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Journal Entry 274 – Vino

Life:

Last week Sarah and I went to Charlottesville for the weekend. Kind of spontaneous trip as we didn’t really have an itinerary to follow, but it basically turned into a wine tasting trip. Besides being a little hot outside the wineries were really nice to visit and it’s actually the first time I have been there in summer/spring time. The last time I went was in the middle of winter and it was definitely a different experience. We met and talked to a lot of people while we there and ended up visiting 7 different wineries over two days. Unless you’re on a wine tour, 3-4 is probably all you can do in one day, especially if your driving cause the wine tastings can really add up. We ended up going to Jefferson, Trump, Blenheim, King Family, Grace, Stinson and finished with Whitehall.

Best Views: Jefferson, Trump, and King Family Vineyards

Best Wine: Whitehall

Trump also only had 4 wines on their tasting list, but they filled it up way more than anyone else. I was kind of surprised how much they were pouring haha.

We also went out to eat for almost every meal. Bodo’s Bagels was very good, but was insanely packed. Panera is honestly just as good if you’re just getting a bagel and maybe even cheaper too. We also ate at the hotel for 2 days, but I’m not a huge breakfast person so I just grabbed some hard boiled eggs (which nobody else was eating) and a bagel with cream cheese. It was actually a good combo. For lunch, we actually just got something at the wineries, which was way overpriced but also helped to sober you up a little bit. The taste was decent there, but nothing special. For dinner, we went to Crozet Pizza the first night, which was very good. Sarah and I finished off the pizza in one night. Half chicken and veggies on one side and BBQ chicken on the other. Their ranch was awesome. We also went to a place called Kardinal Hall, which was alright, but I wasn’t overly impressed. The Downtown Mall area though was awesome. Very cool town. The last night we, unfortunately, got back kind of late and had to go to Chipotle in order to get back in time for the Game of Thrones premiere.

Diet:

Calories were unknown last week as I was just trying to enjoy myself. I estimated and logged each day, but it was super loose. This week has been pretty low in calories as I just want to get a bit of fat off. Averaged around 1500 calories for the past 5 days. This is much lower than I have been for awhile and I was definitely feeling it in the gym and at night.  That being said I look noticeably leaner and I’m down 5lbs already. Interestingly enough I really didn’t get hungry at work. I amazingly haven’t eaten a protein bar for 2 weeks. An impressive accomplishment for me, because I almost consider myself mildly addicted haha. Also, sliced apples are really good in terms of taking the edge off of hunger and giving you energy. They have helped a lot this week.

Workouts:

Unfourtnaly nothing great in terms of lifting progress, especially after a low-calorie week. I also didn’t get any pump at all, which really sucks, but I wasn’t expecting much.

 

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Journal Entry 273 – New Laptop

Workouts:

I seem to be stuck on chinups at the moment, but they seem to be one of the only things not going up. My back accessory movements are still trending upward as well as biceps. Bench is still going up and has felt really good recently. Incline DB press is up to the 75s for 3 sets of 12, 9, 6 reps and BB bench press is at 200lbs for 8, 7, 6 reps.  Dips are at around 15-20 reps per set for 3 sets. I’m hoping to get 20 reps on all 3 sets soon. I have also replaced my skullcrushers with cable flys on both Push days. I can assure you this workout may not look special on paper, but it makes your chest sore for 3 days:

  • Barbell bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Dips 3 sets of Max reps
  • Cable Flys 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Eating:

Calories 2100 / Protein 131 / Carbs 252 / Fat 65 / Fiber 40. I went back to

I went to Mezeh this Friday, which is basically a Mediterranean style Chipotle. It was very good. I got a salad bowl the guy packed it with meat and tons of toppings. Chickpea salad, croutons, olives, feta cheese, pickled vegetables, marinated vegetables, hummus and some other things. It was awesome, but also a little more expensive than Chipotle. I still got my favorite Chipotle though on Thursday and Panda Express on Tuesday. Chipotle > Mezeh > Panda Express.

I got a whopping 5 hours of sleep on Friday night into Saturday morning and have no clue why. I was also ravenous the entire day, so we went to Bertucci’s for lunch and I got a calzone with two rolls and salad for lunch. Food also tasted better than normal too, which was nice, but I guess I needed it. I ended up with roughly 3000 calories.

Life:

I finally got a new laptop after weeks of looking. I’d almost consider myself an expert on computers and laptops at this point. I got a Lenovo Legion from Costco. It is stacked in almost every way. Technically considered a “gaming laptop” this thing is a powerhouse and is lighting fast. I can boot up my computer in 5 seconds and web browsing and multitasking are seamless. My old games can be played on max settings with no lag during play. It also has as hybrid drive, which basically means it has a solid state drive (SSD) and a hard drive (HD). SSD’s are LIGHTING FAST in almost every way. This computer has a 256GB SSD and a 2 TB HD. 2 TB (terabytes) are massive and each TB is 1000GB. This is far more space than most people will ever need. The beauty of a hybrid drive is all things you want to be done quickly, like your operating system, you put on the SSD. All of the massive things like PC games or stuff you rarely use, but want to keep around you put on the HD. The two negative things of this thing so far is that the battery life is mediocre at best at an average of 3-4 hours. Not a huge deal, because I’m standing or sitting right next to an outlet 95% of the time. But in terms of other laptops, this could be better. Also, the mouse on the trackpad blows. It is really bad. But again I use an external mouse 95% of the time, so again these were two cons that weren’t going to let me not get this beast of a computer. Costco also has a 2-year warranty and a 90-day return policy, where you get a full refund. So basically if you hate it for whatever reason, you can quite literally rent it and return it for a full refund. Hell yeah, much greater respect for Costco after that policy. Good luck getting that anywhere. All that included for $999 is an awesome deal, especially considering I saw this exact laptop on other sites for $1300 and that is without a warranty, sales tax or shipping. 🙂

Sarah and I are going to Charlottesville, Virginia next weekend for a mini vacation before she starts her full-time job at Capital One. For the first 3 months, she can not take time off without making it up so we are trying to get in something before that happens. Also, going to Chicago at the end of July, but that is technically only a weekend trip, so except for a couple hours, we don’t need to take any time off.

Journal Entry 272 – Higher Reps

Workouts:

Bench is still hanging in the 200’s for between 5-8 reps. I seem to be stronger at the end of the week for whatever reason so I may move this workout to that day. Weighted chinups are also still sitting at the same with 30lbs for 6-10 reps. My lighter days though have all been progressing in strength. I like to keep the reps around 12-15 for these movements. I have also been using much higher reps with arms instead of the heavier reps I have done in the past. That being said I still like this split a lot and have stuck to it longer than almost any workout I can remember. 3 moves a day for 3 sets. Done.

As for cardio, I did 2 sessions this week on Tuesday and Thursday. I also played tennis yesterday and will play again today. I’m also getting pretty tan playing tennis every week, which is an added bonus.

Eating:

Macros this week are 133 / 260 (48) / 66 – Protein /Carbs (Fiber) / Fat and Calories at 2100. I must admit though, that these numbers are what was tracked and I probably ate much more than this amount. Nothing exciting with dieting though. I have decided to stop eating all pork/pig products. Not that I really ate that much before. After seeing some documentaries and realizing that pigs have very similar qualities to humans, I feel really bad what this industry as turned into. It’s disgusting and it doesn’t need to be that way. I’m also cutting back on the red meat too, but I still eat dairy and will continue to eat poultry. Another nasty industry, but I just can’t see myself realistically not eating anything, but fish. Especially with all the nasty toxins fish can hold. Not saying I’m turning into a vegetarian, but the livestock industry is disgusting and cruel to top it off. I’m by no means turning into an organic hippie, but some of this stuff just comes from a natural human emotion of caring for other creatures and I don’t want to be a part of this industry. Especially pigs, because they kind of remind of my dog bandit without hair. 🙂 I mean the Chinese eat dogs and think nothing of it. This s$it needs to stop.

Life:

Really considering a new laptop. My laptop now is still good, but it tends to freeze up a lot and is very slow when booting applications. It’s also 3.5 year old, so I’m really tempted to buy a new one.

Finished Berserk season 2. Gory show, but really awesome. I was even thinking about buying the video game, but it looks a little repetitive.

Sarah and I had our first premarital counseling session. It was actually interesting in some ways, just to talk about certain aspects of your relationship. We seem to be very close though in almost every way. 😉

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.

Journal Entry 267 – Protein

Last week was way better in terms of working out. I finally felt strong again and got back to where I was before that weird performance decrease took place. I have done cardio everyday this week, except for Wednesday.

For dieting this week, I have changed my breakfast back to protein pudding instead of oatmeal. I usually drink a decent amount of caffeine in the morning before my workouts and have increased the size of protein pudding to about 40grams worth. I actually think this has made a tremendous difference in terms of working out. I really feel stronger with this breakfast vs doing the exact same thing with oatmeal. I think the carbs preworkout may not be the best thing for me, so I will just eat them later in the day.

