Journal Entry 213 -Protein is King

Another week on my 3 day full body split and really enjoying it. I was able to increase almost every lift yet again and leg movements have felt almost easy to me. Usually on leg exercises I bump the weight up by at least 10 lbs and upperbody gets moved up 5lbs each workout.

Squats 205 x6,6,6,6 so moving to 215 next workout.  Lunges 50lb db’s for 4 sets of 10 reps. I was shocked at how easily I knocked those out. Moving up to 55lbs in each hand next workout. Trap bar deadlifts were the last workout and I did 215lbs for 4 sets of 10 reps, so I will hit 225 reps next workout.

All of my push movements I was able to pick up a few reps, but BB seated press was the only one I could increase to the next weight. Still working with 185lbs for BB bench for 4 sets of 6reps, 110lbs for seated BB shoulder press and 75lbs in each hand for low incline press for 4-5 sets of 40 reps goal.

Pulling movements, BB row I’m able to increase to 145lbs next workout after knocking out 140lbs for 40 reps. Chinups are slowly increasing and I was able to pick up a few reps on each day but not enough to increase the total weight.

As for arms, shoulders and abs; I’m still working with 80lbs for BB curls and got 32 reps, so sticking with that next week. Dips increased again and will use 15lbs added next week. I’m putting the weight between my feet instead of using a belt for this workout though. Helps keep my body straightened and I actually feel it more in my chest this way. Lateral raises I’m up to 20lbs for a 40 reps goal and both reverse crunch and cable crunch were significantly increased from last week. On reverse crunch I just move the setting up a little, so I can get more of a steeper incline.

On all days I shoot for about 10000 steps a day through walking. I usually get closer to 12-13000 steps a day right now, mainly because I have more time on my hands.

My calories have been averaging about 1800-2000 calories a day and I haven’t weighed myself in roughly 2 weeks. The last time I did I was around 175lbs on a doctors scale for a checkup. My scale is broken and I will likely buy another one, but I feel like I just dont need it right now. I have been getting stronger and continue to lose body fat. I know this due to the mirror and the way my clothes fit. My 32″ pants feel much more comfortable then they did after my 3 month hiatus of not really tracking anything haha. I estimate my intake during this time was around 24-2500 calories a day, but that was an estimation. I was playing around with low protein intakes during this time, because apparently “you didn’t need that much” and ate more carbs and fats as a result. I also added in some alcohol into my diet. But basically I would track 2400 calories, but in reality it could have been far greater, because I wasn’t exactly tracking very closely. The results showed too. After I got back from my cruise, I’ve almost had tunnel vision getting back to my ways. I should mention though, this is a relative “out of shape.” I like to stay pretty lean almost all the time, because of personal preference. So anytime I gain weight, I notice immediately and my pants feel tight and definition is blurred. For me this unacceptable. I also noticed that even though my calories were higher, my lifts weren’t moving at all. So basically I was building fat and not muscle.

These last 3 weeks I’ve noticed a lot about what personally works for me. High protein, moderate carb, low fat seems to be the holy grail for my body. I have played around with a lot of different things and I’m glad I did them, because I know they don’t work for me. This way of eating is simple, focus on protein foods for all meals, throw in some fruits and vegetables and add in small amounts of fats at each meal. My energy and strength has never been better. I’m also having a much easier time leaning out with this diet. Maybe the high thermic effect, but I have tried a similar diet with a low fat intake, but focused on carb foods and less on protein and the results weren’t nearly as good. In my humble opinion, I really think it has to do with fuel utilization.

I can eat as much protein as I want and not put an ounce of body fat on. I dont get bloated with protein and digest it very well. It reduces my appetite and cravings, especially for carbs. I find it painfully easy to eat this way and my energy and strength in the gym is never better. During times of stress or dieting more protein has been shown to be very effective at helping the body recover and I have noticed these benefits. Soreness is very light and I’m able to progress much faster between workouts. Again this is protein magic in my opinion. I was on the same routine with more calories and carbs and fats and it didn’t do anything good for me.

At the moment my goal is just to focus on protein foods and veggies. This is the foundation of my diet. I’m ditching a lot of the added fat sources for now, like guacamole, fatty cheeses, whole eggs, added oils. I need some fat, but seem to look a lot leaner without these things. I plan on keeping my fat intake around 40-50 grams, which seems to work best for me. Anytime I play around with high fat intakes, my calories tend to be hard to hit, appetite actually goes up and I dont really notice any benefits, except a softer appearance.

Carbs have been mainly from fruits and vegetables. My intake of those has been roughly 100-160g a day. This seems to work very well for me. I occasionally throw in some bread, but typically dont eat too much starch. Don’t really need it either, just tends to slow me down.

My calories on an ideal day at the moment is 1800 calories – 200g protein / 135g of carbs 50g of fat. This is usually what my routine diet looks like:

  • Meal 1 – 2 scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of berries, 3/4 tbsp of peanut butter, coffee with splenda and half and half
  • Supplements – Creatine 5g, Glycine 5g, Fish Oil 1.8g of EPA/DHA, Vitamin D, Pregnelone 30mg, Magensium
  • Meal 2 – 6-8oz of meat (chicken, tuna, seafood, pork tenderloin, red meat, 5-6 egg whites with 1 whole egg) 1 low fat cheese wedge, 3 servings of green vegetables, some type of low calorie sauce
  • Meal 3 – Quest bar and half of a pure protein bar
  • Meal 4 – Same as Meal 2
  • Meal 5 – Casein protein powder with berries and some fat free redi whip

This is still a very balanced diet in my opinion it’s just that protein has precedence over everything else, meaning the focus is on protein and everything else naturally falls into place. Also I have been rotating my protein sources a lot. Meaning I try to get a different meat at each meal, just to prevent burning out on a certain type. I also never go below 40 grams of fat a day. If I’m lower than this I’ll add in some peanut butter at the end of the day. A little fat goes a long way. I almost always hit enough fat though, so it’s not an issue. Most protein foods always have some fat in them.

I should also mention that in addition to bumping up the protein, I’ve also been taking creatine. This could be another reason for my strength gains. I’m at a very interesting point right now though, so I’m going to ride it out as long as I can.

Forgot to mention as well, In my article low carb limbo, My goal was to hit at least 12-1300 calories a day worth of GLUCOSE calories. Eating 100-150g of carbs and 200 grams of protein or more easily hits that. This is another reason why dietary fat needs to be reduced. As I alluded to earlier, I think making protein the most important thing and making sure I eat enough glucose has been the main reason I’ve been able to increase my strength in a deficit.

A lot of my pictures didn’t show up on my pc for some reason, but here is a couple:

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Journal Entry 211 – New Diet and Workout Approach

Being unemployed has give me a lot of time to research questions and topics I never quite fully understood before. For example, if low carb is so effective then why do you need a minimum of 1-2 refeeds a week to prevent your metabolism from crashing? Do refeeds actually work? Is keto a good approach and how do you do it? Can you build muscle and burn fat simultaneously and if you can how exactly do you pull it off? Is full body or split training more effective? Why do some people get better results with the same program and others don’t? What plan will take my body my to the next level and end this plateau? How do I prevent the weekends from destroying my progress?

Luckily I found answers to most of those questions and have planned a new approach to encompass all of them.

After doing a 5 day split last week with one body part each day, I came to a realization. Almost no one needs to spend that much time on one body part. Sure people do it and get results, but it takes an enormous amount of time and isn’t necessary in the least. When I go to the gym, I want to feel like I worked out. When I go in and do one body part, I end up doing way too much volume per body part, because I feel like I’m just not working hard enough. It’s like this feeling on dissatisfaction. With Fullbody workouts its quite the opposite. Usually towards the end I’m struggling to finish and after I feel really satisfied after putting in a lot work. With fullbody you only lift 3 times a week, but each session is incredible. With a 5 day split, demotivation starts to set in and going to the gym feels like a chore. Especially when I get there and have been lifting for an hour and feel like I just wasted my time because there’s only so many lateral raises you can do on shoulder day. I was reading a workout that Chad Waterbury came out with and modified it to my liking. I did this past week and it was the best thing I have done in years of lifting. It also pushed me harder than I’ve been pushed in a long time.

The Workout routine and details:

This plan is a fullbody workout done 3 times a week. There are two moderate rep days and one heavy day.

The instructions are as follows:

  • Each workout has a Push, Pull and Legs exercise to start the workout and is the core focus. These change each day of the week.
  • Each day has either a heavy rep day or a moderate rep day. The heavy rep day is one day a week and consists of finding your 6 rep max on each exercise. The moderate days (2 a week) consist of finding your 8-9 Rep Max on each exercise.
  • On the heavy day your have a rep goal of 24 reps. This means you take as many sets as necessary to reach 24 reps. You also rest a max of one minute between sets. This means it could take you ten sets to hit 24, but you can’t move to the next exercise without hitting that number. Heavy weights and short rest times are not easy, but it pushes you to do more work in less time.
  • The moderate day is set up the exact same way, except your rep goal is 40 reps, since the weight is lighter.
  • Progression is reached once you are able to hit your rep goals within 4 sets on heavy day and 5 sets on moderate day. Once you are able to complete all reps within 4-5 sets, then increase the weight, following the same instructions.
    • Example – Moderate Day Chinups – 8 reps, 7, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2 (41 reps hit, but it took 10 sets)
    • Example 2 – DB Inc Bench Press – 65lbs each – 10 reps, 8, 8, 7, 7 (40 reps hit within 5 sets, increase the weight next time)
      • Also if you hit like 38-39 reps within 5 sets then likely an increase in weight next time is necessary.

I have never worked out in fashion such as this, but it was awesome. My abs have never been this sore and the workout selection is very minimalist style. Here is the workout below, modified to my liking:

  • Day 1 – Heavy 6 RM
    • BB Squats
    • Bench Press
    • Chinups
    • Cable Crunch
    • Rear Delt machine
  • Day 2 – Moderate 8-9RM
    • DB Lunge
    • Barbell Shoulder Press (seated)
    • Barbell Row
    • Barbell Curl
    • Reverse Crunch
  • Day 3 – Moderate 8-9 RM
    • Trap-Bar Deadlift
    • DB Incline Press
    • Chinups
    • Dips
    • DB Lateral Raises

Very, very simple exercise selection. The last two exercises are what I consider to be optional, but very valuable isolation movements to include. Chinups are very difficult to do after deadlifts on day 3. It took me awhile to finish those haha. I haven’t been this sore in awhile to be honest. This workout as simple as it looks is not easy though. The volume can get pretty high and if you’re not sore the next day then you picked the wrong weight or didn’t follow the rest period of one minute max. My rest days include some bodyweight exercises, stretching and walking, but nothing overly taxing.

Total weekly volume is right around 100 reps or so for each body part, maybe slightly more for certain body parts. This seems to be enough for hypertrophy to occur without overkill on the volume.

I wrote a post this morning that kind of went over where my diet is headed. Calories will be around 1800 a day with protein and carbs totaling at least 1300 calories a day and fat at around 40-50grams. Carbs and Protein will be around 165 grams a piece. I would like to be leaner than I am now because for a couple of months I haven’t been as on “top of my game” as I would have liked. Not that I got out of shape or anything, but not as lean I as I like to be. My cheat days were becoming more common and it would set me back a few days. I will probably keep protein slightly higher and carbs slightly lower out of personal preference.

On an unrelated note, Creed may have been the best movie I have seen in a long time. Incredible acting and storyline. Also found it to be incredibly motivation personally.

Also Giants decided to lose to the Redskins this week. They could have literally walked into the playoffs, but decided to lose instead and will likely miss the playoffs, because their remaining schedule is very difficult. Good job Giants. 😉

Some pics from the week:

 

Journal Entry 208 – Halloween

Halloween Costume
Halloween Costume

Pretty active week for me last week. Hit a lot of steps and averaged about 14000 a day. Halloween was this weekend, so this past weekend wasn’t the healthiest in terms of nutrition, but it was a good time. I went as Spiderman and my other friends went as the Avengers.

Strength has been more or less the same here recently. Still hitting around 190lbs for 3 sets of 5-8 reps on bench. Chinups and Dips are more or less the same, but if anything they have slightly increased.

Hit a low weigh in of roughly 169lbs this Saturday. My diet recently has been pretty relaxed in terms of food choices, but I have a few simple guidelines I have been following. Sunday through Thursday I try to hit anywhere between 1700-2000 calories. The goal here is to burn fat all week. Friday is a maintenance intake and Saturday is a cheat day. Last Saturday was 3500 calories (at least that’s what I wrote down haha). This template just seems to work very well for me and allows a high degree of flexibility worked in. Averaged out over a week, calories were 2150 and macros were 145 protein / 200 carbs / 60 grams of fat.

Lunch is usually my biggest meal of the day and has most of my carbs and fat. I do this mainly because its the meal I enjoy the most and have the most time to make and eat. Its also right after I exercise. Dinner is has been kind of small here recently and usually is just protein, veggies and some hummus.

