Journal Entry 175

Log:

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2/21 – 176.1lbs – 2900 calories – 7500 steps – 3.7miles

2/22 – 176.4lbs – 2150 calories – 6900 steps – 3.5miles

2/23 – 178.2lbs – 2100 calories – 2800 steps – 4.5miles

2/24 – 177.2lbs – 1950 calories – 7800 steps – 3.7 miles

2/25 – 175.4lbs – 2000 calories – 8500 steps – 4 miles

2/26- 175lbs – 1700 calories 2400 steps – 1 mile (snow day)

2/27 – 175lbs – 2250 calories – 8500 steps – 4 miles

Average Weight -176.1lbs   Average Calories 2150 calories

Training:

Weekly Split:

  • Saturday – Push
  • Sunday – Pull
  • Monday – Legs
  • Tuesday – Push
  • Wednesday – Pull
  • Thursday – Rest / Snow Day – 200 bodyweight squats / 200 pushups
  • Friday – Modified Leg and Abs day (Sore from the bodyweight workout ;))

A good week in training, although I didnt set any PR’s on anything. I’ve become very limited in my gym, because my Bowflex Db’s broke. Well one of them broke, so I could do a few things with one set of DB’s, but the other is knocked out until someone can fix it. That means the heaviest I can go with DB’s is 50lbs. The problem is my gym has 50s, 40s, and 30s. That’s too big of a gap on a lot of exercises, so dumbbell training is out for now on a lot of exercises.

I started to burn out towards the end of the week as well. At least I felt burnt out. Especially on Friday, there was no motivation or intensity at all in my workout. The day before I didnt eat much, because I barely moved the whole day, since we were snowed in. I did however knock out 10 sets of 20 squats and 20 pushups spread out over the day. I actually enjoyed doing it and it gave me a nice energy boost, but I didnt expect to be sore. My lats and hamstrings were very sore the next day haha. Either way I plan to maybe start doing 100 pushups a day just for an energy boost. You wouldn’t believe how well it works, especially if you feel tired.

My sleep has also been off this week. I wake up a few times during the night and I’ve also been waking up earlier and ready to get up. Not a bad thing for work, but I feel like I’m not getting quality sleep. I think this may be excess cortisol from training too much. I also plan to bump up carbs a bit more, because they are pretty effective in lowering excess cortisol when your already lean.

Diet

Shelby Starnes released an article a while back called Controlled Carb Bulking. It really piqued my interest for two reasons. One is because it looks very simple to implement and two I feel like it would work very well for my body. I’ve noticed that if I go too low in carbs my energy and strength is not very good. On the other hand, if I go too high in carbs I looked bloated and gain too much weight. The sweet spot for carbs is roughly 1 gram per pound of Lean Body Mass or bodyweight. This will be enough to fuel the thyroid, reduce cortisol better than lower carb approaches, prevent gluconeogensis in the liver and add a bit more variation to the diet. Its low enough carbs though that after the liver and workout carbs are replenished, none is leftover to be stored as fat. Its essentially meeting the body’s needs in carbs and not under/over doing it. I know some people can eat carbs all day, but I’m not one of those people (even when I’m very active). After you meet you needs in carbs, the rest of the diet comes from protein and fat. Easy enough. He recommends 16x bodyweight on training days and 12x bodyweight on rest days. I’d probably just split the difference and eat 14x bodyweight every day. Slowly going up if I’m not gaining weight too quickly.

This would bump my calories up 2-300 or so mainly from carbs. He recommends way too much protein though. I’ll stick to right around bodyweight and increase the carbs to the appropriate amount, and just increase dietary fat instead. Less bloating and cheaper. I may also add 2-3 glasses of red wine, just because it has a decent amount of benefits in moderation. This would lower fat intake, but it should be plenty high already. He also recommends one day a week of higher carbs. I’m already doing this on Saturday, so no need to change anything there.

Some pics from the week:

Sunday Dinner Meat and Veggies
Sunday Dinner
Meat and Veggies
New wireless speaker for my gym, Bluetooth enabled
New wireless speaker for my gym, Bluetooth enabled
4 ounces of red meat/ chicken, 1/2 of a chicken sausage, 3 whole eggs, veggies and crackers. This was my dinner for most nights this week.
4 ounces of red meat/ chicken, 1/2 of a chicken sausage, 3 whole eggs, veggies and crackers. This was my dinner for most nights this week.

