I’m still trying to find a workout that provides the best returns for the time invested. I really don’t like going to the gym and feel like I’m wasting my time with ineffective exercises that are barely doing anything in terms of body composition and time spent doing them. Gone are the days when I enjoy spending hours in the gym. My day no longer revolves around my workout, so I really want to create a workout that hits everything I want to be hit and then I want to move on with my day. I literally want to get in and get out. I love the benefits working out provides and I fully plan on working out for the rest of my life, but these benefits can be achieved in about 30 minutes a day.
The best feeling for me in the gym is getting stronger. It’s instant feedback that you are doing something right. I designed a routine and schedule that I think will carry me into greatness at this point in my life.
MC’s Minimalist Routine:
Incline DB Bench Press 4 sets of 6-12 reps
Chinups 4 sets of AMAP with bodyweight
Dips 3 sets of AMAP with bodyweight
Isolation of choice 3 sets of 8-15 reps
Optional depending on time
This workout will be done Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. It gives me a solid 48 hours between workouts and then I hit it again. I will sub in barbell bench press once a week, but no more due to shoulder issues. My main goal is to get stronger and do more reps on all of these exercises. Don’t let this workout fool you though, it’s not easy. It’s simple on paper, but not easy. This workout can be completed in under 40 minutes, which makes it perfect for me. It also hits every muscle in the upper body. I will also do cardio a few times per week, mainly on the weekends. When Sarah and I move into our house, we are going to buy a treadmill. Once we do this I will likely run every day that I don’t lift.
I’m still playing around with diet, but it is high protein as always. I still backload most of my calories to dinner as well.
Sarah and I have also recently had an offer accepted on a house! We have both the inspection tomorrow and meet with the mortgage office to sign the loan. I have heard signing a loan is a miserable process, unfortunately, but we have to do it at some point.
Storm’s a brewing.
Whole eggs and chicken sausage.
Chicken sausage, steak-ums, greens.
Chicken, sushi, greens.
Kickback Jacks Wings.
Avocado chunks from Costco
Chicken burger with a whole egg, chicken sausage and avocado.
So I spent about one week on the carnivore diet. It was great at first and not great towards the latter end of the week. I really started to crave any type of sweets and there is no way I could ever do it long term. My calories were higher than normal and my fat intake was well over 100 grams a day. I wanted to keep it high on purpose to see if I noticed any additional benefit in terms of lifting or cardio. I did not.
The savory test of eggs and beef were great at first. After about 4 days, I wanted to eat anything but those foods. Cooking these foods also became a chore. Another huge negative to this diet was food volume or should I say the lack of it. When you cook a very large serving of 12oz of beef (90/10) it loses about 4-5oz in the cooking process. So you have about 600 calories worth of beef and it’s a pretty small serving of food. I was actually always hungry after my meals and these meals were both high in protein and fat. I really missed the large volume in my meals and felt pretty restricted. If you added anything on top of these meals such as guacamole or cheese or extra meat, your meal was easily close to 1000 calories and still very unsatisfying.
As excited I was to initially try it, my excitement was even higher to end it. It was worth a shot, but I think a diet consisting of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, some saturated fat, fish oil) is still the way to go and keeps cravings at bay and energy high. Deep down I knew this anyway but it was worth a shot.
My apartment gym’s dumbells only went up to about 50lbs until a week ago. They bought 2 100lb dumbbells and 2 70lb dumbbells, which allows me to do a lot more in the gym. Due to my failed diet experiment that was very unbalanced, I wanted to make the perfectly balanced workout routine. I’m going to do 3 full body workouts and 3 cardio workouts with one day off. Keep it simple :).
Beef and onions
Beef and broccoli
First non beef meal – chicken, veggies, sushi, dumplings.
Mellow Pizza – not the best I’ve had from there.
Birch Bender’s Paleo pancakes
Chicken Parmesean with spinach pasta
Yesterday’s cardio 6mph. Longest I’ve ran in awhile
Chicken, dumplings, sushi, broccoli. One of my favorite meals recently.
Not going to lie, I get very bored with training and dieting at certain points in my life. I almost have to change up what I do to prevent this from setting in. Training with low volumes and long rest periods can be fun when you are getting stronger week to week, but dear god it is boring. It’s like can I just hit the gym, get a great pump and move on with my day. It’s just so slow. Eating the same foods can be very similar to this. I start to eat the same foods over and over and crave them less and less and it all just gets so boring.
I’m going to wing it for the time being. I want to keep one boring strength day in the gym to keep my strength and the other days will be higher volume full body lifting. Cardio will be done when I have time, but I’m not going to stress about it.
As for nutrition, the same logic applies. I simply want to eat what I feel like eating without overeating on crap. Eat foods I enjoy and move on with life. The majority of the time I undereat during the day and eat more at night. This is by far the most enjoyable way of eating I have found. My stress levels tend to decrease when I eat like this. I usually have 2 protein puddings and some random stuff during the early part of my day for roughly 800-1000 calories. Then at night I eat whatever I want or feel that day. This eliminates cravings and doesn’t make you want to binge on the weekend or your cheat day. You are quite simply spreading all the food you like throughout the week and eating it in a much more enjoyable fashion. It also makes you appear more of an enjoyable person, who isn’t constantly obsessed with maintaining some lame diet plan that no one cares about.
Joe Rogan’s podcast continues to provide me with hours of entertainment
Age of Empires 3 is a great game
Carson Wentz is a BEAST! Really impressive to watch play. He’s a very accurate passer and tough runner.
Hokies are playing awesome!
Apparently, there is such a thing as a grey Jedi with a white lightsaber. They are neutral, who simply try to maintain the balance between the two sides. This is awesome.
Random pushups are incredible for an energy boost when you feel out of it.
Veggie burgers and sausage
Discount protein and Pumpkin Coffee from Trader Joe’s
I decided to stick with the full body approach vs the split routine. I did cardio on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. On Tuesday I did Full Body and I have done Full Body on Thursday, Friday and will finish on Saturday. I actually organized my workouts this week into a template that I really like. It’s fatiguing, but avoids super heavy weights in order to prevent neural (CNS) fatigue. I read a very interesting article (based on hypertrophy) that was talking about how you can overdo strength training and all your really doing is making your self super fatigued from stressing out the nervous system, while the muscles can actually handle way more volume. The way around this is to avoid heavy weights. Since I have the tendency to overdo it, I decided to stick with 10 reps to stay away from those heavier weights. I have been pretty sore, but it feels awesome to train this way.
My setup looks like this:
Push Move – 5 sets of 10 reps (one of the below)
BB Bench, INC DB Bench, BB Shoulder Press
Pull Move – 5 sets of 10 reps (one of the below)
TBar Rows, DB Rows, Chinups
Legs Move – 5 sets of 10 reps (one of the below)
BB Squats, Leg Press, Lunges
Upper Shoulders – 5 sets of 10 reps (one of the below)
Lateral Raise, Rear Delt Raise, Shrugs
Fluff – 3 sets of 12- 20 reps (pure pump) (one exercise for each)
This routine has a lot of volume, but due to the reps being lighter and staying the hell away from heavy weights, its actually very fun to do. My midweek workout was all on machines which was alright, but I do like using free weights for at least 2 of the 3 main moves. Hard to tell, but I usually do free weights with 2 out of the 3 main movements and a lighter move for the third. For example, if I did INC DB Bench for Push and DB Rows for Pull then I did a lighter leg press move so I don’t overwork myself.
I do 3 of those in a row during my weekend and one during the week. I think going above 4 days may lead to some burn out. I do some big eating after these workouts to compensate. One thing I don’t do though is overdo it on carbs. I really don’t think you need to stuff yourself with excess carbs to recover and grow. I do think you need some but just balance it out with the rest of your diet. I think I’m done with the whole “refeed” like crazy after your workouts. I just eat the same all the time, which is just straight balanced. Also I have heard the more you do Keto, have a history of low calorie diets or your genes are subpar, then you are far more efficient with glucose than others. Meaning I may not need nearly as much as other people. Anecdotally I have noticed this. Yet protein seems to be an endless fuel for me and I feel fantastic after eating higher protein meals. So instead of leaving protein the same or even lowering it on a bulk like many people do. I plan on raising it, while still keeping moderate carbs and fat in my diet. Just they way I like to do it ;).
New go to breakfast though which almost always ends up being my preworkout meal. Two 100 calorie packets of oatmeal (roughly 30 carbs) cooked in 1 cup of water for 1-2 mins in microwave. Mix in 1 scoop of protein powder after cooked and top with berries. This mean has like 350 calories and literally is like rocket fuel for the gym. Its also very volumetric and if you get the cooking down, it tastes like cake. I also noticed after eating this and hitting the gym I’m literally full for like 7 hours after eating it. Pretty amazing to be honest. I then usually feast at night on protein and veggies and have a big protein type dessert.
Another week of a relatively sporadic exercise schedule in terms of organization, but consistent in terms of hitting something everyday. I lifted about 4 days this week and ran the other three.
Cardio has become sort of a sanctuary for me recently. I can be completely alone, zoned out, decrease my anxiety, increase energy and positivity and it takes a whopping 10-30 minutes a day to achieve this. It has become almost a sort of meditation for me. I love it. I plan to keep in at least 3 dedicated cardio only days in my plan. When I say “alone” my gym as become sort of overcrowded here recently and sometimes its hard to hit the “zone” when you have so many people in the way. When I go running I’m the only one on the treadmill, so I can hit this meditation without fail. I would like to hit a 3 day split so I can have at least 4 cardio days.
I am on the fence between two routines at the moment. One is a 3 day full body setup. The other is a 4 day split routine. I have noticed heavy lifting too many days in a row saps me of energy. Which is why I will either to 3 days of every other day lifting (strongly leaning towards this) or a 2 on 1 off 1 on 1 off type approach. That way a rest day (or cardio only day) will be inserted in between heavy lifting sessions. The 4 day routine will be a basic bodybuilder split of chest/tri, back/bis, legs/abs, shoulders/arms. The 3 day full body workout will have 4 moves a major push, pull, legs and a compound – isolation move at the end:
Example – (each day is different in terms of exercises but the same in terms of layout)
Trapbar Deadlift – Legs
DB Inc Press – Push
Chinups – Pull
Dips – Compound Isolation
4 x 8 reps with a single weight. If 30-32 reps are achieved increase weight next workout.
Easy enough. Always a big fan of simplicity.
On lifting days, I will do 10 minutes of running and the other days will be 30-60 minutes of straight cardio at 6 mph on a treadmill. May not sound like fun, but I have come to love it.
Diet wise has been roughly 2300 calories a day. Roughly 200 carbs / 200 protein and 50 fat and some alcohol :). This is a very loose estimate as well. Probably was a bit higher than this to be honest.
Mellow Mushroom Pretzles
Mellow Mushroom Jerk Chicken Salad with light ranch
Next week is my final week of training at work and I will move back to my old schedule soon. I will likely only be here for a month before returning to the 9-6 schedule but unfortunately going to have to transition back once again to a different schedule. My workout split will stay the same though.
Last week I was able to squat 250lbs for 6 reps and then 225lbs for 9 8 6 reps. Bench press was 200lbs for 4 reps and then 185lbs for 8 6 reps. Bench is slowly going up, but still slower than I would like. I actually went to the gym Wednesday morning instead of after work and it was empty for the most part. Since I only go one day a week I may have to make this a routine thing once my schedule changes back.
I may have to reduce the volume from 4 sets to 3 sets on my main moves though. Leg day destroyed me to be honest and on paper it was not a whole lot of volume but was very intense. Also from Sunday to Tuesday afternoon this week, I feel like I had chronic fatigue syndrome. I have no clue why. Nothing really changed, except a high calorie day with a decent amount of alcohol on Saturday night. But it almost didn’t make sense how bad I felt. I was also holding extra water of around 5-8lbs and weighing in at 177lbs. Not sure what the problem was, but it quickly dropped back down to 172lbs where it stands now.
Diet this week was 180 grams of carbs 160 grams of protein and 45 grams of fat; Calories were around 1890 calories. Pretty status quo to be honest haha.
First week back at a full time job after 3 months off. This week was a typical 9-6 shift and next week will be the same. I woke up at 6:20 am every morning and either walked for an hour or lifted for an hour. The gym is wide open at this time and I love it. Waking up that early definitely takes getting used to though and wasn’t easy every day. I will soon have to wake up at 5:20 every day, so 6:20 is a good warm-up to prepare for that. 😉
My typical day looks like this:
Wake up at 6:20am
Make coffee and protein shake
Get to gym by 7:00-:7:10
Workout and finish by 8:20-8:30
Drive to work (3 mins away from gym)
Work til 12pm
Work til 6pm
Drive home and take shower
6:50pm – Make Dinner
9:00pm Protein dessert
Bed by 10:30-11
Again my actual schedule will be different and I will have to be at work by 6am and off at 3pm. So I will obviously workout at 3pm instead of the early morning. Beside a tremendous drop off in free time, it hasn’t been too bad. Work is straight training at the moment, which can be stressful because I’m trying to pack in a lot of knowledge (finance) all at once. I had a decent understanding of finance, but nothing this heavy in it.
Increased my 45 deg leg press up to 360lbs this week, squats are at 225lbs, but wasn’t able to increase. Bench at 190lbs and I’m very close to increasing that up. Chinups about the same. DB rows at 110s for heavy and 100s for moderate.
This week I subbed in DB Bench press for BB seated press, but I may change that back. I also really like DB rows more than Barbell rows for a lot of reasons, but the main one is I just feel it much better in my back and I can use heavier weight.
Been drinking a protein shake every morning for breakfast after I workout and drinking lots of coffee throughout the morning/day. Lunch was variable this week and I ate out every day, but most of what I ate was pretty low calorie and easy to track. In the afternoon I usually have a quest bar, beef jerky and some pop chips. My office provides a lot of free good and drinks for the employees. Then dinner is usually very high in protein, followed by protein pudding for dessert. I did a higher carb day on Tuesday and ate 4 servings of gluten free pasta for dinner. I plan on making the weekend higher in calories, since I have more time to eat and a bigger appetite in general.
Meat and veggies with Crab rangoon.
Meat and veggies
Morning shake. Use a thermal container to keep it cold.
4 servings of gluten free pasta with meat and veggies. Sauce on the side
Which wich – bowlwich with chicken tons of veggies and croutons. I got low calorie mayo on the side, which I’m not sure was correct because it tasted amazing.
8oz of meat 3 servings of veggies
Cobb salad from Martins
New desk. This also has a button that allows you to stand or sit if you wish.