bodybuilding

Journal Entry 287 – My Birthday & FST-7

I missed my post last week due to my 27th birthday. Sarah took the day off and we hung out and ate a lot of food. I ended up taking a rest day from the gym and we went to Whole Foods for lunch. We split a plate of food from their food bar, which cost about $15 a plate. Good thing we shared. I tried mochi for the first time, which apparently is Japanese ice cream and it did not disappoint. It tasted like a doughnut hole with ice cream in it. After Whole Foods, we went to Vitamin Shoppe and got some Birthday Cake Quest Bars and a Pumpkin Pie Halo Top. Both were as good as they sound. My parents came over after work (this was last Tuesday) and we all drove to Stellas in Richmond. It’s a very authentic Greek place that is pricey, but worth the money. I was so stuffed at the end of the meal, all I wanted to do was lay down ;). We had hummus, tzataki, pita bread, homemade bread, tiropita (one of the best foods ever made), a greek platter, baklava and coffee to end the meal. I ate so much, I think I’m still working off that fat gain haha.

I recently decided on a more organized workout routine. I stumbled upon FST -7 after watching some random documentary on Netflix. It’s a very high volume “Bro Split” that apparently many bodybuilders use to increase their size. The main focus is staying in the hypertrophy range with a mix of compound and isolation movements. The goal is to stretch the fascia tissue of the muscle, which can lead to more growth. So far I have done the Chest and Back workouts and I have been very sore afterward. I took about 4-5 days off before my first serious lifting workout because I wanted to change what I was doing in the gym. Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I wanted to be fresh when I finally figured it out. These workouts are actually fast enough to complete on my break. This is mainly because your only working one major muscle a day. This is far from a strength program, so I’m interested to see what happens to my current 210lb bench if I lay off of it for awhile. I also plan to do about 30-40 minutes of cardio on my 3 rest days. I haven’t done a bro split in a while, but I think I’m really going to enjoy it as I have in the past. May not be “optimal” but doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, I have stated in my previous article The Bro Split.

Sample Workout:

Chest

  • BB bench press 3×8-12 (normal rest)
  • Machine Flys 3×8-12
  • Incline DB Press 3×8-12
  • Cable Flys 7×12 reps (30 seconds rest)

Current Schedule:

  • Sun – Cardio
  • Mon – Shoulders / Abs
  • Tues- Cardio
  • Wed – Arms
  • Thurs- Cardio
  • Fri – Chest
  • Sat – Back/Traps

My diet has been pretty high protein and low carb following my birthday. My energy has not been fantastic on it, but I was mainly trying to cut some of the bloat, which is basically gone. I plan to move back to a balanced diet to get through these workouts. Trust me if you don’t eat enough going to into these workouts, your intensity will die out somewhere between the end of the second and the beginning of the third exercise. The volume is way higher than I’m used too and the food is needed to not only get through the workout but to recover. It’s a shame I didn’t do one of these workouts on my birthday ;).

Other Life Stuff:

The Hokies really don’t look great right now. We won on Saturday, but it was not very impressive. Our offense looks very stagnant and predictable. I also have a coworker who is an extreme UVA fan, so I really want the Hokies to dominate them when they play on Friday.

The Giants finally won! It wasn’t a very high scoring game, but the game was actually more entertaining than the score would lead you to believe. Eli led the team to a win in OT. I really hate McAdoo, but he seemed to show a lot of emotion in this one and I’m sure it felt good for him to beat a good team.

I start my Taltz injections today. I really can’t wait. After reading some reviews, the medicine seems to work pretty quickly for the vast majority of people. The only time it doesn’t seem to work is if they have a long history of using other injection type of drugs. It would be really nice to have clear skin again and get rid of this nasty problem.

 

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Journal Entry 286

Been sticking with the upper body workout every day.  I like it so far and I actually gained 4 reps on my bench press. I’m at 210lbs for 3 sets of 7, 6, 5 reps. Chins are roughly 50lbs for 6, 5, 4 reps. The rest of my moves are anywhere from 3-4 sets for 10-12 reps at the moment. Light enough to get good form, but heavy enough to really feel the muscle working instead of just going through the motions.

