Journal Entry 319 – Miscellaneous

I’m just going to do a quick update this week. No post last week as it was a very busy week at work and I didn’t have a ton of time or energy to write a post.

I have hit somewhat of a plateau in my lifts recently. I have also felt more stressed out recently, which I know goes hand in hand with the gym. My meals at night have been less keto/high protein-oriented and more or less just eating whatever I want. I have noticed a couple of days this week my dietary fat was unintentionally very low. Like 30 grams or so. I definitely felt “off” the next day. I may remedy this with a full week of eating what I think is optimal. This consists of high protein meat-based meals and a low carb content. Let’s see if that jumpstarts me a little bit.

Other than that, the Giants and Hokies are both failing. Giants can’t score points at all and Hokies lost to ODU. Great! (sarcasm intended). Also, my number one draft pick in Fantasy Football, Leveon Bell, hasn’t played a game because he “isn’t making enough money.” Don’t even get me started on this fool. Once Eli Manning is done my interest in football is going to take one hell of a step down from where it is now. If my interest in football is currently a 10, once Eli is gone it will be more like a 5.

I’m also thinking about getting a PS4. Mainly for Star Wars Battlefront 2, which is an incredibly fun game. Kylo Ren is hands down the best character in that game. They are also going to add Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan in future updates, so yeah this game is a must buy. I’ve also had the PS3 for at least 5 years. Considering the system may be a bit pricey at first at $299, it lasts several years and holds its value well. Also, since the PS4 has been out a while, a lot of the games are very cheap now.

Advertisements

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.

 

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.

 

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. ūüė¶

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 269 – Heavy / Light Day

Another week in the books and strength is still going up. I’m down to about 179lbs of scale weight and feeling leaner than previous weeks. I decided to add in a light day for both push and pull workouts to replace one of the heavy workouts. I’m doing less cardio than in previous weeks at maybe 3 times a week. Sarah and I have also started playing tennis on the weekends, so while not formal cardio, it still counts, especially when it’s hot out. Diet has been around 2100 calories a day with Protein at 145 grams / Carbs 250 grams / Fat 65 grams.

Diet has been around 2100 calories a day with Protein at 145 grams / Carbs 250 grams / Fat 65 grams. My energy and well being is much better with more carbs and fats in my diet without adding in super high amounts of protein. I also noticed I really don’t eat a ton of meat anymore. I have a pretty good sized serving once a day and that is about it. A lot of my protein comes from protein powder, vegetables, and protein bars. Not saying that I have been actively trying to cut meat out of my diet, it’s just that I have unconsciously reduced it.

As for my workout, I moved some things around:

  • PUSH – HEAVY
    • BB BENCH PRESS – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
    • INC PRESS MACHINE – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • DIPS – 3 sets by Max
  • PULL – LIGHT
    • CHINUPS – 3 sets of 6-8 reps 1 set with bodyweight
    • LAT PRAYERS 4 sets of 12 reps
    • SEATED INC CURLS – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • SHOULDERS/ABS DAY
    • DB LATERALS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • REAR DELT MACHINE – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE PULLS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • MACHINE CRUNCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE CRUNCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • PUSH – LIGHT
    • DB INC BENCH – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • CABLE FLYS – 3 sets of 12 reps
    • EZ SKULLCRUSHERS – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • PULL – LIGHT
    • TBAR ROWS – 4 sets of 12 reps
    • LAT PULLDOWN (VARIOUS GRIPS) – 4 sets of 12 reps
    • DB CURLS – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • WEEKEND
    • TENNIS, CARDIO OR LIGHT CALISTHENICS

Other than that Sarah and I are going to a company party this weekend. My company reserved Brown’s Island in Richmond for 4 hours and provided us a hotel to stay in downtown. Also, food and drinks are free. I think it should be a good time and my company is awesome. Probably go downtown after it ends, which is like a 2-minute walk from where we are. Should be a late night, but a really good time.

Thyroid Inhibitors and Enhancers

The Thyroid is one of the main metabolic controllers in the body and literally takes the food you eat and converts it into energy.  The thyroid is tricky though and certain things can slow it down and other things seem to speed it up.  There is a lot of misinformation on thyroid health, but a healthy thyroid is definitely something you want on your side for a healthy metabolism.

The two most important hormones of the thyroid are T3 and T4. ¬†T3 is very important to have for a healthy functioning thyroid. ¬†What happens is due to various dieting factors, T4 doesn’t get converted to T3 and instead gets converted to rT3. ¬†Long story short, NOT GOOD. ¬†It basically means, something is off and hypothyroid can result, which leads to cold intolerance, digestion issues, slow metabolism and just feeling overall fatigue all the time.

Some of this information was actually really surprising to me, because it seems as though even some very healthy foods can affect thyroid health.

Here are some things that could NEGATIVELY impact thyroid health:

  • Insufficient Calorie Intake – I had to list this one first as it definitely plays the biggest impact. ¬†The less you eat, the less food your body has to process as energy and the more it down regulates energy producing enzymes. ¬†The result is less energy and a slower metabolism.
  • Insufficient Carb Intake – This is important as well, because many people on Very Low Carb Diets could be getting enough calories, but not enough carbs. ¬†This over time down regulates the thyroid at T3 is sensitive to low carbs. ¬†Keep at least 100 carbs a day in the diet and this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Raw Vegetables – (especially cruciferous vegetables broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale) This was shocked me a little. ¬†After digging a little deeper it appears to be related to the amounts of goitrogens, which inhibit iodine to the thyroid. ¬†Iodine is obviously very important for thyroid health. ¬†Solution – Cook vegetables and don’t eat them raw. ¬†Cooking destroys these goitrogens and not too mention makes them taste much better.
  • Too many Beans, Nuts, Seeds, and Soy – These are very similar to vegetables in that too much of these foods can inhibit certain vitamins (Zinc and magnesium) from getting absorbed properly. ¬†Note – I said too many. ¬†You can still eat these foods in moderation without ruining your thyroid. ¬†Although in my diet, I stay clear of Soy. ¬†It has ton of estrogen (fat storing) properties and thyroid inhibiting factors, I just dont see any benefit in it.
  • This is for the above two points – It appears Raw Plant foods have certain “chemical defenses” to prevent predators “people” from eating them. ¬†Thats why eating these things raw can have potentially harmful effects. ¬†The solution is to cook these foods before eating them as this retains the nutrients, but gets rid of some of these harmful compounds.
  • Too many inflammatory fats – these include eating too many vegetable oils from plant sources and also eating too much poultry meat fat has high amounts of omega 6. ¬†Basically what happens is that these unnecessary omega 6 fats overpower the omega 3’s causing a deficiency of the healthy, essential fats we really need.
Might want to cook these before eating.  Your Thyroid will appreciate it.
Might want to cook these before eating. Your Thyroid will appreciate it.

Tips on how to speed up the thyroid and restore its health:

  • Iodine – this seems to be the most crucial nutrient the thyroid craves. ¬†Because as soon as this nutrient is low or inhibited the thyroid slows down. ¬†Good sources include liver, asparagus, seafood – especially shellfish and kelp. ¬†Avoid raw cruciferous veggies in great amounts.
  • Zinc – Responsible for a variety of metabolic processes. ¬†Foods that contains a healthy amount are beef, chicken, oysters, and oatmeal. Beans and Nuts also contain a fair amount, but she be sure not to overdo it on these sources, as too many can inhibit its absorption.
  • Selenium – Very important mineral for thyroid health. ¬†Brazil nuts are far and away the best source. ¬†It only takes about 3 of these nuts to get enough for the entire day. ¬†Be careful about getting too much though as that seems to be a negative factor to the thyroid. ¬†Other sources also include oatmeal, chicken, seafoods, onions and garlic.
  • Tyrosine – (this is a new one to me as I haven’t heard much about this one impacting thyroid health) This is an amino acid and important neurotransmitter. ¬†Dairy, beans, chicken, oatmeal, bananas and some nuts are good sources.
  • Chromium – another important and underrated mineral essential to health. ¬†Meats, liver, onions, eggs and vegetables are good sources.
  • Liver Health – The Liver is very underrated and is almost as important as the heart. ¬†Make sure to provide this essential organ with tons of nutrients and avoid really low carb diets as they stress the liver to produce glucose.

Most effective foods to enhance the thyroid, these contain many of the nutrients above as well as other helpful properties:

  • Oysters and Shellfish – I admit I don’t eat these a lot, but they seem to have many of the vitamins and minerals that positively impact thyroid.
  • Seafood
  • Lean Meats- beef and chicken
  • Cooked Vegetables – lots of vitamins and minerals, just avoid to many raw.
  • Fruit – Berries in particular – vitamins, minerals, provide the liver with glycogen to function properly
  • Beans and Nuts in moderation.
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes – These are starchy vegetables with tons of nutrients. ¬†If you eat a lot of beans, try switching to potatoes. ¬†These are much more filling than almost any other food on the satiety index and don’t inhibit nutrient uptake.
  • Liver – not the best tasting food in the world, but very healthy.
  • Coconut– Positively effect both the liver and thyroid

Bottom Line: Avoid drastic calorie cutting and carb cutting.  Avoid raw vegetables and excessive beans, nuts, seeds and soy.  Load up on the nutrients and foods listed above, eat a sufficient of calories and energy levels and metabolism should get back to speed.