exercise

Journal Entry 306 – Almost Wedding Time

The new schedule is in full effect and it’s been pretty busy at work. Along with the new schedule, my wedding is coming up this week, followed by the honeymoon. Soon after we need to move out of the apartment and find a new house! We have a lot on our plates at the moment. Really looking forward to the wedding and honeymoon though. Sarah and I have been together a little over two years at this point and we are very ready to get married.

My routine this week has been simple. No cardio, 4 days of lifting on a Push/Pull split. My calories have been pretty low during the week to cut some fat before the wedding. Scale is down to about 178-179lbs and my pants are definitely fitting looser. My diet has been almost exclusively protein for the past week and half with pretty low carbs and moderate fat. I’m not doing a ton of exercise though, so I really don’t need to eat a ton and I’m also trying to drop fat. That being said my lifts were down a little this week. I’m also pretty stressed at work, because of the greatly increased workload, but that will just take some getting used to. My sleep has been great though. Getting at least 8 hours a night.

I’ve been eating a ton of egg whites recently. In the morning before work, when I get home from work and sometimes after dinner if I’m still hungry. They are basically a perfect food right now though for me, because they are super low calorie and all protein. I also just really like the taste and texture for some reason. I usually eat Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps as well during the day. These are 80 calories per serving (24 chips) 10g protein, 10g carbs (4 fiber) and 2.5g fat. Pretty much epic in terms of macros and you get a lot for the calories. They also taste really good. I also do a protein shake during the day at some point. I have protein powder at my desk, so this is pretty easy to make. Dinner is always a super high protein meal and usually some kind of vegetable. I then follow this with a protein shake before I go to sleep at night.

I never take lunch to work or even breakfast anymore. I really enjoy it. I don’t have to prep anything. All I take with me is coffee. Everything else is either at my desk at work or is a bag of chips, so nothing to prepare. Dinner is the vast majority of my calories and is essentially my only meal except for high protein snacks during the day. It’s been working so I’m sticking with it.

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Journal Entry 292 – End of the Holidays / New Year

Due to the holidays, I haven’t had much free time recently. Yesterday was the first day I’ve had to myself in a long time. I was still playing catchup with certain things I needed to get done and didn’t have a ton of time to relax until the end of the day.

It may sound negative, but I’m looking forward to the New Year and the end of the Holidays. It’s going to be a big year for Sarah and I since we are going to get married and buy a house in the not too distance future. It’s also expected to get busier at work which may or may not involve a shift change. I have a feeling time is going to fly by.

The Holidays were good though and we kind of had two holidays. One with Sarah’s family and one with mine. We went to Sarah’s for Christmas Eve / Day and went to my parents for New Years Eve / Late Christmas. It was fun and involved a lot of eating. Sarah and I are trying to lose a few pounds in the coming months before the wedding. This includes any weight we gained during the Holiday and some extra.

I also ended up paying my car off with money I saved from work and gift money for Christmas. I now have zero debt (as soon as the slow a$$ credit union processes the payment I sent them a week ago), which feels great. I wanted to get rid of all debt and maximize my savings for the future and for the house we are going to get. Mortgage payments will likely be way less than our rent payment at the moment, provided we can put down a big enough down payment.

My exercise and diet will likely continue the same as it was last year. I honestly have not put a ton of thought into a new plan for 2018. Other than the fact that I will reduce my calories and stop having so many cheat days on the weekends. I got Sarah to finally start tracking calories. Since she is so small to begin with, she has less “error calories” to play with and needs to be more strict to see results.

Journal Entry 251 -Weekly Update

Weekly Update

A big snow storm last weekend canceled my trip to Chicago. We tried to rebook the flights 4 times, but all of them were canceled. I watched the airport website periodically through the day to see what time the flights started to take off and it wasn’t til about 7:30 PM before the first flight left from Richmond. Although, even if the flights didn’t get canceled, I still wouldn’t have been able to get to the airport. The Giants ended up getting destroyed by the Packers so I really didn’t miss much. I also didn’t have to freeze to death in Wisconsin as I watched my favorite team’s season came to abrupt end. So there was some positive to the whole situation.

I ended up spending the weekend with Sarah snowed in. We didn’t go anywhere all weekend, except the gym, which we can walk to her from her apartment. I just ended up doing some cardio. Considering we couldn’t really go get food, we basically cooked all of our meals. I think it’s the most cooking we have done in a long time. I didn’t mind at all being snowed in. It was relaxing to just to stay in and not go anywhere. Especially with my favorite person ;).

Workouts

I did a leg workout for the first time in a long last week. My legs hurt so bad I could barely walk down the steps. Going on a decline hurt worse than going on an incline. I also had a hardtime even standing up from the couch. I was somehow able to do cardio pretty easily though and the cardio actually helped to recover my legs quicker than complete rest.

This week my setup was the same as the previous 3 weeks, but I missed my leg day on Wednesday this week. Sarah and I had to go sign an application for a new apartment, which we will be moving into in a couple of weeks. Really can’t wait for that. I decided to skip leg day though after that brutal aftermath of my last one.

My setup this week was:

  • Monday – Chest / Tris
  • Tuesday – Back / Bis
  • Wednesday – Cardio (Morning)
  • Thursday – Push (Shoulder focus)
  • Friday – Pull
  • Saturday – Cardio / Abs
  • Sunday – Cardio

Strength was good most days, although a couple of workouts I felt gassed out very quick. I have only done cardio 3 days a week too.

Next week I plan on doing 2-3 miles cardio every morning (30 minutes max) and then lifting at lunch. I want to work on increasing my speed (MPH) when running, so I think I’m going to cap it to a 2 mile run and just slowly increase speed each day.

Nutrition

Still been taking the moderation approach. Calories still in the 2000-2500 calorie range. Protein has been lower recently at around 120-140grams. I used to average in the 180-200gram range. Carbs have been in the moderate range of 150-250grams. Fat is usually around 50-70 grams, but usually in the mid 60’s. Nothing has really been off limits. Panda Express and Chipotle are probably my two new favorite places to eat.

Journal Entry 250 – Holiday Break

My first post in almost 3 weeks due to the Holidays. I’m also going to Chicago this weekend and then driving to the Packers vs Giants game on Sunday for the playoffs. My brother is a Packers fan and I’m a Giants fan, so the game should be very interesting. I have a feeling it will be very close. The temperature should be about 5 degrees, so I can’t wait for that. (sarcasm)

These past few weeks have featured a LOT of overeating on all kinds of crappy food. I’m almost glad the hectic holiday season is over, so I can get back on track and ditch some of the excess weight I have accumulated. I have what I consider to be a very good plan going forward and it’s the most organized I have been in terms of routine in about a year. I really wanted to create something that was basic and very simple in terms of programming.

My plan is as follows:

  • Monday – Chest/ Tri
  • Tuesday – Back/ Bi
  • Wednesday – Shoulders/Traps – AM Cardio
  • Thursday – Legs/Abs
  • Friday – Arms
  • Saturday – Cardio – Abs
  • Sunday – Cardio –  Abs

This is the basic layout. I will lift every weekday on my lunch break. I have been doing this for 2 weeks and really enjoying it. I drive to the gym and change (10 minutes), lift for 40 minutes then change and head back to work (10 minutes) and get done easily in an hour. By lifting with only two muscles I can easily finish in 40 minutes. I also do no cardio before to minimize sweating, so that I do not need a shower. I do not want to get rid of all cardio though and plan to do it 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. During the week I plan to do it once on Wednesday in the morning and 2 times over the weekend, when I’m resting from lifting weights. I’m really looking forward to this setup and I honestly plan on keeping it for the entire year. And yes it’s a Bro split, but many use these with great success contrary to new research saying it’s very ineffective. Anecdotal evidence shows otherwise.

My goal this year is very simple; keep getting stronger with key lifts and keep my routine simple and consistent. I want to gain muscle and keep fat gains low consistently throughout the year.

As for nutrition, I plan to monitor gym performance and go from there. I do plan on eating less protein this year, because I think I always overdo it, but other than that my diet will be very balanced overall and not excessively high or low in calories. It will also include a lot of vegetables.

I also plan on maintaining consistent supplementation this year:

  • 3g of fish oil per day
  • 5000IU Vitamin D
  • 5g Creatine Monohydrate
  • Animal joint supplement (as needed)

 

Journal Entry 246 – I’m Engaged!

I got engaged to my girlfriend Sarah last night! This is something we had talked about for awhile, but I wanted to do it before the Holiday’s and before we moved in together. I had the luxury of meeting her family multiple times(which is much bigger and closer than mine) and she has met my parents several times. We were practically living together now anyway, as I would stay at her place half the week and she would stay at mine. I’m really looking forward to starting our life together and just have to stick it out for a couple of months until we get our own place. Depending on where we move I may change gyms, but not sure yet. I love Golds, but there’s a chance that a huge ACAC may be right next to where we live and since I workout in the morning it would be within walking distance.

In terms of training and eating, my weight has been higher on the scale than I would like to be. I weighed in at very high 180lbs earlier this week. I think this is due to my training, to be honest. I also had a BIG eating weekend last weekend, but my training could also use some work. I love making strength gains, but I hate waiting 2 minutes between sets and the neural fatigue that comes with heavy weights. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself to go to the gym. Neural fatigue does not mean strength and size gains. Your muscles are well equipped to take a beating, but neural fatigue just makes your body tire not your muscles. I love the rush of moving and sweating when I workout. Going to the gym for an hour and sitting on the bench to lift a heavy a** weight for 5 reps is really losing its luster for me. I do plan to include some heavy sets of barbell bench once or twice a week, but I will probably superset this with a back move and get back to my higher rep training. I will admit even though my strength wasn’t going up when I was doing my lift everyday experiment, my size gains did appear to be way better. I could also eat with reckless abandon and it just didn’t seem to negatively affect me.

So I plan on moving into a daily lifting plan with higher reps and smaller rest periods. Also, I want to run 1-2 miles before each workout. I have been sticking to 6 mph, but I think I’m going to increase this to a 7-8mph to get my speed up. I was talking to someone at work who ran a marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes, which he said was about 8 mins a mile. That was shocking to me. 8 mph is not easy and to maintain that for an entire marathon is very impressive. I always liked running and was pretty good at it, so I’m definitely keeping running in my workouts. I may take a couple days off from lifting and do some long runs, but I will play that by ear. I also like the luxury of lifting from whatever gym I’m at instead of feeling forced to go to Gold’s to lift heavy wieghts. Sarah’s gym is WIDE OPEN in the morning before work. There is like a max of one person in there and they are usually on the treadmill. An open gym is like a playground for me. It just instantly puts me in a good mood.

As for eating, I don’t plan on changing that much to be honest. Still largely winging it, but I like eating a lot and putting into good use in the gym. The heavy training (at least only heavy training) wasn’t having the effects I was planning for on nutrient partitioning and I just seemed to be gaining body fat.

Journal Entry 244 – Getting Organized

First week of the regular schedule. The first two days I went to the gym after work and hit the gym around 6:15. Monday wasn’t bad at all and I was shocked. Then I realized it was Halloween and lot of people were with their kids. Tuesday night came and it was PACKED. My workout was still good though because all I did was cardio that day anyway. On Wednesday, I had dinner plans at 730 PM so the gym wasn’t really an option because I had to shower after and I wouldn’t have time. So I got up at 645 AM and there was like 10 people in the entire gym. So I think I found the time I plan on going. My strength was fine early in the morning, but I did do some cardio to heat up my body temperature and loosen up the joints.

I plan the schedule to look like this:

  • Monday – Cardio
  • Tuesday –  Push
  • Wednesday – Pull
  • Thursday – Cardio
  • Friday – Cardio
  • Saturday – Push
  • Sunday – Pull

As for my lifts, Barbell Bench is up to 195lbs already from 185lbs. I’m touching the bar all the way to my chest for better form and range of motion. I got 5, 5, 4, 4 reps with 195lbs last Push workout. Pull workout I got the 115lb Db’s for 5, 5, 4, 3. I dont remember ever breaking the 115lbs with this exercise so looking forward to the 120s.

Cardio is a steady state jog for 40-50 minutes. On days I know I’m going to eat a ton and those days happen to fall on non-lifting days, I will also throw in some high rep (20 reps) depletion work on the machines. I also do 10-15 minutes of running before each lifting day.

Diet is as follows:

  • Supplements before work with a can of spinach
  • Meal 1 – Coffee > Protein Pudding/ Berries >Lenny and Larry Cookie (small size)
    • (400 cals – 30 grams of protein)
  • Meal 2 – Bag of Rice Cakes or Pop Chips (usually change the flavors up)> Protein Bar
    • (550 calories and – 25 grams of protein)
  • Totals around 1000 calories and 55 grams of protein at this point
  • Meal 3 – Lifting Days
    • Pretty much anything I want for around 1000-1300 calories
      • Chipotle helps a lot with this. So much customization options to hit the amount you want. It also tastes phenomenal and it really affordable for the food you get.
  • Meal 3 – Cardio Day
    • Pretty much anything for around 800-1000 calories
  • Meal 4 – Usually protein pudding, cottage cheese or ice cream
    • 100-200 calories
  • Totals – Lifting Days – 2500+ calories / Cardio Days – 2000 calories

So my diet is structured during the day because I find it keeps my hunger at bay nicely. Then very flexible at night, because I can pretty much eat anything I want. I usually go to Chipotle, but I may start throwing in small pizzas and subs as well. These tend to be loaded with protein, carbs and fat, which is what I want at that point. Macros are very balanced at the moment. Protein is around 120-140 grams, carbs is close to double that and fat is around 60-70 grams most days.

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.