fat loss

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: