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.
Sedona Taphouse – Chicken, salad, veggies white roll
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.
Longhorn Napa Grilled Chicken with broccol
Breakfast – protein pudding with egg whites and sweet potato crackers
Chicken Thighs, broccoli and crab rangoon
Chicken thighs, cabbage and broccoli
Chicken Parmesean from Trader Joes
Half pound of lean red meat, half chicken parmesean, onions and peppers, sweet potato crackers cheese
Costco pizza and salad. Also had some of their chicken bake.
My schedule at work is still in flux so trying to arrange my split is still difficult. I really don’t like going to the gym after work because of the sheer volume of people that all work out then. It makes doing certain exercises that you’re trying to get done very difficult. But after playing around with my split, I can see one of two new setups looking very good.
Sunday – Off
Mon- Push – BB Shoulder main move
Tues- Legs – BB Squats
Thurs- Push – BB Bench
Fri- Pull – DB Rows
Sat – Off
Sunday – Off
Sat – Legs
I like them both a lot. It allows at least one lifting day during the week to help spread things out. I also really like 2 push days and still have a main focus on my four key movements. I would enjoy split 1 the most, but again at the current moment going to the gym at that hour just becomes hugely frustrating. Either way I’m still really liking this setup. I considered doing fullbody this week, but after thinking about it, I’m really trying to stay consistent with my current workouts.
I will say though, every lift seems to be going up except bench press. Yesterday’s workout was terrible. I felt weak and dropped reps on the bench press. These workouts happen, but it only ever seems to happen on bench recently. I smoked squats last week and did 225lbs for 9 8 7 reps. DB rows and BB shoulder press also went up. I’ve just reached the mother of all plateaus on bench and don’t know how to get it moving again. My friend who is also into working out is stuck on 185lbs. He’s bigger in frame than I am, but we have always had similar builds and strength in terms of lifting weights.
My weight and calories were slightly higher this week at 1950 calories and 172lbs weight. This morning was 171.4lbs, but still heavier than I would have liked. My fats are getting too low on certain days. Some days are around 35 grams and that’s just too low even if my average is 50 grams. I may bump that up and see if helps with strength any. I’m still a little disorganized in terms of nutrition and meal prep. Some days I’m on point but others not so much. Social obligations and time are big factors that are throwing me off, but these are excuses that can be overcome. The problem is every time I hit a groove something changes again haha.
This is the meal plan I plan on sticking to most of the time:
2 scoops of Elite XT with berries and Peanut Butter
1/2 bag of broccoli with two chicken burgers or one chicken burger and 3 whole eggs mixed into an omelete
1 and 1/2 protein bars – Usually a quest bar and a pure protein bar
1/2 bag of broccoli, cabbage or onion, 8-10oz of chicken thighs, teriyaki sauce
1 scoop of protein powder or pb2 fit powder before bed (If Hungry)
* – Usually snack on hummus, egg whites and spinach if hungry
Chicken burgers from Costco or Sams are awesome. They taste amazing, have healthy ingredients and very easy to make for lunch. Mixing one with some eggs is a recipe I have heard about, but haven’t tried yet. Sounds awesome though. I also like having a stir-fry for dinner. Just really easy to make, tons of volume and they taste awesome. Chicken thighs have 40 more calories per 4oz then chicken breast, but have more fat and less protein. I want to bump fat up, so this is very easy way to do it without using oil, which I really dont like doing.
This week is slightly different than last as I’m doing Push, Pull, Legs, Shoulders over a 4 day split instead of my normal 3 day. I took half a day off on Wednesday in the morning and was able to go lift before work. I have a new schedule that will likely change my hours from 1pm-12am Sunday – Wednesday. The huge advantage is that I can shift my workouts to the morning when the gym isn’t nearly as packed. Although I have really come to enjoy my split over the weekend, so I may just keep those 4 days in a row as rest days and hit it hard over the weekend, regardless of my shift.