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Rest day meal Meat, Veggies and a few crackers
Rest day meal
Meat, Veggies and a few crackers
Same, but added some Panera toast
Same, but added some Panera toast
Best red wine I've had in awhile. Way less tannic than most I've had recently.
Best red wine I’ve had in awhile. Way less tannic than most I’ve had recently.
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Journal Entry 164

Log:

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2/14 – 173.0 lbs – 2600 calories – 11510 steps – 5.6 miles

2/15 – 174.2lbs – 2100 calories – 6800 steps – 3.7 miles

2/16 – 177.8lbs – 1600 calories – 8800 steps – 4.1 miles

2/17 – 176.2lbs – 1900 calories – 6300 steps – 3.1 miles

2/18 – 175.5lbs – 1900 calories – 11700 steps – 5.5 miles

2/19 – 175.0lbs – 2100 calories – 10000 steps – 4.7 miles

2/20 – 175.4lbs – 2400 calories – 11300 steps – 5.3 miles

Average Weight – 175.3 lbs – Average Calorie Intake – 2100 calories

Workouts:

Another good week on the 6 day Push/Pull/Legs split. The only rest day I took was on Friday and it was more of an unplanned break. I plan to incorporate more variation (reps and movements) into my training. I plan to start out with a heavy compound movement for 4 sets of 6 reps with perfect form then moving into each individual muscle. Each muscle will have 2-3 exercises, one compound for 4 sets of 10 reps and one isolation for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Sample Workout:

Heavy Bench – 4x6reps

INC Bench Press – 4×10 reps

Chest Flys – 3 sets of 12-15 reps

DB Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 10 reps

Lateral Raise 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Skull Crushers 4 sets of 10 reps

Rope Pushdowns 3 sets of 12-15 reps

This way each muscle receives enough isolation and my pump should be very good by the end of the workout. I also want to work each muscle fully before moving to the next muscle group. I mean finish off chest then hit shoulders then hit triceps.

One thing I do want to work on during my heavy set is form. I want to get really good form for each rep before moving up. I may have to drop the weight a bit, but so be it. The point is to work the target muscles not fling weights up using your whole body and bad form. I also plan to have two different days for each push, pull, legs, so I dont get bored. I may do heavy bench twice a week, but I also may do an overhead press day just for variation.

I plan to include more machine/cable movements into my training. This is of course going to be added after my heavy set, but machine actually have several advantages over free weights especially in regards to isolating a certain muscle. Free Weights for example carry the added stress of getting them in place (setting up the lift), tend to drain the Central Nervous System (which can limit muscular power and strength) and fatigue stabilizer supporting muscles before enough stress is places on the target muscle. In other words, if you’re doing an incline dumbbell press to hit your chest, if your shoulders and triceps give out to fatigue then the chest is going to remain unstimulated. With machines way more stress is placed on the “target area” – the chest – and way less stress on the shoulders and triceps. This allows you to life more weight with your chest, before fatigue sets in. This may allow for better chest gains then trying to do free weights with everything as I have done in the past. This applies to other muscles as well. Dips are good triceps builders, but skullcrushers and rope pushdowns hit the triceps better in isolation, which is very important when you are specifically trying to increase the strength and size of a particular muscle group.

Don’t get me wrong though, free weights are superior for strength and they will still be the majority of my training, especially for the first major movement, but I plan to use more machines to see if I notice strength and size improvements in certain target muscles.

Nutrition

Average calorie intake was around 2100 calories during the week and maintenance on the weekends. Body fat is lower than its been in a long time. I don’t know the exact percentage, but its close to 10%. My skinfold caliper actually pinned it lower than that, but eyeballing I’d say right around 10%.

The diet I’m currently eating is really effortless. I really enjoy all my meals during the week. Been sticking to mainly meat, vegetables (broccoli and spinach mostly), whole eggs, aged cheese, protein powder, quest bars and a couple pieces of fruit. Carbs are around 100-120 grams, protein is bodyweight, and fat is around 70-80 grams each day. It may sound boring, but Monday – Thursday the meal plan stays almost exactly the same. For me this stress relieving, because I hate the stress of trying to figure out what I want to have. I would rather just know what to fix for each meal.

