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 253 – The Big Move

Last weekend from about Friday at 3 PM to Sunday 5 PM, Sarah and I moved into a new apartment. If it was just my belongings we would have been done in about half a day ;). But we decided to use the majority of Sarah’s stuff and she had a lot of things that she wanted to bring. I’m very much a minimalist, but not to an extreme. I like to eliminate things or belongings that I feel provide no value to my life. If I feel like something is just in the way, I either give it away or trash it. I convinced Sarah to part with some of her things before we moved. We gave A LOT away to Goodwill and threw away a lot of crap. Nevertheless, it still took the whole weekend to move, but it was worth it. The new place looks very good and has a huge kitchen and bathroom. We got a really good deal on rent and for the area we live in, it doesn’t get much better than what we got.

Luckily after all the chaos that comes with moving and after basically living in two places for the last 6 months, I can finally get some consistency back in my routine. I want this to be a big year for me in terms of progress. My focus will be on lean gaining and really upping my strength and size. I also plan on doing cardio at least 3-4 times a week just stay in shape.

My split will have 2 chest/tri days, 2 back/bi days, 1 shoulders/traps day and 2 days of cardio and some abs. These will likely be longer cardio days. Most days I keep cardio around 30 minutes or so in the morning. My strength has really been going up consistently at the moment and I’m really seeing some size gain improvement all over my upper body. My weight has increased to 182lbs, but I have really increased carbs a lot, so a lot of it is glycogen weight. I have also seen a nice muscular increase in my core. My bodyfat has not decreased, but it’s more or less stationary at the moment.

Diet has been really inconsistent, though, especially last week. Not that it really matters though, because it’s been working for me. My goal at the moment is just to keep protein adequate around 120-200 grams, carbs pretty high at least 200 grams and fat more or less as tag along food of whatever I decide to eat. A prototypical balanced diet. Nothing exciting, but working for me.

 

Journal Entry 243 -Push/Pull

So this was the first week, I finally got back to a normal routine. I’m doing a 4 day Push / Pull split with two heavy benching sessions each day. DB rows are my heavy move for Pull. Here is the routine:

  • Day 1 – Push
    • BB bench 4x 4-6 reps
    • Inc DB Bench 45 degrees 4x 6-8 reps
    • DB Shoulder Press 3×8-10 reps
    • Ez Skull Crushers 3×8-12
  • Day 2 – Pull
    • DB Rows 4×4-6 reps
    • Chinups 4xMAX (with bodyweight)
    • Cable Rows 3×8-10 reps
    • Db Curl 3×10 reps
  • Day 3 – Push
    • BB bench 4x 4-6 reps
    • Inc DB Bench 30 degrees 4x 6-8 reps
    • Dips 3×8-10 reps
    • Ez Skull Crushers 3×8-12
  • Day 4 – Pull
    • Db Rows 4×4-6 reps
    • Netural grip chinups 4xMax with bodyweight
    • Smith Machine Shrugs 3×10
    • EZ curls 3×10

That is it. Very simple on paper, but very demanding in the gym. I also allow myself one move at the end of the workout to do whatever I want. This is usually abs, lateral raises, rear delt raises or flys. It just kind of depends on what I’m feeling. I already got my bench up to 190lbs after stagnating on 185lbs. I really want to increase this a lot over the coming months. I also really enjoy heavy benching twice a week. Once just isn’t enough and more than two is overkill. Its time I moved back into what has been shown to work for gains in strength in size for intermediate lifters like myself. I was also very sore after every one of these workouts. I also do cardio on the other days, which is usually just an easy jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes to an hour. I also run 1-2 miles before each lifting day to fire me up.

I’m moving back to a 9-6 shift Monday through Friday. I’m not sure of the exact days I will do this routine, but it will be done at some point during the week. Either way I will go to the gym everyday. I will more than likely go after work though and battle the crowds. This way I can feast at night and take advantage of nutrient partitioning. I will probably lift 3-4 days during the week and maybe once on the weekend. I actually like running on the weekends, because I can just sit there and watch football while I’m doing it. Makes time go by a lot faster.

