bench press

Journal Entry 315 – 3 Week Hiatus

Today marks the end of my 3-week hiatus. I’ve had a lot going on recently and never really had a chance to sit down and write a post. Over the past 2 weeks, Sarah and I bought a dog! It is a shih-tzu / bichon mix that is 100% hypoallergenic. This was more for Sarah than for me as I’m not allergic to any dogs. We named him Luke after Luke Skywalker. Coincidentally he was born on 5/4/2018, which is Star Wars day and the date of our rehearsal dinner. Not going to lie, he is a lot of work. More work than I thought it would be and I’ve had dogs my entire life, but it has been awhile since I had a puppy and I forgot the amount of energy these dogs have. Also, he’s a lot of money. I know startup costs are high, but if you are running low on money and are thinking about getting a pet, I highly recommend thinking again.

I do have good news to report in terms of my lifting progress. I set a personal record on the bench press for 225lbs at 6 reps. The bench has felt fantastic recently and I actually did that with a cold. I’ve been sick since I left the beach last weekend, but it did not seem to affect my lifts. Recently I’ve been prioritizing the bench above all else in the gym. The prioritization has paid off. My goal is to get my bench press to 225lbs for 3 sets of 8 reps with ease. Once I hit this, my bench lifting goals will pretty much be complete. Funny enough my weight has been going down as well. I’m sitting at roughly 179lbs. I’m benching more at this weight than I was at 185lbs. My goal is to get down to the 170-175lbs range, while continuing to increase my strength. My overall volume in the gym has been low recently. My diet consists of a ton of protein and little carbs and moderate fats at the moment. This is my go-to when trying to lose fat and look my best. Since my volume is low, my strength has still been going up as there isn’t a ton of muscular damage to repair. I have barely run at all recently as well. I think once in the last month.

My workout schedule is heavy bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps 3 times a week every other day. I then do a Pull movement for 4 sets of 6-10 reps (heavy) and then an abs movement for 3 sets of 6-10 reps.

On the days, I’m not doing a bench I do the same setup scheme, but usually either an Incline Dumbell Press or Pushups instead of flat bench. I’ve found that by keeping the volume low each day, I can come back the next day and hit it hard regardless of what I did the day before. Obviously works since my bench has been skyrocketing recently.

My diet is pretty simple at the moment:

  • 2 12oz Coffees with half and half
  • Protein Shake
  • 2 hardboiled eggs
  • WORKOUT
  • *Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps 1 5oz bag (eaten throughout the day)
  • Nicotine Gum
  • 12oz of either ground Turkey Meat or Beef with cheese and small amounts of vegetables
  • Protein Pudding with blueberries

That is pretty much it almost every single day. Sounds boring, but I really like it. It’s helping me shred fat and increase my lifts at the same time. Don’t mind if I do.

 

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Journal Entry 309 – Returns For Time Invested

I’m still trying to find a workout that provides the best returns for the time invested. I really don’t like going to the gym and feel like I’m wasting my time with ineffective exercises that are barely doing anything in terms of body composition and time spent doing them. Gone are the days when I enjoy spending hours in the gym. My day no longer revolves around my workout, so I really want to create a workout that hits everything I want to be hit and then I want to move on with my day. I literally want to get in and get out. I love the benefits working out provides and I fully plan on working out for the rest of my life, but these benefits can be achieved in about 30 minutes a day.

The best feeling for me in the gym is getting stronger. It’s instant feedback that you are doing something right. I designed a routine and schedule that I think will carry me into greatness at this point in my life.

MC’s Minimalist Routine:

  • Incline DB Bench Press 4 sets of 6-12 reps
  • Chinups 4 sets of AMAP with bodyweight
  • Dips 3 sets of AMAP with bodyweight
  • Isolation of choice 3 sets of 8-15 reps
    • Optional depending on time

This workout will be done Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. It gives me a solid 48 hours between workouts and then I hit it again. I will sub in barbell bench press once a week, but no more due to shoulder issues. My main goal is to get stronger and do more reps on all of these exercises. Don’t let this workout fool you though, it’s not easy. It’s simple on paper, but not easy. This workout can be completed in under 40 minutes, which makes it perfect for me. It also hits every muscle in the upper body. I will also do cardio a few times per week, mainly on the weekends. When Sarah and I move into our house, we are going to buy a treadmill. Once we do this I will likely run every day that I don’t lift.

I’m still playing around with diet, but it is high protein as always. I still backload most of my calories to dinner as well.

Sarah and I have also recently had an offer accepted on a house! We have both the inspection tomorrow and meet with the mortgage office to sign the loan. I have heard signing a loan is a miserable process, unfortunately, but we have to do it at some point.

 

Journal Entry 308 – Back To Reality

First week back after the Wedding / Honeymoon. Took me a few days to shake the rust off, but I’m almost back to normal. My body still feels a little bit achy for some reason though. My joints still have some pain and my energy levels are a little low. I have some pain in my back as well near my right shoulder blade. Not sure what it is, but it does feel like it is slowly getting better.

My workouts have been very weak. I did a 4 day Push / Pull this week and my strength and endurance were definitely down. I did cardio yesterday which felt pretty good, but lifting has been a chore this week. My carbs have been pretty low recently and I’ve been eating a ton of protein, but it seems to be negatively impacting my lifts. I plan on adding some carbs and probably eating a larger dinner each night to see if this helps my lifts. I want to get my bench press back to 225lbs.

I had some Pizza Hut on Friday night, because I felt like I needed it. 😉 Sarah and I had a busy day yesterday as well. We went house hunting, went bowling with my team at work and then went to Downtown Richmond to get dinner with some of Sarah’s friends.

I had been slacking on working out for the week leading up the Wedding / Honeymoon. I’m not sure if I got “out of shape” in that small of a period of time, but it sure feels like it. Hoping to shake this feeling soon.

Journal Entry 301 – The Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore Diet seems to be the flavor of the week in the dieting industry.

This diet has actually been around a long time but recently resurfaced due to Dr. Shawn Baker. He is a doctor that started eating only meat for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he found he could stay lean and recover faster when eating only steak. He also noticed the disappearance of bloating, health issues, joint pain, cravings and a whole plethora of other benefits.

In terms of macros, the carnivore diet is a zero carb diet with more protein than a traditional ketogenic diet. It reminds me of old school bodybuilder diets that Vince Gironda and Arnold Schwarzenegger used to use to get really ripped.

This is a red meat diet though, which is where it truly differs from Keto. The reason is red meat is actually a very dense and nutritious food. It contains many of the fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and nutrients and delivers them in a streamlined dose. Meat is easy to digest and the fat from the meat also helps the nutrients to be absorbed. The low fiber also counteracts some of the binding that can occur with nutrients being absorbed. Another really good food to eat in addition would be Eggs as they fit the same bill as red meat. Some people have allergies to eggs though, which is why red meat usually works better. The dietary fat from the meat also has been shown to increase testosterone levels. Testosterone levels also have a lot to do with the overall nutrients you are getting, so the nutrient/ dietary fat combo makes it a great food to help with this.

Another interesting benefit of this diet is actually pretty cheap. If you substitute out the steak for ground beef and eat some eggs to replace one of the steak meals, the diet is very cheap. You get more calories per dollar. With vegetables, you can eat way more volume, but this comes as the expense of bloating, gas, indigestion, a sluggish “heavy” feeling and it’s more expensive because the food is so low in calories that you have to buy more. Vegetables usually don’t help your appetite very long either. They are initially filling, but 1-2 hours later you are hungry again.

The zero carb aspect is also very important for the overall health gain you get. Low carbs have been shown to be very helpful in managing blood sugar-related diseases (think type 2 diabetes), helping to lower cravings (again likely due to blood sugar), restoring health (tend to be loaded with nutrients / higher quality foods) and sensitizing the body to insulin and carbs. This list could go much longer, but I came from a family history of type-2 diabetes, so I’m always conscious of this. These diseases are built over time, so it’s important to eat in a way that feels right.

I find this diet intriguing. I don’t think I could ever do just red meat, but I could adapt a diet pretty similar. I went to Costco and bought 5lbs of 88% lean ground beef for $15. Deals ;). I also bought some eggs from Aldi that I got for $0.40 a dozen. My grocery bill is going to get very cheap. I’ve done this diet the past 2 days and have already dropped 3lbs. Yes, its mostly water weight, but I actually look visibly leaner and my stomach is really flat with very littly bloating. I have also eaten 2500 calories a day these past two days, which for me is way too much to burn fat on. Nevertheless, the scale is down and I look leaner. Winning ;).

I’m going to run this diet for the next two weeks with maybe one cheat day thrown in. I love the simplicity of it and hope the results continue.

Image result for ron swanson meme

Workouts

I have been doing 200 pushups and 50 chinups 5 days a week and cardio 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I have only been lifting once a week in the gym. You read that correctly. For me, its the least “gym work” I have done in probably 10 years. I love to workout, but I hate gyms. Especially recently, because they have been packed beyond belief at all times of the day. That being said I have 3 major goals right now:

  • Get leaner
  • Get really good at pushups
  • Keep getting stronger on the bench press

I’m a simple man, what can I say. The bench press is my only gym workout and I’m still repping 215lbs for 6 or so reps. I think the pushups have been helping me a lot with this as well.

 

 

Journal Entry 298 – Short One

Finished training last Thursday, so my schedule will go back to normal this week. Sarah and I went to Greensboro last week and did some stuff for the wedding. It’s only a couple months away, which is strange to think about.

In contrast to last week, I actually lifted every day last week doing a full body workout every day. Enjoyable, but the problem was I would get pretty sweaty at the gym and then have to go back to work after. Not fun.

My bench press has been going back up and right now stands at 215lbs for 8, 5, 5 reps. I literally have done heavy bench every other day and it seems to be going up pretty steadily. I have also done very little cardio, except for some light walking all week. When I got back to my new schedule, I will start doing cardio again. I have also incorporated some legs back into my routine and the soreness is already gone.

My diet has been pretty high protein and calories have been around 2000-2300 calories a day. This seems to be a good amount for me to stay around most of the time. Good energy, good strength in the gym and since I eat pretty balanced, I can pretty much eat whatever I want within this calorie range.

Journal Entry 297 – Training / Light Week

It’s going to be a short entry this week. Due to training at work, my schedule as shifted from Monday and Thursday 9-8pm. Not a bad setup, but it leaves you very little free time during the week. You basically drive home, eat dinner, watch an hour of TV and go to bed. Rinse and repeat. I only lifted one-day last week, due to this busy schedule. My days are very busy at work, which is nice from “it flys by standpoint”, but I haven’t had a huge urge to rush off to the gym on busy days like this. I used this one hour period last week for time to just sit and relax.

My bench was down last week. I also had some strange shoulder pain in my front delts when doing pushups. They felt very tight and not good. So I basically took the week off from lifting. I did run about 5 miles on Friday and took Saturday off. I’ll probably go lift today, but not sure what next week holds.

My calories were pretty low this week, especially during the workweek. I didn’t really have time to eat until my lunch break at 12pm and 8:30pm at night when I got home.  I plan to have a higher calorie day today, but I got a feeling next week may be similar to last week in terms of training and eating. In other words, not good.

I’ve been watching a lot of Youtube on my time off. There is a channel called Star Wars Theory that has very interesting content. Been kind of on a Star Wars spree recently, probably just to nerd out and get out of reality for awhile. Also, listening to Broderick Chavez who is a powerlifter and basically a comedian. He talks a lot about diet and nutrition and is very entertaining to listen to.

Also, really glad the Eagles won the Super Bowl. Nick Foles seems likes a really good guy and it’s nice seeing a different team win it besides the Patriots.

Journal Entry 269 – Heavy / Light Day

Another week in the books and strength is still going up. I’m down to about 179lbs of scale weight and feeling leaner than previous weeks. I decided to add in a light day for both push and pull workouts to replace one of the heavy workouts. I’m doing less cardio than in previous weeks at maybe 3 times a week. Sarah and I have also started playing tennis on the weekends, so while not formal cardio, it still counts, especially when it’s hot out. Diet has been around 2100 calories a day with Protein at 145 grams / Carbs 250 grams / Fat 65 grams.

Diet has been around 2100 calories a day with Protein at 145 grams / Carbs 250 grams / Fat 65 grams. My energy and well being is much better with more carbs and fats in my diet without adding in super high amounts of protein. I also noticed I really don’t eat a ton of meat anymore. I have a pretty good sized serving once a day and that is about it. A lot of my protein comes from protein powder, vegetables, and protein bars. Not saying that I have been actively trying to cut meat out of my diet, it’s just that I have unconsciously reduced it.

As for my workout, I moved some things around:

  • PUSH – HEAVY
    • BB BENCH PRESS – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
    • INC PRESS MACHINE – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • DIPS – 3 sets by Max
  • PULL – LIGHT
    • CHINUPS – 3 sets of 6-8 reps 1 set with bodyweight
    • LAT PRAYERS 4 sets of 12 reps
    • SEATED INC CURLS – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • SHOULDERS/ABS DAY
    • DB LATERALS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • REAR DELT MACHINE – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE PULLS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • MACHINE CRUNCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE CRUNCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • PUSH – LIGHT
    • DB INC BENCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE FLYS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • EZ SKULLCRUSHERS – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • PULL – LIGHT
    • TBAR ROWS – 4 sets of 12 reps
    • LAT PULLDOWN (VARIOUS GRIPS) – 4 sets of 12 reps
    • DB CURLS – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • WEEKEND
    • TENNIS, CARDIO OR LIGHT CALISTHENICS

Other than that Sarah and I are going to a company party this weekend. My company reserved Brown’s Island in Richmond for 4 hours and provided us a hotel to stay in downtown. Also, food and drinks are free. I think it should be a good time and my company is awesome. Probably go downtown after it ends, which is like a 2-minute walk from where we are. Should be a late night, but a really good time.