I have really come to enjoy low volume training. Here is my pull workout from this week:
DB Rows – 110lbs (unilateral) for 9 9 7 reps
Chinups (full extension – chest to the bar) 10 8 7 6
DB Rear Flys 20 x 9 8 8
DB Curl (two handed) 35’s x 10 6 6
Cable Woodchoppers (abs) 37.5x 10 9 9
This is a very basic workout, but every exercise had perfect form and the weight was selected to fatigue all of my muscle fibers. I did this after a 1 mile and half warmup on the treadmill. The thing is this workout took me about 30-40 minutes and I had almost nothing left in the tank afterward. It kind of makes you wonder what attracts people to high volume. If you can spend over 1 hour and half in the gym on one-two bodyparts it probably means your not working hard enough. I mean a chest is not a large muscle group and even advanced bodybuilders can hit it hard in 30-40 minutes. Not sure where the obliterate it for 2 hours caught on. Again its like if you can lift with the same muscle group for that long then you probably need to increase the intensity, because at that point you should barely be able to do a pushup not pump out 100 more worthlesss reps on the chest fly machine.
I like the idea of keeping cardio and weights separate. I think some cardio before lifting is beneficial because it warms the body and joints for heavy lifting. A lot of workouts try to make a weight workout into a cardio workout. I dont really know why. Use weights to build muscle with heavy lifting. If your using submaximal weights that you can pump up 100 times then your probably not building muscle and could burn far more calories by doing cardio. I also find workouts very satisfying at the end when I know I’m too tired to do much more. If I was in the gym for 2 hours and still felt like I could do more, I would really start to question what they hell I was doing in the first place. I think the simple answer is your just not lifting intensely enough. I’m also not talking about super heavy weights either, which I dont think are very effective. But heavy enough with 4-10 reps with perfect from on every rep.
In regards to volume though I think it comes down to one major thing: how much you can recover from. If you can smash your body with 2 hour workouts a day and come back stronger the next workout then its working for you. Strength progression is a key indicator whether or not you are recovering from your workouts or not. Obviously if you losing strength then your taking more out of your body then your giving back. This can be handled by doing less volume or eating more food.
I’m a minimalist though and like to keep this as simple as possible. I like the idea of a minimum effective dose.
I have completed two of my four workouts this week and not going to lie my bench workout was no bueno. The weights felt very heavy and I dropped a few reps from last week. My pull workout went very well though and I increased my reps from last week. I weighed in at 168.2lbs at a low weigh in this week, so it may have had something to do with dropping weight. I’m considering doing pull first and push second, so my muscles can soak up some of the higher calories on the weekend. The problem with the first workout of the week is that I’m still somewhat depleted by the weekdays low calorie intake and this negatively impacts my workout.
Diet this week was 1900 calories average – 162 protein / 197g carbs – 50 fiber / 54g of fat
Egg whites and broccoli
This thing is a dangerous haha. Not overly healthy either. Ingredients are basically the same as a regular cookie, but tastes amazing.
This week I took 4 rest days off essentially of no exercise for 4 days in a row, Sunday – Wednesday. The only exercise I got was standing and walking at work. I also played some ping pong at breaks during work and that can actually boost up energy pretty good. The next 3 days (Thursday – Saturday) I will be doing a push, pull, legs and shoulders workout.
My workouts are relatively minimalist style at the moment, but the goal is not to do too much volume that I can recover from. The goal is strength gains with a moderate volume per workout. A big focus on compounds and some isolations thrown in at the end.
My diet is low calorie during the week of between 1200-1600 calories. These are somewhat based on recommendations from Menno in which he stated that rest days should be somewhat around this amount for favorable nutrient partitioning when the focus is on staying lean. Pretty easy to do when you eat the right foods. Also the key when eating this amount is to rest. If you want to do cardio or lift during the week then bump up the calories on that day by 3-500 calories. Same end effect. My protein has been around 120grams, but I plan on increase this and seeing if they have better effect since my calories are lower.
My diet during the 3 day stretch is roughly 1000 calories more than during the week. So since I’m lifting, I eat more. I typically eat the same foods as during the week (protein powder, leaner meats, fruits and vegetables) I just eat more of those foods. One meal or one day a week usually has some junkier food in it. These days feel awesome though. Feels like your feasting, as long as you eat the same foods you usually eat. If you eat junk then 2500 calories feels like a very small amount.
I picked up a couple of reps on my bench press, skull-crushers and lateral raises, but dropped some on my dumbbell incline bench. Got pretty pumped towards the end of it though. I plan on making DB rows my main back move. As long as I dont go super heavy, these feel very good for me. I like these much more than deadlifts and its easier to setup. Chinups will be next. I also plan not to deadlifts because I like squats better and deadlifting too close to squats will royally screw it up.
My weight has hit 168.4 lbs. This is a low weigh-in and the scale has been staying around this amount recently. My goal is to hit around 165lbs (consistently) while keeping or maintaining strength.
Richmond Craft Beer Flight
Mellow Mushroom Small Pizza – Chicken, onion, mushroom with extra sauce and light ranch on the side. Best crust on a pizza I have ever had.
After Menno’s routine gave me a general distaste for lifting, this week was more or less a week off. I really didn’t know what the hell to do and my strength was going down on his routine. The week was also super busy at work and I didn’t have a whole lot of time to lift. Not sure how I stumbled upon it, but I reread the article F*ckarounditis and I’ve never been so happy to read an article. Hands down the best article ever written and it pulled me out of my funk. I mean seriously not only is it hilarious and simplifies everything you need to actually be concerned about.
I’m going back to simple progressive overload with a simple 3 day split. Zero cardio besides natural movement. My goal is to lift 3 days in a row over the weekend and nothing on weekdays. My split will likely be Chest/Tris, Back/Bis, Legs/Shoulders. This was my workout earlier today:
10 minute run
BB Bench 3×4-6reps
INC DB Bench 3×6-8 reps
Lateral Raise 3×10 reps
Skullcrushers 3×10 reps
Moving back to rep goals which is always something I enjoyed. For example, if the exercise says 3×4-6 reps, you pick a weight that falls in that range and you don’t increase until you get 3 sets of 6 reps. Then bump the weight up by 5lbs. Progressive overload and strength is the main goal.
Diet wise I got some helpful tips from Menno and will adopt some of his advice here, but mainly using my own method. I plan to start simplifying my diet and eat more meat. Chicken thighs and red meat being at the top of the list. Also lots of broccoli, spinach and onions to mix with the meat. Also going to slather my food in garlic, which after doing some research is amazing for immunity and staying healthy.
Weekdays will be lower in calories and the weekends higher. This means Sunday – Wednesday will be mainly meat and veggies with under 120g carbs, moderate fat and high protein. I estimate roughly 1200-1600 calories and this is regardless of workout schedule. The weekend will be higher and the macros wont be nearly as important. It’s essentially a 4 day diet over the workweek and 3 days off to eat more and build muscle on the weekend. Since Lyle Mcdonald shows that within 3-4 days leptin tanks and various hormones start to go down and it also takes more than a day of refeeding to bring these hormones back up (probably closer to 2-3 days), I would say 4 low and 3 high would work pretty well for both fat loss and muscle gain. Especially since with my schedule I would be able to fit 3 workouts into the high calorie weekend phase and nothing into the low calorie phase. This makes the plan very organized in terms of nutrient partitioning and balance. Fat and carbs will vary greatly on the weekend. But pizza is definitely on the menu at least one day. So is alcohol ;). Calories will likely be around 2500 calories or so. I dont too much about macros, but I still dont think super high fat is a good idea. It just seems to be overkill at a certain point.
Also the reason I dont plan on doing any cardio besides a warmup before I lift (feel like it makes me stronger and I enjoy it) is because I stand all day for 10 hours. This might not jack up the step count on a fitbit, but compared to sitting all day it burns 3-400 more every day.
As per recommendations from Menno Henselmans, he recommended that based on the initial pictures I sent him, we start with some fat loss. I figured since we start on April 8th, I would go ahead and get started on the fat loss early. I estimate to get down to a low enough body fat range for optimal muscle growth (8-10%) I will likely have to get down to at least 160-165lbs. I weighed in at 170.0 lbs on Wednesday and will hopefully be down to my goal by the start.
The initial pictures I sent him I was around 175lbs. If I cut 5-10lbs of pure fat I should hit my goals. In my opinion there are 3 very important things to hit for fat loss without losing muscle:
Reduce calories (big shocker here)
Eat enough protein and overall glucose (at least .64 grams of protein per pound of LBM) (Lyle Mcdonald states that eating 50g of carbs severely limits the need for the body to break down protein) – Applied to my bodyweight this is roughly 620 calories or 155grams of protein and carbs combined
Maintain strength on heavy lifts in the gym and cut back excess volume
The rest is basically not important enough to worry about. I started this process a couple of weeks ago and have already dropped about 5lbs. I’m sure a max of about 2-3lbs of it is fat, as I’m shooting for 1.5lbs of fat loss per week. I’m going pretty aggressive at the moment though. Trying to average about 1600 calories a week, which is my LBM x 10. I can’t imagine going lower than that would bring about favorable changes. Not going to lie though I usually go lower than that during the week and hit about 1300 calories. This allows me to increase my calories on Friday and Saturday without worrying about going over my average. Been interesting eating this much though. My hunger is not an issue and I’m getting pretty quick results. My waist size/pant size is decreasing and my abs and lower back have increased definition. Also I don’t get bloated nearly as easily. Due to my reduced activity for my job going this low in calories is necessary at the moment. It’s interesting to see the difference between lean and “pretty lean”. I’m always “pretty lean”, but to get very lean requires some diligence and unfortunately some pretty strict calorie cutting. I definitely want to stay this lean though once I reach it. Menno recommends it for optimal muscle growth anyway. He himself stays this low year round, so hoping he can show me how to effortlessly do it while making gains in the gym.
Diet consists of protein powder, coffee, lean meats, low sugar fruit, veggies and low calorie sauces/seasonings, beef jerky (awesome snack) and a 1/2 – 1 quest bar at the moment. No added fats or starches. Pretty effortless fat loss and again my hunger is null. Spinach helps tremendously to eat before a meal to fill the stomach. Also keeping sodium at least 3 grams per day, but this is mainly eaten too taste. I also drink a lot of diet drinks, always have and always will. 😉
My split this week is Push/Pull/Off/Push/Off/Legs/Pull. Strength is still on par, but some day it does feel pretty heavy. Also try to hit at least 6000 steps a day, which is almost always hit without effort.
I had my Lasik appointment this Thursday and my procedure will be next Thursday at 1 pm. Going to be around $3600 total, but I got the money to pay it straight up without loans so that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll pay $3600 for 20/15 vision any day of the week. Especially considering how bad my vision is right now haha. Asked the doctor what my vision is on a scale of 1-10 and she said 3-4. Yeah that’s not very good. She also said some people are -15 so it could be worse haha. I can’t lift for a week after surgery unfortunately, but as long as I can get it done before April 8th, then I’m not worried about it. I’ll just walk each day instead.
A few restaurants that have some really good low cal options to eat out are:
Panda Express – (get double chicken teriyaki 120z of meat and weigh the amount of grams you want to eat with mixed veggies. A ton of food and you will have leftovers. Also tastes amazing.)
Which wich – Any bowlwhich with lean meat and light mayo (tastes awesome)
Really good week in training and eating. Don’t have a whole lot going on socially at the moment, especially during the week and this allows me to be much more consistent with my diet and training times.
Training I was able to increase my weight almost across every exercise, each day, except for barbell bench press. That was the only exercise that felt very heavy for some reason. Leg strength is picking back up quick, which is awesome. I have felt very good though in terms of strength in the gym. One change I did make to my workout is reduce the rest time between sets back to a normal 1 min – 1min 30 seconds instead of 45 seconds. I felt the quicker rest times were annoying and were getting in the way of me progressing. Martin Berkhan had a good article stating that strength and cardio are completely different and should be treated as such. I couldn’t agree more and I wanted to be ready to go for each set instead of rushing it.
My workouts set a rep goal of either 24 total reps or 40 total reps on each exercise. When 24 reps is the goal I need to get the selected weight up in either 3-4 sets in order to bump the weight up next workout. On the days I’m shooting for 40 reps on each exercise, I allow myself a range of 38-40 reps to be completed in 4-5 sets. This means if I hit 38 reps through 5 sets I will allow myself to increase the weight, but 37 or lower I have to stay with that weight. I really like this system of progressive overload though, especially on the last set because I like pushing myself to go hard to ensure I can bump up the weight next time.
BB Squats 195lbs – easily got 24 reps in 4 sets, so bumping to 205 next workout
Lunges – 45lbs each hand got 41 reps in 5 sets, so bumping to 50lbs in each hand for next workout
BB row – 135lbs for 5 sets of 8 reps, bumping to 140lbs next workout
BB Curl – 75lbs for 5 sets and got 38 reps. Barely got it, but will bump to 80lbs next workout
Trapbar Deadlifts – 205 for 5 sets of 42 reps total. Will bump to 215 next workout
DB low inc bench press – 70lbs each hand for 39 total reps. Will bump up to 75’s next workout
Dips 5lbs between feet for an easy 40 reps. Will bump up to 10lbs next workout
DB lateral raise 17.5lbs each hand for 41 reps. Will bump up to 20lbs next workout
These were just a few highlights of what I was able to increase. I was not able to increase chinups, barbell bench or barbell shoulder press unfortunately. Although I got very close on the shoulder press. As I said last week though, I really like the 3 day split in terms of just being able to feel fresh on every single workout. The other days include walking, stretching and light bodyweight exercises, but nothing taxing.
Diet wise I’m hitting 2000 calories every day. Average intake was 160g protein / 190g of carbs / 50g fiber / 70g fat. This was almost perfect and is exactly where I want to be. I look and feel my best on this amount 90% of the time. This is roughly 600 calories under my maintenance each day, so right around a pound of fat loss a week.
My consistency has been on point for the last two weeks though every single day and I have noticed big time. The past few months leading up to this, I was kind of all over the place, but I’m fixing that now.
Jacob Wilson was on a new podcast this week talking about some really interesting points with diet. I’ll list a few highlights of the notes I took down.
Increasing protein can be an effective tool to “reverse diet” because its very hard to store as fat. Meaning if you want to increase your calories without getting fat, protein should likely be the first increase you make. As you get calories back up and hold weight steady, then slowly reduce protein and add in more carbs and fat
A new study compared two groups of intermediate weight lifters. One group took in 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and the other group took in 3.4 grams of protein per kg or 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Both groups made similar improvements in performance and gained the same amount of lean mass, but the higher protein group lost more fat, despite eating more calories. Pretty interesting considering they ate more calories, gained just as much muscle and lost more fat. Pretty sure no one would complain about those results.
Another effective way of dieting would be to diet for 11 days then take 3 day off and repeat. This has been shown to be more effective that people that just dieted the whole time. I’m guessing the 3 days is a long enough period of time to reset hormones and bump up leptin and the metabolism for a period of time.
He recommend a mimimum of 2 grams per kg of protein and usually recommends 3 grams per kg when undergoing very hard training or losing fat.
He doesn’t recommend setting protein and fat then filling the rest with carbs, which is the approach many people take. He basically said carbs tend to make people fat over time and you could always increase to more protein or fat because in some people this will allow them to stay leaner when calories get higher.
He compared 2 groups of elite athletes. I’m assuming they were already very lean to begin with. One group tried to lose two pounds a week and the other tried to lose only one pound per week. The group that tried to lose two pounds per week lost 20% of their fat mass and lost some muscle, while the other group lost 30% of their fat mass and gained muscle. So the group on higher calories lost more fat mass and gained muscle. Nice! He stated that the leaner you get the slower you need to take it, in terms of a calorie deficit. The fatter you are the more aggressive you can be, but need to slow down once you become lean.
Some pics from the week:
PF Chang’s Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with a spring roll
Chicken, avocado, one egg, crab rangoon, veggies
Chipolte Burrito Bowl Chicken, beans, veggies, corn and lettuce and salsa
Chicken, pepperoni and peppers and onions
Veggies and Kabocha Squash
Breakfast of Champs Protein Pudding with Kabocha Squash and some of a Quest Bar
Lean steak, salmon, cheese and veggies
One egg, Salmon, chicken, avocado, feta and veggies
My body temperature is still roughly around 97.2 degrees. Still too low in my opinion and it needs to get raised back up. Been doing more research on the topic and some of the information on the internet is comical. There is so much bad information out there its no wonder people get confused. You could type in one topic and get 20 different articles all saying different things. The only way you can separate fact from fiction is to know a decent amount about the topic in the first place or to get it from a really trusted source. A good example of what I’m talking about is an article about foods that raise body temperature and the top two foods were water with lemon and peanuts. Both of these foods do nothing. Cayenne pepper was mentioned, which is true for a very short time, but does nothing long term to bring it up, unless you eat it at every meal.
