After two years of working at Williamsville, my time there is done. It was an enjoyable time there for the most part and also allowed me to get my first start doing what I love. I’m not sure what is next for me in terms of living in the same area vs moving, getting a similar career elsewhere or getting a different job; but a new chapter has begun for me. In a way it feels good. Its a sense of freedom I haven’t had in a long time. The ability to do what I want and try new things with unlimited time constraints. No longer bound to the daily grind of driving 40 minutes one way to work, being there for 8-9 hours, drive back home for 40 minutes and rinse and repeat for 5 days in a row for 50 weeks a year. Finding a job closer to where I live and something that allows more freedom would be ideal.
I have always really liked to learn about things and now is my chance to do that. I also have more time to workout, but I plan on keeping the full body workout and cardio balance. Even with unlimited machines in the gym, I still feel like full body is superior and its working well for me at the moment. Cardio will change though. I got a LOT of walking in at Williamsville, but a lot of that is gone now. So I plan to get a nice slow jog in (5-6mph) for 30 minutes or so and then do some incline walking for 30 minutes between (3-4mph) for cardio. So basically an hour of cardio on off days. I do plan to continue walking though, just not as much.
My workouts this week were solid though. Felt very good for each session and was able to improve almost every lift save for a few. Bench has felt tremendously better after adding in carbs to my diet. Goblet Squats may need to get replaced though. Lighter weights and goblet squats mix perfectly, but the heavier the weights get, the more my back takes over the movement and legs dont receive enough stimulation. I will most likely switch to back squats again or may even do leg press. I know lunges are always a staple though. As long as the weight continues to progress, it may not really matter which exercise I choose.
Workout B was done twice this week (shown on left) and Workout A on the right.
Diet was on average of the last 7 days: Protein 169 grams / Carbs 264 grams (46 fiber) / Fat 65 grams / Sodium 5200 mg / Calories 2500. I did some minor cycling, but for the most part just kept the calories stable at 2500 with basically these macros. Although a couple of days were like 80 grams of fat and most of the time it hits around 50 grams. I’m of the mindset now though, my lifts are going up and I feel good, yet my weight is still the same. Right around 173lbs most days, some lower and some higher.
More carbs have been treating my strength gains very well this week. I’ve been doing a 3 day full body split on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I have two different workouts that get rotated every week, so one week workout A will be hit twice and the next week workout B will be hit twice. Each have different moves to hit the muscles from different angles, but the main point of the workout is just to lift heavier weight each time. So each workout gets hit every 4th day. Its pretty minimalist style which I like and I will post the workouts below:
Basically each workout starts out with a push, a pull and a legs movement that is a heavy compound for 4 sets of around 6-8 reps. The next 4 exercises are 3 sets of 10 reps and our mainly isolation’s. The last move is a farmers walk with moderate dumbbells that lasts roughly a minute. I also mix in some super-sets and tri-sets to save time. I was able to increase my dumbbell incline press with the 75’s for 3 reps between Monday and Friday. Actually everything increased across the board by a few reps.
Myfitnesspal has a new setting that allows you to see your average macros for the week and mine were 181 protein / 288 carbs / 56 fat and 44 fiber. Some days were higher in carbs than others, but average is probably the most important. I didnt cycle my intake this week and basically just decided to do straight maintenance at around 2500 calories every day or roughly 15 x bodyweight. Based on my activity this is about right. My bodyweight was stable most of the week and the last weigh-in was roughly 174lbs, the morning after a massive carb based and salty dinner. My salt intake continues to stay high at roughly 5000-6000mg per day. Haven’t done much with fats at all and they basically take care of themselves. Carbs have been added mostly at night and I usually have a good 3:1 ratio between carbs to protein. The earlier part of the day is more balanced.
I may try and cycle next week like originally planned though. Leangains recommends 40/40/20 P/C/F on workout days and 40/40/20 P/F/C on rest days. Protein is a little high in my opinion, but the main point is to eat high carbs on workout day in a surplus and a deficit on the rest days with a higher fat intake. Since your body is in a deficit the fat intake will not be stored and allows your body to eat fattier foods, which is beneficial for testosterone and the taste buds. This may make meal planning really easy as well. On workout days have a huge serving of pasta, rice or sandwiches and rest days have chicken sausage, bacon, stuffed chicken, omelets or a fatty cheeseburger with no fries. It allows a little more variation. There’s also a lot of Leangains meals all over the internet and I feel like cycling the diet makes you look forward to each day more, because of the massive variation in foods you can eat. Again meal planning is also easier, because you know exactly what to have each day.
Calories when cycling will be roughly 1800-2000 on rest days and 2750-3000 on workout days. This is right around my maintenance of 2500 calories. I will monitor strength gains to see if I like cycling or just eating maintenance every day better.
