Week 5: The Year Of The Monkey

This week we celebrated Lunar New Year here in Korea- one of the main public holidays on the calendar. A 5 day weekend is as amazing as it sounds, but it’s not without its challenges now that I am following a pretty stringent routine with regard to my food intake.

During the week I have the luxury of bringing my food to school and having it at the ready, but it’s that bit more inconvenient on the weekend to have a packed lunch on hand. The temptation to eat out is greater on weekends too, and the fact that the gym was closed until Thursday due to the public holiday, it would have been understandable if my progress were to be held back a little this week.

We can but adapt, and all that being said, I’m happy to report another productive 7 days.

Preparation for the Seoul Marathon continued in the early hours of Monday morning, as myself and Nialler took to the hills of Namsan for a plod. Although I had been fasting for about 8 hours pre-run- while I was in the land of nod- a bulletproof coffee (coffee with grassfed butter and coconut oil) was more than enough to fuel the 11 km uphill climb.

I was a bit skeptical to the fact at first, but ‘The Guru’ has yet to lead me astray!

Views From Namsan

Views From Namsan

It was fitting that I was forced to channel my inner monkey until Wednesday, as I took to the river bank for some HIIT and bodyweight workouts. Variety is key, as they say, and by the time Thursday rolled around, I was eager to test myself in the gym again.

Hanging Out At The Bar

Hanging Out At The Bar

After a ten day layoff from weight training due to a prehab week last week, and the public holiday this week, I returned to find that I not only continue to get stronger, but I had trimmed down a bit more, tipping the scales at 79.8 Kg. The last time I was below 80 Kg, Dustin The Turkey held the Christmas No.1 spot!

The numbers continue to impress, and sometimes shock me; the most important aspect in all of this?

I feel immense.

The food that I am eating serves a specific purpose, and I feel as though I am more aware and in control of what I take on board.

It’s difficult to describe the magnitude of the changes in my mentality, thought patterns, and attitude, since embarking on this journey. Fionn said it best last Sunday during our customary end of week Skype call.

You’ll never experience food the same way again.

– Fionnj

I can’t see myself ever looking at food as I had done in the past- my attitude towards what I put in my body will probably never be the same. I think that’s pretty cool, but the fact remains, my giant Toblerone is still on the menu!

As the weeks tick on by, it is becoming more apparent that this isn’t some 12 week ‘project’.

This is life changing stuff.

On March 20th I will be running the Seoul Marathon in aid of Aware. If you would like to make a donation, please feel free to jump over to my JustGiving page. It’s for a great cause! Thank you so much for the support..!

Fionn McSwiney is a PhD researcher and lecturer at Waterford IT; a specialist in the field of Exercise Science and Nutrition. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram– seek out the experts.