Journal Entry 207 – Making Changes

My first workout after the San Diego trip was not very good. My strength was very lacking and I’m really not sure why. Its not like the calories were low during my trip, although it wasn’t exactly healthy food either. Kind of frustrating to be honest, considering I was on a roll with strength gains and then that trip knocked me off course. I also had to spend the next week cutting calories, because I ate and drank a little too much on that trip. 😉

One thing I noticed to when I eat bad for few days in a row is I will start to feel incredibly lazy and I noticed my skin looks way worse. Almost get to see what a typical american that does not workout feels like on an almost daily basis. As soon as I got back I was eager to get back to my normal diet and was really craving healthy foods too.

So this weeks workouts were not very good. I still want to stick to my full body plan though done 3 days a week. The amount of time this saves me is amazing. I also really like walking on the other days, because I find it incredibly restorative for my mind and mood. I actually did a chest/back workout on Wednesday, because my strength was so bad, I felt like it would have been a waste of time to do my actual workout. After doing it though, I realized how much I like doing full body. So I plan to either do my 3rd workout of the week either today or tomorrow. I may cut a little of volume out though and change a couple of the accessory exercises, but not the main push/ pull exercises.

Since I no longer work at Williamsville and am currently unemployed, I have been spending a lot of time learning how to write web code. Its not easy, but its a very valuable skill to learn and I have had courses on this in the past. I’m learning through code academy and I find its way of teaching very easy to learn. The site almost functions as a video game and even gives you rewards for completing tasks. I plan to work my way through the whole site for the next few months and hopefully have a enough knowledge to build my own portfolio that will get me hired in that industry. Its a very well paying field with a lot of jobs opening up. Its also very diverse and you dont have to be an expert on everything to be successful in it. Some companies even hire you if you just have a base working knowledge of the concepts.

Diet wise I’m thinking about playing around with a little bit. I have noticed when I eat too many carbs during the day, I tend to get tired and unfocused. Web coding requires a lot of mental energy and discipline, so for me at the current moment that is unacceptable. This only happens when the meals are high in carbs though, like a big bowl of oatmeal or rice. I was planning on doing a very light meal plan throughout the day and eat most of my calories at night. For example, eat protein pudding with some fruit for breakfast and protein and veggies for lunch without a whole lot of starch. Then at the end of the day around 5pm or so after I’m done learning code for the day, consume the vast majority of my calories. I estimate my calories to be around 800 by this point so that leaves a big feast at night to hit the remaining calories.

I was actually reading a few articles on the Warrior Diet and I have no interest in doing the diet as he laid it out, I found a few points to be extremely interesting though. One was feeding the brain during the day, but not eating so much that you become dependent on food for energy. You want enough glucose to think straight (liver glycogen) but not enough to become weighed down. This made a lot of sense to me. So basically just keep it to fruit during the day and save the starch for night. I also plan to get the vast majority of my protein during the day. If there is a macro that has been shown to be very effective for eating throughout the day, it is protein. I plan to eat at least 75% of daily protein in the early part of the day. Also want to get my veggies and supplements in as well. My dietary fat is tag along, but I do take some fish oil pills. A lot of my foods have fat in them already, but I want to try and hit at least 50 grams. This allows me to add a decent amount at dinner to make for a really good tasting meal. Another point he made, which I agree with is how receptive you become to food after not eating it all day. Similar to intermittent fasting, but there is a really good feeling you get at night, when you know you can completely relax from 5pm till bedtime and just hit your remaining food, which should be almost anything you want. The energy levels have been really good from this approach as well.

One food I have been eating a lot of recently though is hummus. We went to a healthy spot in San Diego for breakfast (only good meal of the day) and I got a Mediterranean egg white bowl with hummus and feta cheese. It was awesome. The hummus and eggs made for a really good combination, so I’ve been eating a lot of it this week. Its low glycemic as well so it makes for a good snack during the day. Its also pretty light in calories, so you can eat a lot of it for the volume.

Also forgot to mention, every 30 minutes between studying I will do 10-15 pushups, 20 squats or lunges and 20 situps. It actually made me slightly sore haha.

Eggs and Veggies
Eggs and Veggies
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest Bar (Breakfast of Champs)
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest Bar
(Breakfast of Champs)
Egg fried rice
Egg fried rice
Pumpkin Oats
Pumpkin Oats
Pumpkin Protein Shake
Pumpkin Protein Shake
Terrible piece of pizza from airport
Terrible piece of pizza from airport
Margarita
Margarita
Panda Express (my only meal of the day on the flight back from San Diego)
Panda Express (my only meal of the day on the flight back from San Diego)
Walking in my neighborhood
Walking in my neighborhood
Same
Same
Chicken and Veggies (my typical lunch)
Chicken and Veggies (my typical lunch)
Friday Night Vino
Friday Night Vino
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Journal Entry 206 – San Diego, Low Calorie Days and Eating More on Rest Days

Under Armor - Getting cold in Virginia
Under Armor – Getting cold in Virginia

I’m heading to San Diego later this week and two things are for certain. One nutrition is going to be pretty bad. Two I’m not going to be able to train. Not a big deal and I’m really looking forward to the trip, but I had to improvise a little this week in preparation for it.

I moved my normal Friday workout to Saturday this week. That way I can hit the weights Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. I leave on Thursday, so it’ll be four days in a row with no weights. I’ll try to hit some pushups or something, but that is going to be it for resistance training. Walking should be no issue and our house is on the beach, so that should be the best way to go for exercise.

Workouts have been good and consistent. I plan to implement either 1-2 low calorie days a week though most likely on a workout day. Some days my definition is lacking and I know if I continue to push the calories for weeks at a time then I’m not going to look the way I want to look. However, staying on low calories all the time to keep the definition is a good way to make zero gains at all and you have to constantly monitor calories and only really enjoy yourself a couple days a week. Not a good long term plan. It also lowers your metabolic rate leading to plateaus. The solution to making gains and keeping definition is to have 1-2 days out of the week that your eat at most half of your maintenance level. So if I burn 2700 calories a day, then I will eat a max of about 1350 calories. The beauty behind this is that your eating your maintenance or slightly above 5 days out of the week and burning the majority of your fat 1-2 days of the week. This way you make gains in the gym and maintain your metabolic rate, while experiencing very little plateaus. You’ll also lose bodyfat if you do it twice a week. You’ll likely just maintain (which is fine) by doing it once a week. My recommendation on these days is to do it sometime between Monday – Thursday. I like Monday and Wednesday. The rationale is most people are very busy during the week and cutting calories is much easier. Also not much socially happens on Monday and Wednesday. I even remember in college, those were basically the only two nights that no one went out drinking.

If you can I also recommend doing a low calorie day on a weight training day. The reasoning behind this is because of hormonal interactions. Weight training and cardio (AKA exercise) is similar to fasting in many ways. It burns fat, uses your body’s own resources, heightens insulin sensitivity, blunts appetite, increases adrenaline, increases euphoria, reduces stress and anxiety (this is a short term effect if done correctly), increases growth hormone and many other positive interactions. So by combining the effects of a low calorie day and the effects of exercise, you create this massively beneficial state, where when you eat the next day, your muscles soaks up food like a sponge. You also burn more energy on workout days, which again is beneficial from a fat loss perspective. Quick note however – Staying in a state of deprivation leads no where. Notice these days are done a max of two times a week.

My next point is why it’s better to eat more on your rest day. Rest day means recovery day. If you ate a bunch of food on your workout day, when you should of been burning fat, then whats the point of the rest day? Recovery days are meant to reload and rebuild the muscles that were depleted the previous day. Relaxing, eating and not working out leads to bigger muscles. You tend to burn less energy on rest days and if its a true rest day, then you dont workout. The body is primed to absorb food and is in the parasympathetic state. By eating on the rest day your also well stocked for the next workout.

Conventional wisdom says, Load up on Monday after your weight training workout, then eat a massive deficit the next day on your rest day to burn fat. From a common sense standpoint, does that make any sense? By the time Wednesday rolls around, since you didn’t eat enough on your recovery day, you will likely feel flat and have low muscle glycogen. Contrast this to going low on Monday, then loading up on Tuesday (just your normal maintenance or slight surplus diet), then by Wednesday your ready to go from loading up the previous day and not two days ago. I greatly prefer this way and my workouts have been much better by eating on rest days vs workout days.

So basically my plan is 3 full body workouts a week. Two of those are low calorie days and the other 5 days are normal. Monday and Wednesday are currently my low days. Although last week I only did one low day. I also use the low days to create a deficit for the weekend, which is always higher in calories. (especially this coming weekend ;)) The low calorie days are basically protein pudding, vegetables and lean protein only.  Very filling foods that make it easy to stay satisfied. The carbs come in high amounts on the other 5 days. My normal days have been around 2600. If I eat like this every day, I notice I smooth out, but after implementing these low calorie days it has dramatically increased the amount of calories I can eat on normal eating days. I usually don’t get hungry on the low days either and still eat a lot of food, however the food I eat is very low in calories. I try to hit at least 90-100 grams of protein on this day and then a little carbs and fat from incidentals. Again I don’t tend to worry too much since these low days are wedged between normal days of eating with plenty of nutrition and calories. If these low days were done for prolonged periods like most diets, then kiss your muscles and sanity goodbye. The high days tend to be different every day, but I do make sure to bump up the carbs big time. Fats also get a boost. Big stirfys with tons of rice, veggies and protein is always one of my favorite meals. I also really like pasta with chicken and broccoli mixed in.

There are two excellent articles on Tnation talking about using this concept. In my opinion, its very effective for the average recreational exerciser. Brad Pilon also has a similar system except he fasts twice a week. I still eat, its just not very many calories. Similar principals and most likely similar results.

Pics from the week:

Pasta with low calorie cheddar soup, meat and veggies
Pasta with low calorie cheddar soup, meat and veggies
Frisco
Frisco
Homemade BBQ chicken Special K Chips Whole Egg Imitation Crab Meat Veggies Butter Bread
Homemade BBQ chicken
Special K Chips
Whole Egg
Imitation Crab Meat
Veggies
Butter Bread
Eggs and Veggies (Low cal day)
Eggs and Veggies (Low cal day)
I think Bandit likes have me around
I think Bandit likes have me around
Papa Murphys Pizza - Meat Lovers
Papa Murphy’s Pizza – Meat Lovers
Papa Murphy's BBQ Chicken - best flavor This place is amazing
Papa Murphy’s BBQ Chicken – best flavor
This pizza is amazing
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest bar
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest bar
Carabba's Chicken Parmesan with a side of pasta and side salad
Carabba’s Chicken Parmesan with a side of pasta and side salad
Meat, slice of pizza, veggies and auntie annes pretzel bites. Strange meal but good
Meat, slice of pizza, veggies and auntie annes pretzel bites. Strange meal but good
Shrimp, veggies and sweet potato skin
Shrimp, veggies and sweet potato skin

Workouts:

Steady strength gains. Didn’t go up in everything this week, but everything was either the same or slightly better.

Workout B
Workout B
Workout A
Workout A
Workout B
Workout B

Journal Entry 205 – Getting Stronger

Missed my normal blog post time this week due to a trip to Virginia Tech. Nutrition wasn’t on point this weekend, but luckily I didn’t really miss a workout. Haven’t had a chance to weigh myself in awhile, but I estimate right around 173-174lbs.

My workouts have been very good and I’ve been looking forward to every single one of them. My strength, especially on bench has increased by a good 5lbs each week at least. Today I repped 185lbs for 4 sets of 8 reps. The bar felt light to me. I know in the past 185lbs felt heavy while on a low carb diet. Talk about stagnation with a diet like that. Again my goal with nutrition at the moment is simply to hit maintenance and its an approximation. I dont obsess about hitting every single calorie correctly. I weight most of my foods, but do not track everything I eat. I’d say I’m within a 2-300 calorie window of my maintenance each day. I also make sure to get a good amount of walking in everyday. I usually go for a morning walk of 1-2 miles, then do a mile jog before lifting or if its a rest day I’ll go for another walk around midday and then one additional walk in the late afternoon/ early evening. Since I’m unemployed at the moment, I have time to do this. I’m also studying at the moment and walking can help refresh the mind from too much cramming.

Macro averages for the past 7 days were 151 protein / 250 carbs / 59 fat and Calories at 2470. Based on my bodyweight and activity this is just about right. I’m in a mode where I feel good, not changing overall weight that much, but my strength is going up very quickly, so I’m not going to change a thing. The only thing is if I’m very inactive due to just being busy, I simply drop my calories by a few hundred to make up for it. Also I’m trying to emphasize more carbs while keeping fat and protein adequate but not excessive.

Below is my last 3 workouts:

IMG_2999 IMG_2998 IMG_3001

I replaced goblet squats with 45 degree leg presses. Feel these really well and very easy to progress without a ton of back stress.

Some pics from the week:

BBQ chicken Fries 1 roll
BBQ chicken
Fries
1 roll
Rice Stirfry
Rice Stirfry
Pumpkin Quest Bar Very good, but tastes more like cotton candy than pumpkin
Pumpkin Quest Bar
Very good, but tastes more like cotton candy than pumpkin
Same
Same
Mix of stuff
Mix of stuff
Guiness Stout
Guiness Stout
Cabo Fish Taco
Cabo Fish Taco
Rice Stirfry with meat, veggies and imitation crab meat Crab rangoon
Rice Stirfry with meat, veggies and imitation crab meat
Crab rangoon
Pasta with chicken meatballs
Pasta with chicken meatballs
Rum and fat free redi whip
Rum and fat free redi whip
Breaded Chicken Tenders Special K Chips Imitation Crab Meat
Breaded Chicken Tenders
Special K Chips
Imitation Crab Meat