Week 8 of The Lean Down – Journal Entry 154

Log:

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Week 8

12/6- 177.8lbs – CE – 2800 calories – 8777 steps – 4.3 miles – Push

12/7 – 177.2lbs – 1950 calories eaten – 9500 steps – 4.7 miles

12/8 – 178.8lbs – 1865 calorie eaten – 11500 steps – 5.4miles

12/9 – 177.4lbs – 1880 calories eaten – 11700 steps – 5.5 miles

12/10 – 176.6lbs – 1920 calories eaten – 16000 steps – 7.6 miles

12/11 – 177lbs – 1875 calories eaten – 12000 steps – 5.8 miles

12/12 – 176.4lbs – 2100 calories eaten – 11200 steps – 5.3 miles

Average Weight – 177.3lbs – 2000 calories eaten average

This is the eighth week of my lean down phase in which I hope to land around 8% bodyfat or so. I started this right after a Dallas trip in October. I weighed about 183lbs when I got there and after four days of eating like an obese person, I probably weighed in at around 185lbs. If I had to estimate my bodyfat percentage at the start it was probably around 15%. If there is one thing I learned its that most people (including myself) are fatter than they think. Diets are a very humbling experience, if you do it right.  What I mean is I thought I was around 11-13% bodyfat around Dallas, after tracking these past 8 weeks with good precision, I’ve noticed that I was closer to 15% at Dallas and I am now around 11% bodyfat after weeks of dieting. After doing the math I have dropped a good 8-10lbs of fat. That means I had to drop about 8lbs to get down to 11%, so before I was much higher, even though I thought I was leaner than that.

My average weight this week was thrown off my one measurement, so I feel the results are kind of skewed. This morning after a night out for drinks, I had weighed in at 174.8lbs, which is the lightest I’ve been in a long time. That’s one good thing about a few drinks, is that is completely depletes your water weight and can tell you your true weight.  The only problem though, is you always put on extra weight that days after because of aldosterone and sodium fluctuations. Not a big deal though. I feel much better since I’ve been leaning down though. I feel more mobile and flexible and when it comes to pullups and pushups they feel a lot easier. Clothes fit and look better, muscles are more defined and face is leaner. Once I get down to where I want to be I plan on staying there. Not sure if I will reverse diet or just start a carb cycle style diet. Reverse diets are good, but weight can sometimes creep back up on you slowly, without you even noticing. Carb cycles allow you to always be building muscle some days and burning fat others, without creeping up too high in weight. It also builds discipline to always include “diet days” in your diet. These days keeps you lean and sensitive to food. Eating a lot everyday can’t be good for you, just like undereating everyday is not. Both of these can also become mentally draining at some point. The cycle approach keeps things interesting and also allows you stay at your lean base. Strength is also very close to the same as it was when I started; better on a few exercises and worse on others.

For every 2lbs of fat that you drop you lose roughly one percent bodyfat. I estimate it may take me another 8 weeks to hit my goal. Especially now that I’m leaner, my fat loss is most likely going to slow down, because the leaner you get the harder it is to mobilize bodyfat. Once you get below 10%, your lucky to burn a pound of fat a week and you may have to accept 1/2 – 2/3s of a pound, which is mentally hard to do, because you can’t even tell its gone by the naked eye.

I’m going to introduce some carb cycling into my diet. My overall calorie deficit isn’t really going to change, but I’m going to add in 1-2 carb refeeds per week at slightly over maintenance. This is too boost certain hormones that may get diminished during dieting. The only way to really upregulate these hormones is to overeat and store a bit of fat. Storing a bit of at, lets the brain know food is plentiful and there’s no need to hold on too fat anymore. In essence refeeds are planned overfeeding, to increase you fat burning. (don’t mind if I do) Refeeds serve a lot of benefits that I have wrote about before, but the biggest benefit for me has to be the relaxation of just taking a day off.  The extra carbs will also max out my glycogen stores and keep me training hard. I may start with one this week and add another next week. But I like the idea of a mid week spike in carbs. Sometimes I can feel a bit rundown around midweek when dieting and a high day may alleviate this problem. On my two rest days (Monday and Wednesday) I’m going to walk an extra 3 miles and drop my calories down to around 1500 calories instead of my usual 1900 calories. I’m doing this to balance out that high day and to hopefully attack fat harder on certain days, when no weight training is being done. Basically just going to eat protein and vegetables with no additional starch. The high days will be Saturday and maybe Tuesday and the low days (moderate calories and carbs) will be right at 1900 calories. These are days I lift weights, so I need the extra carbs to combat high cortisol levels.

Other than that progress has been good so far. I’m enjoying this process and I think carb cycling will keep things very interesting and hopefully help me accelerate progress. The diet is enjoyable, but I feel like mixing days (high, low, no) will keep my diet and food choices a little different which is good from a mental perspective. Eating the exact same thing over and over for weeks does work, but can get very old after a while. My weight log is most likely not going to be consistent anymore due to the high day spikes in weight, but as long as the weight is going down overall it doesn’t bother me at all.

My overall goal is to be right around 170lbs at 8% bodyfat. Currently I’m around 177lbs at 11%, meaning I’ll have to drop another 5lbs of pure fat to hit my goal. Hopefull everything goes as planned.

Workouts

My weight logs for the week; the second Pull workout is listed twice:

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I started a new scheme for strength. Its a pyramid set that counts down from 5/4/3/2/1. You use the same weight the entire time and increase by a small amount each week. I really like this scheme, because 5 sets of 5 reps burns me out and by the time I get to rest of my workout my lifts greatly suffer. That doesnt happen with this since the volume is much lower. I also used another rep scheme for hypertrophy, which is 12/11/10/9/8 reps. It his all the “muscle size” rep ranges over 5 sets. You pick a weight you can do 12 times keep that weight that whole time and do one less rep each set.

Here’s a few of my key lifts:

DB Bench 90lb Db’s for 6,5,4 reps

DB Row 115lb Db’s for 4,4,4 reps

Barbell Bench 195×6

Pullups bodyweight + 30lbs for 5,4,3,2,2

Squats 205×5,4,3,2,1 (better than last week, but still much less than I used too do)

Nutrition

Dropped my protein intake down a bit to 1 gram per pound of LBM at right around 165 grams. Fat dropped down to 40-50 gram range and I did this, because carbs give me more energy during a calorie deficit. Carbs went from 100-120 grams up to right around 150-180 grams.

Here are some pics from the week:

6oz of meat 2 cups of mixed greens 2 potatoes Crackers on the side
6oz of meat
2 cups of mixed greens
2 potatoes
Crackers on the side
Lunch 5-6oz of meat and 2-3 cups of vegetables  1 whole egg Eat this everyday
Lunch
5-6oz of meat and 2-3 cups of vegetables
1 whole egg
Eat this everyday
6oz of meat 1 cup of jasmine rice 1 cup of greens
6oz of meat
1 cup of jasmine rice
1 cup of greens
Oven baked sweet potato with fat free redi whip on top (dear god these tasted good)
Oven baked sweet potato with fat free redi whip on top (dear god these tasted good)
Seafood mix rice and veggies
Seafood mix rice and veggies

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Protein pudding with a sweet potato for desser
Protein pudding with a sweet potato for desser
Seafood mix with veggies and crackers on the side
Seafood mix with veggies and crackers on the side
2-3 glasses of Dark Horse Wine - Red Blend
2-3 glasses of Dark Horse Wine – Red Blend
Winter time at Williamsville
Winter time at Williamsville

P.S. Sorry about the ugly formatting. Sometimes the editor becomes too text heavy and doesnt space out my paragraphs like it should.

Doing What Works Best – Journal Entry 151

Log:

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Week 5

11/15 – 178.4lbs – 2200 calories – 5100 steps – 2.5 miles – Chest

11/16 – 179.4lbs – 1750 calories – 7500 steps – 3.77 miles – Back

11/17 – 179.6lbs – 1850 calories – 11800 steps – 5.53 miles – Cardio

11/18 – 178.4lbs – 1950 calories – 9112 steps – 4.3 miles – Push

11//19 – 178.8lbs – 1750 calories – 10000 steps – 4.72 miles – Pull

11/20-178.6lbs – 1650 calories – 13070 steps – 6.16 miles – Cardio

11/21-177.6lbs  – 2500 calories (ALC) – 13500 steps – 6.47 miles – Legs

Been doing a lot of thinking this week on where I want to go with my training and diet. The diet is still working well and I hit around 176.8lbs his morning, which is the lowest I’ve been in awhile. But I wanted to add in some high days on the weekend and leave the weekdays pretty low to burn fat. As for training, one thing I really dislike about all heavy movements and only one body part a day is a massive CNS hit. I’m not sure if I need an adjusting period, but after doing Back on Sunday my back was sore for three days and it interfered with my shoulder workout. I like to feel soreness, but that felt like overkill to me. So I want to drop back to 1 heavy set per workout and focus on one move only. The rest of my sets will be around 8 reps and I’ll finish with some 12-15 reps sets. As for the layout, I plan to do Push, Pull, Legs again. This is old faithful and I never really like deviating from it, because every time I do I go right back to it and don’t enjoy the split I left it for.

My diet will intertwine with my workouts. I plan to have Saturday and Sunday as high days around 24-2700 calories (depending on how active I am) to build muscle and lower calories to around 1800 on the weekdays. I also plan to put some heavier lifting on the weekend with more strength and size reps (6-12) than I have during the week, since recovery is better. During the week I plan to increase the reps to 15-20 to get a higher rep fat burning effect going. Although I will start the weekday workouts with a strength movement to hit it when I’m fresh. I did a higher rep leg day on Friday and loved it. Same exercises I always do, but it was nice hitting a muscle endurance aspect and burning more calories, especially when the goal is to burn fat. High reps also burn a lot of glycogen, which accelerates fat burning and gives you favorable nutrient partitioning when you eat a bunch of carbs. I’m probably going need these going into Thanksgiving next Thursday. 🙂 High reps aren’t very good for muscle building though, which is why I go heavier on the weekends.

So I plan to stick with this until I hit my goal of weighing in the low 170’s, which should take a few more weeks. Although with holidays coming up, this may be slowed considerably. 😉

Here is a better layout of what I just said, because I like to be organized:

  • Saturday (always consider this the first day of my split) – Push – Heavy – High Calorie
  • Sunday – Pull Heavy – High Calorie
  • Monday – Legs- Light (high rep) – low calorie
  • Tuesday – Push – Light – low calorie
  • Wednesday – Pull – Light – low calories
  • Thursday – Cardio only
  • Friday – Legs – Light – Low calorie (social drinking night)

Legs are light both days because I do cardio everyday and I dont want sore legs from heavy lifting. I also do trap bar deadlifts on Sunday, which heavily involves the legs during heavy lifting.

Main lifts to improve strength on will be:

  • DB Bench Press
  • Trap bar Deadlift
  • DB Shoulder Press
  • Pullups
  • These are done for 3 sets of 6 reps. 4 sets is too much and limits my strength for the rest of the movements. I may do one of these movements on the high rep day to hit it when I’m fresh, then the rest of the workout will be higher in reps.

Nutrition

Diet again is going to be low Monday – Friday and higher in calories Saturday – Sunday. With my lifestyle it is far more enjoyable to eat this way and train this way to get results.

The low days will be around – 1800 calories – 180 protein / 120 carbs / 67 fat

The high days will be – 2600 – 215 protein / 215 carbs / 95 fat (estimated) Isocaloric macros

I may have underestimated dietary fat in building muscle and also enhancing fat burning. Been listening to some interesting podcasts about fats effects, so I think I’m going to boost my amounts on low and high days to take advantage. I plan to get some coconut butter and goat cheese (favorite cheese) to boost my amounts.

Meals for the week:

Meat, Rice, Veggie stirfy
Meat, Rice, Veggie stirfy
Meat, rice and veggies stirfry and crackers
Meat, rice and veggies stirfry and crackers
Weight Control Oatmeal with pumpkin and berries
Weight Control Oatmeal with pumpkin and berries
6oz of lean meat, 1 cup of rice, 6oz of vegetables and Firehook Crackers
6oz of lean meat, 1 cup of rice, 6oz of vegetables and Firehook Crackers
6 oz of lean meat 6oz of veggies
6 oz of lean meat
6oz of veggies
4 oz chicken, 1 low fat chicken sausage, 8 oz of veggies
4 oz chicken, 1 low fat chicken sausage, 8 oz of veggies
Red Blend on Friday Night
Red Blend on Friday Night

Misc

I saw Interstellar last weekend and it was incredible. Matthew Mcconaughey was the best I’ve ever seen him and really drew you into the movie. The plot was very good as was the soundtrack and scenery. I definitely recommend it and it was probably one of my favorite movies. Since I see a lot of movies, very rarely does a new movie enter my favorites. 🙂

As for football, Giants suck. I see some fans that are blaming Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, which is usually who takes the blame when we lose. I don’t think its solely any ones fault. Maybe Coughlin’s, but the more I look at the team I think its just a massive lack of talent. Bottom line. We just don’t have good enough players overall to match up this year. I think this is way more true on the interior (Dline and Oline). I really cant stand the hate towards Eli though. Eli’s my favorite player and is always first to just get absolutely bashed by everyone. I don’t know why people hate him so much when he brought this team 2 Superbowls in 5 years. Its like no matter what he does for the team its never enough. Dont get me wrong he had a bad game Sunday, but one bad game doesn’t define a career, so why do people act like it does? Pretty frustrating, but you just cant win with some people, so you might as well not even try.

Fresh Cut, 24th Birthday and Return of Fitbit – Journal Entry 150

Log:

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Week 4

11/8 – 179.8lbs – Upper Body Power (Refeed Day) – 2800 calories eaten

11/9 – 181.6lbs – Depletion Full Body – 1650 calories eaten

11/10 – 180.4lbs – Walking – 1800 calories eaten

11/11 – 179.8 llbs – Shoulders and Traps – 1850 calories eaten

11/12 – 179.2lbs – Arms and Abs – 1700 calories eaten

11/13 – 179.4 lbs – Walking – 1730 calories eaten

11/14 – 179.6 lbs – Birthday- Cardio only 2 mile and pushups/pullups – 3000 total calories with some drinks included

Strange week in training. I really liked the upper body power workout, but it had three major downfalls in order to consistently keep doing it: one was it took too long, two was towards the end my strength was not great for the later movements and three it only allows me to lift heavy twice a week. The third reason is the major reason and why my mentality just wont allow it. Even if I kept 4 lifting days, I would have to lift “heavy” (4-8 reps) on more than just two days a week. To me it felt I was just cramming in way too much volume into one day, when I could have easily just distributed it throughout the week. So on Tuesday, I switched back to the 5 day split with one body part a day.

My routine looks like this:

Workout

Changed this up a bit, but currently dropping volume and focusing on progressive overload in the 4-6 rep range.

9 working sets of 4-6 reps (3 per exercise for major muscles)

6 working sets of 4-6 reps (2 exercises for minor muscles)

The flush set at the end doesnt really count towards volume and its mainly just for some blood flow and pump.

Almost all lifting days are done at 5pm or later, except for Sunday, which is done around 11-12 AM

Sun – Back

Deadlift 3 sets of 4-6 reps for all

Pullups or Pulldowns

Rows

Shrugs

Rear Delt Pull – 3 sets of 15 reps

Mon – Off

Tues – Shoulder and Traps

DB Shoulder Press 3 sets of 4-6 reps for all

Lateral Raise

Face Pull

Shrugs

Front, lateral, rear delt circuit – 3 sets of 15 reps

Wednesday – Arms and Abs

BB curl 3 sets of 4-6 reps all

Close Grip Bench

Alt DB Curl

Skull Crusher

Rope Hammer Curl 3 sets of 15 reps

Rope Pushdown 3 sets of 15 reps

Thursday – Legs

Squats – 3 sets of 4-6 reps for all

DB Lunges

Leg Press

Leg Press – 3 sets of 15 reps

Friday – Off

Saturday – Chest

DB Bench – 3 sets of 4-6 reps for all

INC DB Bench –

Dips –

Chest Flys – 3 sets of 15 reps (flush set)

Walking is also done every day. Monday – Friday is usually an hour walk on a small incline at 3.3 mph from 1-2pm.

Saturday and Sunday is less walking, but is done for around 45 minutes outside. Also Thursday and Friday are interchangeable. Friday is usually my social drinking night, so Ill take a rest day then and do legs on Thursday when better nutrition can be given. The only thing I know that will be consistent is the reps and total weekly volume. I may tweak the split a bit, but this looks good for now.

Pretty simple, but I feel much more effective. Strength is much better when only 1-2 muscles worked a day, less time is spent in the gym and I can focus all my attention on one major movement each workout to get stronger on, instead of my whole body at once. Saturday was my birthday and went to the gym around 5:30pm on a Friday. This is probably the worst time to go the gym, because its packed. I attempted some squats, but it felt really heavy for some reason and my head just wasn’t in the game. I decided to skip legs and just do some cardio instead.

Weight is decreasing and was consistently around 179 and hit 178.4 this morning. I figure another 4-6 weeks is going to be needed. It may take a bit longer than planned, because the weekends have been slowing me down. Not that there out of control bad, but their close to maintenance or over, so it definitely decrease the weekly deficit. I dont mind it though, because it gives me a break and allows me to eat more then I do during the week.

24th Birthday was good though and got two new pairs of shoes: one for work and going out and one for the gym, polo socks, 3 boxes of Quest bars, got the Audi washed at Carpool and $100 cash. Also went to Maggianos and going to Texas de Brazil today with my parents. Not too bad. 🙂

I got my Fitbit chargers back today, probably been at least 3 weeks without it and I actually really miss it. I dont think its the most accurate thing in the world, but I do thing the step count is good to track overall activity levels and enjoy watching it increase through the day. Ordered two chargers in case they break again. Also not sure why it took so long to come, but whatever.

New Fit Bit Chargers
New Fit Bit Chargers

I also cut my hair on Thursday night. It was look long and some days it would look good and others it would just get on my nerves. It was also getting in my way at the gym. I also think short hair looks better from a clothes and professional “maintaining appearances” standpoint, so it was time. I actually cut it myself with the razor and left it over an inch on top and 1/4 in on the sides and back. Took me a while, but I like the way it came out. Saves me a lot of money from haircuts too.

Fresh Cut
Fresh Cut

Nutrition – 

Calories were a little low on some days, but I got very busy and lacked a big appetite. I still dont go below 1650 (LBM x 10 in calories), but as long as I get that, I dont add in calories when I’m not hungry. I figured it would save me some room on the weekend.

I listened to a podcast by Menno Henslemans this week and it was very interesting. He recommends for bulking, that people increase the dietary fat in the diet to 40% of your BMR. My BMR is right around 1800 calories so 1800 X .4 = 80 grams of fat. He said fat is very underrated for building muscle when that is the goal and has a lot of anabolic properties that most people don’t know about. Most people cut fat lower when they bulk and raise fat more when they cut, but this seems backward to me. If you want to lose fat than cut dietary fat down as low as you can go without negatively effecting hormones. Same for carbs and protein. When you want to build muscle than raise everything up to the maximum amount you can eat without storing fat. I also heard another stat where once you hit 3-5 grams of carbs per kilogram, that any further just turns to fat. So basically some people should drop the extremely high carb intake and increase fats to replace it. Here’s a better looking summary:

When losing fat, cut the macros down to what you need to maintain hormonal status and metabolism without affecting health.

This would be:

  • Protein – 1 gram per pound or 1 gram per pound of lean body mass
  • Carbs – 120 grams a day to maintain thyroid and liver and brain glucose. I have also seen 150 grams as a cut off point to maintain proper intestinal mucus to promote healthy digestion and maintain proper cellular hydration.
  • Fat – No lower than 15-20% of BMR

Once these needs are met than you probably don’t need anymore to safely lose fat, while maintaining health. You can lose fat on more calories than this for sure, but you may not need anymore.

When gaining muscle raise everything up to the maximum amount before it becomes too much and can start working against you. (the point of diminishing returns)

  • Protein – Up to 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight or Lean Body Mass (can go lower but some very well respected authorities say going this high might have benefit) A good range would be .8-1.5 grams per pound.
  • Carbs – 3-5 grams per kilogram depending on how well you tolerate carbs and volume of training (based on a bodyweight on 180lbs or 82kg this would be 250 – 410 grams)
  • Fat – 40% of BMR or around half of your LBM (LBM x .5)
  • I would personally raise protein and fat as high as possible and start with carbs around 3 grams per kilogram and work my way up.

I really love podcasts though, because theirs always something good that you never heard before.

Here are some food pics for the week:

8oz of pasta with veggies and 5oz of lean red meat on refeed day.
8oz of pasta with veggies and 5oz of lean red meat on refeed day.
Steamed Shrimp and Broccoli from Chinese takeout.
Steamed Shrimp and Broccoli from Chinese takeout.
Made some lean orange chicken and some veggies on the side.
Made some lean orange chicken and some veggies on the side.
Meat with some Firehook crackers and veggies
Meat with some Firehook crackers and veggies
Frozen banana with cocoa mixed in
Frozen banana with cocoa mixed in
Rice, lean meat, veggies and seasoning
Rice, lean meat, veggies and seasoning
Lean meat, veggies, butter bread
Lean meat, veggies, butter bread
1 whole egg, 6 egg white potatoes and veggies
1 whole egg, 6 egg white
potatoes and veggies
Quest Bar gift from parents
Quest Bar gift from parents
Shrimp Diavolo from Maggianos
Shrimp Diavolo from Maggianos
Skinny Peppermint mocha from Starbucks
Skinny Peppermint mocha from Starbucks
Patron Tequila - Gift from one my friends
Patron Tequila – Gift from one my friends

Journal Entry 146

Log:

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10/05- 182.2lbs – Legs day – 2100 calories eaten – 2500 calories burned (2.75 miles – 5452 steps) – 185 x 3 sets of 8 reps

10/06 – 184.2 lbs – Off – light walking only – 2100 calories eaten – 2550 calories burned (3.3 miles – 7100 steps)

10/07 – 184.2 lbs – Pull day – 2000 calories eaten – 2550 calories burned (3.5miles – 7300 steps)

10/08 – 183.6 – Push day – 2200 calories eaten – 2750 calories burned (4.77 miles – 10100 steps) 185×8 Bench

10/09 – 183.2lbs – Off day – 2250 calories eaten – 2600 calories burned (4 miles – 8500 steps)

10/10 – 183 lbs – Legs Day – 3000 calories – 2900 calories burned (5 miles – 10500 steps) – 195x 8 squats

10/11 – 184lbs – Push day – 2800 calories – 2600 calories burned (3 miles – 6000 steps) – 85×8,7 80×7 DB Bench

Good week of training. I stuck to the 3 sets of 8 reps on almost every exercise and only on a few isolation movements did I go up to 12 reps. I like how much better my joints feel without beating them up with weights that are too heavy. DB Bench increased this week and I got the 85lb DB’s by 8,7. I decided to drop down to the 80lb DB’s after that to maintain my form and to hit 8 reps. On pull day, my main move is pullups with bodyweight only. I really want to get perfect form down on those for at least 4 sets of 8 reps before adding any weight. Most people do pullups completely wrong too. You need to fully extend all the way down, lean back slightly so that your lats get more work and not your biceps and bring your chest up to the bar, not your chin. This is full range of motion and you would be surprised by the difference your back and abs feel after doing them correctly. And the new “kipping pullups” are not pullups. I’m not sure what they are (besides a waste of time), but they definitely are not pullups. As for legs I’m mainly focusing on back squats and lunges. I may try front squats again soon, but I just feel like the back squat is a better exercise.

This coming week will be up in the air as far as training goes, because I’m going to Dallas to see my brother and Giants Vs Cowboys. As far as the gym goes, I may join as a guest at my brothers gym (usually way too expensive for a few days of training) or just take those 4 days off. I would prefer to train, because my calories are going to be pretty high, but Im just going to have to wait and see. I may just take no rest days leading up to Thursday, so my body will be begging for a rest at that point.

Nutrition

As shown above my calories have been raised this week. I added in another protein bar (pure protein brand) and I’m starting to eat oatmeal for dessert. Oatmeal is one of the cheapest foods on the planet and carbs before bed help sleep, relaxation and recovery. I’m not adding any protein to the meal though mainly because I ate plenty during the day anyway, so dont feel the need to just “add it in”. Save me money on protein as well. My favorite brand of oatmeal is Weight Control Maple and Brown Sugar. It tastes incredible and has a low sugar content. The main problem with plain oatmeal is you need a lot of truvia of addins to make it taste good, where as the weight control tastes good as is. Both brands are really cheap as well.

My fat intake was a little low on some days this week at around 42 grams. I’m going to add in some whole eggs back into my diet, so that I hit at least 55 grams a day. My goal for fat intake is 1/3 of my Lean Body mass, which is 165/3 = 55 grams. I could probably slowly increase it to about 1/2 my LBM or 82 grams as a maximum, but I just like eating lower fat. I feel like dietary fat does a lot of good things, but once your needs are met, then carbs are more anabolic and better for your metabolism. Carbs have been over 200 grams a day and most days were good amount over that. Protein is right around my LBM to total weight, so 165-185 grams. Although on the weekends, my protein is always lower at around 120 grams or so.

Also another quick recipe I found out about this week. Cut up 1 banana into small chunks and put in the freezer until completely frozen. Throw the pieces in a blender with a very small amount of almond milk or water and blend. It turns into soft serve ice cream. You can also add some flavors if you wish, like peanut butter or protein powder, but I just do it plain. I like bananas semi-ripe, but others say ripe bananas work best. Its up to you on that one.

Lean Meat Veggies Ear of Corn (first time I've had one of these in a long time)
Lean Meat
Veggies
Ear of Corn (first time I’ve had one of these in a long time)
Lean meat, pasta, veggies, marinara sauce, egg roll
Lean meat, pasta, veggies, marinara sauce, egg roll
Lean meat, veggies with homemade french fries (definitely will make this again)
Lean meat, veggies with homemade french fries (definitely will make this again)
Bertuccis calzone (leftover) with refried beans, black beans, salsa and low fat baked chips
Bertuccis calzone (leftover) with refried beans, black beans, salsa and low fat baked chips

8 reps of everything – Journal Entry 145

Log:

IMG_0774 - Copy

9/28 – 182.4lbs – Back – 2100 calories eaten – 2600 calories burned (3.5 miles – 7000 steps)

9/29 – 184.8lbs – Legs – 2000 calories eaten – 2800 calories burned (6 miles – 12700 steps)

9/30 – 183.6lbs – Cardio – 1900 calories eaten – 3000 calories burned (6.75 miles – 16000 steps)

10/01 – 183.2lbs – Shoulders –  2100 calories eaten – 2750 calories burned (5.24 miles – 11000 steps)

10/02 – 183.6lbs – Off – 1900 calories eaten – 2500 calories burned (2 miles – 4410 steps)

10/03 – 181.2lbs – Pull – 2500 calories eaten – 2550 calories burned (3.5 miles – 7500 steps)

10/04 – 182.3lbs – Push – 2600 calories eaten  – 2600 calories burned (4 miles – 8000 steps)

This week I’ve been focusing on 8 reps for usually 3 sets maybe 4 on just about everything. 8 reps is a very interesting amount of reps, because it seems to be the perfect middle ground between strength and hypertrophy. 6-12 is the recommended “golden range” for bodybuilders because these are where most of the metabolic and size advantages come from. Anything below 6 reps is pure power, but you can gain power without an visual changes. Going below 6 reps usually taxes the Central Nervous System, which results in some pretty bad fatigue if you do it too often. Since I like lifting heavy, maintaining perfect form and training daily, 8 reps seems to be the holy grail.  I played around with different ranges like pyramids, 3 sets of 10 reps, 3 sets of 12 reps and even burn out sets, which are good if you do them correctly, but it was a nice feeling to go into they gym have 3 sets of 8 reps in mind for everything and just knock it out. I also got an incredible pump on everyday.

3 sets of 8 reps is also nice because if you go too heavy and hit 6 reps thats fine, because its still in that prime range. On the other hand, if you go to light, you’ll probably hit around 10 reps, which is still in the optimal range. Its also easy to progressively overload this way. Last week I did DB bench for 80×8,8,7. This week I did 85×8 80×8,7. Next week I will do 85×8,8 80×8. (thats the goal anyway) So by slowing increasing the weights each week, muscular strength is easily achieved.

I also plan to go back to Push/Pull/Legs/OFF repeat. So it would be 6 days a week and hit all muscles twice a week. I may only do one legs days, but not sure yet. I felt the shoulder and arms day was fun, but unnecessary. I would much rather hit the big muscles twice a week and finish off the arms and shoulders after they have already been hit by the prime movers. I noticed if I do a couple of bench press exercises, my shoulders are on fire. But sometimes if I hit the shoulders on their own day, I barely feel a pump. (not sure why this is, because the form is on point, but the pump just doesn’t show.) Same with biceps though. They wont get sore from an arms day, but do heavy rows and pullups and then knock out two curl exercises for 3 sets of 8 reps and they will feel beaten down the next day. For my body, I feel this is my ideal split that basically comes crawling back to me every time I leave it.

I implemented some activation techniques this week as well. Basically activating the muscle with bodyweight or light weights before you begin with the heavy weights. Pushups of varying angles on push day, bodyweight squats on legs day and pullups on pull day seems to help tremendously with the mind muscle connection, which is very important to have to feel the muscle working. It leads to a much better pump than excluding it from the workout.

Details of the P/Pu/Legs split:

One of the pull days will focus on vertical pulling and the other one focused on horizontal. Traps, rear delts and biceps will be done on both days.

One of the push days will focus on chest, while the other shoulders.

The legs day will hit everything in a balanced fashion and hit abs at the end. I am taking a more narrow stance with squats to hit more quad instead of hamstrings.

On the rest days, I plan to do nothing. Walk a little bit at slow pace is fine, but no incline cardio. I want this day to just let the body recover.

Cardio is just a 5-10 minute run before I lift to get the blood flowing and wake up the body.

Each workout will be 6-7 exercises for 3 sets of 8 on everything.

Sample Push Workout:

  • DB Bench
  • INC 30 degrees DB Bench
  • Flys
  • DB Shoulder Press
  • Cable lateral raise
  • Skull Crusher
  • Rope Pushdown

Nutrition

I plan to bump up the calories to around 2300 on workout days and 2000 on rest days. The extra 300 calories is for the increased volume in my workouts and also increased training frequency.

I read a pretty interesting article about Frank Zane, who is bodybuilder that peaked 20-30 years ago. He basically stated his calories rarely went over 3000 and he stayed right around the mid to low 2000’s most of the time. He was around 185lbs with a very low body fat meaning his Lean Body Mass was around 180lbs. I estimate mine to be around 165lbs. But the point is, he found a calorie range that worked for him. As I wrote in my calorie article, just because a calculator predicts you might burn 3000 calories a day, doesn’t mean you do. The body is very complex and many factors play a role in how much you can eat without storing fat. Clay Hyght on Tnation also consumes around the same amount I do.

A good general rule I find pretty accurate for someone that trains 4-6 times a week, but isn’t an athlete or doing endurance cardio for an hour a day or more:

LBM x 12 = Fat loss

LBM x 14 = Body Recomp

LBM x 15 = Maintenance with a 1-200 calorie bump to accelerate muscle gains, but if you look bloated the next day than its too much food.

Most people should be feeding their lean body mass, which again is your total weight – body fat. Its doing most of the metabolic functions in the body and its also something you should strive to increase. LBM can also increase while total bodyweight either stays the same or decreases. This is why its important not to eat too many calories because even though your LBM will go up, so you will you fat stores. By finding a sweet spot (body recomposition) you can increase the LBM will losing or maintaining total weight. In other words, more muscle less fat and that’s what most people are looking for.

Food pics:

Lean Meat Veggies  Sweet Potato
Lean Meat
Veggies
Sweet Potato
Pasta with lean meat and marinara sauce
Pasta with lean meat and marinara sauce
Mexican Meal Refried beans (fat free), chicken, lettuce, salsa, low fat tortilla chips
Mexican Meal
Refried beans (fat free), chicken, lettuce, salsa, low fat tortilla chips
Protein loaf  -  1 scoop protein 2 whole eggs 1/4 cup of coconut flour 3/4 cup of almond milk 2 squares of dark chocolate berries  heat in oven on 375 for 30 minutes
Protein loaf –
1 scoop protein
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup of coconut flour
3/4 cup of almond milk
2 squares of dark chocolate
berries
heat in oven on 375 for 30 minutes
White rice with lean meat and egg roll
White rice with lean meat and egg roll
Pasta
Pasta
Forgot my lunch so microwave chicken strips with butter bread and crackers
Forgot my lunch so microwave chicken strips with butter bread and crackers
Lean meat with broccoli, reduced guilt mac and cheese and crackers
Lean meat with broccoli, reduced guilt mac and cheese and crackers
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Rock Bottom Italian Pizza. I subbed out sausage and pepperoni for chicken breast.
Rock Bottom Italian Pizza.
I subbed out sausage and pepperoni for chicken breast.

Journal Entry 144

Log:

IMG_0749

9/21 – 181.6lbs – Back 1750 calories eaten – 2600 calories burned (4 miles total – 8300 steps) 85×12

9/22 – 182.8lbs – Legs – 1950 calories eaten – 2600 calories burned (4.7 miles total – 9722 steps) 205×8

9/23 – 183lbs – Off – 1900 calories eaten – 2700 calories burned (5.23 miles – 11100 steps)

9/24 – 183.2lbs – Shoulders – 1900 calories eaten – 2700 calories burned (5 miles – 10500 steps) 50×8

9/25 – 183.8lbs – Arms – 1700 calories eaten – 2700 calories burned (5 miles – 11000 steps) 75×8

9/26 – 182.2lbs – OFF – 2600 calories eaten – 2800 calories burned (6.8 miles – 13500 steps)

9/27 – 180.2lbs – Chest – 3000 calories eaten – 2800 calories burned (3.6 miles – 8000 steps) 80s DB x 8,8,7

Good week in training on the bro split. I’ve dropped the amount of weight on nearly all exercises and now I’m focusing on getting perfect form and getting more reps. I really enjoy slowing down the lifts and getting full range of motion with perfect form. Sometimes my form would drop off a little to ensure I got the heavy weight up. Chest workout on Saturday was the best of the week. There was 3 people in the gym, so it was basically wide open. Used dumbbells for chest this week and got an insane pump that barbells don’t give me. I actually feel dumbbells much better than barbells. I  think it has to do with the increased range of motion and control, but I may have to use those more often.

I took all the weight off pullups as well and focus on strict form with body-weight only and use a slight lean in my back. Going vertical and keeping your alignment perfectly straight works more biceps than back. Leaning back slightly hits the lats way more effectively.

Shoulders I make sure to maintain a straight back and fully extend my arms, so that my shoulder blades retract together. It hits your rear delts much more effectively when overhead pressing. Arms are all isolation movements with usually one dumbbell, one ez – bar move and one cable move through 8-15 reps.

I’m not really going for PR’s right now, but mainly just want to feel the muscles working.

Nutrition

IMG_0706

Pasta with lean meat and prego marinara
Pasta with lean meat and prego marinara
White Potato stirfry with lean meat and sweet potato crackers
White Potato stirfry with lean meat and sweet potato crackers
Pasta with lean meat
Pasta with lean meat
White Rice and Smoked Salmon (homemade sushi) with an egg roll and side salad
White Rice and Smoked Salmon (homemade sushi)
with an egg roll and side salad
Chardonnay
Chardonnay
White Ale at Rock Bottom
White Ale at Rock Bottom
Bertuccis
Bertuccis

Right between 1700-2000 calories during the week and then higher calories on the weekends. Still eating Biorhythm style with 1:1 ratio of protein:carbs during the day and usually a big carb dinner that is twice the size of normal meals. Energy is very good this way.

Trader Joe’s has pumpkin spice coffee on sale this week so I had to get some of that. Love fall season and always eat way more pumpkin during the fall.

Other:

Eli Manning had 5 tds on Thursday night. It was one of the most enjoyable football games I’ve watched from the Giants in a long time. Their new offense looks awesome and its the offense they should have always had. Very balanced with a lot of short quick passing to establish rhythm. That’s the way Eli plays the best and I felt he showed America that on Thursday night.

Return of the Bro Split – Journal Entry 143

Log:

IMG_0646 IMG_0649

9/14 – 182.0 lbs – Legs Day – 1750 caloires – 2550 calories –

9/15 – 184.8 lbs – Pull Day – 2550 calories – 2750 calories – Back 8-12 rep range (no measures of strength)

9/16 – 185 lbs – Chest Day – 2650 – 2950 calories – Chest 205×4 on Bench (another fail) wrist and join pain from barbells, but none from Dumbells (going to swtich up the reps due to this)

9/17 – 185.2 lbs – Off day Cardio Only 1800 – 3000

9/18- 183 – Shoulders and Traps – 1700- 2950 – 55×6,6

9/19 – 182.8 -Arms – 2300- 3300 – 65 lb EZ bar on work sets

9/20 – 181.4lbs – Chest – 2600 calories – 2900 calories – 185 x8,8,8 BB Bench

After another fail on Bench, I decided to change it up. My left forearm and wrists hurt the past 3 heavy bench days and this to me means that the weight is just too heavy and my joints are tired. I also haven’t really been “into” my workouts. I love Push/Pull/Legs, but the workouts were getting very mundane and boring. My muscles have been receiving the same stimulation for too long without a change. I don’t believe in “muscle confusion” as P90x puts it, but I do think there is massive benefit in variation, such as reps, exercises, sets, total volume, less frequency vs more frequency and I want to change it up. After thinking about it, I decided to create a bro split that I feel like would be best for me right now.

I have written about the Bro Split before, but its basically a system where you hit once muscle group every 5-7 days and use a very high volume on each session to make sure the muscles are fatigued from every angle. I’ve noticed though that since each muscle receives your full attention, you get to hit each muscle with more time and variation. My pump is also much better than it is with other splits I have recently done. Since chest does the work on each exercise, it never receives a break, so the muscle is constantly under tension and pumped up. I plan to see some nice visual changes in size from this plan. My last splits have been focused mainly on strength with usually 1-2 exercises per muscle group. My focus now is more size and endurance with 3-5 exercises per muscle group. Dont get me wrong, the weights I lift will still be heavy, just not as heavy as they were before and will likely fall around the 8-12 rep range for most exercises. I also will do some 15 rep exercises and a burnout set on the end, just to finish me off. After the past 4 days of traning this way, its the most fun I have had in the gym in a long time. It also has a nice psychological effect, because only one muscle groups needs to get trained. So when you get tired and fatigued, you dont have to worry about hitting any more muscles that day. It also takes less time, because only one muscle group is getting hit; especially on shoulders or arms days.

My split will probably look something like this:

  • Sunday – Back / Abs
  • Monday – Off or Cardio / TVA
  • Tuesday – Legs/Abs
  • Wednesday – Shoulders/ Traps/ TVA
  • Thursday – Arms/Abs
  • Friday – Off or Cardio / TVA
  • Saturday – Chest

Not set in stone, but basically each muscle group once a week with two rest days from lifting. TVA stands for Transverse Abdominals (basically your core that makes your abs flat and also makes your stronger on most compound lifts), which I will do 2-3 sets of 30 seconds – 1 minute after my workout. I plan to side planks or RKC planks, which are safer for your lower back. On the other days for abs, I will do one upper abdominal crunch, one oblique exercise and one lower ab exercises all in a circuit. I’m going to a use a light weight and focus on perfect from for about 20 reps each exercise. The goal is to get a really good burn and hit the abs hard and fast after the workout. Abs can be hit with a much higher frequency than other muscles and to really fatigue them, faster is usually better. Much higher volume for abs then I have done in the past. I also like separating TVA and Abs into two different sessions, mainly because TVA exercises have to be held for 30secs – 1 minute and dont flow well in a circuit.

Here is a sample chest workout that I did yesterday:

  • BB Bench Press – 1 warmup set / 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Incline Machine Press – 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Dips – 3 sets of 12-15 (or as many as possible)
  • Cable Crossovers 4 sets of 12-20 reps
  • Flat bench press machine – 1 sets of 50 reps with just the bar

I’ve also been hitting 5 miles a day each day during the week according to my Fitbit. I try to be as active as possible during the day, because sitting just seems to rob my energy when done for too long.

Nutrition:

Lean Meat Sweet Potato Veggies
Lean Meat
Sweet Potato
Veggies
Greek Yogurt with pistachio jello mix and berries on top
Greek Yogurt with pistachio jello mix and berries on top
6oz of pasta (cooked) 1/2 cup of Prego sauce Veggies 5oz of meat 1 egg roll 1 crab rangoon 2 Sweet potato crackers
6oz of pasta (cooked)
1/2 cup of Prego sauce
Veggies
5oz of meat
1 egg roll
1 crab rangoon
2 Sweet potato crackers
Greek Yogurt 4 oz 1 diet hot coco packet 1 Tbs of cheesecake SF/FF jello mix Berries on top with redi whip
Greek Yogurt 4 oz
1 diet hot coco packet
1 Tbs of cheesecake SF/FF jello mix
Berries on top with redi whip
Rice with teriyaki sauce with lean meat and veggies 1 egg roll 1 crab rangoon
Rice with teriyaki sauce with lean meat and veggies
1 egg roll
1 crab rangoon
Another Pasta meal
Another Pasta meal
Rice with taco seasoning and lean meat
Rice with taco seasoning and lean meat
Rock Bottom - Greenhouse salad
Rock Bottom – Greenhouse salad
Rock Bottom - Southwest BBQ chicken pizza (really good)
Rock Bottom – Southwest BBQ chicken pizza
(really good)

I plan to eat around 1700-2000 calories during the week and between 2000-3000 calories on the weekend. 5 days of fat burning and 2 days of higher calories where I enjoy myself without worrying about nutrition too much.

I was reading Nate Miyaki’s blog and I really like the way he sets his plans up, except for his strict “clean food” approach. He recommends a more traditional dieting approach of lower fat, moderate to high carb with starches dominating the carb totals and moderate protein set at lean body mass in grams. He also uses LBM (lean body mass) to set total calories and BMR. I recently started doing this with some people that I consult with and it seems to make more sense. If the person is very overweight, then their BMR is more correlated with their lean weight and not their total weight. I do use their total weight to find total calories burned though. If you weight 350lbs you are going to burn way more calories walking around then someone that is 150lbs.

My daily diet for the most part, including supplements:

  • Coffee with half and half and splenda / Supplements 5000 IU Vitamin D, 200mg magnesium, 450mg of ashwagnda, 3 fish oil, 5g creatine monohyrdate, 1 digestive enzyme
  • Two scoops of Elite XT protein powder with 1 cup of berries and 2 tsp of peanut butter and 1/4 of Quest Bar
  • 6oz of lean meat, 6-8oz of vegetables, 1 whole egg, 1/2 serving of Sweet Potato crackers
  • 1/2 of Quest Bar
  • 4-5oz of lean meat, 4oz of vegetables, usually 2-3oz of pasta or 1 cup of rice, marinara or teriyaki sauce / Supplements 500mg tumeric, 3 fish oil, 200mg of magnesium, 50mg of zinc, 1 digestive enzyme
  • 4oz of greek yogurt, 1tbs of sugar free/fat free jello mix (usually cheesecake) and either 2-3 tbs of pumpkin or a diet hot cocoa pack mixed in, berries on top (tastes awesome and has around 100-140 calories)

This isn’t everything I eat, but its the base plan that I eat almost every single day, except for Saturday. Its similar to the Biorhythm diet as most of my carbs and biggest meal are eaten at the end of the day. I try to keep carbs at a 1:1 ratio earlier in the day and this really maximizes my energy. I like eating light in the morning because anytime a meal is too big I get tired no matter what. The early meals are roughly 400-500 calories, which is small enough to prevent tiredness, but big enough to give me optimal energy. Dinner is usually twice the size and around 700-800 calories. Saturday for lunch, I have a cheat meal and usually have half for lunch and half for dinner. Its usually a small pizza from a restaurant.

The plan  for Sunday through Thursday is to keep my calories around 1700 -2000 calories to burn fat, but still provide postive nitrogen balance to the muscles. I got this amount from Nate Miyaki, who recommends 12x LBM in bodyweight when burning fat. Friday and Saturday will be anywhere in the range of 2000-3000 calories. The point is not to worry about it that much.

After much trial and error, I think my maintenance intake currently is around 24-2500 calories. If I eat this amount I maintain just fine. If i start creeping up to 26-2700 calorie range, I wake up looking kinda bloated and just dont look good. This is more on a day in day out basis though. If I have an occasional blowout day of over 3000 calories, I can wake up looking just fine. Most calculators put me at 3000 calories maintenance, but I think I know my body better than an online calculator does. One of my friends eats about 4000 calories a day and has 8% bodyfat. Even if the online estimation put him around 3000 calories to maintain, he would end up losing weight. So I think most people are better off testing it out for themselves, especially people like myself who didnt win the genetic lottery.

Hokies or should I say Chokies lost again this week. Season is over. We are playing and look much better this year, but just can’t seem to come together at the end. Also making way too many mistakes by turning the ball over. Brewer had 4 ints and the RB fumbled twice. Unacceptable if you plan to be a good team. Although Brewer (the QB) did pick up a fumble and run it 20 yards for a TD, which was awesome.

Giants play later today and I’m hoping they minimize the turnovers and put together their first win this season. I dont think this season is lost yet as many people do. I think if we can get the offense up to speed with new system, stop turning the ball over, reduce the penalites, and most importantly CATCH THE BALL (Victor Cruz needs to get his act together), then we should be a pretty good team. Odell Beckham should be back next week, which will give Eli a new weapon. We will see though.