On the weekends, I usually go way higher in carbs, especially Friday night through Sunday Afternoon. Been using this as a “Cheat Period”.  Not that I go crazy or anything and I still track most of everything I eat, but for the most part I really just relax and eat.

Some pictures from the week:

Lobster Tail, Shrimp and Broccoli
Lobster Tail, Shrimp and Broccoli
Lean Meat, 3 whole eggs, veggies
Lean Meat, 3 whole eggs, veggies
Lean meat, cheese, 3 whole eggs and broccoli
Lean meat, cheese, 3 whole eggs and broccoli
Belle Vita shrimp pizza, small pan pizza (one slice) and half a breadstick, big side salad
Belle Vita shrimp pizza, small pan pizza (one slice) and half a breadstick, big side salad
Angelos Chicken sub with fries. (love this place)
Angelos Chicken sub with fries. (love this place)
3 whole eggs, chicken, 1 Angelos Roll, A few crackers
3 whole eggs, chicken, 1 Angelos Roll, A few crackers

Getting Stronger – Journal Entry 163

Log:

Week 17

2/7 – 176lbs – 2800 calories – 8200 steps – 4 miles

2/8 – 176.8lbs – 2000 calories – 5500 steps – 2.8 miles

2/9 – 177.8lbs – 1850 calories – 10000 steps – 4.78 miles

2/10 – 176.8lbs – 2000 calories – 10800 steps – 5.13 miles

2/11- 175.4lbs – 2000 calories – 9200 steps – 4.3 miles

2/12 – 175.2lbs – 2100 calories – 11100 steps – 5.2 miles

2/13- 175.2lbs – 2800 calories – 10800 steps – 5.1 miles

Average Weight – 176.1 lbs / Average Calories – 2200 calories

Been feeling really good this week. I’ve been eating around 4 whole eggs a day and I feel like I’m recovering faster than ever. Weight is more or less stagnant around 175lbs, but I’m getting leaner than ever before at a higher bodyweight. Body recomposition at its finest. Been hitting the weights hard for 6 days a week, so I feel like I’m favorably shifting the vast majority of my calories into muscle. I really like staying around this weight. 6ft tall and 175-180lbs at or around 10-12% bodyfat is very good for me. This way I can focus on lean gains and getting stronger and stronger at roughly the same bodyweight.

Training

Really good week in training. I’ve been able to push past almost every plateau this week. Hit 235 for 5 reps on squats and I remember not to long ago 205 felt really heavy. Hit 195lbs on bench for 6 reps, so I’m bumping it up to 200lbs. Dumbbell Lunges have been really good at 60’s in each hand at 8 reps each leg. This is way more than I’ve done in a long time. Been hitting Abs really hard twice a week as well. I do one move for the rectus abdominus (cable crunch) one for the obliques (Russian twists) and one for the lower abs (hanging knee raise). Also got 110lbs on Dumbbell Rows for 7 reps for back. I really like doing the 3 sets of 6,8,10 reps as well. Sometimes I dont hit it exactly, but I’ve been pushing almost each set to failure, which means even if I hit my goal of “8 reps” on a set, if I feel good I just keeping going for an extra rep or two. I feel this has greatly helped my strength out.

I’ve been doing the same legs and push workout twice a week. Since I’ve been able to increase my lifts each day I plan to keep it this way. Pull is not as important to me, because there is no key lift that I’m really eager to keep pushing. Dont get me wrong, I’m increasing the weights on each exercise, but I like the variation on pull days, especially since back is such a big muscle group. One thing that’s important to is sticking to 3 sets. This really narrows in your focus and keeps the quality over quantity. Sometimes by doing 4 sets especially with the last set being a higher rep set, than you get tired for the rest of your workout.

I’ve been training with someone at Williamsville all this week as well. He’s been training since high school and is around mid 40’s currently. He’s probably twice as strong as I am. Its pretty humbling seeing a guy easily push weights that you struggle with. This just makes me work way harder than usual. This guy is a rock though. If he cut down some weight, he could easily enter a bodybuilding show and do very well. He also has some of the biggest forearms I have ever seen. Definelty going to miss when he leaves though, since I’ve had some of my best workouts since he’s been there. I plan to start training with other people at Williamsville, even if they aren’t nearly as strong as this guy is. I have to stay after work to do it, but its just really nice training with someone else for a change.

