Journal Entry 277 – Shift Change

Life:

The first week on the new shift. Hasn’t been too bad except for being wired at 12 am when I get off. I drive home and then it takes me a good hour to go to sleep, so not really falling asleep til 1:30 am. I try to get up at around 7:30-8, so been getting around 6 hours of sleep per day. I’ve been a little sluggish in the morning since I’m used to 8 hours, but nothing too bad. Coffee usually wakes me up pretty good. It was also strange going to work on Saturday, but honestly wasn’t bad at all. Our team gets along really well, so it makes the time go by pretty quick.

I traded in my laptop at Costco, for one that looks a lot better in my opinion. Its very similar in stats to the other one but is lighter, better battery and is 2 in 1 touch screen.

I also went through my closet last weekend and cleaned out everything I don’t wear anymore. I’m a minimalist, so this was a very satisfying thing to do. I ended up with 3 bags of Goodwill clothes and I honestly think I came away with more clothes. I rediscovered old clothes that I can still wear but just have forgotten about because they were hidden behind clothes I didn’t wear. I really didn’t think I had 3 bags of clothes to throw away, but I did.

On a random note, Denis Shapovalov an 18-year-old Canadian tennis player, beat my boy Nadal in a match pretty handily.  After seeing the highlights, he looks like he could make a lot of noise soon. He has very impressive power for someone that skinny. He seems to be very likeable though, so interested to see what he does in the future.

Food:

I tried a burrito bowl from Kroger and it was average at best. 6 out of 10. The rice was good, but the beans tasted like they were straight out of the can. Chicken was super dry and the rest of the toppings were decent, but there wasn’t enough flavor. Their guacamole was very good, but it couldn’t save it.

Went back to Mellow Mushroom for the first time in awhile and it did not disappoint. Half bbq chicken, half chicken and veggies. I literally think I could go there and order nothing, but crust though and it would an amazing meal. 😉

I’ve been loosely tracking macros and have averaged around 2100 calories. Been eating twice the amount of carbs as protein and fat is always in the moderate range.

Workouts:

Slowly gaining strength, but lifts are still about the same as they have been. Only did cardio twice this week and played tennis once.

 

 

Journal Entry 276 – Chicago

Life:

Last week Sarah and I went to Chicago to visit my brother Justin and his wife Rebecca. We haven’t been up there since he moved, so we wanted to visit his new house. Awesome city though. I have been to a few big cities and Chicago is one of the cleanest I’ve seen. It has about 3 million people living directly in the city and a lot more on the outskirts. Much less than New York, but way nicer and more affordable. Lake Michigan was Bahama water blue and basically looked like a beach. If this “lake” was in Europe it would be called a sea. It was a massive body of water. There was also a river cutting through the city, which is actually disconnected from the sea due to keeping the lake clean from the river’s toxins. That being said the river looks very nice cutting through the city.We ended up going on a boat tour through the river and a bus tour through the city. Both were nice, but I liked the boat tour better as we didn’t have to weave through traffic. The last day we went to Wrigleyville and saw Wrigley field. Cool town even though I’m not a huge baseball fan.

I recently got a promotion to shift lead, so my schedule is no longer 9-6 Monday through Friday. It is now 1pm-12am Wednesday through Thursday and 9am-8pm Friday and Saturday. I’m looking forward to it though as the job comes with more money and more responsibility.

Food:

Chicago’s eats didn’t disappoint. The first thing I wanted to get there was deep dish pizza. It took about an hour to get, but it was awesome. Reminded me of pizza, lasagne, and pie mixed together. We got cookie dough ice cream, burgers and fries from a place called Shake Shack, carrot cake from Mandy B’s and biscuits from Crosby’s. I was convinced I just didn’t like biscuits, but these were life changing. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Really good. Mandy B’s was a dessert place that pretty much served everything. Sarah is the one that loves sweet’s, so I told her to get whatever she wanted and I would share it with her. It didn’t disappoint.

For my normal diet, I have started to add in some kefir to my diet. After doing research on it, I think it can really help clear up my psoriasis. One of the most potent probiotics on earth, mainly because it has 15-20 billion probiotics per cup and since it’s also a prebiotic, the probiotics don’t get destroyed in your stomach, before they actually reach your intestines. This is supposed to fix a lot of issues with digestive enzymes, leaky gut, skin issues, bloating, energy and mental health. Looking forward to seeing the benefits. My plan is to pound it pretty hard the first month or so and then back off to maintenance dosages.

Macro wise has been much higher in carbs, moderate in fat and somewhat lowish protein for me 90 to 120 grams.

Workouts:

My chin-ups have finally progressed up past 3 sets of 8 reps with 30lbs to 3 sets of 12 reps with 30lbs. My accessories have also increased.

My bench press is sadly still the same, but still feels good when I’m doing it. My dips, however, are way up at almost 3 sets of 20 reps. I’m not adding weight to dips, but instead I’m adding a lot of reps. Really good pump from these.

Barely been doing any cardio recently, mainly because my gym has been packed at 7am when I usually go run. Luckily, I dont have to go at the time anymore, so I will probably pick up running 2-3 times a week again.

 

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 271 – Another Week

Another week in the books. We had spirit week at work, which was a lot of fun. Basically, we had 6 teams of 10 people each and had 4 events each day of the week. The team with the most points won. My team lost, but we had a pretty epic tug of war to finish off the events. We basically were at a dead standstill for a good minute to a minute and half of just pulling as hard as you could. The other team was probably twice are size, so it was a pretty epic matchup. My team went 3-2, but lost overall. Still the most fun event by far. Doing weighted chin-ups and biceps beforehand was probably not the best idea, but it really didn’t affect me that much. My biggest problem was my damn shoes that were extremely flat on the bottom so I couldn’t dig in. I don’t have cleats anymore and all of my shoes are “gym training” shoes. If I had a stronger grip with better shoes, I would have been much better off.

This week in training, I was able to increase my INC DB BENCH up to the 75s. I got 70s for 12, 12, 11 so I’m going to bump it up next week. CHINS were about the same and so was BARBELL BENCH. My accessories went up though. I’m also doing LATERAL RAISES  for my main shoulder move and I’m already close to bumping those up to 25’s for 3 sets of 12 reps. It will probably be awhile before I eclipse that mark though. Cardio was done 3 times this week and I will probably stick to tennis and bodyweight exercises this weekend. Not a formal bodyweight workout, but just spread through the day.

Due to time demands with my field day events this week, I started eating apples for breakfast a couple days this week. My energy was nothing short of amazing all day. I think this is due to liver glycogen that my protein pudding does not fill up, but even in the gym, I felt very very good. I basically sliced up 3 small apples, put in a bag, and threw in some Splenda and cinnamon. Very delicious. I also dipped them in some JIF to go peanut butter. It’s also a tremendous amount of volume for the calories it provides.

This week was a little lower in calories at 2000 on average over the week. Macros were 132 protein / 231 carbs / 54 fat / 45 fiber. My weight was down a little this week at 177.5 lbs. Monday I was really busy and underate unintentionally. I wasn’t really hungry the whole day though, so it didn’t really matter to much to me. Friday was kind of similar to Monday, but I ate a huge Chipotle bowl with extra pinto beans since I hadn’t really eaten much the whole day.

Random: Forgot to mention this last week, but Nadal dominated Wawrinka in the French Open in straight sets. BEAST. Also, I’ve been watching Berserk recently. It’s a Dark Anime show that is really really good. I always really liked Japanese style anime shows for whatever reason. I think they just make better shows than we do.

Journal Entry 270 – Short One

Another week in the books.  I had a really good time at the company party but was pretty out of it on Sunday. I also spent a large part of the weekend getting maintenance done on my SUV. What started as a tire alignment and oil change, ended as a new battery and 4 new tires. Still only cost around $600 total for what I had done to it. Not bad at all and I don’t have to worry about those things for awhile. Three of my tires were absolutes garbage. If I had hit a sheet of ice, I would have gone sliding because there was zero tread on my tires. I also learned a useful tip about AWD cars and that is that all four tires need to be the exact same tire or the alignment gets really thrown off. Getting air in your tires every month will also help prolong the life of your tires as well as tire rotations every oil change.

Nothing special in terms of working out this week. Cardio was done a couple times during the week and I played tennis on the weekend. All lifts were about the same this week, expect I was able to bump up DB INC PRESS to 70lbs for 3 sets of 12 reps instead of the 65’s I was using earlier. I also gassed out fast on BB BENCH PRESS and on my third set I got a whopping 3 reps. This was also on Monday, so I was still recovering from the weekend. Diet this week was around 2300 calories on average. Carbs 270 grams / Protein 140 grams / Fat 70 grams.

Journal Entry 268 – Beach Trip And Feeling Good In The Gym

I missed my post last week due to a beach trip with Sarah’s family for Memorial day. I was introduced to Bocce ball, which is actually really fun to play on the beach and got some good food at some of South Carolina’s local restaurants. I also got some really nasty sunburn in a few places, which may have actually been sun poising because I’m starting to get these itchy bumps right over where the sunburn is. Today it finally looks tan and not burnt, so it should be going away soon. It was a 6-hour ride from our place, so while fun, it also makes the weekend fly by and before you know it your back at work again.

The gym has been good this week though. I felt really strong yesterday and I have been more or less eating the same way, except for the beach trip last weekend.

Diet more or less every day:

  • Morning Run (only did twice this week though)
  • Coffee
  • Breakfast 11 AM – Protein Pudding with berries and peanut butter
  • Workout 2-3PM
  • Lunch 3 PM – 5 serving bag of Popchips (600 calories) or Bag of Rice Cakes (420 calories)
  • Snack (Throughout the day) 1.5 – 2 Protein Bars
  • Dinner 7:30-8 – Balanced meal that varies daily, usually between 600-1000 calories (Been eating out a lot for this)
  • Dessert – Cashew milk with berries and SF/FF Jello mix and crumble some protein bar in it (Very Good)
  • Calories at the low end is around 2000 calories and high end is 2500 calories during the week. The weekend is almost always higher than 2500 calories.

