Journal Entry 284 – Winging It

Not going to lie, I get very bored with training and dieting at certain points in my life. I almost have to change up what I do to prevent this from setting in. Training with low volumes and long rest periods can be fun when you are getting stronger week to week, but dear god it is boring. It’s like can I just hit the gym, get a great pump and move on with my day. It’s just so slow. Eating the same foods can be very similar to this. I start to eat the same foods over and over and crave them less and less and it all just gets so boring.

I’m going to wing it for the time being. I want to keep one boring strength day in the gym to keep my strength and the other days will be higher volume full body lifting. Cardio will be done when I have time, but I’m not going to stress about it.

As for nutrition, the same logic applies. I simply want to eat what I feel like eating without overeating on crap. Eat foods I enjoy and move on with life. The majority of the time I undereat during the day and eat more at night. This is by far the most enjoyable way of eating I have found. My stress levels tend to decrease when I eat like this. I usually have 2 protein puddings and some random stuff during the early part of my day for roughly 800-1000 calories. Then at night I eat whatever I want or feel that day. This eliminates cravings and doesn’t make you want to binge on the weekend or your cheat day. You are quite simply spreading all the food you like throughout the week and eating it in a much more enjoyable fashion. It also makes you appear more of an enjoyable person, who isn’t constantly obsessed with maintaining some lame diet plan that no one cares about.

Random Tidbits:

  • Joe Rogan’s podcast continues to provide me with hours of entertainment
  • Age of Empires 3 is a great game
  • Giants SUCK!
  • Carson Wentz is a BEAST! Really impressive to watch play. He’s a very accurate passer and tough runner.
  • Hokies are playing awesome!
  • Apparently, there is such a thing as a grey Jedi with a white lightsaber. They are neutral, who simply try to maintain the balance between the two sides. This is awesome.
  • Random pushups are incredible for an energy boost when you feel out of it.

 

Journal Entry 283 – Bench and Chins

Workout:

My strength is starting to go up after I made an important change on my rep range. Recently, I was trying to get 8 reps for 3 sets before moving up in weight. This was largely to keep form very good and not letting sloppy form take over when the weight was too heavy. I decided to drop the range to 3 sets of 6 reps to break a plateau and the difference has been dramatic. I’m already up 10lbs on the bench and 5lbs on Chins. The first time I benched 205lbs with 3 sets of 6 reps, I thought I had the wrong weight on the bar it felt so easy.  My workout is as follows:

  • Push (Day 1 / Day 2)
  • BB Bench Press 3 sets of 6 reps
  • DB INC Press 3 sets of 8 reps / Dips 3 sets of Max reps
  • Lateral Raises 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Flys 3 sets of 10 reps / Skull Crushers 3 sets of 10 reps

 

  • Pull (Both Days)
  • Chinups 3 sets of 6 reps
  • Preachers 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Face Pulls 3 sets of 10 reps
  • DB Curl 3 sets of 10 reps

I found this way of working out to be the best for my current schedule. I can easily complete this on my break from work. The first move takes the longest, but the last two are a breeze and I superset them. It’s also very easy to tweak certain things to keep strength going up.

I have also added in Cardio 2-3 days a week and I swear I feel like it made me stronger in my lifts. (At least last week)

Diet:

My weight is right around 185lbs right now. It fluctuates between 182-187lbs. I think I may have found a connection between processed sugar and my psoriasis flaring. Not necessarily carbs, but processed sugar. It was the same feeling I had when I had my Bachelor Party. I’ve been reducing, so my carbs are at more of a moderate range and I have increased fat and protein a little bit. Recently I have been eating Sardines, which are very good. They may stink, but they are nutritional powerhouses and have a really nice texture. I may try to cut out the excessive green vegetables and stick to more simple meals as well.

Life:

Last weekend Sarah had her bachelorette party. She was gone for 4 days, but I missed her a lot! While she was gone, I actually took off early on Saturday and went to the Wine Festival in Powhatan. It was actually pretty good.

