Month: July 2014

Changing Gears – JE 135

Right after last weeks blog update, my roommate and I went to lunch and he asked me if I could help him lose weight. He used to be in really good shape, but has become sedentary as of late and has packed on a fair amount of body fat. He said he wants to get down around my weight. He doesnt have access to a weight room yet, but hopefully that will change. I gave him a 5 low calorie days per week and 2 high calorie days per week. To keep him accountable I told him I would do a very similar diet with him to, so he could see which foods to eat and take the guesswork out of it. Once he gets down to my weight I plan to increase the number of high calorie days to 3 or 4 and maybe up to 5 for more muscle gains and to keep fat off.

Lifting and Weight Log for the week:

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7/20 – 186 lbs – Push – 2350 calories – 3200 calories – 215 x 3 reps

7/21 – 187lbs – Pull – 2200 calories – 3200 calories – 45 x 5 pullups

7/22 – no weigh in – Off – 2000 calories – 2750 calories –

7/23 – 186lbs – Push – 3000 calories (High carb refeed) – 2775 calories – NO PR set

7/24 – 186lbs – Pull – 2100 calories  – 3050 calories – 50lbs x 5 pullups

7/25 – 185.5 lbs – Legs/Abs – 2200 calories – 3200 calories – 325×6

7/26 – 185lbs – Off – 2300 calories – 2750 calories –

(My morning weight; my workout; my calorie intake; my Fitbit burn rate; Weighted lifted for main exercise)

As you can see I’m following the 3 low: 1 high setup. I’m doing 3 low days around 2000-2400 calories and 1 high day around 2900-3200 calories. My roomates numbers are pretty similar because even though he doesnt workout, he weighs much more than I do so he burns more walking around then I do. Since are numbers are the same, I felt that if he just ate basically the same meals as me then he would have a really easy time accomplishing his goals. He also had a really bad knowledge of “healthy eating”, but its a work in progress. I also figured I would lean up as well and nothing wrong with that.

Our setup looks like this: (Based on a maintenance caloric intake of about 2800-3000 calories a day on average)

Sunday – REFEED (400+ Carbs) – Calories about 3100

Monday – NORMAL – – – Cals at (2000-2400)

Tuesday – NORMAL – – – same

Wednesday – REFEED (400+ Carbs) – Calories about 3100

Thursday – NORMAL – – – Calories at (2000-2400)

Friday – – Low –  – – 185/150/50 (P/C/F) (REDUCED CALORIES) + Drinks

Saturday –  Low – – – 185/150/50 (P/C/F) (REDUCED CALORIES) + Drinks

When I showed this to him, he seemed in disbelief at the setup. He was used to the whole “cut-back” mentaility, which basically just meant eat like a bird that many people frequently do. It is quicker that way, but the results are also quicker to leave. This plan has you eating more food, enjoying the diet and keeping the fat off. This isnt a warp speed fat loss program, but after 12 weeks of so, 10 less pounds of fat and 2-3 more pounds of muscle never hurt anyone.

The setup kicks off with a refeed day with about 3100 calories. I always shoot for a small surplus on those days to ramp up the metabolism, fat burning hormones and to gain muscle by ramping up protein synthesis. With that many carbs protein uptake to the muscles is very efficient. The next two days will be reduced under maintenance between 15-30%. Most negatives of dieting come from going beyond 30% under maintenance levels, so I set the barrier there. Most times I always end up around 2200 on these days. Wednesday is another refeed day. I always put refeed days on days where I know I can be consistent. I avoid them on the weekends do to eating out and drinking with friends, because alcohol can seriously screw up a lot of hormones the refeeds are supposed to upregulate. Better safe than sorry. 😉 On the weekend days, we cut back food intake to minimums if we are drinking that day. We usually have a few drinks each day, but if you still want to lose fat then some food needs to be replaced with the alcoholic drinks.

