Month: July 2016

Journal Entry 242 – Making Gains

So this week has probably been my favorite in terms of working out. I run 10-20 minutes a day, which is down from 20-30 minutes but still really enjoying the cardio. After I then lift with upper-body every single day. My workout comes in right around 45 minutes to an hour and I feel awesome after and usually have a really good sweat going.

I have been sticking to 3 sets of 8-12 reps on pretty much everything. I find this to be a sweet spot of not being too heavy to strain the CNS or make you overly sore, but heavy enough to stimulate a pump and muscle growth. I noticed IFBB pros will do a very high volume for each muscle once a week. What is funny is if you look at their average volume then it almost always equates to doing 3 sets of 8-12 reps each day for  6-7 days of week. I would much rather distribute the volume in this fashion vs doing 7 exercises for 21 sets of chest in a single day and being brutally sore after. Protein synthesis is much better with the full body approach for naturals anyway.

I think I struck the jackpot with this approach though. I have been playing around with my workouts for awhile and I can say I honestly enjoyed this week of training far more than anything else I have done recently. My leanness has gone up, I’m way more vascular than before and my shoulders are starting to popout and gain size. It’s also very enjoyable to hit the gym everyday. My appetite has also gone way up. Sometimes I feel like my stomach is a bottomless pit for fuel. I went to bed after work one night and noticed I had this tired/wired feeling going followed by really intense anxiety. This was around 1:30am. Quickly thereafter some ravenous hunger pangs. I got up and fixed some oatmeal. It alleviated my symptoms almost immediately. I realized it had been a very busy day at work and I hadn’t eaten since about 8:30-9pm that night. As soon as I laid down to relax, the stress hormones went away and boom here comes the appetite haha. My calories have been in the 22-2400 range this week, but sometimes that doesnt even feel like enough. Good sign though because my metabolism is obviously going up and my gym work and muscles seem to be sucking most it up. As I ever said before meals that use to fill me up feel like snacks now.

 

 

Calories roughly 22-2400 this week. Carbs around 220 grams / Protein 190 grams / Fat 55 grams approximately. Still relied on a lot of bars this week, but a more organized meal planning schedule is on the way. At least during the week ;). Also my weight is roughly 172lbs on average.

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Journal Entry 241

So this week has been the most consistent in awhile in terms of hitting workouts. I got in 20-30 minutes of cardio everyday at least. I run at 6 mph so I hit one mile every 10 minutes. Sounds slow, but I get a really good sweat going and this pace feels very comfortable for me. I don’t really breath heavy anymore after I’m done with this run, but its not supposed to be overly exhausting since I still have to lift. The goal is to get the benefits of cardio, enjoy the blood flow and warm-up the body for lifting.

My workouts last week have been structured with cardio first (highly preferable to cardio after) then I lift for 30 minutes after. My split last week was Chest, Back, Biceps, Shoulders (raise) and the second day was Legs, Shoulders (press), Triceps, Abs. I alternated these days for a total of 6 lifting days with 3 for each group of muscles. Reps for the beginning of the week were at 12-15 for 4 sets, the second workout was 4 sets of 8-10 reps and the third was 4 sets of 6-8 reps. I like the heavier workouts on the weekend because I have more time since they take longer. I really liked this way of traning  though since muscles got hit so frequently. I also strongly considered doing a bro split with only one muscle group a day after cardio. My reps for this would have been 4 sets of 6 reps on the first move, 4 sets of 10 reps on the second and 4 reps of 15 on the last which would have been isolation. The main reason I didn’t do this was because 4 sets of 6 reps everyday would likely lead to burnout for me. So I only put two of those heavy days in my current split. I also like the idea of hitting muscles more frequently.

My diet was once again very disorganized this week. Not on purpose to be honest, but I’m trying to adjust my diet to my new training volume. Protein and veggies just aint going to cut it anymore. My body lets me know this because after a meal that used to satisfy me, it just dont seem to satisfy me anymore. I need more fuel. I also sweat a lot now as well, so that increases salt needs as well. Sometimes my protein gets a little too high in my opinion. I have been reaching for protein bars at work because my meals leave me hungry, especially at night and that’s the only thing worth eating that’s around. I dont want to eat 2-3 protein bars a day though. In my opinion, the reason I’m doing that is just a lack of quality food leaving my hungry. So my plan is to eat less protein and increase my starch intake. That or just to eat more food at each meal and less bars. It would be far cheaper and more realistic to eat starches though, because eating too much meat I feel could is kind of waste and gets really expensive. Also 4-5oz of meat satisfies me just fine. I dont need 10oz to feel satisfied and the rest feels like overkill.

I have been eating oatmeal at breakfast before the gym because protein pudding just isn’t enough to hold me over. I will likely save the protein pudding for after dinner. Lunch and dinner are eaten around 3pm and 8pm will likely need to get a least a serving of rice or starch added to it. Rice is by far the easiest starch to make and mix into meals, but I do like potatoes (especially made into fries). The only problem with rice with me is its not my favorite tasting carb. Sometimes it tastes awesome, but other times insanely bland and I wish it wasn’t even in my meal haha. Sometimes when I get lazy (which has been a lot here recently) I will just make protein and vegetables and grab some of those firehook crackers to eat with it. It may not be the healthiest choice, but I do enjoy bread. Especially as roll eaten on the side far more than other carbs, so I may have to throw these in as well. Also as much as I love vegetables, sometimes I feel like they overpower my meals and they just dont have enough calories to fuel me anymore. When I was lifting 3 days a week with walking on the other 4 days, my old diet seemed to work just fine, but the calorie burn and intensity of training 7 days a week doesn’t work too well on that intake.

Calories have been around 2100 this week with 230 carbs (50 fiber), 172 protein and 57g of fat. Other than that, strength is about on the same level, but I have noticed an increased amount of vascularity in my muscles. Especially in my arms and shoulders. I think this has a lot to with cardio. Also been looking up a lot of advice from Alex Viada. Pretty inspiring guy. I myself have placed an emphasis on becoming more fit then I have ever been in the past, which is why my routine is so much more balanced now than in the past.

Journal Entry 240 – Remotivated

After watching some old documentaries of old school bodybuilding and reading some more simply shredded IFBB pro model workouts, I have become remotivated to pursue more bodybuilder style of workouts. I noticed a few things all these guys have in common and that is high volume (sometimes very high), moderate weight (heavy enough to stimulate muscle growth but not so heavy that your CNS gets wrecked after every workout), daily workouts with a couple of rest days and pretty high calorie and high protein diets. These are common points though. Almost everyone had a different workout, exercises, diet, but these points held true.

I have in the past few months been almost lost in deciding what I want to do, mainly because I’m just not enjoying lifting the way I have been anymore. I have rediscovered a love for cardio and I have decided that 20 minutes before every lifting workout is probably a good idea. It’s just long enough to get the benefits without becoming bored and worn out for the workout. During my lifting session I easily walk another mile just by walking around the gym lifting. On my two rest days each week I plan to either do a 30 minutes or longer run or just walk. I want to start getting results again though from a muscle growth standpoint. I don’t think that strength is enough, because it has been my main focus for a while and I have looked about the same. Higher volume is different than what I have done in the past and I think its what I need to bust out of my rut.

My diet has been roughly 1800-2600 calories a day. I eat based on hunger and what I feel like I need. Very balanced overall in terms of macros. These workouts are pretty demanding and I don’t want to underdo it in terms of food. Also my diet recently has been nothing special. I eat a lot of food I enjoy, but I wouldn’t say its organized and probably wont get that way. I just eat based on what I feel like I need and its been working so far. I will say I have been craving protein bars big time recently. Maybe a craving for more fat, but I feel I could eat 2-3 a day at least.

I have been around 170lbs consistently and my waist size (paint size has dipped under 32 inches.) I have been losing fat, but not weight and I can easily tell this by the way my clothes fit. Good feeling though because at 6ft – 6ft 1 inches tall I really dont want to go below 170lbs, but I would like to keep dropping fat.

As for my strength goals I plan to leave one heavy set of bench and one heavy set of squats and that is it. The rest is going to be 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps on everything. Strength is not my priority at the moment but pumping and feeling each muscle is. Anecdotal evidence shows it seems to work better.

Journal Entry 239 -Cardio Time

This past week I have been doing cardio for 30 mins a day at least and have really enjoyed the benefits. In the past I have typically stayed away from all forms of cardio except walking because I just didnt see the point. My diet was has been much cleaner in the past than it is now, but currently my diet is still good, but not what it used to be. I want to be able to eat more food and eat more relaxed without it negatively impacting my physique. So if you can’t control calories as easily through diet, the only other method is to do more work in the gym. Since lifting is very beneficial, but doing it too often leads to burnout, boredom and f*ckarounditis, the only solution is cardio.

Cardio has been a very welcome surprise though. It takes way less time than lifting, you can do it anywhere, if you feel bloated running gets rid of the feeling almost instantly, allows me to eat more food without getting fat, actually increased my strength levels (eating more and burning more calories), has improved my relationship with certain foods, increased my energy levels, sleep has improved and also decreased my anxiety I get from time to time. I love the sweat you get only with cardio as well as it makes a huge visual impact on your definition all over your body.

My squats felt amazing this week and got 255×6 and then 235×8 8 reps. Bench was 200lbs for 5 reps and 190x 8 7. I’m going to get back into the heavier lifting with a minimalist style template. I plan on doing 3 days a week but may do 4. As long as I can get in 30 minutes of cardio a day I’m happy. Not going to lie though I have been very disorganized in terms of what I’ve been doing recently. Thing is though my strength has been going up so its not all bad.

Certain things I always seem to like doing though is to workout everyday, lift heavy (5-8 reps seems to be what suits me best), eat a lot of food while getting results. If I can put all those variables together and get results then I’m happy. I should also mention that I have been doing 50-100 pullups everyday for the past month and have really enjoyed those as well.

Diet has been around 2100 calories with protein and carbs around 180 grams more or less and fats around 50-60 grams. Scale weight is right around 170lbs.

New Routine for lifting:

A – Thursday

BB Bench 3×5-7 reps

DB Rows 3×5-7 reps

DB Lateral Raise 3×8-10 reps

DB Curl 3×5-7 reps

Planks / stretch / hip ex

 

B – Friday

BB Squats

INC DB Bench

Rear Delts 3×8-10

Skullcrusher 3×5-7 reps

Planks / stretch / hip ex

 

C – Monday or Tuesday

INC BB Bench 3×5-7 reps

BB Rows 3×5-7 reps with shrugs

DB Lateral Raise 3×8-10 reps

EZ bar curl 3×5-7 reps

Planks / stretch / hip ex

 

D – Optional – Monday or Tuesday

Trap Bar Deadlift

DB Press

Rear Delts 3×8-10 reps

Dips 3×5-7 reps

Planks / stretch / hip ex

 

Every Day 30 mins of cardio (3 miles)  minimum

50-100 chinups

Journal Entry 238 – Everyday

First week on the new schedule wasn’t bad. I get to sleep in later, eat breakfast and then hit the gym in the morning when it is far less crowded. I usually shower right after and the head in to work. I cook lunch before I go and eat around 3pm or so. Then take a dinner break at 8pm, cook dinner and make protein pudding for dessert and then return to work til 12.

The morning allows me to go to the gym when it is far less crowded. I also dont have to worry about changing clothes at the gym which is nice. This week I alternated cardio with upper body workouts. Hit a 6 mile run on Sunday, 35 minute run on Monday, lifted upper body on Tuesday, took Wednesday off because I woke up later than planned and hit the weights on Thursday.

I think I may try to lift everyday with lighter weights and moderate rep range going forward though. I noticed I can become drained after Upperbody days because of the taxing nature of heavy weights in full body style workouts. There are two main lifts I care about for strength: Bench Press and Barbell Squats. I want to hit these lifts once a week and everything else “strength wise” I dont care too much about. However I really like the idea of hitting muscles as frequently as possible. It just makes sense. I’ve been doing at least 50 pullups a day for the past month (probably closer to 100) and I have once again been able to do over 20 pullups in a row without stopping. This was after a very long period of time without being able to do more than 12 on a good day. The only reason I think it worked is because of hitting it everyday. So when I say lift everyday I mean hit the whole body everyday. I also rediscovered my love for running, so I plan to keep a mile run on everyday before I lift. Just enough to get the rush without burning out or making myself tired for weights.

So the plan is a daily workout of a 1 mile run and then hit the whole body with 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Aiming more for the higher and lighter end of about 12 reps. This type of training does not burn me out or drain my CNS. Its also very enjoyably from a pump standpoint. It also allows me variation and not worrying about lifting very heavy every time I go to the gym. I still plan to keep two heavy lifting exercises (not workouts) twice a week in my plan, but most of the time will be lighter. I’ve only been using bodyweight with pullups and have had zero issues in getting way more reps with those, so I dont think lifting super heavy all the time is needed for progressive overload.

That being said I’m used to writing down everything I do in the gym. I dont plan on that anymore. I just want to include as much variation as possible and only keep track of Bench Press and Squats.

My weight is down 170lbs as of today. I have been eating slightly lower carb recently and sticking to mainly vegetables and berries. I’ve noticed by doing this my appetite has been much less than it usually is. My weight also has an easier time dropping and my workouts and energy have actually been better. As I have dropped carbs/starches, I have increased protein by 20-30 grams and fat by 10 grams.