Been taking my creatine and I already notice a very positive difference. Food is (and will be) structured during the week with the post I wrote about last week. Dinner will be a very large meal that I will probably buy out. Chipotle will be a main stay and I will probably just buy less groceries to counteract the cost, which is very fairly priced based on the food you get. I will also probably get some steak and cheese subs, which have about 1000 calories and good balanced between carbs, fats and protein. I’ve been eating a lot of Halo Top, which tastes amazing, but its also pretty expensive, so I will probably switch to more normal ice cream.

 

Journal Entry 239 – Bro Split – Calorie Bump

Pretty good week in terms of lifting. Didn’t have any trips this week so it was a rather normal week in terms of eating and lifting. I have been enjoying my bro split a lot in terms of feeling like I have organization and progressive overload back into my routine. I have also been really sore this week all over my muscles. It doesn’t mean everything but it definitely feels good. I do miss the huge pump I would get all over my body with lifting everyday, but doing pushups and pullups in between sets can help remedy this on a bro split. I notice though that even with bro splits, there is a lot of carry over to other muscles so the frequency is much higher than people think. So yes you hit a muscle directly once a week, but there are a lot of carryover to other days that must people don’t realize. Also its a very nice feeling very fresh when its time to lift. With lifting everyday this feeling kind of goes away.

Current Routine:

  • Sunday – OFF or Cardio for 30 minutes
  • Monday – OFF or Cardio for 30 minutes
  • Tuesday – Chest and light Triceps
    • BB Bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps
    • INC 30 deg bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps
    • Dips bodyweight 3 x max reps
    • Flys 3 x 8-10 reps
    • Skullcrushers 3×8-10 reps
    • Cable Crunch – 3 x 8-10 reps
  • Wednesday – OFF or Cardio for 30 minutes
  • Thursday – Back and light biceps
    • DB Row 3 x 6-8 reps
    • Close-grip pulldowns 3×6-8 reps
    • Chinups bodyweight 3xmax reps
    • Hip Extensions (lower back) 3x 10-15 reps
    • Seated Incline Curls 3 x 8-10 reps
    • Cable Crunch 3 x 8 -10 reps
  • Friday – Shoulders and Traps
    • BB Press 3×6-8 reps
    • DB shoulder press 3×8-10 reps
    • Upright Row 3×8-10
    • DB Laterals 3×8-10
    • DB Rear Laterals 3×8-10 reps
    • Weighted Ab Machine 3 x8-10 reps
  • Saturday – Arms (For some reason this is one of harder more sweat inducing workouts)
    • DB Close-Grip Bench Press 3×6-8
    • Alternating DB Curl 3×6-8 reps
    • EZ Skullcrushers 3×8-10 reps
    • EZ Curls 3×8-10 reps
    • Rope Pushdowns 3×12-15 reps
    • Cable Curls 3×12-15 reps
    • Cable Crunch 3×12-15 reps

Very fun routine. No legs at the moment, but trying to divert most of my muscle growth toward the upper body. Also still doing a decent amount of running mainly as a recovery tool and sore a** legs don’t help with this process. Also to be honest, I never thought overly developed legs looked good at all.

Diet is still very unorganized. It contains way more carbs and fats then I have eaten in the past however. Also still backloading most of my calories. Consuming on average over the week 2300 calories 250g carbs / 60-70g fat / 120-180g protein. After reading some more blogs on optimizing testosterone for muscle growth, I may start consuming protein toward the lower range and eat more carbs and fat. I may also replace Quest bars with a Lenny and Larry’s Cookie (taste amazing by the way) to lower protein a bit. I also really like the Combat bars a lot. I have been eating a lot less vegetables here recently and noticed my stomach has been super flat almost all the time. I used to get some pretty bad bloat from veggies. I very rarely get bloated now unless I eat a huge meal and I attribute this to a faster metabolic rate. I must say it is very nice feeling like your body is just using everything you eat for energy. Scale weight is roughly 172-173lbs almost everyday. Occasionally going down to 169lbs and up to 175lbs, but rarely outside of these marks.