It kind of got me thinking though, about my protein intake. It has been on the lower side recently and I wonder if I should bring it back up to a gram per pound at least. I know all the science of protein and it does seems to be on the firing block here recently, but it does have tremendous benefits that can’t be ignored. Especially in terms of body composition, even blood sugar levels, taste, volume of food at meals, very high TEF, and never being stored as fat. A Recent study has found that people were able to lose more body fat and build muscle by jacking up their protein intake to 1.5 grams per pound vs .8

A Recent study has found that people on a very high protein intake were able to lose more body fat and build the same amount of muscle by jacking up their protein intake to 1.5 grams per pound vs eating .8 grams while also eating 500 more calories a day. While it may be true that you only need .8 grams per pound to build muscle, that says nothing about burning fat at the same time. Also, the other two macros are way more likely to be stored as fat, especially in a surplus, so take what you hear with a grain of salt.

 

Journal Entry 266 – Strength Plateau / Carbs / Random …

This marks my 5th week at my current split. Last week started horribly in terms of lifting. Everything felt heavy as h@ll and I didn’t even want to go to the gym. I tried to go lower carb last week with higher fats and let’s just say that didn’t work out too well. Towards the end of the week, my strength was much better, but that is mainly because I started to slam carbs again. Also, the pork rinds experiment was kind of a fail, because they taste horrible. 😦

So, I decided to start eating carbs every meal and increased my calories. My weight has been a rock at 181lbs. I’ve eaten around 2400 calories every day this week with well over 200 grams of carbs a day. Fat has also been higher at about 70 grams and protein has been between 120-145 grams. I really want to start throwing up some heavier weight though. I’m tired of getting stuck on the same weights and the only way I see this is going to happen it to keeping bumping up my calories and carbs til I find every day in the gym see’s some type of progressive overload. I honestly think it is possible to see this if you are eating enough.

I have noticed some interesting benefits recently though. I can put down a serious amount of food and wake up looking pretty good. I used to diet super “clean” all the time and every time I had a cheat meal with too much “carbs, fats and sodium” I would look like bloated mess for maybe up to 2-3 days. And then I would then go back to the low-calorie diet and the cycle would repeat. I can only attribute this to higher testosterone. Carbs and fats increase testosterone and protein decreases it in a dose-dependent fashion. I like protein, but there really is no benefits to overeating it, when all you likely need is more carbs.

Random Reading:

https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=157454583

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/gain-35lbs-in-6-weeks-naturally

If those aren’t interesting reads, then I don’t know what is. 😉 My goal in the not too distant future is to bench 225x 8 reps for 3 sets. I really want to hit this as soon as possible. Also, ran into an old friend yesterday who is probably 200lbs and under 10% bodyfat. He was one arm shoulder pressing 80lb dumbbells and benching 380lbs. Yeah holy sh!t. Made me feel like a weakling. I need to step my game up. 🙂

Journal Entry 265 – Challenge Update / Pork Rinds

I missed my post last week because Sarah and I went to Greensboro NC so that we could visit her family. We also had to pick out some wedding cake and get a few things straight. I missed my training signup at Gold’s last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That means I’m already 4 points down just from missing signing up. I’ve been monitoring the signup names and there is only one other person that has been as consistent as me in signing up. He did miss yesterday though. So I can still win as long as he drops zero weight and I can manipulate the scale by at least 5 pounds. Monday morning I will get up and clock 5 miles or so, just to sweat out a bunch of weight. I will then eat a super light breakfast and probably go the gym early so that I can weigh in before really eating much of anything.

 

I’ve been doing some more reading on the benefits of glycine. Which if taken regularly can have TREMENDOUS benefits: Dr. Axe – Glycine Benefits and Valtsus Blogspot. Turns out pork rinds are one of the best sources of this critical amino acid. For optimal benefits, you want to have 10-13 grams a day. Pork rinds have 12 grams per 3.5oz. They also have zero carbs, 5 grams of fat with a mix of mono and saturated fat and 7 grams of protein per serving of 1/2 an ounce. A perfect food for a higher fat and lower carb diet. It also has decent sodium, which is really important on lower carb diets to prevent flushing electrolytes out of your system and really feeling like crap. The only thing about the protein is it does not have essential amino acids in it. This isn’t a huge deal though, because this protein spares the essential protein and taking in more of this protein and less “essential amino acids” has been shown to have better anabolic potential anyway. Glycine is also extremely anti-inflammatory and if there are negatives to eating a bunch of muscle meat, glycine seems to balance this out. Something tells me switching to pork rinds over popchips for lunch may have some interesting benefits. 😉

My workout split is still exactly the same and the goal is just to keep increasing in strength.