Month: February 2014

Journal Entry 111 – Weekly Post

Morning Weight – 182 lbs

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Workout

  • Su – Shoulders and Biceps
  • M – Legs and Abs
  • T – Chest and Triceps
  • W – Back and Abs
  • TR – Shoulders and Biceps
  • F – Legs and Abs
  • Sa- Bodyweight exercises

No rest day this week except for saturday, which I did 100 pushups and 50 pullups in my room. Never really got to sore except for Thursday, which my shoulders were a little weak feeling going in, but I finished strong with some standing BB Shoulder Press for 105 x 6 reps. I’m much weaker on standing BB press vs seated DB press, but Im not going to get better until I start doing it on a regualar basis.

My Bench Press is still going down, which really confuses me. 205lbs for 4-6 reps is all I can manage when a couple of weeks ago I hit 225 x 4 reps. Really frustrating why they dropped so much, unless the day I hit 225 was just a lucky day.

All other lifts were about the same except for DB shoulder press which I hit 60lbs in each hand for 6 reps, which was a personal best.

Nutrition

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Updated stats since my Dexa scan in senior year in college. Since that scan my stats were:

  • DEXA scan – 160lbs at 10% body fat = 144 lbs of lean mass
  • Current – 180 lbs at 12% body fat = 158 lbs of lean mass

Body fat has gone up slightly, but lean mass has increase by 14 lbs since the DEXA Scan. I’ve also greatly upregulated my metabolism since then and maintain my weight on 24-2500 calories a day and usually take in 2800-3000 calories on the weekends. My stats on the DEXA scan were on a very low calorie intake around 10xBW of a whopping 1600 calories a day, maybe even less on some days. So yes I was slightly leaner, but I was eating the calorie intake of small female and it showed in my lack of muscle mass.

Not a huge fan of gaining bodyfat, but since my lean mass has increased 14lbs I look much better now even at a higher body fat percentage. The difference between 10 and 12% body fat is pretty negliglble and looking at some pictures, I cant even tell the difference, when it comes to bodyfat.

As for my lifts since the DEXA scan, I’m not a 100% sure, but I remember lifting with my friend Matt who was doing 185×6 reps and thinkning he was beast. I think I was around 145lbs bench for 6-8 reps. I now lift around 200 lbs for 6-8 reps and use 185lbs as more of a warmup then a working set.

In other words made a lot of progress in around a years time from that last DEXA scan. If I maintain my bodyfat around 12% and gain another 20lbs of lean mass over the year, I should be around 200lbs at 6ft tall, 12% bodyfat and 176 lbs of lean mass. My goal is to be benching 225lbs for 8 reps by the end of the year and if all things go well hopefully sooner than that.

For other Nutrition News, been reading some stuff from Cliff Wilson who is a physique coach. He recommends when someone wants to lose weight they go no faster than .5 lbs – 1lb a week. The lower range is for those with a slower metabolism, but going that slow ensures long term results. He also recommends 1-2 high days a week. I actually made a plan for a women this week using this advice. Basically you cut 500 calories a day from your total maintenace calories Monday through Friday and eat at maintenance on the weekends with more carbs and calories. So you would be dieting for 5 days and maintaing for two, but taking slower like this prevents plateaus from showing up.

Also listened to some John Mcdougall who is the author of The Starch Solution. I agree with some of his ideas, but goes to far with the animal protein and meat. He makes it sound like its poison, which obviously isnt true. Anyway he was talking about a few interesting points I wanted to bring up:

  • He said Supplements shouldnt be overdone to “fix” a health problem, because the problem is most likely the persons diet. I complelty agree with this statement. I’ve noticed that people on the PALEO diet prescribe supplements for everything and I mean just about everything. I used to rely on them too, when I wasnt eating enough food. The reason this happens is beacuse your diet is lacking. Either lacking in Carbs, proteins or fats or lacking in calories. In other words, fix your diet and metabolism and health problems will likely go away without the need for expensive supplements.
  • He also said too much sleep can induce depression. This one was a surprise, but I have noticed it myself a few times. If I sleep too long I feel sluggish the entire day even with 10 hours of sleep or more. It doesnt make sense and I would expect to be full of energy, but its just not so. Recommendations are still 6-8 hours which is the sweet spot for all of the benefits and no drawbacks.
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Journal Entry 110 – Weekly Update 10

Morning Weight – 181lbs

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Workout

  • Chest/Arms
  • Legs/Abs
  • Back/Shoulders/Traps
  • Off
  • Off
  • Chest/Triceps
  • Back/Biceps

For some reason my bench has dropped big time. I think im trying to hit it a little too frequently, so I am going to hit the chest every 4th day and focus more on other muscles. It was crazy has fast it went up, but recently stalled big time. Even 205lbs felt heavy for 6 reps, which doesnt make any sense.

I liked this split, but I ran into some issues with it. Anytime I have to train 3 muscle groups a day, the workout takes too long and I do too much volume for each bodypart. Also the intensity of the main lifts for each muscle group is drastically reduced. The solution for this is to drop back to 2 muscle groups a day to give each more attention and give each major muscle group its own day. I’m pretty pumped about this plan I put together and plan to stay on it for a long time.

The plan is a rotational split. Meaning that it doesnt matter what day of the week it is, I’m just going to follow each day in a cycle and repeat the cycle once completed. Each day will have a main focus for a main muscle group and a small muscle group paired after I hit the main. The split will look like this:

  • Chest and Triceps (Bench Press Foucs)
  • Back/traps and Abs (Deadlift/Rack pull focus)
  • Shoulders and Biceps (Military Press Focus)
  • Legs and Abs (Squat Focus)

This will give enough rest in between workouts so when I do hit the muscle group it will be ready to go off. This split can also be done without rest days. I also like the fact that if snow cancels my workout, then my whole schedule doesnt get messed up and I can just do the workout I would have done on the snow day without skipping that muscle group instead to “stay on schedule.”

Another reason I really like this split is the shoulders and biceps day. These are two muscle groups that give me the most headaches when desining a routine. Shoulders get worked on chest day and rear delts get worked to a small degree on back day. The problem is if I stick them on Chest day the workout is ineffective because the bench press fatigued them already. Same for Biceps which are greatly fatigued after doing all my back exercises. By placing theses muscle groups on their own day and allowing a day of rest between shoulders and chest, the workout will be much more effective from a strength standpoint.

Nutrition

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I was looking at my macros over the course of the week and noticed something that may need to be fixed. I’ve been averaging my bodyweight in protein or a little less around 140-180 grams depending on the day. But what I noticed is that this total includes incidentals from things such as oatmeal and vegetables. In other words, the “high quality protein” from meat and protein powder is somewhat low in my diet. Probably around 100 grams or so. I was reading some tips on this and many bodybuilders I respect suggest eating your bodyweight in protein from high quality sources and NOT count the incidentals. This would mean my protein intake would be much higher (maybe even around 1.5 grams per bodyweight), but when you factor out the incidentals it would seem to be about right. I may have to reduce the carbs to make more room for protein, but I’m still going to keep the carbs high. What’s funny is I always knew that this was the case (ignore incidentals), but I was really surprised to see just how high those were in my diet. Its a simple fix though – add in an extra tablespoon of protein powder to my oats and 2-3 ounces of meat at each meal.

Saw another video from John Gorman on how to refeed. Love to see different perspectives on how coaches do this. He recommended adding in 25 grams of carbs each week until maintenance is reached. This seems to be the most popular way to go about it, but most likely not the quickest. I think every 5 days with a 100 calorie jump could be successful, but staying on a weekly schedule is much easier.

