Journal Entry 343 – NFL Draft

It has been a great weekend so far with damn near perfect weather. The NFL Draft was this weekend and I think the Giants had a good draft but not great. They drafted Daniel Jones very early, who I do like a lot. He looks like Eli Manning Jr. in a lot of ways. He’s a very balanced player with underrated speed, very intelligent, a good but not huge arm, and good accuracy. Some critics complain of his stats, but he is coming from Duke, which is not a big football school. The team around him was not good. People were comparing Dwayne Haskins stats to Daniel Jones and thought the Giants were insane for not taking Haskins. People, it’s pretty simple. Switch these two QBs teams and see what would have happened. Daniel Jones would have been playing with 5-star recruits and the best coaching that College Football has to offer. Dwayne Haskins would have been playing on a weak overall team that is not the typical “spread” offense that allows for a ton passing stats to be earned each game.

We drafted a big and fast DT for Clemson, a CB from Georgia, a CB from Notre Dame and an LB/ Edge rusher from Old Dominion. All of these players are likely to be starters immediately, which will really help our trash can of a defense. The one thing I’m disappointed in was the fact that we did not get an Offensive Tackle until round 7, which was a big need for us. We also only got one Line Backer. We REALLY need a pass rush and I’m not convinced we got that here. Another strange move was that we got 3 Corner Backs and 2 Defensive Tackles. We already have a couple of good DTs on our current roster. It’s like the players were good that we drafted, but we should have taken a different position. I would grade it like B- or C+. I think it will help the team this year but probably wasn’t enough. I could talk all day about the Giants so I’m going to stop here, but I do think this will be Eli’s last year. 😦 I see the Giants being very eager to see what Daniel Jones has in store.

My tennis tournament at work starts next week. My first match is on Wednesday at 12 PM. Not going to lie, feeling pretty confident about winning. Sarah and I are going to hit around with a couple of friends today. My friend Cameron hasn’t played in a long time, so he’s probably going to be rusty. After tennis, we are going to out to my parent’s house and then it’s Game of Thrones time!

 

Journal Entry 342 – Protein and Chinups

Four day work week last week. I must admit the extra day off was nice. Sarah and I went to trivia night at Don’t Look Back on Thursday night with some good friends and got second place! On Friday night we went to California Pizza Kitchen because my friend’s sister was bartending. That was the first time I had ever been there. No clue as to why haha. It has been around this area for a long time, but I never went for some reason. The pizza was good and we got the BBQ Chicken Pizza with a cauliflower crust. 8 out of 10. I will admit that it was much more expensive than I thought it was going to be. Tonight, Sarah has some friends in from out of town so we will be going out again. Expensive weekend haha.

In the gym, I have been doing a ton of bodyweight moves. I decided to do at least 3 sets of chinups every single day for the foreseeable future. I actually love bodyweight moves when at the gym, because it has gotten so packed recently, I can go upstairs away from it all and get a pretty intense workout by doing bodyweight moves to failure. I was doing Push/Pull, but due to the traffic at the gym, it becomes nearly impossible to stick to my routine as all the equipment is taken. My gym also jams equipment way too close too each other and you feel like people are standing on top of each other. I hate that feeling. I like to workout alone and have some room. Chinups have been working great though and my back and abs have been very sore. At the moment, it is the only “back/bicep” movement I have been doing. For push moves, I rotate between pushups, dips and bench press. No direct abs, no isolation moves. Just chinups and compound push movements with about 90% bodyweight moves.

For diet, I have been jacking protein through the roof recently. My goal is to eat very high protein meals, with low carbs and fat. I eat like this for every meal until we go out somewhere or I just want a big meal and then I’ll eat whatever. Mainly just very high protein and carbs and fats vary on the day. On average, I want to keep fat around 50 grams, Carbs 50-200grams (usually only 200 grams on the weekend and closer to 50g during the week) and protein over 200grams. I have been drinking a decent amount of alcohol recently, which do not fall into these categories. 😉

My main foods recently have been dark roast coffee, egg whites, protein powder (Elite XT currently), Costco mixed berries, Quest Bars, Tyson Blackened Chicken Strips (Costco – Really good), lean ground meat, steak, green vegetables, Our Little Rebellion BBQ Chips. The rest of my food is usually eaten out.

Journal Entry 341 – Game of Thrones

Another week in the books. Sarah and I went to Cooper’s Hawk on Friday for date night followed by Mezeh for dinner. Yesterday, I played tennis for the first time this year against one of my good friends. We both entered a tennis tournament at work, so trying to get some practice in. Tonight we are having people over for a Game of Thrones watching party. Final season and the first episode in what feels like a very long time. I expect good things though.

Workouts were great last week. I decided on switching to a Push / Pull routine. This was mainly to break monotony, but also to introduce some novelty back into my workouts. I have a very simple routine each workout and I can actually knock them out pretty quick.

Diet has been consistently low carb. I have been increasing my intake of whole eggs recently and I honestly feel like it is making a difference in the gym. I usually have 2-3 before I go to the gym and did this consistently on every workout day. My goal is to continue eating 3 a day and maybe bump that up provided my strength continues to rise. I have also been increasing dietary fat in my diet as well as sodium. This has greatly helped my workouts. My weight is currently at a solid 180lbs and slowly decreasing.

The new trailer for Star Wars Rise of Skywalker has been released. Not going to lie, it looks pretty damn good. I really hope they give the Skywalker Saga a proper sendoff my incorporating all of the movies together.

 

Journal Entry 339 – Low Key

Another week in the books. This week started off as crazy busy and then gradually slowed down each day. I think March Madness may have had something to do with slowing down traffic towards the end of the week. My brother really wanted me to make a Bracket, so I spent about 3 minutes making picks on my phone before the deadline. So far I’m in 8th place out of 14 and have already lost my fair share of games. As long as Duke wins, I have a chance though. I’m not a big basketball guy, to be honest, so losing means nothing to me.

My sports hierarchy NFL > College Football > Tennis > Everything Else. This does not mean that I don’t care about other sports at all, it’s just that I barely follow other sports. I have had the urge to get into Professional Soccer recently, but have not made the leap yet.

Been a good weekend so far though. Really nice weather and Saturday was a nice chill day. Friday we did a date night to Coopers Hawk and then went Burger Bach for dinner.

Recently my diet has been borderline Keto for the most part with dramatically reduced fiber. The low fiber has really helped with my digestion. Basically been eating high fat and high protein foods with very low fiber and my stomach has felt like it has already shrunk an inch. Plan on keeping this approach up. My carb totals have been under 100 grams almost every single day with most days under 60 grams. Weight is down to around 180lbs from 186lbs earlier this week as I was kind of bloated at the beginning. Been making an extra effort to add more fat to my diet though and not just jacking protein through the roof.

The only problem is my strength is down a bit. I still benched heavy 3 times last week and my totals are going down. I really need to cut down the heavy days to twice a week max. I also need to bump up sodium with my carbs as low as they are. My hunger has been pretty low for the most part. It really is amazing to me how if I eat a high carb meal, even when high in protein my hunger can skyrocket and I stay hungry for the rest of the day. As long as I keep carbs very low in my diet, this feeling does not occur.

 

Journal Entry 330 – Snowed In / Workout Update

Another week in the books. We had some winter weather come through this weekend, so Sarah and I went out early on Saturday to knock out our running for the week. Grocery stores were, of course, packed beyond belief and there was a serious meat shortage. The only meat that was readily available was 80/20 or fattier cuts. Aldi is great for buying a ton of groceries for cheap, but there is always the risk there that they don’t have an important item that you need.  This means you need to run to another store and this week happened to be meat. So we ran to Kroger and got some lean beef for some chili we are going to make. Besides the insane amount of people we had to deal with, I think it will be worth it. A cold day with the NFL Playoffs on, chili sounds great. Not that I’m knocking Aldi. I love that place and we also got a ton of groceries for about $60. We have saved countless amounts of money shopping there on a regular basis. It’s also hardly ever packed and very easy to get in and out.

The gym has been decent even with “New Years Resolutioners” coming in. The only day that sucked was Monday because all of the benches were taken. When one of your only moves is Bench Press, that kind of presents a problem! I ended up doing a high rep upper body workout. My routine going forward is to do a 3-day workout on M, W, F and rest TU, TR. I want to be at full strength for my main workouts. I will have a Workout A and Workout B as shown below:

  • Workout A
    • Barbell Bench Press 3 x 6-8
    • Chinups 3 x Max with Bodyweight
    • Cable Crunch 3 x 8-12
  • Workout B – Wednesday
    • Dumbbell Incline Press 4 x 8-10 reps
    • Chinups 3 x Max with Bodyweight
    • Cable Crunch 3 x 8-12
  • Rest Days
    • 100 Pushups throughout the day
    • Stretching

Simple just how I like it. If all of the benches are taken on Monday again, I will likely just do chinups first or maybe do Workout B twice that week and do Workout A on Wednesday. Simple adjustment. Rest days are going to be exactly that. I will do some pushups and maybe go to the gym to do an incline walk, but that is optional. My bench is currently at 235lbs for 6 reps. I would like to get this up to at least 250lbs for 6 reps. I mainly just don’t want my rest days to interfere with my recovery from heavy benching.

Diet is going to going to be high protein and lower carb as always. This is my go to and always seems to work for me. Protein high, carbs around 50g to 150g on a higher day (I would say 80g on average) and fat falls wherever. I don’t really worry about fat. I will easily eat higher fat foods, but prefer leaner meats most of the time. I reread “How Many Carbs Do You Need?” by Lyle Mcdonald this week. He said even just eating 15g-50g of carbs can severely limit (if not completely limit) the body’s need to pull from protein as an energy source. What a huge advantage you have in knowing this. Not only for protecting muscle mass when losing weight, but also as a daily eating strategy to know that the protein you are eating is not getting burnt off as an energy source for the brain and can do its main job. I love Lyle Mcdonald’s work and he is one of my favorite nutritionists.

Journal Entry 318 – Just Keep Getting Stronger / Diet Philosophy Update / This is a Long One

Recently, I have been getting stronger on one of the most minimalist lifting routines known to mankind. After looking at my workout logs today, I have increased my bench press from 185lbs for around 6-8 reps to 225lbs for 6-8 reps. This increase of 40lbs has been done over the course of around 2 months. When people ask me how I am getting so much stronger, I tell them my routine and they act very surprised when they hear it. “Wait, you’re benching 3 times a week?” “You’re lifting every day?” “That’s all the volume, you’re doing?” “Where is legs?” Name a comment and I have heard it. At this point in my life, I do not care about looking like a bodybuilder and honestly except for a few points in my life never really wanted to. I like to look muscular don’t get me wrong, but looking muscular and strong and looking like a bodybuilder are two different things.

Bodybuilding is incredibly boring and monotonous. I just have no interest in it anymore, but I still love lifting and increasing my strength. It’s very rewarding to go into the gym and continually get stronger. Also, if you don’t go to the gym at all, please don’t ask me why I don’t train legs. I have my reasons. But if you don’t exercise or lift at all, then you don’t have a leg day either. So you really have no room to talk or criticise what I am doing.

Anyway, I love the results I have been getting recently. Simplifying the complex is always something I take great joy in. The only thing I have not been getting stronger on is chin-ups. So, just like the bench press, I’m going to start doing them every day. Here is my routine at the moment:

  • Day 1
    • Barbell Bench press 3 sets of 6-8 reps (Current 225lbs)
    • Chinups 3 sets of max reps
    • Cable Crunches (Heavy) 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Day 2
    • Dumbbell Incline Bench 30 deg 3 sets of 6-8 reps (Current 90lbs DBs each)
    • Chinups 3 sets of max reps
    • Cable Crunches 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Day 3  (Or off if I feel like I need a break – usually don’t take an off day)
    • Dips or Pushups 3 sets of max reps
    • Chins 3 sets of max reps
    • Cable Crunches 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Repeat
  • Weekend Routine
    • Pushups 5 sets of max reps
    • Chinups 5 sets of max reps
    • Prisoner Squats 5 sets of 25 reps (See I do train legs)
  • Weekend Alternative (If I feel like I need to take the day off)
    • Cardio for 30 minutes (usually once a week)
    • OR
    • Yardwork

Pretty simple. The daily volume is low for sure. But the weekly volume actually adds up. Day 3 acts almost as a rest day for me from heavy lifting. I think the biggest reason why this works though is the increased frequency and lower volume per day. I’m never overly sore with this routine and soreness is highly overrated. If you want to get good at something, would you do it every day or only once or twice a week? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Diet Update

Just like lifting, I have tried a lot of different diet schemes over the years. This blog is proof of that. I have found certain things that seem to work for me no matter what. My diet is probably more organized than most, but far from perfect. I had a consult with Menno Henselmans not too long ago and he subtly insulted my diet at the time. It kind of p*ssed me off, because I thought it was pretty good, but apparently not up to his standards. At this point in time, I could care less what an expert thinks of my diet. If you study nutrition long enough, you will notice that there are plenty of nutrition experts that are saying polar opposite things in terms of what they think is healthy and optimal. I’m smart enough in this area to form my own opinions, just like I did with my lifting routine. Once I finally stopped listening to other people or “experts” and designed my own routine based on my goals, I actually started to get results.

My current diet is as follows most of the time:

  • Go to work
  • 2-3 12oz Coffee’s with Cream and Splenda
  • Protein Shake – 25 grams of protein
  • Gym – 2 Hardboiled Eggs with pink salt before lifting
  • Protein Shake – 25 grams of protein
  • Get off work
  • Dinner – 3/4 pound of meat (usually 93/7) and 2 servings of vegetables with cheese and some kind of sauce
  • Dessert – Protein Pudding or Protein Shake with Berries

There are a few points I want to bring up here.

  • Notice the carbs are very low. You do NOT need carbs to grow muscle or strength. It is a huge myth. You want a workout secret weapon: SODIUM. Sodium and carbs have VERY similar functions in the body. The reason many people complain of lifting on low carb diets is because sodium gets flushed out with the lower insulin levels. The solution would be to eat a lot more salt. This way you can maintain and get stronger on your lifts and get cut at the same time.
  • The calories in this diet are not high. It provides me with enough protein and fat, but very little carbs. This is because during the week I want to use some of my body fat as fuel source. If you eat too much this is impossible. Excess carbs also obscure definition and make me feel and look bloated.
  • The above is what I consider a Control Day. This day is meant to be consistent and lower calorie in order to keep losing fat. I like to maintain lower body fat, so these days are essential. I have about 3-4 of these lower calorie days each week.
  • Here are some tips that I have always found incredibly useful through my years of dieting:
    • Drink caffeine throughout the day. It increases drive, focus, boosts your metabolic rate and accelerates fat burning. It is also one hell of a pre-workout. (Note – I’m referring to coffee. Not the BS supplements that GNC sells.)
    • Undereat during the day. Undereating shuttles more fuel to your brain and greatly assists you with a cognitively demanding job. Too much food can not only leave you feeling bloated, but mess up your mental focus.
    • Eat a big meal at night. You can’t have a fast without the feast. The feast will replenish you for the day to come and will help you sleep better. Try sleeping on an empty stomach and see how well that works out for you. (Not good.)
    • Eat a higher protein diet. Enough said.
    • Animal foods are  > (greater than)  plant foods. Due to the way humans digest food, animal based foods can result in much better assimilation of nutrients and relieve digestive issues fairly quickly versus if you eat too many plants/grains/carbs. Not that you should be a carnivore, but the diet can be a godsend for some people.
    • Save carbs for dinner. This plays into the factors I talked about above, but I feel like most people should eat under 150g of carbs a day. If you eat zero carbs during the day, you can still smash some Mellow Mushrooom Pizza at night and be under your 150g mark.
    • Have at least 3 Control days in your week. I explained these above, but the benefits of these are immense. By going low calorie during your week, especially 3 times a week, your diet will automatically include healthier foods and you really can start to make a dent into your fat stores on a weekly basis, without sacrificing too much else the rest of the week.
    • Too much fiber is bad. Besides from the obvious reason of being overly bloated and gassy, too much fiber can bind to important nutrients and render them useless. Some is good more is not better. Yes, this includes my beloved Quest Bars, which I have cut down to once a week.
    • Never take a food you love out of your diet. There is a time and a place for everything. Anytime a person goes on a diet, where they completely exclude something, 99% of the time, they are a ticking time bomb until they give into that craving. If I tell you that you can’t eat pizza ever again, you will dream about pizza until the day you finally eat it again. This again plays into the beauty of Control Days and also undereating during the day. You still have 4 days a week where you can pretty much eat whatever at dinner and since you underate during the day, you have a pretty large amount of food and calories you can play around with. That is winning in my book.
    • I personally think alcohol once or twice a week is great for a human when consumed responsibly. Alcohol directly influences GABA in the brain and can “take the edge off” and help you relax. After a hard week of working this can be a godsend for people. Alcohol is obviously a social drink, so best consumed with friends, which can relax you ever more.

This post was way longer than I was expecting, but I had a lot I wanted to say!

Journal Entry 317 – Short One

Another week in the books. No major plateau busting this week other than I’m crunching the most for abs I ever have before. I really do think working abs almost every day has really helped increase my lifts. Still doing very little isolation and sticking to the Push / Pull / Abs everyday setup

Life:

Sarah and I are going to a party tonight with some of my co-workers. Our company has a big release set for Monday, so we figured we would party before the extra stress starts from work. Another Pro Tip: Keep dietary fat low on the days you drink. This greatly reduces the risk of storing fat.

Other than that I’ve been watching the original Berserk show on DVD, that I borrowed from my good friend Cameron. It’s been awesome so far. Very graphic show, but it is anime. It is far from a fairy tale and the theme is very dark. It has very little lighthearted comic relief like a lot of other shows have, but I think this make for a more dramatic and epic show. I’m a huge soundtrack fan, so here is a song from the show: Gut’s Theme.