Journal Entry 184


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Week 28

4/25 – Missed – 2600 calories – 8000 steps – 4 miles

4/26 – 176.6lbs – 2250 calories – 10500 steps – 5.13 miles

4/27 – Missed – 1620 calories – 16700 steps – 8 miles

4/28 – 177lbs – 1700 calories – 20500 steps – 9.7miles

4/29 – 176lbs – 1600 calories – 21200 steps – 10 miles

4/30 – 175lbs – 1800 calories – 133300 steps – 6.3 miles

5/01- 175lbs – 2700 calories – 15600 steps – 7.4 miles

Average Weigh – 176lbs – Average Calorie Intake – 2050


Another week of trail and error until I figure out what I want to do in the gym. I’ve been doing a lot of split routines that for some reason just aren’t doing it for me right now. I tend to either get really pumped for a certain day (usually chest) and then demotivated for a leg day. I’m always trying different things out to see what I like best. 6 days of lifting is too many because I actually start to become bored in the gym. I think this is mainly due to the lack of variation I have in my gym at work. There’s only a certain number of exercises you can do and doing them too often results in burnout. 3-5 days a week is good, with 4 being optimal most likely, but I think I am leaning towards a 3 day split with most of heavy work being done and a optional lighter day if I really feel like going to the gym.

I’m doing a full body superset style of workout. Basically the workout is fullbody or upperbody with 8 total moves. Each 2 moves makes 1 superset so 4 total exercise pairings. This workout gets me really pumped by the end and works a ton of total muscle mass, much more so than a split routine. Its also more fulfilling, because you really feel like you did good effective work in the gym. Sometime certain splits with just a shoulder day leave me a little unsatisfied, unless I end up doing way too much volume which is overkill.

I decided on 4 sets of 5-8 reps for every exercise. The first exercise leans towards the lower end and the rest lean towards the higher end, but as long as its in that range its fine. 3 total workouts a week with a different exercises being done every time for variation.

Sample workout:

  1. Pair 1
  2. Horizontal Upper Body Push
  3. Vertical Pull
  4. Pair 2
  5. Vertical Push
  6. Horizontal Pull
  7. Pair 3
  8. Shoulder exercise (traps, medial delts or rear delts)
  9. Abs exercise
  10. Pair 4
  11. Biceps
  12. Triceps

The rest days will be as much as walking as I want and bodyweight style exercises throughout the day like pushups, pullups and squats. I usually shoot for at least 5 miles of walking, but I can usually get way more than that. A schedule like this works very well in times like this because it keeps me motivated and works well when times are busy.


I’m thinking about doing a leangains style of diet with way more carbs and calories on lifting days and fat burning calories and less carbs on walking only days. I’m not doing the eating window or fasting, but setting up my diet using leangains principals or carb cycling if you will. Call it whatever, it basically achieves the same effect of muscle gains with fat loss. I really like these style of diets, because I feel like they work well with my metabolism and goals. I’m definitely not the guy that can get away with smashing 3000 calories a day and have all of it go to muscle, no matter the macro composition. This way of eating allows you to feast and get away with it. Leangains usually on works with a 3 day split, so that works very well with this. The way I plan to structure it, is keep the same meal plan every day and then on days I life just “refeed” after weight training, which for me will be 7pm til bedtime. This is due to lifting around 5pm or so. Research shows this may be the most effective time to feast anyway, so dont mind if I do.

I have a tendency to pick foods with too much volume for refeeds, so I plan to do some gluten free pasta (to avoid bloat) or a box of cereal or something haha. Martin Berkhan ate cereal a lot for his refeeds and it really is a perfect food, because its easy to get down when you only have a few hours to get in a lot of calories. I do love some oatmeal (quaker instant low sugar kind), but its going to be hard to get down. This is the same of potatoes. I may be able to smash some rice, but I’m not a huge fan to be honest. I would rather do pasta or cereal.

I ordered some new Mint Chocolate Chunk Quest Bars this week and I’m really looking forward to trying one of those. Could be the best flavor yet.