Giants put up 49 points and lost this week. Eli put up 350 yards and 6 touchdowns and Beckham caught 3 tds for 130 yards. Should have won, but awesome game to watch.

Some pics from the week:

Eggs and rice
Eggs and rice
Calamari and veggies
Calamari and veggies
Greatness
Greatness
PF Changs my new favorite restaturant
PF Changs my new favorite restaturant
Calzone
Calzone
My neighborhood walk view
My neighborhood walk view
Fall
Fall
Tequila with Diet Sierra Mist
Tequila with Diet Sierra Mist
Omelete with veggies
Omelete with veggies
Meat and veggies
Meat and veggies

Journal Entry 207 – Making Changes

My first workout after the San Diego trip was not very good. My strength was very lacking and I’m really not sure why. Its not like the calories were low during my trip, although it wasn’t exactly healthy food either. Kind of frustrating to be honest, considering I was on a roll with strength gains and then that trip knocked me off course. I also had to spend the next week cutting calories, because I ate and drank a little too much on that trip. 😉

One thing I noticed to when I eat bad for few days in a row is I will start to feel incredibly lazy and I noticed my skin looks way worse. Almost get to see what a typical american that does not workout feels like on an almost daily basis. As soon as I got back I was eager to get back to my normal diet and was really craving healthy foods too.

So this weeks workouts were not very good. I still want to stick to my full body plan though done 3 days a week. The amount of time this saves me is amazing. I also really like walking on the other days, because I find it incredibly restorative for my mind and mood. I actually did a chest/back workout on Wednesday, because my strength was so bad, I felt like it would have been a waste of time to do my actual workout. After doing it though, I realized how much I like doing full body. So I plan to either do my 3rd workout of the week either today or tomorrow. I may cut a little of volume out though and change a couple of the accessory exercises, but not the main push/ pull exercises.

Since I no longer work at Williamsville and am currently unemployed, I have been spending a lot of time learning how to write web code. Its not easy, but its a very valuable skill to learn and I have had courses on this in the past. I’m learning through code academy and I find its way of teaching very easy to learn. The site almost functions as a video game and even gives you rewards for completing tasks. I plan to work my way through the whole site for the next few months and hopefully have a enough knowledge to build my own portfolio that will get me hired in that industry. Its a very well paying field with a lot of jobs opening up. Its also very diverse and you dont have to be an expert on everything to be successful in it. Some companies even hire you if you just have a base working knowledge of the concepts.

Diet wise I’m thinking about playing around with a little bit. I have noticed when I eat too many carbs during the day, I tend to get tired and unfocused. Web coding requires a lot of mental energy and discipline, so for me at the current moment that is unacceptable. This only happens when the meals are high in carbs though, like a big bowl of oatmeal or rice. I was planning on doing a very light meal plan throughout the day and eat most of my calories at night. For example, eat protein pudding with some fruit for breakfast and protein and veggies for lunch without a whole lot of starch. Then at the end of the day around 5pm or so after I’m done learning code for the day, consume the vast majority of my calories. I estimate my calories to be around 800 by this point so that leaves a big feast at night to hit the remaining calories.

I was actually reading a few articles on the Warrior Diet and I have no interest in doing the diet as he laid it out, I found a few points to be extremely interesting though. One was feeding the brain during the day, but not eating so much that you become dependent on food for energy. You want enough glucose to think straight (liver glycogen) but not enough to become weighed down. This made a lot of sense to me. So basically just keep it to fruit during the day and save the starch for night. I also plan to get the vast majority of my protein during the day. If there is a macro that has been shown to be very effective for eating throughout the day, it is protein. I plan to eat at least 75% of daily protein in the early part of the day. Also want to get my veggies and supplements in as well. My dietary fat is tag along, but I do take some fish oil pills. A lot of my foods have fat in them already, but I want to try and hit at least 50 grams. This allows me to add a decent amount at dinner to make for a really good tasting meal. Another point he made, which I agree with is how receptive you become to food after not eating it all day. Similar to intermittent fasting, but there is a really good feeling you get at night, when you know you can completely relax from 5pm till bedtime and just hit your remaining food, which should be almost anything you want. The energy levels have been really good from this approach as well.

One food I have been eating a lot of recently though is hummus. We went to a healthy spot in San Diego for breakfast (only good meal of the day) and I got a Mediterranean egg white bowl with hummus and feta cheese. It was awesome. The hummus and eggs made for a really good combination, so I’ve been eating a lot of it this week. Its low glycemic as well so it makes for a good snack during the day. Its also pretty light in calories, so you can eat a lot of it for the volume.

