Journal Entry 311 – Putting In Work

Training:

Had a really good week in the gym. I did a 5 day Push/Pull/Legs/Push/Pull workout setup with cardio on the weekend. Hit my heavy bench press and heavy rows early in the week and finished the week with higher volume and lighter moves. Not sure why, but I was really feeling EZ bar skullcrushers and curls. I got a tremendous pump towards the end of my workout from those.

Overall my strength is still slowly increasing. At this point, I really just want to be consistent with my workouts. It feels like the more I go to the gym the stronger I get, especially with back.

I also did some cardio twice this week of around 30-40 minutes.

Diet:

I have been going pretty low carb recently with good results. My weight was at 185.6lbs at a high early this week (not sure how as this is high for me) and is now around 182.2lbs. I have noticed though that I do look leaner at a heavier weight, which is always a good sign in terms of body composition.

My diet is pretty simple during the week. I have two protein shakes during the day with one being mid-morning and the other in the afternoon when I get back from the gym. I also have some Our Little Rebellion Protein Chips almost every day. This gives me a ton of protein and not a ton of calories. At night I then usually eat a pretty large meal, which is usually low carb, but not always. I then finish the night with another protein shake with berries in it. I really enjoy that protein shake. It tastes better than ice cream to me.

So the above has very consistent elements, but dinner also allows me a lot of flexibility. I can pretty much eat whatever I’m feeling at dinner. It’s almost always a healthy meal, but not always. Eating like this I don’t really feel the need for cheat days, because I can eat whatever I want every day at dinner. I’m pretty busy during the day at work, so I really don’t like messing with meal prep anymore. I enjoy undereating during the day so I can eat a big dinner when I can sit down to enjoy it.

This may seem like common sense, but the more I workout the better I look. Even when I eat healthy and don’t workout I don’t look nearly as good as I do when I do some sort of exercise every day. To me it’s pretty noticeable. It also benefits my mental health and allows me to eat more food as well.

Life:

I had a company function at place called the Circuit Bar in Richmond, Virginia. Very fun place and it had tons of old games and a ton of craft beer that was self-serve. I got the high score in Skee-ball with 320. Also, played some Tekken 3 and Madden. Sarah and I then went out to a place called Dont Look Back after with some friends and played some pool. I was out from 4-12 PM yesterday and worked from 9-2 PM. Busy day, but fun. Only thing that sucks is I really only have one day off of free time to relax.

I watched the NBA finals this year, which is something I almost never do. Not a huge basketball fan anymore, since Kobe Bryant retired. He was always my favorite player. That being said Lebron James is a beast. He carried a very mediocre team to the Finals. I almost felt bad for him.  His team was so bad, he almost had no chance of winning against Golden State. Also, not a big Golden State fan. Draymond Greene is probably the most annoying player I have ever seen and his talent is way smaller than his ego. He is just along for the ride, while Steph Curry and Kevin Durant carry the team. Klay Thompson is also one of the most consistent shooters I have ever seen. I think he gets overshadowed by Curry and Durant and probably by Greene, but only because Greene is an obnoxious loudmouth. Not surprised by the outcome of the NBA Finals, but the Playoffs were enjoyable to watch.

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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. ūüėČ 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 302 – Balance

So I spent about one week on the carnivore diet. It was great at first and not great towards the latter end of the week. I really started to crave any type of sweets and there is no way I could ever do it long term. My calories were higher than normal and my fat intake was well over 100 grams a day. I wanted to keep it high on purpose to see if I noticed any additional benefit in terms of lifting or cardio. I did not.

The savory test of eggs and beef were great at first. After about 4 days, I wanted to eat anything but those foods. Cooking these foods also became a chore. Another huge negative to this diet was food volume or should I say the lack of it. When you cook a very large serving of 12oz of beef (90/10) it loses about 4-5oz in the cooking process. So you have about 600 calories worth of beef and it’s a pretty small serving of food. I was actually always hungry after my meals and these meals were both high in protein and fat. I really missed the large volume in my meals and felt pretty restricted.¬† If you added anything on top of these meals such as guacamole¬†or cheese or extra meat, your meal was easily close to 1000 calories and still very unsatisfying.

As excited I was to initially try it, my excitement was even higher to end it. It was worth a shot, but I think a diet consisting of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, some saturated fat, fish oil) is still the way to go and keeps cravings at bay and energy high. Deep down I knew this anyway but it was worth a shot.

My apartment gym’s dumbells only went up to about 50lbs until a week ago. They bought 2 100lb dumbbells and 2 70lb dumbbells, which allows me to do a lot more in the gym. Due to my failed diet experiment that was very unbalanced, I wanted to make the perfectly balanced workout routine. I’m going to do 3 full body workouts and 3 cardio workouts with one day off.¬† Keep it simple :).

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 299 – David Goggins / Star Wars

Routine and David Goggins

I listened to a Joe Rogan podcast earlier this week and was really inspired by a guest named David Goggins he had on the show. David Goggins was a navy seal that grew up with a really hard childhood and slowly but surely made something of himself through the military. He then became and an ultra-endurance¬†athlete to respect the memory of his fallen comrades in battle. His psyche is really incredible and it was a very enjoyable 2 hours listening to him. He’s one of the most motivating people I have ever heard. One of his most amazing accomplishments is losing 100lbs in 2 months before he joined the military so that he could enlist due to their height and weight requirements. Not many people can say they have done that.

Anyway, he inspired me to take reevaluate my own routine. I have decided to run at least 3-5 miles a day 5 days a week and do a minimum of 200 pushups every day. I also want to spend at least 5 minutes a day stretching as he recommends this highly for health and stress relief. Due to my schedule, it can be tough to get into the gym and do cardio on Friday and Saturday, so I decided I will make these my heavy lifting days. So basically only lifting heavy 2 days a week for the time being.

Star Wars

I have also been really into Star Wars recently for some reason. I have watched movies 2-6 and will probably finish The Force Awakens today. I really enjoy some of the philosophy¬†behind it and it’s a pretty powerful story. It definitely¬†has some goofy elements that I’m not a huge fan of, but still.

My favorite character by far is Anakin Skywalker. He had way more power than any other character and I really enjoyed his story. Darth Vader is an awesome character, but it does suck how Anakin was literally half dead when he put the suit on. Darth Vader’s suit was a walking life support system. I guess it shows how powerful of a character he really is if he was basically dead but still ruled the entire galaxy!

Favorite movie was Revenge of the Sith. Let’s face it, that lightsaber battle was amazing and powerful between two friends. I also liked how the two had the exact same fighting style, which makes perfect sense because Obi-Wan taught Anakin for 20 years.

Runner-up Favorite Characters were Luke Skywalker, Padme and Kylo Ren.

The most overrated character was Yoda. Yoda was a troll. He was supposed to be this all knowing creature, but couldn’t sense that Chancellor Palpatine (who was the leader of the Galactic Senate for two decades) was the emperor. The emperor was the most evil character by far and “reeked” of the dark side / negative energy. How the hell did he not “sense” that through the force.¬†Also, the lame/strict Jedi rules eventually led Anakin down the path of the dark side, which ruined his life and the lives of the entire Jedi Order and many other countless individuals who were killed by the Empire. He was also mean as hell to Luke when they first met. He told him he was “too old to train.” Yoda knew about Luke since he was born. Why didn’t you seek him out sooner to train rather than waiting 20 years?¬†Yoda also acted like a goofy old man. I mean he wasn’t all bad because he did teach Luke, but like I said VERY OVERRATED.

As a final note, the Sith Code is better than the Jedi Code. Just saying. ūüėČ

Journal Entry 294 – Getting Organized

Missed last week’s blog post because I went to Chicago with Sarah to see my niece. She cried a lot when she first saw me haha. Sarah didn’t have better luck though. Abby is very attached to her mom at the moment, but I’m sure the next time I see here that will be a little different. I also realized when I was holding her, that I have zero experience¬†with children. I mean I have been around infants before, but never taking care of them. I held Abby and fed her a couple times, but I let Rebecca do most of the work haha. She has way more experience than I do. The rest of the trip was pretty relaxed for the most part. My brother cooked a lot of food and we didn’t go out much except to the gym.

I have really been in a rut with Gold’s¬†Gym recently.¬† It has been beyond packed no matter what time you go. I also feel like I have been rushing my workouts since I go on my lunch break and haven’t really been engaged in my workouts recently. My strength is good, but the enjoyment is not. I’ve decided to try and cut out Gold’s for a couple of weeks and see what happens. The only thing I’m worried about is losing bench press strength because I do not have access to a heavy bench anywhere else.

I decided to workout Sunday through Thursday and take Friday and Saturday off.

  • Weekend
  • Sunday – Push – High Reps
  • Monday – Pull – High Reps
  • Tuesday – Cardio
  • Workweek
  • Wednesday – Push – High Reps
  • Thursday – Pull – High Reps
  • Friday – Off
  • Saturday – Off

The only other variation I may make is to change to 3 full body days and 2 cardio days, but the schedule would look largely the same. This routine is challenging though as I’m taking almost every set to failure. This is pretty easy to do with high reps without burning out. I feel good after my workouts and my pump is so intense it almost hurts. That being said I’m not overly sore after my workouts. To me, this is an enjoyable form of training¬†though because it is so different than what I was doing before. I’m not rushed with these workouts because I’m not “on the clock” like I was with the other ones.

As for diet, I’m sticking with the high protein / low-mod carb / low-mod fat diet. This is by far the easiest way to control calories, look the best, feel the best and control my cravings. I can pretty much eat whatever on this plan within reason since it allows for both carbs and fats instead of going high carb -low fat vs keto. For example, if I want pizza or wings for dinner then I simply eat high protein, low fat, low carb all day and then eat whatever for dinner. This automatically balances out macros. I really don’t have a calorie goal at the moment. I’m just kind of eating based on what I feel like I need. Some days are much higher than others and that tends to be what works best for me. Also, some days can be way higher in carbs or fats, but the theme is that protein is there.

  • Go-To meals at the moment:
    • Protein Pudding (Long time stable)
      • 55 grams of Elite XT (Mix with small amount of cashew milk)
      • 1/3 cup of berries on top
      • 1/3 TBS of peanut butter on side
    • Asian
      • 4-5oz of Tyson grilled chicken strips
      • 1/2 bag of broccoli
      • 1 Crab rangoon
      • 1 egg roll (Optional)
      • Teriyaki Sauce
    • Eggs (Usually bring this to work)
      • 12 hardboiled eggs (1 yolk, 11 whites)
      • 1 bag of Brussel sprouts
      • 2 Tbs of Bolthouse Ranch
    • Greens
      • 1 bag of Broccoli or Brussel Sprouts
        • Heat up twice as long as recommended. All the water comes out and tastes like its roasted
        • Some type of sauce
    • Berry Milk (Dessert)
      • 1 cup of Cashew Milk
      • Handful of frozen berries
      • 2 Splenda
      • 1 serving of fat/free sugar/free jello mix (Aldi Brand)
      • 2 Tbs of Cocoa powder
    • Lazy Meal
      • 1 can of beef soup (lower calorie brand)
      • 1 can of green beans
      • 1/2 can of white potatoes
      • Mix together
    • Snacks
      • Jerky
      • Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps
      • Pretzel sticks
      • Rice Cakes
      • Mixed Nuts (At work)
      • M & M’s plain
      • Apples
    • Eating Out
      • Chipotle (highly customizable)
      • Mezeh
      • Which Wich
      • Kickback Jacks

This basically sums up my diet at the moment. I usually have a really big cheat day on Sunday in which my weight always spikes. It’s usually pancakes for breakfast, a healthier lunch and a feast at dinner at my parent’s house. I had to eat at least 200 grams of carbs worth of pita bread alone. I also dipped this in a ton of Tzataki sauce. I do feel bloated the next day, but the weight drops off very quickly when I resume my routine.

Journal Entry 289 – Return of Cardio / The End of McAdoo

I decided to take on a December Dedication challenge. This idea was from listening to one of Joe Rogan’s podcasts after he overdid it on his vacation with too much food and drinking. His rules were different than mine, but the idea was great nevertheless. My rules are as follows:

  • Do cardio 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes
  • Eat out only twice a week (max)
  • Cut about 5lbs of fat and decrease waist size
  • Eat at least 5 servings of produce a day (easy for me)

So far it has been great. My diet is as 1500 calories max for 4 to maybe 5 days a week and 2500 calories 2-3 days a week. Based on my maintenance of anywhere from 2500-2700 calories, this is anywhere from 1 lb to 1.5lbs a week of fat loss. I’m trying to take off most of this fat before the Holidays.

I have actually missed cardio. Some days it wasn’t great during the cardio, but after I feel so good and energized. I also sleep very well. My anxiety always decreases as well. The only two days I don’t do cardio is Friday and Saturday due to my schedule. 9AM – 8PM doesn’t allow much time for cardio, so I simply take some rest on those days and just lift on my lunch break instead.

My lifting routine is back to 4 days a week with a Push / Pull setup. Three exercises each day with very little isolation moves. Back to do doing 6-8 reps range and loving it. Don’t need a lot of carbs to power through these.

As for the composition of my diet, its back to a much higher protein diet very similar¬†to the way I ate in the past. It’s the best way to control calories and to be sure you’re not losing muscle on a cut. Carbs are lower, but still there and fat is low. I’m technically only dieting 4-5 days a week and taking a break on two of those. I have seen some nice visual progress already this week.

The eating out part is to break some bad habits. Not that I’m eating out at very bad places, their pretty healthy, but you have no idea how many calories these meals actually have. Your at best just estimating what’s there. Also, it saves a lot of money to reduce eating out a couple times a week.

The Giants finally fired Ben “fat a**” McAdoo and Jerry Reese their GM. I couldn’t agree more since they ruined Eli Manning’s 210 consecutive¬†start streak for a meaningless game that meant nothing to our team. What a fn joke. I don’t want to rant here because it would be a very long post, but seeing these guys fired was like Christmas morning. Reese needed to go as well. He doesn’t know how to build a team and has drafted very poorly for the last few years, save for a few.