I went to VT this weekend to see some friends and had a really good time. Took today off from work to get stuff done as taking a trip like that cuts in to times you have to run errands and everything. Nutrition was terrible this weekend though due to some extra alcohol calories. I didnt eat that much, because combining a lot of food with alcohol is not a good combination. In the past I combined a few drinks with a lot of carbs and calories on training day and this is really not a good idea. Almost every article I read recommends skipping lifting and eating a lot on days you plan to drink. I like being social, so Friday and Saturday will likely be rest days from the gym and the calorie load will be kept lower, especially from dietary fat. Keeping fat under 50 grams (maybe even under 20 grams) will prevent a lot of fat gain on days from drinking. Carbs ideally kept under 100 grams as well and protein intake can be eaten in any amount.

Also eating and training this way tends to maximize protein synthesis rates and nutrient timing. New research shows the more years you train the shorter the elevated protein synthesis rates and it usually only last 4-12 hours. It used to be 48-72 hours, but that is only if your untrained. This means feasting in the 4-12 hours after weight training is the best case scenario for maximizing muscle and minimizing fat in trained individuals. Also hitting the muscles more than one time a week is a very good idea.

Pics from the week:

Lean meat, veggies and 3 whole eggs that turned into a thick pancake texture with pepperoni on top
Lean meat, veggies and 3 whole eggs that turned into a thick pancake texture with pepperoni on top
Lean meat with veggies and 3 whole eggs
Lean meat with veggies and 3 whole eggs
3 whole eggs with low fat pepperoni
3 whole eggs with low fat pepperoni
Lean meat with vegetables and 3 whole eggs with low fat pepperoni
Lean meat with vegetables and 3 whole eggs with low fat pepperoni
Chipotle burrito bowl
Chipotle burrito bowl
Lean meat with veggies
Lean meat with veggies

15 thoughts on “Journal Entry 184

  1. carson

    Hey Micheal,

    As I said before I love the lean gains style approach. Me and my brother experience though is that I’d not very good for gains. If you want to cut while maintaining or building a little muscle it’s most likely great. Even the slow bulk lean gains approach the results are verrrryy slow and I think it might lead to spinning tires. Lyle Mcdonald touched point on this saying gains might be to slow or never take place. But that being said I think you do need a deficit day at least once a week to readjust calorie partitioning, but for rest I think positive energy balance is key to building new muscle you simply can’t without it (unless newbie magic).

    Here’s how I’m scheduling my “smart bulk”

    Maintenance cal= 2200

    Train days 2700 calories 500 surplus
    off/cardio days 2200 cal maintenence

    Once every week or two a 24hour fast (which actually is one meal at the end of the fast day) this might be 5-750calories for that day.

    I have gathered this method somewhat from here but not nearly to the same extent!

    What do you think of this plan?


    • Michael Cocchiola

      Macros sound good, but I would skip the fast. I think John Kiefer – the guy that created carb backloading said if you really want to build muscle then fasting for longer than 12 hours is counter productive, although it does work better for fat loss to fast longer.

      I would recommend keeping protein + fat meals in the early part of the day and then start introducing carbs right around your workouts and at night and just stick to your average number of calories. Your average weekly intake is the most important intake to hit in my opinion. So if you want to build muscle then hitting that surplus of calories is the way to go. But structuring your calories in certain ways like leangains can ensure most of the calories go to muscles vs fat.

      And yeah that’s a really awesome article. Nate Green is an ectomorph physique and obviously doesnt put on fat like myself or others would with a similar approach haha.


  2. carson

    I also read John article where he mentions 12-14 and I get what he’s saying there but the study he references was on rats lol…which I never buy.

    I have always saved majority of my carbs post workout that’s a given. You mention sticking to average calories you don’t reccomend cycling them combined with carb cycling?

    Yea if you look at his meal examples and do some math he was rocking a 1500-2000 calorie surplus everyday!


    • Michael Cocchiola

      Haha didnt know that. Yeah rat studies never made sense to me when humans are completely different.

