Month: July 2015

Journal Entry 196 – Westside Week 1 – Phase Shift Diet

Average Weight:

173-174lbs

Lame Office Pic

Bored Office Pic 😉

Workouts:

First week completed of Westside for Skinny Bastards part 3 and I really enjoyed it. A lot of the exercises I have been doing are different and force you out of your comfort zone. Favorite day was probably Repetition Upper Body doing 3 sets of max reps for Bench. Stuck to 135lbs and just repped it until I could barely rerack the weight. Been awhile since I have done max reps like that. Also got a really good pump afterward.

Max Effort Lower started with trap bar deadlifts and I got up to roughly 245lbs for 5 reps on those. Very good overall exercise and followed those up with lunges and dumbbell romanian deadlifts. My hamstrings and traps were sore for the next 4 days.

Max Effort Upper started with barbell bench and hit 195×4 for the top set. A little lower than I wanted, but I expect this to shoot up in future weeks.

Dynamic lower body started off with 8 sets of 3 bench jumps. Felt kind of awkward at first, but after I stretch and opened up my hips, the jumps became very easy to complete. I also got a really good sweat going from the plyometrics, which I also havent done in a while. Followed these up with some dumbbell split squats, which were hard as hell. This exercise is basically a combo between a squat and a lunge done unilaterally. Really enjoying the variation though.

I plan to continue this workout for the next two months at least and try to increase my numbers on each lift.

For cardio, I’ve been jumping rope in between sets and on lower body days been doing 10-15 pushups between sets. I also run a mile before each workout and do incline walking almost everyday. Not doing the morning cardio, but I’m still getting it in, in a more enjoyable way.

IMG_2657 IMG_2658 IMG_2659 IMG_2660

Nutrition

Calories getting bumped up to roughly 2400 with 180-200g protein / 120-140 grams of fat / 80-120g of carbs on average.

After seeing a really good article by Erick Minor, I plan to implement a phase shift diet. This is similar to the Anabolic Diet, except you have one refeed day every 2-3 days. This is very important to ensure you don’t gas out and run out of carbs. Basically if your not on a true ketogenic diet, which would require protein to be held at a max of 120-140 grams and carbs under 30 grams (too restrictive), you’re essentially still on a carb based diet. Carbs are depleted after two days of severe calorie restriction or 3 days of low carb dieting. Past this point muscles will start to flatten out, performance will drop off, thyroid starts to slow and mood may drop. Since we dont want that to happen, your simply increase your carbs to at least 200 grams and up to 400 grams twice a week. Fat gain is unlikely as pretty much all of those carbs are going to your muscles, while fat is being burned for energy.

Why do such a diet? – Mainly because my carb tolerance sucks and taking this approach on a bulk can keep you much leaner than sky high carbs all the time. Low carb diets combined with weight training have an insulin sensitizing effect and my metabolism is naturally slow. As much as it would make sense to do the traditional bodybuilder diet of high carbs, low fats, high protein; the results are usually not favorable for me. Although when I bump up fat instead most of the time, my definition stays intact, I dont feel bloated from all the starch and I feel fantastic. Also this approach is much easier from a calorie control standpoint. My appetite tends to increase with too many carbs. Keeping carbs to nothing more than a few fruits and a ton of vegetables, easily keeps the total carb content to under 100 grams. This allows me to load up on protein and fat all day long.

I also think this is a much better approach then the Anabolic diet. Mainly because if carbs are depleted after 3 days then why wait 5 days before reloading? Also if you carb load on Saturday with 400 grams, then your glycogen stores are already full and loading again on Sunday would likely mean spillover since they are already full from the previous day.

Most of my protein and fat sources are animal products, which have been shown to be superior for muscle growth and fat loss over vegetable products. Some chicken, red meat (higher fat), butter, eggs, protein powder, high fat dairy, cheese, low sugar dark chocolate, low carb protein bars and any vegetables are my sources of food. I also eat some peanut butter and sauces (low cal ranch, low sugar ketchup and salsa) and also make sure to get enough sodium. Very important to get enough salt without being on a higher carb diet. Also as for my carb sources, it really doesnt matter to much. I’ll probably reload with some gluten free pasta (mainly because its easy to get down) for dinner and have some oatmeal afterward. I do love some oatmeal, but in moderation only because it can lead to some pretty bad bloating. 😉

Also read an interesting article on Suppversity: http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2015/07/get-your-macros-straight-in-two-minutes.html.