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Nutrition

Been hitting about 2000 calories during the week and hitting maintenance around 25-2800 calories on the weekend. Average calorie intake is around 2200 calories.

Weekday macros are roughly 170-190g protein / 70-80g of fat / 100-120g carbs. A lot of vegetables, meats, cheese, eggs, fruit and a little starch. I’ve been eating a big banana after training almost every day. I prefer fruit to starch, just because I feel like its way healthier from a micro-nutrient standpoint than bread is. That being said I’ve also been having a few slices of Panera bread with my dinner. Trying to keep carbs around 30 grams or so per meal, to help increase protein synthesis a bit more than protein alone can provide. Also protein is a bit higher this week, but I just really like eating high protein.

As I said earlier, been consuming 4 whole eggs a day, mainly for the cholesterol. Training 6 days a week there is a lot of repair going on, so its important to keep my nutrients high. I’m going to start viewing eggs almost as a supplement I need to take daily. I feel like a lot of the recent muscle recovery and strength gains I’ve had have been do solely to the increased cholesterol and nutrients that eggs provide. Even if I dont have a meal with eggs in it, I probably eat them on the side hard boiled and aim to eat at least 3 a day.

Still been eating a deficit during the weekdays to keep burning fat. I’ve slowly bumped up calories a little bit, mainly by increasing more fat in my diet. I used to hit around 50 grams and now I hit around 70-80grams every day. Joints, strength levels and overall leaness has never been better. Carbs are still pretty low around 100-120 grams or so. As per Layne Norton’s research 30 grams at a meal is all that is needed to increase protein synthesis past what protein alone can provide. So I aim to get around that eat each meal. The only meal I don’t include carbs in is lunch and that’s just because its just easier not to pack carbs at lunch. I just eat a banana after training to make up for the lack of carbs there. I really dont care about the source of starch either. Carbs are essentially just sugar and eaten with a balanced meal it really doesnt matter the type of carb, but more the overall amount. I like bread/toast WAAAYYY more than rice, so I never eat rice any more. I just dont like that much and it feels kind of dumb to eat something that doesnt taste good and really doesnt provide the body with any nutrients either. Rice is literally pure glucose with almost nothing else in it and no flavor. I’ll pass. Been downing some blue cheese here recently, but I plan to switch to feta this week to change it up. I also really like goat cheese as well.

Here are some pics from the week:

Bertuccis Calzone with some added chicken and spinach
Bertuccis Calzone with some added chicken and spinach
2 whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese
2 whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese
Spaghetti Squash with homemade vegetable marinara sauce and chicken with Italian cheese
Spaghetti Squash with homemade vegetable marinara sauce and chicken with Italian cheese
3 Whole eggs, 4-5 oz of meat, veggies and Asiago cheese toast from Panera
3 Whole eggs, 4-5 oz of meat, veggies and Asiago cheese toast from Panera
Same as above
Same as above
Same as above
Same as above
Same as above
Same as above
3 whole eggs, 5oz of chicken and firehook crackers
3 whole eggs, 5oz of chicken and firehook crackers
Protein Pudding with 2 whole eggs
Protein Pudding with 2 whole eggs

Whole Eggs and Protein Synthesis – Journal Entry 162

Log:

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Week 16

1/31 – 177.4lbs – 2650 calories – 7700 steps – 4 miles

2/1 – 177.8lbs – 2800 calories – 6500 steps – 3.2 miles

2/2 – 179.3lbs – 1800 calories – 11700 steps – 5.7 miles

2/3 – 178lbs – 1400 calories – 8500 steps – 4 miles

2/4 – 176.6lbs – 2000 calories – 10800 steps – 5 miles

2/5 – 176lbs – 2000 calories – 10800 steps – 5 miles

2/6 – 174.8lbs – 2300 calories- 11000 steps – 5.3 miles

Average Weight – 177.1 lbs – Average Calories – 2135

Workouts

  • Saturday – Push
  • Sunday – Pull
  • Monday – Off
  • Tuesday – Off
  • Wednesday – Shoulders and Triceps
  • Thursday – Pull
  • Friday – Legs and Abs

I’m going back to the Push/Pull/Legs split probably training 6 days a week or if I feel good I may just keep the cycle going constantly. Hands down my favorite split as it allows me to train everyday without burning out. 4 days just isnt enough for me and on rest days I have withdrawal symptoms from not working out. The key to not burning yourself out on a daily schedule like this is to limit the amount of heavy lifts. In the past I would do every exercise for 3-4 sets in the 6 rep range and on the first move may even go down to 4 reps. Now I’m doing a reverse pyramid setup, where I do 6, 8,10,12 and maybe up to 15 reps on some exercises.

