push pull legs

Journal Entry 209 – Back to Split Training and Diet Update

After getting a little bit more time on my hands as of late, I decided to move back to split training doing two push workouts a week, two pulls and one legs/abs day. My legs get used a lot, because of my walking 5-7 miles a day and I don’t see the need to hit them twice a week.

The reason I wanted to move back to split training was mainly because I realized I was starting to pack too many exercises into one workout. I missed doing isolation exercises that really allow me to feel the muscle working. After doing this split last week, I admit I was very sore all over. My legs are still sore and I worked them out on Friday. My squat strength took a hit, but I usually gain that back quickly. I also kind of missed that “bodybuilder” style of training and getting really good blood flow and pumps in the gym. Haven’t done a lot of direct shoulder pressing in a while either and it felt good to add that back in.

Push, Pull, Legs is probably my all time favorite split. I like the idea of starting with the big muscles and then finishing off the smaller ones with isolations after they have already been fatigued from the big lifts. I considered doing the old style of chest/tri, back/bi, legs/abs and shoulders/traps, but I don’t think shoulders need its own day and I like hitting muscles more often then once a week.

Here is a sample push workout: (I change the exercises on the second day, but the same template follows)

  • Chest Compound 3 sets of 6-10 reps and 1 set of 10-15 reps
  • Chest Isolation 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Shoulders Compound (same as chest)
  • Shoulders Iso (same as chest)
  • Triceps Compound (same as chest)
  • Triceps Iso (same as chest)

Pull is slightly different, but still a pretty simple template. Leg day is very simple with squats, lunges, leg extension and leg curl done with similar rep schemes.

My diet has been much higher in protein recently. I have been tracking my intake, but eating rather intuitively at the moment. When I eat intuitively its almost always high in protein and moderate and carbs and fat. Calories have been low to mid 2000’s on most days and around 25-2700 on weekends. I have been craving more protein recently and have bought some cottage cheese to eat at night. This is perfect right before bed due to the casein protein it contains. For me though, I notice some carbs are good, but too many just doesn’t go over well. I tend to look and feel my best when carbs are between 100-160 grams or so. I notice if I go too high in carbs the only positive thing that happens is a performance boost in the gym. I tend to look softer, more bloated and get some pretty ravenous cravings no matter how healthy the meal. My energy levels also take a dive. I tend to feel lazy and unmotivated, when I expected the opposite to happen. If I take a lot of concentrated starch out of my meals I feel incredible. (Note – this happens no matter what I do in the gym) If I had to pick a macro split per meal that tends to serve me best it would probably be 35-50 grams of protein / 20-40 grams of carbs / 15-25 grams of fat. I just look and feel so much better with a setup like this. If I had to describe my diet it would be lean protein sources, fruit, vegetables, limited starches (but not zero) and added fat sources (cheese, avocado, whole eggs, salmon and fish oil). For example, I’ll have some of the bread basket at a meal when we go out to eat, but my main course will be low carbs. So total carbs dont get much above 40-50 grams even with eating bread before. For me it seems to be the amount of carbs that trigger appetite and NOT the type (high gi vs low gi). The problem is a lot of diets tend to be lower in fat (40-50 grams or so) moderate- high protein (120-200 grams) and A LOT of carbs. So at some point during the day, you going to need a pretty big dose of carbs to get enough in. Some times big dinners dont work with my schedule so that would mean a big breakfast or lunch, which just tanks my energy. I cant stand it. So these macros just dont work for me. I would much rather eat more protein and fat and drop carbs lower to avoid this. Kind of a shame, because I would like a higher carb diet to work for me, but it just doesn’t haha. It doesn’t bug me too bad though, because protein and fat tends to taste better to me anyway. To sum up, some carbs are good, but too many is bad. As long as my calories stay elevated, my strength and performance in the gym is just as good without the extra carbs. Maybe not as good, but the increased energy, focus and reduced water retention is well worth it in my opinion.

Also, meant to mention this earlier, but I find it far easier and more enjoyable to eat lower carb in a restaurant than lower fat. You can pretty much go anywhere and eat something low carb, where as if you try to go lower fat you pretty much out of luck unless you hit Subway or get some really bland entree that tastes like you could have made it at your house for far less money. Carbs without fat not as great as you would think from a taste standpoint.

I have a cruise coming up this week from Thursday to Monday for my birthday and that should be awesome. They do have a gym on the ship, so I plan to hit the gym in town on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, take Thursday off (flight to Miami) and then hopefully hit the gym two of the three days I’m on the ship. Not really going to sweat it if I dont make it to the gym as I’ll be pretty active that day anyway.

Menno Henselmans recently released another article about burning fat and building muscle at the same time. Really like his articles and hes put a lot of research and effort in to each one. But really good read, because most people say its impossible, but in reality it is not.

Some pics from the week:

Papa Johns - BBQ chicken and The Works

Papa Johns – BBQ chicken and The Works

My neighborhood

My neighborhood

Eggs

Eggs

IMG_3171

Chocolate Oats with cocoa powder

Chocolate Oats with cocoa powder

Homemade Chipotle Bowl

Homemade Chipotle Bowl

Lean meat and potatoes

Lean meat and potatoes

Fantasy Football Showdown haha

Fantasy Football Showdown haha

Eggs and Veggies

Eggs and Veggies

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Journal Entry 188

Log:

5/23 – 172.4lbs – 3000 calories eaten – 9500 steps – 4.63 miles

5/24 – 174.4lbs – 2200 calories eaten – 4900 steps – 2.4 miles

5/25 – Missed – 2200 calories eaten – 9956 steps – 4.7 miles

5/26 – Missed – 2100 calories eaten – 13160 steps – 6.2 miles

5/27 – 175.2lbs – 2250 calories eaten – 7700 steps – 3.7 miles

5/28 – 175.8lbs – 2200 calories eaten – 6400 steps – 3 miles

5/29 – 176.2lbs – 2300 calories eaten – 12800 steps – 6 miles

Average Weight – 174.8 lbs – Average Calorie Intake 2300 calories – Average Body Temperature – 97.2 degrees (Morning)

Blog:

So my average temperatures this week were around 97.2 degrees which is .6 degrees better than last week. Definelty trending in the right direction and I have noticed reduced soreness from lifting and better overall energy levels. My goal is to keep slowly increasing calories until my temperature hits roughly 98.6. I will say though that my temperature has reached 98.6 at different points in the day and usually increases well beyond 97.2 after certain points in the day.

My split this week was Push on Saturday, Legs on Sunday, Monday was rest, Tuesday was Pull, Wednesday was Push, Thursday was Legs and Friday was off. Sets were mainly 3 although I went 4 on some exercises and reps were kept right around 8-10 reps for the most part.

My diet was kept pretty similar to my normal routine. I usually have 2 low calorie meals for breakfast and lunch with high protein, small amounts of fat and fruit or vegetables then I have a huge dinner to make up the rest of my calories. Basically it looks like this:

  • Breakfast – Two scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of berries, half a quest bar
  • Lunch – 5oz of lean meat, 1 hardboiled egg, 2oz of imitation crab meat, 2-3 cups of greens and 1 laughing cow cheese wedge
  • Snack – Half of Pure protein bar, 1 4-5oz apple and maybe .5-1oz of beef jerkey
  • Dinner – What ever is left. Every night is different. Most of the time its potatoes and meat, but this week was pizza one night, wine and bbq chicken with baked beans another night and chinese low fat fried rice with meat and vegetables another night.
  • Dessert – 1 cup of almond milk with 2 tbs of fat free/sugar free jello pudding (various flavors) and 1/3 cup of frozen berries and finish quest bar (this is really good and turns into a pudding)
  • I’ll also throw in a banana or at least half of one with some of my meals

This way of eating works very well for me. I like to keep the first half of the day low calorie, because it keeps energy very high during the day. It also allows me to get in most of protein and fat and vitamins and then have a big meal at night. Usually I have at least 1000 calories to play with at night sometimes over that. This allows me to keep my early meals consistent and my dinners a little more varied.

I also think there is some nutrient partitioning benefits to eating this way. Basically keep the body in a somewhat depleted state during the day (meaning low calories and low amounts of fat and carbs) and then replenish at night right before bed. I also noticed a high protein breakfast, meaning over 40 grams or so can shutdown your appetite for the whole day. Its almost fail proof. Sometimes I get home and I’m not ever hungry. This makes my diet very enjoyable, because in the past when I tried to add in calories at earlier meals, such as including oatmeal and banana at breakfast and rice at lunch, I would noticed my hunger would increase and I would be hungry all day. Not the case with my current diet.

Eating in this fashion also works very well with being social, because you can easily go out and fit in something from any restaurant and get it under 1000 calories.

I’m aiming for roughly 250 carbs / 60 fat / 180 protein and around 22-2400 calories. I’m not tracking this with the goal of hitting exactly those numbers though. Its more an approximation. I also have some alcoholic drinks every now and then so that will also throw my numbers off, but it’s all good.

Pics from the week:

Bertuccis Calzone

Bertuccis Calzone

Left over Calzone with lean meat and veggies

Left over Calzone with lean meat and veggies

Lean meat and squash with vegetables

Lean meat and squash with vegetables

BBQ chicken on a potato roll with baked beans

BBQ chicken on a potato roll with baked beans

Lean meat, veggies and potatoes

Lean meat, veggies and potatoes

Lean meat, veggies and vegetable fried rice (low fat) with a crab rangoon and steamed dumplings

Lean meat, veggies and vegetable fried rice (low fat) with a crab rangoon and steamed dumplings

Homemade pizza with organic trader joes crust and low fat marinara, pepperoni and chicken (tasted alright, but probably wont make again)

Homemade pizza with organic trader joes crust and low fat marinara, pepperoni and chicken
(tasted alright, but probably wont make again)

Journal Entry 164

Log:

IMG_1892

2/14 – 173.0 lbs – 2600 calories – 11510 steps – 5.6 miles

2/15 – 174.2lbs – 2100 calories – 6800 steps – 3.7 miles

2/16 – 177.8lbs – 1600 calories – 8800 steps – 4.1 miles

2/17 – 176.2lbs – 1900 calories – 6300 steps – 3.1 miles

2/18 – 175.5lbs – 1900 calories – 11700 steps – 5.5 miles

2/19 – 175.0lbs – 2100 calories – 10000 steps – 4.7 miles

2/20 – 175.4lbs – 2400 calories – 11300 steps – 5.3 miles

Average Weight – 175.3 lbs – Average Calorie Intake – 2100 calories

Workouts:

Another good week on the 6 day Push/Pull/Legs split. The only rest day I took was on Friday and it was more of an unplanned break. I plan to incorporate more variation (reps and movements) into my training. I plan to start out with a heavy compound movement for 4 sets of 6 reps with perfect form then moving into each individual muscle. Each muscle will have 2-3 exercises, one compound for 4 sets of 10 reps and one isolation for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Sample Workout:

Heavy Bench – 4x6reps

INC Bench Press – 4×10 reps

Chest Flys – 3 sets of 12-15 reps

DB Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 10 reps

Lateral Raise 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Skull Crushers 4 sets of 10 reps

Rope Pushdowns 3 sets of 12-15 reps

This way each muscle receives enough isolation and my pump should be very good by the end of the workout. I also want to work each muscle fully before moving to the next muscle group. I mean finish off chest then hit shoulders then hit triceps.

One thing I do want to work on during my heavy set is form. I want to get really good form for each rep before moving up. I may have to drop the weight a bit, but so be it. The point is to work the target muscles not fling weights up using your whole body and bad form. I also plan to have two different days for each push, pull, legs, so I dont get bored. I may do heavy bench twice a week, but I also may do an overhead press day just for variation.

I plan to include more machine/cable movements into my training. This is of course going to be added after my heavy set, but machine actually have several advantages over free weights especially in regards to isolating a certain muscle. Free Weights for example carry the added stress of getting them in place (setting up the lift), tend to drain the Central Nervous System (which can limit muscular power and strength) and fatigue stabilizer supporting muscles before enough stress is places on the target muscle. In other words, if you’re doing an incline dumbbell press to hit your chest, if your shoulders and triceps give out to fatigue then the chest is going to remain unstimulated. With machines way more stress is placed on the “target area” – the chest – and way less stress on the shoulders and triceps. This allows you to life more weight with your chest, before fatigue sets in. This may allow for better chest gains then trying to do free weights with everything as I have done in the past. This applies to other muscles as well. Dips are good triceps builders, but skullcrushers and rope pushdowns hit the triceps better in isolation, which is very important when you are specifically trying to increase the strength and size of a particular muscle group.

Don’t get me wrong though, free weights are superior for strength and they will still be the majority of my training, especially for the first major movement, but I plan to use more machines to see if I notice strength and size improvements in certain target muscles.

Nutrition

Average calorie intake was around 2100 calories during the week and maintenance on the weekends. Body fat is lower than its been in a long time. I don’t know the exact percentage, but its close to 10%. My skinfold caliper actually pinned it lower than that, but eyeballing I’d say right around 10%.

The diet I’m currently eating is really effortless. I really enjoy all my meals during the week. Been sticking to mainly meat, vegetables (broccoli and spinach mostly), whole eggs, aged cheese, protein powder, quest bars and a couple pieces of fruit. Carbs are around 100-120 grams, protein is bodyweight, and fat is around 70-80 grams each day. It may sound boring, but Monday – Thursday the meal plan stays almost exactly the same. For me this stress relieving, because I hate the stress of trying to figure out what I want to have. I would rather just know what to fix for each meal.

On the weekends, I usually go way higher in carbs, especially Friday night through Sunday Afternoon. Been using this as a “Cheat Period”. ┬áNot that I go crazy or anything and I still track most of everything I eat, but for the most part I really just relax and eat.

Some pictures from the week:

Lobster Tail, Shrimp and Broccoli

Lobster Tail, Shrimp and Broccoli

Lean Meat, 3 whole eggs, veggies

Lean Meat, 3 whole eggs, veggies

Lean meat, cheese, 3 whole eggs and broccoli

Lean meat, cheese, 3 whole eggs and broccoli

Belle Vita shrimp pizza, small pan pizza (one slice) and half a breadstick, big side salad

Belle Vita shrimp pizza, small pan pizza (one slice) and half a breadstick, big side salad

Angelos Chicken sub with fries. (love this place)

Angelos Chicken sub with fries. (love this place)

3 whole eggs, chicken, 1 Angelos Roll, A few crackers

3 whole eggs, chicken, 1 Angelos Roll, A few crackers