Month: May 2014

Spring Cleaning Week 6 – JE 126

Morning Weight – 182 lbs

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Workout Schedule

  • SU- OFF
  • M- FULL BODY
  • T- 45 mins of Cardio
  • W- Full Body
  • R- 60 Mins of Cardio (incline walk)
  • F – Full Body
  • Sa- Off

I learned something about myself this week. I literally can’t lift 3 days a week and be satisfied. The science behind full body workouts are very interesting, but it limits you to 3 days a week and it honestly just isnt my style. I work in a gym and love lifting so much, I want to lift at least 4 days out of the 5 days I’m at my gym. I much prefer lifting M-F while at work in my gym and taking the weekend off. So I’m going back to my favorite split setup of 5 days a week and doing a Push/Pull/Legs/Push/Pull.

I’m still changing up from the BRO split, which I did enjoy, but I want to start hitting muscles more frequently again. I basically do 1 main strength exercise for 5×5, 2-3 exercises for size for 3 sets of 8×10 reps and do some light arms to finish at 3-4 x12. Here is an example of one of my push workouts:

  • Day 1 – Push
    • 5×5 Bench Press
    • 3×8-10 DB Shoulder Press
    • 3×8-10 INC DB Press
    • 3xAMAP – Dips
      • Rope Extension 3×12
      • Lateral Raise 3×12

This is the way I like to train, so its what I’m going to do. I basically split the volume between the two push days. So instead of doing 4 exercises for chest once a week, like in the bro split, I do two exercises on each day to hit the muscles more frequently. As long as your program your split intelligently and don’t do too much volume on both days, it may be better for strength and size gains.

Nutrition

Postworkout Lunch Sweet Potato Butter bread Lean meat and veggies

Postworkout Lunch
Sweet Potato
Butter bread
Lean meat and veggies

1 whole egg 5 egg whites Veggies

1 whole egg
5 egg whites
Veggies

Sweet Potato Butter Bread Lean Meat

Sweet Potato
Butter Bread
Lean Meat

Panera Three Cheese Toast (epic) White rice Lean Meat Broccoli

Panera Three Cheese Toast (epic)
White rice
Lean Meat
Broccoli

Pizza Hut BBQ chicken pizza

Pizza Hut BBQ chicken pizza

Three Cheese Toast Eggs Small amount of pancakes

Three Cheese Toast
Eggs
Small amount of pancakes

Sweet Potato Chicken Crab Rangoon

Sweet Potato
Chicken
Crab Rangoon

Mongolian Grill

Mongolian Grill

I’m averaging out my calories instead of cycling them. Since I’m lifting more often I don’t have any low days and more or less just have moderate days.

Current nutrition: 2100 calories 210 carbs; 160 protein; 60 fat. I have also increase fat intake a bit from 40 grams and lowered my carbs a little bit. A little bit more balanced this way. As long as I hit between 2000-2300 calories though I dont worry too much. This intake allows me to burn fat each day, while also eating enough calories and protein to support muscle gains. This intake for me is only a 15% deficit, but the way I’m lifting I dont want to go any lower.

I’m still doing biorhythm principals of moving breakfast back a little and eating a lower carb breakfast and eating more of my carbs after lifting and at dinner. Really like this meal distribution and its simple and easy to follow. The energy is much better than it was before.

Learned some very interesting science on Leucine this week. Leucine is an essential amino acid and is the main driver behind protein synthesis. Its also critically important for preserving muscle while burning fat and has benefits for glucose control. Whats interesting about Leucine is that adding in a bunch of excess protein WITHOUT leucine didn’t seem to augment protein synthesis any further. An example would be to use 50 grams of vegetable protein (that has barely any leucine) vs 15 grams of protein with around 2.5-3 grams of leucine. The 15 grams of protein with leucine would stimulate more protein synthesis than the veggie protein. Pretty interesting research. A good recommendation for this would be to consume at least 30 grams of protein with at least 2.5 grams of leucine at each meal for 4 meals a day. This would ensure enough dietary protein was consumed with enough leucine to work its magic. You still need to make sure to get in at least 120 grams of protein though, but it does seem that as long as leucine is sufficient then excess protein is not really necessary. Whey protein is superior to all other forms of protein in regards to leucine content. Only 20 grams of whey might be needed to obtain 2.5 grams of leucine, where 30-40 grams of animal protein might be needed to achieve the same amount. This must be kept in mind. A good way to do would be to augment the diet with at least two whey protein shakes a day in between whole food meals with adequate protein.

Another interesting thing I learned is cutting calories 15% or more under you maintenance in an effort to lose weight can negatively effect hormone levels, especially testosterone. This seems to be true no matter what your macros are at. When T-levels get affected your muscle building efforts are hindered significantly as well as your energy and sex drive. Although I feel this is true more so for leaner individuals and not obese people.

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Spring Cleaning Week 5 (JE – 125)

Morning Weight – 182lbs

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I’m going to change gears for at least the next month and change up my workout routine. I’ve been running the bro split for about 8 weeks now and while I like it, its starting to get old and repetitive. I’m going to switch to a 3 day upper / lower split and hit upper body on Monday and Friday and lower body on Wednesday. The split I’m doing is Lyle Mcdonald’s generic bulking routine. Pretty basic overall, but I want to give it a try.  The main reason I’m doing a 3 day split instead of 5 is because I’m also going to change the way I eat around workouts.

For the first 5 weeks of Spring Cleaning I have been on about 1800 calories a day with a slight bump on the weekends. I’m going to keep the deficit the same at around 1lb or 3500 calories per week, but I’m going to change the way I eat so they correlate with my workouts better. An author I trust named Jade Teta, stated that you should either eat more and exercise more or eat less and exercise less, but never exercise more and eat less. Basically it means if you lift weights you should eat plenty of calories and carbs to match it. Lifting in a deficit even if its somewhat small is probably not a great idea. On the other hand, if your doing nothing all day, you can get away with eating much less without negative repercussions. It makes perfect sense and severe problems can result with mismatched training and eating plans. The first half of plan wasn’t a big deficit and not enough to cause problems, but I think setting up this way is going to yield better results.

  1. On my 3 lifting days (M, W, F) I will take in around 2500 calories with about 350:160:45 (Carbs, Protein, Fat). These days will serve as “refeed” days that upregulate metabolic rate, hormones and fat burning. They also serve as muscle gain days, that allow me to build muscle while on a cutting diet.
  2. On 3 days of the week (Su, Tu, Tr) I will take in around 1400 calories with about 120:160:45 (Carbs, Protein, Fat). Some days it may be a bit lower, but these days have around 1000 calories deficit from total maintenance. Since these days are in between high days, they are very effective at burning fat. Obviously if I did these days too often, muscle loss and plateaus would result. The goal of this day is basically eat enough protein to preserve muscle, veggies to help fullness and let a big calorie deficit burn fat, which is made more effective by the high day. Exercise on this day will be walking on treadmill, stretching and some corrective exercises that I dont really have time for on the lifting days.
  3. On 1 day of the week (SA) I will take as an off day from training and eating and just eat maintenance without worrying about specific macros.

I’m also eating in accordance with the BioRhythm diet I wrote about in an article a while ago on this site:

Fast 12 hours a day (If I eat dinner at 8:00pm, then I dont eat again until 8:00am the next morning). This allows fat burning hormones to go longer without being interrupted. I also learned of a cortisol awakening response that happens in the morning. Basically it means cortisol is very high to wake you up in the morning. If you eat something at this time, you disrupt fat burning and not only that, but whatever you eat doesnt satisfy hunger. Its the one time of day where high cortisol is a good thing. Its better to wait a while until cortisol levels off to eat something. At least nothing with carbs in it, a protein and fat breakfast would be alright at this time, but I’m still going to wait a couple hours to left fat burning continue further. Go any longer than this and you risk shutting off hormones responsible for building muscle. No thanks.

Eat all of your carbs post workout and at dinner. This has nutrient partitioning effects, but the main reason I’m doing it is because the morning is not a great time to eat carbs. I’m keeping all my carbs from 2pm-9pm, because this is the time right after my workout until bed. Carbs are much better to consume at this time and its definitely wise to eat some carbs at night due to there effects on serotonin and relaxation.

Science also shows that your much better off balancing your routine like above. The low calorie days sensitize your body to the high calorie days and vice versa. One day I maximize gaining muscle, while the other I maximize fat burning. If you had all high days your body would stop responding to the signals its receiving and basically become numb to what your doing and vice versa. The same goes for stagnant dieting such as eating 1800 calories everyday. By keeping the body guessing and spiking up calories and metabolism one day, while eating low calories the next, then no stagnation results. This plan prevents that. Another sweet thing is that I basically get to feast 3 days a week with 350 carbs after my workout. Dont mind if do. 😉

Also, I read about how sitting too much can be really bad for health. Most people with desk jobs sit for 21 hours of the day and are active for 3 hours. If you think about it thats pretty bad. One way to prevent this is to stand at your desk instead of sit. I tried it last week and didn’t mind it all and barely even noticed. You also burn 40 more calories per hour while doing this. 40 calories x 8 hours of sitting = 320 calories a day and thats without going to the gym. Multiply this by a month or a year and you have some pretty “easy” fat burning going on. You dont have to stand the whole time, but even standing half the time or at least standing every hour can yield some pretty awesome benefits.

Some meals this week:

Red Meat Sweet Potato Veggies

Red Meat
Sweet Potato
Veggies

Chicken White Rice Sweet Potato Broccoli and tomatoes

Chicken
White Rice
Sweet Potato
Broccoli and tomatoes

Lean Meat 6oz Sweet Potato 6oz White Rice 1 cup Veggies

Lean Meat 6oz
Sweet Potato 6oz
White Rice 1 cup
Veggies

Setting Carbs on a Diet and Carb Refeeding

Carb refeeding has always interested me. Almost every successful diet that comes out today, has some manner of carb refeeding or overfeeding to prevent and reverse so of the many negatives that comes from prolonged calorie and carb cutting. But there’s so much information, it becomes hard to know what to do and also how to to plan it in order to get results. I’m going to try and wade through the information and explain it the best I can and how you should implement a refeed based on where you are with your body fat level, appetite and motivation.

Chocolate Oatmeal with bananas, berries and pancake toppings

Chocolate Oatmeal with bananas, berries and pancake toppings

The first time I came upon carb refeeding was when I was very naive in my old dieting habits. I would cut calories and carbs too hard in order to get very low body fat. My strength in the gym was terrible, my motivation and determination was fading fast from where it started before the diet and I was starting to obsess about food. I was also in the middle of the “low carb era” which I really despise thinking back on. Way too many experts that were jumping on each others bandwagons and proclaiming  insulin to be this fat storing nightmare, when in reality they were just dead wrong. It wasn’t till after many people started experiencing severe problems on low carbs (thyroid issues, low body temperature, no motivation, low libido, terrible gym performance) that some people finally admitted they were wrong. Sadly many will still not admit this. Anyway the point is, to have a successful diet you always want to keep a decent amount of carbs in the diet. I set the minimum at 120 grams a day. 120 grams a day is enough to maintain thyroid, liver glycogen (which regulates blood sugar), brain glucose (concentration and thinking straight) and Central Nervous System (regulates fatigue). These are just a few benefits, but leaving this amount of carbs also helps keep cortisol levels from becoming excessive, prevents adrenal fatigue (excessive fat burning hormones and adrenaline), higher leptin levels (fat regulator), various fat burning hormones higher and libido intact (libido takes a nose dive when liver glycogen gets depleted).

After you have a minimum of 120 grams of carbs you also need to adjust for lifting and exercise. If you are sedentary besides walking, then 120 grams will do well for you. If you lift and run I recommend bumping up the carbs to around 150-170 grams depending on the intensity of your workout. This will cover your exercise needs and your basic physiological requirements for normal glucose. Of course once you have your carbs right you need to make sure your hitting your minimum protein intake (.8 multiplied by bodyweight) and fat intake (at least .2 multiplied by bodyweight) to prevent nutrition deficiencies and muscle loss.

Example

  • Total Weight – 180 lbs
  • Maintenance Calories with exercise – 2400 calories
  • Protein – 144 grams
  • Fat – 45 grams
  • Carbs – 160 grams
  • This comes out to 1621 calories, which is the bare minimum this person needs to lose weight without wrecking his health.

These are minimums for the low days and targets you should make sure to hit everyday. Now comes the part about refeeding. Carb refeeding originated from ketogenic dieting. Keto diets are extremely low carb and the reason high carb refeeds were implemented was too reverse the adaptations and many negative consequences these diets brought. I hate Keto diets and wouldn’t recommend them to anyone, unless they enjoy having health problems and feeling terrible all the time. That being said carb refeeding can still have enormous benefit to all diets. No matter how many carbs you have in your diet, if you don’t eat enough calories every so often your body will catch on and start to slow down metabolism. Refeeding prevents this. Here is how to implement one in your diet:

  • If you are on Ketogenic diet, I would do one AT LEAST every three days. Carbs are short term energy storage in the body and after 3 days the carbs are all depleted. Hit the refeed hard with at least 2-3 bodyweight in carbs.
  • If you are on a diet with at least 120 grams of carbs and our greater than 15% bodyfat, then do a refeed once every 2 weeks. Shoot for double the carbs you normally eat and the calories should hit right around your maintenance.
  • If you are on a diet with at least 120 grams of carbs and have 10-15% bodyfat, do a refeed once a week, preferably on day with no alcohol, because alcohol can inhibit leptin and that’s one of the main hormones you are trying to influence. Shoot for double the amount of carbs you normally eat and calories right around maintenance or slightly over.
  • If you are on a diet with at least 120 grams of carbs and are under 10% bodyfat, do a refeed twice a week, preferably every 3 days or maybe 5 low days in a row and then 2 high days in a row. This will prevent muscle loss that occurs more often for leaner people.
  • If you have been dieting for longer than 12 weeks with no or limited refeeds, take 2 weeks of with double the carbs you normally eat and calories at maintenance level. Then resume normal dieting and implement one of these refeeding strategies.
  • The last strategy might be the most effective. Listen to your body. If you find yourself overly hungry one day for no apparent reason, motivation is starting to fade and the gym seems more like a chore then a joy, do a refeed that day. Refeeds can “float” so to speak, meaning they can vary whenever you need them. I guarantee the day after you refeed, your motivation will be much higher for the entire week and you will be glad to return to your normal diet.

Is carb refeeding absolutely necessary? Not unless your on a Ketogenic diet. As I stated earlier if you eat enough carbs on a daily basis, many of those nasty hormonal functions may never effect you, but refeeds can help give you a boos. I like to think of them as an insurance policy and also a reward for dieting hard the other days of the week. That being said they do serve a physiological benefit and my bet is that you would get better results with them, than without them. Just dont get too carried away with them. Unless you have a very easy time cutting fat, too many refeeds drastically slow down your fat loss results and may even stop it completely if your not careful. Follow the advice above and watch your fat disappear, while your metabolism, strength and muscle remain intact. 😉

PS – High growth hormone, which is popular among low carb experts as a potent fat burner, inhibits leptin. Leptin is the chief hormone you want to spike with refeeds as it signals the body to start burning fat for energy and that your well fed. Only carbs can signal leptin. Further reading … Why You Probably Need Carbs.

Spring Cleaning Week 4 – JE 123

Average morning weight – 183lbs

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Workout

  • Su- Cardio
  • M- Chest
  • T- Back
  • W- Legs and Abs
  • R- Shoulders
  • F- Arms
  • Sa- Cardio and Abs

Still going strong with the Bro split. The only progress I made with strength came with on shoulder press for 110×5 reps, Close-Grip Bench Press 145×8 and DB lunges with 50lbs in each hand for 4 x 7.  Modest increases in strength still going up as I lose body fat. Nothing groundbreaking, but I’ll take it. Cardio has been 4 miles on the weekend and 1 mile on lifting days. As for Abs found an insane new move that is modification of a reverse crunch, but also works the obliques and TVA. Very hard and I usually do 3-4 x 6-8 reps. I then finish off with some basic frog crunches. Basically only two moves, but I feel like that’s all I need.

Another slight change I made this week was slighly lower volume and one less exercise than I’ve been doing. The funny thing is I decreased the total volume, but increased the total weight I was using, which obviously helps boost strength while cutting fat. My carbs havent been that high, so I’m trying not to go all out on volume.

I may have to abadon dips (one of my favorite exercises) due to a sternum pain. I think I did it trying to use too much weight and now everytime I do dips, I get this strain in my sternum (inner chest area) and it greatly limits my strength and endurance on the exercise. I’m going to lay off for a few weeks and hopefully it will correct itself in time.

Nutrition

Chipotle Friday Night

Chipotle Friday Night

Red Blend Vino

Red Blend Vino

Chocolate Oats with berries, bananas and 2 small pancakes on top (low carb meal ;))

Chocolate Oats with berries, bananas and 2 small pancakes on top (low carb meal ;))

Weekly Mongolian Grill

Weekly Mongolian Grill

Lean Beef strips with Jasmine Rice and Broccoli (been eating white rice a ton here recently)

Lean Beef strips with Jasmine Rice and Broccoli (been eating white rice a ton here recently)

Chocolate Banana Protein Shake with Quest Bar

Chocolate Banana Protein Shake with Quest Bar

Chipotle Burrito Bowl

Chipotle Burrito Bowl

Sunday – Thursday – Calories 1800; Carbs 150 grams; Protein 160 grams; Fat 40 grams

Friday and Saturday – Calories 2400; Carbs 200 grams; Protein 160 grams; Fat 50 grams + Alcohol calories

Made a few changes to my diet this week. I moved breakfast back to 9:40 am (I used to eat it around 9:00 am) so it was closer to the time I lift weights. I usually just sip on coffee to limit any hunger I may get in the early morning. I also took some carbs out of lunch and moved them to dinner. Main reason is because if I eat too much during the day I get tired, so I moved some of this food to nightime, which helps with sleep.

I may introduce a carb refeed at some point during this week. I’m not sure what day, but if I get really hungry one day then I’ll probably just do it then. Carbs would be well over 300 on that day.

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Spring Cleaning Week 3 (JE – 122)

Morning Weight – 185 lbs

Bodyfat % – 10mm pinch (more or less the same from last week)

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Workout

  • Su – Chest
  • M – Back
  • T- Cardio
  • W- Legs
  • R- Shoulders
  • F- Arms
  • Sa- Cardio

5th week of the Bro Split this week. I didnt break any records this week and was more or less a week of maintaining.

For lateral raises this week, I grabbed the cable machine and slighly leaned over and did shoulders one at a time. I actually felt it much better than doing both at the same time. For DB shrugs I squeezed my shoulder blades back and then did shrugs. Doing this before shrugging actually helps enhance you traps, because the traps are involved in the retraction of shoulders.

I also dropped cardio back slightly back down to a mile a day. 15 minutes was cutting into my strength a little bit, plus I really like just hoping on the treadmill for a mile and then going straight to lifting.

Nutrition

Meat  White Rice Vegetables

Meat
White Rice
Vegetables

Chipote bowl with chicken, double beans, salsa and corn

Chipote bowl with chicken, double beans, salsa and corn

Vino

Vino

Red Blend from Trader Joes

Red Blend from Trader Joes

5 oz chicken 6 oz sweet potato 4 pieces of sushi Crackers

5 oz chicken
6 oz sweet potato
4 pieces of sushi
Crackers

Sunday- Thursday 1700-1900 calories Carbs 160-200 grams; Protein 160 grams; Fat 45grams

Fri – Sat 2500-2800 calories; Macros are always slightly higher in carbs and fat and lower in protein

This was the first week that I got pretty hungry toward the end of the week and I also noticed that I would hit a wall during my workout. I would feel fine going into the workout, but halfway through my energy and intensity would just fade out real fast. I remedied the problem with some fruit for a quick sugar boost, which helped a little, but didnt completely solve the problem either. This mainly happened toward the end of the week, so I may start throwing in a high carb refeed day around Tuesday to combat this low energy problem. So basically it would be Sunday and Monday as low days, Tuesday High day, Wednesday and Thursday low days and weekend right around maintenance. A little bit slower fat loss, but it may help keep the energy higher. Not sure yet though, what I may do is just bump up calories a little on the days I get low energy. So instead of 1800 calories just bump it up to 2000, which is still a deficit so no big deal.

An interesting thing I read about this week is how important the pH balance of the stomach is. The balance should be around 1-2 which is highly acidic. This is important from a standpoint of digesting food properly, but also to keep down harmful bacteria in the system. When people get low metabolisms from either disease or calorie restriction, their pH gets thrown off and becomes more basic. This means that certain foods stay in the stomach longer, dont get digested as well and the bacteria that should have gotten digested in the acids, actually begins to multiply and thrive in the less acidic environment. This creates intestinal problems, SIBO – small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, food intolerance’s and many other conditions. The best way to get the pH of the stomach back is to speed the metabolism back up and get your stomach to start churning those acids like it should. This is the main reason people with a fast metabolism can eat anything they want and dont have “food intolerance’s” that give them digestive upset. This is also the reason many people on restrictive diets, especially a Paleo diet, start to develop sensitivities to foods. Their metabolism is slowing down and their not eating correctly, especially if they restrict carbs for long periods of times. (Do more harm than good)

Another great example of this is when US soldiers gave the holocaust patients chocolate after they were rescued. Many holocaust victims got very sick or even died, because the metabolism and digestion was incredibly weak. Their bodies couldnt process the food. Eventually they could eat chocolate again, but it was after many months of raising their metabolic rate back to normal. Definitely some interesting stuff.

Learned an interesting fact about bodyfat percentage as well. The more muscle you have, you could look leaner at a higher bodyfat %. For example if you were 220 lbs of mostly muscle you could display very impressive leanness at 12% bodyfat. If you were around my size 185 lbs with 165lbs of lean mass, you may have to get to as low as 8% to get lean enough to display really impressive looking muscles.

Awesome weather this weekend and ended up getting a new tennis raquet. I have 3 already, but the strings are busted and I haven’t bought one in 4-5 years. I went with a Babalot to rep my boy Nadal. 😉

Babalot

New Babolat tennis raquet

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