Hello, I'm Mark Serrels and for the next week I'm going on a juice fast. My goal is to go from roughly 70kgs to my fighting weight of 65kgs in seven days. It's a bit extreme, it's a bit silly, but hey — it might be entertaining! Over the coming days I'l be writing about the experience here at Lifehacker. There will be hunger. There will be tears. There will be juice.
Now that I think about it, this whole thing is all Seb's fault.
Seb and I started climbing around the same time. Seb had a beard. Seb was super friendly. Seb was a great guy. In a gym full of young human beings with barely a kilo of body fat between them, we had a lot in common: we were both a bit older, both got into this climbing thing in our late 20s. We both wanted to get better. Get stronger.
Now I wouldn't describe Seb as 'fat', but — that inevitable but – Seb was carrying a few spare kilos. He weighed about 80 kilos and I was packing about 73. We trained together, we blasted through campus board work together, did pull ups (dear God the pull-ups) and all the other strange exercises that people who want to climb strong engage in.
Back then I always remember being a step ahead of Seb in the power department. I always kept myself in good shape, even before climbing. I was lighter; my strength-weight ratio was more favourable. I was better at pull ups, had powerful fingers. We climbed at roughly the same grade, but I had more strength.
Then there was that time when I didn't see Seb for a couple of weeks. 'He must be climbing on different days,' I thought.
(Another friend. Same gym.)
'Have you seen Seb recently?'
(Weird, haven't seen him in a while now that you mention it)
'I saw him the other day man, you won't recognise him.'
(Huh? What could they mean?)
Then I saw Seb.
The first thing I noticed is that he'd shaved off his beard. I laughed out loud in the way you always do when a male friend makes a massive change to their appearance.
The second thing I noticed: there was a lot less Seb. A lot less.
In the two weeks since I had last seen him, Seb told me, he had lost an incredible 10 kgs. He literally looked like a different human being. During the last two weeks, Seb had gone on a juice diet. He didn't eat a single thing. He just drank different types of juice: juice with vegetables, juice with fruit. All different kinds of juice.
Seb was 10kgs lighter and, instantly, he had become a complete machine.
Seb was always heavier than me, but we climbed at roughly the same level. This was because Seb always worked on his technique. He recognised he was a little heavier than most so worked hard on being a precise, efficient climber where I would just blunder my way through the same routes and rely on my power.
But now I had a problem: Seb was stronger than me. Seb was lighter than me. On all possible levels Seb was simply better than me. Since then I swore I would do two things to try and catch back up to Seb. I would work really hard on improving my technique.
And I would go on a juice diet.
Now I'm in the car and my boot is packed full of food: 50 apples, 40 cucumbers, 30 tomatoes, 20 lemons, 4 limes (bizarrely). Mounds of grapes, piles of spinach, kale, celery. For the past hour I've been pushing a trolley around Homebush Markets in an attempt to purchase an insane amount of fruit and vegetables and I have been successful. Through the course of the coming week I will shove every item of produce into my newly-acquired juicer and I will drink the absolute shit out of it.
People say that's silly. People tell me this is unhealthy, I'll have bad breath, my stomach won't handle it, I won't get enough nutrients. Apparently I'll lose muscle, I'll put any weight I lose back on immediately. But here's where I'm at: I like trying weird things. I like doing weird things to my body just to see what happens. I like prodding and tweaking at this biological lump of flesh I have at my disposal. Why not? YOLO, etc.
I'm not overweight and sorta kinda look good naked if I wasn't so pale. My motivation for doing this is not health, it's plain old fashioned competition, not just with my good friend Seb, but with myself. I weighed myself this morning before going to work. I'm currently 69kg and my ideal climbing weight is around 65kg (I'm a little on the small side at 5'9"). It's taken me a year to get from 73 to a steady 68-70 and I've struggled ever since. This is an attempt to shed those final kilos and get to my optimum fighting weight, but it's also another chance to test my resolve with something a little silly and pointless — and I never like to pass up the opportunity to do something stupid.
Screw you Seb, this is all your fault!