Have a really good recipe for training days though, even though this week I actually ate this on my off day. I ran out of meat, so I decided to take an entire bag of Trader Joe’s Vegetable fried rice, roughly 3 cups cooked and 630 calories and threw in 1 whole egg and 4 egg whites and some broccoli. Tasted awesome and it was roughly a pound and half of food. Total fat was a little over 10 grams as well. The eggs helped the rice stick together so it was easier to eat. Also threw on some imitation crab meat, which I have been basically addicted to here recently. It tastes awesome.
I remember back the first time I lost weight, I didnt ask anyone what they thought or what was the right way or the wrong way to do it. I simply stopping drinking sugary drinks and switched to diet and I watched my fat intake, so that it remained low in my diet. It definitely wasn’t high protein and considering dietary fat was kept low it was definitely high carb. I also didnt count calories either. In eighth grade, I dropped down to 130lbs at 5ft 8in tall. I looked good for the height I was as well. Dont get me wrong I had no muscle and wasn’t even remotely interested in lifting weights or exercise then. The only thing I did was play basketball after school and sports during gym time. I remember at one point I would literally eat a bag of sour patch kids at night and the next day my teeth hurt so bad I couldnt eat for like 10 hours haha. Point being carbs and fat loss have gotten a bad wrap. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that once calories come down, fat loss occurs no matter what. Now there are plenty of things that can throw this equation off. Thyroid can slow down, testosterone can drop, cortisol and growth hormone can become abnormally high and the result is your body becomes resistant to these hormones and to fat loss. The body suffers a so called “adrenaline diabetes” and your body is basically constantly fueled by stress and adrenaline and needs copious amounts of coffee to keep going. Not a great state to be in. Usually in this state you usually have zero appetite, but when you do get an appetite you crave salt and sugar like no other. Most people think this is a bad thing, but if your body is begging for it, then trust me its not a bad thing.
Carbs may be the solution to end this stress fueled metabolism. Carbs are the only macronutrient to basically signal to your body that it is well fed. Cortisol and stress are very beneficial, but only when counterbalanced with a period of feeding and relaxation and adequate calories and carbs. Research shows even when calories are adequate, but carbs are not then thyroid will get suppressed big time. Thyroid is needed to turn cholesterol into sexual hormones, so guess what happens when your thyroid is down. Low sex drive. Not to say you won’t have any sex drive, but it will be greatly reduced. When it comes to protein and fat, you need what you need to build muscle and absorb vitamins and minerals, but this really isnt a massive amount. .7 grams multiplied by your lean body mass in grams is likely to be sufficient. I would honestly go slightly higher to .8-1 grams per pound of lean body mass, but again more isn’t really better. The amount of dietary fat you need is roughly .2-.33 grams per pound of lean body mass. If you weight 170lbs and have 155lbs of lean body mass, then 31-51 grams of fat is likely sufficient. For protein it would be 109-155 grams. Lets cut down the middle and go 41 grams of fat and 132 grams of protein, this equals roughly 900 calories a day. I wouldn’t go much lower than 11x lean body weight in calories when trying to successfully lose fat and maintain muscle and this an aggressive approach. For the example, it would be 1700 calories total – 900 from protein and fat = 800 calories. The rest of these calories go to carbs or roughly 200 grams. That’s a decent amount of carbs that will keep your muscles, liver, brain and central nervous system properly fueled while you burn fat. If your lightly active and burn lets say 2300 calories a day, then 2300 – 1700 calories consumed = 600 calories worth of body fat. By eating sufficient calories and carbs and also enough protein and fat, your prevent the above situation where you constantly fueled by stress hormones and adrenaline. You also dramatically decrease muscle loss by eating more carbs and your muscles look and feel stronger when working out. This leads to more calories burned during exercise and more fat loss overall. A diet setup this way, especially if your active, which in my opinion everyone should be, then your energy, health and metabolism will be much better. I also highly recommend overfeeding once a week. Carbs can help prevent dramatic decreases in metabolism, but I still think a calorie deficit all the time is not a good idea. If your trying to lose fat then you want to overfeed or at least eat a maintenance level of calories at least once a week. Two- three days if your leaner and are trying to drop into the single digits of bodyfat. 4-5 days if your trying to maintain and build muscle. I think underfeeding is still good to because calorie restriction does have benefits if used properly. But again you can still underfeed with plenty of carbs in the diet.
A diet like this is also much more flexible and diverse then one that has you eat 300 grams of protein and 100 grams of fat to ensure your “getting enough protein.” Or a keto diet that has 150 grams of fat and >30 grams of carbs. Good luck sticking to that one. Lets say your with family or friends and they want you to try a recipe out that has more than 30 grams of carbs. “Sorry, but I can only eat 30 grams of carbs a day for the rest of my life, no can do.” Makes you look and feel kind of bad. And since your body basically forgets how to digest carbs, especially after going very low for long periods of time, you usually get pretty fat soon after reintroducing carbs. You better off avoiding situations like this. Also once your leaner and not diabetic, then all carbs are essentially the same, so you can basically eat any source you want. This includes fruit, sugar or starches. I personally would recommend more starches, 1-3 pieces of fruit and a little sugar, but I wouldnt worry too much about it, as long as the amount is controlled. So in my opinion, carbs are essential and should be consumed regularly. If you are on a keto or very low carb diet, then my advice would be to pick a calories range between 11-12x lean body weight and start eating more carbs and less fat like my example above. This will allow your body to get used to eating carbs again, but since your in a deficit you wont gain any fat. Once you feel good and less bloated after meals then start bumping up the carbs and calories closer to maintenance or just start cycling calories, while leaving protein and fat constant.
On a random note, most cultures run on carbs for the majority of their fuel intakes.
My workouts got a little thrown off this week due to my trip to Virginia Tech for the football game. I was gone from Saturday – Monday and got back Tuesday, so I just started my split Tuesday this week. Hit full body and after a weekend of bad nutrition, didn’t perform too bad. Currently in my training, I really dont care about the weight lifted, but more the feel. Been aiming for roughly 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets depending on the move. I really like this pump training though and its a nice change up from going heavy. I also try to hit roughly 5 miles a day through walking and daily activity. Still lifting 3 days a week every other day and go for a run two days a week. My diet was pretty erratic this week, but doing 3 days of a deficit on rest days, 3 days of surplus on workout days and 1 days of maintenance on Friday. Macros are similar to example above, but roughly 150 grams of protein, 45 grams of fat and the rest carbs. I also have some drinks on some nights. 😉 My weight is also roughly 172lbs this week.
Been eating a lot of the Trader Joe’s ready made rice and pasta mixes. Pretty healthy overall and very easy to make. They also make tracking much easier because its already portioned out. Highly recommend gnocchi alla sorrentina. Its a pasta with a red tomato sauce and some cheese. Macros are very good on it. The vegetable fried rice, asian style, is very good as well.
Weighing in at roughly 170lbs for the week. My legs and hip flexor have felt almost completely healed, so I decided to add in some some squats this week. Cardio also feels much better and I have no pain at all. I implemented some front squats and abs into my full body routine and it took a little longer than I wanted and planned for. I may have to split it up again soon just to save time, so I dont run over on my lunch break. Not sure how I plan to break it up, but I’m thinking push, pull, legs and shoulders may be in the cards again.
I’ve also been doing higher reps this week and really enjoying it. Doing an exercise for 3 sets of 12 reps with PERFECT FORM is entirely different than doing 4 sets of 6 reps with sloppy form. I’ve been guilty of lifting with my ego instead of my actual muscles here recently and I plan to change that in the coming weeks. I plan to stick to 3 sets of 8-12 reps for everything and aim towards the higher end of the range. It’s kind of hard mentally to drop the amount of weight your doing for the sake of perfect form, but I feel like its very important in order to feel the muscle.
Nutrition wise been sticking to the same ole diet for the most part. The only exception is one day a week I go to town on food. I usually wait for this day to find me, but I think its a very important thing to do when keeping calories reduced most days. There is usually one day during the week (usually Tuesday or Wednesday) when my appetite it absolutely ravenous haha. My body is telling me something on these days, so I usually eat surplus on these days. What’s funny is after this day I actually lost 2lbs down to 168lbs. The whoosh effect at its finest. Do that everyday and it leads to fat gain, but do it once a week on a healthy eating plan and the body responds favorably. Cortisol drops dramatically and leptin goes up. These both help to burn fat quicker.
The reason is hormonal, but overfeeding has a lot of benefits that low calories shut down. I’ve been sticking to 2000 calories most days of the week and 1-2 high calorie days. But again I let these days find me, I dont plan them. Because sometimes when I’m not hungry on Tuesday I dont do an overfeed, because I dont feel like I need one. But lets say Wednesday comes and I’m ravenous I know its time to eat more. Here recently I’ve been listening to my body more. I’ve been more liberal with my eating plan and it seems to be working very well.
Also I was having a conversation with a resident and they asked me what my favorite foods are. My top 5 chicken, broccoli, protein bars, protein powder and low calorie ranch (Bolthouse). (Weird I know) I must be the only person on the planet, to have protein bars and powder on the list, but I absolutely love them. I tried Muscle Pharm’s Birthday Cake protein bar this week and I would say hands down one of the best bars I ever had. It tastes exactly how it sounds. Quest bars are still the best, but these bars deserve some respect.
On an unrelated note, I highly recommend listening to The Weeknd if your into music. I think he could be the next Michael Jackson in terms of talent. He’s a little older than me at 25 years old, but he’s got one of the best voices I’ve ever heard. I think Justin Beiber is due for a good comeback as well. I see some Justin Timberlake potential in him and I think he has a very good voice, especially recently. His early stuff not so much, but his last album was very good. Also for workout music, you can’t go wrong with Eminem while lifting. Cardio I like motivational soundtracks and faster paced music like EDM or Techno and I feel like it enhances my workout.