore — feelings that normally never affect me if I’m always working out and taking care of myself.

“Taking care of myself” has, until this month, also included eating a certain way. But gorging on McDonald’s for 30 days straight while keeping an otherwise normal routine is the whole point here so… whatev.

I went for my normal run and turned it in 20:48. Not bad, considering how pooped and slow I felt today. But that could have just been hitting green lights all the way.

One thing I noticed selecting shots for this blog entry, though, was how amazingly not-fatter I look after 27 days of McDonald’s. I mean, this is incredibly not like what happened on Super Size Me:

Did McDonald’s do this?!?

Granted, I’m not going to be posing for any man-pr0nz any time soon, but wow… I had come into this thinking that there would have been some downside to eating McDonald’s for a month straight. Who knows, maybe in the next two days I will explode in a giant ball of butter and cheese. But there’s just not much time left for me to become an unbearable fatass. There is also not much time left for my bloodwork to go haywire, considering how not really bad I feel, how strong I still am and how not fat I’ve gotten.

Anyway… blah blah blah. I did my run, wound up sleeping through my lifting time (yeah, that will make you feel like a complete dirtbag) and then went in to box.

Monkey see the knee…

Monkey do the knee… (but not as good)

My boxing workout wasn’t insane and I didn’t get carried away rolling with Leandro like I did yesterday. That was a good thing, every time I spend all night wrestling after boxing I overdo things and then feel like trash the next day. It’s almost like a hangover, but it is a hangover from kicking ass, so it’s justifiable.

I did mostly technical work today:

1R jumprope
2R knees
2R front kick
1R heavy bag
2R high knees (heavy bag)
2R heavy mitts (+ push ups)
2R speed/form work with paddles (+ push-ups)

Ell… thinking it would be funny to kick me… a lot.

The “+ push-ups” part was the result of me confessing to not having lifted today. Ell thought it was funny to have me do push-ups through the entire break between rounds for the last four. Har har har… That was only easy for the first round. I thought I was going to do myself in by the time the fourth round was over.

Push ups… making men feel like wimps since 1969 BC

2009.10.24 12:53

Day 26, Back on my feet

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — zxq9 @ 12:53

I woke up this morning feeling like poo, but knowing that I had it in me to get on with things. That made me happy, but I do hate waking up feeling anything less than energetic. The rain this morning dampened my enthusiasm a little further. A run can cure that, thought, so that’s what I went out to do — despite the rain.

Trying to make myself feel like running…
I had taken a day and a half off to rest after over-working myself to a pretty severe degree on Monday. My run time today was very strange: 21:14. That is exactly the same run time I turned in on Day 24, the day after I broke myself off. Of course, today felt entirely different. Whereas it was an effort just to finish two days ago, today it was an effort to restrain myself and not run too fast. I can still feel the effects of overtraining, but they are not as pronounced. My shin splints are also going away… so yay!


I didn’t feel comfortable going to lift weights today. I didn’t feel like avoiding the gym, I just did not feel as steady as I should to do the lifts I wanted to do. I needed to make up my missed weight workouts, after all, and that means (by my thinking) doing more large movements with heavy weight. The best thing I have found to do on make-up days are huge movements like dead-lifts, cleans, flat bench, etc. but all of those are a little scary to do alone on a day where I feel well-rested and energetic. I do not want to go in there feeling a little tired and have no spotter as I try some of those. So I just opted out. This is one of the primary reasons I hate working out alone… there is no one to back me up who I feel comfortable with and I am not confident pushing myself like I should without anyone else around.

When I went to the other gym today to train, I found a pleasant surprise: Leandro was there and ready to roll!

Nobody was around yet so I got him all to myself. He asked me if there was anything specific I wanted to go over, and of course having the opportunity to pick his brain on half guard sounded like great fun…

Running drills on a half-guard pass Leandro suggested to me

Then the new guys showed up and we had a class…

New guys have to discover their danger zones the hard way

After that I needed to change and do some boxing. Farrap was my trainer today and told me I needed to take things a little slower and focus on movement with him, not on knocking the crap out of a heavy bag and wearing myself out. I think Farrap underestimates himself and does not realize that doing movement and pad drills with him wears me out, maybe more than a heavy bag does.

Well deserved chicken nuggets…

By the end of things I had rolled for two hours, but most of it in a very light, fluid way with Leandro and boxed a decent 8-round workout (2 rounds shadow, 1 round heavy bag, 1 round movement, 2 rounds heavy mitts, 2 rounds focus mitts). I was extremely hungry, but felt otherwise very good and was highly satisfied with what I had accomplished today.

Day 25, Another rest day

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — zxq9 @ 11:43

I went to bed at an early-ish hour last night to try and get ahead of my fatigue, but it just wouldn’t take. Despite feeling tired all day I had trouble falling asleep last night and did not sleep soundly. Not what I expected, but then again I felt uncomfortable all over because most of my body felt either tired or slightly painful.

I woke up with some pretty awesome bed-head and wasn’t motivated to do much about that. I wasn’t motivated to do much of anything accept for eat more. I wasn’t ravenous like yesterday, but I still had a pretty good appetite.

My nappy face

Today was not a run day so the morning was nice and relaxing. I thought I could spend some time feeling myself out and at least get in for a light leg workout and boxing, but it just wasn’t going to happen today. I was too tired and my legs were already too strained feeling to be trying to kick anything. So… another rest day. I feel like I’m taking a lot of these, but comparing them with my output on the work days, things are coming out about right. A smoother pace feels better, though.

My new, other past-time: Assembling McDonald’s toys.

I noticed something interesting today. I looked visibly thinner in the mirror this morning than I did a week ago. The fat around my tummy is going away at an almost alarming rate, making me wonder if this diet, despite seeming so heavy, is actually a lot lighter than what I normally eat. I have done this level of work before, it is not so unusual for me… but I usually gain weight, not lose it. Body fat usually does go away, but as things stand right now I think I am actually lose weight overall and fat in particular.


That just makes me wonder what my normal diet calorie count actually is. One good thing about McDonald’s is that it is very easy to check how much you are eating of what if you compare your receipts with the table they publish. When I cook at home I usually make things from scratch so I have no clue how much of what is in which thing. Interesting consequence.

Day 24, Exhaustipated

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — zxq9 @ 11:22

I had had a great time on Day 23, but this morning I could tell from the bruises on my legs and feel from my slightly higher-than-usual resting heart rate that I was a lot more worn out than I had thought. But today was another work-out day so there is no avoiding getting up to go run. At least a run is a safe way to discover whether I need to take a rest day or if I can push through without negative results (or an injury).

This is my tired face

I ran my regular route in 21:14, which was about a minute slower than yesterday, but I just didn’t have anything else in me. 20+ minute 2.5 mile runs are not fast by any standard, but even 21:14 was difficult today. It was more of a survival run than a training experience. I tried everything: running slow, running fast, big steps, small steps, smooth, choppy, anything I could think of… and it all just sucked. I was simply too tired. I could feel when I got back home that I hadn’t accomplished anything other than confirming that I had overdone things last night.

My legs hurt, my chest felt hollow and things just weren’t working right. After the run I spent a nice, long cool-down period and stretched out a lot and got ready to go eat.

I decided that the wisest thing to do was to cancel the rest of my training for the day because it just wouldn’t do to crush myself under a barbell or damage my legs or shoulders boxing. With only one week remaining in the experiment an injury would risk the remainder and that just doesn’t make sense.  Regardless what I do today, my body will have to put its full energy into rebuilding and restoring itself and that will require food, all of which will come from McDonald’s, so this should still give me a clear picture of whether or not my body is adapting to this diet or not.

Recovery food?

Of course, at this point I don’t really feel any different than I did when I started and my blood work was great at the mid-point test, so I don’t think there’s much to worry about. The big change was that last night I met a BJJ guy who was better than me and a ton of fun to roll with and I wasted myself doing boxing and that all at once.

And on the point of diet… I was starving… all day. I could get to feeling full, but I always felt hungry again right afterwards. It was sort of a miserable feeling because I’m tired of eating the same food every day and going all the way to McDonald’s every time I get hungry is beginning to be a pain in the ass.

Bleh! Overtraining sucks and feeling worn out to this degree is not a very fun thing. I need to curb my enthusiasm a little if I plan on double-work at the gym. It changes a three-a-day schedule into a four-a-day schedule to roll and box on the same day. Without pacing the entire day a certain way and putting a lot more technique work into the routine (as opposed to going full-force on pads and on thr ground so often) there is no way I could keep up with a schedule like yesterdays with any regularity.

2009.06.19 14:15

Day 23, Having way too much fun

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — zxq9 @ 14:15

It was Monday! Time to get myself cranked up again and in the gym for my 23rd day of the McDonald’s experiment.

Unfortunately I got a very slow start today due to a lot of issues which popped up out of nowhere. Exercising is something that I can fit into my normal living routine and schedule around my work. Working a normal 9-5 job it is not that difficult to run at 6 or 7 in the morning, eat, go to work, lift during the lunch hour, eat at my desk (or wherever — I’ve never had a boss who had a problem with that if I explained what I was doing and most importantly got him interested in it himself…) and go to box or roll after work is over and still have time to catch a TV show while I cook my dinner. Granted, that is a full day but its actually a lot more fun than spending the day procrastinating and avoiding any activities which might speak of personal motivation. That being said, videotaping everything you’re doing for a month does actually require a life-pause. This has turned out to be pretty fun in a childish sort of way, but it is extremely time consuming… and with that comes neglect of other areas of my life, which have popped up today and have interfered directly with the schedule I was hoping to follow.

Feeling chipper around the final turn of the run

I felt a little bit tired but it was difficult to tell if it overtraining and just being worn out, McDonald’s finally sneaking up on me or if it was really just my mood because the morning sucked. Okinawa was experiencing a pretty nasty bout of Chinese factory smog today, too, and sometimes that makes me feel weird… but usually only after I run. Because of the way I felt I resolved to really try to hold myself back and run as slow as I felt comfortable with. It may sound weird to a non-runner but holding yourself back can feel worse than letting yourself go faster sometimes, and I usually have a problem with that so when I want to hold myself back I really have to focus on it.

I ran the same 4km route in 20:30 though I felt like I was going slow. In fact, I felt like I was running so slow that I would turn in a 24 or 25 minute time, but that just wasn’t the case today. That was a remarkable difference in the way I felt today, after two days of complete rest, over the way I felt on Friday where I was killing myself to get the exact same run time I did today. Actually, it was the exact same run time to the second, which is an unusual coincidence… but running about 15 times in 30 days with a time spread of a little less than 60 seconds gives you a pretty fair chance at having at least a few run times match.

After my run I really felt like going to the gym to lift but there just was no way I would be able to eat, lift, eat again, roll, box and then eat again and feel good about it so I stuck with my decision to call off lifting today so I could dedicate some time and focus to jiu-jutsu today.

Which reminds me… I failed to mention that jiu-jutsu is really my main sport and the reason I am so focused on boxing is because I suck at it. I am decent at rolling around on the ground though and have done it for a few years, though I haven’t had a chance to train with anyone worthwhile in a few years. The boxing gym I am going to is supposed to be bringing in a judo black belt and a jiu-jutsu black belt this month and I am extremely excited. It is difficult to explain the level of awareness you can gain by being exposed to people who are truly skilled and it is an invaluable experience to roll with some people who can skillfully ball you up in an instant instead of the typical opponent who simply wants to try to struggle and muscle his way through positions that he doesn’t yet fully understand.

I really could go on and on about that, but that’s not the point of this blog just now. I was very excited about the prospect of getting my gi back on and rolling with some skilled players.

I went to the gym thinking I would be doing ground work first and then moving to boxing, but instead there was an “MMA” class going on taught and populated largely with the sort of MMA folks I don’t agree much with who refuse to ever train a single skill set to perfection in isolation and instead suffer from the sloppiness that is typical of the amateur scene these days. I decided to move over to the boxing side of the gym and do my boxing routine first though that would wear me out a bit before stepping on a mat for the first time in a few years.

Making myself more tired than I needed to be today with Ell

My boxing workout:

Jumprope, 2R
Knees (heavy bag), 2R
Light bag (movement), 1R
Front kick & move (heavy bag), 2R
Shadow, 3R
Heavy bag, 3R
Heavy mitts, 2R
Focus mitts, 2R

That adds up to a 17 round workout — a lot more than I had intended to do before moving over to the jiu-jutsu mats. I took so long over at the boxing area because I was waiting on the MMA group to finally disperse and the BJJ guys to pull their gis out. It took forever, so I just kept boxing because, well, why not?

Finally the jiu-jutsu folks came out and started getting ready. I wiped off and changed clothes. The jiu-jutsu guy I had heard about was supposed to be a black belt, but apparently that was an exaggeration or simply a rumor. The instructor turned out to be a purple belt named Leandro who had come in from Brazil specifically to teach groundwork at the gym, though he was not teaching in the MMA class for some reason.

You may expect that I was disappointed at not having a black belt to roll with, and I was in a way, but the fact is legitimate purple belts are serious fighters and many schools are run and serious jiu-jutsu groups are often run by purples. I haven’t had a chance to roll with a purple in a long time and I figured this would be a great opportunity anyway. That being said a black belt has a definite edge over a purple belt in skill, teaching ability, vision on the mat and most notably experience.

Sadly all of the other students were either beginners or were the sort of guys who thought they knew a lot because they have tapped out tiny people before. Strength is important (despite all the bullshit talk about “inner power” you hear from kung-fu movie experts), but if you are significantly bigger than your opponent it is easy to steamroll him if you both don’t know what you are doing and cover up your technical deficiencies. There wasn’t anybody stronger than me in the group but there sure were a lot of guys who seemed to want to find out how tired they could make me by squeezing, tugging and generally trying to overpower me strength instead of focusing on their skillsets and actually gaming their positions.

Leandro was going over two basic guard passes and a variation on the baseball choke today during the technique phase. I had never met Leandro or any of the other guys before so I kept my mouth shut and just looked for small differences between the way I do things and the way Leandro does. Watching him and then asking to be the test dummy for techniques showed me that Leandro was very smooth, moves extremely well and knows what he is doing. You can never really tell until you lock horns with someone sparring, but I was pretty sure from the contact I had with him drilling that he could beat me without too much trouble so I was getting really excited about sparring him, despite being pretty worn out already from boxing too long.

Keeping to myself, listening to the other players

When we started sparring it became quickly obvious that nobody but Leandro knew what they were doing. I resisted the urge to lord over the other students by simply crushing them repeatedly and tried to get them thinking about what they were doing by talking them through the situations they were in and only tapping them out when they gave me a present (like an outstretched arm in mount). Some were responsive, some didn’t think they needed to take advice from another white belt — though I’ve been wearing mine for a few years.

After a bit of watching Leandro asked me how long I’ve been doing this and if I wanted to spar with him. Of course I did! Smashing people can be fun, but it gets really boring if you’re not being legitimately challenged and the guys you are beating up aren’t interested in knowing where they are going wrong.

We decided on 5-minute rounds and to simply continue after tap-outs from similar positions. Leandro is a lot shorter than me and a good bit lighter weight so he got very low as he approached to avoid any takedown strong-man battles. I couldn’t figure out a way to get under him and he was very wary of letting my hands get near his feet so tripping was difficult. I started to go over the top and he let me, but instead of letting me smother him in a wrestling overgrip with him turtling he rolled into me (that was new) and nearly acquired butterfly guard before I scooted away. It was a really interesting and very mobile move and set the pace for the rest of our session. Leandro tapped me out several times and threatened me enough times with serious attacks that I was never able to really gain the initiative despite taking his back or turtling him several times. His defense was amazing and his transitiong between defenses and offenses and varying offenses was impressive. I am a highly mobile player but Leandro’s ability to maintain the top and transition around my escapes was able to generally either shut me down or put me in situations where I was likely to make a mistake in the scramble.

Swimming out of (another) triangle attack from Leandro — he’s very smooth pulling me into those

We talked about where I was screwing up and what we each felt was preventing me from regaining a top position most of the time (the only time I was regaining top was during escapes from back attacks or triangle chokes). His back defense was so impressive to me that we started sparring strictly from back and resetting once either an escape or a tap-out was executed. This taught me a lot about the way Leandro thinks about back and was a wonderful learning experience for me, showing me how much I didn’t know about the back/rear-mount position.

Leandro skillfully working his way out of my rear mount

Getting a hook in to take his back — not that I will be able to finish an attack from here on this guy
On a side note, that belt might not look very white, but it is, I’ve just been wearing it a really long time

I know I’ve written too much already and I am getting a bit away from the point of this blog, so let’s just say that rolling with Leandro was a great experience and I had a ton of fun. In fact, I had way too much fun. I had arrived at the gym at 1700 today and I didn’t leave until 2230 (I boxed until around 1900 and rolled from 1900-2230… yikes!). I had consumed about 5 liters of water while there and hadn’t eaten anything. This was going to take a toll on me the next few days I knew, but in all honesty I didn’t want to stop rolling. Today reminded me of why I love working out, why I love jiu-jutsu and why I think competitive combat sports are some of the most consumingly real experiences we can have as humans.

Talking through the holes in my game and the strengths in his

I went to stuff my face after rolling and while I was waiting on my food I could feel the absolute energy drain taking its toll on me. I felt a little bit shaky because I had done so much on only a single meal, but I was extremely happy to have had the experiences I had this evening.

I totally deserved an ice cream today…

2009.06.7 13:08

Day 22, Resting up

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — zxq9 @ 13:08

Its the 22nd day of this McDonald’s experiment and I’m feeling fine. Just taking a rest day and trying to get charged up for Monday. I didn’t have much to eat today because I simply didn’t feel hungry. Yesterday was a rest day as well so I have a full 24 hours between me and any real work to suppress my appetite. Maybe “suppress” isn’t the right word… there is nothing to suppress. I simply do not need much food today so I am not very hungry.

Noming a bacon potato pie at McDonald’s… never knew they had these things…

There is really nothing much to write for a rest day. The need for rest after a long course of exercise is obvious to anyone who has engaged in serious exercise — but most people have never done anything I would consider a serious routine, so I suppose most folks do not understand the dynamic between rest and output. You can usually put out a lot more than you think you can, and you usually need less rest than you think you do. That being said it is usually a good idea to err on the side of too much exercise than too little. Once you hit your limit you will know because things just won’t work right anymore. You’ll suddenly have a day where you feel off, or you will feel exhausted right out of the barrel, or your heart will race doing ordinary things or you will simply not have the energy or strength to push yourself. When this happens two days in a row you will know that you are not simply having an off day, you are exderiencing the effects of overtraining. Overtraining can creep up on you in very subtle ways, too, but usually for me it hits me all at once. These things simply mean that we have to stay in tune with our bodies and actively try to pay attention to what is going on and what we are feeling. It absolutely does not mean that we should be searching for excuses to not exercise or finding reasons to justify our laziness.

There is a fine line sometimes between “taking a rest day” and being lazy. That is why scheduled rest days are a good thing. Most importantly, however, more important than any single exercise-related idea ever conceived is having a good partner. I have had to be my own partner throughout this entire series so far and that is fine. But I have a long history of exercise and have learned enough about myself and how to acheive my goals that I can do this on my own. I would do much better with a partner, though. Partners make everything better, even if they are not at your level. Partners are what prevent you from making excuses, give you a social reason to not be late to the gym, help manage your time by the mere fact of being. I wish that I had a partner right now, but unfortunately that is just not the case for now. When this experiment ends, however, I will move back to a partner-assisted routine.

Day 21, Well deserved rest

Filed under: Fast Food Fighter — zxq9 @ 01:45

Its day 21 of my McDonald’s experiment and I made it to the weekend without keeling over. Now I have a few rest days ahead that I feel are well deserved. I didn’t do much today but that was just fine. In fact, I did so little that this particular blog entry will not be much more than a place holder. I didn’t set my alarm and woke up when I felt like it, I ate amongst what seemed like a million screaming kids at McDonald’s, rented a movie and just relaxed today going to the park and feeling unpressured by anything.

Mmmm… Ice cream… Pretty much the culinary highpoint of the day

The most interesting thing about the whole day actually was how many people were at McDonald’s today. It was Saturday. The weather was amazing. There are a million things to do around here that are exciting and very fun when the weather is good and none of them involve McDonald’s. So why were so many people there today? It is interesting that the majority of the customers were Americans but the demographic of that area is largely Japanese. It is near a huge American air base, but there are a lot of things to do on and off the base that don’t involve going to McDonald’s. Anyway, in the end I suppose they go there because they like it… its just not the sort of place I am likely to go to on Saturday.

Speaking of that… Friday nights are also crowded at McDonald’s and the customers are usually American also. Maybe when they are drunk they stick with something that is familiar, and McDonald’s would be it around here. That kills me to think about though because an amazing variety of culinary treasures await anyone willing to ditch the invididually possessive nature of western restaraunt orders and take the time to learn how to read (granted, not an elementary task in Japanese). The food, drinks, and atmosphere are really great at the local 居酒屋 but I suppose that sort of thing is not what the younger American folks are into. For some reason Japanese people go out to drink together strictly to have fun — not to meet girls, get into fights or simply get wasted. You will almost never hear a Japanese guy ask his friends if they want to get fucked up over the weekend or go chase bitches at clubs… but its pretty common to hear between Americans talking about the weekend. I suppose its just a deep cultural difference that will not be bridged. As far as I am concerned, however, discovering new foods, places, people and drinks in the company of my friends is the fun part to me, so I’ll stick with that.

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