Journal Entry 233 – Moving Up

Well received some really good unexpected news at work last week and I got promoted to a higher position. This position in Monday – Friday 9-6. I will be in training for the next 5 weeks before I start doing the actual job. Really like the company I work for and its a smaller company on the rise. Pretty exciting time to be working for such a place and the benefits are basically amazing. The only thing is that my schedule has changed once again haha.

My plan is to lift 4 days a week now. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Going to do a Legs/Back/Biceps day and Chest/Triceps/Shoulder day. Although shoulders will actually be done on everyday to some degree. So hitting muscles directly twice a week. I ran through two of these workouts already this week and I was in and out of the gym in 45 mins. I’m also doing no cardio and don’t plan on starting either. I’m also subbing out BB shoulder press for INC BB Bench Press for one of my key movements. Mainly because every time I try to do shoulder press its taken in the gym, because my gym only has one.

Strength has been on the rise recently. DB Rows up to 120lbs, Squats up to 245lbs, INC BB Bench around 165 reps and Bench is still sadly around 195 although I may bust that today. Here is a sample layout of my workouts:

  • Main Move – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Compound Move – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Compound Move – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Shoulder Move – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Isolation – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Isolation – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Optional Abs Move – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Usually do two moves for the big muscles and one for arms.

As for diet I have been eating very similar to the warrior diet here recently and honestly I’m enjoying it. Last week everyday was basically 3 packs of beef jerky (210 calories) coffee with cream and splenda (30 calories) and protein pudding in the afternoon before the gym (200 calories). For a total of 440 calories. I then hit the gym after work and eat around 1000 calories for dinner to hit roughly 1600 calories a day. I also eat a Quest Bar throughout the day. Do this with the right foods and it feels like a straight up feast. I’m doing this now out of convenience and the fact that I like to take time and eat a nice meal. I dont have time to do that during day the and really enjoy it. I’m also using it for flexibility in food choices on some nights since I’m dating someone I really like now. I can eat big meals or unhealthier foods and still fit it into my goals very easily. 1600 is my goal, but sometimes I go lower or higher depending on the day. Last night I hit 2400 calories and I usually hit this amount on the weekend fairly often, which is fine. The previous dinner acts almost a preworkout meal for my bench workout which could use some extra fuel. My weight has hit a low of 166.6lbs this week as well.

Journal Entry 232

New setup coming up. My schedule is going to be 1pm-12am from Monday – Thursday with a 3 day weekend. I plan to start a push/pull/legs/push/pull split with 2 days of working out during the week and 3 days over the weekend.

Each workout will have one power move at 3x 4-6 reps. Two more compounds at 3x 6-8 reps and 3 isolation’s for 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Also one abs move at the end of each workout. Let me briefly explain this rep range in case you dont understand this. EX – This means I select one weight and I strive for 3 sets of 8 reps before moving up in weight. If I  get 3 sets of 6 reps for my rep range of 3 sets of 6-8 reps you do not move up in weight and implies that the weight is too heavy. Only when you hit 3 sets of 8 reps with good form should you move up. Also if the start slipping down in 5 or 4 reps when the goal is 6-8 reps then you may want to lower the weight.

Diet wise I’m shooting for around or a little under 2000 calories averaged over the week. High protein, moderate carb, moderate to low fat. I haven’t really been adding a bunch of fat to my diet recently, its been pretty passive/tag along depending on what I eat. My maintenance is likely to go up now that I’m adding two gym days. I should mention though that I’m not a freak over tracking anymore. I track don’t get me wrong but the numbers below are approximations not exacts. I don’t have the time, nor the will to track these things with such precision anymore. Sometimes if I feel I’m getting too loose I will throw in a very low calorie day of 1000-1200 calories to balance things out. I usually skip lunch and eat breakfast and dinner. I also sometimes throw these in when I have a scale plateau, but never more than twice a week and never on a training day.

My macros for last week 170 protein / 160 carbs / 50 fat – 1800 calories on average. I’m also ditching readily available food in my fridge. I noticed things like hummus would be sitting there and every time I open my fridge I would have some, which would throw of my totals at other meals. I want to get in the habit of when I want to eat I eat and not snacking so much. I also plan to stick with just one protein bar a day at around 200 calories and save more room for whole food.

Strength was good in the gym yesterday and I picked up 3-4 reps spread across my lifts. Last week however I increased DB Rows and BB squats to 115lbs and 235lbs for 6 reps. My shoulder/upper chest day will be done on Tuesday next week and the second pull day I’m going to add will start with Pullups. I also plan to add two bicep moves to every pull day for a total of 4 exercises over the week. (Recently only been doing one)

I also plan on starting a daily meal prep by cooking all my food in the morning before work. Diet will look like this:

3 scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of berries, 1 TBS of Peanut Butter – 600 calories

2 lbs of vegetables – 200 calories

1 lbs of some type of lean meat – 500 calories

1 quest bar – 200 caloies

Sauce – 50-100 calories

Extras – 200 calories (Random additions)

Protein powder will be eaten at morning and at night. Lunch and dinner will be the same each day and split into two meals. Simple and easy and right around the calories I’m shooting for.

Journal Entry 231 – Spreading It Out

My schedule at work is still in flux so trying to arrange my split is still difficult. I really don’t like going to the gym after work because of the sheer volume of people that all work out then. It makes doing certain exercises that you’re trying to get done very difficult. But after playing around with my split, I can see one of two new setups looking very good.

Split 1:

  • Sunday – Off
  • Mon- Push – BB Shoulder main move
  • Tues- Legs – BB Squats
  • Wed-Off
  • Thurs- Push – BB Bench
  • Fri- Pull – DB Rows
  • Sat – Off

Split 2

  • Sunday – Off
  • Mon- Off
  • Tues- Push
  • Wed-Off
  • Thurs- Pull
  • Fri- Push
  • Sat – Legs

I like them both a lot. It allows at least one lifting day during the week to help spread things out. I also really like 2 push days and still have a main focus on my four key movements. I would enjoy split 1 the most, but again at the current moment going to the gym at that hour just becomes hugely frustrating. Either way I’m still really liking this setup. I considered doing fullbody this week, but after thinking about it, I’m really trying to stay consistent with my current workouts.

I will say though, every lift seems to be going up except bench press. Yesterday’s workout was terrible. I felt weak and dropped reps on the bench press. These workouts happen, but it only ever seems to happen on bench recently. I smoked squats last week and did 225lbs for 9 8 7 reps. DB rows and BB shoulder press also went up. I’ve just reached the mother of all plateaus on bench and don’t know how to get it moving again. My friend who is also into working out is stuck on 185lbs. He’s bigger in frame than I am, but we have always had similar builds and strength in terms of lifting weights.

My weight and calories were slightly higher this week at 1950 calories and 172lbs weight.  This morning was 171.4lbs, but still heavier than I would have liked. My fats are getting too low on certain days. Some days are around 35 grams and that’s just too low even if my average is 50 grams. I may bump that up and see if helps with strength any. I’m still a little disorganized in terms of nutrition and meal prep. Some days I’m on point but others not so much. Social obligations and time are big factors that are throwing me off, but these are excuses that can be overcome. The problem is every time I hit a groove something changes again haha.

This is the meal plan I plan on sticking to most of the time:

  • 2 scoops of Elite XT with berries and Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 bag of broccoli with two chicken burgers or one chicken burger and 3 whole eggs mixed into an omelete
  • 1 and 1/2 protein bars – Usually a quest bar and a pure protein bar
  • 1/2 bag of broccoli, cabbage or onion, 8-10oz of chicken thighs, teriyaki sauce
  • 1 scoop of protein powder or pb2 fit powder before bed (If Hungry)
  • * – Usually snack on hummus, egg whites and spinach if hungry

Chicken burgers from Costco or Sams are awesome. They taste amazing, have healthy ingredients and very easy to make for lunch. Mixing one with some eggs is a recipe I have heard about, but haven’t tried yet. Sounds awesome though. I also like having a stir-fry for dinner. Just really easy to make, tons of volume and they taste awesome. Chicken thighs have 40 more calories per 4oz then chicken breast, but have more fat and less protein. I want to bump fat up, so this is very easy way to do it without using oil, which I really dont like doing.

Journal Entry 230 – Low Volume Training

This week is slightly different than last as I’m doing Push, Pull, Legs, Shoulders over a 4 day split instead of my normal 3 day. I took half a day off on Wednesday in the morning and was able to go lift before work. I have a new schedule that will likely change my hours from 1pm-12am Sunday – Wednesday. The huge advantage is that I can shift my workouts to the morning when the gym isn’t nearly as packed. Although I have really come to enjoy my split over the weekend, so I may just keep those 4 days in a row as rest days and hit it hard over the weekend, regardless of my shift.

I have really come to enjoy low volume training. Here is my pull workout from this week:

  • DB Rows – 110lbs (unilateral) for 9 9 7 reps
  • Chinups (full extension – chest to the bar) 10 8 7 6
  • DB Rear Flys 20 x 9 8 8
  • DB Curl (two handed) 35’s x 10 6 6
  • Cable Woodchoppers (abs) 37.5x 10 9 9

This is a very basic workout, but every exercise had perfect form and the weight was selected to fatigue all of my muscle fibers. I did this after a 1 mile and half warmup on the treadmill. The thing is this workout took me about 30-40 minutes and I had almost nothing left in the tank afterward. It kind of makes you wonder what attracts people to high volume. If you can spend over 1 hour and half in the gym on one-two bodyparts it probably means your not working hard enough. I mean a chest is not a large muscle group and even advanced bodybuilders can hit it hard in 30-40 minutes. Not sure where the obliterate it for 2 hours caught on. Again its like if you can lift with the same muscle group for that long then you probably need to increase the intensity, because at that point you should barely be able to do a pushup not pump out 100 more worthlesss reps on the chest fly machine.

I like the idea of keeping cardio and weights separate. I think some cardio before lifting is beneficial because it warms the body and joints for heavy lifting. A lot of workouts try to make a weight workout into a cardio workout. I dont really know why. Use weights to build muscle with heavy lifting. If your using submaximal weights that you can pump up 100 times then your probably not building muscle and could burn far more calories by doing cardio. I also find workouts very satisfying at the end when I know I’m too tired to do much more. If I was in the gym for 2 hours and still felt like I could do more, I would really start to question what they hell I was doing in the first place. I think the simple answer is your just not lifting intensely enough. I’m also not talking about super heavy weights either, which I dont think are very effective. But heavy enough with 4-10 reps with perfect from on every rep.

In regards to volume though I think it comes down to one major thing: how much you can recover from. If you can smash your body with 2 hour workouts a day and come back stronger the next workout then its working for you. Strength progression is a key indicator whether or not you are recovering from your workouts or not. Obviously if you losing strength then your taking more out of your body then your giving back. This can be handled by doing less volume or eating more food.

I’m a minimalist though and like to keep this as simple as possible. I like the idea of a minimum effective dose.

I have completed two of my four workouts this week and not going to lie my bench workout was no bueno. The weights felt very heavy and I dropped a few reps from last week. My pull workout went very well though and I increased my reps from last week. I weighed in at 168.2lbs at a low weigh in this week, so it may have had something to do with dropping weight. I’m considering doing pull first and push second, so my muscles can soak up some of the higher calories on the weekend. The problem with the first workout of the week is that I’m still somewhat depleted by the weekdays low calorie intake and this negatively impacts my workout.

Diet this week was 1900 calories average – 162 protein / 197g carbs – 50 fiber /  54g of fat