Basically it said on higher carb diet, you still want ideally 80 grams of fat for men and 50 grams of fat for women as a minimum intake. You also want ideally 90 grams of carbs a day for men and 60 grams of carbs a day for women minimum on a low carb diet. Pretty interesting read, because dietary fat is still much higher than most people eat on a regular basis.

If you average out the amount of carbs over the week on a diet such as this it comes in between 150-175 grams a day. Would there be a massive difference between eating this amount everyday and cycling it? –  Most likely not. But I do feel there are several advantages to doing it in a phase shift pattern, such as improved insulin sensitivity, meal planning, appetite control, calorie control and allows you to feast a couple days a week.

Some pics from the week:

Bertuccis Calzone

Bertuccis Calzone

Chicken, two eggs, veggies, cheese, crab rangoon

Chicken, two eggs, veggies, cheese, crab rangoon

Shrimp, pasta sauce with olive oil, broccoli and cheese

Shrimp, pasta sauce with olive oil, broccoli and cheese

3 whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese

3 whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese

Chicken cooked in butter, with onions and cheese

Chicken cooked in butter, with onions and cheese

Chicken cooked in butter with avocado and cheese

Chicken cooked in butter with avocado and cheese

Advertisements

Journal Entry 195 – WSB part 3

Workout:

This week I did my 40 minutes of cardio in the morning every day. I enjoyed it at my parents house in Powhatan, because the country road makes it very easy to zone out and enjoy nature with minimal distractions from cars. At my place however it was a different story. Constant construction and traffic coming in and out were not only distracting, but dangerous. This also makes it very hard to focus and “zone out”, which for me is crucial to get a good workout, especially when running. I really did like implementing cardio into the daily routine though and the benefits can’t be ignored. I’m going to try and switch around when I do cardio and probably add it in in the afternoon instead after work. Even the place I work has a long driveway that after a certain hour, no one comes down and would make the running much more enjoyable.

The cardio did start to feel like a chore at my place however. I can’t say I enjoyed waking up an hour early to run in a noisy environment with constant cars zooming by me. And I’m not a huge fan of treadmills either, unless I’m doing incline walking. So I’m either going to do cardio after work or save it for rest days during my lunch break. 3 days a week of 30 minutes of cardio has been shown to achieve most of the benefits of exercise, so even if I save it for just rest days, I still get the benefits.

Another thought was to try and jump rope between sets of my strength workout. I’m become very good at it and its a good way to keep the heart rate elevated during a workout. I’ll most likely try them all out and see which is more enjoyable.

My lifting split this week was:

  • Saturday – Push
  • Sunday – Pull
  • Monday – Legs and Abs
  • Tuesday – Rest
  • Wednesday – Push
  • Thursday – Rest
  • Friday – Rest

On Friday I put on a weighted vest and walked on an incline for roughly 35 minutes. It was actually really good cardio. It’s amazing what even an extra 10lbs feels like when your walking. Goes to show why its so important for athletes to be low body fat during the season to maintain optimal speed. Body fat isn’t doing you any favors in that department.

I think my plan is to start to doing Westside for Skinny Bastards III (WSB part III). This is a football based workout designed to increase strength, muscle and athleticism. Since I’m implementing more cardio and still want a blend of everything lifting provides I think this will be a good plan. Brian Cushing and JJ Watt both have done this in the past and from what I read of it seems very well designed in regards to implementing all the factors of lifting into one workout.

This is a 4 day upper / lower split with two heavy (Max Effort days) and two lower (Dynamic Effort Days). The Max effort days are when your going for PR’s in the gym on one main lift. I plan to do Barbell Bench Press and Trap Bar Deadlifts. Trap bar deadlifts are one of my favorite moves, because it combines the squat and deadlift into one movement and takes a lot of stress of the lower back. Due to the angle you hold it at, it also allows you to get more weight up. There’s only two Max days though, as lifting too heavy tends to stress out the central nervous system. The other days are dynamic effort, which are rep based days to focus on endurance. This workout also hits your traps pretty hard. The template leaves a lot of variation to the persons liking. Meaning you can replace certain exercises if you don’t like them.

Planned Schedule:

  • Sunday – Cardio
  • Monday – Max Effort Upper Body
  • Tuesday – Dynamic Effort Lower
  • Wednesday – Cardio
  • Thursday – Dynamic Upper Body
  • Friday – Cardio
  • Saturday – Max Effort Lower Body

Nutrition

I plan on doing some calorie cycling with this plan. Going to leave the cardio days in a deficit, the dynamic days at maintenance and the Max Effort days in a surplus.

I think my macros will be higher fat, adequate protein and lower carb. With one carb-up day somewhere. Going to get some ground chuck meat this week (higher fat), avocados, cheese, butter and lots of eggs. Most of my carbs will come from vegetables and some fruit (usually berries and a small apple). One day a week usually Saturday I’ll just eat whatever.

A couple things I noticed personally. Butter is superior to coconut oil and olive oil when it comes to cooking for one main reason: taste. Butter taste so much better than the other two and may have the most benefit in terms of testosterone. I’ve noticed better digestion with it as well.

When eating a lower carb or starch diet, sodium become a non issue and you need almost triple the amount then you do with lots of carbs. This is to keep your electrolytes in balance. Since carbs and insulin production is lowered, the kidneys dumps salt. The solution is to each more salt and make sure to eat enough potassium from vegetables. Also supplementing with magnesium is important as well.

I think progress will be easier to chart with a higher fat diet, due to not only preference in meals, but water retention. Carb ups are tricky, because sometimes I nail them and other times I fail and get bloated. Carb ups also can cause lots of weight fluctuations on the scale and even though I know exactly why they are happening it still is kind of annoying to deal with.

At higher calorie intakes, I also feel like my body does much better with fat, then a bunch of carbs. Whether it be genes or just a nutrient partitioning effect, I’m not sure. Its most likely due to my history with long term low carb diets, making my body more sensitive to glucose. Or should I say more efficient with glucose. The sources of fat are also very important, because just like carbs, the wrong fats can cause lots of inflammation and fat gain if consumed in high amounts. Beef, cheese, avocados and butter will be the main sources and maybe some high fat, low sugar chocolate if I can find it. Beef bacon and not pork bacon should be a good choice. Also have to include at least 1-2 tbs of peanut butter. Not the best source, but since fat is going to be so high, there’s no way I’m not including this in. Should be some good times.

Pics from the week:

Texas Roadhouse side salad and roll.  Pretty much amazing

Texas Roadhouse side salad and roll. Pretty much amazing

New SUV radio

New SUV radio

Meat, two eggs, crab rangoon and veggies

Meat, two eggs, crab rangoon and veggies

Pork tenderloin with veggies

Pork tenderloin with veggies

Chicken cooked in butter, veggies and whole egg.

Chicken cooked in butter, veggies and whole egg.

Higher fat chicken with butter and veggies

Higher fat chicken with butter and veggies

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio

The Massive Benefits of Daily Cardio

The Massive Benefits of Daily Cardio

Doing cardio 4-7 times a week for at least 30 minutes can have the following benefits. It is recommended to get the heart rate up to 60-85% of your maximum heart rate (ideally 70-85% when you’re in good shape). Your max heart rate is 220 – your age. You then count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find how many times your heart is beating per minute. If you heart rate is too low you mass miss out on some of the benefits.

An easy way to tell is after 10-15 minutes of so, your breathing should be greatly accelerated and you should be sweating as this is the body’s way of cooling you down due to an increased heart rate.

Cardio can be overdone as well, but anything under an a hour a day has been shown to be positive, where going over an hour a day may not be so wise and can lead to decreased well-being.

  • Cardio Benefits
    • Less stress and anxiety. Cardio acts as an outlet for excess stress in the body. Without the cardio stress can become too internalized and lead to nasty consequences.
    • Deeper more restful sleep due to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system
    • Greater endurance during exercise
    • Improved recovery from exercise
    • Heart efficiency (120-150bpm)
      • Allow max blood flow through left ventricle of heart
    • Extends life span
    • Cardio increase core body temperature and accelerates your metabolism for hours after you do it.
    • Cardio increases insulin sensitivity. One session of 25-60 minutes at (60-95% of VO2 max) has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity for 3-5 days after.
    • Cardio increases digestion and reduces bloating
    • Cardio can prevent some of the side effects of overeating
    • Cardio helps control blood sugar and appetite
    • Reduces mental tension
    • Increases happiness by releasing endorphins and creating euphoria (no drugs necessary ;))
    • Increased sex drive due to better overall blood flow through the body. Testosterone was also shown to be 25% higher compared to people that were sedentary.
    • Increased nutrient absorption to muscles and organs
    • Decreased diseases risk. (Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol)
    • Decreased Inflammation. Reduces free radical damage, increases blood flow and nutrients to skin, increases collagen production which decreases wrinkles.
    • Increased self confidence
    • Can increase Vitamin D levels if done outside, which has been shown to have a plethora of benefits
    • Increase brain capacity and function and prevent Alzheimer’s. It does this by increasing blood flow and neurogenesis (new brain cells) and brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF)
    • Helps control addiction by stimulating dopamine and distracting drug users from their cravings
    • Exercise increases productivity
    • Increases creativity
    • Increased immunity and detox. It does this by creating more white blood cells, which decreases bacteria and viruses. Also helps fuel the lymph systems which decreases metabolic waste products. (you look less puffy and bloated)
    • Increased circulation, which can increase 4-5 times the amount of restful conditions. This again increases lymph drainage and decreases puffiness. The key here is to breathe hard.
    • Less visceral and subcutaneous body fat. Cardio allows you to eat more while losing fat.
    • Cardio increases the metabolism, when losing fat and can help establish a new body weight set point. As long as you don’t cut calories too hard while exercising. (Going below your BMR is too low)
    • Increased lung capacity
    • Increased fat metabolism
    • Increases total number of red blood cells
    • Decreases death rate by 25-33% compared to non exercises
    • Less chronic muscle pain, less stiffness and greater mobility and agility
  • Cardio Increases Looks
    • Cardio can lean out the face. After 15 minutes of an increased heart rate, muscles start to require more oxygen, so blood and oxygen is diverted away from your face and fat starts to burn off. It also reduces excess water weight.
    • Improves skin. Sweating helps pores dilated and release dirt and oil as long as you wash off after doing it.
  • Fasted Cardio
    • Fasted cardio promotes autophagy. Autophagy is a process of cellular cleansing that the body undergoes during fasting. Instead of fasting for long periods, doing a 30-45 minute cardio session in the morning with no food, is just as effective and can greatly increase insulin sensitivity when you do eat.
    • Fasted morning cardio was the only way to prevent the cancerous effects of a hyper caloric high fat diet. (AMPK regulated this)
    • Fasted cardio does not result in more fat burned vs fed cardio to any significant degree

Works Cited:

http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/blog/long-duration-low-intensity-cardio/

http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2013/08/want-to-clean-up-cellular-garbage-train.html

http://examine.com/faq/how-do-i-increase-insulin-sensitivity/

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2012/09/exercise-is-less-better-than-more/

https://experiencelife.com/article/8-ways-exercise-makes-you-gorgeous/

http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/cardio_benefits.htm

Journal Entry 194 – Adding in Cardio

Log:

IMG_2573

7/04 – 2300 calories – 8000 steps – Missed

7/05 – 2100 calories – 6100 steps  175.3 lbs

7/06 – 1800 calories – 16500 steps – Missed

7/07 – 2150 calories – 10760 steps – 173.4lbs

7/08 – 2100 calories 12700 steps – 174.3lbs

7/09 – 2150 calories – 10500 steps – 173.4lbs

7/10 – 2600 calories – 10500 steps – 173.4lbs

Average Calories – 2170  Average Weight – 174lbs

Blog:

After a lot of research on the topic, I plan to implement moderate intensity cardio into my daily workouts. I have ran before in the past, but used to do cardio only with no weight training. Here recently besides walking, I have basically done zero cardio. The problem with this is that my heart rate never gets raised high enough to promote optimal blood flow. When your heart is pumping consistently at an almost moderate to high intensity, it greatly helps fuel your muscles, promotes insulin sensitivity, promotes recovery and the best is optimal energy levels after finishing. There are actually tons more benefits including better skin, self confidence, mood and better sleep and more. Not going to lie, I feel amazing after a good run and sometimes a good lift just doesn’t get me the same benefits. Its like a clear headed, anti- anxiety feeling that only running and keeping the heart rate elevated can achieve. Lifting can give me this rush, but it usually has to be higher rep to get the blood flowing.

