Journal Entry 305 – New Schedule is Coming

Today is the last week of my old schedule. I luckily get Saturday off, so it will be a 3 day week. I’m moving to an 8-5 schedule Monday through Friday. It will be a big change for me as I haven’t been on that schedule for awhile. This also means some change in terms of diet and workout, which I haven’t really figured out yet. I probably won’t figure it out until I actually start and see what I like best. I thought about going to the gym early and knocking it out, but I would likely have to get up before 6AM, which I’m not really sure I want to do. I will most likely just go to the gym on my lunch break around 1-2PM. I may adjust my routine so that I’m benching twice a week and continue with my pushups / chinups and stretching routine. Still hitting 200 pushups / 50 chins and stretching daily.

Not sure what I plan to do for the diet. Based on my schedule, an Intermittent Fasting setup would work really well with my hours. Eat minimal during the day when busy and feast at night. This would also be far easier from a planning and financial standpoint. What I may do is make a protein shake in the morning to drink around mid-morning, then eat a bag of Enlightened Beans or Jerky at work. This provides around 600 calories total during the day, which allows a very large meal every night, while keeping calories in check. This would allow me a couple drinks at night, a very big high protein meal and some protein pudding for dessert.

I got to a new low of 179.4lbs this week. I had a big eating day from Saturday night and all day Sunday and got up to 184lbs. I was down to 182lbs this morning. I expect to go below 179lbs by the end of this week.  For whatever reason, I almost felt hungover after my cheat day even though I didn’t drink. Not a good feeling. It’s probably because I went from pretty low carbs to very high carbs in a day and then back to very low carbs. That’s a pretty large swing that I’m not really used to. Calories were over 3000 for the day. I may try splitting my cheat day up into a big meal on both Saturday and Sunday night versus the whole day. I have a feeling I would not only enjoy this more, but feel much better than slamming calories all day long.

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Journal Entry 304 – Return of the Refeed

Missed my post last week since Sarah and I were in Greensboro for the weekend doing some things for the wedding.

Some big schedule changes also happened at work, which will move me back into a much more normal schedule. Looking forward to that so that Sarah and I will have more time together.

My workout schedule has been even more minimalist style than my last post. I have literally been doing 200 pushups and 50 chin-ups a day at least for the last week. I’m only lifting once a week in the gym on Friday, which has been heavy barbell bench press that I then follow with pushups and chin-ups. Pushups and chin-ups are starting to feel extremely easy. I’m doing 30 pushups a set and 10 chin-ups a set. I plan to increase those to 35-40 for pushups and 15 for chins soon.

I really enjoy these two moves. They work every muscle in the upper body and you can literally do them anywhere at any time. (Although this is truer for pushups rather than chin-ups.)

As for my diet, its time for the “Return of the Refeed.” I experienced somewhat of a plateau where I could not drop under 182lbs for 3 days even with my diet and exercise on point. Very frustrating. I refeeded a couple of days ago pretty hardcore. I went 3000+ plus calories with the vast majority of calories coming from carbs. I went up to 187lbs after this day, but have now dropped below 182lbs just two days later. I have written about refeeds before, but have stopped doing them the past couples years for whatever reason. I really do they think hold tremendous benefit to allow yourself to “go to town” one day of the week just to get it out of your system. It also has many physiological and psychological benefits, which I have wrote about in my article How To Do A Carb Refeed.

Most people would benefit from doing this once a week. It’s just far easier to program. If you were going by science every 5th day would probably be optimal. So 4 days of dieting, 1 day off to refeed up to or beyond maintenance calories and repeat. This presents a pain for most people though, because your refeed day constantly changes. No one wants to refeed on a Monday. So I would recommend just doing it Saturday or Sunday (my personal favorite). Give precedence to carbs. I usually go high protein all other days, so I really look forward to eating all of the things I can’t eat on this day. I actually tried to lower protein as much as I could on my last refeed day. I hit around 80 grams of protein / 70 grams of fat / and over 400 carbs.

Also one more point about refeeds. Some people try to lower dietary fat as low as humanly possible on these days. Don’t do this. It makes the day far less fun and satisfying and really lowers your food choices. I’m not saying to go super high in fat, but just allow yourself to hit a normal of fat of around 50-70 grams instead of going like under 30-40 grams like is commonly recommended. Your body can store some dietary fat as muscle, especially if your diet days tend to be low in fat. Even if you store some fat, it’s going to come off easily when you return to your normal diet the next 6 days.

Journal Entry 303 – Minimalist

Time to return to my minimalist roots for awhile.

Workout

My routine is back to a super minimalist template and will be a 4 day Push / Pull routine as shown below:

  • Day 1 – Push
    • Barbell bench 4×6-8 reps
    • Dips 4 x AMRAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8 reps
  • Day 2 – Pull
    • Chinups 4×6-8 reps
    • DB Curl 4×8 reps
    • Ab Machine 4×8 reps
  • Day 3 – Cardio
    • 30-40 minutes of Cardio
  • Day 4 – Push
    • Incline Dumbbell bench 4×10-12 reps
    • Dips 4 x AMAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8 reps
  • Day 5 – Pull
    • Db Rows 4×10-12 reps
    • Chinups 4x AMRAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8
  • Day 6
    • Cardio 30-40 minutes
  • Day 7
    • Cardio 30-40 minutes

I love it so far. I wanted to do full body but quickly realized that there was no way I could possibly finish that on my lunch breaks. The above is actually really intense despite the lowish volume. I want to hit the abs with heavy weights and more frequency. You will not find any isolation in this routine because it doesn’t really fit well into a time saving minimalist routine. I also do at least 100 pushups a day and have for some time now.

Diet

I have decided to go pretty close to a PSMF diet until the wedding with a few occasional cheat meals. I’m trying to get down to about 175lbs and stand at 182lbs currently. My calories are actually much higher than a normal PSMF, but the point is basically to eat protein and veggies only. Carbs and fats are incidentals. I estimate with my current deficit I should net about 1lb to 1 1/2 lbs per week. Since my protein is high and I’m lifting regularly to retain my strength, I’m expecting this to be pure fat.

I may eat some carbs at night (prob not many though) and have an occasional cheat meal (probably once a week) just for a little variation, but I plan to stick to this pretty rigidly for the time being. Of all the diets I have done when I eat nothing but lean protein and veggies and keep carbs and fats low, the fat always comes off.

Journal Entry 302 – Balance

So I spent about one week on the carnivore diet. It was great at first and not great towards the latter end of the week. I really started to crave any type of sweets and there is no way I could ever do it long term. My calories were higher than normal and my fat intake was well over 100 grams a day. I wanted to keep it high on purpose to see if I noticed any additional benefit in terms of lifting or cardio. I did not.

The savory test of eggs and beef were great at first. After about 4 days, I wanted to eat anything but those foods. Cooking these foods also became a chore. Another huge negative to this diet was food volume or should I say the lack of it. When you cook a very large serving of 12oz of beef (90/10) it loses about 4-5oz in the cooking process. So you have about 600 calories worth of beef and it’s a pretty small serving of food. I was actually always hungry after my meals and these meals were both high in protein and fat. I really missed the large volume in my meals and felt pretty restricted.  If you added anything on top of these meals such as guacamole or cheese or extra meat, your meal was easily close to 1000 calories and still very unsatisfying.

As excited I was to initially try it, my excitement was even higher to end it. It was worth a shot, but I think a diet consisting of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, some saturated fat, fish oil) is still the way to go and keeps cravings at bay and energy high. Deep down I knew this anyway but it was worth a shot.

My apartment gym’s dumbells only went up to about 50lbs until a week ago. They bought 2 100lb dumbbells and 2 70lb dumbbells, which allows me to do a lot more in the gym. Due to my failed diet experiment that was very unbalanced, I wanted to make the perfectly balanced workout routine. I’m going to do 3 full body workouts and 3 cardio workouts with one day off.  Keep it simple :).

Journal Entry 301 – The Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore Diet seems to be the flavor of the week in the dieting industry.

This diet has actually been around a long time but recently resurfaced due to Dr. Shawn Baker. He is a doctor that started eating only meat for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he found he could stay lean and recover faster when eating only steak. He also noticed the disappearance of bloating, health issues, joint pain, cravings and a whole plethora of other benefits.

In terms of macros, the carnivore diet is a zero carb diet with more protein than a traditional ketogenic diet. It reminds me of old school bodybuilder diets that Vince Gironda and Arnold Schwarzenegger used to use to get really ripped.

This is a red meat diet though, which is where it truly differs from Keto. The reason is red meat is actually a very dense and nutritious food. It contains many of the fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and nutrients and delivers them in a streamlined dose. Meat is easy to digest and the fat from the meat also helps the nutrients to be absorbed. The low fiber also counteracts some of the binding that can occur with nutrients being absorbed. Another really good food to eat in addition would be Eggs as they fit the same bill as red meat. Some people have allergies to eggs though, which is why red meat usually works better. The dietary fat from the meat also has been shown to increase testosterone levels. Testosterone levels also have a lot to do with the overall nutrients you are getting, so the nutrient/ dietary fat combo makes it a great food to help with this.

Another interesting benefit of this diet is actually pretty cheap. If you substitute out the steak for ground beef and eat some eggs to replace one of the steak meals, the diet is very cheap. You get more calories per dollar. With vegetables, you can eat way more volume, but this comes as the expense of bloating, gas, indigestion, a sluggish “heavy” feeling and it’s more expensive because the food is so low in calories that you have to buy more. Vegetables usually don’t help your appetite very long either. They are initially filling, but 1-2 hours later you are hungry again.

The zero carb aspect is also very important for the overall health gain you get. Low carbs have been shown to be very helpful in managing blood sugar-related diseases (think type 2 diabetes), helping to lower cravings (again likely due to blood sugar), restoring health (tend to be loaded with nutrients / higher quality foods) and sensitizing the body to insulin and carbs. This list could go much longer, but I came from a family history of type-2 diabetes, so I’m always conscious of this. These diseases are built over time, so it’s important to eat in a way that feels right.

I find this diet intriguing. I don’t think I could ever do just red meat, but I could adapt a diet pretty similar. I went to Costco and bought 5lbs of 88% lean ground beef for $15. Deals ;). I also bought some eggs from Aldi that I got for $0.40 a dozen. My grocery bill is going to get very cheap. I’ve done this diet the past 2 days and have already dropped 3lbs. Yes, its mostly water weight, but I actually look visibly leaner and my stomach is really flat with very littly bloating. I have also eaten 2500 calories a day these past two days, which for me is way too much to burn fat on. Nevertheless, the scale is down and I look leaner. Winning ;).

I’m going to run this diet for the next two weeks with maybe one cheat day thrown in. I love the simplicity of it and hope the results continue.

Image result for ron swanson meme

Workouts

I have been doing 200 pushups and 50 chinups 5 days a week and cardio 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I have only been lifting once a week in the gym. You read that correctly. For me, its the least “gym work” I have done in probably 10 years. I love to workout, but I hate gyms. Especially recently, because they have been packed beyond belief at all times of the day. That being said I have 3 major goals right now:

  • Get leaner
  • Get really good at pushups
  • Keep getting stronger on the bench press

I’m a simple man, what can I say. The bench press is my only gym workout and I’m still repping 215lbs for 6 or so reps. I think the pushups have been helping me a lot with this as well.

 

 

Journal Entry 300 – Pushups / Costco

For the past couple of weeks, I have done about 200 pushups a day, except for a few where I did around 100-150 or so. I usually do about 30 reps per set and do about 7 sets a day throughout the day. I’ve noticed some interesting benefits from them. One is that gives you a tremendous energy boost from it. Two is that pushups are getting very easy to perform and it seems the more often I do them the better I get. Third, is that my serratus anterior muscle is really starting to pop. Due to the position of the shoulder blades during pushups, the serratus anterior gets much better activation than a traditional bench press. I’ve enjoyed them so much, I’m going to start doing 2 bodyweight workouts a week. These bodyweight workouts will be a pushup/pullup superset workout with some stretching in between. Stretching is also something I’ve enjoyed. I haven’t been as consistent with pushups, but it really feels good. I usually work these in between sets in the gym.

Sarah and I went to Costco for the first time all year. I bought two new protein powders Orgain Vanilla and Creamy Chocolate. The Vanilla was new flavor and was a pleasant surprise. They were $8 off each, so no way I was passing that up. They also have a much thicker consistency, which I like. Elite XT “reformulated” its product and really ruined its taste for me. It’s way too thin and has a cheap whey protein taste. Dymatize is Trolling hard with that. ;(

We also got some frozen berries, steamed dumplings and Kirkland protein bars (their version of a Quest Bar) from Costco.

Also, Aldi has some really good frozen sushi. Spicy crab roll is awesome. You get 15 pieces for $5, which is a very good price for sushi.

Journal Entry 299 – David Goggins / Star Wars

Routine and David Goggins

I listened to a Joe Rogan podcast earlier this week and was really inspired by a guest named David Goggins he had on the show. David Goggins was a navy seal that grew up with a really hard childhood and slowly but surely made something of himself through the military. He then became and an ultra-endurance athlete to respect the memory of his fallen comrades in battle. His psyche is really incredible and it was a very enjoyable 2 hours listening to him. He’s one of the most motivating people I have ever heard. One of his most amazing accomplishments is losing 100lbs in 2 months before he joined the military so that he could enlist due to their height and weight requirements. Not many people can say they have done that.

Anyway, he inspired me to take reevaluate my own routine. I have decided to run at least 3-5 miles a day 5 days a week and do a minimum of 200 pushups every day. I also want to spend at least 5 minutes a day stretching as he recommends this highly for health and stress relief. Due to my schedule, it can be tough to get into the gym and do cardio on Friday and Saturday, so I decided I will make these my heavy lifting days. So basically only lifting heavy 2 days a week for the time being.

Star Wars

I have also been really into Star Wars recently for some reason. I have watched movies 2-6 and will probably finish The Force Awakens today. I really enjoy some of the philosophy behind it and it’s a pretty powerful story. It definitely has some goofy elements that I’m not a huge fan of, but still.

My favorite character by far is Anakin Skywalker. He had way more power than any other character and I really enjoyed his story. Darth Vader is an awesome character, but it does suck how Anakin was literally half dead when he put the suit on. Darth Vader’s suit was a walking life support system. I guess it shows how powerful of a character he really is if he was basically dead but still ruled the entire galaxy!

Favorite movie was Revenge of the Sith. Let’s face it, that lightsaber battle was amazing and powerful between two friends. I also liked how the two had the exact same fighting style, which makes perfect sense because Obi-Wan taught Anakin for 20 years.

Runner-up Favorite Characters were Luke Skywalker, Padme and Kylo Ren.

The most overrated character was Yoda. Yoda was a troll. He was supposed to be this all knowing creature, but couldn’t sense that Chancellor Palpatine (who was the leader of the Galactic Senate for two decades) was the emperor. The emperor was the most evil character by far and “reeked” of the dark side / negative energy. How the hell did he not “sense” that through the force. Also, the lame/strict Jedi rules eventually led Anakin down the path of the dark side, which ruined his life and the lives of the entire Jedi Order and many other countless individuals who were killed by the Empire. He was also mean as hell to Luke when they first met. He told him he was “too old to train.” Yoda knew about Luke since he was born. Why didn’t you seek him out sooner to train rather than waiting 20 years? Yoda also acted like a goofy old man. I mean he wasn’t all bad because he did teach Luke, but like I said VERY OVERRATED.

As a final note, the Sith Code is better than the Jedi Code. Just saying. 😉