Also forgot to mention, every 30 minutes between studying I will do 10-15 pushups, 20 squats or lunges and 20 situps. It actually made me slightly sore haha.

Eggs and Veggies
Eggs and Veggies
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest Bar (Breakfast of Champs)
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest Bar
(Breakfast of Champs)
Egg fried rice
Egg fried rice
Pumpkin Oats
Pumpkin Oats
Pumpkin Protein Shake
Pumpkin Protein Shake
Terrible piece of pizza from airport
Terrible piece of pizza from airport
Margarita
Margarita
Panda Express (my only meal of the day on the flight back from San Diego)
Panda Express (my only meal of the day on the flight back from San Diego)
Walking in my neighborhood
Walking in my neighborhood
Same
Same
Chicken and Veggies (my typical lunch)
Chicken and Veggies (my typical lunch)
Friday Night Vino
Friday Night Vino

Journal Entry 206 – San Diego, Low Calorie Days and Eating More on Rest Days

Under Armor - Getting cold in Virginia
Under Armor – Getting cold in Virginia

I’m heading to San Diego later this week and two things are for certain. One nutrition is going to be pretty bad. Two I’m not going to be able to train. Not a big deal and I’m really looking forward to the trip, but I had to improvise a little this week in preparation for it.

I moved my normal Friday workout to Saturday this week. That way I can hit the weights Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. I leave on Thursday, so it’ll be four days in a row with no weights. I’ll try to hit some pushups or something, but that is going to be it for resistance training. Walking should be no issue and our house is on the beach, so that should be the best way to go for exercise.

Workouts have been good and consistent. I plan to implement either 1-2 low calorie days a week though most likely on a workout day. Some days my definition is lacking and I know if I continue to push the calories for weeks at a time then I’m not going to look the way I want to look. However, staying on low calories all the time to keep the definition is a good way to make zero gains at all and you have to constantly monitor calories and only really enjoy yourself a couple days a week. Not a good long term plan. It also lowers your metabolic rate leading to plateaus. The solution to making gains and keeping definition is to have 1-2 days out of the week that your eat at most half of your maintenance level. So if I burn 2700 calories a day, then I will eat a max of about 1350 calories. The beauty behind this is that your eating your maintenance or slightly above 5 days out of the week and burning the majority of your fat 1-2 days of the week. This way you make gains in the gym and maintain your metabolic rate, while experiencing very little plateaus. You’ll also lose bodyfat if you do it twice a week. You’ll likely just maintain (which is fine) by doing it once a week. My recommendation on these days is to do it sometime between Monday – Thursday. I like Monday and Wednesday. The rationale is most people are very busy during the week and cutting calories is much easier. Also not much socially happens on Monday and Wednesday. I even remember in college, those were basically the only two nights that no one went out drinking.

If you can I also recommend doing a low calorie day on a weight training day. The reasoning behind this is because of hormonal interactions. Weight training and cardio (AKA exercise) is similar to fasting in many ways. It burns fat, uses your body’s own resources, heightens insulin sensitivity, blunts appetite, increases adrenaline, increases euphoria, reduces stress and anxiety (this is a short term effect if done correctly), increases growth hormone and many other positive interactions. So by combining the effects of a low calorie day and the effects of exercise, you create this massively beneficial state, where when you eat the next day, your muscles soaks up food like a sponge. You also burn more energy on workout days, which again is beneficial from a fat loss perspective. Quick note however – Staying in a state of deprivation leads no where. Notice these days are done a max of two times a week.

My next point is why it’s better to eat more on your rest day. Rest day means recovery day. If you ate a bunch of food on your workout day, when you should of been burning fat, then whats the point of the rest day? Recovery days are meant to reload and rebuild the muscles that were depleted the previous day. Relaxing, eating and not working out leads to bigger muscles. You tend to burn less energy on rest days and if its a true rest day, then you dont workout. The body is primed to absorb food and is in the parasympathetic state. By eating on the rest day your also well stocked for the next workout.

Conventional wisdom says, Load up on Monday after your weight training workout, then eat a massive deficit the next day on your rest day to burn fat. From a common sense standpoint, does that make any sense? By the time Wednesday rolls around, since you didn’t eat enough on your recovery day, you will likely feel flat and have low muscle glycogen. Contrast this to going low on Monday, then loading up on Tuesday (just your normal maintenance or slight surplus diet), then by Wednesday your ready to go from loading up the previous day and not two days ago. I greatly prefer this way and my workouts have been much better by eating on rest days vs workout days.

So basically my plan is 3 full body workouts a week. Two of those are low calorie days and the other 5 days are normal. Monday and Wednesday are currently my low days. Although last week I only did one low day. I also use the low days to create a deficit for the weekend, which is always higher in calories. (especially this coming weekend ;)) The low calorie days are basically protein pudding, vegetables and lean protein only.  Very filling foods that make it easy to stay satisfied. The carbs come in high amounts on the other 5 days. My normal days have been around 2600. If I eat like this every day, I notice I smooth out, but after implementing these low calorie days it has dramatically increased the amount of calories I can eat on normal eating days. I usually don’t get hungry on the low days either and still eat a lot of food, however the food I eat is very low in calories. I try to hit at least 90-100 grams of protein on this day and then a little carbs and fat from incidentals. Again I don’t tend to worry too much since these low days are wedged between normal days of eating with plenty of nutrition and calories. If these low days were done for prolonged periods like most diets, then kiss your muscles and sanity goodbye. The high days tend to be different every day, but I do make sure to bump up the carbs big time. Fats also get a boost. Big stirfys with tons of rice, veggies and protein is always one of my favorite meals. I also really like pasta with chicken and broccoli mixed in.

There are two excellent articles on Tnation talking about using this concept. In my opinion, its very effective for the average recreational exerciser. Brad Pilon also has a similar system except he fasts twice a week. I still eat, its just not very many calories. Similar principals and most likely similar results.

Pics from the week:

Pasta with low calorie cheddar soup, meat and veggies
Pasta with low calorie cheddar soup, meat and veggies
Frisco
Frisco
Homemade BBQ chicken Special K Chips Whole Egg Imitation Crab Meat Veggies Butter Bread
Homemade BBQ chicken
Special K Chips
Whole Egg
Imitation Crab Meat
Veggies
Butter Bread
Eggs and Veggies (Low cal day)
Eggs and Veggies (Low cal day)
I think Bandit likes have me around
I think Bandit likes have me around
Papa Murphys Pizza - Meat Lovers
Papa Murphy’s Pizza – Meat Lovers
Papa Murphy's BBQ Chicken - best flavor This place is amazing
Papa Murphy’s BBQ Chicken – best flavor
This pizza is amazing
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest bar
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest bar
Carabba's Chicken Parmesan with a side of pasta and side salad
Carabba’s Chicken Parmesan with a side of pasta and side salad
Meat, slice of pizza, veggies and auntie annes pretzel bites. Strange meal but good
Meat, slice of pizza, veggies and auntie annes pretzel bites. Strange meal but good
Shrimp, veggies and sweet potato skin
Shrimp, veggies and sweet potato skin

Workouts:

Steady strength gains. Didn’t go up in everything this week, but everything was either the same or slightly better.

Workout B
Workout B
Workout A
Workout A
Workout B
Workout B

Journal Entry 205 – Getting Stronger

Missed my normal blog post time this week due to a trip to Virginia Tech. Nutrition wasn’t on point this weekend, but luckily I didn’t really miss a workout. Haven’t had a chance to weigh myself in awhile, but I estimate right around 173-174lbs.

My workouts have been very good and I’ve been looking forward to every single one of them. My strength, especially on bench has increased by a good 5lbs each week at least. Today I repped 185lbs for 4 sets of 8 reps. The bar felt light to me. I know in the past 185lbs felt heavy while on a low carb diet. Talk about stagnation with a diet like that. Again my goal with nutrition at the moment is simply to hit maintenance and its an approximation. I dont obsess about hitting every single calorie correctly. I weight most of my foods, but do not track everything I eat. I’d say I’m within a 2-300 calorie window of my maintenance each day. I also make sure to get a good amount of walking in everyday. I usually go for a morning walk of 1-2 miles, then do a mile jog before lifting or if its a rest day I’ll go for another walk around midday and then one additional walk in the late afternoon/ early evening. Since I’m unemployed at the moment, I have time to do this. I’m also studying at the moment and walking can help refresh the mind from too much cramming.

Macro averages for the past 7 days were 151 protein / 250 carbs / 59 fat and Calories at 2470. Based on my bodyweight and activity this is just about right. I’m in a mode where I feel good, not changing overall weight that much, but my strength is going up very quickly, so I’m not going to change a thing. The only thing is if I’m very inactive due to just being busy, I simply drop my calories by a few hundred to make up for it. Also I’m trying to emphasize more carbs while keeping fat and protein adequate but not excessive.

Below is my last 3 workouts:

IMG_2999 IMG_2998 IMG_3001

I replaced goblet squats with 45 degree leg presses. Feel these really well and very easy to progress without a ton of back stress.

Some pics from the week:

BBQ chicken Fries 1 roll
BBQ chicken
Fries
1 roll
Rice Stirfry
Rice Stirfry
Pumpkin Quest Bar Very good, but tastes more like cotton candy than pumpkin
Pumpkin Quest Bar
Very good, but tastes more like cotton candy than pumpkin
Same
Same
Mix of stuff
Mix of stuff
Guiness Stout
Guiness Stout
Cabo Fish Taco
Cabo Fish Taco
Rice Stirfry with meat, veggies and imitation crab meat Crab rangoon
Rice Stirfry with meat, veggies and imitation crab meat
Crab rangoon
Pasta with chicken meatballs
Pasta with chicken meatballs
Rum and fat free redi whip
Rum and fat free redi whip
Breaded Chicken Tenders Special K Chips Imitation Crab Meat
Breaded Chicken Tenders
Special K Chips
Imitation Crab Meat

Journal Entry 204 – New Beginning

After two years of working at Williamsville, my time there is done. It was an enjoyable time there for the most part and also allowed me to get my first start doing what I love. I’m not sure what is next for me in terms of living in the same area vs moving, getting a similar career elsewhere or getting a different job; but a new chapter has begun for me. In a way it feels good. Its a sense of freedom I haven’t had in a long time. The ability to do what I want and try new things with unlimited time constraints. No longer bound to the daily grind of driving 40 minutes one way to work, being there for 8-9 hours, drive back home for 40 minutes and rinse and repeat for 5 days in a row for 50 weeks a year. Finding a job closer to where I live and something that allows more freedom would be ideal.

I have always really liked to learn about things and now is my chance to do that. I also have more time to workout, but I plan on keeping the full body workout and cardio balance. Even with unlimited machines in the gym, I still feel like full body is superior and its working well for me at the moment. Cardio will change though. I got a LOT of walking in at Williamsville, but a lot of that is gone now. So I plan to get a nice slow jog in (5-6mph) for 30 minutes or so and then do some incline walking for 30 minutes between (3-4mph) for cardio. So basically an hour of cardio on off days. I do plan to continue walking though, just not as much.

My workouts this week were solid though. Felt very good for each session and was able to improve almost every lift save for a few. Bench has felt tremendously better after adding in carbs to my diet. Goblet Squats may need to get replaced though. Lighter weights and goblet squats mix perfectly, but the heavier the weights get, the more my back takes over the movement and legs dont receive enough stimulation. I will most likely switch to back squats again or may even do leg press. I know lunges are always a staple though. As long as the weight continues to progress, it may not really matter which exercise I choose.

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Workout B was done twice this week (shown on left) and Workout A on the right.

Diet was on average of the last 7 days: Protein 169 grams / Carbs 264 grams (46 fiber) / Fat 65 grams / Sodium 5200 mg / Calories 2500. I did some minor cycling, but for the most part just kept the calories stable at 2500 with basically these macros. Although a couple of days were like 80 grams of fat and most of the time it hits around 50 grams. I’m of the mindset now though, my lifts are going up and I feel good, yet my weight is still the same. Right around 173lbs most days, some lower and some higher.

Some pics from the week:

Sedona Taphouse Tacos
Sedona Taphouse Tacos
Moes burrito bowl
Moes burrito bowl

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Pumpkin Coffee (not great at least this brand)
Pumpkin Coffee (not great at least this brand)
3 cups of rice with veggies and egg whites
3 cups of rice with veggies and egg whites
Low sugar slurpee
Low sugar slurpee
Rest Day - Chicken Sausage, crab rangoon and meat with onions and peppers
Rest Day – Chicken Sausage, crab rangoon and meat with onions and peppers
Oatmeal cooked with a mashed banana
Oatmeal cooked with a mashed banana
Chicken fried rice
Chicken fried rice
Tequilia and cranberry sierra mist
Tequilia and cranberry sierra mist