Journal Entry 276 – Chicago

Life:

Last week Sarah and I went to Chicago to visit my brother Justin and his wife Rebecca. We haven’t been up there since he moved, so we wanted to visit his new house. Awesome city though. I have been to a few big cities and Chicago is one of the cleanest I’ve seen. It has about 3 million people living directly in the city and a lot more on the outskirts. Much less than New York, but way nicer and more affordable. Lake Michigan was Bahama water blue and basically looked like a beach. If this “lake” was in Europe it would be called a sea. It was a massive body of water. There was also a river cutting through the city, which is actually disconnected from the sea due to keeping the lake clean from the river’s toxins. That being said the river looks very nice cutting through the city.We ended up going on a boat tour through the river and a bus tour through the city. Both were nice, but I liked the boat tour better as we didn’t have to weave through traffic. The last day we went to Wrigleyville and saw Wrigley field. Cool town even though I’m not a huge baseball fan.

I recently got a promotion to shift lead, so my schedule is no longer 9-6 Monday through Friday. It is now 1pm-12am Wednesday through Thursday and 9am-8pm Friday and Saturday. I’m looking forward to it though as the job comes with more money and more responsibility.

Food:

Chicago’s eats didn’t disappoint. The first thing I wanted to get there was deep dish pizza. It took about an hour to get, but it was awesome. Reminded me of pizza, lasagne, and pie mixed together. We got cookie dough ice cream, burgers and fries from a place called Shake Shack, carrot cake from Mandy B’s and biscuits from Crosby’s. I was convinced I just didn’t like biscuits, but these were life changing. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Really good. Mandy B’s was a dessert place that pretty much served everything. Sarah is the one that loves sweet’s, so I told her to get whatever she wanted and I would share it with her. It didn’t disappoint.

For my normal diet, I have started to add in some kefir to my diet. After doing research on it, I think it can really help clear up my psoriasis. One of the most potent probiotics on earth, mainly because it has 15-20 billion probiotics per cup and since it’s also a prebiotic, the probiotics don’t get destroyed in your stomach, before they actually reach your intestines. This is supposed to fix a lot of issues with digestive enzymes, leaky gut, skin issues, bloating, energy and mental health. Looking forward to seeing the benefits. My plan is to pound it pretty hard the first month or so and then back off to maintenance dosages.

Macro wise has been much higher in carbs, moderate in fat and somewhat lowish protein for me 90 to 120 grams.

Workouts:

My chin-ups have finally progressed up past 3 sets of 8 reps with 30lbs to 3 sets of 12 reps with 30lbs. My accessories have also increased.

My bench press is sadly still the same, but still feels good when I’m doing it. My dips, however, are way up at almost 3 sets of 20 reps. I’m not adding weight to dips, but instead I’m adding a lot of reps. Really good pump from these.

Barely been doing any cardio recently, mainly because my gym has been packed at 7am when I usually go run. Luckily, I dont have to go at the time anymore, so I will probably pick up running 2-3 times a week again.

 

Journal Entry 273 – New Laptop

Workouts:

I seem to be stuck on chinups at the moment, but they seem to be one of the only things not going up. My back accessory movements are still trending upward as well as biceps. Bench is still going up and has felt really good recently. Incline DB press is up to the 75s for 3 sets of 12, 9, 6 reps and BB bench press is at 200lbs for 8, 7, 6 reps.  Dips are at around 15-20 reps per set for 3 sets. I’m hoping to get 20 reps on all 3 sets soon. I have also replaced my skullcrushers with cable flys on both Push days. I can assure you this workout may not look special on paper, but it makes your chest sore for 3 days:

  • Barbell bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Dips 3 sets of Max reps
  • Cable Flys 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Eating:

Calories 2100 / Protein 131 / Carbs 252 / Fat 65 / Fiber 40. I went back to

I went to Mezeh this Friday, which is basically a Mediterranean style Chipotle. It was very good. I got a salad bowl the guy packed it with meat and tons of toppings. Chickpea salad, croutons, olives, feta cheese, pickled vegetables, marinated vegetables, hummus and some other things. It was awesome, but also a little more expensive than Chipotle. I still got my favorite Chipotle though on Thursday and Panda Express on Tuesday. Chipotle > Mezeh > Panda Express.

I got a whopping 5 hours of sleep on Friday night into Saturday morning and have no clue why. I was also ravenous the entire day, so we went to Bertucci’s for lunch and I got a calzone with two rolls and salad for lunch. Food also tasted better than normal too, which was nice, but I guess I needed it. I ended up with roughly 3000 calories.

Life:

I finally got a new laptop after weeks of looking. I’d almost consider myself an expert on computers and laptops at this point. I got a Lenovo Legion from Costco. It is stacked in almost every way. Technically considered a “gaming laptop” this thing is a powerhouse and is lighting fast. I can boot up my computer in 5 seconds and web browsing and multitasking are seamless. My old games can be played on max settings with no lag during play. It also has as hybrid drive, which basically means it has a solid state drive (SSD) and a hard drive (HD). SSD’s are LIGHTING FAST in almost every way. This computer has a 256GB SSD and a 2 TB HD. 2 TB (terabytes) are massive and each TB is 1000GB. This is far more space than most people will ever need. The beauty of a hybrid drive is all things you want to be done quickly, like your operating system, you put on the SSD. All of the massive things like PC games or stuff you rarely use, but want to keep around you put on the HD. The two negative things of this thing so far is that the battery life is mediocre at best at an average of 3-4 hours. Not a huge deal, because I’m standing or sitting right next to an outlet 95% of the time. But in terms of other laptops, this could be better. Also, the mouse on the trackpad blows. It is really bad. But again I use an external mouse 95% of the time, so again these were two cons that weren’t going to let me not get this beast of a computer. Costco also has a 2-year warranty and a 90-day return policy, where you get a full refund. So basically if you hate it for whatever reason, you can quite literally rent it and return it for a full refund. Hell yeah, much greater respect for Costco after that policy. Good luck getting that anywhere. All that included for $999 is an awesome deal, especially considering I saw this exact laptop on other sites for $1300 and that is without a warranty, sales tax or shipping. 🙂

Sarah and I are going to Charlottesville, Virginia next weekend for a mini vacation before she starts her full-time job at Capital One. For the first 3 months, she can not take time off without making it up so we are trying to get in something before that happens. Also, going to Chicago at the end of July, but that is technically only a weekend trip, so except for a couple hours, we don’t need to take any time off.

Journal Entry 272 – Higher Reps

Workouts:

Bench is still hanging in the 200’s for between 5-8 reps. I seem to be stronger at the end of the week for whatever reason so I may move this workout to that day. Weighted chinups are also still sitting at the same with 30lbs for 6-10 reps. My lighter days though have all been progressing in strength. I like to keep the reps around 12-15 for these movements. I have also been using much higher reps with arms instead of the heavier reps I have done in the past. That being said I still like this split a lot and have stuck to it longer than almost any workout I can remember. 3 moves a day for 3 sets. Done.

As for cardio, I did 2 sessions this week on Tuesday and Thursday. I also played tennis yesterday and will play again today. I’m also getting pretty tan playing tennis every week, which is an added bonus.

Eating:

Macros this week are 133 / 260 (48) / 66 – Protein /Carbs (Fiber) / Fat and Calories at 2100. I must admit though, that these numbers are what was tracked and I probably ate much more than this amount. Nothing exciting with dieting though. I have decided to stop eating all pork/pig products. Not that I really ate that much before. After seeing some documentaries and realizing that pigs have very similar qualities to humans, I feel really bad what this industry as turned into. It’s disgusting and it doesn’t need to be that way. I’m also cutting back on the red meat too, but I still eat dairy and will continue to eat poultry. Another nasty industry, but I just can’t see myself realistically not eating anything, but fish. Especially with all the nasty toxins fish can hold. Not saying I’m turning into a vegetarian, but the livestock industry is disgusting and cruel to top it off. I’m by no means turning into an organic hippie, but some of this stuff just comes from a natural human emotion of caring for other creatures and I don’t want to be a part of this industry. Especially pigs, because they kind of remind of my dog bandit without hair. 🙂 I mean the Chinese eat dogs and think nothing of it. This s$it needs to stop.

Life:

Really considering a new laptop. My laptop now is still good, but it tends to freeze up a lot and is very slow when booting applications. It’s also 3.5 year old, so I’m really tempted to buy a new one.

Finished Berserk season 2. Gory show, but really awesome. I was even thinking about buying the video game, but it looks a little repetitive.

Sarah and I had our first premarital counseling session. It was actually interesting in some ways, just to talk about certain aspects of your relationship. We seem to be very close though in almost every way. 😉

Journal Entry 270 – Short One

Another week in the books.  I had a really good time at the company party but was pretty out of it on Sunday. I also spent a large part of the weekend getting maintenance done on my SUV. What started as a tire alignment and oil change, ended as a new battery and 4 new tires. Still only cost around $600 total for what I had done to it. Not bad at all and I don’t have to worry about those things for awhile. Three of my tires were absolutes garbage. If I had hit a sheet of ice, I would have gone sliding because there was zero tread on my tires. I also learned a useful tip about AWD cars and that is that all four tires need to be the exact same tire or the alignment gets really thrown off. Getting air in your tires every month will also help prolong the life of your tires as well as tire rotations every oil change.

Nothing special in terms of working out this week. Cardio was done a couple times during the week and I played tennis on the weekend. All lifts were about the same this week, expect I was able to bump up DB INC PRESS to 70lbs for 3 sets of 12 reps instead of the 65’s I was using earlier. I also gassed out fast on BB BENCH PRESS and on my third set I got a whopping 3 reps. This was also on Monday, so I was still recovering from the weekend. Diet this week was around 2300 calories on average. Carbs 270 grams / Protein 140 grams / Fat 70 grams.

Journal Entry 269 – Heavy / Light Day

Another week in the books and strength is still going up. I’m down to about 179lbs of scale weight and feeling leaner than previous weeks. I decided to add in a light day for both push and pull workouts to replace one of the heavy workouts. I’m doing less cardio than in previous weeks at maybe 3 times a week. Sarah and I have also started playing tennis on the weekends, so while not formal cardio, it still counts, especially when it’s hot out. Diet has been around 2100 calories a day with Protein at 145 grams / Carbs 250 grams / Fat 65 grams.

Diet has been around 2100 calories a day with Protein at 145 grams / Carbs 250 grams / Fat 65 grams. My energy and well being is much better with more carbs and fats in my diet without adding in super high amounts of protein. I also noticed I really don’t eat a ton of meat anymore. I have a pretty good sized serving once a day and that is about it. A lot of my protein comes from protein powder, vegetables, and protein bars. Not saying that I have been actively trying to cut meat out of my diet, it’s just that I have unconsciously reduced it.

As for my workout, I moved some things around:

  • PUSH – HEAVY
    • BB BENCH PRESS – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
    • INC PRESS MACHINE – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • DIPS – 3 sets by Max
  • PULL – LIGHT
    • CHINUPS – 3 sets of 6-8 reps 1 set with bodyweight
    • LAT PRAYERS 4 sets of 12 reps
    • SEATED INC CURLS – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • SHOULDERS/ABS DAY
    • DB LATERALS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • REAR DELT MACHINE – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE PULLS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • MACHINE CRUNCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE CRUNCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • PUSH – LIGHT
    • DB INC BENCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE FLYS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • EZ SKULLCRUSHERS – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • PULL – LIGHT
    • TBAR ROWS – 4 sets of 12 reps
    • LAT PULLDOWN (VARIOUS GRIPS) – 4 sets of 12 reps
    • DB CURLS – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • WEEKEND
    • TENNIS, CARDIO OR LIGHT CALISTHENICS

Other than that Sarah and I are going to a company party this weekend. My company reserved Brown’s Island in Richmond for 4 hours and provided us a hotel to stay in downtown. Also, food and drinks are free. I think it should be a good time and my company is awesome. Probably go downtown after it ends, which is like a 2-minute walk from where we are. Should be a late night, but a really good time.

Journal Entry 268 – Beach Trip And Feeling Good In The Gym

I missed my post last week due to a beach trip with Sarah’s family for Memorial day. I was introduced to Bocce ball, which is actually really fun to play on the beach and got some good food at some of South Carolina’s local restaurants. I also got some really nasty sunburn in a few places, which may have actually been sun poising because I’m starting to get these itchy bumps right over where the sunburn is. Today it finally looks tan and not burnt, so it should be going away soon. It was a 6-hour ride from our place, so while fun, it also makes the weekend fly by and before you know it your back at work again.

The gym has been good this week though. I felt really strong yesterday and I have been more or less eating the same way, except for the beach trip last weekend.

Diet more or less every day:

  • Morning Run (only did twice this week though)
  • Coffee
  • Breakfast 11 AM – Protein Pudding with berries and peanut butter
  • Workout 2-3PM
  • Lunch 3 PM – 5 serving bag of Popchips (600 calories) or Bag of Rice Cakes (420 calories)
  • Snack (Throughout the day) 1.5 – 2 Protein Bars
  • Dinner 7:30-8 – Balanced meal that varies daily, usually between 600-1000 calories (Been eating out a lot for this)
  • Dessert – Cashew milk with berries and SF/FF Jello mix and crumble some protein bar in it (Very Good)
  • Calories at the low end is around 2000 calories and high end is 2500 calories during the week. The weekend is almost always higher than 2500 calories.

Still benching 200lbs for about 3 sets of 8 reps, but I expect to bump this up soon. I may mix two different push/pull days and keep one heavy day and one lighter day. On the weekend, I also may add some iso 5×10 work for extra hypertrophy. I eat a lot on the weekends and want to take advantage of the extra calories instead of only doing cardio.

Journal Entry 266 – Strength Plateau / Carbs / Random …

This marks my 5th week at my current split. Last week started horribly in terms of lifting. Everything felt heavy as h@ll and I didn’t even want to go to the gym. I tried to go lower carb last week with higher fats and let’s just say that didn’t work out too well. Towards the end of the week, my strength was much better, but that is mainly because I started to slam carbs again. Also, the pork rinds experiment was kind of a fail, because they taste horrible. 😦

So, I decided to start eating carbs every meal and increased my calories. My weight has been a rock at 181lbs. I’ve eaten around 2400 calories every day this week with well over 200 grams of carbs a day. Fat has also been higher at about 70 grams and protein has been between 120-145 grams. I really want to start throwing up some heavier weight though. I’m tired of getting stuck on the same weights and the only way I see this is going to happen it to keeping bumping up my calories and carbs til I find every day in the gym see’s some type of progressive overload. I honestly think it is possible to see this if you are eating enough.

I have noticed some interesting benefits recently though. I can put down a serious amount of food and wake up looking pretty good. I used to diet super “clean” all the time and every time I had a cheat meal with too much “carbs, fats and sodium” I would look like bloated mess for maybe up to 2-3 days. And then I would then go back to the low-calorie diet and the cycle would repeat. I can only attribute this to higher testosterone. Carbs and fats increase testosterone and protein decreases it in a dose-dependent fashion. I like protein, but there really is no benefits to overeating it, when all you likely need is more carbs.

Random Reading:

https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=157454583

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/gain-35lbs-in-6-weeks-naturally

If those aren’t interesting reads, then I don’t know what is. 😉 My goal in the not too distant future is to bench 225x 8 reps for 3 sets. I really want to hit this as soon as possible. Also, ran into an old friend yesterday who is probably 200lbs and under 10% bodyfat. He was one arm shoulder pressing 80lb dumbbells and benching 380lbs. Yeah holy sh!t. Made me feel like a weakling. I need to step my game up. 🙂

Journal Entry 265 – Challenge Update / Pork Rinds

I missed my post last week because Sarah and I went to Greensboro NC so that we could visit her family. We also had to pick out some wedding cake and get a few things straight. I missed my training signup at Gold’s last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That means I’m already 4 points down just from missing signing up. I’ve been monitoring the signup names and there is only one other person that has been as consistent as me in signing up. He did miss yesterday though. So I can still win as long as he drops zero weight and I can manipulate the scale by at least 5 pounds. Monday morning I will get up and clock 5 miles or so, just to sweat out a bunch of weight. I will then eat a super light breakfast and probably go the gym early so that I can weigh in before really eating much of anything.

 

I’ve been doing some more reading on the benefits of glycine. Which if taken regularly can have TREMENDOUS benefits: Dr. Axe – Glycine Benefits and Valtsus Blogspot. Turns out pork rinds are one of the best sources of this critical amino acid. For optimal benefits, you want to have 10-13 grams a day. Pork rinds have 12 grams per 3.5oz. They also have zero carbs, 5 grams of fat with a mix of mono and saturated fat and 7 grams of protein per serving of 1/2 an ounce. A perfect food for a higher fat and lower carb diet. It also has decent sodium, which is really important on lower carb diets to prevent flushing electrolytes out of your system and really feeling like crap. The only thing about the protein is it does not have essential amino acids in it. This isn’t a huge deal though, because this protein spares the essential protein and taking in more of this protein and less “essential amino acids” has been shown to have better anabolic potential anyway. Glycine is also extremely anti-inflammatory and if there are negatives to eating a bunch of muscle meat, glycine seems to balance this out. Something tells me switching to pork rinds over popchips for lunch may have some interesting benefits. 😉

My workout split is still exactly the same and the goal is just to keep increasing in strength.

Journal Entry 260 – Aldi / Weight Cut

Weekly Routine

Workout:

  • Sunday – Cardio 30 minutes / Abs
  • Monday – Cardio 30 minutes / Chest and Tris
  • Tuesday – Cardio 30 minutes / Back and Bis
  • Wednesday – Cardio 30 minutes / Shoulders and Traps
  • Thursday – No Cardio / Chest and Tris
  • Friday – Cardio 30 minutes / Back and Bis
  • Saturday (Today) – Cardio 20-30 minutes / Shoulders and Traps

Diet: (Calories Low: 16-1800)

  • Protein Pudding with berries and Coffee
  • Popchips 3-4 servings and 1 Quest Bar
  • Ton of veggies, lean meat, low calorie toast
  • Protein Pudding with berries

Last weekend my brother visited and it was a big eating weekend. Restaurant eating and full on buffets at my house. My weight ballooned to 187lbs on Monday morning and I was noticeably bloated/fat looking. I decided to do a mini-cut and take that bloat off. I stayed around 16-1800 calories a day and got down to about 179lbs. In the past, this was my normal intake, but I haven’t gone that low in calories in awhile. Especially 5 days in a row, maybe went that low on occasion. So, took off roughly 8lbs of bloat (mostly water, but some fat). My energy was good all week til Friday, which I felt really run down. Basically felt like I got hit by a train. So got some extra sleep Friday night and feel much better right now. I plan on eating around maintenance today and then will likely cut the following week too. After I assess where I am at the end of next week, I will most likely bump up my calories back to maintenance.

No Pr’s were set this week, but wasn’t really expecting it either. My lifts didn’t go down, though. I got a feeling 195lbs on my bench is going to be a sticking point for me that only big eating will take care of. Really enjoying the cardio, though. I could easily go more than 30 minutes, but I’m really trying to moderate myself so that I don’t burn out and get tired of it. 3o minutes is a sweet spot, where you can get almost of all the benefits with none of the downsides. Also, cardio is done in the morning and my lifting is done in the afternoon, so they don’t interfere with each other.

There is a new Aldi built very close to my apartment. This place is a grocery wonderland. It’s like Costco, but you don’t have to buy in bulk. You can literally stack your grocery cart with food (mainly whole foods) and pay like $50. Seriously, it’s really awesome. Probably cheaper than Walmart and the quality is much better. I can’t get everything I need from there, but all of my whole foods (frozen veggies, fresh veggies, fruit, yogurt, meat) I get from here. Saves a lot of money.

Journal Entry 259

Weekly Routine:

  • Sunday – Cardio 60 minutes
  • Monday – Chest
  • Tuesday – Back/Bis
  • Wednesday – Shoulders / Traps
  • Thursday – Chest/Tris
  • Friday – Back/ Bis

Added a few reps to my bench press and I’m getting very close to the 200lb mark for 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Shoulder press was stationary and chin-ups I was able to gain a couple of reps. I played around with some rep schemes on my accessory exercises, but I think I found one of my all time favorite chest workouts.

  • Chest or Chest and Tris
  • Barbell Bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Incline Bench 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Dips (weighted) 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Flys or Skullcrushers 3 sets of 10 reps

Always get a massive pump after a day like this even though the reps are on the heavier side. The tension from the sets feels incredible. Not too heavy and not too light. Sometimes by dropping the weight too light, I feel like I’m moving the weight, but not really getting much of a pump. I also feel like I can gas out pretty quick even with the lighter weight.

Diet has been more or less the same. Calories fluctuate between 2000-2500 calories a day and I really have not been emphasizing protein in the least. If anything I have been emphasizing carbs. Some days my protein has fallen below 100 grams and has not even remotely affected my strength levels. I have been drinking a lot of caffeine during the day at work, but has really always been high in my diet.

My weight is still hovering around the low 180’s at the moment.