Workouts:

My workouts went well this week except for DB shoulder press. I had a hard time getting up the 65’s to my shoulders even though last week I got them for 3 reps. My pullups are skyrocketing in progress though. Each workout I add 5lbs for similar reps as the workout before. I’m keeping pullups as my main move on both pull days. Bench was good as well and I’m benching right around 215lbs for 3 reps. Squats were good even though I miscounted and thought I was doing 245lbs instead of 235lbs. I was repping 235lbs with ease and wondered why it felt so easy. It was because I miscounted and was doing 10lbs less. Temporary mental lapse, but its all good. 🙂 Started the pyramid scheme with biceps as well and got up to 90lbs on barbell curl for 5 reps.

Nutrition:

6oz of meat and veggies 1 5oz potato Sweet Potato Crackers

6oz of meat and veggies
1 5oz potato
Sweet Potato Crackers

1 whole egg 6 oz of meat Veggies Butter Bread and Sweet Potato Crackers

1 whole egg
6 oz of meat
Veggies
Butter Bread and Sweet Potato Crackers

Refeed oatmeal with lots of berries

Refeed oatmeal with lots of berries

Refeed Dinner 5oz chicken mixed with BBQ sauce Fat free pringles Butter Bread Sweet Potato Broccoli

Refeed Dinner
5oz chicken mixed with BBQ sauce
Fat free pringles
Butter Bread
Sweet Potato
Broccoli

More Oats

More Oats

Outback Bread

Outback Bread

Lean beef and broccoli with sweet potato crackers

Lean beef and broccoli with sweet potato crackers

Refeed oatmeal -  2 packets of low sugar oatmeal (maple and brown sugar) 1 scoop of protein Berries and redi whip Quest bar pieces on top

Refeed oatmeal –
2 packets of low sugar oatmeal (maple and brown sugar)
1 scoop of protein
Berries and redi whip
Quest bar pieces on top

Nutrition is stated above, but my macros are usually P/C/F – 185/185 (net usually around 220 with fiber) / 65-70 Fat

On high days I shoot for: (P/C/F – 185/ 400 / 50) Although due to incidentals from carb sources, my protein and sometimes fat gets slightly higher than my goal, but it doesnt really bother me.

Miscellaneous:

Saw a documentary on a personal trainer named PJ James. He was a model to begin with and always ate healthy and stayed in shape, but to prove a point to a client he did an experiment. He ate like an obese person for 6 months and didnt workout at all. For the last 6 months, he was going to resume his normal diet and workout and get back down to where he was. During the experiment he went from 170lbs at 5-8% bodyfat to 260lbs at very high bodyfat and most likely lost muscle because he stopped lifting. Not a good look for him at all. After about 6 months of eating junk food and gaining weight, he had numerous health problems, no sex drive, became anti-social (most likely due to not liking the way he looked) and became depressed. There was even a point at which he was enjoying the food so much, he wasnt sure if he felt like changing or even losing the weight. I noticed a huge decrease in his confidence as well, especially when talking to others. But after the 6 months, he went back to his ways and by the end of the show he had his six pack and regained all that he lost. Definitely worth a watch.

Frisco always happy to see me when I come for the weekly visit.

Frisco always happy to see me when I come for the weekly visit.

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Reverse Diet Week 2 – Journal Entry 134

Weight Log

Reverse Diet Week 2

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7/13 – 184.8  -Push – 2500 calories – 3300 – Bench 210 x 6

7/14 – 184.8 – Pull – 2500 calories – 2900 – Pullups BW + 40 lbs

7/15 – 184.8 – Legs – 2500 calories – 3000 calories – Trab-bar – 280x5reps

7/16 – 184.6lbs – Push – 2500 calories – 3000 calories – DB Shoulder Press – 65×3 reps (DB)

7/17 – 185.3 lbs – Cardio – 2500 calories – 3200 calories – 1 hour and 15 minutes of incline walking

7/18 – 183.8lbs – Pull – 3000 calories -3100 calories – Pullups + BW for 5 reps

7/19 – 184lbs – Legs – 3200 calories – 3300 calories – Squats – 245 lbs for 3 reps

Here is a more detailed progression of my workouts and weight. Each day starts with a I weighed that morning, the workout that I did, how many calories I ate, how many calories the fit bit had me burning and my weight progression on main exercises. Very easy to keep track of it this way.

On bench I was able to do 210×6 on the barbell bench. This is the most I’ve done in awhile. Luckily I was in a local gym so I was able to get someone to spot me on the exercise and I only got a little help on the last rep. Pullups have been feeling good and I use that as my main move on pull days when I’m working out at my work gym.  Pullups are basically the “upperbody squat” meaning it works a ton of muscle and burns a lot of energy to complete. My pullups are pretty strict from and I usually go almost all the way down and lift my chest to the bar vs my chin. I feel these the best, especially with weight added.

For my Push days I have one day where I will do barbell bench press and one day where I will focus on dumbbell shoulder press. I’m trying to increase strength on both exercises and I usually dont have enough energy to do both in the same workout.

As for squats this week, they felt pretty heavy. I did these in a commercial gym, but the bar and weights just felt heavier than normal. Still managed to get 3 reps, but was hoping for 5. I’ll stick with that weight next time I do squats and aim to get 5 reps this time.

Still really enjoying this layout. The only thing I’m not a huge fan of is sometimes on Push day my shoulders just have no energy left after bench pressing and I have to lift much lighter weights afterward to compensate. This doesnt happen every workout, but when it does I feel like shoulders basically just get screwed over. I’ve compensated for this by doing shoulders at the beginning of one workout and doing chest at the beginning of the other. The real reason I like this split though is because the way its structured you could lift every single day without burning out. It uses muscles that work together, so when push muscles are sore, the next day your hitting the complete opposite side of the body with pull muscles, followed by legs and abs. It also works well if you end up missing a day, because since your not on a daily schedule (meaning Monday is always chest day) then you just take the day off and resume the workout the next day.

Nutrition

Lean meat, veggies, 1 cup of rice mixed with two whole eggs

Lean meat, veggies, 1 cup of rice mixed with two whole eggs

Lean red meat, broccoli and brown rice pasta

Lean red meat, broccoli and brown rice pasta

Protein Pudding

Protein Pudding

Lean meat with veggies a whole egg and rice

Lean meat with veggies a whole egg and rice

Two whole eggs, red meat, lean chicken sausage, veggies and crackers and butter bread on the side

Two whole eggs, red meat, lean chicken sausage, veggies and crackers and butter bread on the side

Bertuccis Calzone with side salad and dinner roll

Bertuccis Calzone with side salad and dinner roll

 

As you can see nutrition was around 2500 calories for the weekdays and right around 3000 on the weekends, which averages about 2600 calories a week. I plan to bump up my calories to around 2700 this week. As for macros my Carbs/Proteins/Fat have been around 250/210/72.  My fat and protein have been higher recently than in the past, but when I just eat naturally I tend to lean on those foods more often. I find it easier to get in enough calories by adding in more fat and protein. Dont get me wrong still eating my fair share of carbs, but I dont feel the need to hit double my body weight in carbs when I’d rather just eat large portions of protein and fat.

My meal plan is actually getting very consistent and below is what I eat almost everyday, except maybe for the weekends:

  • Coffee with half and half and splenda
  • Meal 1 – 2 scoops of Elite XT protein powder, frozen berries, banana, 1 tbs of peanut butter (JIF Creamy), 1/2 Quest Bar
  • Meal 2 – 6oz of lean red meat and chicken, broccoli or onions, 3 slices of butter bread (Natures Own) and Firehook Sweet Potato crackers, a cheese wedge and Parmesan cheese, 1 hard-boiled egg
  • Meal 3 – Pure protein bar or supreme bar (50g) and an apple
  • Meal 4 – 6oz of meat, veggie, 1-2 whole eggs and some type of starch (usually rice) – (I may also add in crackers or butter bread to increase my carb totals if need be)
  • Meal 5 – Finish quest bar and sometimes i’ll break up small pieces and mix it in almond milk

Nothing special, but its very easy to stick to and the food tastes really good. Not all very healthy sources, but most of the diet is composed of whole foods. I’ve also really been enjoying Supreme Protein bars. It has a decent amount of fat and limited amounts of protein (15 grams), but taste incredible. Throwing in a couple of protein bars each day has also helped me reach my desired number of calories, because sometimes doing this with all whole foods is very difficult without stuffing yourself full. Also I’m never really hungry on this plan probably because each meal is very balanced and I eat regularly, so my blood sugar stays where it should at all times.

Also here are some pics of my new place:

Kitchen

Kitchen

My bedroom 4 - Eli Manning Fathead all day

My bedroom 4 – Eli Manning Fathead all day

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My bedroom 2

My bedroom 2

My bedroom 1

My bedroom 1

Living Room 2

Living Room 2

Living Room

Living Room

 

Kitchen 2

Kitchen 2

Journal Entry 133

Morning Weight – 186lbs

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I must admit my reverse diet has been all over the place this week. Work was very busy and there were times I couldn’t eat much at all during the day. So I didn’t eat a huge dinner to compensate, but rather just ate based on what I felt like eating and hunger. Some days had my goal of 2600 calories others were around 1800. I also moved to the new place this week and I’m excited to move, but as for nutrition, chaotic describes it best. So I plan to get back on track this week, since things will get more consistent.

Workout:

  • Sunday – Pull
  • Monday – Off
  • Tuesday – Push
  • Wednesday – Legs
  • Thursday – Off
  • Friday – Pull / Move out
  • Saturday – Off / Move in

Good ole’ 4 day split this week. The move provided plenty of calorie burning and lifting and after all that lifting I really didnt feel like going to the gym. This week I’m going to join the local YMCA which is about 2 minutes away from my house. Don’t mind if I do. The best part about this move is that everything is a much closer drive than it was in my old house. Powhatan is the middle of the country and while I did enjoy living there in the past, I really need to live closer to stores and work. It became a huge inconvenience to travel that far away.

For lifting I have been utilizing that pyramid set – plateau buster to a lot of success. I pushed up 6 reps of 205lbs on the bench press with relative ease. I could have gone more, but didnt want to risk it since I was lifting alone in my gym at work. Each week every time I use the pyramid my weight lifted goes up and up, so I plan to ride this out until is stops working for me. It also worked for Squats and I was able to do 235 x 8 reps, which is a personal best.

Nutrition

BBQ chicken Red meat with taco seasoning Sweet Potato Crackers

BBQ chicken
Red meat with taco seasoning
Sweet Potato Crackers

Red Meat (lean) Peppers Asparagus Sweet Potato

Red Meat (lean)
Peppers
Asparagus
Sweet Potato

Chicken  Broccoli Whole egg Sweet Potato Crackers

Chicken
Broccoli
Whole egg
Sweet Potato Crackers

Red Meat  Sweet Potato White Rice Sweet Potato Crackers

Red Meat
Sweet Potato
White Rice
Sweet Potato Crackers

Protein Pudding with berries and banana Cracked bowl

Protein Pudding with berries and banana
Cracked bowl

Not on point this week, but rather greatly inconsistent. On the days I was moving, I probably burned close to 4000 calories with the constant moving and lifting that consumed the entire day. On normal days, I was still right around 3000, so I really want to get my calories up to where they need to be.

One plan I saw on muscle and strength, looked very enticing to keep things interesting. It was a 12 week plan and the first two weeks were 3000 calories to build muscle, 2650 calories the second  2 weeks to start cutting fat and still build muscle and the final two weeks at 2200 calories to accelerate fat burning. Once you’ve been eating that much, substantial amounts of fat should be lost on that calorie intake. After that you repeat the plan once more to total 6 weeks. I was thinking about doing something similar, but not sure yet. It does seem like a good way to always keep things interesting. I’m still going to do the same split I have been doing though, because I like it too much to do what the author of the workout recommended.

Reverse Diet Week 1- JE 132

Morning Weight – 186lbs average

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Workout Schedule:

  • Sun – Push
  • Mon – Pull
  • Tuesday – Legs
  • Wed – Push
  • Thurs – Pull
  • Friday – Cardio
  • Sat – Push

Found a new pyramid scheme which is awesome for increasing strength. I’ve used it on DB shoulder press and Lat Pulldowns and it worked for both exercises. I was stalling on 60lb Db’s for 5 reps on shoulder press and using this pyramid moved me to 60’s DB’s for 8 reps. Not too bad. Haven’t used it on Bench yet, but I’m hoping the magic continues. Here is a sample below of how it works:

Plateau Buster

Bench Press

Set 1 – 55% of top set – 135 warmup for 8 reps

Set 2 – 75% of top set (205) so 155 -160 lbs for 8 reps

Set 3 – TOP SET this is where you go for it 205 for 5 reps (increase this each workout)

Set 4 – Back off set 90% of heavy load 185lbs for 8 reps

Set 5 – 50-75% reduction of top work set – 15 reps (135)

Pullups

Set 1 – 140lbs – 8 reps

Set 2 – 160 – 8 reps

Set 3 – 220 for 5 reps

Set 4 – 200 for 8 reps

Set 5 – 140 for 15 reps

This workout features way more “warming up” and only a couple of work sets, but there is much benefit to doing this. One is when you hit top strength set, you strength is at an all time high to break plateaus. Second is instead of doing 5 heavy sets, you only really do 2, so the rest of the workout you have more energy and strength. I plan to use this on all my main exercises to try to keep the strength gains coming.

I’ve also been doing a ton more volume here recently. The extra food I’ve been eating has me feeling really good in the gym and I feel like I can handle the extra volume pretty easily. I havent been doing a set plan in the gym, but basically just doing 3 exercises per body part for 8-15 reps and hitting muscles twice a week. Recovery has been at an all time high.

Nutrition

Chocolate protein mix with bananas and rediwhip

Chocolate protein mix with bananas and rediwhip

Chicken with white rice mixed with taco seasoning Crab rangoon Spring Roll

Chicken with white rice mixed with taco seasoning
Crab rangoon
Spring Roll

Red Meat Onions Two small sweet potatoes

Red Meat
Onions
Two small sweet potatoes

White rice and lean meat

White rice and lean meat

Lean meat, toast and sweet potato crackers

Lean meat, toast and sweet potato crackers

Stuffed peppers with lean red meat and onions on white rice

Stuffed peppers with lean red meat and onions on white rice

Protein Pudding

Protein Pudding

Mongolian grill

Mongolian grill

Bertuccis Calzone with side salad

Bertuccis Calzone with side salad

Low fat potato salad BBQ chicken (homemade) Red meat

Low fat potato salad
BBQ chicken (homemade)
Red meat

Started the reverse diet this week. My calories hit around 2500 calories most days and 2800 towards the weekends. A small jump in the scale of two pounds, but it fluctuates. I plan to increase this to 2700 consistently for the upcoming week. Macros were around 285 carbs; 62 fat; 180 protein. I plan to bump this to 320 carbs; 62 fat; 180 protein. May up the protein slightly, because it makes getting in calories easier.

I’ve also learned about a really interesting amino acid called glycine. Its in small amounts in most lean protein sources, but its very high in some whey powders, red meat, and gelatin or jello. The benefits are numerous, but basically its anti-inflammatory, promotes insulin health, glucose control and prevents a lot of negative diseases. Most people should shoot for 10-15 grams a day and I probably already get in around 10 grams each day, but I purchased glycine powder from bodybuilding to get the last 5 grams as I feel like supplementing will be easier than eating a ton of jello. 😉 Apparently though a lot lean muscle meats have a lot of inflammatory amino acids, specifically methionine, that get too high in proportion to glycine. If you eat a low protein diet this is also a way to ensure that inflammation begins to rise. Glycine seems to be the regulator to balance this inflammation out. I eat a pretty high protein diet with a lot of muscle meats, so I definitely want to give glycine a try.

Food additions: Nature Valley granola bars to increase my carbs a little bit, I also made a potato salad with white potatoes, greek yogurt, corn and blackbeans. Pretty much amazing.