      I definetly recommend cycling calories, but I still think the overall weekly surplus is important. Meaning if you have 4000 calorie traning days and 2000 calorie rest days but your overall weekly balance is still below maintenace then you may not be gaining as fast you hope.

      Honestly that could been of maintenance for him haha. Some guys just dont know how to store fat.

      Also check this out:

      Pretty interesting in that there is small cycle of carbs for an endomorph postworkout, but overall carbs are still low and controlled. He still recommends getting about 40% of calories from fat for endomorphs.


  3. Carson

    Hmm it is valid points.

    Though ive never bought into the body types gig…I think its a little overrated, not enough evidence to support all of its lofty claims how important it is. Calories are Numero Uno at end of day.

    Calorie reccomendations can be so varied its crazy. I need to eat a lot more than 20-22 calories per pound to gain any weight. Though some people its WAY too much. I took all 8 bmr calorie activiyty calculators and entered my stuff. They all had my maintanence at 20 calories per pound. These calculator like Mifflin/katch/harris etc. were created in years when the average person was a lot more active in the NEAT NEPA category.

    If you walk a lot cook your own meals lunches clean your house do laundry etc on a daily basis + your 60-90 minute at the gym….NEAT & NEPA can go like 1000 calorie alone.

    When I star addressing the calories I find its been more accurate to calculate like this.

    BMR= Harris ben OR Katch Mcardle
    x Neat/Nepa (1.1 right up to 1.5)
    + Formal exercise (Typical 1 hour solid weighlifting gym session = 300-400 calories)
    x 1.1 for Thermal effect of food (if you eat a clean diet with lots of protein and if you use coconut oil MCT’s TEF is deffenitley 1.1)


    • Michael Cocchiola

      Yeah it can be very tricky finding maintenance probably because it just varies everyday. If your having trouble gaining muscle though, I definitely wouldn’t fast and just eat more meals throughout the day mainly because its easier to get in calories that way.

      Yeah I’m not sure about somatypes either. Its an interstsing concept, but theres so many factors that could influence your tolerance to carbs vs fat. I think genes has a lot to do with it as well. Usually if your on a certain diet and you feel like terrible, then it probably isnt a good idea for you.

      Check this out though:

      Really like Mennos work.


  4. Carson

    Totally agree each person to their own and do not only what works best for them but also what they enjoy and hell that could mcdicks everyday lol. Its all experimental too trial and error.

    Menno has a lot of good material and that article is good too. Though I find sometimes he can be a little too far out there with some of his stuff like maroding an ideal that is simply just that, an ideal. Really didn’t like his podcast on keto dieting and muscle building etc. basically came across like we should be doing keto diets due to supireority…crazy thinking when hypothyroid is statiscally and quietly the most increasing medical concern. Thyroid loves anything low carbs lol….

    He really doesn’t have any medical or educational background, he admits this himself. He is self taught as he sais, so when you really put it to the realism…he is a glorified personal trainer/bodybuilder. *With that being said he is obviously a guy to take some advice from I mean look at him! but I also try to keep it with a grain of salt on case to case. (Which as you know as well as I is pretty much how you have to approach any fitness and health advice with the million different opinions!)

    P.S. – Menno has some Great training advice like on ab-work and prtty much only ab exercise should be doing is isometric like planks and avoid all else…if you want a v-tabe nice waist of course.


  5. Michael Cocchiola

    I think that podcast wasnt really a testimonial for keto diets, I think he was just trying to prove that you dont need high carbs and low fats to build muscle as bodybuilders have recommended for years. In other words you can be much more flexible and balanced and control your calories to get the same results. Whats funny is your thyroid does undergo changes when you diet or switch fuels if you will, but its overall impact on metabolism is negligible. Apprently thyroid is correlated more with bodyweight than diet. Meaning if you obese with a “slow thyroid” is because your thyroid is working too hard and dieting would likely speed it back up again.

    Yeah he has background in science, but I actually like the fact that he’s self taught because everything I know is self taught as well.

    I’m still a fan of the more moderate/lower carb diets moderate fats and high protein. I just feel the best on this. Usually when I mess around with high carbs or high fats, I always end up back in the middle haha.


  6. Carson Danyluik

    Ha i know what you mean….i try to follow the ideal that you only need .8 grams protein…..Buuutt i eat probably like 1-1.5, simply becaus ei LIKE it lol. Im becoming a little more “fuck it” when it comes to macros, i mean obviously there important but its kinna crazy how much emphasis has been put on them now, nowhere in human history did people ever worry bout that stuff lol they probably had high low days of all macros. Really getting my calories in line though, i find before worring about macros you have to get calories straight your not gonna grow or loose fat if thats not in order, too much advice out there is more worried aboutt he macros than the calories.


    • Michael Cocchiola

      Haha yeah I’m with you on that. Basically just eat a diet with 80% healthy foods / 20% whatever and see where your macros end up. Especially all these diets coming out with meal timing. Its like just eat a balanced diet, make sure your calories are where they need to be and be done with it. I find life has a way of interfering with the perfect eating schedule anyway. I think thats why so many people have different opinions, is because they enjoy a certain way of eating and they just assume everyone else will like it as much as they do, which isnt the case. Besides I’ve tried a lot of different diets and always seem to fall back into the way I naturally prefer to eat anyway.


  7. Carson Danyluik

    Amen to shit!….i find all those fancy strategies out there like carb-back loading for example MIGHT be useful for bodybuilders etc. Even than though Arnold when you study what he his diet regime was back in the day it didnt employ any fancy strategies…4-6 quality meals a day with a good supply of protein. He didnt even count or track half the shit they do nowadays and he still had the greatest physique ever.

    Man im loosing weight at 3-3500 calories a day lol. Its crazy im kinna at my wits end with what todo here. in order to hit those calories my fats are over 1 gram per lb its vast!


    • Michael Cocchiola

      Haha yeah I do use some of those tips and they do work well for me, but that’s mainly because I find them easy to do. They definitely are not necessary for results. I’m defn a big protein / fat kinda guy though. I do enjoy carbs but I would much rather just feast on protein and fat, not only from a feel standpoint, but overall taste as well. Yeah Arnolds volume was extremely high and he also took some roids which definelty helped him out, but dont get me wrong he defn put in the work.

      Yeah I would start drinking a lot of calories if I were you. Eat like 3 huge meals a day and then make 3 high calorie weight gainer shakes in between meals. You can keep it pretty affordable by using oatmeal, whole milk, bananas stuff like that. If you find your gaining fat obviously cut back, but that probably wont be an issue haha.


  8. Carson

    Yea being an extreme ecto/hardgainer is kinda a double edged sword your always lean, but adding muscle is a challenge.

    Arnold is impressive because he didnt actually use sterioids till roughly 22 years old as he mentions in his books. At 17 he was already a natural champion bodybuilding but roids did take him to that next level. The amount of steroids wasnt even 10% of what guys use nowadays yikes.

    I enjoy some of the reads on Steve Reeves, prrty much the best all natural bodybuilder ever. For being from the 50,60s alot of principals are still true and solid.

    ** Something all these legendary gents have in common….NO frackin cardio, except light light stuff. Its probably the most uneccessary thing ever. Walking keeps you healthy and has all the recovery and fat oxidation we look for physique benefit wise. But anything more than walking is garbage ha.

    Ray Peat thinks endurance excercise is like the devil ha, he has lots of proof of terrible health consequences of endurance excercise from thyroid damage and even tumor growth, and of course muscle loss.


    • Michael Cocchiola

      Yeah a lot of good points. Arnold did take roids, but also looked normal and not like a freak like many guys look like today.

      I do enjoy some light runs right before lifting as I feel like it fires me up to lift. But anything over 2-3 miles and your starting to cut into muscle building efforts.

      Yeah endurance exercise if done chronically can definetly do that. Its kind of like starving yourself all the time. The metabolism dont like it haha.

      I’ve been doing a lot of reading on body temperature here recently. Pretty interesting stuff to read. What’s your Base temp? Apparently for every degree under 98.6 you are represents a 5-10% decrease in metabolism. I’m guessing your temp is right were it needs to be or maybe even slighly above.


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