I seemed to be getting more psoriasis flares a few days ago and I have cut a lot of carbs since then. It has had a pretty dramatic short-term effect on my flaring. I read a blog where a lady ate nothing but steak for a month and her psoriasis drastically decreased. I seem to be experiencing something similar. This skin disease is really starting to drive me nuts. I would try anything I can do reduce its symptoms until my medicine arrives.

My meals recently have basically been meat, green veggies and some sauce. I still eat my protein pudding with some low sugar fruit. My goal at the moment is just to keep carbs lower and monitor my skin’s progress. I’m keeping the protein and fat higher to support my workouts.

The Giants have once again eclipsed rock bottom. I really hate the current head coach (Ben McAdoo) and cannot wait until he gets fired as he greatly deserves to be. He even said he doesn’t care about Eli Manning’s current starting streak of around 208 consecutive starts and would consider benching him to win a game. First of all benching Eli is NOT going to help us win a game and no rational human being would think that. Second, you basically just slapped a seasoned veteran across the face by demeaning a very impressive string of starting games. Stop pointing fingers at everyone but yourself and get the hell off my team. Sorry for the rant ;).

 

Journal Entry 285 – Sarah’s Birthday

Workout wise has been a continuation of the winging it high volume approach. As long as I don’t go too heavy it’s been easy to recover from. It’s also been very fun so far.

My diet has only one rule at the moment and that is to hit at least 2200 calories a day and no more than 2600 calories. (I’m currently not doing any formal cardio, expect normal walking around and going to the gym.) I also try to eat the bulk of my calories at night. Other than that it doesn’t have any rules. Honestly, still eating plenty of carbs, but my psoriasis hasn’t been flaring too bad. The biggest factor it seems with psoriasis is when I get hot. No bueno.

Sarah had her 25th birthday this week! I made her some pancakes before I went to work then took off half a day. We hung out the rest of the day and went to Sushi for dinner. I admit I wasn’t a huge sushi fan, but never really gave it a fair chance. It was awesome and may have to get it more often. I ordered sum yum yum sauce on the side and it was a game changer. We went to Publix after and Sarah got carrot cake for dessert and I got some chocolate chip cookie cake. It did not disappoint.

 

Journal Entry 280 – Bachelor Party

Life

So today marks the end of my 5-day mini-vacation. I took off Friday and Saturday and my weekend was Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. My Bachelor Party was this weekend in Virginia Beach and it was awesome. It was honestly the most fun I have had in a long time. I saw some of my close friends that I have not seen in awhile and the whole thing flew by. I had a rough day on Sunday, but it was well worth it.  We did drink a lot and often. I wish looking back I didn’t drink during the day on Saturday and just waited til night time. Mainly from a recovery standpoint. Other than that the beach was fun, the food was good, the laughs were numerous and memories were made. Virginia Tech also dominated 65-17 in football.

The one negative thing was that I noticed when I got back my rash flared really bad in certain areas after really good improvement before. I didn’t use any of my supplements and it showed. I started pounding my apple cider vinegar and baking soda mix 3 times a day and it’s already much better. I’m sure much healthier eating and not drinking is helping a lot. Keeping my calories up though, because drinking can lower testosterone levels pretty good and lots of food helps bring your hormones back up. It also lowers nutrients and electrolytes a lot as well. I bought some lotions from Vitamin Shoppe for both my rash and psoriasis. Its too early to tell now, but I feel like they are doing a good job in helping clear me up.

As for the Giants, Ben McAdoo is a fat troll and needs to get fired. He’s ruining my team and the end of my favorite player’s career (Eli Manning), by calling horrible plays with the players we have, ignoring the god-awful offensive line as a problem and blaming everyone but himself. I could go on all day about everything I hate about this guy, but he can’t go soon enough.

Workout

I’m doing a shift in my workout. I still plan to bench and do chin-ups heavy twice a week, but I’m doing upper body every day. The first move will be 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Everything else will be 3 sets of 12-15 reps of whatever move I want. This is a welcome change for me as I have done the same workout for several months.

I’m going to keep cardio to a minimum so that it doesn’t interfere with my lifts.

Diet

In accordance with lifting every day, I’m going to shoot for about 2500 calories a day. It will be balanced macros with adequate protein, carbs, and fat.

Journal Entry 276 – 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 275 – 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.