fat

Journal Entry 304 – Return of the Refeed

Missed my post last week since Sarah and I were in Greensboro for the weekend doing some things for the wedding.

Some big schedule changes also happened at work, which will move me back into a much more normal schedule. Looking forward to that so that Sarah and I will have more time together.

My workout schedule has been even more minimalist style than my last post. I have literally been doing 200 pushups and 50 chin-ups a day at least for the last week. I’m only lifting once a week in the gym on Friday, which has been heavy barbell bench press that I then follow with pushups and chin-ups. Pushups and chin-ups are starting to feel extremely easy. I’m doing 30 pushups a set and 10 chin-ups a set. I plan to increase those to 35-40 for pushups and 15 for chins soon.

I really enjoy these two moves. They work every muscle in the upper body and you can literally do them anywhere at any time. (Although this is truer for pushups rather than chin-ups.)

As for my diet, its time for the “Return of the Refeed.” I experienced somewhat of a plateau where I could not drop under 182lbs for 3 days even with my diet and exercise on point. Very frustrating. I refeeded a couple of days ago pretty hardcore. I went 3000+ plus calories with the vast majority of calories coming from carbs. I went up to 187lbs after this day, but have now dropped below 182lbs just two days later. I have written about refeeds before, but have stopped doing them the past couples years for whatever reason. I really do they think hold tremendous benefit to allow yourself to “go to town” one day of the week just to get it out of your system. It also has many physiological and psychological benefits, which I have wrote about in my article How To Do A Carb Refeed.

Most people would benefit from doing this once a week. It’s just far easier to program. If you were going by science every 5th day would probably be optimal. So 4 days of dieting, 1 day off to refeed up to or beyond maintenance calories and repeat. This presents a pain for most people though, because your refeed day constantly changes. No one wants to refeed on a Monday. So I would recommend just doing it Saturday or Sunday (my personal favorite). Give precedence to carbs. I usually go high protein all other days, so I really look forward to eating all of the things I can’t eat on this day. I actually tried to lower protein as much as I could on my last refeed day. I hit around 80 grams of protein / 70 grams of fat / and over 400 carbs.

Also one more point about refeeds. Some people try to lower dietary fat as low as humanly possible on these days. Don’t do this. It makes the day far less fun and satisfying and really lowers your food choices. I’m not saying to go super high in fat, but just allow yourself to hit a normal of fat of around 50-70 grams instead of going like under 30-40 grams like is commonly recommended. Your body can store some dietary fat as muscle, especially if your diet days tend to be low in fat. Even if you store some fat, it’s going to come off easily when you return to your normal diet the next 6 days.

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Journal Entry 295 – Scale Is Moving / New Food Finds

I was able to get the scale down to about 179.4 lbs on Sunday morning. This is my lowest in awhile and it felt good too. My diet has been mostly protein with lowish carbs and moderate fat. My routine was 2 days of cardio and 4 days of lifting last week. This week I plan on doing 3 lifting days (full body) and 3 cardio days with one day off. I kept it pretty low cal 10x bodyweight the whole week and then had a bigger eating day on Sunday at my parent’s house. Ate a lot of salty shrimp, Tzataki sauce with some pita bread and ton of fiber from veggies which if eaten in excess can cause you to retain a lot of water. (The fiber basically attracts water in the stomach.) I went back up to 183lbs, but still a 4lbs difference than last week. I expect to hit a new low this week.

I strained my lower abdominal last Friday doing heavy bench press followed by heavy chinups. I’m assuming the chinups are the reason I strained my abs, but luckily the pain went away in about 3 days. The pain was pretty intense at times though almost stabbing. That being said my strength was better than ever on these exercises even after losing about 7lbs of total weight over the week.

Some interesting high protein food finds I have found recently:

  • Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps 
    • Low calorie / High protein chips
  • Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans 
    • All flavors are good. Whole bag is 300 calories and 21 grams of protein.
  • Ole Wellness Wraps
    • These have a very doughy taste and are a really big size for the negligible 50 calories they have. Be careful with the fiber though, it can add up quickly if you are eating a lot of other fibrous foods.
  • Tyson Chicken Strips
    • I have a weird relationship with cooking raw meat recently. I always dry it out because I’m afraid of undercooking it and really don’t like the taste anymore. This avoids this by being pre-cooked and taste phenomenal every time. The whole bag is like $6.
  • P28 Bread
    • Speciality bread from Vitamin Shoppe. $8.50 a loaf so not cheap, but tastes very good and you only need one slice. It also has 14 grams of protein per slice.
  • Turkey Bacon
    • Nuff said. You can find this anywhere and its high protein and way less fat than most bacon. It also tastes really good in my opinion.
  • Costco Steak Jerky
    • High Protein / low carb and very low fat.
  • Quest bars
    • I have recently found myself eating these a lot again. If found on sale its no big deal, but I really dont buy them anymore if they are full price.
    • Also of all of the new Quest products to come out, its original bars are still by far the best.

I’ve also been eating a lot of egg whites. Very cheap protein source and I usually hardboil 18 at a time and snack on them all day when I get hungry. My grocery bill has also gone down after eating this way. Tend to buy less junk and more filling food.

Journal Entry 294 – Getting Organized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journal Entry 288 – Post-Thanksgiving and Waist Size

Last week Sarah and I went to Greensboro, North Carolina for Thanksgiving. Due to the fact that Sarah and I had to work on Friday, we did Thanksgiving on Wednesday night and came back on Thursday. I’m not the biggest fan of Thanksgiving food, so I don’t have a huge issue with overeating on this holiday. Not sure what it is, but I have extremely good portion control in terms of eating on this day. I didn’t eat a ton of anything, but a little bit of everything. My favorite is probably apple/cranberry crisp, which tastes more like dessert. I don’t ever really eat this with dinner though because I prefer savory/salty foods for dinner. I usually save the crisp for dessert and it is amazing. I drank a decent amount of wine on Thanksgiving as well. I feel like it goes very well with the food.

I also went to a tailor to get fitted for a tux. My waist measured 35 inches was sounded really big to me, considering I wear 32-33in pants. I looked it up and apparently, vanity sizing makes clothes smaller than they actually are. So your waist is always 2 inches bigger than your pants size. Kinda sketched me out though at the time, because I haven’t really noticed any fat gain recently, but usually when your waist size goes up that’s usually a fat gain issue. I don’t feel like I’ve gained fat, but may need to shed a few pounds of goo. I’m currently around 185lbs give or take a few pounds. May need to get the scale around 177-180lbs to get that waist measurement where I want it.

My workouts have been good and I’ve been getting very sore after every session. The only thing is sometimes I run out of energy before the end of my workout. The pump hasn’t been as good as the first time I did the workout. My best pump, strangely enough, has come from this workout I did in the past:

  • BB Bench 3×6 reps
  • Dips 3 x AMAP
  • Skulls 3×10 reps

Pretty simple, but it works.

Diet has been good, but nothing special. Still loosely tracking my intake, but apparently gained a few lbs of non-muscle. May add back in some cardio because I have been doing it maybe once a week. I plan to keep eating a lot of carbs though, because my energy really starts to drop when I take them out. May reduce dietary fat a little because I have been eating a lot more than usual recently. Probably close to around 70 grams a day sometimes more. Some fat is good for energy, but I don’t really need a ton of it. Cutting excess fat vs carbs helps my energy in and out of the gym.

Journal Entry 283 – Bench and Chins

Workout:

My strength is starting to go up after I made an important change on my rep range. Recently, I was trying to get 8 reps for 3 sets before moving up in weight. This was largely to keep form very good and not letting sloppy form take over when the weight was too heavy. I decided to drop the range to 3 sets of 6 reps to break a plateau and the difference has been dramatic. I’m already up 10lbs on the bench and 5lbs on Chins. The first time I benched 205lbs with 3 sets of 6 reps, I thought I had the wrong weight on the bar it felt so easy.  My workout is as follows:

  • Push (Day 1 / Day 2)
  • BB Bench Press 3 sets of 6 reps
  • DB INC Press 3 sets of 8 reps / Dips 3 sets of Max reps
  • Lateral Raises 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Flys 3 sets of 10 reps / Skull Crushers 3 sets of 10 reps

 

  • Pull (Both Days)
  • Chinups 3 sets of 6 reps
  • Preachers 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Face Pulls 3 sets of 10 reps
  • DB Curl 3 sets of 10 reps

I found this way of working out to be the best for my current schedule. I can easily complete this on my break from work. The first move takes the longest, but the last two are a breeze and I superset them. It’s also very easy to tweak certain things to keep strength going up.

I have also added in Cardio 2-3 days a week and I swear I feel like it made me stronger in my lifts. (At least last week)

Diet:

My weight is right around 185lbs right now. It fluctuates between 182-187lbs. I think I may have found a connection between processed sugar and my psoriasis flaring. Not necessarily carbs, but processed sugar. It was the same feeling I had when I had my Bachelor Party. I’ve been reducing, so my carbs are at more of a moderate range and I have increased fat and protein a little bit. Recently I have been eating Sardines, which are very good. They may stink, but they are nutritional powerhouses and have a really nice texture. I may try to cut out the excessive green vegetables and stick to more simple meals as well.

Life:

Last weekend Sarah had her bachelorette party. She was gone for 4 days, but I missed her a lot! While she was gone, I actually took off early on Saturday and went to the Wine Festival in Powhatan. It was actually pretty good.

Giants finally won a game last night. They actually played really well on defense. Offense still looked pretty inconsistent, but they scored a modest 13 points against a really good defense with a ton of injuries. So it could have been MUCH worse.

Journal Entry 282 – The End of Elite XT / Less Meat

Life:

I have used the same protein powder as my main source for probably around 5-6 years at this point. The changed the formula again that apparently is “new and improved.” Not even close. They completely changed the texture of the protein and now it basically looks and tastes like the cheap whey protein you can find at Walmart. It tastes way worse, has less protein, more carbs, and the BCAA profile is worse. It has also risen in price to $40 for 4lbs. It used to be $32 for 4.4 lbs and that was back when it actually tasted good. What a shame. 😦

I have recently switched to Cytosport 100% Whey Protein from Costco. Six pounds of protein for $39. That’s $0.50 a serving and about as good as it’s going to get for a high-quality protein powder. It doesn’t mix thick like Elite XT USED to mix, but it still tastes very good. Casein can also give a lot of digestive upset when consumed too frequently, so since this is 100% whey it avoids this.

I have been eating way less meat recently, so I really think it’s important to find a high-quality protein powder. After doing more research into factory farming and its dramatic impact on the planet, I really have found myself eating close to a vegetarian diet with very small amounts of meat. I don’t even think eating meat is a bad thing if you are hunting in the wild for fresh game. But this is far different from factory farming, where animals are seen as food and not animals. Unfortunately, if you buy meat at a grocery store or restaurant, then you are eating factory farming. I still eat some meat, but it is drastically reduced from where it used to be. Not to sound like a hippy, but I wonder how much better the planet would be doing if all livestock farming ended. Almost get to the point where if you want meat, you need to go out and hunt for it.

Workout:

I have decided to change up my workout to something entirely different than what I have done in the past, but still allow me enough to complete my workouts on my lunch break. I really want to increase my volume for size, but I also don’t want to burn out or spend hours in the gym. I have designed a workout where I mainly focus on one move a day and do lots of volume for that one move. I plan to do roughly 10 sets of each move each day for about 8 reps.

An example for Bench Press would be to warmup, then start with a weight I can get for about 8 reps. If this feels heavy, I take off weight and then get 8 reps with the new weight. I continue this pattern until I have done 10 sets. I did this on Saturday and got down to 155lbs on the 10th set. My arms were shaking afterward. I also seem to be able to get away with eating a lot more food training this way.

I also plan on doing at least 100 pushups every day (spread throughout the day) in addition to the one move of the day in the gym.

  • Sunday – Pushups only
  • Monday – Chinups 10 sets
  • Tuesday – Dips of Inc Press 10 sets plus pushups
  • Wednesday – Chinups mixed grips 10 sets plus pushups
  • Thursday – Bench Press 10 sets plus pushups
  • Friday – Chinups or Rows 10 sets plus pushups
  • Saturday – Bench Press 10 sets plus pushups

Diet:

As I have alluded to above, I’m eating much less meat than before. Protein is still adequate, but since I’m eating very quality whey protein, I need way less protein than you would think. The higher the quality the less you need overall. My carbs are pretty high, which is at least double the protein. Fat is always at a moderate level. I have been eating a ton of fruits and vegetables recently and make those the bulk of my diet.