Since I’m a minimalist, I like to keep things simple. The best foods to raise metabolism are Salt, Saturated Fat, Sugar and Starch or the 4 S’s. I did not make this up, but it was discovered by independent researchers who studied Ray Peat. I have to agree, because I noticed a superfood that encompasses all of these in one: pizza. No one is ever in a bad mood after eating pizza and that’s is mainly because it has 4 of the main stress fighting foods in it. I notice every time I eat pizza, my mood and energy instantly improves. This is only true if its real pizza, not a thin crust, gluten free homemade pizza with no cheese on it. I’m not sure what that is, but its not pizza. I also noticed foods that contain a mix of these usually work better. Meaning the foods have salt, starch and saturated fat vs just one of these in isolation.
Also calories are important but if you eat 2000 calories worth of vegetable oil vs 2000 calories worth of cheese pizza, then these will have two different effects on the body heat. Also when you eat may make a difference. If there is a time during the day where you find yourself very stressed out ,then that would likely be a time for a big stress fighting meal or a least a good sized snack with the 4 S foods included.
As for Sugar Vs Starch being better than the other, I really dont think it matters. There is a lot of research showing that the difference is negligible and starch usually fits better into normal meals. Although fruit would probably be better during the day due to it ease of consumption as a standalone snack.
Another important thing I learned from Charles Poliquin is the interaction of the 4 main neurotransmitters. Dopamine, Acetylcholine, GABA and Serotonin. The first two are exciatory (promote energy) and the last two are inhibitory (promote relaxation) All these are necessary from proper brain functioning. If you have too much of some of these and not enough of the others, then your brain becomes unbalanced and this leads to mood issues, anxiety, low energy and inadequate recovery. The thing is though these do NOT function in isolation. Meaning you would have to eat nothing but carbs to get the GABA and Serotonin release, but you would miss out own the dopamine and acetylcholine, which would lead to sluggishness and fatigue. The best way to avoid this is to include protein at each meal, with carbs and fat and some fiber to control the release of all these of these hormones. This kind of confirms my belief that balanced meals are usually superior and why these hormones also confirm that including the 4 S’s at a meal would be superior to any of those in isolation. If you only eat protein and fat then you only get a release of the first two hormones, which is good for energy, but bad for relaxation. If this is carried out for a long time then you become unbalanced and can develop anxiety, low mood and low motivation. Vice verse eating like an obese person and only eating a lot of carbs void of protein, healthy fat and fiber than your GABA and serotonin are too high, which leads to sluggishness, laziness, becoming overweight and poor energy levels. Balance is key.
My new workout schedule is 2 on 1 off repeat. My split is Chest/ Tris, Back/Bis, Off, Shoulder/Upper Chest/Traps, Legs and Abs off Repeat. So basically a 5 day split with 2 rest days, although there are no specific days of the week that I do a certain muscle group and they tend to float around. I actually really like it. I noticed upper body and Full Body workouts are very fun to do, but they kill me the next day, especially if its mainly compound movements. I mean I could be out for days after these workouts. I also like to isolate certain muscles like traps and rear delts and by doing full body workouts I just end up either doing way too much or leaving out too many muscle groups I want to hit. I felt the best way to address this, is to give each muscle group its own day and hit it every 6th day like a normal bodybuilder. Tom Venuto said this is his preferred way to training (meaning 2 on 1 off) and he occasionally likes to do (2 on 1 off 2 on 2 off)
Also getting rid of the real heavy weights and focusing on form for anywhere between 6-12 reps. I usually shoot for 8-10 and if the weight is too heavy 6 is usually the least amount of reps I can get. I also can knock these out in around 45 minutes or so and really been enjoying it so far. It’s similar to a Bro Split, but not quite the same. Also ego is taking a hit because the amount of weight I’m using has dropped on most exercises, but this doesnt mean I have gotten weaker, just that I’m focusing more on the muscles and not just about getting the weight up at all costs.
Average of 2200 calories this week. Still playing around with different foods and everything. My breakfast is pretty much always two scoops of protein powder mixed into pudding with fruit, lunch is usually meat, veggies, eggs (hardboiled) and cheese and dinner contains the bulk of calories and carbs with adequate, but not excessive protein eaten at dinner. I always have some type of dessert that is roughly 100-150 calories that is mostly carbs. Body temp is rising, but still needs to be higher. May bump the calories up a little more this week and may play around with different foods to see its effects.
5/30 – Missed – 2500 calories / 200g of carbs / 8200 steps – 4.2 miles
5/31 – Missed – 2050 calories / 150g of carbs / 4500 steps – 2.2 miles
6/01 – Missed – 2000 calories / 170g of carbs / 14000 steps – 6.6 miles
6/02- 174.4lbs – 2100 calories / 200g of carbs / 9800 steps – 4.6 miles
6/03 – 173.2lbs – 2050 calories / 205g of carbs / 11500 steps – 5.4 miles
6/04 – 173.0lbs – 2100 calories / 190g of carbs / 14200 steps – 6.66 miles
6/05 – 173.0lbs – 2400 calories / 160g of carbs / 12160 steps – 5.75 miles
Average Weight – 173.4 lbs – Average Calorie Intake 2170 – Body Temps 97.2 -97.7 (Morning)
I must admit, reading Ray Peat’s work or at least reading others blogs that have dissected most of his research are some of the most interesting concepts I’ve read in a long time. Mainly from an evolutionary standpoint. Learning about how different foods grow in different areas and how certain foods have certain effects of the human body. He seems to be pretty unbiased as well. Meaning he does recommend certain foods over others, but does some from a research perspective.
The basis of his diet are foods that influence the metabolic rate and reduce stress. Most of his recommendations seem to fly in the face of a lot of “health foods” that many people, including myself eat. But what makes a food healthy? I mean red meat is a very rich source of nutrition, but try to tell people that red meat is healthy and they will look at you like your insane. The reality is red meat is very healthy, especially for humans to consume. Ray peat places a large emphasis on sugar in particular. Not necessarily all carbs, but seems to favor fruit, especially over grains. I noticed that Ray Peat seems to select foods that have one thing in common: the complete absence of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat which is commonly used and grown in the U.S. seems to be the real reason people are obese, mainly by preventing the use of sugar by the muscles as a result slowing the metabolism. It makes perfect sense when you read the rationale behind it. I mean donuts, potato chips, salad dressings, and many other junk foods are all high in polyunsaturated fats. Mix that with lots of sugary drinks and due to the poly fats inhibition of sugar in the body and the lack of exercise and you have a perfect storm for fat gain.
So Ray Peat basically says cut those poly fats out and eat more foods that dont promote fat gain and cellular damage. Mainly Saturated Fats (coconut oil, dairy fat, cheese) and avoid the unsaturated fats. A good example he gives is about an avocado. Leave an avocado out in room temperature and what happens? It oxidizes immediately and beings to spoil. Why is this? It has to do with being in room temperature, which is not its natural environment. Consume this in your body, which should be 98.6 degrees and it may cause some oxidative damage. Saturated fats dont do this because of the double bonds they contain. At room temperature they are stable and dont break down. This makes them safer to eat, especially considering the temperature of you body.
Ray Peat also states how adequate sugar shuts off the stress response. Stress is very good in small doses, such as exercise, but most people have too much stress in their daily life and if you combine that with exercise, you get a scenario where your stress levels are way unbalanced with your recovery. You want to strike more of a balance between good stress and recovery from that stress. So Ideally when you eat, you want to end your stress levels or at least keep them at bay. Sugar prevents the body from breaking down protein as fuel, which greatly accelerates muscle gains. It also helps to prevent adrenaline and fat burning hormones from surging too high and allows the thyroid to accelertate and power the metabolism.
