Journal Entry 359 – Month Update – Birthday, Football, Diet, Gamechangers

Been a while since my last post due to several busy weekends in a row, which is pretty common with the end of the year. (Holidays, Birthdays, Football, Work Stress, etc…)

I turned 29 on November 14th and Sarah and I went to Charlottesville for the day. We went to 3 wineries on a Hop-On / Hop-Off Tour and two of them were good and one was pretty mediocre:

  • Pollack was great. Nice view, great wine and great staff. 9.5 out 10
  • Valley Vineyards was average. Nice staff, but location was pretty lacking and the wine was average at best. 6 out of 10
  • Veritas was about the same this time. You get a very “snooty” vibe at this place. I still like it, but the pours were stingy as well. I do really like their logo though. 7 out of 10.

After that, we stayed the night in a hotel in Charlottesville and went to a place called The Whiskey Jar for dinner. Again, pretty good but not as good I was hoping for.

For my birthday, I also got a game called Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Basic rundown is about a young Jedi who is on the run, shortly after Anakin becomes Darth Vader and all the Jedi are being hunted down. Don’t want to get into a detailed review, but the game was very fun and the combat was awesome. The other characters were okay, but the main character was good. The Darth Vader cameo (Spoiler Alert) was a great addition as well. 9 out of 10. The only reason I didn’t rate it a 10 was because there were certain physics with the game that was frustrating to deal with. Other than that it was really fun and by far one of the best Star Wars games ever made.

We also had Thanksgiving last week as well. It was nice to get a 4-day break from work as its been really busy recently. This year we just stayed in town and went to my parent’s house. Pretty laid back. Used the other days to get stuff done around the house and just relax. I didn’t really buy anything for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I’m a simple man and looking around at most of the deals looked like a bunch of crap. I already have everything I need right now anyway.

Last night, Sarah and I went to my yearly Holiday Party in Richmond. It was good times as always. It’s very much geared towards kids, but its still fun to hang out with people.

Random Tidbits:

The Hokies lost to UVA for the first time in 15 years. Felt a little sick to my stomach after that game, to be honest. The last drive was pathetically bad for the Hokies. Still mad haha. At least Clemson SMASHED UVA for the ACC Championship (as expected). If anyone is going to take the title back, it certainly is not going to be UVA.

The Giants have lost 8 straight games and have changed titles from trash to a straight-up dumpster fire. Clean House. Use the next few years to build through the draft and get a new Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator. Especially the latter. I don’t hate Shurmur (the Head Coach), but he just has not done anything to keep his job and makes some questionable decisions. In the NFL, if you don’t win, you’re out. Sorry but that’s the way it is. Need to move on. Also, Eli Manning is starting on Monday (HELL YES). In a weird way, I think it was good they benched Eli. And the only reason I say that is because now everyone can see how much of a shitshow this team is without using Eli as a scapegoat for the multitude of problems this team has. If anything we are worse without him.

My shoulder still hurts from tweaking it on the bench. I have gone to the gym about 2 times in the last month. However, I’m still doing short range of motion chinups, (stretching full extension hurts my shoulder), Squats, Abs and lighter stuff. That being said, I still look almost exactly the same as before I left the gym. My appetite has actually gone down a lot since not working out. Recently this is my diet in a nutshell:

  • Weekdays (Workdays)
  • Breakfast
    • Coffee and Protein Pudding
  • Lunch
    • Enlightened Beans
    • Iced Coffee*
      • This is a recent addiction and an expensive one. I need to find a place with cheaper black iced coffee
  • Dinner
    • 2 Whiskeys or some type of liquor drink
    • Dinner is whatever I want. Its usually meat, starch and vegetables. But is a large amount of my calories for the day.
      • Chipotle, Panda, Mezeh, Kickback Jacks are still staples when eating out.
  • Dessert
    • Protein Pudding
  • Snacks**
    • Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps (A lot of volume for these)
    • Fruit
    • Protein bar

Weekends are “kind of” similar, but breakfast is usually paleo pancakes and I usually eat 2 protein bars for lunch with a big dinner. I always eat lighter during the day and bigger at night for a multitude of reasons.

The last thing I wanted to talk about was the recent podcast I heard on Joe Rogan about the Gamechangers Documentary on Netflix. The Gamechangers is essentially a vegan propaganda film on Netflix. It may be described differently from others, but let’s be honest here, the shit is vegan propaganda. Anyway, I’ve watched it and it reminded me of a lot of other vegan films I have seen in the past. Some good points were made, but the claims are usually way overblown and then the whole thing just gets weird. After watching, you’re left with the impression that if you eat meat, your death is imminent. STOP. Long story short … Joe Rogan had a nutrition expert, Chris Kesser, come on his podcast to “debunk” the documentary. I watched it and he made a lot of good points. However, the person that made the film, James Wilks, wanted to come on the podcast and debate the nutrition expert that “debunked” the film. I will admit that James Wilks did a brilliant job of backing up his evidence and sources that he used for the film. He CLEARLY WON the debate. That being said, he came off as arrogant a$$hole the entire time and looked like he was more interested in personally attacking Chris Kesser than actually just defending himself with his clearly well done personal research.

Nutrition research is notoriously difficult to measure because it relies on a lot of imperfect measurements. I mean think about it, unless you put someone in a lab and monitor EXACTLY what they are eating then a lot of the data is left up to chance. Epidemiological studies are used for red meat to show that is bad. But this research also has several other variables that could be causing the problem (smoking, lack of sleep, other drugs, fast food, etc…) They also lump meat into one category. So salami, lean chicken breast, McDonald’s burger patties are all the same thing, with the same health outcomes? – I think not.

Nutrition also relies on anecdotes a lot and can be EXTREMELY variable for each person due to genetics, digestive health, pre-existing conditions and so on. So to say that vegan diets will work for everyone and that all meat is bad is a false assumption to make. I’ve seen a lot of fat vegans and vegetarians. To assume everyone on the planet, is going to eat 100% whole foods plant-based diet is almost as realistic as Utopia. It’s not going to happen.

 

Journal Entry 334 – Sarah Trip / Nintendo Switch

Thanks to President’s Day, Sarah and I are off from work on Monday. Long weekend! Sarah went skiing with her dad and brother in Colorado for the next 5 days. I have no experience with skiing and really had zero interest in going. A friend of mine had an accident where he broke his neck snowboarding about 10 years ago. Sure it was a freak accident, but since it happened, I really just never wanted to try it.

I bought a Nintendo Switch on Thursday after some peer pressure from my friends, who thought I would enjoy it. They were correct! I’m currently playing Zelda Breath of the Wild and it’s one of the best games I have ever played. The handheld console is nice. I don’t remember the last handheld I have owned, but the Switch deserves its very high reviews. Sarah was even stealing it from me one night and played it before she left for her trip. I also bought Super Smash Bros but have barely played it. I’m way too into Zelda right now.

As for my workouts, I plan to adjust my benching down to two times a week instead of three. I also play to supplement with two recovery days, which will be chest flys, reverse flys and some extra back work that is higher in reps. One day will be off in the middle of the week and the weekend will be bodyweight days.

  • Heavy Day – Bench and Chinups / Stretching
  • Recovery Day – Flys/ Reverse Flys / Back Hypertrophy / Stretching
  • Off
  • Heavy Day – Same as above
  • Recovery Day – Same as above
  • Bodyweight Day
  • Bodyweight Day

 

 

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 298 – Short One

Finished training last Thursday, so my schedule will go back to normal this week. Sarah and I went to Greensboro last week and did some stuff for the wedding. It’s only a couple months away, which is strange to think about.

In contrast to last week, I actually lifted every day last week doing a full body workout every day. Enjoyable, but the problem was I would get pretty sweaty at the gym and then have to go back to work after. Not fun.

My bench press has been going back up and right now stands at 215lbs for 8, 5, 5 reps. I literally have done heavy bench every other day and it seems to be going up pretty steadily. I have also done very little cardio, except for some light walking all week. When I got back to my new schedule, I will start doing cardio again. I have also incorporated some legs back into my routine and the soreness is already gone.

My diet has been pretty high protein and calories have been around 2000-2300 calories a day. This seems to be a good amount for me to stay around most of the time. Good energy, good strength in the gym and since I eat pretty balanced, I can pretty much eat whatever I want within this calorie range.

Journal Entry 288 – Post-Thanksgiving and Waist Size

Last week Sarah and I went to Greensboro, North Carolina for Thanksgiving. Due to the fact that Sarah and I had to work on Friday, we did Thanksgiving on Wednesday night and came back on Thursday. I’m not the biggest fan of Thanksgiving food, so I don’t have a huge issue with overeating on this holiday. Not sure what it is, but I have extremely good portion control in terms of eating on this day. I didn’t eat a ton of anything, but a little bit of everything. My favorite is probably apple/cranberry crisp, which tastes more like dessert. I don’t ever really eat this with dinner though because I prefer savory/salty foods for dinner. I usually save the crisp for dessert and it is amazing. I drank a decent amount of wine on Thanksgiving as well. I feel like it goes very well with the food.

I also went to a tailor to get fitted for a tux. My waist measured 35 inches was sounded really big to me, considering I wear 32-33in pants. I looked it up and apparently, vanity sizing makes clothes smaller than they actually are. So your waist is always 2 inches bigger than your pants size. Kinda sketched me out though at the time, because I haven’t really noticed any fat gain recently, but usually when your waist size goes up that’s usually a fat gain issue. I don’t feel like I’ve gained fat, but may need to shed a few pounds of goo. I’m currently around 185lbs give or take a few pounds. May need to get the scale around 177-180lbs to get that waist measurement where I want it.

My workouts have been good and I’ve been getting very sore after every session. The only thing is sometimes I run out of energy before the end of my workout. The pump hasn’t been as good as the first time I did the workout. My best pump, strangely enough, has come from this workout I did in the past:

  • BB Bench 3×6 reps
  • Dips 3 x AMAP
  • Skulls 3×10 reps

Pretty simple, but it works.

Diet has been good, but nothing special. Still loosely tracking my intake, but apparently gained a few lbs of non-muscle. May add back in some cardio because I have been doing it maybe once a week. I plan to keep eating a lot of carbs though, because my energy really starts to drop when I take them out. May reduce dietary fat a little because I have been eating a lot more than usual recently. Probably close to around 70 grams a day sometimes more. Some fat is good for energy, but I don’t really need a ton of it. Cutting excess fat vs carbs helps my energy in and out of the gym.

Journal Entry 285 – Sarah’s Birthday

Workout wise has been a continuation of the winging it high volume approach. As long as I don’t go too heavy it’s been easy to recover from. It’s also been very fun so far.

My diet has only one rule at the moment and that is to hit at least 2200 calories a day and no more than 2600 calories. (I’m currently not doing any formal cardio, expect normal walking around and going to the gym.) I also try to eat the bulk of my calories at night. Other than that it doesn’t have any rules. Honestly, still eating plenty of carbs, but my psoriasis hasn’t been flaring too bad. The biggest factor it seems with psoriasis is when I get hot. No bueno.

Sarah had her 25th birthday this week! I made her some pancakes before I went to work then took off half a day. We hung out the rest of the day and went to Sushi for dinner. I admit I wasn’t a huge sushi fan, but never really gave it a fair chance. It was awesome and may have to get it more often. I ordered sum yum yum sauce on the side and it was a game changer. We went to Publix after and Sarah got carrot cake for dessert and I got some chocolate chip cookie cake. It did not disappoint.

 

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.