One thing I want to bring up too this week is some of the PhD doctors I see on news shows giving advice to people. 90% of these people are fat. I’m not being mean, but simply stating a fact. These guys have the biggest guts and some have double chins. How exactly do you expect someone to take what you say with any seriousness if you look like that? They usually pin all the blame on outdated advice as well, like blaming carbs for everything. I’d argue polyunsaturated fats from refined oils which are in everything is the main reason they are fat, yet the never mention anything about these. Its all “carbs” doing the damage. If these guys are so smart then why are they overweight? Sorry for the rant, but everytime I see these doctors and their terrible information it just annoys me and also confuses me as to how these guys can be taken seriously.

Also saw a story this week of the Biggest Loser contestant losing too much weight. So basically you put someone on a very low calorie starvation diet and 6 hours of exercise a day and then blame them for losing “too much” weight. UMMM what? She did exactly what you told her to do and then blame here for taking it to far. Greeeat trainers on that show. By the way, also saw a study that was a follow up of the contestants on the show and nearly every single one of them gained weight back. They didnt gain it all back, but a lot of it. They also greatly down regulated their BMR. In other words, welcome to starvation mode and not being able to function normally. Extreme diets paired with Extreme exercise is very effective for short term weight loss and long term weight gain. In other words, its almost like a drug. Very quick and promising results at first and then a long slow crash that the user may never be able to recover from. I wonder if the show helps them maintain the weight loss. (probably not)

Journal

In other news, lost my college ring this week. This really sucks and I’m most likely going to have to buy a new one for about $6-700. I have no clue where it went, but the last time I saw it, it was in my gym. Then it vanished. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get a replacement for a lesser amount or even luckier and hope the thing turns up.

Also, Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 for PS2 could be one of the greatest games ever made. Just saying.

Winter snow came in this week and gave me my first day off as a professional. I’ll take it.

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Journal Entry 109 – Weekly Update 9

Morning Weight – 180lbs

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Workout Schedule

  • Chest/Biceps
  • Off
  • Back/Shoulders
  • Legs/Abs
  • Chest and Triceps
  • Back/ Traps and Biceps

Pretty random training schedule here recently. These past few weeks I’ve been playing around with some different splits to see which one I like the best and still haven’t found one to beat the old go-to of: chest/tris, back/bis and legs/abs with shoulders thrown in on either back day or chest day.

This week I am going to try another new split out just to keep the experiment going. The layout will look like this:

  • Cardio Before workout 5-10 minutes
  • Stretch
  • Pyramid Set – MAIN Move
  • Chest/Arms – Bench
  • Legs – Abs – Sqaut
  • Shoulders- Back – Traps – Shoulder Press emphasis
  • Cardio and ABS (Inc Walk 30 min cardio with AB Circuit)
  • Chest/Arms – Bench and Dips
  • Back-Traps-Shoulders – Back emphasis – Rear Delts
  • Off

So only one built in off day on Saturday, but this split allows me to hit all muscle groups, except legs twice a week. I have found when it comes to legs that hitting them more than once a week can really drain your energy levels and CNS. Especially if your leg routine is squats and lunges and not leg extentions and curls. πŸ˜‰

Didn’t set any PR’s this week, which sucked, but expecting to set a PR every workout is foolish. If that were the case I would be benching 1000lbs in no time.

Another change I may try this week is slightly bumping up the volume and reps and lowering the weights. So instead of failing on the 6th-8th rep I plan to fail on the 10th-12th rep. My goal is to get a weight that I can get no more than 12 reps, but more than 8 reps. Probably 10 reps if you averaged it out. πŸ˜‰

Nutrition

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To make things easier, I am going to try something new with my nutrition. I plan on eating 3 main meals a day and one snack. So it would be:

  • Oatmeal, Fruit and Protein Powder for Breakfast – Take Vitamins
  • Meat and Rice or Rice Cakes with Vegetables for Lunch – Take Vitamins
  • Quest Bar and Salad during Lunch Break
  • Meat and (rice, potatoes or pasta) for Dinner

Very simple diet plan, but it would easily allow me to cook and prepare food and makes thing really easy. I also want to vary the starch source in each meal to avoid monotony. I do have oatmeal for breakfast each morning, but that’s hard to replace. Rice and Pasta is easier to take with me to work, so I’ll most likely do that for lunch and have potatoes for dinner. Not that I have to vary the source in each meal, but its something I want to try this week.

Meals, Macros and Calories were same as last week, only thing that changes is the amount of carbs based on the workout for that day

Tried some new recipes this week, Thanks to Michael Kory’s Fitness Channel.

First was Macaroni and Cheese with pasta, fat free cheese and greek yogurt. Very good low fat verzion of a really good food.

Second was some nachos, which were awesome as well.

Quick Tip: if you struggle to get in enough protein, sprinkle some Kraft Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese on your food. It has 9 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbs and 0 grams of fat. Basically a protein supplement.

Another tip is a really, really easy way to calculate calories for just about everyone:

  • To maintain weight each day with NO workouts take your Bodyweight x 12. Even overweight people that barely move should use this multiplier.
  • Example 180lb x 12 = 2160 calories
  • If you workout your calorie multiplier increases for the day to 13.5 -14.
  • Example 180lbs x 13.75 = 2500 calories
  • If you want to lose fat with NO workout for the day take your body weight and multiply it by 9.
  • Example 180x 9 = 1600 calories (net 500 calorie deficit for the day)
  • If you want to lose fat WITH a workout take body weight times 10-11 or 10.5.
  • Example 180×10.5 = 1900 calories
  • If you want to build muscle with NO workout then eat bodyweight x12
  • Example from above – 2160 calories
  • If you want to build muscle WITH a workout and Not get Fat:
  • Example from above – 2500-2600 calories (bodyweight multiplier 14)

This is the most accurate way I’ve seen to calculate calories. Doing it this way allows you to adjust on a day to day basis and many calculators I’ve seen are way too high for most people. These calculator drastically overestimate calories burned during exercise. For example, lets say I take a rest day and eat 2500 calories to build muscle, since my calories for the day are (180×12 = 2120 calories) I would be in 400 calorie surplus for the day. Thats too much and I would wake up looking puffy after eating that much over my needs. Yet if I worked out that day, my calories needs would be 2500 calories and I would need to take in that much in order to build muscle and not lose weight.

In other words, use the Bodyweight x12 multiplier and adjust calories based on the day. If you want to build muscle, then cover your needs and eat around 2120 calories or maintenance on rest days. If you want to lose fat subtract 500 calories from your total for the day.

To gain muscle I recommend eating Β what your burn for that day. For example, if I workout and burn 2500 calories total for the day then I would eat 2500-2600 calories to build muscle. I’ve noticed if jump to 27-2800 calories to “build more muscle” I wake up looking puffy and bloated, almost like after a cheat day, because I just ate too much. If you eat too much then your body is going to build muscle, but its also going to get fat. As long as protein synthesis is greater than protein breakdown the body will build muscle and it doesn’t require a massive surplus to do this. I found as long as I cover my needs for the day I wake up looking leaner and much better than overdoing it.

I’ve even seen some recommendations to go 30% over maintenance to build muscle faster. Not a good idea. If this statement were logical you could just go workout and eat 20000 calories of carbs and protein and wake up looking like Hugh Jackman from the Wolverine. Yeah that’s not the way it works. Once you give your body enough nutrition to grow for the day, any more is stored as fat or burnt off as heat.

