Journal Entry 348 – Cookout

Another week in the books. It was a pretty stressful week at work and was really looking forward to the weekend. We finally used the grill on Thursday, two 12oz steaks, mainly because the weather was perfect outside. The steaks came out really good other the fact that I cooked mine a bit long. Grilling is definitely a different style of cooking that I have not done in a long time. As we were grilling, Sarah said she would like to have people over for a cookout, so we ended up having some friends over on Saturday night. I love having friends over, so it was fun as always. We got 88% lean burgers at Costco for like $16. There was a ton of meat. I also got turkey franks from Aldi, which were actually pretty good. I think I once again cooked them a bit too long, but it still tasted really good at the time. I also made some Guac dip, which not going to lie was pretty damn good. I like it chunky, so I mash mine with a fork and always leave it so that several chunks of avocado are still in the dip. Also, salt is the key ingredient. Sarah bought ingredients for Smores at the end of the night, which were also really good. So a lot of good eating last night!

Still eating pretty low carb at the moment and decided to try the Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bar – Cookie Dough flavor. I can say without doubt it was one of the worst protein bars, I have ever had. 1 out of 10. I consider myself a “Protein Bar Connoisseur” and this bar was a disgrace to other protein bars. It was a keto style bar so more fat and less protein and of course low carbs. It was extremely dry and was falling apart before I even ate it. It tasted like chemical chalk. Just really bad. I also tried some Legendary Almonds. These are much better, but still a little pricey for the amount you get. Also, the Buffalo Wing flavor was not great. The Pizza and Ranch flavor (go figure these are my favorite) were much better. I like to eat these during my work week since I don’t really stop for lunch.

My workouts recently have been consistently inconsistent. I had a great workout on Friday though that consisted of Bench Press and Chinups. 4 sets of each. Got up to 235lbs for Bench Press for 5 reps. Chinups was 4 sets to failure with bodyweight. I love simple workouts. Going forward will likely do 3 days a week in the gym with a similar setup of just Bench and Chins.

Journal Entry 325 – Thanksgiving 2018

Had a nice 4 day weekend for Thanksgiving this year. I took some extra PTO on Wednesday and Saturday (4 and 5 hours respectively) because my brother Justin flew into Richmond with his wife Rebecca and my little niece Abby. We don’t get to see them often, so it’s always fun when they come to visit. We did a lot of eating this weekend and looking forward to getting back to my normal diet. I did a pretty good job of not overdoing it too much and ended up making 3 recipes that were lower calorie but tasted really good. Went with a greenbean casserole, brussel sprouts and pumpkin crisp (Splenda). I also had some Turkey but tried to focus on the volume from these foods without getting into the higher calorie foods. Not going to lie though, I’m not a big Thanksgiving food person. I mean the foods are okay, but not my favorites. If I’m going to spend that many calories on eating something, it is not going to be on those foods. I did drink a decent amount, since my brother was there, so that also increased the calorie load quite a bit.

I have browsed some Black Friday deals and ended up getting some new sweatpants for the gym. As a minimalist, I look at some of the things being sold on Amazon and laugh. It really is amazing how much crap is out there, yet people keep buying it. There is one thing I really want to find though and that is a pair of wireless headphones. I listen to headphones every day and really just want a pair that will last all day without having to be charged and also a pair I can adjust the setting right from my ear. I will keep you posted on these.

Hokies somehow pulled it out of their a$$ on Friday against UVA. I thought we were going to lose for sure. The playcalling was HORRIBLE down the stretch. It’s like our coach wanted us to lose by being ultra conservative against a much better offensive team. We got lucky by stripping the fumble in overtime. That is the only reason we won, but I will take it!

Giants play against the Eagles today, which is a borderline playoff game for the rest of their season. If we can win today, I think we will carry this momentum for the rest of the season and somehow sneak into the playoffs by winning the division and overcoming our disastrous start. Our division is garbage and an 8-8 or 9-7 record could easily win it.

The only training I did this weekend was pushups, squats and stretching. I plan on getting back on low carbs the rest of the week and try to push past my plateau on bench.

PS – Costco Steak Jerky is by far one of the best deals on Jerky you are going to find. It is a 12oz bag of $9.99 or if you are lucky enough $6.99 on sale. It has very high protein and low sugar compared to most Jerky’s. I stocked up yesterday. Costco was also empty after the Holiday. Best time to go.

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 286

Been sticking with the upper body workout every day.  I like it so far and I actually gained 4 reps on my bench press. I’m at 210lbs for 3 sets of 7, 6, 5 reps. Chins are roughly 50lbs for 6, 5, 4 reps. The rest of my moves are anywhere from 3-4 sets for 10-12 reps at the moment. Light enough to get good form, but heavy enough to really feel the muscle working instead of just going through the motions.

I seemed to be getting more psoriasis flares a few days ago and I have cut a lot of carbs since then. It has had a pretty dramatic short-term effect on my flaring. I read a blog where a lady ate nothing but steak for a month and her psoriasis drastically decreased. I seem to be experiencing something similar. This skin disease is really starting to drive me nuts. I would try anything I can do reduce its symptoms until my medicine arrives.

My meals recently have basically been meat, green veggies and some sauce. I still eat my protein pudding with some low sugar fruit. My goal at the moment is just to keep carbs lower and monitor my skin’s progress. I’m keeping the protein and fat higher to support my workouts.

The Giants have once again eclipsed rock bottom. I really hate the current head coach (Ben McAdoo) and cannot wait until he gets fired as he greatly deserves to be. He even said he doesn’t care about Eli Manning’s current starting streak of around 208 consecutive starts and would consider benching him to win a game. First of all benching Eli is NOT going to help us win a game and no rational human being would think that. Second, you basically just slapped a seasoned veteran across the face by demeaning a very impressive string of starting games. Stop pointing fingers at everyone but yourself and get the hell off my team. Sorry for the rant ;).

 

Journal Entry 266 – Strength Plateau / Carbs / Random …

This marks my 5th week at my current split. Last week started horribly in terms of lifting. Everything felt heavy as h@ll and I didn’t even want to go to the gym. I tried to go lower carb last week with higher fats and let’s just say that didn’t work out too well. Towards the end of the week, my strength was much better, but that is mainly because I started to slam carbs again. Also, the pork rinds experiment was kind of a fail, because they taste horrible. 😦

So, I decided to start eating carbs every meal and increased my calories. My weight has been a rock at 181lbs. I’ve eaten around 2400 calories every day this week with well over 200 grams of carbs a day. Fat has also been higher at about 70 grams and protein has been between 120-145 grams. I really want to start throwing up some heavier weight though. I’m tired of getting stuck on the same weights and the only way I see this is going to happen it to keeping bumping up my calories and carbs til I find every day in the gym see’s some type of progressive overload. I honestly think it is possible to see this if you are eating enough.

I have noticed some interesting benefits recently though. I can put down a serious amount of food and wake up looking pretty good. I used to diet super “clean” all the time and every time I had a cheat meal with too much “carbs, fats and sodium” I would look like bloated mess for maybe up to 2-3 days. And then I would then go back to the low-calorie diet and the cycle would repeat. I can only attribute this to higher testosterone. Carbs and fats increase testosterone and protein decreases it in a dose-dependent fashion. I like protein, but there really is no benefits to overeating it, when all you likely need is more carbs.

Random Reading:

https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=157454583

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/gain-35lbs-in-6-weeks-naturally

If those aren’t interesting reads, then I don’t know what is. 😉 My goal in the not too distant future is to bench 225x 8 reps for 3 sets. I really want to hit this as soon as possible. Also, ran into an old friend yesterday who is probably 200lbs and under 10% bodyfat. He was one arm shoulder pressing 80lb dumbbells and benching 380lbs. Yeah holy sh!t. Made me feel like a weakling. I need to step my game up. 🙂

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. 😉

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

Journal Entry 213 -Protein is King

Another week on my 3 day full body split and really enjoying it. I was able to increase almost every lift yet again and leg movements have felt almost easy to me. Usually on leg exercises I bump the weight up by at least 10 lbs and upperbody gets moved up 5lbs each workout.

Squats 205 x6,6,6,6 so moving to 215 next workout.  Lunges 50lb db’s for 4 sets of 10 reps. I was shocked at how easily I knocked those out. Moving up to 55lbs in each hand next workout. Trap bar deadlifts were the last workout and I did 215lbs for 4 sets of 10 reps, so I will hit 225 reps next workout.

All of my push movements I was able to pick up a few reps, but BB seated press was the only one I could increase to the next weight. Still working with 185lbs for BB bench for 4 sets of 6reps, 110lbs for seated BB shoulder press and 75lbs in each hand for low incline press for 4-5 sets of 40 reps goal.

Pulling movements, BB row I’m able to increase to 145lbs next workout after knocking out 140lbs for 40 reps. Chinups are slowly increasing and I was able to pick up a few reps on each day but not enough to increase the total weight.

As for arms, shoulders and abs; I’m still working with 80lbs for BB curls and got 32 reps, so sticking with that next week. Dips increased again and will use 15lbs added next week. I’m putting the weight between my feet instead of using a belt for this workout though. Helps keep my body straightened and I actually feel it more in my chest this way. Lateral raises I’m up to 20lbs for a 40 reps goal and both reverse crunch and cable crunch were significantly increased from last week. On reverse crunch I just move the setting up a little, so I can get more of a steeper incline.

On all days I shoot for about 10000 steps a day through walking. I usually get closer to 12-13000 steps a day right now, mainly because I have more time on my hands.

My calories have been averaging about 1800-2000 calories a day and I haven’t weighed myself in roughly 2 weeks. The last time I did I was around 175lbs on a doctors scale for a checkup. My scale is broken and I will likely buy another one, but I feel like I just dont need it right now. I have been getting stronger and continue to lose body fat. I know this due to the mirror and the way my clothes fit. My 32″ pants feel much more comfortable then they did after my 3 month hiatus of not really tracking anything haha. I estimate my intake during this time was around 24-2500 calories a day, but that was an estimation. I was playing around with low protein intakes during this time, because apparently “you didn’t need that much” and ate more carbs and fats as a result. I also added in some alcohol into my diet. But basically I would track 2400 calories, but in reality it could have been far greater, because I wasn’t exactly tracking very closely. The results showed too. After I got back from my cruise, I’ve almost had tunnel vision getting back to my ways. I should mention though, this is a relative “out of shape.” I like to stay pretty lean almost all the time, because of personal preference. So anytime I gain weight, I notice immediately and my pants feel tight and definition is blurred. For me this unacceptable. I also noticed that even though my calories were higher, my lifts weren’t moving at all. So basically I was building fat and not muscle.

These last 3 weeks I’ve noticed a lot about what personally works for me. High protein, moderate carb, low fat seems to be the holy grail for my body. I have played around with a lot of different things and I’m glad I did them, because I know they don’t work for me. This way of eating is simple, focus on protein foods for all meals, throw in some fruits and vegetables and add in small amounts of fats at each meal. My energy and strength has never been better. I’m also having a much easier time leaning out with this diet. Maybe the high thermic effect, but I have tried a similar diet with a low fat intake, but focused on carb foods and less on protein and the results weren’t nearly as good. In my humble opinion, I really think it has to do with fuel utilization.

I can eat as much protein as I want and not put an ounce of body fat on. I dont get bloated with protein and digest it very well. It reduces my appetite and cravings, especially for carbs. I find it painfully easy to eat this way and my energy and strength in the gym is never better. During times of stress or dieting more protein has been shown to be very effective at helping the body recover and I have noticed these benefits. Soreness is very light and I’m able to progress much faster between workouts. Again this is protein magic in my opinion. I was on the same routine with more calories and carbs and fats and it didn’t do anything good for me.

At the moment my goal is just to focus on protein foods and veggies. This is the foundation of my diet. I’m ditching a lot of the added fat sources for now, like guacamole, fatty cheeses, whole eggs, added oils. I need some fat, but seem to look a lot leaner without these things. I plan on keeping my fat intake around 40-50 grams, which seems to work best for me. Anytime I play around with high fat intakes, my calories tend to be hard to hit, appetite actually goes up and I dont really notice any benefits, except a softer appearance.

Carbs have been mainly from fruits and vegetables. My intake of those has been roughly 100-160g a day. This seems to work very well for me. I occasionally throw in some bread, but typically dont eat too much starch. Don’t really need it either, just tends to slow me down.

My calories on an ideal day at the moment is 1800 calories – 200g protein / 135g of carbs 50g of fat. This is usually what my routine diet looks like:

  • Meal 1 – 2 scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of berries, 3/4 tbsp of peanut butter, coffee with splenda and half and half
  • Supplements – Creatine 5g, Glycine 5g, Fish Oil 1.8g of EPA/DHA, Vitamin D, Pregnelone 30mg, Magensium
  • Meal 2 – 6-8oz of meat (chicken, tuna, seafood, pork tenderloin, red meat, 5-6 egg whites with 1 whole egg) 1 low fat cheese wedge, 3 servings of green vegetables, some type of low calorie sauce
  • Meal 3 – Quest bar and half of a pure protein bar
  • Meal 4 – Same as Meal 2
  • Meal 5 – Casein protein powder with berries and some fat free redi whip

This is still a very balanced diet in my opinion it’s just that protein has precedence over everything else, meaning the focus is on protein and everything else naturally falls into place. Also I have been rotating my protein sources a lot. Meaning I try to get a different meat at each meal, just to prevent burning out on a certain type. I also never go below 40 grams of fat a day. If I’m lower than this I’ll add in some peanut butter at the end of the day. A little fat goes a long way. I almost always hit enough fat though, so it’s not an issue. Most protein foods always have some fat in them.

I should also mention that in addition to bumping up the protein, I’ve also been taking creatine. This could be another reason for my strength gains. I’m at a very interesting point right now though, so I’m going to ride it out as long as I can.

Forgot to mention as well, In my article low carb limbo, My goal was to hit at least 12-1300 calories a day worth of GLUCOSE calories. Eating 100-150g of carbs and 200 grams of protein or more easily hits that. This is another reason why dietary fat needs to be reduced. As I alluded to earlier, I think making protein the most important thing and making sure I eat enough glucose has been the main reason I’ve been able to increase my strength in a deficit.

A lot of my pictures didn’t show up on my pc for some reason, but here is a couple: