Journal Entry 217 – Snow Day’s and Eating History

The gym was good this week and was able to complete 4 out of 5 of my scheduled workouts. The reason I didn’t get the last one in was due to a massive amount of snow that hit the area. I live in Richmond, Virginia and if 1-2 inches falls here we have a hard time dealing with it. I know in other areas, especially up north this amount is laughable. This storm dropped at least 10 inches on the area and may be closer to 20 inches when it’s all said and done, so imagine what that does to the area. I didn’t get a chance to go to the store before either because it was so packed in every single grocery store that I just didn’t feel like dealing with it. I got plenty of rice and beans to last the storm. 😉 The main thing that sucks is my entire weekend I haven’t been able to do anything at all, but stay in the house, but not a whole lot I can do about it.

As for my gym days, I was able to hit 190lbs on bench for 4 set of 6 reps pretty easily and I will move up to 195lbs next workout. Squats moved up to 235lbs, but was not able to increase it this week. DB rows increased to 115lbs and barbell seated press will get an increase to 120lbs. I was able to rep 115lbs very easily. I was shooting for 4 sets of 6 and ended up doing 5 sets of 7-8 reps each set. Felt very light for some reason. Not that I’m complaining.

Due to my boredom of sitting around the house, I have been watching a lot of Youtube lifting channels and stumbled upon a lot of people going vegan all of a sudden. The videos are intriguing and almost 90% of them are high carb, low fat vegans. Which means they try to achieve a state called “Carbosis” instead of “Ketosis”. By eating so many carbs and so little fat they became ultra insulin sensitive and are able to eat massive amounts of food and calories without really worrying about fat storage. I thought I had tried something similar in the past, but when I went back and looked at myfitnesspal logs,  I noticed my carbs were increased, but so did my fat intake. I blamed some bodyfat increase on carbs when in reality it was eating higher fat intakes with carbs. I noticed my weekdays would be good with plenty of carbs and lower fats, but come weekend time the fat would increase to a minimum of 70 grams, alcohol would increase and with sky high carbs that is way too much. The magic of what these people are doing lies in a pretty low fat intake of what I would say is no more than 40-50grams max. Any more than that and fat starts to promote insulin resistance and interfere with carb metabolism.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not planning on going vegan any time soon. I have a few problems with the whole “vegan” thing. One is the cult like following. I mean you can deny it all day, but I feel like even vegetarians are frowned up to the vegan community. Also dont even think about going vegan and then eating meat again. Its similar to being tried for treason to this community. Its an all or nothing affair. Two is how almost every video I saw had VEGAN instead of Vegan. Its like the fact they are eating VEGAN has to be shouted to make sure everyone knows about it. Not every video did this, but a lot of them did. Three is some are protein haters and say protein makes you gain weight. I highly recommend a trip over to Lyle Mcdonald’s website where he states the obvious fact that protein is never converted into body fat, even under extreme conditions. Protein also doesn’t interfere with the metabolism of carbs like too much fat and carbs interfere with each other. I do agree that you need less protein on such a diet, because carbs spare protein and if you eat enough protein from vegetables, you really dont need meat, but don’t say protein is fattening when it clearly is not. Other than that I have zero problem with anyone who eats vegan and I even tried some of the diet’s meatless meals out and its actually really good. Especially if you do it with volumetric whole foods. You get a lot of food with not many calories. The diet is also very, very cheap. Rice, potatoes, beans, bananas, fruit, nuts are all very cheap and unprocessed foods. The vegan diet kind of reminds me of typical bodybuilder diet, except bodybuilders just eat more protein.

As I said earlier though due to my boredom, I looked back at all Myfitnesspal logs and looked at how I ate over the past two years. I have come to some conclusions about what I noticed:

  • High carb is NOT fattening when fats are kept low
  • Alcohol and dietary fat do not mix well together
  • I tend to look much leaner on lower fat diets
  • Carbs sources DO matter from a digestion standpoint
  • Carbs make losing fat easier
  • I do NOT do well with higher carbs and higher fats (sucks because this combo tastes the best)
  • Its very easy to control your meals and diet, when one macro is kept low
  • High fat diets have to be carefully done (I’ll explain below)
  • Lean meat has always served me well
  • I really like protein powder
  • I do tend to look better at lower body weights
  • My workout routine doesn’t seem to matter, when my diet is on point (I’ll explain below)
  • Cheat days set me back (especially high fat cheats)
  • I really like protein powder 😉
  • Your body is very adaptable to the signals you send it
  • A lot of processed foods do not do well in my diet
  • Always be mindful about eating. As long as the food is healthy and not high in fat, it usually is partitioned favorably

These were just some of thoughts I gathered looking through my logs. I think the biggest take away is the carbs though. Its only when I mix them with fat do they become a problem. I just assumed it was carbs making me fat. I also looked back at why my fat intake increases linearly with my carbs and it was because I was eating a decent amount of junk. Clif bars (also contain Soy – no bueno), granola bars (always had some fat in them, some more than 6grams per bar), low fat chips (the fat adds up), ready made rice (that has some fat and lots of sodium added). Essentially I blamed the carbs, but I should have blamed the junk food. Yes the junk food was “lower in fat”, but if you eat enough of it, it makes a pretty large impact in the diet. It’s also not the healthiest fat in the world either. I tend to eat very healthy when I eat low carb, but when I increase carbs and calories I tend to eat junkier. If I stick to whole foods, like I do when eating low carb I guarantee my results would have been much better. Also cutting out the high fat cheats on the weekends. I noticed though that when carbs were high, but fat was low, I could still drink a lot alcohol and not feel and see the setbacks in my body composition.

When I tried higher fat diets (with lower carbs) the meals would become very boring. Your only carb source was vegetables and you had to resort to too many oils and or highly dense foods. My biggest issue was volume. I really like food volume and that tends to go away unless you eat a ton of green vegetables, which can be problematic if done too often. Avocado is good, but not when you eat with every meal. Cheese became overly high too. I remember feeling like I was so sick of eating the same meals over and over on this diet that I lost my appetite. I love some fat don’t get me wrong, but you would be amazed at how a little goes a long way. Never mix high fat with alcohol, no matter how low the carbs are. The results are not good. I also think high fat diets can get you into trouble from a toxin standpoint if you eat a lot fatty meat. Animals store toxins in their fat and when you eat that fat, guess where the toxins go.

Protein powder has been a staple in my diet for a long time.

Moral of the story: Fruits, vegetables, healthy starches, lean meats, healthy fats (in moderation) are my bedrock. Junk food can be eaten, but only making up a very small part of the diet. I also consume alcohol once or twice a week, but just dont mix with a high fat meal.

PS – Also so an interesting article by Layne Norton on high fat and testosterone. Some studies have shown a linear increase when monounsaturated and saturated fats are increased in the diet. But this article compared two groups of weight lifters. One had a very high intake of fat with over 150grams a day and the other had higher carb diet with roughly 55grams of fat a day. Calories were around the same, but the amount of testosterone they had was equal. So greatly increasing fat beyond what you actually need does not really have a tremendous benefit and its also stored as body fat much easier than anything else.

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Journal Entry 216 – Upping the Intensity

After my second week in the new job, I decided its time to move into a split routine. I really liked the full body plan, but I want to workout more often and incline walking on the treadmill for an hour at a time was starting to drive me insane. Walking outside is better, but to me it felt like way too much time invested for very little return. I’m also somewhat active during the day, but most of the time my steps hit around 5-7000 steps a day without even trying (although this includes walking around the gym while lifting). This on top of a weight lifting session is more than enough and I dont feel the need to waste time doing extra walking at the gym.

The last split I tried was a “bro split” and I became bored quickly and also felt it was pretty ineffective. My preferred split and one I come back to frequently is push, pull, legs, push, pull. A 5 day split hitting multiple muscle groups per day. I’m also thinking about adding in two days of high rep workouts to facilitate better blood flow and nutrient partitioning. This workout will be mostly isolations or machines based not very heavy at all but pretty high in reps.

My workouts focus on 5 Key Lifts. One key lift a day to start each workout and these monitor my progress. Similar to the full body approach, these lifts use a rep goal for 24 reps for 4 sets. Once I’m able to get beyond that threshold I increase the weight. The key lifts are:

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Dumbbell rows
  • Barbell Squats
  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Chinups (for reps not weighted)

After this my workouts are pretty variable. Usually do 2 exercises each for all muscles except back and legs, which I will do 3 each for per workout. Abs get hit everyday. Usually only 3 sets for AMAP most days and then on leg day, I will do 3 exercises that are heavier. Also reps and sets for all these exercises are 3-4 sets for 8-15 reps. I try to avoid going too heavy on everything but the key lifts and focus on hitting the form.

I’ve really been enjoying this approach and almost wake up excited to go the gym. I’ve been getting some nice visual results as well when it comes to muscle definition as well. My mood and energy have improved dramatically. For some reason, walking was just started to bore me very quickly. I think its due to the lack of free time I have now that I started a job. When I only have an hour to workout each day, I want to feel like I worked out and walking obviously dont give that feeling. I also noticed if I would take two days off in a row then I would start to feel very sluggish. I think my body responds well to the increased volume.

I’m also keeping the heavy lifts down 4 sets of 6 reps max. Lifting too heavy all the time can burn you very quickly, especially if your lifting every day. However, keeping the weights lighter to moderate and not doing too many sets will allow to workout far more frequently.

As for diet, I’ve been eating intuitively as of late. Meaning I’m not doing any more high days,low days, carb cycling or trying to hit a certain number of calories. I’m not overeating, undereating or stressing about what to eat. I’ve been doing this a long time and I  dont need to be as focused on diet as I have in the past. Dont get me wrong I’m still eating very healthy, probably around 80/20 or so, but I just dont care about amounts any more. I’m letting my natural hunger and energy decided what I eat. I’ve noticed the intense lifting regulates my appetite in a very positive manner.  Protein is being kept high as usual, but I just let my hunger guide the way. As for carbs and fats, I could care less. I noticed that as long as I eat protein at each meal then carbs and fats always balance out to where they need to be anyway. The place I work has some pretty good snack options like beef jerky, popchips and protein bars so if I get hungry I usually grab one of those. I do admit I have been downing a lot of caffeine though haha. Mainly because the drinks at work all have caffeine in them and they have two giant coffee machines that look too good to turn down. Like I said I’m not really worrying about it. I would say the only constant in my diet as of late is eating a very similar dinner and dessert each night, mainly because I dont like thinking about what to cook. Usually 2 large pieces of meat a bag of vegetables (microwave) with some fat thrown in and protein pudding with peanut butter and berries for dessert. So I get a very high protein intake at night before sleep along with my daily supplements. I can honestly say my sleep has never been better. I usually workout fasted in the morning mainly because I wake up and immediately go the gym before work, so I dont feel  like eating nor am I hungry. I just eat right afterward. Gym performance is very good with this approach.

My schedule does change starting Sunday to 6am – 3pm, so the morning workouts are gone, but I will simply just move it to 3:15pm. The gym is likely to not be too packed at this time, since I’m getting there before 5.

IMG_3594

Chicken and Veggies
Chicken and Veggies
View from work
View from work
Chicken and Broccoli
Chicken and Broccoli
Chicken and veggies
Chicken and veggies
Eggs and broccoli
Eggs and broccoli
Chicken, eggs and sprouts
Chicken, eggs and sprouts
Monster and jerky
Monster and jerky
Which wich turkey - cobb salad
Which wich turkey – cobb salad

IMG_3583

New Headphones - free replacement since my others crapped out
New Headphones – free replacement since my others crapped out
Bertuccis
Bertuccis

 

Journal Entry 215 – First Week at New Job

First week back at a full time job after 3 months off. This week was a typical 9-6 shift and next week will be the same. I woke up at 6:20 am every morning and either walked for an hour or lifted for an hour. The gym is wide open at this time and I love it. Waking up that early definitely takes getting used to though and wasn’t easy every day. I will soon have to wake up at 5:20 every day, so 6:20 is a good warm-up to prepare for that. 😉

My typical day looks like this:

  • Wake up at 6:20am
  • Make coffee and protein shake
  • Get to gym by 7:00-:7:10
  • Workout and finish by 8:20-8:30
  • Drive to work (3 mins away from gym)
  • Work til 12pm
  • Lunch Break
  • Work til 6pm
  • Drive home and take shower
  • 6:50pm – Make Dinner
  • 9:00pm Protein dessert
  • Bed by 10:30-11
  • Repeat

Again my actual schedule will be different and I will have to be at work by 6am and off at 3pm. So I will obviously workout at 3pm instead of the early morning. Beside a tremendous drop off in free time, it hasn’t been too bad. Work is straight training at the moment, which can be stressful because I’m trying to pack in a lot of knowledge (finance) all at once. I had a decent understanding of finance, but nothing this heavy in it.

Workouts

Increased my 45 deg leg press up to 360lbs this week, squats are at 225lbs, but wasn’t able to increase. Bench at 190lbs and I’m very close to increasing that up. Chinups about the same. DB rows at 110s for heavy and 100s for moderate.

This week I subbed in DB Bench press for BB seated press, but I may change that back. I also really like DB rows more than Barbell rows for a lot of reasons, but the main one is I just feel it much better in my back and I can use heavier weight.

Diet

Been drinking a protein shake every morning for breakfast after I workout and drinking lots of coffee throughout the morning/day. Lunch was variable this week and I ate out every day, but most of what I ate was pretty low calorie and easy to track. In the afternoon I usually have a quest bar, beef jerky and some pop chips. My office provides a lot of free good and drinks for the employees. Then dinner is usually very high in protein, followed by protein pudding for dessert. I did a higher carb day on Tuesday and ate 4 servings of gluten free pasta for dinner. I plan on making the weekend higher in calories, since I have more time to eat and a bigger appetite in general.

 

Journal Entry 214 – Starting New Job and Future Routine

It was a good couple of weeks for the Holidays. My diet was derailed, because of family coming in town and eating out almost constantly and drinking a decent amount each night, but I tried to do the best I could. If I had to wager I may have put on 4 pounds of bloat (not fat), but not much. I’m going to tighten it up a little now that things are getting back to normal.

My new job starts on the 4th. The first two weeks is a typical 9-6 Monday through Friday for training. After this period my work schedule will be Sunday – Thursday from 6am – 3pm, which I’m looking forward to working. My mornings will be earlier than I’m used to, but I also get off right before rush hour and get in and out of the gym before it gets crowded.

My first two weeks I will hit the gym early. Probably wake up 6:30am go directly to gym and be done around 8:30. I will switch between lifting and walking daily. I will likely do Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday for lifting and the rest of the days I will walk. After this two week period, I plan on keeping the same setup, but I will do it at 3pm instead of the morning and also move the days to Saturday, Monday, Wednesday. The place I work is located very close to my gym. It’s in a solo office building away from the main business parks, so while everyone is heading in the same direction to work and stuck in traffic, I’ll be heading in the opposite direction. 😉 I’m also moving to an apartment about 2 minutes away from my job and my gym, so really looking forward to that.

I also changed my workout slightly, so that instead of having a heavy day and two moderate days, I moved one heavy move to the beginning of each workout, followed by two moderate moves. I then follow this with two more random isolations of my choice for the day. These isolations are up in the air and I usually just do what I feel like on these days. For example, if I want to do chest flys and rear delts I will do that, but I could do a bicep/tricep superset. I feel like these isolations will keep the workout somewhat fresh and allow me a good degree of flexibility each workout.  The only thing set in stone is the 3 main push/pull/leg movements that begins each workout with their allotted rep and set goal.

Sample Workout:

  • BB Squats – Heavy: 3-4 sets of 23-24 rep goal
  • Inc DB press – Moderate 4-5 sets of 37-40 rep goal
  • DB Row – Moderate 4-5 sets of 37-40 rep goal
  • Two Random Isolation Movements 3-4 sets of 40-48 rep goal
    • Seated DB Curls
    • Lateral Raises

Diet wise after another 2 week holiday break is going to be back to normal. High protein with lower carbs and moderate fat. I do plan on throwing in some carb cycling though. Keeping fats around 50 grams on average, protein around 180-200grams and will play around with carb intake. I estimate my total activity to go down a bit though, now that I have a job, which isn’t really a big deal. My plan is to do one day during the week and one weekend day as high carb days and always on a lifting day. Trying to keep it roughly every 2-3 days as this is when your metabolism cant start to down regulate a little.

I got a pretty awesome blender for Christmas, along with a thermal protein container that keeps it cold for 5-6 hours. I plan on making a protein shake every morning and just drinking it after I lift. I used to make lunch, but not sure what I’m doing for that yet. Going have to see it how it fits in my day. I’ve been flirting with the idea of Intermittent Fasting to be honest just to make it easier on myself from a meal prep standpoint. Well not exactly fasting, but just keeping it low calorie for the first half of the day and then feasting at night. If I do a protein shake, coffee and quest bar during the day, this allows me to straight up feast at night regardless of how many calories I’m shooting for.