Journal Entry 319 – Miscellaneous

I’m just going to do a quick update this week. No post last week as it was a very busy week at work and I didn’t have a ton of time or energy to write a post.

I have hit somewhat of a plateau in my lifts recently. I have also felt more stressed out recently, which I know goes hand in hand with the gym. My meals at night have been less keto/high protein-oriented and more or less just eating whatever I want. I have noticed a couple of days this week my dietary fat was unintentionally very low. Like 30 grams or so. I definitely felt “off” the next day. I may remedy this with a full week of eating what I think is optimal. This consists of high protein meat-based meals and a low carb content. Let’s see if that jumpstarts me a little bit.

Other than that, the Giants and Hokies are both failing. Giants can’t score points at all and Hokies lost to ODU. Great! (sarcasm intended). Also, my number one draft pick in Fantasy Football, Leveon Bell, hasn’t played a game because he “isn’t making enough money.” Don’t even get me started on this fool. Once Eli Manning is done my interest in football is going to take one hell of a step down from where it is now. If my interest in football is currently a 10, once Eli is gone it will be more like a 5.

I’m also thinking about getting a PS4. Mainly for Star Wars Battlefront 2, which is an incredibly fun game. Kylo Ren is hands down the best character in that game. They are also going to add Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan in future updates, so yeah this game is a must buy. I’ve also had the PS3 for at least 5 years. Considering the system may be a bit pricey at first at $299, it lasts several years and holds its value well. Also, since the PS4 has been out a while, a lot of the games are very cheap now.

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Journal Entry 313 – Part I – Moving Out

This weekend my lease for my apartment ends. Sarah and I have been living there for the past year and a half. We had some good memories there, but I’m really looking forward to living somewhere else. I was off Friday, so my dad and I literally moved everything out of the apartment by ourselves into the storage unit. There was still a few big items like the couch and bed we had to move on Saturday and dear god those were a pain in the a$$. The way that apartment is structured does NOT make it easy to move things in and out. I probably made close to 100 trips carrying things from the apartment to the car. Moving stuff from the car/truck into the storage unit wasn’t fun either. We also had to rearrange the storage unit several times in order to fit everything into it. I would wager I burned close to 4-5000 calories easily each day.

On Saturday, Sarah and my mom cleaned the house and we were done at around 5:30 PM. What sucks though is we have to turn around and do it all again next week! Unfortunately, next week is going to be a 2 day weekend. I’m going to have to recruit some of my amigos to help me this time. If I had at least two friends helping, I think it would help immensely. Also, the most annoying part of the move is over, which is getting out of that apartment. Moving into the house will be far easier in terms of carrying stuff into it.

As for my workouts this week, I did somewhat of a bro split and really enjoyed it. I was able to do one heavy move at the beginning of each workout for 3 sets of 6-8 reps and then follow that with 3 sets of 12 reps for isolation movements. My focus was great and I got a really good pump after each workout. I only have time for 4 moves max per session in order to complete the workout on my lunch break.

Diet has been borderline keto recently. Not keto in the strict definition of sub 30 carbs, but very high protein and fat as my primary fuel source. Very low carbs except for incidentals and berries. It has been working really good though. My weight is hovering around 180-181lbs on a daily basis. Down from around 185lbs. My clothes also fit very good. I have a much easier time “staying in shape” when I just don’t eat many carbs. My mental clarity is better, mood is better, cravings are better and it is just easier for me to manage food intake. I had a few sources of carbs this weekend while moving but other than that not much recently.

Journal Entry 312 – On The Move

Missed my weekly post last week due to moving out all weekend. Unfortunately, I will be moving out all next weekend and then I will be moving into my house the weekend after that!

I will say I have really enjoyed going through all my stuff and getting rid of things that I no longer need. We have taken loads of items to either Good Will or the dump. This makes packing a lot easier and reduces a ton of clutter in your house. It is kind of amazing how much crap you can accumulate over time without even realizing it. Commercialism at its finest! I have reduced my closet down to everything I will actually wear. We plan to do the same thing with food we have. We are trying not to eat out so that we can literally eat everything out of the freezer. This way we don’t have to transfer anything.

For training this week, I did a 5 day Push/ Pull / Legs workout. I have increased my bench press up 5 reps from last week and my lunges up to 45lbs in each hand. My chinups have still been no bueno. I feel very heavy every time I do them. Only one day of cardio, which I did yesterday.

Diet has been more or less the same as recent weeks. Had a couple of higher carb meals than normal at dinner, but I’ve had a weird urge to do Keto recently. I found a really good recipe out though. It tastes like cake and has pretty low calories:

  • Microwave Cake
    • 1 whole egg (70 calories)
    • 1/3 scoop of protein powder (30-50 calories)
    • 1 stevia
    • Mix up and heat for 30 seconds
    • Total 100-120 calories

You can literally customize this in endless ways, but this is the base. It has a really good “cakey” texture to it and it is extremely easy to make.

Tried a new protein bar called MRE bar by Redcon. 5 out of 10. It has a really good package and looks really dense and chewy, but it tasted dry as hell. The ingredients were on point though. Every time I try a new bar, I almost always regret it. I just need to stick to Quest Bars. Quest Bars are unbelievably good and other bars just can’t hold a candle to them.

Journal Entry 301 – The Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore Diet seems to be the flavor of the week in the dieting industry.

This diet has actually been around a long time but recently resurfaced due to Dr. Shawn Baker. He is a doctor that started eating only meat for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he found he could stay lean and recover faster when eating only steak. He also noticed the disappearance of bloating, health issues, joint pain, cravings and a whole plethora of other benefits.

In terms of macros, the carnivore diet is a zero carb diet with more protein than a traditional ketogenic diet. It reminds me of old school bodybuilder diets that Vince Gironda and Arnold Schwarzenegger used to use to get really ripped.

This is a red meat diet though, which is where it truly differs from Keto. The reason is red meat is actually a very dense and nutritious food. It contains many of the fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and nutrients and delivers them in a streamlined dose. Meat is easy to digest and the fat from the meat also helps the nutrients to be absorbed. The low fiber also counteracts some of the binding that can occur with nutrients being absorbed. Another really good food to eat in addition would be Eggs as they fit the same bill as red meat. Some people have allergies to eggs though, which is why red meat usually works better. The dietary fat from the meat also has been shown to increase testosterone levels. Testosterone levels also have a lot to do with the overall nutrients you are getting, so the nutrient/ dietary fat combo makes it a great food to help with this.

Another interesting benefit of this diet is actually pretty cheap. If you substitute out the steak for ground beef and eat some eggs to replace one of the steak meals, the diet is very cheap. You get more calories per dollar. With vegetables, you can eat way more volume, but this comes as the expense of bloating, gas, indigestion, a sluggish “heavy” feeling and it’s more expensive because the food is so low in calories that you have to buy more. Vegetables usually don’t help your appetite very long either. They are initially filling, but 1-2 hours later you are hungry again.

The zero carb aspect is also very important for the overall health gain you get. Low carbs have been shown to be very helpful in managing blood sugar-related diseases (think type 2 diabetes), helping to lower cravings (again likely due to blood sugar), restoring health (tend to be loaded with nutrients / higher quality foods) and sensitizing the body to insulin and carbs. This list could go much longer, but I came from a family history of type-2 diabetes, so I’m always conscious¬†of this. These diseases are built over time, so it’s important to eat in a way that feels right.

I find this diet intriguing. I don’t think I could ever do just red meat, but I could adapt a diet pretty similar. I went to Costco and bought 5lbs of 88% lean ground beef for $15. Deals ;). I also bought some eggs from Aldi that I got for $0.40 a dozen. My grocery bill is going to get very cheap. I’ve done this diet the past 2 days and have already dropped 3lbs. Yes, its mostly water weight, but I actually look visibly leaner and my stomach is really flat with very littly bloating. I have also eaten 2500 calories a day these past two days, which for me is way too much to burn fat on. Nevertheless, the scale is down and I look leaner. Winning ;).

I’m going to run this diet for the next two weeks with maybe one cheat day thrown in. I love the simplicity of it and hope the results continue.