 

Journal Entry 238 – Post Wedding / Bro Split

I was at a wedding in South Carolina last weekend and didn’t get a chance to blog. It was an awesome time and the wedding was really fun. I got to experience southern hospitality at its finest. I also ate a lot of food and most of it was junk haha. They actually passed out happy meals as parting gifts after the wedding. I ate my burger and left the fries which were pretty soggy at that point. I “roughly” threw my calories in myFitnesspal and I got about 3000 calories each day I was there. This included decent amounts of alcohol though as well. What’s funny is I got back and didn’t feel super bloated or guilty at all. I’ve been eating more food overall recently then I have in the past, so I attribute this to a faster metabolism.

If I had to guess my body fat is probably around 12-13% at the moment. I have noticed some interesting effects though visually. My muscles are bigger than they have been before, so even though I’m at a higher body fat, I look better visually. Especially my chest, shoulders, upper back and abs. This could be do to just a  higher testosterone level. A girlfriend, more carbs and fats and a higher calorie diet explains this well. I will say my lifting every day experiment may be coming to an end. The main reason is because my lifts are actually down strength wise and I don’t want to let that happen. I’m mainly talking about the 6-8 rep range, but still. I did bench press and could only manage 185x 6,6,4. That’s not very good. This was after a weekend of partying, but my DB rows were also down. I think I need more rest time.

I was also talking to Sarah’s (my girlfriend) uncle and the man is “jacked city”. He had at least 16-17in arms and said this was the smallest he’s been in a long time. He basically said he’s done a 4 day bodybuilder split with one muscle group a day most of his time lifting. At the moment he’s doing two a days, but that’s because he has time. He built most of his size on a 4 day split. It was funny though because I was talking to him at the rehearsal dinner and the wedding and noticed he wasn’t eating much of anything. He was drinking beer but not eating. Then when we got home he had a massive meal of Chickfila nuggets the first night and a huge bowl of chicken and rice the next night. I think he likes doing an  intermittent fasting style of eating.

I decided to modify my routine to get back on this style of lifting. I want to get my strength back up as well as my size. I have written out some plans of what I want to do and I think I have my lifting split down:

  • Chest/Tris
    • Only one move for Tris
  • Back/Bis
    • Only one move for Bis
  • Shoulders/Traps
  • Arms
  • Cardio or Off the other 3 days; Also do 1 mile cardio on each lifting day

As for diet I plan to eat a modified warrior diet style everyday expect Saturday. Saturday I eat at much as I want when I want. The other days though will be two scoops of protein powder with berries during the day and some beef jerky or Costco canned chicken at work. This is roughly 600 calories or so. I may thrown in a Quest bar as well for a grand total of 800 calories. This allows me to hit most of my protein for the day and a huge dinner full of carbs and fat. Not only does this work from a lifestyle standpoint is works well from an enjoyment, appetite control and food prep (or non food prep) standpoint as well. This big meal could be anything I want, either homemade or eaten out. I actually did this this week and had a big Chipotle bowl with all the toppings (Rice, chicken, double beans, veggies, salsa, corn, lettuce and sour cream) twice and a medium pizza from dominoes. Last night I had 4 slices of Mellow Mushroom medium pizza with light ranch and a Guinness. 😉

I wouldn’t exactly call it intermittent fasting, but pretty close. The enjoyment of that last meal sure makes it feel that way though. I will admit though, around 5-7 o clock I start to fantasize about food a little bit and my hunger starts to kick in big time. Luckily I eat soon anyway so it doesn’t really matter. Also I really don’t have a calorie goal each day either. If I had to estimate its probably in the 2000-2500 calorie range everyday with 1-2 days of being closer to 3000. At the moment I really dont care what it is. As long as progress is being made, I’m enjoying the meal plan and getting results.

 

 

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 242 – Making Gains

So this week has probably been my favorite in terms of working out. I run 10-20 minutes a day, which is down from 20-30 minutes but still really enjoying the cardio. After I then lift with upper-body every single day. My workout comes in right around 45 minutes to an hour and I feel awesome after and usually have a really good sweat going.

