life

Journal Entry 287 – My Birthday & FST-7

I missed my post last week due to my 27th birthday. Sarah took the day off and we hung out and ate a lot of food. I ended up taking a rest day from the gym and we went to Whole Foods for lunch. We split a plate of food from their food bar, which cost about $15 a plate. Good thing we shared. I tried mochi for the first time, which apparently is Japanese ice cream and it did not disappoint. It tasted like a doughnut hole with ice cream in it. After Whole Foods, we went to Vitamin Shoppe and got some Birthday Cake Quest Bars and a Pumpkin Pie Halo Top. Both were as good as they sound. My parents came over after work (this was last Tuesday) and we all drove to Stellas in Richmond. It’s a very authentic Greek place that is pricey, but worth the money. I was so stuffed at the end of the meal, all I wanted to do was lay down ;). We had hummus, tzataki, pita bread, homemade bread, tiropita (one of the best foods ever made), a greek platter, baklava and coffee to end the meal. I ate so much, I think I’m still working off that fat gain haha.

I recently decided on a more organized workout routine. I stumbled upon FST -7 after watching some random documentary on Netflix. It’s a very high volume “Bro Split” that apparently many bodybuilders use to increase their size. The main focus is staying in the hypertrophy range with a mix of compound and isolation movements. The goal is to stretch the fascia tissue of the muscle, which can lead to more growth. So far I have done the Chest and Back workouts and I have been very sore afterward. I took about 4-5 days off before my first serious lifting workout because I wanted to change what I was doing in the gym. Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I wanted to be fresh when I finally figured it out. These workouts are actually fast enough to complete on my break. This is mainly because your only working one major muscle a day. This is far from a strength program, so I’m interested to see what happens to my current 210lb bench if I lay off of it for awhile. I also plan to do about 30-40 minutes of cardio on my 3 rest days. I haven’t done a bro split in a while, but I think I’m really going to enjoy it as I have in the past. May not be “optimal” but doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, I have stated in my previous article The Bro Split.

Sample Workout:

Chest

  • BB bench press 3×8-12 (normal rest)
  • Machine Flys 3×8-12
  • Incline DB Press 3×8-12
  • Cable Flys 7×12 reps (30 seconds rest)

Current Schedule:

  • Sun – Cardio
  • Mon – Shoulders / Abs
  • Tues- Cardio
  • Wed – Arms
  • Thurs- Cardio
  • Fri – Chest
  • Sat – Back/Traps

My diet has been pretty high protein and low carb following my birthday. My energy has not been fantastic on it, but I was mainly trying to cut some of the bloat, which is basically gone. I plan to move back to a balanced diet to get through these workouts. Trust me if you don’t eat enough going to into these workouts, your intensity will die out somewhere between the end of the second and the beginning of the third exercise. The volume is way higher than I’m used too and the food is needed to not only get through the workout but to recover. It’s a shame I didn’t do one of these workouts on my birthday ;).

Other Life Stuff:

The Hokies really don’t look great right now. We won on Saturday, but it was not very impressive. Our offense looks very stagnant and predictable. I also have a coworker who is an extreme UVA fan, so I really want the Hokies to dominate them when they play on Friday.

The Giants finally won! It wasn’t a very high scoring game, but the game was actually more entertaining than the score would lead you to believe. Eli led the team to a win in OT. I really hate McAdoo, but he seemed to show a lot of emotion in this one and I’m sure it felt good for him to beat a good team.

I start my Taltz injections today. I really can’t wait. After reading some reviews, the medicine seems to work pretty quickly for the vast majority of people. The only time it doesn’t seem to work is if they have a long history of using other injection type of drugs. It would be really nice to have clear skin again and get rid of this nasty problem.

 

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Journal Entry 283 – Bench and Chins

Workout:

My strength is starting to go up after I made an important change on my rep range. Recently, I was trying to get 8 reps for 3 sets before moving up in weight. This was largely to keep form very good and not letting sloppy form take over when the weight was too heavy. I decided to drop the range to 3 sets of 6 reps to break a plateau and the difference has been dramatic. I’m already up 10lbs on the bench and 5lbs on Chins. The first time I benched 205lbs with 3 sets of 6 reps, I thought I had the wrong weight on the bar it felt so easy.  My workout is as follows:

  • Push (Day 1 / Day 2)
  • BB Bench Press 3 sets of 6 reps
  • DB INC Press 3 sets of 8 reps / Dips 3 sets of Max reps
  • Lateral Raises 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Flys 3 sets of 10 reps / Skull Crushers 3 sets of 10 reps

 

  • Pull (Both Days)
  • Chinups 3 sets of 6 reps
  • Preachers 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Face Pulls 3 sets of 10 reps
  • DB Curl 3 sets of 10 reps

I found this way of working out to be the best for my current schedule. I can easily complete this on my break from work. The first move takes the longest, but the last two are a breeze and I superset them. It’s also very easy to tweak certain things to keep strength going up.

I have also added in Cardio 2-3 days a week and I swear I feel like it made me stronger in my lifts. (At least last week)

Diet:

My weight is right around 185lbs right now. It fluctuates between 182-187lbs. I think I may have found a connection between processed sugar and my psoriasis flaring. Not necessarily carbs, but processed sugar. It was the same feeling I had when I had my Bachelor Party. I’ve been reducing, so my carbs are at more of a moderate range and I have increased fat and protein a little bit. Recently I have been eating Sardines, which are very good. They may stink, but they are nutritional powerhouses and have a really nice texture. I may try to cut out the excessive green vegetables and stick to more simple meals as well.

Life:

Last weekend Sarah had her bachelorette party. She was gone for 4 days, but I missed her a lot! While she was gone, I actually took off early on Saturday and went to the Wine Festival in Powhatan. It was actually pretty good.

Giants finally won a game last night. They actually played really well on defense. Offense still looked pretty inconsistent, but they scored a modest 13 points against a really good defense with a ton of injuries. So it could have been MUCH worse.

Journal Entry 282 – The End of Elite XT / Less Meat

Life:

I have used the same protein powder as my main source for probably around 5-6 years at this point. The changed the formula again that apparently is “new and improved.” Not even close. They completely changed the texture of the protein and now it basically looks and tastes like the cheap whey protein you can find at Walmart. It tastes way worse, has less protein, more carbs, and the BCAA profile is worse. It has also risen in price to $40 for 4lbs. It used to be $32 for 4.4 lbs and that was back when it actually tasted good. What a shame. 😦

I have recently switched to Cytosport 100% Whey Protein from Costco. Six pounds of protein for $39. That’s $0.50 a serving and about as good as it’s going to get for a high-quality protein powder. It doesn’t mix thick like Elite XT USED to mix, but it still tastes very good. Casein can also give a lot of digestive upset when consumed too frequently, so since this is 100% whey it avoids this.

I have been eating way less meat recently, so I really think it’s important to find a high-quality protein powder. After doing more research into factory farming and its dramatic impact on the planet, I really have found myself eating close to a vegetarian diet with very small amounts of meat. I don’t even think eating meat is a bad thing if you are hunting in the wild for fresh game. But this is far different from factory farming, where animals are seen as food and not animals. Unfortunately, if you buy meat at a grocery store or restaurant, then you are eating factory farming. I still eat some meat, but it is drastically reduced from where it used to be. Not to sound like a hippy, but I wonder how much better the planet would be doing if all livestock farming ended. Almost get to the point where if you want meat, you need to go out and hunt for it.

Workout:

I have decided to change up my workout to something entirely different than what I have done in the past, but still allow me enough to complete my workouts on my lunch break. I really want to increase my volume for size, but I also don’t want to burn out or spend hours in the gym. I have designed a workout where I mainly focus on one move a day and do lots of volume for that one move. I plan to do roughly 10 sets of each move each day for about 8 reps.

An example for Bench Press would be to warmup, then start with a weight I can get for about 8 reps. If this feels heavy, I take off weight and then get 8 reps with the new weight. I continue this pattern until I have done 10 sets. I did this on Saturday and got down to 155lbs on the 10th set. My arms were shaking afterward. I also seem to be able to get away with eating a lot more food training this way.

I also plan on doing at least 100 pushups every day (spread throughout the day) in addition to the one move of the day in the gym.

  • Sunday – Pushups only
  • Monday – Chinups 10 sets
  • Tuesday – Dips of Inc Press 10 sets plus pushups
  • Wednesday – Chinups mixed grips 10 sets plus pushups
  • Thursday – Bench Press 10 sets plus pushups
  • Friday – Chinups or Rows 10 sets plus pushups
  • Saturday – Bench Press 10 sets plus pushups

Diet:

As I have alluded to above, I’m eating much less meat than before. Protein is still adequate, but since I’m eating very quality whey protein, I need way less protein than you would think. The higher the quality the less you need overall. My carbs are pretty high, which is at least double the protein. Fat is always at a moderate level. I have been eating a ton of fruits and vegetables recently and make those the bulk of my diet.

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry 281 – Skin Battle

Life:

Pretty normal week for me following the bachelor party. It took me a day or so to get back into the swing of things at work. I don’t remember the last time I had 5 days off from work. I barely drank any alcohol last week, because of the massive flare of skin issues I had from the bachelor party. I can honestly say that it has helped tremendously. Sarah and I did go to The Wine Loft on Saturday night to meet up with some friends, but I only had a glass and half of red wine. Cool place though.

I have also been drinking my new cocktail of 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp of baking soda, water, and crystal light 3 times a day.  This has played a big role in healing my symptoms. I have been playing around with things that cause my symptoms to flare. Hot water, sweating in the gym, too much meat and fat (this is a big one), excess sugar and alcohol :(. All of these make sense, but the excess fat was kind of surprising. I noticed that when I keep my fat under 55-60 grams, my skin feels better and looks better. When I go higher than this it can trigger some flares. Sugar mainly refined is very similar. This, in my opinion, has to do with inflammation. Fasting or eating lower calories can really help control the itching. Certain meals I can eat and have zero symptoms. It is still largely trial and error at this point though. I have also been bathing in baking soda and rubbing it all over my body, including my scalp, which can flake a lot. This helps to bring oxygen and carbon dioxide to the dry skin and prevent flaking and accelerate healing.

The Hokies continue to dominate and the Giants continue to lose. The Giants did look better this week though, so I guess that’s a plus.

Joe Rogan is the man. Probably one of my top 5 favorite people of all time at the moment.

Workout:

I set up an everyday upper body workout, but I quickly realized I don’t have time to do this on my lunch break. I have time to do a max of 4 moves at the gym for roughly 3 sets. 3 moves are even better. I decided to stick with my old routine of 4 days lifting push/pull. The other 3 days will be some light cardio.

Diet:

As I have alluded to above, I have been playing around with this area of my diet. Lower fat seems to help as well as less sugar. That being said I still eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, even though they have a lot of sugar. Protein is adequate but not excessive and I have not been eating a ton of meat. My carbs have been pretty high recently and my calories have been elevated as well.

Journal Entry 280 – Bachelor Party

Life

So today marks the end of my 5-day mini-vacation. I took off Friday and Saturday and my weekend was Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. My Bachelor Party was this weekend in Virginia Beach and it was awesome. It was honestly the most fun I have had in a long time. I saw some of my close friends that I have not seen in awhile and the whole thing flew by. I had a rough day on Sunday, but it was well worth it.  We did drink a lot and often. I wish looking back I didn’t drink during the day on Saturday and just waited til night time. Mainly from a recovery standpoint. Other than that the beach was fun, the food was good, the laughs were numerous and memories were made. Virginia Tech also dominated 65-17 in football.

The one negative thing was that I noticed when I got back my rash flared really bad in certain areas after really good improvement before. I didn’t use any of my supplements and it showed. I started pounding my apple cider vinegar and baking soda mix 3 times a day and it’s already much better. I’m sure much healthier eating and not drinking is helping a lot. Keeping my calories up though, because drinking can lower testosterone levels pretty good and lots of food helps bring your hormones back up. It also lowers nutrients and electrolytes a lot as well. I bought some lotions from Vitamin Shoppe for both my rash and psoriasis. Its too early to tell now, but I feel like they are doing a good job in helping clear me up.

As for the Giants, Ben McAdoo is a fat troll and needs to get fired. He’s ruining my team and the end of my favorite player’s career (Eli Manning), by calling horrible plays with the players we have, ignoring the god-awful offensive line as a problem and blaming everyone but himself. I could go on all day about everything I hate about this guy, but he can’t go soon enough.

Workout

I’m doing a shift in my workout. I still plan to bench and do chin-ups heavy twice a week, but I’m doing upper body every day. The first move will be 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Everything else will be 3 sets of 12-15 reps of whatever move I want. This is a welcome change for me as I have done the same workout for several months.

I’m going to keep cardio to a minimum so that it doesn’t interfere with my lifts.

Diet

In accordance with lifting every day, I’m going to shoot for about 2500 calories a day. It will be balanced macros with adequate protein, carbs, and fat.

Journal Entry 278 – GOT & Psoriasis

Life:

This is the first time I’ve ever posted on a Tuesday before. I forgot on Sunday, because Sarah and I stayed out late to watch the Mayweather vs McGregor fight. That fight was rigged by the way. McGregor didn’t even get knocked down once and they called it. A proper TKO is 3 knockdowns in a row. Don’t get me wrong he was getting knocked around, but you still don’t need to call the fight that early. McGregor did very well considering he never boxed before though. I don’t think either boxer is too upset though. Mcgregor got $30 million and Mayweather $100 million. They put up a good show.

Game of Thrones as was also this Sunday and didn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed watching this season and the show is heading in the right direction. My prediction is that Cersei and Euron are going to fail and try to kill Daenerys and Jon Snow’s armies. Jamie Lannister will join Daenerys and help them in some fashion. One of the Lannister brothers will end up killing Cersei, although not sure which one. I think Jamie might do it, after what happened and Game of Thrones is very unpredictable. They will defeat the White Walkers some how led by Jon Snow. Jon Snow will rightfully win the iron throne but turn it down. I think something might happen to Daenerys. Death always finds those who try to take over power in this show. Jon is not trying to take over power, he more or less is fighting for what is right and power will find him. Big difference. Daenerys is getting a little power hungry and wants everyone to bend the knee to her. She may react very negatively to learning Jon Snow is her nephew and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. I don’t know she will, but I have a feeling. I hope I’m wrong on the last point because I like her character, but after watching Game of Thrones for 7 seasons nothing ever plays out like you want it to.

Time for a psoriasis update. Otzela suppressed a lot of it, but ultimately it stopped working. It also gave me a hive like rash that I still have a little of. I got a very bad sun burn while on this medicine and in the past that sun burn would hurt for a few days and then go away. I STILL have remnants of this sun burn and it gave me a rash all down my body. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out why I still have a rash from this sun burn. I stopped taking Otzela. The next stop my doctor recommended is Humira, which is injectable. I really don’t want to go that route. All of these drugs suppress your immune system and I want no part of that. I canceled my appointments until I know for sure what I want to do. I have been doing a ton of research on how to heal it naturally and there is no one size fits all answer. Some people cure it on vegan, keto, dairy free, nightshade free, paleo, etc… I honestly think it depends on if you have an allergy to a certain food without realizing it. This is why different things work for different people, because not everyone has the same allergies. Dairy seems to be a big one for a lot of people. I eat a lot of dairy that mainly comes from protein powder. I have eaten the same protein powder for over 5 years now. Maybe it is possible that my body has built up antibodies against it. It is my theory and I’m going to test it out. I have switched to an organic plant based protein for now. It tastes very good too. Do I need to get rid of all dairy though? I really don’t think so. Besides protein powder, I don’t have a huge dairy load in my diet. It can be maddening trying to figure out what the problem is, so just taking small steps to see.

Workouts:

I have decided to try and lift 6 days a week now. Chest, triceps, shoulders on day 1, 3 and 5. Back, biceps, rear shoulders on days 2, 4 and 6. Cardio will be done only a couple days a week if that and Sunday is for tennis.

My lifts have slightly gone up across the board except for Bench Press.

Diet:

Nothing special in terms of diet. Its been undulating for the most part depending on the day and hunger levels. I’m still not eating a ton of meat or protein for that matter, but my gains are untouched.

 

Journal Entry 277

Life:

Another week in the books. The work week went by really quick and still getting used to being off on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Watched Game of Thrones last night and it was one of the best episodes I’ve seen in awhile. Action packed and I like where the plot is headed. Jon Snow is one of the best characters ever made, especially for that show. In one of the darkest shows ever made, Jon Snow seems to be one of the only positive lights left. Another character I like a lot, Daario Naharis, is a no-show this season. He is definitely not dead, so I expect him to make an appearance at some point before the end of the show.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Joe Rogan’s podcast recently. He has very long podcasts that range from 2-3 hours, but he talks to some of the most interesting people in modern society. I learn a ton listening to his podcast. He just hit 1000 episodes this week, which is no small feat. Really look forward to listening to these.

Diet:

Been eating a lot of carbs recently, especially yesterday. Sarah and I went to IHOP and got some chocolate chip pancakes, which were on point. Had some Auntie Annes pretzels for lunch with some rice cakes and for dinner had some shrimp lo mein with a ton of other appetizer type foods. Finished with some ice cream and some Cinnabon bites from Taco Bell. Holy hell these Cinnabon bites were some of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Saturday night we went to Cheesecake Factory and I got a couple of the light flatbreads, which were average at best. The bread before the meal was really good though.

Friday night we got a Mediterranean pizza from Belmont, which was good but had no sauce.

We also got Plaza Azteca on Wednesday as a team and everyone got 2 beef tacos with 2 to-go containers full of rice and beans.

So, in summary, a ton of carbs this week. I think I averaged over 300grams a day with 100 grams of protein and fat fluctuated up and down the moderate range.

Workouts:

Moved up to the 35s on Chinups for 8, 8, 6 reps. Bench is still on par with where it was in the past. My gym is starting to get really packed at almost all times of the day. Even when I go around 8pm at night, there is still a decent amount of people there. Saturday is always packed unless you go around 5-6pm.

Other than that been doing tennis once a week and I’ve done cardio 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes.