Journal Entry 263 – Push/Pull & Gym Weigh In

On Monday of this week, I went to the gym and did a weigh in and body fat test for an upcoming company gym challenge. My stats were 187lbs (Midday, fully clothed including shoes) and 14% body fat. My weigh in that morning on my scale was 185lbs. I wanted to weigh in on Monday because my weight always peaks on Monday’s after always eating big on the weekends. I dropped down to 179lbs within 3 days of weighing in and I definitely will go low carb and high protein right before the final weigh in just to get some extra points from losing weight. You get 1 point for every pound you lose and 1 point for every time you go to the gym. You also get points for better body composition, but since changes like that take way longer than 21 days, chasing after that would be a bad idea. The winner gets 1-year free gym membership. The body fat they tested was not the most accurate instrument. I asked the trainer how accurate it was and he said 3% error and usually measures high. I agreed with this as I feel I’m around 12-13% at the moment.

The last time I did one of these tests I was 166lbs at 10% body fat. Although this was a bod pod test. Meaning I had roughly 150lbs of lean body mass at the time. This time I was around 185lbs and let’s say 13% body fat. This means I know have 161 lbs of lean body mass. Which means I gained roughly 10-12lbs of lean body mass and 6-8lbs of fat. Not terrible, but not great either. Looking at photos of these times, though I can see a tremendous difference. A much bigger difference than these stats represent:

My diet was a bit lower in carbs this week and damn did I feel it in the gym. My last pull workout this Friday was really bad. I dropped reps on every exercise and I only did 4 exercises. I carbed up with some pizza to make up for it. Other than that last workout I really enjoyed the 4 day split this week and found myself over eager to hit the gym on my rest days, which is a good thing. I’m still playing around with the exercises, but think I have really figured out the ones I want to do. Now it’s just a matter of grinding.

For this 21 day challenge, I plan to bump up my carbs pretty high during the beginning 2 weeks and keep protein high as well. Fat will be more or less normal 50-70 grams. The final week I will cut down on carbs just to drop water for the weigh in.

Journal Entry 252 – 5:2 Diet Revisited

I’m at a much different point in my life that I was in 3 years ago when I started this blog. The idea of tracking every calories, carb, protein and fat gram no longer appeals to me. Neither does turning down every bad cheat food offered to me that I can’t track or doesn’t fit into my rigid meal pattern. I still want to get results and stay lean, but I want to do so in a much different way than I have done in the past. After a pretty chaotic eating pattern the past year, I still want some type of organization that won’t impede my lifestyle and also help me fit my goals. After trying to figure this out, I have basically narrowed it down to one eating style … the 5:2 diet.

The 5:2 diet is pretty damn simple. 5 days eat your normal diet (for me anywhere between 2000-3000 calories depending on the day) and  2 days a week take in under 800 calories on non-consecutive days. These days don’t sound like fun, but after drawing up a meal plan I think it’s going to be incredibly easy. The best way to handle these low calorie days is to basically eat nothing, but vegetables or low sugar fruits. Doing these on a work day also helps a lot since your busy working all day and not sitting around, thinking about food. I plan on doing these days Monday and Thursday. These two days appear right before and after the weekend. It is much easier to eat lower calorie right after a big day of eating. They are non-consecutive and will be cardio only days.

The meal plan will look something like this:

  • Meal 1 – Berry Smoothie with Cashew Milk and Greens Powder
  • Meal 2 – 2 bags of raw veggies for lunch (maybe some low cal ranch on the side)
  • Meal 3 – Vegetable Stirfry (massive pile of non-starchy vegetables)
  • Meal 4 – Berry Smoothie

This chimes in at around 6-800 calories. I will also drink any zero calorie beverage I want on these days, like coffee with light cream and diet coke.

I also made this into a vegetable day instead of PSMF day, because I honestly think it is easier to cut calories using vegetables than eating nothing but lean meat. This day also acts as a detox day from all macros including protein. I have spoken about protein fasting in the past, but have recently ditched it. I honestly think though it does have merit and may even help my body respond more favorably to protein when I do eat it. I like the idea of a vegetable only day for health reasons, especially now that my diet isn’t as healthy as it used to be.

The other 5 days are easy. There is no food restriction or food rules. I simply eat whatever I want as part of my normal diet. The idea isn’t to overeat on these days or feel like your dieting at all. The diet is done on two days a week and then it is over. This way of eating has also been proven to be way more effective at ongoing and maintaining fat loss than traditional dieting or food rules/restrictions because these plans are not sustainable and eventually suck. Even if you are on a diet for 5 years, which is a very long time for most, once you break that diet and start eating a normal balanced diet again with normal calories the weight will return. 5 years is still short term when compared to a lifespan of a human being.

I have also moved my training schedule around this plan. I will lift weights 3 sets of 6-8 reps here recently on just about everything, on all days I eat normally. I also may do some optional morning cardio on those days and simply eat whatever I want, making sure to eat enough. On the diet days, I will only do cardio and no lifting. The goal is to keep my intake under 800 calories and resume normal eating the next day.

Simple and effective. I have also done this to help Sarah lose some stubborn pounds. She is not fat by any means but would like to drop a few pounds. She also feels like she has to be in constant diet mode to see any results, but it’s really not working at the moment. I think this plan will be what she needs to relax on her diet and still get really good results.

 

Journal Entry 240 – Low Protein Challenge

I have been playing around with my diet this week in that I have been purposely eating more carbs and fat and way less protein. I’m trying to keep protein between 110 grams and 140 grams on the high end. I have honestly been shooting for the low end by literally just not eating lean meat. This is very difficult for me due to the way I’m wired, but somewhat fun nevertheless. Carbs have been much higher and I’m trying to keep fat at about 50% of protein intake. So between 60-70 grams. Carbs make up the rest of my diet after protein and fat has been met. Calories have been around 2500 calories this week. Still weighing in around the 170-174lbs.

I noticed that I have been suffering from “protein guilt” a lot of the time. Which simply means that if I don’t eat a high protein meal or a meal with out SOME protein in it, then I have guilt about the meal. This week has been somewhat different and I noticed without even worrying about eating enough protein, I usually get enough in. Basically trying to sub out chicken for fattier chicken or egg whites for whole eggs. Using more starches and cheese to make hitting this easier. I’m not going to lie I haven’t really noticed a lot of benefit from doing so as of yet. It definitely puts more food back on the menu though, which is nice. A lot of the bloating issues I used to get from too many carbs and calories are starting to go away though. Especially from cheat days. It used to take me 2-3 days to clear  that bloat at least. Now I can wake up the next day and look fine. My volume in the gym is pretty high though. I have been adding in A LOT of pullups and pushups everyday. Also I should mention that usually when I go to be with 200+ grams of protein I have a bloated stomach. Lowering it down to this level I have noticed this has gone away.

I hit my chest day on Tuesday and it was horrible. I felt extremely weak in the gym, even with ample amounts of protein. This is why I decided to start this experiment. Fat tends to get too low in my diet and I feel like I was just way to unbalanced with the excessive amount of protein. It didn’t seem to helping too much either. So I wanted to bump up the fat and lower the protein. Obviously need to keep carbs and sodium high though for gym performance. The rest of my week has been really good though in terms of strength in the gym.

So a few simple changes I have made is to replace one of my protein bars (which are expensive anyway) with a Poptart. Poptart is mainly carbs and a little fat. Another change is instead of jerky at lunch, I take a bag of rice cakes or popchips for about 400 calories. This is mainly carbs and a little fat. Dinner is highly variable, but is almost always my biggest meal of the day with a lot of carbs, fats and protein. A lot of my daily protein comes from this meal. Because I’m not trying to go low protein, just cut it down to where it needs to be. Although eating this amount to me feels like super low protein. 😉

Downed about 3000 calories yesterday due to a trip to Mellow Mushroom. Protein actually got high up to 180 grams which is the highest its been since I started the challenge. Not too worried about it though. Mellow Mushroom is hands down my favorite restaurant at the moment. Carbs were around 280grams and fat got up 100grams.

Going to try and keeping working some “funner” foods into my diet for the following week. Only requirement to keep eating this much is to just to exercise for an hour a day. As long as I do that, weight gain doesnt seem to be an issue. 🙂

Journal Entry 224 – 20/15 Vision – Lasik

I can now see 20/15, both near and far away for the first time in about 10 years. I feel like I was a blind man that can now see. It’s really strange to be able to see this well all the time without glasses. Even looking in the mirror from far away, I can see myself without getting 5 feet away from the mirror. I can see people from far away in a store and I drive and see very far distance’s without any glasses on. It’s awesome. I feel like someone installed HD vision into my eyeballs after seeing in black and white for a long time.

I went to LasikPlus here in Richmond and have nothing, but positive things to say about the place. Very organized, knowledgeable, friendly staff and very  fast. The whole surgery took about 7 minutes. I was in the office for about an hour and 20 minutes. The price was very affordable considering you get perfect vision after and the surgery is for guaranteed for lifetime. Meaning if for whatever reason my vision reverted to what it was, I would get another surgery for free. Most likely not going to be an issue, but still a nice guarantee. The only negative thing I can say is just some pretty bad eye irritation post surgery. Basically just burning, uncomfortable feeling that took awhile to go away. There was also some uncomfortable pressure place on the eye during surgery, which caused no pain, but the sensation of eye pressure was uncomfortable. Tear drops help immensely with the burning sensation though and I would use them as needed until you feel your eyes are adequately hydrated.

They recommend a week off from the gym, so no training for me until next Thursday.  I’ll just get some walking in and continue to burn fat before Menno’s consultation begins.

Diet and Training this week was 3 days full body and still hitting 10 x LBM in calories. I notice as I eat less calories, fasting or skipping breakfast is a bad idea. The less calories I eat the more often I need to eat. I try to snack on something all day long usually protein powder or jerky. Most of my meals are meat and veggies and sometimes for dinner I’ll make something else. If I skip breakfast until 11 or so (after waking up at 5:30AM) then I tend to be very hungry for the rest of the day and my energy tanks. If I eat often, starting at 8am or so and just snacking all day long my energy is fine even on the same calories.

Weighing in today at 169.6lbs. Strength is on par, but has not gone up. I’m not too worried about taking a week off, but mentally going without lifting for a week is hard for some reason. Probably because it’s my favorite hobby to do in my free time. Walking and music will hopefully replace the dopamine boost I get from lifting.

Really looking forward to Menno’s coaching though. The timing was actually perfect with the eye surgery and all, so I’ll be extra motivated to hit the gym when our week starts. The diet plan should also be interesting. Menno’s views on diet are one of the main reasons why I think he was the best one to hire for me.

 

Journal Entry 223 – Cutting Fat and Lasik

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:

  1. Reduce calories (big shocker here)
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  • Chipotle – Meat, beans, double veggies, salsa, lettuce
  • Qdoba – Haven’t tried this place yet, but will soon.
  • Moe’s – I usually go to Chipotle though, WAY better

Some pics from the week:

 

 

Low Carb Limbo, Keto and Building Muscle While Burning Fat

Low carb limbo is essentially a grey area between keto dieting and a normal carb based diet. I discovered this term reading through a blog that I will cite at the bottom of the article. Low Carb is a very vague term. Most people know that 3-400 grams a day is not low carb, but is 150grams low carb? I think many people get stuck in Low carb limbo, myself included in the past, and I think a lot of it is just poor advice, even from experts. I have read a lot of articles stating that anywhere from 50grams – 100grams is good for fat loss. Where did this number come from though? I mean that’s not a good number for fat loss if you eat 200 grams of fat a day. Many people think that ketosis develops when carbs dip under 100 grams of carbs. It may, but it may not. Even if it does develop its usually not enough ketones to replace all the glucose you still need for basic basal functions. After going back and reading some articles by Jacob Wilson I think people should take one of two approaches to stay out of this low carb limbo. Staying out of this grey area should greatly increase your energy levels, protect your muscle (I’ll explain why in a minute), and should allow you to bust through your body composition plateaus.

The first approach is to go straight ketogenic. A perfect healthy and safe diet, but in  my opinion very difficult to achieve in today’s society, especially if your social. This requires you keep carbs under 30 grams for a long period of time. No one really knows how long it takes, but for many that have achieved full ketosis it can take a long time, such as weeks or more at a time. Probably depends on the diet you were on before you attempted it. You also have NO carb refeeds at all. Refeeding throws you out of ketosis and can take you a while to get back into it, which ruins the effectiveness of the diet. You also need a very high fat intake and need to keep protein below 120grams and it may be even lower than that. Eating too much protein will throw you out of ketosis and ruin the effectiveness of the diet. Doesn’t sound too fun anymore does it. By eating carbs and protein in too high of an amount the body starts to shift over to glucose burning again and this can be very bad for your muscle mass. Ketones displace glucose only when the body has no source of glucose. The diet would likely get pretty stale after awhile, because you would be eating the same fatty foods over and over. But some people do like it. Jacob Wilson also found that when carb totals were increased above 30 grams to 60g and 104g, even a high protein intake couldn’t prevent muscle loss on a diet. Now I know that low carb limbo is responsible for this and I’ll explain why during the second approach. So with keto, you’re either on or your off. There isn’t a middle ground with this diet and protein and carbs NEED to be controlled and kept low for it to work. Personally, even though keto has some really interesting benefits, there is no way I would ever attempt this diet.

The second approach and what most people need to stick to is a carb based diet of around 150grams a day minimum on average. I consider 150grams to be a low to moderate carb diet and with this many carbs you are not on keto and you aren’t in low carb limbo. After reading through how much glucose needs you have in your body the answer for most people under restful conditions is about 150g-170g a day. This is to regulate glucose needed by the brain, liver, red blood cells and immune functions. This is also doesn’t change much based on a person’s size. If you weigh 400lbs or 120lbs these are likely unchanged, because organs dont really vary in size.

Guess what happens when you eat 50grams of carbs a day… you start to lose muscle unless your protein is extremely high. Protein can displace carbs almost at a 1:1 ratio so that body can get its glucose, but you dont want protein to be used in this manner. You want protein to be used for structural functions and muscle building. Well at least people that want to look good do. So bascially the protein you eat is being used as an energy source. This means no muscle building and strength loses, because the basic structural functions of the body are more important than building muscle. So lets take our example of someone eating 50grams of carbs a day. Lets say the body requires 170grams of carbs (under restful conditions) so you ate 50g of carbs, but you still need another 120grams of glucose. Say goodbye to your protein intake. Let’s say you eat 120grams of protein a day. Many consider this low if your a bodybuilder, but I feel like most people consider this high. All of that protein is going to be used as carbs, to feed the brain and basic functions and this leaves none left over for your actual protein needs. Now it probably doesn’t work exactly like that in the body, but the point is when your trying to build or even protect muscle on a diet, you DO NOT want gluconeogensis to occur in a manner such as this. I guess you could eat 300 grams of protein to prevent this if you truly didn’t like eating carbs, but that’s up to you. I will say though that is a saving grace of high protein diets. If you do consume this much, you are eating enough glucose to provide the brain, liver and immune system with glucose and still have enough protein left over to protect and maybe build muscle. I also forgot to mention that those are the needs you have BEFORE activity is factored in. If you lift weights you needs go up even more. Lifting on too low of a carb intake doesnt really sound like a good idea anymore. Not unless you carb cycle, but in reality all cycling does is balance out your weekly intake anyway.

So summing up the second and recommended approach: When dieting or just eating at general maintenance, you want at least 1200 calories a day worth of glucose before activity is factored in. This can be achieved with 150grams of carbs and 150grams of protein. Protein has been shown to be toxic in large amounts, so I would honestly ditch the excessive protein (eating in excess of 200grams) and eat a more normal diet including a decent amount of carbs. The sources likely dont matter as Menno Henselmans has pointed out in his article: Is a Carb a Carb?. Once 1200 calories of glucose are achieved your muscle mass will be protected and likely allowed to get bigger, since none of the carbs will be needed for gluconeogensis.

Weight lifting also increases your needs, but its probably not as much as you think. If you do a pretty normal 4 day split routine with a combo of isolation and compounds and with not much cardio besides just walking, then your probably need an additional 300grams over the course of the week to replenish what you used on TOP of the glucose needs I stated above. 300 grams may even be stretching it, as the ATP system is relied on sometimes far more than glucose when lifting weights, but lets play it safe.

So if someone that weighed around 75-80kg was trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, then this is what I would recommend based on this information.

The first step is to factor in your daily glucose needs on a weekly basis. 1200 calories of glucose a day maximizes your glucose needs under restful conditions, but lets factor in exercise. 1200 x 7 = 8400 calories. Add in another 300grams or 1200 calories for the workout and you are now at 9600 calories a week. 9600 / 7 = 1371 calories a day. 1371 / 4 = 342 grams of glucose a day to provide everything the body needs. 342 / 2 = 171grams of carbs and 171grams of protein if you split it evenly down the middle. If you want to go higher or lower carb or vice versa, that is individual and up to you, but you want to consume at least this. An example, lets say you are carb sensitive and like eating protein more. You could eat 220 grams of protein and 122g of carbs or lets say you hate protein and do well with higher carbs, then you could do 240 carbs and do 102 grams of protein. The total glucose needs are the most important factor. Now factor in your fat intake. I wouldn’t recommend going below 40grams of fat ever, because under this level absorbing vitamins and minerals, testosterone, diet adherence and maybe even depression can become a big issue. There doesn’t seem to be an upper limit to fat intake however. As I stated the glucose needs are somewhat of a minimum and maximum. This means that this is what the body requires to fuel bodily functions and to build and protect muscle mass on a non ketogenic diet. But going above this amount serves no additional benefits and if you go to high in carbs, you’ll probably just get fat if you dont handle carbs well. This means that fat can fill up the rest of your needs if you wish. That’s quite a large range from fat, but this person wants to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. That means that body fat needs to come into play as an energy source, so eating a ton of fat would negatively impact the burning of the body’s fat stores.

(Sidenote) – After looking this up, its kind of interesting how this looks strikingly similar to many precontest diets that bodybuilders have known about for years, even if they didn’t know the actual science behind how it worked. Anecdotal evidence at its finest.

So lets go back to the minimum calories and carbs/protein/fats this person needs to achieve his goal. Carbs 171grams / Protein 171grams / Fat 40grams – Total Calories – 1728 calories a day. Based on this persons needs he would likely lose muscle if he dipped below this amount of calories based on his size. If not lose muscle, then he would definitely not be building any muscle dipping below this intake. I would honestly set his fats to at least 50grams, so that would move him right up to 1820 calories a day, but if he liked 40grams of fat he would likely be fine. If he wanted to reduce his calories to lose fat faster, then he would need to reduce his weekly workout volume to ensure recovery. If this person was completely sedentary for a week or so then he would need a minimum of 1200 glucose calories and 40 grams of fat at least, so about 1560 calories.

Also I sort of mentioned this earlier, but carb cycling could work for a plan like this, but is completely unnecessary unless you actually enjoy it. As long as the weekly average is the same it really doesn’t matter if you cycle your intake.

Be careful of refeeding and cheats on a plan like this. What I presented was your daily balance of all you need to burn fat and build muscle. That means if you want to burn the max amount of fat you need to be between 1720-1820 calories a day averaged out over the week. If you refeed or cheat, then you need to factor that in to your weekly balance. So if you go 6 days of 1750 calories and have an all out cheat day of 4000 calories, your weekly calorie balance is 2070 calories. Which can negatively impact your fat burning. Consistency is crucial on a plan like this. If you have a big meal coming or party coming up then, go low calorie or intermittent fast until the big event so you can stick to your numbers. Or you can go higher calorie that day, but will need to go low calorie the next day to balance it out.

Also cheats and refeeds are not the same. Cheats are rarely a good idea and can set you back a week if it had a lot of fat, because almost all fat is stored in a surplus, especially if lots of carbs and protein were along side it. (Which I’m sure they will be on a cheat)

Refeeds are a much better approach, but their effectiveness is questionable. Refeeds seem to be much more effective if you are not eating enough carbs or glucose to begin with. So if you are dieting in low carb limbo, between 40g-140g or so and not eating enough protein to compensate, then refeeds can help balance you out and upregulate metabolism and leptin for a max of about 24-48hours or so. I would only recommend these if you hit a plateau and you have been consistently on point for at least 2 weeks. I do think a refeed is probably a good idea at this point. Until you reach this point though, you should have plenty of glucose to prevent leptin and energy from going to low anyway, so I wouldn’t mess around with these too much.

References:

http://primalnorth.blogspot.com/p/keto-adaptation-vs-low-carb-limbo.html

http://zerocarbzen.com/2015/10/05/a-high-fat-ketogenic-diet-is-protein-sparing/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ketogenic-dieting-frequently-asked-questions.html

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/03/protein-for-athletes/

http://bayesianbodybuilding.com/is-a-carb-a-carb/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ask-the-nutrition-tactician-whats-the-difference-between-a-refeed-and-a-cheat-day

Journal Entry 202 – More Carbs and Fat Loss

I remember back the first time I lost weight, I didnt ask anyone what they thought or what was the right way or the wrong way to do it. I simply stopping drinking sugary drinks and switched to diet and I watched my fat intake, so that it remained low in my diet. It definitely wasn’t high protein and considering dietary fat was kept low it was definitely high carb. I also didnt count calories either. In eighth grade, I dropped down to 130lbs at 5ft 8in tall. I looked good for the height I was as well. Dont get me wrong I had no muscle and wasn’t even remotely interested in lifting weights or exercise then. The only thing I did was play basketball after school and sports during gym time. I remember at one point I would literally eat a bag of sour patch kids at night and the next day my teeth hurt so bad I couldnt eat for like 10 hours haha. Point being carbs and fat loss have gotten a bad wrap. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that once calories come down, fat loss occurs no matter what. Now there are plenty of things that can throw this equation off. Thyroid can slow down, testosterone can drop, cortisol and growth hormone can become abnormally high and the result is your body becomes resistant to these hormones and to fat loss. The body suffers a so called “adrenaline diabetes” and your body is basically constantly fueled by stress and adrenaline and needs copious amounts of coffee to keep going. Not a great state to be in. Usually in this state you usually have zero appetite, but when you do get an appetite you crave salt and sugar like no other. Most people think this is a bad thing, but if your body is begging for it, then trust me its not a bad thing.

Carbs may be the solution to end this stress fueled metabolism. Carbs are the only macronutrient to basically signal to your body that it is well fed.  Cortisol and stress are very beneficial, but only when counterbalanced with a period of feeding and relaxation and adequate calories and carbs. Research shows even when calories are adequate, but carbs are not then thyroid will get suppressed big time. Thyroid is needed to turn cholesterol into sexual hormones, so guess what happens when your thyroid is down. Low sex drive. Not to say you won’t have any sex drive, but it will be greatly reduced. When it comes to protein and fat, you need what you need to build muscle and absorb vitamins and minerals, but this really isnt a massive amount. .7 grams multiplied by your lean body mass in grams is likely to be sufficient. I would honestly go slightly higher to .8-1 grams per pound of lean body mass, but again more isn’t really better. The amount of dietary fat you need is roughly .2-.33 grams per pound of lean body mass. If you weight 170lbs and have 155lbs of lean body mass, then 31-51 grams of fat is likely sufficient. For protein it would be 109-155 grams. Lets cut down the middle and go 41 grams of fat and 132 grams of protein, this equals roughly 900 calories a day. I wouldn’t go much lower than 11x lean body weight in calories when trying to successfully lose fat and maintain muscle and this an aggressive approach. For the example, it would be 1700 calories total – 900 from protein and fat = 800 calories. The rest of these calories go to carbs or roughly 200 grams. That’s a decent amount of carbs that will keep your muscles, liver, brain and central nervous system properly fueled while you burn fat. If your lightly active and burn lets say 2300 calories a day, then 2300 – 1700 calories consumed = 600 calories worth of body fat. By eating sufficient calories and carbs and also enough protein and fat, your prevent the above situation where you constantly fueled by stress hormones and adrenaline. You also dramatically decrease muscle loss by eating more carbs and your muscles look and feel stronger when working out. This leads to more calories burned during exercise and more fat loss overall. A diet setup this way, especially if your active, which in my opinion everyone should be, then your energy, health and metabolism will be much better. I also highly recommend overfeeding once a week. Carbs can help prevent dramatic decreases in metabolism, but I still think a calorie deficit all the time is not a good idea. If your trying to lose fat then you want to overfeed or at least eat a maintenance level of calories at least once a week. Two- three days if your leaner and are trying to drop into the single digits of bodyfat. 4-5 days if your trying to maintain and build muscle. I think underfeeding is still good to because calorie restriction does have benefits if used properly. But again you can still underfeed with plenty of carbs in the diet.

A diet like this is also much more flexible and diverse then one that has you eat 300 grams of protein and 100 grams of fat to ensure your “getting enough protein.” Or a keto diet that has 150 grams of fat and >30 grams of carbs. Good luck sticking to that one. Lets say your with family or friends and they want you to try a recipe out that has more than 30 grams of carbs. “Sorry, but I can only eat 30 grams of carbs a day for the rest of my life, no can do.” Makes you look and feel kind of bad. And since your body basically forgets how to digest carbs, especially after going very low for long periods of time, you usually get pretty fat soon after reintroducing carbs. You better off avoiding situations like this. Also once your leaner and not diabetic, then all carbs are essentially the same, so you can basically eat any source you want. This includes fruit, sugar or starches. I personally would recommend more starches, 1-3 pieces of fruit and a little sugar, but I wouldnt worry too much about it, as long as the amount is controlled. So in my opinion, carbs are essential and should be consumed regularly. If you are on a keto or very low carb diet, then my advice would be to pick a calories range between 11-12x lean body weight and start eating more carbs and less fat like my example above. This will allow your body to get used to eating carbs again, but since your in a deficit you wont gain any fat. Once you feel good and less bloated after meals then start bumping up the carbs and calories closer to maintenance or just start cycling calories, while leaving protein and fat constant.

On a random note, most cultures run on carbs for the majority of their fuel intakes.

My workouts got a little thrown off this week due to my trip to Virginia Tech for the football game. I was gone from Saturday – Monday and got back Tuesday, so I just started my split Tuesday this week. Hit full body and after a weekend of bad nutrition, didn’t perform too bad. Currently in my training, I really dont care about the weight lifted, but more the feel. Been aiming for roughly 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets depending on the move. I really like this pump training though and its a nice change up from going heavy. I also try to hit roughly 5 miles a day through walking and daily activity. Still lifting 3 days a week every other day and go for a run two days a week. My diet was pretty erratic this week, but doing 3 days of a deficit on rest days, 3 days of surplus on workout days and 1 days of maintenance on Friday. Macros are similar to example above, but roughly 150 grams of protein, 45 grams of fat and the rest carbs. I also have some drinks on some nights. 😉 My weight is also roughly 172lbs this week.

Been eating a lot of the Trader Joe’s ready made rice and pasta mixes. Pretty healthy overall and very easy to make. They also make tracking much easier because its already portioned out. Highly recommend gnocchi alla sorrentina. Its a pasta with a red tomato sauce and some cheese. Macros are very good on it. The vegetable fried rice, asian style, is very good as well.

Some pics from the week:

Current Physique Pic
Current Physique Pic
PF Changs Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with White Rice
PF Changs Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with White Rice
Shrimp with veggies and a sweet potato
Shrimp with veggies and a sweet potato
Coors Light at BDubs
Coors Light at BDubs
Naked Tenders with French Fries. Also had a lot of dipping sauces.
Naked Tenders with French Fries. Also had a lot of dipping sauces.
Panera Breakfast Sandwhich
Panera Breakfast Sandwhich
My view of the VT game
My view of the VT game
Cooper Hawk Mediterranean Dips appetizer.
Cooper Hawk Mediterranean Dips appetizer.
Cooper Hawk Life Balance Chicken Giardiniera
Cooper Hawk Life Balance Chicken Giardiniera
Lean meat, potatoes, veggies and a crab rangoon
Lean meat, potatoes, veggies and a crab rangoon
Trader Joes Pasta with two slices of Butter bread. High Carb day meal
Trader Joes Pasta with two slices of Butter bread. High Carb day meal
Extreme pizza with a salad and some tequila
Extreme pizza with a salad and some tequila

Journal Entry 200 – Random Thoughts

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Good week overall in training and eating. Weighed in at roughly 171lbs on average and exercise performance was good. I stuck to 3 weight training workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Monday was 4×6, Wednesday was 4×15 and Friday was 4×8. 4×8 is by far my favorite rep range and I just felt that one the best. Although I did really like the high rep day as well, mainly because I don’t do those days that often. Did a different exercise each day for each body part and was careful not to overdo it. The only thing I did add was some pushups to both workout and non workout days.

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I have also been getting to work early to walk an extra 30 minutes in the morning. Really enjoy this time to read, listen to music and clear my head. Been hitting at least 5 miles a day each day and it becomes really easy to hit this number, when your zoned out and reading. I also try to hit 5-10 minutes on breaks and around 20 minutes during my lunch break.  Not trying to set records with speed or anything, I’m only doing 3mph on a flat incline. My hip flexor has felt way better this week and considered adding a leg exercise to each full body day, but I’m going to give it one more week on both legs and abs just to play it safe.

Nutrition – I had one high carb day in the middle of the week and the rest were around 1800 calories or so. I’ve been keeping fat around 45-55 grams almost everyday and I’ve bumped protein back up to at least 160-180 grams. I had recently dropped protein to 120 grams, but I noticed some decreases in strength. I think 120 grams is fine for some people, but call me crazy I think for some people that are used to eating more protein than that still benefit from the higher intake. I also look leaner and feel stronger with the extra protein in my diet. I should also mention appetite is much better with increased protein. I heard a podcast not too long ago, that basically said once you’re used to eating a certain amount of protein, your body actually learns to use more protein as an energy source. So he basically said unless you drop your intake slowly, then you are essentially “locked into” a high protein diet. If that’s is the case then so be it. Protein is by far my favorite macro, tastes good and makes me feel better after meals.

Another thing I have been doing is eating more carbs in balance with protein. So instead of having a big starchy carb dinner, I just eat roughly the same amount of carbs as protein in each meal. This usually a means a decent portion of starch and loads of vegetables or beans, etc. Energy and strength feels really good. So I plan to replace the big carb meals with just more balance during the day. Carbs are right around 160-180 grams at the moment. I also dont feel like I need the carb refeed day when carbs are more moderate. It almost felt completely unnecessary, since my strength levels have felt so good without it. So basically just keeping an even keel blood sugar all day instead of a big fluctuation at night. As for dietary fat, some is essential, but more is not better. A little dietary fat goes a long way, meaning you dont need a meal covered in butter or oil to make it taste good. 10-15 grams per meal is plenty and makes the meal taste awesome without overdoing it. Extra dietary fat also doesn’t do anything for strength and performance in the gym and subbing out the fat for more carbs at each meal, helps at lot in that regard. Energy is also much better.

As for calories been keeping it roughly 1800 during the week and have 1-2 higher days of 2500 or so, usually on the weekend. For me this works really good in terms of staying lean and gaining strength.

Another thing I wanted to bring up. One is intermittent fasting. One thing I hear from a lot of people I talk to is that almost every single one of them do intermittent fasting without even realizing it. These people are also very overweight. They skip breakfast and usually lunch and eat their first meal around 5pm. If intermittent fasting was beneficial, then these people would be in much better shape and have far better health, but they dont. Most of the leanest people on the planet eat all day long with controlled meals and a high protein diet. Not saying intermittent fasting doesnt work, but some people make it sound like its the holy grail. Trust me its not. IF only works if your diet is on point to begin with. Also I think there is huge benefits in keeping your blood sugar level within a certain range. When your blood glucose gets too low >75-80 mg/dl either through skipping meals or undereating then a lot of negative things start happening, such as the body holding on to fat, low energy and entering too deep into a catabolic state. Going above 110-120 mg/dl basically means your burning zero body fat and are entering fat storage mode, which is what most people experience. Once you reach this state its very similar to low blood sugar in that you start to become hungrier and suffer low energy. Most people only bounce between these two states. For example, they undereat all day or for 2-3 days and then binge uncontrollably to balance it out. They basically skip the beneficial properties of keeping your blood glucose within 80-110 mg/dl, which is a more anabolic state to be in and promotes far better energy levels. It also helps you body release fat more efficiently, because your body doesnt think its starving to death. The way to reap these benefits is to prevent undereating too low of a calorie intake (usually anything under your lean body mass x 11) and keep a healthy amount of protein and carbs in you diet.

PF Changes Chicken Lettuce Wraps
PF Changes Chicken Lettuce Wraps
PF Changs Ginger Chicken and Broccoli
PF Changs Ginger Chicken and Broccoli

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Lean meat, veggies, crab rangoon, 1 whole egg, cheese
Lean meat, veggies, crab rangoon, 1 whole egg, cheese

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Pumpkin Cashew Milk shake
Pumpkin Cashew Milk shake
Carb refeed - Trader Joes Gnocchi with added chicken and broccoli
Carb refeed – Trader Joes Gnocchi with added chicken and broccoli
Big stirfry with meat, veggies, stirfry sauce and imitation crab meat
Big stirfry with meat, veggies, stirfry sauce and imitation crab meat
1 whole egg and 6 egg whites Trader joes roasted potatoes with onions and peppers 1/2 bag of broccoli  Goat cheese Probably the best meal I've had in a while.
1 whole egg and 6 egg whites
Trader joes roasted potatoes with onions and peppers
1/2 bag of broccoli
Goat cheese
Probably the best meal I’ve had in a while.
Homemade chipotle 3/4 black beans 5oz of onions 4oz  of chicken Taco seasoning
Homemade chipotle
3/4 black beans
5oz of onions
4oz of chicken
Taco seasoning

Journal Entry 194 – Adding in Cardio

Log:

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7/04 – 2300 calories – 8000 steps – Missed

7/05 – 2100 calories – 6100 steps  175.3 lbs

7/06 – 1800 calories – 16500 steps – Missed

7/07 – 2150 calories – 10760 steps – 173.4lbs

7/08 – 2100 calories 12700 steps – 174.3lbs

7/09 – 2150 calories – 10500 steps – 173.4lbs

7/10 – 2600 calories – 10500 steps – 173.4lbs

Average Calories – 2170  Average Weight – 174lbs

Blog:

After a lot of research on the topic, I plan to implement moderate intensity cardio into my daily workouts. I have ran before in the past, but used to do cardio only with no weight training. Here recently besides walking, I have basically done zero cardio. The problem with this is that my heart rate never gets raised high enough to promote optimal blood flow. When your heart is pumping consistently at an almost moderate to high intensity, it greatly helps fuel your muscles, promotes insulin sensitivity, promotes recovery and the best is optimal energy levels after finishing. There are actually tons more benefits including better skin, self confidence, mood and better sleep and more. Not going to lie, I feel amazing after a good run and sometimes a good lift just doesn’t get me the same benefits. Its like a clear headed, anti- anxiety feeling that only running and keeping the heart rate elevated can achieve. Lifting can give me this rush, but it usually has to be higher rep to get the blood flowing.

I plan to do this early in the morning before work or breakfast. Basically wake up and grind mindset. This is what the rock does and it seems to work well for him. You also get a large feeling of accomplishment, by waking up early, when everyone else is sleeping and knocking out a good 3-4 miles. The energy increase I get afterward is nothing short of amazing. I’m also using the cardio to help build more muscle. I tend to me endomorphic in nature. Endomorph is a nick name for someone that puts of weight and fat easy and has to work harder to keep fat off and watch their diet closer. Cardio could be the missing link. If cardio greatly increases insulin sensitivity to the working muscles and allows you to eat more without getting fat, then it could be the missing link to building more muscle without fat.

My plan is to do the cardio in the morning around 6:15 or so. I plan to do 3-4 miles or just set a timer and hit anywhere from 30 mins – 45 mins every single day. Research shows that in healthy individuals you could ideally do this 3-4 times a week and obtain all the benefits, but I want to build the cardio into my day, so it becomes like second nature. Another good thing about running is the fact that you can do it anywhere.

As for my weight training, I’m still not sure what I’m doing. Thinking about doing 1-2 muscle groups a day with a mix of rep ranges. I like doing full body, but I have a feeling it may be too much from a recovery standpoint. Still on the fence right now. I do want to find something I can hit consistently though. Just having a really hard time figuring what that’s going to be.

My nutrition will see a bump in calories. I’ll probably just shoot for a range of 2100-2600 calories a day, averaged over the week. I really dont feel like tracking that accurately and just want to eat to my natural appetite with a balanced diet. Some days will likely be higher others lower, but the average I want to land around 23-2400. Basically just doing a maintenance recomp, while training the way I want to train.

Some pics from the week:

New SUV
New SUV

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BBQ chicken with veggies
BBQ chicken with veggies
VPX bang energy drink. Really good
VPX bang energy drink. Really good

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1 cup of beans with onions and chicken with chips and salsa
1 cup of beans with onions and chicken with chips and salsa
Lean meats, veggies, cheese, hard boiled egg and crab rangoon
Lean meats, veggies, cheese, hard boiled egg and crab rangoon
Vino
Vino
Pizza and leftover Moe's for dinner
Pizza and leftover Moe’s for dinner

Journal Entry 191

Log:

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6/13 – Missed – 2800 calories – 9100 steps – 4.5 miles

6/14 – 176lbs – 1750 calories – 9500 steps – 4.5 miles

6/15 – Missed – 1490 calories – 9500 steps – 4.5 miles

6/16 – 173.8lbs – 1600 calories – 12600 steps – 6 miles

6/17 – 173.4lbs – 1650 calories – 14200 steps – 6.72 miles

6/18 – 172.6lbs – 1600 calories – 14700 steps – 7 miles

6/19 – 172lbs – 2300 calories – 10500 steps – 4.95 miles

Average Weight – 173.5lbs – Average Calorie Intake – 1885

Workouts:

Saturday – Legs and Abs

Sunday – Off

Monday – Chest and Triceps

Tuesday – Back and Biceps

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Shoulders/Upper Chest and Traps

Friday – Legs and Abs

Really enjoyed the 2 on 1 off split this week. Its a really good blend between rest and working out and it definitely allows enough rest time in between each workout. Each workout is exactly the same and pretty basic for the most. The purpose behind that is to make sure to progress by a few reps on every workout. In the past, I used to stress about getting more weight every workout, which becomes very difficult. But progressive overload can occur from more reps or more sets as well. These tend to be easier to do then lifting more weight, especially when it comes to preventing form from breaking down.

For example, my DB shoulder press two workouts ago was 100lbs (50lbs DB’s) x 9,7,6 then 40lbs x 10. This weeks workout was 50×8,8,8 then 40×12. Very similar, but the latest workout had more overall volume in it. Not by much, but progressive overload still counts.

Been keeping the reps roughly 8-10 reps on everything. This is to allow for better form and I must admit I have been very sore after every workout. Moving back into a bodybuilder style training, which is still the best for muscular development and always will be. 185lbs squats with 8 reps, perfect form and full ROM (range of motion) is far better than 250lb squats with “questionable” form and a very short ROM. Not too mention the strain heavy weights put on the body, joints and central nervous system. Probably not going to set any records with this style of training, but not really a big deal to me at the moment.

Also probably found my favorite Shoulder workout of all time:

  • DB Shoulder press 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Incline DB Press 3 sets of 12-20 reps
  • Cable Upright Row (2 close grip, 2 wide grip) 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • DB Lateral Raise 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Rear Delt Raise or Band Pull Aparts 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Barbell Shrugs 4 sets of 10 reps

This workout takes roughly 40 minutes (as do all my workouts) and I hit my shoulders fully and some bonus upper chest. In the past, I never liked just doing a shoulder day, but I really enjoy this one. I also noticed by moving the workouts back to every 6th day, you dont get tired or burnt out like you do when you hit them every 3rd or 4th day. It just becomes way to repetitive at that point.

Nutrition

I bumped up the magnesium this week from 400mg to 800mg. I read an article recently that suggest 10mg per kilogram of bodyweight, especially if you exercise. Magnesium is one supplement I highly recommend to people, based on its effectiveness against fighting stress and replenishing the adrenal gland. It also has many other benefits, but this is probably the most potent.

Based on my appetite this week and a Costco run with a lot of green vegetables, I decided to eat for fat loss. This morning weighed in at roughly 171.8lbs.

I was talking to a resident this week about sweet cravings and if I had any advice. I was like yes I do: protein powder. Elite XT when mixed into protein pudding basically tastes like cake batter, but instead of being fat and sugar, its a very high quality protein source. Since its dairy its the highest quality source of BCAA’s you can get. After eating one of these sweet cravings become non-existent. Ever since I started eating protein powder, I never having cravings for sweets. I know I would though if I didnt consume it. Also Quest Bars are a god send. Especially the ones with pieces of chocolate in it.

  1. Top Quest Bar Flavors
  2. Cookie Dough
  3. Smores
  4. Double Chocolate Chunk
  5. Apple Pie
  6. Cinnamon Bun

Also one resident asked me how to get ripped. I will probably do an article soon on this with my top tips on how to do this without destroying your metabolism and losing muscle mass.

I want to start writing more articles again for this blog. Haven’t done many recently, but I recently had the urge to add a few, especially when a certain topic peaks my interest.

Some Pics from the week:

Summer salad from Sedona Taphouse with a white roll
Summer salad from Sedona Taphouse with a white roll
Chicken and Steak Taco with a side of Broccoli
Chicken and Steak Taco with a side of Broccoli
Black beans, spanish rice, 4 oz of chicken
Black beans, spanish rice, 4 oz of chicken
Lean meat and Broccoli
Lean meat and Broccoli
Black bean, onions and chicken mix with broccoli on the side
Black bean, onions and chicken mix with broccoli on the side
1 whole egg with 6 egg whites 1.5 potatoes and 2-3 servings of broccoli
1 whole egg with 6 egg whites
1.5 potatoes and 2-3 servings of broccoli