life

Journal Entry 315 – 3 Week Hiatus

Today marks the end of my 3-week hiatus. I’ve had a lot going on recently and never really had a chance to sit down and write a post. Over the past 2 weeks, Sarah and I bought a dog! It is a shih-tzu / bichon mix that is 100% hypoallergenic. This was more for Sarah than for me as I’m not allergic to any dogs. We named him Luke after Luke Skywalker. Coincidentally he was born on 5/4/2018, which is Star Wars day and the date of our rehearsal dinner. Not going to lie, he is a lot of work. More work than I thought it would be and I’ve had dogs my entire life, but it has been awhile since I had a puppy and I forgot the amount of energy these dogs have. Also, he’s a lot of money. I know startup costs are high, but if you are running low on money and are thinking about getting a pet, I highly recommend thinking again.

I do have good news to report in terms of my lifting progress. I set a personal record on the bench press for 225lbs at 6 reps. The bench has felt fantastic recently and I actually did that with a cold. I’ve been sick since I left the beach last weekend, but it did not seem to affect my lifts. Recently I’ve been prioritizing the bench above all else in the gym. The prioritization has paid off. My goal is to get my bench press to 225lbs for 3 sets of 8 reps with ease. Once I hit this, my bench lifting goals will pretty much be complete. Funny enough my weight has been going down as well. I’m sitting at roughly 179lbs. I’m benching more at this weight than I was at 185lbs. My goal is to get down to the 170-175lbs range, while continuing to increase my strength. My overall volume in the gym has been low recently. My diet consists of a ton of protein and little carbs and moderate fats at the moment. This is my go-to when trying to lose fat and look my best. Since my volume is low, my strength has still been going up as there isn’t a ton of muscular damage to repair. I have barely run at all recently as well. I think once in the last month.

My workout schedule is heavy bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps 3 times a week every other day. I then do a Pull movement for 4 sets of 6-10 reps (heavy) and then an abs movement for 3 sets of 6-10 reps.

On the days, I’m not doing a bench I do the same setup scheme, but usually either an Incline Dumbell Press or Pushups instead of flat bench. I’ve found that by keeping the volume low each day, I can come back the next day and hit it hard regardless of what I did the day before. Obviously works since my bench has been skyrocketing recently.

My diet is pretty simple at the moment:

  • 2 12oz Coffees with half and half
  • Protein Shake
  • 2 hardboiled eggs
  • WORKOUT
  • *Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps 1 5oz bag (eaten throughout the day)
  • Nicotine Gum
  • 12oz of either ground Turkey Meat or Beef with cheese and small amounts of vegetables
  • Protein Pudding with blueberries

That is pretty much it almost every single day. Sounds boring, but I really like it. It’s helping me shred fat and increase my lifts at the same time. Don’t mind if I do.

 

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Journal Entry 314 – Part II – Moving In

Long time no post! Sarah and I have been very busy the past few weeks with the move-in process. Homeownership as we have been told and now experienced is a lot of work. It’s one of those things you don’t really appreciate until you go through it for the first time. Most of my free time has been moving everything around, hanging stuff up, fixing repairs, and yardwork. That being said the house looks great! We also had a home warming party last night, which was a ton of fun.

I have been tearing up my workouts recently. My workout’s format is below:

  • Push Compound – 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps
    • If at home I just do 5 sets of Pushups
  • Pull Movement – 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps
    • If at home I just do 5 sets of Pullups
  • Abs – 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

That is all. I do this workout style every day and I take days off as needed, but usually only one day off on the weekend. I found by not overdoing the volume and avoiding the “junk volume/movements” I’m able to workout like this every day and perform well on every movement. My bench is already up 10lbs from this style of lifting. I try to heavy bench twice a week. I’m also doing heavy abs every workout and can really feel a difference when lifting heavy weights on my compound movements. I love it so far and another huge positive of this style of lifting is that it only takes 35 minutes a day.

My weight is down to 179.6lbs and it will fluctuate up to about 183lbs. I definitely lost some fat when we were moving in. There were a few days where we would literally be moving the entire day and I really only ate a few snacks during the day and a pretty light dinner.

My diet has been pretty consistent overall in terms of eating during the day. I eat pretty much the same thing every day and then kind of eat whatever at night. My dinner is usually healthy, but not always. This week I had higher carbs meals for dinner, but this can fluctuate daily. I always go low carb during the day, but dinner just kind of depends on what I’m feeling. Calories at the moment are right around 1800-2000, with usually around 2500 on the weekends.

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 311 – Putting In Work

Training:

Had a really good week in the gym. I did a 5 day Push/Pull/Legs/Push/Pull workout setup with cardio on the weekend. Hit my heavy bench press and heavy rows early in the week and finished the week with higher volume and lighter moves. Not sure why, but I was really feeling EZ bar skullcrushers and curls. I got a tremendous pump towards the end of my workout from those.

Overall my strength is still slowly increasing. At this point, I really just want to be consistent with my workouts. It feels like the more I go to the gym the stronger I get, especially with back.

I also did some cardio twice this week of around 30-40 minutes.

Diet:

I have been going pretty low carb recently with good results. My weight was at 185.6lbs at a high early this week (not sure how as this is high for me) and is now around 182.2lbs. I have noticed though that I do look leaner at a heavier weight, which is always a good sign in terms of body composition.

My diet is pretty simple during the week. I have two protein shakes during the day with one being mid-morning and the other in the afternoon when I get back from the gym. I also have some Our Little Rebellion Protein Chips almost every day. This gives me a ton of protein and not a ton of calories. At night I then usually eat a pretty large meal, which is usually low carb, but not always. I then finish the night with another protein shake with berries in it. I really enjoy that protein shake. It tastes better than ice cream to me.

So the above has very consistent elements, but dinner also allows me a lot of flexibility. I can pretty much eat whatever I’m feeling at dinner. It’s almost always a healthy meal, but not always. Eating like this I don’t really feel the need for cheat days, because I can eat whatever I want every day at dinner. I’m pretty busy during the day at work, so I really don’t like messing with meal prep anymore. I enjoy undereating during the day so I can eat a big dinner when I can sit down to enjoy it.

This may seem like common sense, but the more I workout the better I look. Even when I eat healthy and don’t workout I don’t look nearly as good as I do when I do some sort of exercise every day. To me it’s pretty noticeable. It also benefits my mental health and allows me to eat more food as well.

Life:

I had a company function at place called the Circuit Bar in Richmond, Virginia. Very fun place and it had tons of old games and a ton of craft beer that was self-serve. I got the high score in Skee-ball with 320. Also, played some Tekken 3 and Madden. Sarah and I then went out to a place called Dont Look Back after with some friends and played some pool. I was out from 4-12 PM yesterday and worked from 9-2 PM. Busy day, but fun. Only thing that sucks is I really only have one day off of free time to relax.

I watched the NBA finals this year, which is something I almost never do. Not a huge basketball fan anymore, since Kobe Bryant retired. He was always my favorite player. That being said Lebron James is a beast. He carried a very mediocre team to the Finals. I almost felt bad for him.  His team was so bad, he almost had no chance of winning against Golden State. Also, not a big Golden State fan. Draymond Greene is probably the most annoying player I have ever seen and his talent is way smaller than his ego. He is just along for the ride, while Steph Curry and Kevin Durant carry the team. Klay Thompson is also one of the most consistent shooters I have ever seen. I think he gets overshadowed by Curry and Durant and probably by Greene, but only because Greene is an obnoxious loudmouth. Not surprised by the outcome of the NBA Finals, but the Playoffs were enjoyable to watch.

Journal Entry 310 – Grinding

Another week in the books. Last week flew by and I continue to still be very busy at work, which makes the days pass very quickly. Sarah and I have also been very busy with the mortgage/house process.

The early part of the week I hit my 3 workouts fullbody style as outlined in last weeks posts. Not going to lie, was not feeling it. My workouts have been pretty weak recently. My bench press is at best stagnant, but I almost feel like I’m getting weaker and I think benching heavyish 3 times a week is not good for the long-term health of my shoulder. I think I’m going to try a  4 day Push / Pull workout. My pull workouts will be light to moderate with no heavy weights. This will give my front deltoids an extra day of rest.

I have also done cardio twice this weekend and it felt very good! I haven’t done much cardio in recent weeks, but I want to add it back in. I may wake up early on Wednesday or go after work, so that I can have 3 days of cardio and 4 days of lifting.

My diet has been pretty low carb during the week. I plan to increase my carbs, especially at night. I think this will help with my workouts. I also plan to lower my fat and increase calories overall.

I tried a new protein called Syntha 6 – Birthday Cake Remix. I had very high hopes after I tried and returned Designer Grassfed Whey Vanilla Cookies and Cream. The later tasted like dirty chalk. 2 out of 10. 😦 Syntha 6 was much better, but not great. I would go 7 out of 10. Compared to the other one though it tasted heaven sent. I would still say Elite XT is still probably my favorite even though I haven’t bought it in awhile.

Had a good weekend though. My brother was in town for a friends wedding and then Sarah and I went to a wine festival yesterday, which is one of my favorite things to do.

Journal Entry 309 – Returns For Time Invested

I’m still trying to find a workout that provides the best returns for the time invested. I really don’t like going to the gym and feel like I’m wasting my time with ineffective exercises that are barely doing anything in terms of body composition and time spent doing them. Gone are the days when I enjoy spending hours in the gym. My day no longer revolves around my workout, so I really want to create a workout that hits everything I want to be hit and then I want to move on with my day. I literally want to get in and get out. I love the benefits working out provides and I fully plan on working out for the rest of my life, but these benefits can be achieved in about 30 minutes a day.

The best feeling for me in the gym is getting stronger. It’s instant feedback that you are doing something right. I designed a routine and schedule that I think will carry me into greatness at this point in my life.

MC’s Minimalist Routine:

  • Incline DB Bench Press 4 sets of 6-12 reps
  • Chinups 4 sets of AMAP with bodyweight
  • Dips 3 sets of AMAP with bodyweight
  • Isolation of choice 3 sets of 8-15 reps
    • Optional depending on time

This workout will be done Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. It gives me a solid 48 hours between workouts and then I hit it again. I will sub in barbell bench press once a week, but no more due to shoulder issues. My main goal is to get stronger and do more reps on all of these exercises. Don’t let this workout fool you though, it’s not easy. It’s simple on paper, but not easy. This workout can be completed in under 40 minutes, which makes it perfect for me. It also hits every muscle in the upper body. I will also do cardio a few times per week, mainly on the weekends. When Sarah and I move into our house, we are going to buy a treadmill. Once we do this I will likely run every day that I don’t lift.

I’m still playing around with diet, but it is high protein as always. I still backload most of my calories to dinner as well.

Sarah and I have also recently had an offer accepted on a house! We have both the inspection tomorrow and meet with the mortgage office to sign the loan. I have heard signing a loan is a miserable process, unfortunately, but we have to do it at some point.

 

Journal Entry 306 – Almost Wedding Time

The new schedule is in full effect and it’s been pretty busy at work. Along with the new schedule, my wedding is coming up this week, followed by the honeymoon. Soon after we need to move out of the apartment and find a new house! We have a lot on our plates at the moment. Really looking forward to the wedding and honeymoon though. Sarah and I have been together a little over two years at this point and we are very ready to get married.

My routine this week has been simple. No cardio, 4 days of lifting on a Push/Pull split. My calories have been pretty low during the week to cut some fat before the wedding. Scale is down to about 178-179lbs and my pants are definitely fitting looser. My diet has been almost exclusively protein for the past week and half with pretty low carbs and moderate fat. I’m not doing a ton of exercise though, so I really don’t need to eat a ton and I’m also trying to drop fat. That being said my lifts were down a little this week. I’m also pretty stressed at work, because of the greatly increased workload, but that will just take some getting used to. My sleep has been great though. Getting at least 8 hours a night.

I’ve been eating a ton of egg whites recently. In the morning before work, when I get home from work and sometimes after dinner if I’m still hungry. They are basically a perfect food right now though for me, because they are super low calorie and all protein. I also just really like the taste and texture for some reason. I usually eat Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps as well during the day. These are 80 calories per serving (24 chips) 10g protein, 10g carbs (4 fiber) and 2.5g fat. Pretty much epic in terms of macros and you get a lot for the calories. They also taste really good. I also do a protein shake during the day at some point. I have protein powder at my desk, so this is pretty easy to make. Dinner is always a super high protein meal and usually some kind of vegetable. I then follow this with a protein shake before I go to sleep at night.

I never take lunch to work or even breakfast anymore. I really enjoy it. I don’t have to prep anything. All I take with me is coffee. Everything else is either at my desk at work or is a bag of chips, so nothing to prepare. Dinner is the vast majority of my calories and is essentially my only meal except for high protein snacks during the day. It’s been working so I’m sticking with it.