Giants finally won a game last night. They actually played really well on defense. Offense still looked pretty inconsistent, but they scored a modest 13 points against a really good defense with a ton of injuries. So it could have been MUCH worse.

Journal Entry 258 – Grind Update

Another week in the books. Very similar to last week in terms of diet and nutrition.

Weekly Routine:

  • Sunday – Cardio Only 4 miles
  • Monday – Chest and Tris
  • Tuesday – Morning Cardio / Back and Bis
  • Wednesday – Shoulders
  • Thursday – Morning Cardio / Chest and Tris (PR hit)
  • Friday – Back and Bis
  • Saturday – CaOnly ONly – 5 miles

I hit a PR on Thursday with Bench at 190lbs for 8, 7, 7 reps. This estimates my one rep max at 240lbs. Not bad. Chinups have increased to 35lbs between my feet for roughly 5 reps a set. Shoulder press is about 120lbs for around 8, 6, 6 reps.

Diet has been very similar to last week as well. More or less 5 days a week it looks like this:

  • Oatmeal with PB
  • Popchips
  • Protein bar of some sort
  • Varies Daily
  • Protein Pudding

There is no huge focus on protein in this diet. Mainly more of a focus on carbs. Fats are always incidental, but adequate. This is by no means a low-fat diet.

Average Weight is around 182lbs.

 

Journal Entry 244 – Getting Organized

First week of the regular schedule. The first two days I went to the gym after work and hit the gym around 6:15. Monday wasn’t bad at all and I was shocked. Then I realized it was Halloween and lot of people were with their kids. Tuesday night came and it was PACKED. My workout was still good though because all I did was cardio that day anyway. On Wednesday, I had dinner plans at 730 PM so the gym wasn’t really an option because I had to shower after and I wouldn’t have time. So I got up at 645 AM and there was like 10 people in the entire gym. So I think I found the time I plan on going. My strength was fine early in the morning, but I did do some cardio to heat up my body temperature and loosen up the joints.

I plan the schedule to look like this:

  • Monday – Cardio
  • Tuesday –  Push
  • Wednesday – Pull
  • Thursday – Cardio
  • Friday – Cardio
  • Saturday – Push
  • Sunday – Pull

As for my lifts, Barbell Bench is up to 195lbs already from 185lbs. I’m touching the bar all the way to my chest for better form and range of motion. I got 5, 5, 4, 4 reps with 195lbs last Push workout. Pull workout I got the 115lb Db’s for 5, 5, 4, 3. I dont remember ever breaking the 115lbs with this exercise so looking forward to the 120s.

Cardio is a steady state jog for 40-50 minutes. On days I know I’m going to eat a ton and those days happen to fall on non-lifting days, I will also throw in some high rep (20 reps) depletion work on the machines. I also do 10-15 minutes of running before each lifting day.

Diet is as follows:

  • Supplements before work with a can of spinach
  • Meal 1 – Coffee > Protein Pudding/ Berries >Lenny and Larry Cookie (small size)
    • (400 cals – 30 grams of protein)
  • Meal 2 – Bag of Rice Cakes or Pop Chips (usually change the flavors up)> Protein Bar
    • (550 calories and – 25 grams of protein)
  • Totals around 1000 calories and 55 grams of protein at this point
  • Meal 3 – Lifting Days
    • Pretty much anything I want for around 1000-1300 calories
      • Chipotle helps a lot with this. So much customization options to hit the amount you want. It also tastes phenomenal and it really affordable for the food you get.
  • Meal 3 – Cardio Day
    • Pretty much anything for around 800-1000 calories
  • Meal 4 – Usually protein pudding, cottage cheese or ice cream
    • 100-200 calories
  • Totals – Lifting Days – 2500+ calories / Cardio Days – 2000 calories

So my diet is structured during the day because I find it keeps my hunger at bay nicely. Then very flexible at night, because I can pretty much eat anything I want. I usually go to Chipotle, but I may start throwing in small pizzas and subs as well. These tend to be loaded with protein, carbs and fat, which is what I want at that point. Macros are very balanced at the moment. Protein is around 120-140 grams, carbs is close to double that and fat is around 60-70 grams most days.

Journal Entry 244 -Running On

Another week of a relatively sporadic exercise schedule in terms of organization, but consistent in terms of hitting something everyday. I lifted about 4 days this week and ran the other three.

Cardio has become sort of a sanctuary for me recently. I can be completely alone, zoned out, decrease my anxiety, increase energy and positivity and it takes a whopping 10-30 minutes a day to achieve this. It has become almost a sort of meditation for me. I love it.  I plan to keep in at least 3 dedicated cardio only days in my plan. When I say “alone” my gym as become sort of overcrowded here recently and sometimes its hard to hit the “zone” when you have so many people in the way. When I go running I’m the only one on the treadmill, so I can hit this meditation without fail. I would like to hit a 3 day split so I can have at least 4 cardio days.

I am on the fence between two routines at the moment. One is a 3 day full body setup. The other is a 4 day split routine. I have noticed heavy lifting too many days in a row saps me of energy. Which is why I will either to 3 days of every other day lifting (strongly leaning towards this) or a 2 on 1 off 1 on 1 off type approach. That way a rest day (or cardio only day) will be inserted in between heavy lifting sessions. The 4 day routine will be a basic bodybuilder split of chest/tri, back/bis, legs/abs, shoulders/arms. The 3 day full body workout will have 4 moves a major push, pull, legs and a compound – isolation move at the end:

  • Example – (each day is different in terms of exercises but the same in terms of layout)
  • Trapbar Deadlift – Legs
  • DB Inc Press – Push
  • Chinups – Pull
  • Dips – Compound Isolation
  • 4 x 8 reps with a single weight. If  30-32 reps are achieved increase weight next workout.
  • Easy enough. Always a big fan of simplicity.

On lifting days, I will do 10 minutes of running and the other days will be 30-60 minutes of straight cardio at 6 mph on a treadmill. May not sound like fun, but I have come to love it.

Diet wise has been roughly 2300 calories a day. Roughly 200 carbs / 200 protein and 50 fat and some alcohol :). This is a very loose estimate as well. Probably was a bit higher than this to be honest.

Journal Entry 243

Another week in the books. My weight was a little lower this week around 170lbs or so. My running was around 10 minutes a day and I decided to add a heavy move to the beginning of each day. I have had the urge to skip lifting some days and just go for a walk/run outside because its so nice out, but didn’t do that once this week.

I did go pretty heavy this week for and aimed for around 4-6 reps on the first move and 6-8 on the rest. My triceps were extremely sore all week, but everything else seemed fine. I do prefer sticking to a slightly higher rep range than 4-6, but I have really big urges to lift heavy someday’s so I just try to work it in. I do like the full body approach, especially with a big push, pull move each workout. I do not do legs everyday with running. It would wreck me unless the legs move was super light. I do hit a lot of shoulders though. They seem to be fine with the volume.

My diet philosophy here recently is basically just eat high protein, keep fat around 50-60 grams tops and carbs go up and down. Calories are eaten based on hunger, but as long as I stay around these macros I really dont care what I hit. When you train 7 days a week for at least 45 minutes and are active during the other points in your day, then diet basically just becomes making sure your eating enough. I seem to be able to eat much more so in the past, mainly due to the increased volume of my workouts. I have been enjoying some more oatmeal in the mornings, bananas for snacks (always seem to give me very good energy), still eating my fair share of protein bars ;), and eating big meals at night. I do snack a lot at work on jerky and popchips.

Nothing fancy this week though. I do have a company party today, which will have a lot of food and alcohol, but like I said, just going to get my training in and not really worry about it too much.

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 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 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.