Still benching 200lbs for about 3 sets of 8 reps, but I expect to bump this up soon. I may mix two different push/pull days and keep one heavy day and one lighter day. On the weekend, I also may add some iso 5×10 work for extra hypertrophy. I eat a lot on the weekends and want to take advantage of the extra calories instead of only doing cardio.

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 261 – Fullbody Again

Workout:

  • Saturday – 20 minutes of cardio / Shoulders and traps
  • Sunday – 30 minutes of cardio
  • Monday – 30 minutes of cardio / Chest and Tris
  • Tuesday – 30 minutes of cardio / Back and Bis
  • Wednesday – 30 minutes of cardio / Bodyweight exercises
  • Thursday – no cardio / Full body
  • Friday – 30 minutes of cardio / Full Body

Diet

  • Protein Pudding or Oatmeal
  • Popchips
  • Quest Bar
  • Chipotle, Panda Express or something homemade
  • Protein Pudding or Greek Yogurt with protein mixed in

So I think it is time to change a few things up. My workout will be changed to a fullbody approach done every day.  I will have two different workouts (A and B) and rotate these every other day. I plan on taking away all direct shoulder exercises for the time being. After doing some research I think they are a waste of time. They also slow me up in the gym on my lunch break and I have been a little late getting back to work. The main reason is I want a bigger bench and direct shoulder days and exercises just make my bench weaker overall.

Workout A

  • BB bench press 3×6-8 reps
  • Tbar Rows 3×10-12 reps
  • Close grip chin-ups 3xmax
  • Ez skulls 3×10-12

Workout B

  • Chinups 3×6-8 reps
  • Inc DB Press 3×10-12 reps
  • Dips 3xmax
  • EZ curl 3×10-12 reps

These are my two workouts that I will switch between every day. Arms are highly variable and can change daily. The first exercises of each workout will not change and neither will the accessories for the time being.

I do a lot of cardio every week, which is why no heavy legs are being done. Cardio is always done in the morning and lifting in the afternoon.

I’m going to bump up my calories as well to try and get my bench rolling. Progressive overload is the main driver of this workout as well as increased frequency.

Journal Entry 260 – Aldi / Weight Cut

Weekly Routine

Workout:

  • Sunday – Cardio 30 minutes / Abs
  • Monday – Cardio 30 minutes / Chest and Tris
  • Tuesday – Cardio 30 minutes / Back and Bis
  • Wednesday – Cardio 30 minutes / Shoulders and Traps
  • Thursday – No Cardio / Chest and Tris
  • Friday – Cardio 30 minutes / Back and Bis
  • Saturday (Today) – Cardio 20-30 minutes / Shoulders and Traps

Diet: (Calories Low: 16-1800)

  • Protein Pudding with berries and Coffee
  • Popchips 3-4 servings and 1 Quest Bar
  • Ton of veggies, lean meat, low calorie toast
  • Protein Pudding with berries

Last weekend my brother visited and it was a big eating weekend. Restaurant eating and full on buffets at my house. My weight ballooned to 187lbs on Monday morning and I was noticeably bloated/fat looking. I decided to do a mini-cut and take that bloat off. I stayed around 16-1800 calories a day and got down to about 179lbs. In the past, this was my normal intake, but I haven’t gone that low in calories in awhile. Especially 5 days in a row, maybe went that low on occasion. So, took off roughly 8lbs of bloat (mostly water, but some fat). My energy was good all week til Friday, which I felt really run down. Basically felt like I got hit by a train. So got some extra sleep Friday night and feel much better right now. I plan on eating around maintenance today and then will likely cut the following week too. After I assess where I am at the end of next week, I will most likely bump up my calories back to maintenance.

No Pr’s were set this week, but wasn’t really expecting it either. My lifts didn’t go down, though. I got a feeling 195lbs on my bench is going to be a sticking point for me that only big eating will take care of. Really enjoying the cardio, though. I could easily go more than 30 minutes, but I’m really trying to moderate myself so that I don’t burn out and get tired of it. 3o minutes is a sweet spot, where you can get almost of all the benefits with none of the downsides. Also, cardio is done in the morning and my lifting is done in the afternoon, so they don’t interfere with each other.

There is a new Aldi built very close to my apartment. This place is a grocery wonderland. It’s like Costco, but you don’t have to buy in bulk. You can literally stack your grocery cart with food (mainly whole foods) and pay like $50. Seriously, it’s really awesome. Probably cheaper than Walmart and the quality is much better. I can’t get everything I need from there, but all of my whole foods (frozen veggies, fresh veggies, fruit, yogurt, meat) I get from here. Saves a lot of money.