My goals are to get more muscle size and endurance. I noticed my endurance could use some work, because once I get to around 10 reps, my muscles just give out. By staying in the 6-12 range though, size gains should be better and also my central nervous system wont be nearly as taxed as it was when doing low reps for strength. I noticed by training everyday I wake up looking way leaner in the morning even when I’m eating more food. Nutrient partitioning at its finest. 😉

My lifts are also going up on every exercise. Barbell Bench is at 195×4 reps, Barbell Squats are at 225×6 reps, DB lunges were 120lbs for 6 reps each leg, Chinups about the same, DB shoulder press is at 60lbs in each hand for 6 reps.

I also noticed I seem to be leaner now than I have been in a long time and my weight is still hovering around the mid 170s. I thought I would have to drop lower in weight than this to be this lean, but obviously this means that I increased my muscle mass enough where I dont have to drop that low in weight.

Nutrition

This week I have really been bumping off the fat intake. Specifically from blue and goat cheese and adding in 4 whole eggs a day. After reading Anthonly Colpo’s article on cholesterol intake and strength gains, I felt obligated to add some eggs in. Basically he cited a study where there were 3 different groups with identical calorie intakes, but all had different amounts of cholesterol intakes. The group that ate the most cholesterol (I think it was 800mg a day) gained 50% more strength than the group that had the least amount of cholesterol. Pretty amazing results.

I noticed after eating 4 whole eggs a day, the weights I was using began to feel very light. Hard to explain, but my joints felt way better than usual and I just feel much stronger. There is also a substance called arachidonic acid in eggs that can greatly improve muscle damage and repair. I also added in the cheese for extra saturated fat. Not only is this good for the taste buds, but also improving free testosterone levels, which also greatly enhance recovery. Maybe this is why I feel unsatisfied doing a 4 day split. If I am adequately recovered, then what is the point of an off day?

Also read some interesting research by Layne Norton. He found protein intake (around 20-40 grams per meal and 3-5 grams of leucine) was the most important anabolic signal for muscle protein synthesis. Adding in 30 grams of carbs increased this slightly, but adding in 90 grams of carbs did not further increase protein synthesis past what 30 grams would do. This is important as it shows that some carbs are needed for better muscle growth, but excess carbs are not. He also found that BCAA’s between meals could help prolong protein synthesis and spreading out your intake over the day is superior to one or two big meals. He stated that a certain threshold hold of insulin needs to be reached to increase protein synthesis, but very high amounts of insulin are unnecessary and dont lead to more muscle growth, but probably more fat gains.

If you set up his research with 4-5 meals a day every few hours, then you would really only need 120-150 grams of protein and 120-150 grams of carbs per day to maximize protein synthesis. (this is obviously if you used high quality sources of protein) You would obviously need more calories, which could be added in with more dietary fat on top of this amount. Goes to show you that some carbs are important 120-150 grams, but slamming 400-500 carbs in unnecessary, especially if you don’t tolerate carbs well. I find I stay and look leaner and also feel way stronger, by adding in more dietary fat and keeping carbs lower. That being said I always have 1-2 days a week at a higher carb intake to fill out my glycogen stores. Training 6 days a week, a day like this is required.

Some pics from the week:

Junk food for the superbowl
Junk food for the superbowl
White blend wine. Really good mix.
White blend wine. Really good mix.
Homemade Chipotle with black beans, chicken, onions and shredded cheese with a side salad
Homemade Chipotle with black beans, chicken, onions and shredded cheese with a side salad
Lean Meat and Veggies with a side salad
Lean Meat and Veggies with a side salad
Whole eggs, cheese, lean meat, veggies
Whole eggs, cheese, lean meat, veggies
3 Whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese 1/2 ounce of blue and goat cheese
3 Whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese 1/2 ounce of blue and goat cheese
Smoked Salmon, cheese and Firehook Crackers
Smoked Salmon, cheese and Firehook Crackers
My dog Frisco who looks like an ewok from Star Wars
My dog Frisco who looks like an ewok from Star Wars