Image result for ron swanson meme

Workouts

I have been doing 200 pushups and 50 chinups 5 days a week and cardio 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I have only been lifting once a week in the gym. You read that correctly. For me, its the least “gym work” I have done in probably 10 years. I love to workout, but I hate gyms. Especially recently, because they have been packed beyond belief at all times of the day. That being said I have 3 major goals right now:

  • Get leaner
  • Get really good at pushups
  • Keep getting stronger on the bench press

I’m a simple man, what can I say. The bench press is my only gym workout and I’m still repping 215lbs for 6 or so reps. I think the pushups have been helping me a lot with this as well.

 

 

Journal Entry 293 – Goals for 2018

Another busy weekend that literally flew by. I have a lot of stuff that I have been dealing with recently. Mostly due to the new year, finishing off payments, wedding stuff, travel and so on. Next week I will fly to Chicago with Sarah to see my new niece! I’m really looking forward to it. Once this trip is over though, my schedule should get a lot more relaxing.

I have been more or less still eating kind of whatever recently. I really want to get some organization back into my routine this year though. I’m strongly considering some Keto-ish type of diet to continue shredding some fat and water weight before the wedding. I want my routine to be more consistent as well and to continue making some strength gains in the gym.

Another goal I have is to max out my savings. I literally just finished off my auto payment and besides rent and insurance have zero debt. Considering rent and insurance is something you will always have, I consider that zero debt. I have maxed out my 401k this year to take advantage of the employer match and have continued funding my Roth IRA and Taxable account. The market has been amazing recently, so I already have a lot of earnings on these accounts. Even if the market was horrible though, I will still continue making savings payments. The market always fluctuates, but as long as you don’t withdraw money then you don’t lose anything.

I want to keep my grocery bill more consistent this year as well. Shopping at Aldi has already saved me a ton of money, but I would like to do even better this year.

I plan on making my diet very minimalistic. At least 5-6 days out of 7. Meat, eggs, cheese, berries, protein powder, peanut butter and alcohol will make up the vast majority of my diet. I will skip a lot of the extra carbs, snacks and fruit.

My workouts I plan on keeping pretty similar. I want to keep lifting heavy and until I find something better to change it with I want to keep it about the same. I’m still doing a Push / Pull setup 4 days a week. I also plan to do cardio at least 2-3 times a week.

 

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. ūüėČ

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

Low Carb Limbo, Keto and Building Muscle While Burning Fat

Low carb limbo is essentially a grey area between keto dieting and a normal carb based diet. I discovered this term reading through a blog that I will cite at the bottom of the article. Low Carb is a very vague term. Most people know that 3-400 grams a day is not low carb, but is 150grams low carb? I think many people get stuck in Low carb limbo, myself included in the past, and I think a lot of it is just poor advice, even from experts. I have read a lot of articles stating that anywhere from 50grams – 100grams is good for fat loss. Where did this number come from though? I mean that’s not a good number for fat loss if you eat 200 grams of fat a day. Many people think that ketosis develops when carbs dip under 100 grams of carbs. It may, but it may not. Even if it does develop its usually not enough ketones to replace all the glucose you still need for basic basal functions. After going back and reading some articles by Jacob Wilson I think people should take one of two approaches to stay out of this low carb limbo. Staying out of this grey area should greatly increase your energy levels, protect your muscle (I’ll explain why in a minute), and should allow you to bust through your body composition plateaus.

The first approach is to go straight ketogenic. A perfect healthy and safe diet, but in ¬†my opinion very difficult to achieve in today’s society, especially if your social. This requires you keep carbs under 30 grams for a long period of time. No one really knows how long it takes, but for many that have achieved full ketosis it can take a long time, such as weeks or more at a time. Probably depends on the diet you were on before you attempted it. You also have NO carb refeeds at all. Refeeding throws you out of ketosis and can take you a while to get back into it, which ruins the effectiveness of the diet. You also need a very high fat intake and need to keep protein below 120grams and it may be even lower than that. Eating too much protein will throw you out of ketosis and ruin the effectiveness of the diet. Doesn’t sound too fun anymore does it. By eating carbs and protein in too high of an amount the body starts to shift over to glucose burning again and this can be very bad for your muscle mass. Ketones displace glucose only when the body has no source of glucose. The diet would likely get pretty stale after awhile, because you would be eating the same fatty foods over and over. But some people do like it. Jacob Wilson also found that when carb totals were increased above 30 grams to 60g and 104g, even a high protein intake couldn’t prevent muscle loss on a diet. Now I know that low carb limbo is responsible for this and I’ll explain why during the second approach. So with keto, you’re either on or your off. There isn’t a middle ground with this diet and protein and carbs NEED to be controlled and kept low for it to work. Personally, even though keto has some really interesting benefits, there is no way I would ever attempt this diet.

The second approach and what most people need to stick to is a carb based diet of around 150grams a day minimum on average. I consider 150grams to be a low to moderate carb diet and with this many carbs you are not on keto and you aren’t in low carb limbo. After reading through how much glucose needs you have in your body the answer for most people under restful conditions is about 150g-170g a day. This is to regulate glucose needed by the brain, liver, red blood cells and immune functions. This is also doesn’t change much based on a person’s size. If you weigh 400lbs or 120lbs these are likely unchanged, because organs dont really vary in size.

Guess what happens when you eat 50grams of carbs a day… you start to lose muscle unless your protein is extremely high. Protein can displace carbs almost at a 1:1 ratio so that body can get its glucose, but you dont want protein to be used in this manner. You want protein to be used for structural functions and muscle building. Well at least people that want to look good do. So bascially the protein you eat is being used as an energy source. This means no muscle building and strength loses, because the basic structural functions of the body are more important than building muscle. So lets take our example of someone eating 50grams of carbs a day. Lets say the body requires 170grams of carbs (under restful conditions) so you ate 50g of carbs, but you still need another 120grams of glucose. Say goodbye to your protein intake. Let’s say you eat 120grams of protein a day. Many consider this low if your a bodybuilder, but I feel like most people consider this high. All of that protein is going to be used as carbs, to feed the brain and basic functions and this leaves none left over for your actual protein needs. Now it probably doesn’t work exactly like that in the body, but the point is when your trying to build or even protect muscle on a diet, you DO NOT want gluconeogensis to occur in a manner such as this. I guess you could eat 300 grams of protein to prevent this if you truly didn’t like eating carbs, but that’s up to you. I will say though that is a saving grace of high protein diets. If you do consume this much, you are eating enough glucose to provide the brain, liver and immune system with glucose and still have enough protein left over to protect and maybe build muscle. I also forgot to mention that those are the needs you have BEFORE activity is factored in. If you lift weights you needs go up even more. Lifting on too low of a carb intake doesnt really sound like a good idea anymore. Not unless you carb cycle, but in reality all cycling does is balance out your weekly intake anyway.

So summing up the second and recommended approach: When dieting or just eating at general maintenance, you want at least 1200 calories a day worth of glucose before activity is factored in. This can be achieved with 150grams of carbs and 150grams of protein. Protein has been shown to be toxic in large amounts, so I would honestly ditch the excessive protein (eating in excess of 200grams) and eat a more normal diet including a decent amount of carbs. The sources likely dont matter as Menno Henselmans has pointed out in his article: Is a Carb a Carb?. Once 1200 calories of glucose are achieved your muscle mass will be protected and likely allowed to get bigger, since none of the carbs will be needed for gluconeogensis.

Weight lifting also increases your needs, but its probably not as much as you think. If you do a pretty normal 4 day split routine with a combo of isolation and compounds and with not much cardio besides just walking, then your probably need an additional 300grams over the course of the week to replenish what you used on TOP of the glucose needs I stated above. 300 grams may even be stretching it, as the ATP system is relied on sometimes far more than glucose when lifting weights, but lets play it safe.

So if someone that weighed around 75-80kg was trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, then this is what I would recommend based on this information.

The first step is to factor in your daily glucose needs on a weekly basis. 1200 calories of glucose a day maximizes your glucose needs under restful conditions, but lets factor in exercise. 1200 x 7 = 8400 calories. Add in another 300grams or 1200 calories for the workout and you are now at 9600 calories a week. 9600 / 7 = 1371 calories a day. 1371 / 4 = 342 grams of glucose a day to provide everything the body needs. 342 / 2 = 171grams of carbs and 171grams of protein if you split it evenly down the middle. If you want to go higher or lower carb or vice versa, that is individual and up to you, but you want to consume at least this. An example, lets say you are carb sensitive and like eating protein more. You could eat 220 grams of protein and 122g of carbs or lets say you hate protein and do well with higher carbs, then you could do 240 carbs and do 102 grams of protein. The total glucose needs are the most important factor. Now factor in your fat intake. I wouldn’t recommend going below 40grams of fat ever, because under this level absorbing vitamins and minerals, testosterone, diet adherence and maybe even depression can become a big issue. There doesn’t seem to be an upper limit to fat intake however. As I stated the glucose needs are somewhat of a minimum and maximum. This means that this is what the body requires to fuel bodily functions and to build and protect muscle mass on a non ketogenic diet. But going above this amount serves no additional benefits and if you go to high in carbs, you’ll probably just get fat if you dont handle carbs well. This means that fat can fill up the rest of your needs if you wish. That’s quite a large range from fat, but this person wants to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. That means that body fat needs to come into play as an energy source, so eating a ton of fat would negatively impact the burning of the body’s fat stores.

(Sidenote) – After looking this up, its kind of interesting how this looks strikingly similar to many precontest diets that bodybuilders have known about for years, even if they didn’t know the actual science behind how it worked. Anecdotal evidence at its finest.

So lets go back to the minimum calories and carbs/protein/fats this person needs to achieve his goal. Carbs 171grams / Protein 171grams / Fat 40grams – Total Calories – 1728 calories a day. Based on this persons needs he would likely lose muscle if he dipped below this amount of calories based on his size. If not lose muscle, then he would definitely not be building any muscle dipping below this intake. I would honestly set his fats to at least 50grams, so that would move him right up to 1820 calories a day, but if he liked 40grams of fat he would likely be fine. If he wanted to reduce his calories to lose fat faster, then he would need to reduce his weekly workout volume to ensure recovery. If this person was completely sedentary for a week or so then he would need a minimum of 1200 glucose calories and 40 grams of fat at least, so about 1560 calories.

Also I sort of mentioned this earlier, but carb cycling could work for a plan like this, but is completely unnecessary unless you actually enjoy it. As long as the weekly average is the same it really doesn’t matter if you cycle your intake.

Be careful of refeeding and cheats on a plan like this. What I presented was your daily balance of all you need to burn fat and build muscle. That means if you want to burn the max amount of fat you need to be between 1720-1820 calories a day averaged out over the week. If you refeed or cheat, then you need to factor that in to your weekly balance. So if you go 6 days of 1750 calories and have an all out cheat day of 4000 calories, your weekly calorie balance is 2070 calories. Which can negatively impact your fat burning. Consistency is crucial on a plan like this. If you have a big meal coming or party coming up then, go low calorie or intermittent fast until the big event so you can stick to your numbers. Or you can go higher calorie that day, but will need to go low calorie the next day to balance it out.

Also cheats and refeeds are not the same. Cheats are rarely a good idea and can set you back a week if it had a lot of fat, because almost all fat is stored in a surplus, especially if lots of carbs and protein were along side it. (Which I’m sure they will be on a cheat)

Refeeds are a much better approach, but their effectiveness is questionable. Refeeds seem to be much more effective if you are not eating enough carbs or glucose to begin with. So if you are dieting in low carb limbo, between 40g-140g or so and not eating enough protein to compensate, then refeeds can help balance you out and upregulate metabolism and leptin for a max of about 24-48hours or so. I would only recommend these if you hit a plateau and you have been consistently on point for at least 2 weeks. I do think a refeed is probably a good idea at this point. Until you reach this point though, you should have plenty of glucose to prevent leptin and energy from going to low anyway, so I wouldn’t mess around with these too much.

References:

http://primalnorth.blogspot.com/p/keto-adaptation-vs-low-carb-limbo.html

http://zerocarbzen.com/2015/10/05/a-high-fat-ketogenic-diet-is-protein-sparing/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ketogenic-dieting-frequently-asked-questions.html

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/03/protein-for-athletes/

http://bayesianbodybuilding.com/is-a-carb-a-carb/

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ask-the-nutrition-tactician-whats-the-difference-between-a-refeed-and-a-cheat-day