Month: February 2016

Journal Entry 221 – One Lift A Day

So this week I decided I wanted to set up my split to lift everyday. For some reason, I’ve really had the urge to lift everyday. When I just go to the gym to walk, the exercise isn’t intense enough to do anything to my energy levels. As soon as I start lifting and pumping music, my mood and energy immediately get better. So I designed a routine to allow me to lift everyday (without burning out).

There a few things I plan on doing every day:

  • 100 pushups
  • 20 chinups
  • Hip Flexor Stretching
  • Abs – 3 sets a day
  • Rear Delt Raise – every other day
  • 10-20 minute walk after lifting

These are things I really want to get good at and I’ve noticed by doing pushups between sets, I have already gotten very good at those. I can crank out 30 set a very easily. Chinups I’m good at already and when I do chinups I go all the way down and let my chest touch the bar at the top. If I don’t get a full rep I don’t count it. However doing these everyday should allow me to get even better at them. The stretching is mainly for my desk job and it just feels good. I do stand most of the day, because sitting makes me tired and standing has been shown to burn about 40 calories more per hour than sitting does. Even if its not actually 40 calories, you still burn more standing while working and it actually increases my energy levels. Multiply 40 x 8 hour workday and you get 320 calories a day just by standing. I’ll take it. Also abs are being done everyday, because after my core lifts my abs are already sore and I kind of want to finish them off so to speak.

As for my routine, it looks something like this:

  • Chest – BB Bench Press 4×6 / 4×8 reps / * 3-4 sets of triceps
  • Back – 75 chinups – increased as this gets easier / *3-4 sets of biceps
  • Legs – BB Squats 4×6 / 4×8 reps
  • Shoulders – BB Seated Press 4×6 / 4×8 reps / Traps – BB Shrugs – same / *Db lateral Raise 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Triceps – 10 sets of Dips (bodyweight only – arms close to sides to emphasize triceps)
  • Biceps – BB Curl 4×6 / 4×8 reps (this exercise also really works the core)
  • No major muscle but do my daily routine above and extra walking

So basically one major lift a day. I still have my key lifts intact except for db rows, which I have taken out for chinups. Not sure why I just have really been into chinups recently and wanted to give them more focus. There are a few optional exercises, such as triceps after chest day, biceps after back day and lateral raises after shoulder day.

I actually really enjoyed this though. I noticed my abs/core are very sore (a lot of this is due to the increased volume of pullups), back is very sore and my strength on the key lifts is still very good.  Appetite has increased, but that is just do to the higher volume and intensity of the lifts. These sessions do not take very long either which is awesome. I hate marathon workouts, because sooner or later you end up dreading them. With these workouts you get in lift and your done in 45 minutes, maybe longer if you walk, but I dont really count walking as part of the workout.

Diet this week has been pretty much the same as last week. Pretty balanced overall and just kind of listening to my appetite. I have noticed that if I hold off breakfast until 9 or so (this is 3 1/2 hours after I get up) that my cognition is usually better and I’m not as hungry. Lunch is the same in that if I eat it too early, it just seems to make me hungrier for the rest of the day. If I somewhat under eat during the day, my energy is actually better and my appetite is more under control. I also like having a lot of calories left to eat at night. If I eat around 6-800 calories during the day, this leaves about 12-1400 calories left to hit 2000 calories at night. All of these calories are in the “post workout window”, which is bro science approved. Either way I do enjoy eating this way and if it has advantages I will take it.

I’m not going to lie though, here recently right before bed, I have been really hungry no matter what I eat. My macros are pretty balanced at the moment, so I dont think its a specific need for a certain macro, but its kind of confusing. You would think a 1400 calorie meal would be satisfying before bed. Think again. I wonder if this huge meal is actually making me hungrier than a normal 4-500 calorie meal would. The bigger meals you eat the more you stomach expands to compensate, so basically the more big meals you eat the more calories at each meal you need to feel satisfied. This makes me wonder if the small meal approach would be more advisable then packing down a feast at night, due to appetite control.