Journal Entry 108 – Weekly Update 8

Morning Weight – 178lbs


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Workout Schedule

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  • Chest and Triceps
  • Back, Bis, Shoulders
  • Off
  • Chest and Triceps
  • Back and Biceps
  • Legs and Shoulders
  • Off

Finally hit 225lbs on the bench press this week for 4 reps. On the 4th rep, I barely managed to rerack the weight, but thanks to a massive adrenaline rush I got it up. I do have some safety bars on each side of me, but there set pretty low, so it would have been awkward if it feel back on my chest. πŸ˜‰

Found a pretty awesome rep scheme in order to max out lifts (for me at least, may not work for everyone.) But basically its one warmup set with a light weight, increase the weight by 25% for the second set, one more set for your 6 rep max weight, then move into your heaviest set. If you warmup too much you may cut into your strength levels a little bit.

It looked like this for Bench though Β – Warmup – 135lbs, 185lbs, 215lbs (6 reps), 225lbs 4 reps; after this start to decrease the weight back down to your 6 rep max.

Also hit around 4 reps for 60lbs seated shoulder presses.

I may change my split a little to include two chest and biceps days (biceps replacing triceps) one legs and shoulders day and one back, triceps and traps day. Also will do abs after each lifting day. Each workout will have a heavy Strength set at the beginning (4 sets of 6 reps) followed by two volume exercises (3 sets of 8-10 reps) and one high rep exercise (3 sets of 15 reps). *Also may add in a 5th day for hitting back twice, but haven’t decided yet.

Also last week I had dedicated strength days and dedicated volume days, but I greatly prefer mixing the two instead of doing them separately. It makes the workout seem much more complete it comes out the same thing at the end of the week anyway.

Nutrition

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Calories averaged about 2700 on lifting days and 1800 on rest days.

An interesting thing happened with my weight this week and basically its been huddling around 178 almost every day. Initially when I bumped carbs there was about a 10 lbs swing in scale weight. It seems no matter how much I eat in a day (probably got over 3000 calories on Friday) I wake up at the same weight or less. Most likely do to the fact that my metabolism has responded favorably to the increase carb intake. Also since the strength of my lifts have skyrocketed, my muscles seems to be responding favorably.

Pretty simple nutritional template I’ve been following though:

Lift Day (4 days a week) Calories 2700 – Carbs/Protein/Fat – 350/180/50

Off Day (3 days a week) Calories 1800 – Carbs/Protein/Fat – 180/180/50

Also Saturday is kind of a “whatever day”. I usually have friends over and eat out, so my calories are probably somwhere in the middle of two listed above and the Macros are always varied.

The only change I make on rest days is to drop the carbs by half. Protein and fat stay the same. Incredibly simple, but effective.

Lift days include a ton of Oatmeal, protein powder, bread, bananas, rice cakes. (these sources are easier to eat at work)

Rest days include smaller bowls of oatmeal, more meat and vegetables and berries. Also Quest Bars are every day. πŸ˜‰

New Quest Bar flavor this week: Cookies and Cream flavor. Very good and basically tastes like an oreo or a warm ice cream sandwhich. Its not my favorite, but still very good.

Quest Bar Flavor Ranking so far:

  • Chocolate Brownie
  • Cookie Dough
  • White Chocolate Raspberry
  • Double chocolate Chunk
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Apple Pie

They have many more flavors, but these are by far the best and the others dont even compare to be honest.

Didnt learn anything special in Nutrition this week. Basically just following Ogus and Michael Kory on Youtube. Really enjoy watching these channels, there’s so many on YouTube, but these guys are definitely some of the best to watch.

Journal

Finished Dragonball Z this week. Epic show, that definitely has some “lame” moments, but also some epic ones. Best Character had to be Future Trunks. He blended the best of every character into one. Every time the other characters could have easily finished an enemy off they toyed around with them. Future Trunks on the other hand immediately went off and finished the damn battle. Its too bad he was only in such a small part of the show.

Superbowl is on today and marks the end of the NFL season. (Thank God) Seriously I can wait for this season to just end, so we can start over next year. Hokies and Giants both had terrible seasons and I really just want to move on. Will be pulling for Peyton and the Broncos tonight though. If anyone deserves another Superbowl it would be Peyton.

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