feast

Journal Entry 318 – Just Keep Getting Stronger / Diet Philosophy Update / This is a Long One

Recently, I have been getting stronger on one of the most minimalist lifting routines known to mankind. After looking at my workout logs today, I have increased my bench press from 185lbs for around 6-8 reps to 225lbs for 6-8 reps. This increase of 40lbs has been done over the course of around 2 months. When people ask me how I am getting so much stronger, I tell them my routine and they act very surprised when they hear it. “Wait, you’re benching 3 times a week?” “You’re lifting every day?” “That’s all the volume, you’re doing?” “Where is legs?” Name a comment and I have heard it. At this point in my life, I do not care about looking like a bodybuilder and honestly except for a few points in my life never really wanted to. I like to look muscular don’t get me wrong, but looking muscular and strong and looking like a bodybuilder are two different things.

Bodybuilding is incredibly boring and monotonous. I just have no interest in it anymore, but I still love lifting and increasing my strength. It’s very rewarding to go into the gym and continually get stronger. Also, if you don’t go to the gym at all, please don’t ask me why I don’t train legs. I have my reasons. But if you don’t exercise or lift at all, then you don’t have a leg day either. So you really have no room to talk or criticise what I am doing.

Anyway, I love the results I have been getting recently. Simplifying the complex is always something I take great joy in. The only thing I have not been getting stronger on is chin-ups. So, just like the bench press, I’m going to start doing them every day. Here is my routine at the moment:

  • Day 1
    • Barbell Bench press 3 sets of 6-8 reps (Current 225lbs)
    • Chinups 3 sets of max reps
    • Cable Crunches (Heavy) 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Day 2
    • Dumbbell Incline Bench 30 deg 3 sets of 6-8 reps (Current 90lbs DBs each)
    • Chinups 3 sets of max reps
    • Cable Crunches 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Day 3  (Or off if I feel like I need a break – usually don’t take an off day)
    • Dips or Pushups 3 sets of max reps
    • Chins 3 sets of max reps
    • Cable Crunches 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Repeat
  • Weekend Routine
    • Pushups 5 sets of max reps
    • Chinups 5 sets of max reps
    • Prisoner Squats 5 sets of 25 reps (See I do train legs)
  • Weekend Alternative (If I feel like I need to take the day off)
    • Cardio for 30 minutes (usually once a week)
    • OR
    • Yardwork

Pretty simple. The daily volume is low for sure. But the weekly volume actually adds up. Day 3 acts almost as a rest day for me from heavy lifting. I think the biggest reason why this works though is the increased frequency and lower volume per day. I’m never overly sore with this routine and soreness is highly overrated. If you want to get good at something, would you do it every day or only once or twice a week? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Diet Update

Just like lifting, I have tried a lot of different diet schemes over the years. This blog is proof of that. I have found certain things that seem to work for me no matter what. My diet is probably more organized than most, but far from perfect. I had a consult with Menno Henselmans not too long ago and he subtly insulted my diet at the time. It kind of p*ssed me off, because I thought it was pretty good, but apparently not up to his standards. At this point in time, I could care less what an expert thinks of my diet. If you study nutrition long enough, you will notice that there are plenty of nutrition experts that are saying polar opposite things in terms of what they think is healthy and optimal. I’m smart enough in this area to form my own opinions, just like I did with my lifting routine. Once I finally stopped listening to other people or “experts” and designed my own routine based on my goals, I actually started to get results.

My current diet is as follows most of the time:

  • Go to work
  • 2-3 12oz Coffee’s with Cream and Splenda
  • Protein Shake – 25 grams of protein
  • Gym – 2 Hardboiled Eggs with pink salt before lifting
  • Protein Shake – 25 grams of protein
  • Get off work
  • Dinner – 3/4 pound of meat (usually 93/7) and 2 servings of vegetables with cheese and some kind of sauce
  • Dessert – Protein Pudding or Protein Shake with Berries

There are a few points I want to bring up here.

  • Notice the carbs are very low. You do NOT need carbs to grow muscle or strength. It is a huge myth. You want a workout secret weapon: SODIUM. Sodium and carbs have VERY similar functions in the body. The reason many people complain of lifting on low carb diets is because sodium gets flushed out with the lower insulin levels. The solution would be to eat a lot more salt. This way you can maintain and get stronger on your lifts and get cut at the same time.
  • The calories in this diet are not high. It provides me with enough protein and fat, but very little carbs. This is because during the week I want to use some of my body fat as fuel source. If you eat too much this is impossible. Excess carbs also obscure definition and make me feel and look bloated.
  • The above is what I consider a Control Day. This day is meant to be consistent and lower calorie in order to keep losing fat. I like to maintain lower body fat, so these days are essential. I have about 3-4 of these lower calorie days each week.
  • Here are some tips that I have always found incredibly useful through my years of dieting:
    • Drink caffeine throughout the day. It increases drive, focus, boosts your metabolic rate and accelerates fat burning. It is also one hell of a pre-workout. (Note – I’m referring to coffee. Not the BS supplements that GNC sells.)
    • Undereat during the day. Undereating shuttles more fuel to your brain and greatly assists you with a cognitively demanding job. Too much food can not only leave you feeling bloated, but mess up your mental focus.
    • Eat a big meal at night. You can’t have a fast without the feast. The feast will replenish you for the day to come and will help you sleep better. Try sleeping on an empty stomach and see how well that works out for you. (Not good.)
    • Eat a higher protein diet. Enough said.
    • Animal foods are  > (greater than)  plant foods. Due to the way humans digest food, animal based foods can result in much better assimilation of nutrients and relieve digestive issues fairly quickly versus if you eat too many plants/grains/carbs. Not that you should be a carnivore, but the diet can be a godsend for some people.
    • Save carbs for dinner. This plays into the factors I talked about above, but I feel like most people should eat under 150g of carbs a day. If you eat zero carbs during the day, you can still smash some Mellow Mushrooom Pizza at night and be under your 150g mark.
    • Have at least 3 Control days in your week. I explained these above, but the benefits of these are immense. By going low calorie during your week, especially 3 times a week, your diet will automatically include healthier foods and you really can start to make a dent into your fat stores on a weekly basis, without sacrificing too much else the rest of the week.
    • Too much fiber is bad. Besides from the obvious reason of being overly bloated and gassy, too much fiber can bind to important nutrients and render them useless. Some is good more is not better. Yes, this includes my beloved Quest Bars, which I have cut down to once a week.
    • Never take a food you love out of your diet. There is a time and a place for everything. Anytime a person goes on a diet, where they completely exclude something, 99% of the time, they are a ticking time bomb until they give into that craving. If I tell you that you can’t eat pizza ever again, you will dream about pizza until the day you finally eat it again. This again plays into the beauty of Control Days and also undereating during the day. You still have 4 days a week where you can pretty much eat whatever at dinner and since you underate during the day, you have a pretty large amount of food and calories you can play around with. That is winning in my book.
    • I personally think alcohol once or twice a week is great for a human when consumed responsibly. Alcohol directly influences GABA in the brain and can “take the edge off” and help you relax. After a hard week of working this can be a godsend for people. Alcohol is obviously a social drink, so best consumed with friends, which can relax you ever more.

This post was way longer than I was expecting, but I had a lot I wanted to say!

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Journal Entry 247 – Thanksgiving Aftermath

Average Weight –

  • Last Week – 180lbs
  • This Week – 176lbs

Routine this Week:

  • Sunday – 50 minutes of cardio / high rep lifting
  • Monday – 45 minutes of cardio
  • Tuesday – 30 minutes of cardio / Back and Biceps
  • Wednesday – 35 minutes of cardio
  • Thursday – 30 minutes of cardio / Shoulders and Traps
  • Friday – 20 minutes of cardio / Arms
  • Saturday (Today) – 30 minutes of cardio / high rep lifting

Average Nutrition –

  • Last Week – 2600 Calories / Protein 140g / Carbs 300g / Fat 85g / Fiber 40g
  • This Week – 1952 Calories / Protein 150g / Carbs 225g / Fat 63g / Fiber 52g

I missed last week’s post due to Thanksgiving and lots of travel. I went to North Carolina on Wednesday, down to South Carolina on Thursday and then back to North Carolina on Friday. We stayed most of the day Saturday and returned to Virginia Saturday night. I had a lot of errands and football watching to do on Sunday, so I didn’t have much time to post.

The eating was a straight up feast though for 4 days last weekend. Saturday was by far my lowest calorie day. Wednesday through Friday was full of all kinds of junk. Cheese dips, crackers, taco dip, apple crisp, deep fried turkey, stuffing, and countless desserts. The average nutrition I posted below was a simple estimate. It was most likely far worse.;)

This week I really wanted to clear some bloat and water weight, which I more or less did. 4lbs of scale weight, but I also look way better than last week. I ran at least 3 miles every day, except for yesterday. The only reason is because I went Christmas shopping and had a ton of walking already and hit the gym late, so I just felt like doing one mile. The reason I didn’t have a chest day this week was because I hit it on Saturday of the previous week.

I haven’t been going to the “real” gym expect for a couple days a week. I have mainly been using Sarah’s apartment gym in the mornings out of convenience. For shoulders and arms this is very doable, but chest and back workouts can get very limited in this gym. I may just start driving to Gold’s early so I can get some better lifts in again.

At the moment I have been doing a bro split with one muscle group a day. The main reason for this is because I want to run 3 miles a day and this is the only way I can squeeze a lifting session into a 30-minute block of time to keep the workout at a total of one hour. I have been reducing rest periods and lifting quicker. I always lift after I run due to personal preference. I haven’t been feeling the super heavy weights and greatly prefer the volume of 8-12 reps right now. The great thing about this range is you need way less down-time between sets and can move fast. I’m usually drenched after my workout and after I take a shower feel like a million dollars.

Journal Entry 244 – Getting Organized

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

I plan the schedule to look like this:

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

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

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

Diet is as follows:

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

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

Journal Entry 188

Log:

5/23 – 172.4lbs – 3000 calories eaten – 9500 steps – 4.63 miles

5/24 – 174.4lbs – 2200 calories eaten – 4900 steps – 2.4 miles

5/25 – Missed – 2200 calories eaten – 9956 steps – 4.7 miles

5/26 – Missed – 2100 calories eaten – 13160 steps – 6.2 miles

5/27 – 175.2lbs – 2250 calories eaten – 7700 steps – 3.7 miles

5/28 – 175.8lbs – 2200 calories eaten – 6400 steps – 3 miles

5/29 – 176.2lbs – 2300 calories eaten – 12800 steps – 6 miles

Average Weight – 174.8 lbs – Average Calorie Intake 2300 calories – Average Body Temperature – 97.2 degrees (Morning)

Blog:

So my average temperatures this week were around 97.2 degrees which is .6 degrees better than last week. Definelty trending in the right direction and I have noticed reduced soreness from lifting and better overall energy levels. My goal is to keep slowly increasing calories until my temperature hits roughly 98.6. I will say though that my temperature has reached 98.6 at different points in the day and usually increases well beyond 97.2 after certain points in the day.

My split this week was Push on Saturday, Legs on Sunday, Monday was rest, Tuesday was Pull, Wednesday was Push, Thursday was Legs and Friday was off. Sets were mainly 3 although I went 4 on some exercises and reps were kept right around 8-10 reps for the most part.

My diet was kept pretty similar to my normal routine. I usually have 2 low calorie meals for breakfast and lunch with high protein, small amounts of fat and fruit or vegetables then I have a huge dinner to make up the rest of my calories. Basically it looks like this:

  • Breakfast – Two scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of berries, half a quest bar
  • Lunch – 5oz of lean meat, 1 hardboiled egg, 2oz of imitation crab meat, 2-3 cups of greens and 1 laughing cow cheese wedge
  • Snack – Half of Pure protein bar, 1 4-5oz apple and maybe .5-1oz of beef jerkey
  • Dinner – What ever is left. Every night is different. Most of the time its potatoes and meat, but this week was pizza one night, wine and bbq chicken with baked beans another night and chinese low fat fried rice with meat and vegetables another night.
  • Dessert – 1 cup of almond milk with 2 tbs of fat free/sugar free jello pudding (various flavors) and 1/3 cup of frozen berries and finish quest bar (this is really good and turns into a pudding)
  • I’ll also throw in a banana or at least half of one with some of my meals

This way of eating works very well for me. I like to keep the first half of the day low calorie, because it keeps energy very high during the day. It also allows me to get in most of protein and fat and vitamins and then have a big meal at night. Usually I have at least 1000 calories to play with at night sometimes over that. This allows me to keep my early meals consistent and my dinners a little more varied.

I also think there is some nutrient partitioning benefits to eating this way. Basically keep the body in a somewhat depleted state during the day (meaning low calories and low amounts of fat and carbs) and then replenish at night right before bed. I also noticed a high protein breakfast, meaning over 40 grams or so can shutdown your appetite for the whole day. Its almost fail proof. Sometimes I get home and I’m not ever hungry. This makes my diet very enjoyable, because in the past when I tried to add in calories at earlier meals, such as including oatmeal and banana at breakfast and rice at lunch, I would noticed my hunger would increase and I would be hungry all day. Not the case with my current diet.

Eating in this fashion also works very well with being social, because you can easily go out and fit in something from any restaurant and get it under 1000 calories.

I’m aiming for roughly 250 carbs / 60 fat / 180 protein and around 22-2400 calories. I’m not tracking this with the goal of hitting exactly those numbers though. Its more an approximation. I also have some alcoholic drinks every now and then so that will also throw my numbers off, but it’s all good.

Pics from the week:

Bertuccis Calzone

Bertuccis Calzone

Left over Calzone with lean meat and veggies

Left over Calzone with lean meat and veggies

Lean meat and squash with vegetables

Lean meat and squash with vegetables

BBQ chicken on a potato roll with baked beans

BBQ chicken on a potato roll with baked beans

Lean meat, veggies and potatoes

Lean meat, veggies and potatoes

Lean meat, veggies and vegetable fried rice (low fat) with a crab rangoon and steamed dumplings

Lean meat, veggies and vegetable fried rice (low fat) with a crab rangoon and steamed dumplings

Homemade pizza with organic trader joes crust and low fat marinara, pepperoni and chicken (tasted alright, but probably wont make again)

Homemade pizza with organic trader joes crust and low fat marinara, pepperoni and chicken
(tasted alright, but probably wont make again)