I have noticed though my long dieting history is that the metabolism can and will adapt to just about anything you throw at it. I used to be fine on 1500 calories a day in my uneducated state of mind, but if I ate that now I would be ready to chew my hand off in intense hunger. Metabolism can and will increase or decrease depending on how you feed it. This makes a strong case for cycling the diet in an organized manner. All diets are cyclical though. Yo yo dieters experience this unintentionally by gaining and losing weight constantly. Bodybuilders experience this intentionally by doing bulking and cutting cycles. The question becomes what is the optimal way to cycle the diet. If you want to stay lean year round then obviously you have to cycle in shorter cycles such as a weekly setup. There is even research to show that the typical weekend diet Friday-Sunday off and Monday -Thursday on, is actually an effective way to do it. Weight will spike over the weekend and drop during the week. 4 days of dieting is balanced out with 3 days of maintenance or higher. This keeps the metabolism and hormones strong and does so in a way most people will enjoy. This way of dieting is not lighting fast and you do have to be dilligent during the week to make sure your not blowing it. Most people dont report calories very well and if you are only aiming for 500 calories of deficit over 4 days and then go crazy on the weekend then your metabolism is likely fine, but you’re not going to lose any fat.

The cycle diet by Scott Abel and the slow carb diet are also good options at least in their setup. Stick to your diet 6 out of 7 days (85.7% of the time) and go crazy on one day that works the best for you to increase your metabolic rate. Works for some and they get results by doing it. The cycle diet calls for a crazy amount of calories though, somewhere between 40-55 calories per pound of lean body mass. If you have 150lbs of lean body mass, this would be 6000-8250 calories a day. That is insane, but probably works. I believe Scott Abel said the reason its so high is because this is the amount needed to “reset leptin”. Not sure where he got that from, but I don’t think he made it up either. That day sends your metabolism a strong signal and since its only done for a day most of the energy is stored in the muscles (if you actually workout) or burned off as heat. You then get back on a fat burning diet and strip off the excess at a very quick rate. If you skipped the cheat day, this so called fat burning diet would likely just become maintenance over time and stop working. This could leave you bloated for 3 or so days after though. Since I havent tried it yet, I can’t really recommend it, but it does sound pretty awesome. I do think after a day like that you may be way hungrier on your diet days. There are hundreds of videos on Youtube of 10000 calories challenges and I think doing it once would be awesome. Once a week even better haha. Also notice that most of the people that do these challenges are very lean and do not gain tons of fat after such a challenge.

The best way to make this work is to make to two lists. One is the way you eat on your diet days. Include foods that are healthy, control your appetite, give you energy and let your create a 500-800 daily calorie deficit. I’m kind of boring so eating the same meals each day works well for me. (as long as you enjoy the meals you eat) AKA your typical lean meats, fruits and vegetables. On the other list make a list of every food you crave during the week and add it to a list. Once your cheat day hits, eat these foods guilt free (psychology plays a big role in how your food digests) and eat as much as you want. Get the foods off your mind and then get back to the diet (that you still enjoy) the rest of the week.

Apparently the first few times you do a day like this you get bloated and gassy, but after 4-5 rounds of it your metabolism increases and these symptoms start to disappear.

Some pics from the week:

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Journal Entry 220 – Archaic Routine

Another week of the archaic bro split. Last week was Chest/Tri, Back/Bis, Shoulders/Traps, Legs/Arms. I really enjoyed the split however there was one issue and that was my shoulders and tri’s were still slightly sore on Sunday when I hit Chest. This slightly impacted my strength on barbell bench press. Only dropped a couple of reps, but I knew my chest was fine and it mainly my shoulders that were fatigued. So this week, I changed to Chest/Tri’s, Back/Bis, Shoulders/Tri’s/Traps and Legs/Biceps. This way both the shoulders and triceps have an extra day to heal before hitting Chest again.

Other than that strength was on par this week, but no increases. I really liked hitting shoulders/triceps together though:

  • Barbell Seated Press 4×6
  • DB close grip bench 3×8-10
  • Arnold Press 3×8-10
  • DB lateral raise 3×8
  • DB rear delt machine 3×12
  • Db Skullcrushers 3×8-10
  • Db Seated Shrugs 3×12

I hit legs and biceps today, so hopefully I will be able to get squats up this week.

Definitely doing an old fashioned (or archaic as I like to call it) routine, but what worked years ago still works today. It kinds of funny though cause if you look at the work that supporting muscles get during the week, they actually do get a lot more frequency than just its assigned day, it just isn’t as much volume. For example shoulders essentially get hit 4 days a week as they are involved in almost every single upper body exercise. Arms get hit twice, Chest gets hit twice (especially considered shoulder press involved a lot of upper chest), Back and Legs technically gets hit once, but these are very large muscle groups which have been shown to take longer to recover anyway. Either way I dont really care what is “optimal” at the moment. My main goal is to increase my 4 main lifts through progressive overload.

Nutrition wise I have been hitting about 2100 calories a day as averaged out over 7 days on Myfitnesspal. Macros have been 200g protein / 210g carbs – 50 fiber / 73g of fat. Weighed in this morning at 172.4lbs. A lot of protein powder, guacamole cups, sour cream, vegetables, protein bars, nuts, beef jerky and of course meat. Nothing special, but its been working.

Random thought this week, I really think bulking is a really bad idea and really doesnt work. When you look at the effects of bulking or overeating, then you start to realize all of the negative things that happen and they are not conducive to muscle growth. Overfeeding is usually only positive when you have come from a period of underfeeding and this is because it is bringing you back into balance. If you only require 2500 calories to build muscle and repair all damage, then eating 3500 calories will likely just make you insulin resistant, increase you fat storage, slow you down (especially trying to digest all that food) and maybe even make you lazier in the gym. Underfeeding is obliviously just as ineffective, so the solution is to eat what the body needs and nothing more. I would say even slight underfeeding of total maintenance (10-20% under) may serve people better in the long run, due to its anti-inflammatory properties and makes your more receptive to nutrients. I noticed quite frequently after days I just go all out on eating, I come in the gym the next day expecting to tear it up, but in reality I’m no stronger (possibly even weaker) than when I was just eating normally.

At the moment though I have been striving for shear balance in my diet. The only thing I dont eat a lot of is starch, but I would rather eat carbs from other sources.

 

Journal Entry 219 – Pictureless Post

Pretty typical week this week. I decided to do a bro split while being sure to stick to my 4 key lifts. All of which increased this week, except squats because I actually do those today.

Day 1 was Chest and Triceps, which for some reason is my favorite workout of all time. I don’t know why, but if I had to pick one workout for the rest of my life this would be it and I always start my split with this one.

  • Bb Bench Press 4×6 reps
  • Incline DB low press 3×8-12 reps
  • Dips 3x Max
  • Cable Flys 3×12-15
  • Ez bar skull crushers 3×8-12
  • Cable Pushdowns 3×15 reps

Basic but awesome. Day 2 was Back and Biceps, Day 3 was off, Day 4 Shoulders and Traps, Day 5 Off, Day 6 Legs and Abs, Day 7 Off. So only a 4 day split this week, with the other 3 days being rest days / incline walking.

Next week I was thinking setting it up like this:

  • Chest/Tris
  • Back/Bis
  • Off
  • Shoulders/Traps/Tris (Throwing in Heavy Close Grip Bench)
  • Off
  • Legs/Biceps (Throwing In Heavy Barbell Curls)
  • Off
  • May throw in some abs, but not a big deal if I don’t

As I said my current routine is progressive overload on my 4 key lifts. The routine I do around those can change weekly. This is to prevent boredom and get in some more variation. I did enjoy the bro split this week and it gave me really good pump that full body or push/pull approaches tend to miss out on occasionally.

Diet wise has been pretty balanced here recently. Nothing special in terms of calories or macros although I do enjoy eating most of my calories at night. The only constant is high protein which has been right around 200 grams every day.

For some reason my iPhone wont sync with my computer, so unfortunately dont have any pics from the week.

Journal Entry 218 – Move in Complete / New Routine

Missed my weekly blog post last week due to moving into a new apartment. Really glad to be able to move as I feel like this is my first official “place.” The place I moved from was a townhouse that I shared with 3 other people. We had to share bathrooms and my closet was in the hall and not my room. It was a good idea at the time and I lived there for a year and half, but I’ve been itching to get out of there for at least the last 6 months.

The place I live now I share with one other roommate. We’ve been friends for a long time, but we each have two big rooms with big closets and our own bathroom. This apartment is also located 3 mins away from where I work and 4 mins away from my gym. Jackpot. 😉

I was basically the only “clean” person to live at my other townhouse. I would frequently clean up after my roommates and then within 1-2 days it would be back to normal. I got to the point where I just stopped even trying, but messes tend to bug me for some reason. I’m also mostly a minimalist and having a bunch of crap laying around every where also gets on my nerves. Luckily since I got my own place now, these are not issues anymore. My roommate both agreed to keep this place much cleaner than the other place. Although he wasn’t really the issue to be honest.

Anyway last weekend was pretty draining and the move-in took all day on Saturday. I work Sunday – Thursday 6AM-3PM, so as soon as I was done moving everything in it was time to hit the sack. It was exhausting and was only able to eat one meal besides some jerky and a protein bar. We ended up going to Plaza Azteca around 2:30 and dear god was it good. Feasted on chips and salsa and we also got sour cream and avocado dip. I ordered the Azteca Salad (chicken, shrimp, avocado on bed of lettuce) and it was amazing. I always order this with NO oil because I guarantee the oil they cook in is crap and usually hurts my stomach. I like to get my fats from other sources besides oil, like cheese, avocado and sour cream. You can eat more and in my opinion tastes better than smothering it in oil.

Still trying to get my routine down though. I have the luxury of coming back here for lunch to make something, but waking up at 5:30 am I dont have a huge appetite. Since I get off at 3, I was thinking about starting up a diet similar to the warrior diet. Basically have some protein pudding around 8:30-9:30am, head home and make another protein shake with some beef jerky for lunch then hit the gym after I get off work and eat the vast majority of my calories at 5pm or later. I’ve noticed here recently I get the most hungry at night. It hasn’t always been this way, but that’s the way it is currently. I figured a schedule like this would be ideal. I would also save a massive amount of money by not eating out for lunch everyday. I estimate roughly ($6 for lunch x 5 days a week = $30 a week x 4 = $120 a month or $1440 a year) … not bad.

As for my workout, I’m still really enjoying sticking to the 4 main lifts as the bedrock for my routine. I have always like playing around with my workouts and changing up how frequently I hit muscles and how many days I go to the gym, but as long as I leave these 4 lifts (BB Bench, BB Squats, BB seated shoulder press, DB Rows) then I know how I am progressing. If the strength is going down, then you need to eat more or do less. If your lifts are going up then don’t change anything. This week I lifted 5 days, but I think I may try to do 4 days instead. I was thinking push, pull, legs, upperbody. I also may try doing a one key lift everyday and then hitting fullbody every day. The volume will stay the same just the frequency that changes.

I like to think every muscle with the exception of smaller muscles should have a weekly volume of:

  • Heavy movement 4×6
  • Moderate movement x 2 for 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Light Movement (usually isolation) for 3 sets of 12+-25 reps

So if you do 4 full body workouts a week, using a chest as an example, then Sunday could be heavy bench, Tuesday could be moderate Incline bench, Thursday could be Dips and Friday could be Chest flys. I’ll probably give a test drive this week. By blending in different rep ranges it shouldn’t be too draining on the Central Nervous system.

I wouldn’t mind getting in some more walking either. I like tuning out to music or a podcast and just the relaxing effects walking brings. By lifting 4 days a week, this allows 3 walking days and maybe some walking at my lunch break. I estimate blending a protein shake to take a max of 5 mins and not having to prepare food will save me a lot of time at this hour.