Journal Entry 229 -Weekly Update

This week I took 4 rest days off essentially of no exercise for 4 days in a row, Sunday – Wednesday. The only exercise I got was standing and walking at work. I also played some ping pong at breaks during work and that can actually boost up energy pretty good. The next 3 days (Thursday – Saturday) I will be doing a push, pull, legs and shoulders workout.

My workouts are relatively minimalist style at the moment, but the goal is not to do too much volume that I can recover from. The goal is strength gains with a moderate volume per workout. A big focus on compounds and some isolations thrown in at the end.

My diet is low calorie during the week of between 1200-1600 calories. These are somewhat based on recommendations from Menno in which he stated that rest days should be somewhat around this amount for favorable nutrient partitioning when the focus is on staying lean. Pretty easy to do when you eat the right foods. Also the key when eating this amount is to rest. If you want to do cardio or lift during the week then bump up the calories on that day by 3-500 calories. Same end effect. My protein has been around 120grams, but I plan on increase this and seeing if they have better effect since my calories are lower.

My diet during the 3 day stretch is roughly 1000 calories more than during the week. So since I’m lifting, I eat more. I typically eat the same foods as during the week (protein powder, leaner meats, fruits and vegetables) I just eat more of those foods. One meal or one day a week usually has some junkier food in it. These days feel awesome though. Feels like your feasting, as long as you eat the same foods you usually eat. If you eat junk then 2500 calories feels like a very small amount.

I picked up a couple of reps on my bench press, skull-crushers and lateral raises, but dropped some on my dumbbell incline bench. Got pretty pumped towards the end of it though. I plan on making DB rows my main back move. As long as I dont go super heavy, these feel very good for me. I like these much more than deadlifts and its easier to setup. Chinups will be next. I also plan not to deadlifts because I like squats better and deadlifting too close to squats will royally screw it up.

My weight has hit 168.4 lbs. This is a low weigh-in and the scale has been staying around this amount recently. My goal is to hit around 165lbs (consistently) while keeping or maintaining strength.

Journal Entry 228 – Ending F*ckarounditis

After Menno’s routine gave me a general distaste for lifting, this week was more or less a week off. I really didn’t know what the hell to do and my strength was going down on his routine. The week was also super busy at work and I didn’t have a whole lot of time to lift. Not sure how I stumbled upon it, but I reread the article F*ckarounditis and I’ve never been so happy to read an article. Hands down the best article ever written and it pulled me out of my funk. I mean seriously not only is it hilarious and simplifies everything you need to actually be concerned about.

I’m going back to simple progressive overload with a simple 3 day split. Zero cardio besides natural movement. My goal is to lift 3 days in a row over the weekend and nothing on weekdays. My split will likely be Chest/Tris, Back/Bis, Legs/Shoulders. This was my workout earlier today:

  • 10 minute run
  • BB Bench 3×4-6reps
  • INC DB Bench 3×6-8 reps
  • Dips 3xMAX
  • Lateral Raise 3×10 reps
  • Skullcrushers 3×10 reps

Moving back to rep goals which is always something I enjoyed. For example, if the exercise says 3×4-6 reps, you pick a weight that falls in that range and you don’t increase until you get 3 sets of 6 reps. Then bump the weight up by 5lbs. Progressive overload and strength is the main goal.

Diet wise I got some helpful tips from Menno and will adopt some of his advice here, but mainly using my own method. I plan to start simplifying my diet and eat more meat. Chicken thighs and red meat being at the top of the list. Also lots of broccoli, spinach and onions to mix with the meat. Also going to slather my food in garlic, which after doing some research is amazing for immunity and staying healthy.

Weekdays will be lower in calories and the weekends higher. This means Sunday – Wednesday will be mainly meat and veggies with under 120g carbs, moderate fat and high protein. I estimate roughly 1200-1600 calories and this is regardless of workout schedule. The weekend will be higher and the macros wont be nearly as important. It’s essentially a 4 day diet over the workweek and 3 days off to eat more and build muscle on the weekend. Since Lyle Mcdonald shows that within 3-4 days leptin tanks and various hormones start to go down and it also takes more than a day of refeeding to bring these hormones back up (probably closer to 2-3 days), I would say 4 low and 3 high would work pretty well for both fat loss and muscle gain. Especially since with my schedule I would be able to fit 3 workouts into the high calorie weekend phase and nothing into the low calorie phase. This makes the plan very organized in terms of nutrient partitioning and balance. Fat and carbs will vary greatly on the weekend. But pizza is definitely on the menu at least one day. So is alcohol ;). Calories will likely be around 2500 calories or so. I dont too much about macros, but I still dont think super high fat is a good idea. It just seems to be overkill at a certain point.

Also the reason I dont plan on doing any cardio besides a warmup before I lift (feel like it makes me stronger and I enjoy it) is because I stand all day for 10 hours. This might not jack up the step count on a fitbit, but compared to sitting all day it burns 3-400 more every day.

Favorite foods at the moment:

  • Chicken Thighs
  • Avocado
  • Red Meat
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Hummus – Roasted Garlic
  • Cheat food – Pizza – any kind


Journal Entry 227 – Menno Review

This past week I hit 7 days in a row of full body workouts. It was enjoyable for the first few workouts, but towards the end of the week I was ready for a rest day. I didn’t take one because I only had a week with Menno and didn’t want to skew from his guidelines. However I think training 7 days a week at least for me and my friends who were training with me thought as well.

I had a long week at work and my schedule shifted to 9am to 8pm. I hit the gym after work and each workout took about an hour. I finished at 9:20, cooked dinner and ate around 10PM. Took a shower had some protein pudding with peanut butter at 11:30PM and went to bed around 12:30AM. I felt like I had zero time at all and as soon as I left work at night I felt like it was a matter of minutes before I was back again. A couple of rest days during the week would have probably helped me feel like I had more time and not dread going to the gym so much.

The workout design was very interesting however. Full body everyday is a really nice setup and is doable for the long term, but would be better with rest days thrown in. It probably wouldn’t be an issue if I didn’t have a job, but 1-2 of those 4 10 hour workout days, needs a period of rest.

Diet was around 2400 calories. Some days had higher carbs of around 200grams, which is higher than I wanted, but I felt like I needed it. Fat was much higher and hit at least 90-100 grams a day. A couple things to note with diet; One food volume goes out the window with higher fat diets. I felt like I was eating more food when I was hitting 1600 calories haha. Two is that controlling calories is MUCH easier when you eat relatively unbalanced. Meaning focusing on protein and fat or protein and veggies or carbs and proteins with little fat is a lot easier to control calories then when you have carbs, fat and protein in the same meal. I noticed my meals were hitting 6-800 calories very quickly with all of the macros present and honestly after I ate I was still hungry (Think pizza – balanced overall but 3 slices has about 900 calories). Considering my food selections were whole foods I think the food reward pathway was kicking in with some of these meals and again volume was an issue. I’m a huge fan of volume and getting too many calories with very little density didn’t bode well with me.

Overall review, Menno sent me very good information and a very detailed plan. He answered my questions within the same day although some of the answers were pretty sparse. I disagree with some of the things he mentioned and could tell that some things that probably worked well with him, didn’t really work well with me. I dont think training everyday is a good idea unless the only thing you have going on during the day is sitting on the couch. Working out 4-5 days a week is much better for most people to prevent burnout and enjoy the process. Some of this guidelines were not very realistic diet wise either. Much more rigid than I thought he would be, but he’s also a model so this level of dedication is probably required. I have my own techniques that I have built up over time and I can tell Menno has done the same. Overall rating would probably be 7 out of 10.

Journal Entry 226 – New Plan

Training: 7 days of Fullbody Workouts

Diet: 2400 calories – 145g protein / 145g of fat / 155g of carbs (90g postworkout) / 38g of fiber

Goal: Fat loss / Body Recomposition

There are no planned rest days at the moment. If one does come up then I will do a PSMF and hit around 1200 calories total. If I go out and drink then I sit aside 5-700 cals to allow for some drinks out of my 2400 calories. I will also lift early in the day, since drinking will take place at night. This keeps the negative effects of alcohol away from the recovery of the post workout meal.

Not sure I will do 7 days a week all the time however, but who knows. Likely I will do 5 workouts and do 2 rest days. Cardio will be zero, not even walking is a concern.

Supplements – Creatine Mono – 5g, Vitamin D – 5000IU, Magnesium Citrate 400mg (taken with biggest meal of day), 3g of EPA/DHA a day

I may cut back on quest bars and just buy real chocolate bars instead. These are loaded with fat, which I will need to hit 145g. If I eat chicken it will have a lot of avocado with it. Eggs will be a good meal to eat. I plan to eat Salmon 3 times a week to hit my Omega 3s. Apparently most fish oil is complete crap and a waste of money (but not all). Magnesium oxide is crap and I will switch to magnesium citrate and take a much lower dose.

Main Foods:

Protein – Salmon, Red Meat, Eggs, Chicken, Organ Meats, Protein Powder

Fats – Natural Fats in Meat, Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Avocado, Dairy Fat (cheese, sour cream)

Carbs – Incidentals, starch source after training (this will vary), low sugar berries and fruit, vegetables, beans, hummus

Current Weight: 171lbs

Honestly can’t wait to get started. Some pics from the week:

Journal Entry 225 – Week Off From Training

After my Lasik surgery, it was recommended I take a week off from heavy training. So from last Thursday to this Thursday all I did was walk. I must admit that got old real fast. I became insanely bored on my walks and had to stop after 40 minutes. This is probably because I was doing no lifting at all to balance it out.Luckily this Thursday was my first lifting day and it went pretty well. Strength dropped off a little bit, but overall it was fine.

I plan on doing fullbody every day up to Menno’s consultation, which is on Friday of this week. Really looking forward to that. The past two days I have done full body and while soreness has gone up, I’m able to hit every thing relatively quickly in the gym. Everything I have been doing is roughly 3 sets of 6-12 reps. I do no more than 3 sets because that will quickly lead to burn out hitting each muscle every day. I do 100 pushups everyday and most likely pullups everyday from different angles. No back move compares to pullups except maybe dumbbell rows for me. Every workout, except for a couple, starts out with a heavy move of either Bench Press, BB Squats and BB Shoulder Press. I’m dropping heavy DB rows, because the movement feels very awkward when the weights get too heavy and I kind of tweaked my shoulder the last time I did them. I may add in rack deadlifts, but this movement is really a pain to setup, so probably not.

Here is a sample workout:

  • BB Bench Press 3 x 4-6 reps
  • Chinups 3 x max
  • DB Lunges 3 x 6-10 reps (each leg)
  • Lateral raises 3 x 8-10 reps
  • Incline dumbbell curl 3 x 8-10 reps
  • Rope Pushdowns 3 x 8-10 reps
  • Decline Situps 3 x max
  • Pushups – 15 per set – do a minimum of 100

So the key lift is first, then basically just one exercise per muscle group every day. Each day will have a different exercise for that muscle group. So if you exercise 6-7 days a week then each exercise will have 6-7 different moves.

Diet wise I’ve been hitting roughly 1600 calories a day most days of the week. Yesterday was my mom’s birthday, so I went closer to 3000 calories for a refeed day. Woke up looking pretty good as my muscles sucked it up pretty good. I guarantee if I hadn’t done the two fullbody workouts prior to this then the results would not have been as favorable haha. Fat went pretty high yesterday over 100 grams and carbs were around 200 grams.

My lowest weigh-in was 169lbs on Friday morning. I feel like I didn’t make the progress I wanted last week due to no lifting though. As I get leaner though, my definition is getting much better, veins are starting too pop out in the gym and waist size is going down. I’ve noticed when you’re much leaner than you are used to being clothes tend to look better on you and more things seem to fit much better. I was trying on jeans yesterday and I was at 33″ in waist 4 weeks ago and those were huge. 32″ was comfortable, but still slightly big. Always a good sign though when waist size goes down though, because that’s all fat and not muscle. Although from what I’ve seen with “muscle loss” and dieting most of it is very temporary. Meaning you are not losing actual muscle, but the carbs and fats within your muscles deplete making you look much smaller. The actual contractile tissue is very hard to lose unless you eat no protein and go stupidly low in calories. Even if you lose this it can be gained back very quickly upon refeeding for a couple days. Something to keep in mind when you are scared about reducing calories.

Also a couple of other facts about dieting in general. Short refeeds dont’t do much for you, meaning a few hours or so, but a whole day of refeeding can be beneficial. Lyle Mcdonald’s new recommendations from a recent podcast, seem to be one full day refeed every 3 or 4 days or twice a week after 5 days of dieting (pretty much eating more on the weekends).

The largest drop in metabolic rate ever recorded is 15% after the people reached 5% bodyfat over a long period of time. Metabolic slowdown doesn’t really exist as many people say it does. What happens is your hormones tank. These can be countered with refeeds of varying lengths however. Even very severe diets can rebound in as little as a week of refeeding up to normal calories.

In my own diet, I’ve been adding in some avocado and fish oil back into my diet. I haven’t taken fish oil in awhile, but after doing more research on it I’m just going to keep it a staple. It just has too many benefits to ignore, especially when it comes to muscle growth. Even if you can’t feel the benefits, it doesn’t mean it isn’t working. I’ve also been eating a new recipe for dessert which is phenomenal. It basically tastes like cake:

  • MC’s Mock Cake Recipe
  • 18 grams of coconut flour
  • 18 grams of protein powder or PB2 powder
  • Decent amount of almond milk for mixing
  • 1 truvia
  • If you want more just increase the ratios in proportion to each other and you may need more truvia/splenda.