So this was the first week, I finally got back to a normal routine. I’m doing a 4 day Push / Pull split with two heavy benching sessions each day. DB rows are my heavy move for Pull. Here is the routine:
Day 1 – Push
BB bench 4x 4-6 reps
Inc DB Bench 45 degrees 4x 6-8 reps
DB Shoulder Press 3×8-10 reps
Ez Skull Crushers 3×8-12
Day 2 – Pull
DB Rows 4×4-6 reps
Chinups 4xMAX (with bodyweight)
Cable Rows 3×8-10 reps
Db Curl 3×10 reps
Day 3 – Push
BB bench 4x 4-6 reps
Inc DB Bench 30 degrees 4x 6-8 reps
Dips 3×8-10 reps
Ez Skull Crushers 3×8-12
Day 4 – Pull
Db Rows 4×4-6 reps
Netural grip chinups 4xMax with bodyweight
Smith Machine Shrugs 3×10
EZ curls 3×10
That is it. Very simple on paper, but very demanding in the gym. I also allow myself one move at the end of the workout to do whatever I want. This is usually abs, lateral raises, rear delt raises or flys. It just kind of depends on what I’m feeling. I already got my bench up to 190lbs after stagnating on 185lbs. I really want to increase this a lot over the coming months. I also really enjoy heavy benching twice a week. Once just isn’t enough and more than two is overkill. Its time I moved back into what has been shown to work for gains in strength in size for intermediate lifters like myself. I was also very sore after every one of these workouts. I also do cardio on the other days, which is usually just an easy jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes to an hour. I also run 1-2 miles before each lifting day to fire me up.
I’m moving back to a 9-6 shift Monday through Friday. I’m not sure of the exact days I will do this routine, but it will be done at some point during the week. Either way I will go to the gym everyday. I will more than likely go after work though and battle the crowds. This way I can feast at night and take advantage of nutrient partitioning. I will probably lift 3-4 days during the week and maybe once on the weekend. I actually like running on the weekends, because I can just sit there and watch football while I’m doing it. Makes time go by a lot faster.
Been taking my creatine and I already notice a very positive difference. Food is (and will be) structured during the week with the post I wrote about last week. Dinner will be a very large meal that I will probably buy out. Chipotle will be a main stay and I will probably just buy less groceries to counteract the cost, which is very fairly priced based on the food you get. I will also probably get some steak and cheese subs, which have about 1000 calories and good balanced between carbs, fats and protein. I’ve been eating a lot of Halo Top, which tastes amazing, but its also pretty expensive, so I will probably switch to more normal ice cream.
Rock Bottom Fries
Rock Bottom – Grilled Brushetta Chicken
Grilled Chicken Sub from Mellow Mushroom
Shrimp and veggies
Moes Burrito Bowl
Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with veggies
Omelete with veggies and crackers
Post Pull Day
Mellow Mushroom Calzone
Pumpkin Pie Protein bars
Gluten Free Cupcake
Stellas Hummus Dip
Stella’s Greek Plater
Stella’s lima beans (these all had names in Greek, but I don’t remember what they were called 😉
Shyndigz Cookie pie. Yeah I had most of it. It was massive.
Starting on the 31st of this month, I have been told my hours are going back to 9-6 Monday – Friday. This has several advantages from a lifestyle standpoint with my girlfriend, because I will get to see her every night. It does prevent an interesting challenge for the gym though. I wrote last weeks post undecided on what I was going to do and I can honestly still tell you I don’t know haha. I will either have to go early in the morning waking up about 7 or after I get off work at 6 PM. I prefer the night approach as of right now because after making a list of pros and cons, the night shift has more positives. The only huge negative of the night shift is the amount of people that will be in the gym at that time. This makes certain exercises very hard to do. The main problem with the morning shift though is I hate the feeling of being rushed in the gym and the only way to avoid this is to wake up really early. Then I feel like I’m forcing myself to get up, when I don’t want to. I also feel the night before I have to go to bed super early, so that I don’t wake up extremely tired. With the night shift I can avoid this by simply getting up at 8 AM or so and just go to bed by 12 AM. This still gives 8 hours of sleep and I can just hit the gym later in the day when I’m more awake. I can also schedule my dinner to be the postworkout period, which I plan on having a huge feast at this time.
Since I will be doing this schedule 5 times a week, I actually have figured out an eating plan that I plan to do with this setup. Basically a modified intermittent fasting plan, that I think will work very well. It’s also very simple:
Wake up – 8AM – Coffee
Meal 1 – 10 AM – Protein Pudding with berries – 200 calories
Meal 2 – 12 AM – Coffee and Quest Bar – 200 calories
Meal 3 – 2 PM – 1 bag of Popchips Ridges and Diet Coke – 350 calories
Totals 750 calories
Workout 6:20 PM – 7:30 PM
Meal 4 – 8 PM – 12 AM – Dinner / Postworkout Feast (Mixed Carbs, Fats and Protein) 1000-2000 calories
So no matter what I’m doing in the gym (workout wise) this will likely be the way I eat during the day. As for the feast at night, it will vary probably every day. This is what I call having structure, but also a lot of flexibility. I tend to snack during the day, so that bag of Popchips can last me awhile and kind of fuels me while I work. I also really like having something salty around lunch and I’m trying to avoid meal prep and preparing food during the day, so this is a really good alternative. Also I’m getting about 50 grams of protein during the day, so if there is any advantage of “stoking protein synthesis” then it will be taken care of. The only days this layout wont be in place is on Saturday and Sunday, but that calories will be similar.
As for workout, I have some ideas running through my head, but I don’t want to update the blog until I know for sure that’s what I’m doing. It will include a lot of barbell benching though ;).
Also I want to do a supplement update that I haven’t done in awhile:
5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate
5000 IU of Vitamin D
1 Digestive Enzyme
Food Staples daily:
1 can of leaf spinach (for magnesium and many other micros)
3 eggs a day (eaten at anytime during day – for micros)
This week as pretty mediocre in terms of lifting and I actually realized why my strength has been somewhat stagnant here recently. One huge reason is a lack of creatine. I stopped taking it and I realized it was negatively impacting my lifts and volume. I noticed the biggest effect on the bench press. I also have been kind of slacking on cardio and trying to lift too often. In addition to my bro split setup, I have been going in to doing a lot of pump work and bodyweight work in addition to light running. I think this fluff is just extra noise that I really don’t need to be doing. It seems to be taking away from what really matters. Days of cardio only I feel are actually really effective to keep in for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they help shuttle recovery, prevent CNS burnout from lifting too often and also keep motivation high. Lifting everyday sounds good, but after awhile you start to extremely bored of the same repetitive workouts over and over. I plan on keeping the same split I have been doing for almost a month now and just do cardio only on my off days. I was also considering doing a split where I hit the same muscles every 4th day. For example, Workout A / Cardio / Workout B / Cardio/ Workout A. This would allow me to hit chest far more frequently which is ideal and also keep it somewhat minimalist in terms of exercises so I can really see what is affecting my strength and size progression.
Another interesting point I noticed is that by trying to lift everyday, I can seem to sleep for days. I force myself to get up at 9am after going to be around 12-1am, but if I allowed myself to just sleep, I would probably sleep another 2-3 hours easy. During the work week this really isn’t an option. On the other hand when I just keep it to straight cardio and stay the hell out of the gym in terms of weights on “off” days, I sleep well and then wake up rather spryly.
Diet has been around 2400 calories this week. I was hoping since I was eating more that I could get away with some of this extra “workout volume”, but I guess not. Also my gym is starting to get insanely packed. No matter what time of the day it just feels overcrowded. This really bums me out to be honest. Working out for me is a solo activity where I zone out and get into my “zone.” I can’t do this at all inside of a crowded gym. It really bugs me and if I start back on 9-6 soon then it may only get worse. Unless I workout earlier in the day. This is one reason I really look forward to cardio days though. When I do cardio I can be by myself and just zone out for a good 30 minute to an hour, feel awesome afterward and move on with my day. Sometimes the crowded gym prevents me from getting done what I want to get done in terms of workout and can actually really affect my mood. This makes me think a 3 day split may be better for me now, so I don’t have to deal with it as often. Still playing around with it. 😉
My diet is still far from structured and I did lower my protein this week by a decent margin. I ran 5 miles and accumulated 8 total miles yesterday and noticed my craving for dietary fat increased dramatically. I also sweat like crazy and showered after my workout and the next time I ate something it tasted extremely good. Another benefit of running for long miles. 🙂 My mom actually brought me some cookies from some place she went to for work and I actually had like 7 of them. They were on the smaller side, but I honestly didn’t care. I also woke up this morning with a ravenous appetite and I estimated taking in around 3000 calories yesterday. I think my metabolism may be speeding up a bit. I will say to before I forget that running does have some very distinct benefits over lifting (for me anyway). If you ever felt like you had way too much food just sitting in your stomach, then running is the solution. It literally clears you out and also allows you to pack in much more dirty food then lifting does. I also realized it kind of helps clear your sinuses as well. Although I think running only has benefits if you are eating enough. I think its beyond miserable when calories are too low, but then again so is just about everything else in life.
I have been playing around with my diet this week in that I have been purposely eating more carbs and fat and way less protein. I’m trying to keep protein between 110 grams and 140 grams on the high end. I have honestly been shooting for the low end by literally just not eating lean meat. This is very difficult for me due to the way I’m wired, but somewhat fun nevertheless. Carbs have been much higher and I’m trying to keep fat at about 50% of protein intake. So between 60-70 grams. Carbs make up the rest of my diet after protein and fat has been met. Calories have been around 2500 calories this week. Still weighing in around the 170-174lbs.
I noticed that I have been suffering from “protein guilt” a lot of the time. Which simply means that if I don’t eat a high protein meal or a meal with out SOME protein in it, then I have guilt about the meal. This week has been somewhat different and I noticed without even worrying about eating enough protein, I usually get enough in. Basically trying to sub out chicken for fattier chicken or egg whites for whole eggs. Using more starches and cheese to make hitting this easier. I’m not going to lie I haven’t really noticed a lot of benefit from doing so as of yet. It definitely puts more food back on the menu though, which is nice. A lot of the bloating issues I used to get from too many carbs and calories are starting to go away though. Especially from cheat days. It used to take me 2-3 days to clear that bloat at least. Now I can wake up the next day and look fine. My volume in the gym is pretty high though. I have been adding in A LOT of pullups and pushups everyday. Also I should mention that usually when I go to be with 200+ grams of protein I have a bloated stomach. Lowering it down to this level I have noticed this has gone away.
I hit my chest day on Tuesday and it was horrible. I felt extremely weak in the gym, even with ample amounts of protein. This is why I decided to start this experiment. Fat tends to get too low in my diet and I feel like I was just way to unbalanced with the excessive amount of protein. It didn’t seem to helping too much either. So I wanted to bump up the fat and lower the protein. Obviously need to keep carbs and sodium high though for gym performance. The rest of my week has been really good though in terms of strength in the gym.
So a few simple changes I have made is to replace one of my protein bars (which are expensive anyway) with a Poptart. Poptart is mainly carbs and a little fat. Another change is instead of jerky at lunch, I take a bag of rice cakes or popchips for about 400 calories. This is mainly carbs and a little fat. Dinner is highly variable, but is almost always my biggest meal of the day with a lot of carbs, fats and protein. A lot of my daily protein comes from this meal. Because I’m not trying to go low protein, just cut it down to where it needs to be. Although eating this amount to me feels like super low protein. 😉
Downed about 3000 calories yesterday due to a trip to Mellow Mushroom. Protein actually got high up to 180 grams which is the highest its been since I started the challenge. Not too worried about it though. Mellow Mushroom is hands down my favorite restaurant at the moment. Carbs were around 280grams and fat got up 100grams.
Going to try and keeping working some “funner” foods into my diet for the following week. Only requirement to keep eating this much is to just to exercise for an hour a day. As long as I do that, weight gain doesnt seem to be an issue. 🙂
Pretty good week in terms of lifting. Didn’t have any trips this week so it was a rather normal week in terms of eating and lifting. I have been enjoying my bro split a lot in terms of feeling like I have organization and progressive overload back into my routine. I have also been really sore this week all over my muscles. It doesn’t mean everything but it definitely feels good. I do miss the huge pump I would get all over my body with lifting everyday, but doing pushups and pullups in between sets can help remedy this on a bro split. I notice though that even with bro splits, there is a lot of carry over to other muscles so the frequency is much higher than people think. So yes you hit a muscle directly once a week, but there are a lot of carryover to other days that must people don’t realize. Also its a very nice feeling very fresh when its time to lift. With lifting everyday this feeling kind of goes away.
Sunday – OFF or Cardio for 30 minutes
Monday – OFF or Cardio for 30 minutes
Tuesday – Chest and light Triceps
BB Bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps
INC 30 deg bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Dips bodyweight 3 x max reps
Flys 3 x 8-10 reps
Skullcrushers 3×8-10 reps
Cable Crunch – 3 x 8-10 reps
Wednesday – OFF or Cardio for 30 minutes
Thursday – Back and light biceps
DB Row 3 x 6-8 reps
Close-grip pulldowns 3×6-8 reps
Chinups bodyweight 3xmax reps
Hip Extensions (lower back) 3x 10-15 reps
Seated Incline Curls 3 x 8-10 reps
Cable Crunch 3 x 8 -10 reps
Friday – Shoulders and Traps
BB Press 3×6-8 reps
DB shoulder press 3×8-10 reps
Upright Row 3×8-10
DB Laterals 3×8-10
DB Rear Laterals 3×8-10 reps
Weighted Ab Machine 3 x8-10 reps
Saturday – Arms (For some reason this is one of harder more sweat inducing workouts)
DB Close-Grip Bench Press 3×6-8
Alternating DB Curl 3×6-8 reps
EZ Skullcrushers 3×8-10 reps
EZ Curls 3×8-10 reps
Rope Pushdowns 3×12-15 reps
Cable Curls 3×12-15 reps
Cable Crunch 3×12-15 reps
Very fun routine. No legs at the moment, but trying to divert most of my muscle growth toward the upper body. Also still doing a decent amount of running mainly as a recovery tool and sore a** legs don’t help with this process. Also to be honest, I never thought overly developed legs looked good at all.
Diet is still very unorganized. It contains way more carbs and fats then I have eaten in the past however. Also still backloading most of my calories. Consuming on average over the week 2300 calories 250g carbs / 60-70g fat / 120-180g protein. After reading some more blogs on optimizing testosterone for muscle growth, I may start consuming protein toward the lower range and eat more carbs and fat. I may also replace Quest bars with a Lenny and Larry’s Cookie (taste amazing by the way) to lower protein a bit. I also really like the Combat bars a lot. I have been eating a lot less vegetables here recently and noticed my stomach has been super flat almost all the time. I used to get some pretty bad bloat from veggies. I very rarely get bloated now unless I eat a huge meal and I attribute this to a faster metabolic rate. I must say it is very nice feeling like your body is just using everything you eat for energy. Scale weight is roughly 172-173lbs almost everyday. Occasionally going down to 169lbs and up to 175lbs, but rarely outside of these marks.
Longhorns – Napa Grilled Chicken, Fries, side salad and half a loaf of bread
Plaza Azteca Salad
Applewood smoked new flavor. Taste like bbq.
Egg white grill fro Chick-fila. 6 out of 10
Delicious. Probably the best cinammon roll flavor I have tasted.
3 packets of oatmeal
Rest day meal – Chicken, avocado, sausage, broccoli
Free bowl due to Chipole rewards card. Half chicken and steak, white rice, veggies and salsa. Sour cream on side.
Kickback jacks – Chicken salad with extra croutons