I plan to do this early in the morning before work or breakfast. Basically wake up and grind mindset. This is what the rock does and it seems to work well for him. You also get a large feeling of accomplishment, by waking up early, when everyone else is sleeping and knocking out a good 3-4 miles. The energy increase I get afterward is nothing short of amazing. I’m also using the cardio to help build more muscle. I tend to me endomorphic in nature. Endomorph is a nick name for someone that puts of weight and fat easy and has to work harder to keep fat off and watch their diet closer. Cardio could be the missing link. If cardio greatly increases insulin sensitivity to the working muscles and allows you to eat more without getting fat, then it could be the missing link to building more muscle without fat.

My plan is to do the cardio in the morning around 6:15 or so. I plan to do 3-4 miles or just set a timer and hit anywhere from 30 mins – 45 mins every single day. Research shows that in healthy individuals you could ideally do this 3-4 times a week and obtain all the benefits, but I want to build the cardio into my day, so it becomes like second nature. Another good thing about running is the fact that you can do it anywhere.

As for my weight training, I’m still not sure what I’m doing. Thinking about doing 1-2 muscle groups a day with a mix of rep ranges. I like doing full body, but I have a feeling it may be too much from a recovery standpoint. Still on the fence right now. I do want to find something I can hit consistently though. Just having a really hard time figuring what that’s going to be.

My nutrition will see a bump in calories. I’ll probably just shoot for a range of 2100-2600 calories a day, averaged over the week. I really dont feel like tracking that accurately and just want to eat to my natural appetite with a balanced diet. Some days will likely be higher others lower, but the average I want to land around 23-2400. Basically just doing a maintenance recomp, while training the way I want to train.

Some pics from the week:

New SUV

New SUV

IMG_2549

BBQ chicken with veggies

BBQ chicken with veggies

VPX bang energy drink. Really good

VPX bang energy drink. Really good

IMG_2555

1 cup of beans with onions and chicken with chips and salsa

1 cup of beans with onions and chicken with chips and salsa

Lean meats, veggies, cheese, hard boiled egg and crab rangoon

Lean meats, veggies, cheese, hard boiled egg and crab rangoon

Vino

Vino

Pizza and leftover Moe's for dinner

Pizza and leftover Moe’s for dinner

Journal Entry 193

Log:

6/27 – 172.3lbs – 3100 calories – 6500 steps

6/28 – Missed – 2000 calories – 6800 steps

6/29 – Missed – 1900 calories – 6500 steps

6/30 – 173.9lbs – 2000 calories – 12350 steps

7/01 – 172.4lbs – 2050 calories – 11000 steps

7/02 – 172.1lbs – 1850 calories – 13700 steps

7/03 – 172.4lbs – 1950 calories – 7700 steps

Average Weight 172.6 – Average Calories – 2120 calories

Blog:

Busy week and weekend this week and missed my blog post entry on Saturday morning. A lot of socializing and looking for new cars this week made my weekend feel very short. I loved my Audi TT, but the maintenance costs were very annoying and costly. I didn’t see this car being a good idea long term at all. Basically the older the car got the more issues I saw it causing me. I found a Honda CRV, which is apparently the best of the best when it comes to reliability and affordability. It also has a sunroof, all wheel drive and most importantly more room than just two seats.

Recovery and motivation has been an issue here recently, so I took 3 days off in a row and ate whatever I wanted. I can say motivation is back already. I really just needed a break. I barely walked besides going to social events and didn’t lift at all Thursday – Saturday. I picked back up on Sunday with a minimalist upper body workout and felt really good. I’m thinking an every other day lifting plan is in order. I also think the extra calories helped a lot with energy and filling my muscles out.

I also may switch back to the progressive overload template versus trying to get a ton of volume. This is because the volume is burning me out and I want my workouts to have a purpose again. Meaning I want to go in to my workouts feeling fresh and looking to set records again and get my strength up. Since I will lift every other day, this will be 4 workouts each week.

Going to make this post short this week, but will try to get it more detailed next week, when I’m hopefully less busy and more organized with training and diet.

Some pics from the week:

Bertuccis

Bertuccis

Chicken teriyaki meat with a crab rangoon and steamed dumpling

Chicken teriyaki meat with a crab rangoon and steamed dumpling

Chicken, beans and onions bowl with lettuce and salsa

Chicken, beans and onions bowl with lettuce and salsa

Omelet with veggies

Omelet with veggies

Lean meat, potatoes and a crab rangoon

Lean meat, potatoes and a crab rangoon

Bertuccis

Bertuccis

BBQ chicken with baked beans

BBQ chicken with baked beans

My dog frisco wants to come home with me from my parents house haha

My dog frisco wants to come home with me from my parents house haha