I have been sticking to 3 sets of 8-12 reps on pretty much everything. I find this to be a sweet spot of not being too heavy to strain the CNS or make you overly sore, but heavy enough to stimulate a pump and muscle growth. I noticed IFBB pros will do a very high volume for each muscle once a week. What is funny is if you look at their average volume then it almost always equates to doing 3 sets of 8-12 reps each day for  6-7 days of week. I would much rather distribute the volume in this fashion vs doing 7 exercises for 21 sets of chest in a single day and being brutally sore after. Protein synthesis is much better with the full body approach for naturals anyway.

I think I struck the jackpot with this approach though. I have been playing around with my workouts for awhile and I can say I honestly enjoyed this week of training far more than anything else I have done recently. My leanness has gone up, I’m way more vascular than before and my shoulders are starting to popout and gain size. It’s also very enjoyable to hit the gym everyday. My appetite has also gone way up. Sometimes I feel like my stomach is a bottomless pit for fuel. I went to bed after work one night and noticed I had this tired/wired feeling going followed by really intense anxiety. This was around 1:30am. Quickly thereafter some ravenous hunger pangs. I got up and fixed some oatmeal. It alleviated my symptoms almost immediately. I realized it had been a very busy day at work and I hadn’t eaten since about 8:30-9pm that night. As soon as I laid down to relax, the stress hormones went away and boom here comes the appetite haha. My calories have been in the 22-2400 range this week, but sometimes that doesnt even feel like enough. Good sign though because my metabolism is obviously going up and my gym work and muscles seem to be sucking most it up. As I ever said before meals that use to fill me up feel like snacks now.

 

 

Calories roughly 22-2400 this week. Carbs around 220 grams / Protein 190 grams / Fat 55 grams approximately. Still relied on a lot of bars this week, but a more organized meal planning schedule is on the way. At least during the week ;). Also my weight is roughly 172lbs on average.

Journal Entry 233 – Moving Up

Well received some really good unexpected news at work last week and I got promoted to a higher position. This position in Monday – Friday 9-6. I will be in training for the next 5 weeks before I start doing the actual job. Really like the company I work for and its a smaller company on the rise. Pretty exciting time to be working for such a place and the benefits are basically amazing. The only thing is that my schedule has changed once again haha.

My plan is to lift 4 days a week now. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Going to do a Legs/Back/Biceps day and Chest/Triceps/Shoulder day. Although shoulders will actually be done on everyday to some degree. So hitting muscles directly twice a week. I ran through two of these workouts already this week and I was in and out of the gym in 45 mins. I’m also doing no cardio and don’t plan on starting either. I’m also subbing out BB shoulder press for INC BB Bench Press for one of my key movements. Mainly because every time I try to do shoulder press its taken in the gym, because my gym only has one.

Strength has been on the rise recently. DB Rows up to 120lbs, Squats up to 245lbs, INC BB Bench around 165 reps and Bench is still sadly around 195 although I may bust that today. Here is a sample layout of my workouts:

  • Main Move – 3 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Compound Move – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Compound Move – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Shoulder Move – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Isolation – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Isolation – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Optional Abs Move – 3 sets of 6-8 reps

Usually do two moves for the big muscles and one for arms.

As for diet I have been eating very similar to the warrior diet here recently and honestly I’m enjoying it. Last week everyday was basically 3 packs of beef jerky (210 calories) coffee with cream and splenda (30 calories) and protein pudding in the afternoon before the gym (200 calories). For a total of 440 calories. I then hit the gym after work and eat around 1000 calories for dinner to hit roughly 1600 calories a day. I also eat a Quest Bar throughout the day. Do this with the right foods and it feels like a straight up feast. I’m doing this now out of convenience and the fact that I like to take time and eat a nice meal. I dont have time to do that during day the and really enjoy it. I’m also using it for flexibility in food choices on some nights since I’m dating someone I really like now. I can eat big meals or unhealthier foods and still fit it into my goals very easily. 1600 is my goal, but sometimes I go lower or higher depending on the day. Last night I hit 2400 calories and I usually hit this amount on the weekend fairly often, which is fine. The previous dinner acts almost a preworkout meal for my bench workout which could use some extra fuel. My weight has hit a low of 166.6lbs this week as well.