On Monday of this week, I went to the gym and did a weigh in and body fat test for an upcoming company gym challenge. My stats were 187lbs (Midday, fully clothed including shoes) and 14% body fat. My weigh in that morning on my scale was 185lbs. I wanted to weigh in on Monday because my weight always peaks on Monday’s after always eating big on the weekends. I dropped down to 179lbs within 3 days of weighing in and I definitely will go low carb and high protein right before the final weigh in just to get some extra points from losing weight. You get 1 point for every pound you lose and 1 point for every time you go to the gym. You also get points for better body composition, but since changes like that take way longer than 21 days, chasing after that would be a bad idea. The winner gets 1-year free gym membership. The body fat they tested was not the most accurate instrument. I asked the trainer how accurate it was and he said 3% error and usually measures high. I agreed with this as I feel I’m around 12-13% at the moment.
The last time I did one of these tests I was 166lbs at 10% body fat. Although this was a bod pod test. Meaning I had roughly 150lbs of lean body mass at the time. This time I was around 185lbs and let’s say 13% body fat. This means I know have 161 lbs of lean body mass. Which means I gained roughly 10-12lbs of lean body mass and 6-8lbs of fat. Not terrible, but not great either. Looking at photos of these times, though I can see a tremendous difference. A much bigger difference than these stats represent:
YIKES. Last offical body compoistion test: 166lbs – 10% body fat
Picture taken last week. 185lbs at 12-14% bodyfat
My diet was a bit lower in carbs this week and damn did I feel it in the gym. My last pull workout this Friday was really bad. I dropped reps on every exercise and I only did 4 exercises. I carbed up with some pizza to make up for it. Other than that last workout I really enjoyed the 4 day split this week and found myself over eager to hit the gym on my rest days, which is a good thing. I’m still playing around with the exercises, but think I have really figured out the ones I want to do. Now it’s just a matter of grinding.
For this 21 day challenge, I plan to bump up my carbs pretty high during the beginning 2 weeks and keep protein high as well. Fat will be more or less normal 50-70 grams. The final week I will cut down on carbs just to drop water for the weigh in.
10oz steak, Veggies, Whole egg, egg roll
Chicken Philly with side salad, (Ordered cheese fries for appetizer)
I remember back the first time I lost weight, I didnt ask anyone what they thought or what was the right way or the wrong way to do it. I simply stopping drinking sugary drinks and switched to diet and I watched my fat intake, so that it remained low in my diet. It definitely wasn’t high protein and considering dietary fat was kept low it was definitely high carb. I also didnt count calories either. In eighth grade, I dropped down to 130lbs at 5ft 8in tall. I looked good for the height I was as well. Dont get me wrong I had no muscle and wasn’t even remotely interested in lifting weights or exercise then. The only thing I did was play basketball after school and sports during gym time. I remember at one point I would literally eat a bag of sour patch kids at night and the next day my teeth hurt so bad I couldnt eat for like 10 hours haha. Point being carbs and fat loss have gotten a bad wrap. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing that once calories come down, fat loss occurs no matter what. Now there are plenty of things that can throw this equation off. Thyroid can slow down, testosterone can drop, cortisol and growth hormone can become abnormally high and the result is your body becomes resistant to these hormones and to fat loss. The body suffers a so called “adrenaline diabetes” and your body is basically constantly fueled by stress and adrenaline and needs copious amounts of coffee to keep going. Not a great state to be in. Usually in this state you usually have zero appetite, but when you do get an appetite you crave salt and sugar like no other. Most people think this is a bad thing, but if your body is begging for it, then trust me its not a bad thing.
Carbs may be the solution to end this stress fueled metabolism. Carbs are the only macronutrient to basically signal to your body that it is well fed. Cortisol and stress are very beneficial, but only when counterbalanced with a period of feeding and relaxation and adequate calories and carbs. Research shows even when calories are adequate, but carbs are not then thyroid will get suppressed big time. Thyroid is needed to turn cholesterol into sexual hormones, so guess what happens when your thyroid is down. Low sex drive. Not to say you won’t have any sex drive, but it will be greatly reduced. When it comes to protein and fat, you need what you need to build muscle and absorb vitamins and minerals, but this really isnt a massive amount. .7 grams multiplied by your lean body mass in grams is likely to be sufficient. I would honestly go slightly higher to .8-1 grams per pound of lean body mass, but again more isn’t really better. The amount of dietary fat you need is roughly .2-.33 grams per pound of lean body mass. If you weight 170lbs and have 155lbs of lean body mass, then 31-51 grams of fat is likely sufficient. For protein it would be 109-155 grams. Lets cut down the middle and go 41 grams of fat and 132 grams of protein, this equals roughly 900 calories a day. I wouldn’t go much lower than 11x lean body weight in calories when trying to successfully lose fat and maintain muscle and this an aggressive approach. For the example, it would be 1700 calories total – 900 from protein and fat = 800 calories. The rest of these calories go to carbs or roughly 200 grams. That’s a decent amount of carbs that will keep your muscles, liver, brain and central nervous system properly fueled while you burn fat. If your lightly active and burn lets say 2300 calories a day, then 2300 – 1700 calories consumed = 600 calories worth of body fat. By eating sufficient calories and carbs and also enough protein and fat, your prevent the above situation where you constantly fueled by stress hormones and adrenaline. You also dramatically decrease muscle loss by eating more carbs and your muscles look and feel stronger when working out. This leads to more calories burned during exercise and more fat loss overall. A diet setup this way, especially if your active, which in my opinion everyone should be, then your energy, health and metabolism will be much better. I also highly recommend overfeeding once a week. Carbs can help prevent dramatic decreases in metabolism, but I still think a calorie deficit all the time is not a good idea. If your trying to lose fat then you want to overfeed or at least eat a maintenance level of calories at least once a week. Two- three days if your leaner and are trying to drop into the single digits of bodyfat. 4-5 days if your trying to maintain and build muscle. I think underfeeding is still good to because calorie restriction does have benefits if used properly. But again you can still underfeed with plenty of carbs in the diet.
A diet like this is also much more flexible and diverse then one that has you eat 300 grams of protein and 100 grams of fat to ensure your “getting enough protein.” Or a keto diet that has 150 grams of fat and >30 grams of carbs. Good luck sticking to that one. Lets say your with family or friends and they want you to try a recipe out that has more than 30 grams of carbs. “Sorry, but I can only eat 30 grams of carbs a day for the rest of my life, no can do.” Makes you look and feel kind of bad. And since your body basically forgets how to digest carbs, especially after going very low for long periods of time, you usually get pretty fat soon after reintroducing carbs. You better off avoiding situations like this. Also once your leaner and not diabetic, then all carbs are essentially the same, so you can basically eat any source you want. This includes fruit, sugar or starches. I personally would recommend more starches, 1-3 pieces of fruit and a little sugar, but I wouldnt worry too much about it, as long as the amount is controlled. So in my opinion, carbs are essential and should be consumed regularly. If you are on a keto or very low carb diet, then my advice would be to pick a calories range between 11-12x lean body weight and start eating more carbs and less fat like my example above. This will allow your body to get used to eating carbs again, but since your in a deficit you wont gain any fat. Once you feel good and less bloated after meals then start bumping up the carbs and calories closer to maintenance or just start cycling calories, while leaving protein and fat constant.
On a random note, most cultures run on carbs for the majority of their fuel intakes.
My workouts got a little thrown off this week due to my trip to Virginia Tech for the football game. I was gone from Saturday – Monday and got back Tuesday, so I just started my split Tuesday this week. Hit full body and after a weekend of bad nutrition, didn’t perform too bad. Currently in my training, I really dont care about the weight lifted, but more the feel. Been aiming for roughly 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets depending on the move. I really like this pump training though and its a nice change up from going heavy. I also try to hit roughly 5 miles a day through walking and daily activity. Still lifting 3 days a week every other day and go for a run two days a week. My diet was pretty erratic this week, but doing 3 days of a deficit on rest days, 3 days of surplus on workout days and 1 days of maintenance on Friday. Macros are similar to example above, but roughly 150 grams of protein, 45 grams of fat and the rest carbs. I also have some drinks on some nights. 😉 My weight is also roughly 172lbs this week.
Been eating a lot of the Trader Joe’s ready made rice and pasta mixes. Pretty healthy overall and very easy to make. They also make tracking much easier because its already portioned out. Highly recommend gnocchi alla sorrentina. Its a pasta with a red tomato sauce and some cheese. Macros are very good on it. The vegetable fried rice, asian style, is very good as well.
Average Weight – 175.6lbs – Average Calorie Intake 2185
Saturday – Push
Sunday – Pull
Monday – Legs
Tuesday – Push
Wednesday – Pull
Thursday – Off – 100 pushups
Friday – Chest/Back/Biceps – 1 move each – 100 pushups
I think my boredom with my routine has reached an all time high. I think I’m going to try something completely different this week. I like working out everyday, but traditional routines make this difficult without burning out. Traditional routines just really don’t appeal to me at the moment. I’m thinking of doing a high frequency routine, where you hit each muscle group 3 days a week at a greatly reduced volume each session. This is the first time I’ve done something like this, but I think it will bring in some much needed variation into my training. Basically one move for each body part each workout and the reps will be a pyramid scheme so all muscle fibers are taxed each day. Here is an example to illustrate what I’m talking about:
Triceps – Dips or Close Grip Bench Press – same reps
Traps/Rear Delts/medial delts – Same reps
15 pushups between sets – at least 100 reps
Day 3 – repeat Day 1 with different exercises for each body part
Day 4 – repeat Day 2 with different exercise for each muscles group
Day 5 – same as Day 3
Day 6 – Same as Day 4
Day 7 – OFF or start cycle over
An unorthodox split, but very interesting and fun. Muscle growth is still the priority and all rep ranges are hit with each exercise. Dont let this split fool you though. Its much harder than it looks. The good thing with this split is greatly reduced soreness after each session. I do like feeling sore, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to more muscle growth or indicate an awesome workout. The last set of 4 reps is where I will try and push for a PR on each exercise, while the other sets are meant to stimulate muscle size and blood flow. I’m also going to start adding pushups everyday. I plan to start with about 100 total spread through the day and add about 15 between each set. Pushups give me incredible energy and pump my muscles up very effectively, so I want to implement way more of them in my routine; not every now and then either, but every day. The volume of this split is likely very similar to a traditional split, its just spread out differently over the week. Again this is more of a trial to prevent boredom. This could be a horrible failure, which sees a quick return to a normal routine haha. I’ll take my chances.
Same old, same old in my diet. I did hear a very interesting fact this week about how big of a role height plays in your overall lean body mass and metabolism. For every 1 inch of height, you have about 7 more lbs of lean body mass then someone shorter than you. So lets take two people, both at 5% bodyfat (about as low as it gets for males) and one guy is 5ft 8in and the other is 6ft 0in tall. The 5ft 8in guy would have 150lbs of lean body mass and the guy that is 6ft tall would have 178lbs of lean body mass, even with the same amount of body fat and muscle mass. The lean body mass in this case refers to bone size, muscle length, total body mass, etc.. Very interesting considering your total lean body mass is very important for a high powered, high calorie burning metabolism. This means that taller your are the easier time you have of losing weight and vice versa. This is why men lose weight far quicker than smaller females. Again its not overall weight than influences metabolism, but most likely the extra lean body mass due to increased height that plays the biggest role. You also burn more calories moving around a bigger body, so that’s also a factor.
Also read some interesting info on sodium intake in regards to boosting the metabolism and muscle growth. Sodium is very important for cellular hydration in regards to energy and muscle mass. When you go on low carb diets and especially on Ketogenic diets, sodium gets flushed much more readily and this can cause the body to dehydrate. Many people think that “low carb flu” of giving up carbs is due to a lack of carbs, but this is not the case. The biggest reason is because when you cut carbs, they are cutting out a lot of hydration from their diet. Every gram of carb holds 3 grams of water. Go from 300 grams of carbs down to 50 grams and a lot of the body’s water stores vanish. What the “low carb flu” really is, is dehydration. This brings on light headedness, foggy thinking, low energy levels, high cortisol and low T levels and other undesirable consequences. Even a sluggish thyroid if inadequate salt is consumed (thyroid needs iodine). You need about 3 times the amount of sodium on low carb diets as you do on high carb diets. Once the sodium issue is corrected, most people feel just fine. I think this is why some people hate “the switch” to a low carb diet, while others have no problems at all. If you use too many “health, clean foods” with no sodium as many have been told to do, you will feel the effects of dehydration. If you consume adequate sodium, your body will hold onto more water and you will feel just fine. So its not the carbs, its your hydration level. I feel like this is often overlooked when people say they hate low carb diets. There’s also some research showing that low carb diets reduce testosterone levels compared to high carb diets. But again when sodium is too low nasty things happen. Sodium has been show to retain hormone levels and adequate minerals (magnesium and zinc) in the blood, so it could have been the people in the study just weren’t hydrated enough, weren’t consuming enough sodium to compensate for the lack of carbs and were most likely losing precious minerals from the amount of water they were flushing out. Again you probably need at least double the recommended 2400 mg of sodium of a low carb diet and maybe triple if your on a Keto diet. So to sum this up, people really do feel bad on low carb diets, but this is due to cellular dehydration and not a lack of carbs. Consume more sodium to promote cellular hydration and your energy levels will be just fine. Sodium is often overlooked in the macro-nutrient war, but it is highly underestimated.
There’s also a recent study showing that ketogenic diets build just as much if not more muscle than high carb diets, when adequate protein is consumed on both diets. Although their results were pretty close. This goes to show that overall calories and protein are likely the most important, while the distribution of carbs and fat depend on the individual. Most people still do better with moderate amounts of each macro in their diet.