3 days into my 3 month test I can already feel my muscle memory returning and my body starting to respond in a positive way. Considering I’ve been an athlete my whole life, and always at a minimum in “decent” shape, this isn’t surprising.
I’m sore, but in a good way. I feel energized, and I’m pretty sure that can be directly attributed to an increase in healthy calories, the kind of nutrition those calories contain, and of course a change-up in the kind of exercise I’m doing.
CHALLENGES IN MEXICO
It’s not that I didn’t exercise at all the past 2 months in Mexico – it’s just that it was usually very simple bodyweight / plyometric stuff at the house, or a sketchy run around the neighborhood.
And it’s not that I didn’t eat in Mexico, it’s just that my diet was usually very different than I normally eat, and I didn’t have the same amount of insects available (mainly due, ironically in the country with the most recorded edible insects, to supply issues). I also ate a lot more fried-in-vegetable-oil foods, and a higher amount of processed sugar than normal (it’s in everything other than corn tortillas, it seems like).
Being crazy busy every day – and usually in places where it wasn’t like there was a Whole Foods and a 24 Hour Fitness down the street – contributed to the diet and exercise challenges as well. Not making excuses, it was just the reality, and I chose to accept that and focus on the task at hand, rather than expending time, energy, and resources seeking out the perfect workout facility and nutritional routine.
I eventually just gave up for the most part on being consistently healthy, aimed to eat as vegan as possible (or entotarian if it wasn’t), and focused on the work that needed to be done while planning on getting back into shape when I returned to Asia. Which is now.
So the changes I’m feeling after 3 days are notable, but not unique to this trip. Even if I’ve only been traveling for a week or 2 in the past, off my routine, getting back into the swing of things feels good, and my body usually responds.
Because I’ve greatly upped my intake of insects though – and I’m going to get a small scale to be able to weigh exactly how much, but I’ve been eating more crickets than I ever have on a daily basis – it feels like strength is returning faster than it would be otherwise.
PREVIOUS ISSUES WITH CALORIES
A few months ago when I started, I was struggling at times with long workouts and with cardio energy, and I posted about it on instagram a couple times, wondering if it had to do with my caloric intake. I still think it was that rather than a lack of nutrients from insects, or eating too small a quantity.
This time around I am determined to eat more than I think I need to when it comes to vegetables, grains, and tubers, especially quinoa and sweet potatoes.
NUTRITION VS NOVELTY
But of course, the other issue is making sure I’m actually getting those 30g of insects per serving, rather than just a sprinkling of crickets for flavor and novelty.
And that’s a different issue I’ll highlight over time, but virtually every “edible insect” product that I’ve seen to date is marketing hype. That’s necessary for industry growth, but it’s hardly helpful for nutritional needs! And that, more than a sexy-looking insect food, needs to be the point of Entomophagy if it’s going to change the world.
Edible insects need to meet nutritional needs. Not just fill column space because it’s new and novel.
Here are a few questions I am looking to figure out:
- What quantities of insects should a person be consuming on a daily basis?
- Is it necessary to “change it up” with different types of insects, or can I just eat crickets for 3 months straight as my protein source?
- Are there negative side-effects of eating too many insects, and what might those be?
- How can I include large quantities of insects in my recipes, without staring at a plateful of gross-looking bugs every meal?
I’m sure there will be many more questions along those lines as I go along.
BOUNCING BACK WITHOUT OVERTRAINING
The main concern I have had in recent years with any training I’ve done or athletic pursuit, is how to keep from overtraining, overexerting, or injuring myself. It sounds really pathetic, I know. But I’m in that age range where, if you look at pro athletes, their bodies just start failing them.
And I’m not a pro athlete on the level of the NBA and NFL guys in terms of training or exertion, but father time doesn’t seem to care. So aches and pains take longer to heal, and seem ever-present. Things I could do in my 20’s, such as play basketball 4-5 hours a day, several days a week (along with lifting!), just aren’t feasible anymore. Right?
My mind says yes – but then my body says, “ok, hope you had fun, now you’re going to walk like an 80 year old man for the next 3 days.” And no amount of ice, stretching, massage, or smelly tiger balm (icy-hot) does anything at all to alleviate the soreness.
This is going to be the biggest test I think, on two fronts:
- Nutritional intake
- Weighted resistance
As I mentioned before, I haven’t been “lifting” for years, choosing other training methods instead. But I have it in my head for many reasons that adding weights back into the equation can improve muscle strength which will prevent some of the minor injuries and nagging soreness that has seemed to accompany even light basketball practices, for example.
And jointly with that is maximizing my nutrition to feed my muscles, so they can grow again – not just function, but to get some gains. Ento gains! Of course it’s physiologically possible at any age, but so far even with help from world-class nutritionists, I haven’t found a consistent diet to make it work for me.
In reality, 3 days is meaningless – all it shows is that, yay! I’m eating well and exercising, and my body likes it.
The real test will be in another week, after a full 10 days of ramping up the workouts and getting back to playing hoops, will the dietary changes make a difference in the amount of debilitating soreness and pain that I feel?
Will I start to see positive changes in the mirror, in terms of muscle growth and burning off some of that stubborn belly fat I picked up the past 2 months? Will I be measurably stronger, when it comes to reps? The numbers won’t lie, and neither will my body when I roll out of bed at the crack of dawn.
So here’s to hoping it works! Making notable improvements in myself and working on a solution to a global problem of malnutrition would make for a very positive upcoming week.