Very interesting research, but I’m not going to follow all of his recommendations. He did state that the most important thing to worry about is to eat foods that support the metabolic rate. As long as you eat a diet high enough in carbs or sugar, adequate protein and amino acids and some, but not a ton of saturated fat then your metabolic rate will be very good and along with it you health and energy levels. Also the most important thing is enough calories. If you want to cut fat keep the calorie deficit moderate, so that you can still keep your metabolism high when cutting.
I could talk about this all day, but Ill leave it at that. One more thing is he seems to place a large emphasis away from seeds, whole grains, lots of fiber as well. These foods seems to encourage fat gain by slowing metabolism and inhibiting nutrient uptake. Again as long as your not eating nothing but these foods, I don’t see a huge issue, but shouldn’t make up the bulk of the diet. Again as long as your body temperature is high and look good and maintain a healthy body temperature, then that is by far the most important thing for you physical and mental health.
Sat – Pull
Sun – Push
Mon – Walking Only
Tues – Pull
Wed – Walking
Thursday – Push
Friday – Walking Only
First two days were more machine based and higher reps and the last two workouts were strength based. Hit 50lbs around my waist for 5 reps and Benched 200lbs for 4 reps. My first time going for strength in awhile, but most of it was intact from last time. I think I will stick to the 4 day split to balance recovery and working out. I’ll likely stick to the push, pull, legs split as well, with push and pull workouts rotating each week. I’m also doing PLP recommended by Chad Waterbury. Basically doing Pushups/Lunges/Pullups every single day. You start with 10 reps and add in one rep everyday for 60 days. Obviously the beginning is much easier then the end, but I really like this idea. I mainly use it as a warmup to more workouts. Keep in mind that this is in addition to your other workouts.
I was talking with a resident of Williamsville about their nutrition and the person said something I found very interesting. We were talking about ideal food sources and the resident wanted to try a meat free diet. I said it could be done, but likely not a good idea long term. The resident brought up that humans likely don’t need that much meat, because we don’t have claws. I thought the statement was funny, but he had a point. Humans are not pure carnivores, because if we were we would have fangs and claws, yet we don’t. This likely means that a very high fat, high protein diet with low carbs (meat) is not a natural human diet. We aren’t omnivores either though, because we do have strong jaws and teeth and strong muscles that help with energy and finding food. Again this points the need to strive for balance in diet.
My own diet is starting to include more carbs in general. As I showed in my log, my carbs didnt drop below 150g all week nor did it last week. I’m introducing them slowly, because I know for a fact that if you got from roughly 100 grams a day to 300 grams, your body’s metabolism will quickly be overwhelmed and store fat. I’m using body temperature to slowly increase carbs. Meaning the higher my body temperature the more carbs I eat. I’m also not eating just fruit, but a lot of potatoes and other carbs sources as well. My main goal is to limit a lot of polyunsaturated fat or at least keep it to small amounts. I also noticed that if you eat a high fat diet, its almost impossible not to get a lot of polyunsaturated fat in your diet. That is unless your diet is almost all coconut oil and butter, but that diet would get very old very quickly. My Macros are roughly 220g of carbs / 170g protein / 50-60g of fat. The plan is to keep protein and fat stable and bump up the carbs. If I drink some alcohol, I will usually just take the carbs away and sometimes fat.
My body temperature this week was around 97.4 and it started at 96.6. Not bad for two weeks. If anything I have actually lost fat as a result. My body weight has been hanging around 173lbs down from an average of 175lbs on the higher fat diet. So basically ate more, lost more. No problems there. Calories averaged about 2200 and my estimated maintenance should be around 2600 or so for a normal day. I have noticed my appetite has gone up as well. I feel like this is natural considering a higher body temperature requires more energy.
I’m still eating most of my carbs (starches) at dinner time and most of my fruit during the day. You wouldnt believe how much food you get to eat at the end of the day by doing this. Massive amounts of food. Been doing a bean, corn, chicken mix with taco seasoning and corn tortillas on the side. Almost tastes better than Chipotle. Also throw in some fat free sour cream. This meal usually has upwards of 100g of carbs and pretty low poly fats. I’m still playing around with different recipes though.
Still feel like there is lot more I want to say, but will probably end it here. Some pics from the week: