life

Journal Entry 305 – New Schedule is Coming

Today is the last week of my old schedule. I luckily get Saturday off, so it will be a 3 day week. I’m moving to an 8-5 schedule Monday through Friday. It will be a big change for me as I haven’t been on that schedule for awhile. This also means some change in terms of diet and workout, which I haven’t really figured out yet. I probably won’t figure it out until I actually start and see what I like best. I thought about going to the gym early and knocking it out, but I would likely have to get up before 6AM, which I’m not really sure I want to do. I will most likely just go to the gym on my lunch break around 1-2PM. I may adjust my routine so that I’m benching twice a week and continue with my pushups / chinups and stretching routine. Still hitting 200 pushups / 50 chins and stretching daily.

Not sure what I plan to do for the diet. Based on my schedule, an Intermittent Fasting setup would work really well with my hours. Eat minimal during the day when busy and feast at night. This would also be far easier from a planning and financial standpoint. What I may do is make a protein shake in the morning to drink around mid-morning, then eat a bag of Enlightened Beans or Jerky at work. This provides around 600 calories total during the day, which allows a very large meal every night, while keeping calories in check. This would allow me a couple drinks at night, a very big high protein meal and some protein pudding for dessert.

I got to a new low of 179.4lbs this week. I had a big eating day from Saturday night and all day Sunday and got up to 184lbs. I was down to 182lbs this morning. I expect to go below 179lbs by the end of this week.  For whatever reason, I almost felt hungover after my cheat day even though I didn’t drink. Not a good feeling. It’s probably because I went from pretty low carbs to very high carbs in a day and then back to very low carbs. That’s a pretty large swing that I’m not really used to. Calories were over 3000 for the day. I may try splitting my cheat day up into a big meal on both Saturday and Sunday night versus the whole day. I have a feeling I would not only enjoy this more, but feel much better than slamming calories all day long.

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Journal Entry 304 – Return of the Refeed

Missed my post last week since Sarah and I were in Greensboro for the weekend doing some things for the wedding.

Some big schedule changes also happened at work, which will move me back into a much more normal schedule. Looking forward to that so that Sarah and I will have more time together.

My workout schedule has been even more minimalist style than my last post. I have literally been doing 200 pushups and 50 chin-ups a day at least for the last week. I’m only lifting once a week in the gym on Friday, which has been heavy barbell bench press that I then follow with pushups and chin-ups. Pushups and chin-ups are starting to feel extremely easy. I’m doing 30 pushups a set and 10 chin-ups a set. I plan to increase those to 35-40 for pushups and 15 for chins soon.

I really enjoy these two moves. They work every muscle in the upper body and you can literally do them anywhere at any time. (Although this is truer for pushups rather than chin-ups.)

As for my diet, its time for the “Return of the Refeed.” I experienced somewhat of a plateau where I could not drop under 182lbs for 3 days even with my diet and exercise on point. Very frustrating. I refeeded a couple of days ago pretty hardcore. I went 3000+ plus calories with the vast majority of calories coming from carbs. I went up to 187lbs after this day, but have now dropped below 182lbs just two days later. I have written about refeeds before, but have stopped doing them the past couples years for whatever reason. I really do they think hold tremendous benefit to allow yourself to “go to town” one day of the week just to get it out of your system. It also has many physiological and psychological benefits, which I have wrote about in my article How To Do A Carb Refeed.

Most people would benefit from doing this once a week. It’s just far easier to program. If you were going by science every 5th day would probably be optimal. So 4 days of dieting, 1 day off to refeed up to or beyond maintenance calories and repeat. This presents a pain for most people though, because your refeed day constantly changes. No one wants to refeed on a Monday. So I would recommend just doing it Saturday or Sunday (my personal favorite). Give precedence to carbs. I usually go high protein all other days, so I really look forward to eating all of the things I can’t eat on this day. I actually tried to lower protein as much as I could on my last refeed day. I hit around 80 grams of protein / 70 grams of fat / and over 400 carbs.

Also one more point about refeeds. Some people try to lower dietary fat as low as humanly possible on these days. Don’t do this. It makes the day far less fun and satisfying and really lowers your food choices. I’m not saying to go super high in fat, but just allow yourself to hit a normal of fat of around 50-70 grams instead of going like under 30-40 grams like is commonly recommended. Your body can store some dietary fat as muscle, especially if your diet days tend to be low in fat. Even if you store some fat, it’s going to come off easily when you return to your normal diet the next 6 days.

Journal Entry 303 – Minimalist

Time to return to my minimalist roots for awhile.

Workout

My routine is back to a super minimalist template and will be a 4 day Push / Pull routine as shown below:

  • Day 1 – Push
    • Barbell bench 4×6-8 reps
    • Dips 4 x AMRAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8 reps
  • Day 2 – Pull
    • Chinups 4×6-8 reps
    • DB Curl 4×8 reps
    • Ab Machine 4×8 reps
  • Day 3 – Cardio
    • 30-40 minutes of Cardio
  • Day 4 – Push
    • Incline Dumbbell bench 4×10-12 reps
    • Dips 4 x AMAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8 reps
  • Day 5 – Pull
    • Db Rows 4×10-12 reps
    • Chinups 4x AMRAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8
  • Day 6
    • Cardio 30-40 minutes
  • Day 7
    • Cardio 30-40 minutes

I love it so far. I wanted to do full body but quickly realized that there was no way I could possibly finish that on my lunch breaks. The above is actually really intense despite the lowish volume. I want to hit the abs with heavy weights and more frequency. You will not find any isolation in this routine because it doesn’t really fit well into a time saving minimalist routine. I also do at least 100 pushups a day and have for some time now.

Diet

I have decided to go pretty close to a PSMF diet until the wedding with a few occasional cheat meals. I’m trying to get down to about 175lbs and stand at 182lbs currently. My calories are actually much higher than a normal PSMF, but the point is basically to eat protein and veggies only. Carbs and fats are incidentals. I estimate with my current deficit I should net about 1lb to 1 1/2 lbs per week. Since my protein is high and I’m lifting regularly to retain my strength, I’m expecting this to be pure fat.

I may eat some carbs at night (prob not many though) and have an occasional cheat meal (probably once a week) just for a little variation, but I plan to stick to this pretty rigidly for the time being. Of all the diets I have done when I eat nothing but lean protein and veggies and keep carbs and fats low, the fat always comes off.

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 296 – Too Much Fiber

So I’ve been hitting a calorie deficit for about 2-3 weeks without really cheating in awhile. I’d have a day where I would eat more, but not really a cheat day. Yesterday I decided to have a large cheat meal of whatever I wanted. I decided on Cheese Fries from Kickback Jacks along with a Chicken Ceasar Salad and some wings. I woke up this morning looking much fuller than I have in awhile. I actually look like I lift again! It’s amazing what flat looking muscles can do to your physique and mind when cutting. Not fun.

I was really pumped to get back into a higher protein / lower carb way of eating, but realized I was overdoing it on high fiber / low carb food items. This really can wreck your digestion and make you bloated. I always love how Nutritionists latch on to certain ideas like “Fiber is the best thing you can eat” or “It’s almost impossible to get too much fiber, because it’s good for your gut bacteria.” Um yeah, actually it’s extremely easy to get too much fiber and getting too much can literally wreck you. When you add in high fiber tortillas/bread on top of fruits and vegetables and high fiber protein bars (almost all of them in today’s world), then you have just very easily hit well over 50-60 grams. I think I even hit 80 grams one day. I swear it felt like it took me 3 days to clear my bowels and just to feel like I didn’t have a full stomach all the time. After it finally was clear, I decided to go on a very low fiber diet and I felt very good and I looked even better. My stomach was consistently flat all day. I used to wake up with a flat stomach and go to bed looking like buddah. With low fiber, it’s always flat. It’s easy to overlook factors in your diet that you associate with being healthy when in reality they can be a problem. High fiber leads to almost constant distension and a not very aesthetic appearance.

Some foods I have found to be very beneficial to this way of eating AKA non-bloat:

  • Wings
    • I’ve really been into wings recently. A little bit higher fat, but I always save some room for fattier items in my diet.
  • Peanut Butter
    • Doesn’t bloat me at all.
  • Meat
    • Mainly eating Tyson chicken strips, but digests well.
  • Egg Whites
    • Can make you a little gassy, but not overly bloated.
  • Berries
    • Small handful. Berries don’t bloat me like other fruits.
  • Green Vegetables
    • Well cooked and only small amounts at once.

 

Journal Entry 294 – Getting Organized

Missed last week’s blog post because I went to Chicago with Sarah to see my niece. She cried a lot when she first saw me haha. Sarah didn’t have better luck though. Abby is very attached to her mom at the moment, but I’m sure the next time I see here that will be a little different. I also realized when I was holding her, that I have zero experience with children. I mean I have been around infants before, but never taking care of them. I held Abby and fed her a couple times, but I let Rebecca do most of the work haha. She has way more experience than I do. The rest of the trip was pretty relaxed for the most part. My brother cooked a lot of food and we didn’t go out much except to the gym.

I have really been in a rut with Gold’s Gym recently.  It has been beyond packed no matter what time you go. I also feel like I have been rushing my workouts since I go on my lunch break and haven’t really been engaged in my workouts recently. My strength is good, but the enjoyment is not. I’ve decided to try and cut out Gold’s for a couple of weeks and see what happens. The only thing I’m worried about is losing bench press strength because I do not have access to a heavy bench anywhere else.

I decided to workout Sunday through Thursday and take Friday and Saturday off.

  • Weekend
  • Sunday – Push – High Reps
  • Monday – Pull – High Reps
  • Tuesday – Cardio
  • Workweek
  • Wednesday – Push – High Reps
  • Thursday – Pull – High Reps
  • Friday – Off
  • Saturday – Off

The only other variation I may make is to change to 3 full body days and 2 cardio days, but the schedule would look largely the same. This routine is challenging though as I’m taking almost every set to failure. This is pretty easy to do with high reps without burning out. I feel good after my workouts and my pump is so intense it almost hurts. That being said I’m not overly sore after my workouts. To me, this is an enjoyable form of training though because it is so different than what I was doing before. I’m not rushed with these workouts because I’m not “on the clock” like I was with the other ones.

As for diet, I’m sticking with the high protein / low-mod carb / low-mod fat diet. This is by far the easiest way to control calories, look the best, feel the best and control my cravings. I can pretty much eat whatever on this plan within reason since it allows for both carbs and fats instead of going high carb -low fat vs keto. For example, if I want pizza or wings for dinner then I simply eat high protein, low fat, low carb all day and then eat whatever for dinner. This automatically balances out macros. I really don’t have a calorie goal at the moment. I’m just kind of eating based on what I feel like I need. Some days are much higher than others and that tends to be what works best for me. Also, some days can be way higher in carbs or fats, but the theme is that protein is there.

  • Go-To meals at the moment:
    • Protein Pudding (Long time stable)
      • 55 grams of Elite XT (Mix with small amount of cashew milk)
      • 1/3 cup of berries on top
      • 1/3 TBS of peanut butter on side
    • Asian
      • 4-5oz of Tyson grilled chicken strips
      • 1/2 bag of broccoli
      • 1 Crab rangoon
      • 1 egg roll (Optional)
      • Teriyaki Sauce
    • Eggs (Usually bring this to work)
      • 12 hardboiled eggs (1 yolk, 11 whites)
      • 1 bag of Brussel sprouts
      • 2 Tbs of Bolthouse Ranch
    • Greens
      • 1 bag of Broccoli or Brussel Sprouts
        • Heat up twice as long as recommended. All the water comes out and tastes like its roasted
        • Some type of sauce
    • Berry Milk (Dessert)
      • 1 cup of Cashew Milk
      • Handful of frozen berries
      • 2 Splenda
      • 1 serving of fat/free sugar/free jello mix (Aldi Brand)
      • 2 Tbs of Cocoa powder
    • Lazy Meal
      • 1 can of beef soup (lower calorie brand)
      • 1 can of green beans
      • 1/2 can of white potatoes
      • Mix together
    • Snacks
      • Jerky
      • Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps
      • Pretzel sticks
      • Rice Cakes
      • Mixed Nuts (At work)
      • M & M’s plain
      • Apples
    • Eating Out
      • Chipotle (highly customizable)
      • Mezeh
      • Which Wich
      • Kickback Jacks

This basically sums up my diet at the moment. I usually have a really big cheat day on Sunday in which my weight always spikes. It’s usually pancakes for breakfast, a healthier lunch and a feast at dinner at my parent’s house. I had to eat at least 200 grams of carbs worth of pita bread alone. I also dipped this in a ton of Tzataki sauce. I do feel bloated the next day, but the weight drops off very quickly when I resume my routine.

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.