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 333 – Sickness / Kingdom Hearts 3 / Diet and Workout Update

I missed my post last week due to being sick all week with a cold/sinus infection. I’m actually still dealing with a few symptoms from it to be honest, especially in the morning and when I lay down at night. I took off Friday last week and took it easy for the whole weekend. Luckily, Kingdom Hearts 3 has finally come out so I had something to do.

Kingdom Hearts 3 has been in development of the last 10 years. The original game came out when I was like 13. I have played both Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 and I enjoyed this game. Several features of the game are tailored towards a younger generation for sure, but I would say over half of the people that played the first two games are my age or older. KH3 is heavily skewed towards Disney and way less towards Final Fantasy. The mix of the two is what drew my interest in the first place. That was a huge negative of this game in my opinion. They had 9-10 worlds focusing on a different Disney movie, but couldn’t allocate at least one to Final Fantasy? This game is made by Square Enix not Disney. Square Enix (used to be Square Soft) is the creator of Final Fantasy, so it had every right to jam as much Final Fantasy as humanly possible into this game. Other than that I found it to be an enjoyable game. The graphics were great, you got your money’s worth in terms of content, good characters and most of the game was fun. I would probably rate it 8 out of 10. I will admit, I definitely got absorbed into this game. This does not happen to me often anymore. Also, not to spoil anything but there definitely seems like another one coming out in the future. Hopefully not 10 years from now.

My workout schedule has been very simplistic as of late, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying it. Here it is below:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
    • Bench Press (Pyramid)
      • Warmup – 135lbs (10 reps)
      • Top set 240lbs 4-6 reps
      • 2nd Work Set 225lbs 6-10 reps
      • 3rd Work Set 185lbs for 10-15 reps
      • Burnout Set 135lbs for AMAP (usually get between 20-30 reps)
    • Chinups
      • 4 sets of AMAP with bodyweight
    • Stretching
  • Tuesday and Thursday
    • Rest Day
      • Optional Incline Walk
      • Optional Pushups
      • Stretching
  • Saturday and Sunday
    • 150 Pushups
    • 50 Chinups
    • Stretching

Nothing groundbreaking here. My bench continues to rise. I have noticed if I overdo the pushups during the week, my shoulders can hurt on bench press the next day. I usually just take a rest day completely off from the gym on Tuesday and Thursday. Typically, I’ll run errands that I don’t want to do on the weekend or I’ll go get a light lunch. Also, I usually only do that bodyweight workout one of those weekend days. Not both.

Calories fall around 1700-2000 calories during the weekdays with most of those being eaten at night. Then on the weekends, I’m around the 2000-2500 calorie range. I still keep track, but I really don’t care where they fall. I seem to be in a good place with an intuitive style approach right now. My vice is alcohol on the weekends that can get high pretty quickly. :0 Protein is where it needs to be, fat is moderate and carbs are the same. So balanced!

During the week my diet layout looks like this most of the time:

  • Head to Work
  • Coffee – 50 cals
  • Protein Pudding – 150 cals
  • Enlightened Beans – 450 cals
  • Home from Work
  • Vegetables with Ranch or Hummus / Chips and Salsa – 200-300 cals
  • Dinner – Varies – 5-800 cals
  • Protein Pudding with berries- 200 cals

Journal Entry 305 – New Schedule is Coming

Today is the last week of my old schedule. I luckily get Saturday off, so it will be a 3 day week. I’m moving to an 8-5 schedule Monday through Friday. It will be a big change for me as I haven’t been on that schedule for awhile. This also means some change in terms of diet and workout, which I haven’t really figured out yet. I probably won’t figure it out until I actually start and see what I like best. I thought about going to the gym early and knocking it out, but I would likely have to get up before 6AM, which I’m not really sure I want to do. I will most likely just go to the gym on my lunch break around 1-2PM. I may adjust my routine so that I’m benching twice a week and continue with my pushups / chinups and stretching routine. Still hitting 200 pushups / 50 chins and stretching daily.

Not sure what I plan to do for the diet. Based on my schedule, an Intermittent Fasting setup would work really well with my hours. Eat minimal during the day when busy and feast at night. This would also be far easier from a planning and financial standpoint. What I may do is make a protein shake in the morning to drink around mid-morning, then eat a bag of Enlightened Beans or Jerky at work. This provides around 600 calories total during the day, which allows a very large meal every night, while keeping calories in check. This would allow me a couple drinks at night, a very big high protein meal and some protein pudding for dessert.

I got to a new low of 179.4lbs this week. I had a big eating day from Saturday night and all day Sunday and got up to 184lbs. I was down to 182lbs this morning. I expect to go below 179lbs by the end of this week.  For whatever reason, I almost felt hungover after my cheat day even though I didn’t drink. Not a good feeling. It’s probably because I went from pretty low carbs to very high carbs in a day and then back to very low carbs. That’s a pretty large swing that I’m not really used to. Calories were over 3000 for the day. I may try splitting my cheat day up into a big meal on both Saturday and Sunday night versus the whole day. I have a feeling I would not only enjoy this more, but feel much better than slamming calories all day long.

Journal Entry 304 – Return of the Refeed

Missed my post last week since Sarah and I were in Greensboro for the weekend doing some things for the wedding.

Some big schedule changes also happened at work, which will move me back into a much more normal schedule. Looking forward to that so that Sarah and I will have more time together.

My workout schedule has been even more minimalist style than my last post. I have literally been doing 200 pushups and 50 chin-ups a day at least for the last week. I’m only lifting once a week in the gym on Friday, which has been heavy barbell bench press that I then follow with pushups and chin-ups. Pushups and chin-ups are starting to feel extremely easy. I’m doing 30 pushups a set and 10 chin-ups a set. I plan to increase those to 35-40 for pushups and 15 for chins soon.

I really enjoy these two moves. They work every muscle in the upper body and you can literally do them anywhere at any time. (Although this is truer for pushups rather than chin-ups.)

As for my diet, its time for the “Return of the Refeed.” I experienced somewhat of a plateau where I could not drop under 182lbs for 3 days even with my diet and exercise on point. Very frustrating. I refeeded a couple of days ago pretty hardcore. I went 3000+ plus calories with the vast majority of calories coming from carbs. I went up to 187lbs after this day, but have now dropped below 182lbs just two days later. I have written about refeeds before, but have stopped doing them the past couples years for whatever reason. I really do they think hold tremendous benefit to allow yourself to “go to town” one day of the week just to get it out of your system. It also has many physiological and psychological benefits, which I have wrote about in my article How To Do A Carb Refeed.

Most people would benefit from doing this once a week. It’s just far easier to program. If you were going by science every 5th day would probably be optimal. So 4 days of dieting, 1 day off to refeed up to or beyond maintenance calories and repeat. This presents a pain for most people though, because your refeed day constantly changes. No one wants to refeed on a Monday. So I would recommend just doing it Saturday or Sunday (my personal favorite). Give precedence to carbs. I usually go high protein all other days, so I really look forward to eating all of the things I can’t eat on this day. I actually tried to lower protein as much as I could on my last refeed day. I hit around 80 grams of protein / 70 grams of fat / and over 400 carbs.

Also one more point about refeeds. Some people try to lower dietary fat as low as humanly possible on these days. Don’t do this. It makes the day far less fun and satisfying and really lowers your food choices. I’m not saying to go super high in fat, but just allow yourself to hit a normal of fat of around 50-70 grams instead of going like under 30-40 grams like is commonly recommended. Your body can store some dietary fat as muscle, especially if your diet days tend to be low in fat. Even if you store some fat, it’s going to come off easily when you return to your normal diet the next 6 days.

Journal Entry 301 – The Carnivore Diet?

The Carnivore Diet

The Carnivore Diet seems to be the flavor of the week in the dieting industry.

This diet has actually been around a long time but recently resurfaced due to Dr. Shawn Baker. He is a doctor that started eating only meat for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he found he could stay lean and recover faster when eating only steak. He also noticed the disappearance of bloating, health issues, joint pain, cravings and a whole plethora of other benefits.

In terms of macros, the carnivore diet is a zero carb diet with more protein than a traditional ketogenic diet. It reminds me of old school bodybuilder diets that Vince Gironda and Arnold Schwarzenegger used to use to get really ripped.

This is a red meat diet though, which is where it truly differs from Keto. The reason is red meat is actually a very dense and nutritious food. It contains many of the fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and nutrients and delivers them in a streamlined dose. Meat is easy to digest and the fat from the meat also helps the nutrients to be absorbed. The low fiber also counteracts some of the binding that can occur with nutrients being absorbed. Another really good food to eat in addition would be Eggs as they fit the same bill as red meat. Some people have allergies to eggs though, which is why red meat usually works better. The dietary fat from the meat also has been shown to increase testosterone levels. Testosterone levels also have a lot to do with the overall nutrients you are getting, so the nutrient/ dietary fat combo makes it a great food to help with this.

Another interesting benefit of this diet is actually pretty cheap. If you substitute out the steak for ground beef and eat some eggs to replace one of the steak meals, the diet is very cheap. You get more calories per dollar. With vegetables, you can eat way more volume, but this comes as the expense of bloating, gas, indigestion, a sluggish “heavy” feeling and it’s more expensive because the food is so low in calories that you have to buy more. Vegetables usually don’t help your appetite very long either. They are initially filling, but 1-2 hours later you are hungry again.

The zero carb aspect is also very important for the overall health gain you get. Low carbs have been shown to be very helpful in managing blood sugar-related diseases (think type 2 diabetes), helping to lower cravings (again likely due to blood sugar), restoring health (tend to be loaded with nutrients / higher quality foods) and sensitizing the body to insulin and carbs. This list could go much longer, but I came from a family history of type-2 diabetes, so I’m always conscious of this. These diseases are built over time, so it’s important to eat in a way that feels right.

I find this diet intriguing. I don’t think I could ever do just red meat, but I could adapt a diet pretty similar. I went to Costco and bought 5lbs of 88% lean ground beef for $15. Deals ;). I also bought some eggs from Aldi that I got for $0.40 a dozen. My grocery bill is going to get very cheap. I’ve done this diet the past 2 days and have already dropped 3lbs. Yes, its mostly water weight, but I actually look visibly leaner and my stomach is really flat with very littly bloating. I have also eaten 2500 calories a day these past two days, which for me is way too much to burn fat on. Nevertheless, the scale is down and I look leaner. Winning ;).

I’m going to run this diet for the next two weeks with maybe one cheat day thrown in. I love the simplicity of it and hope the results continue.

Image result for ron swanson meme

Workouts

I have been doing 200 pushups and 50 chinups 5 days a week and cardio 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I have only been lifting once a week in the gym. You read that correctly. For me, its the least “gym work” I have done in probably 10 years. I love to workout, but I hate gyms. Especially recently, because they have been packed beyond belief at all times of the day. That being said I have 3 major goals right now:

  • Get leaner
  • Get really good at pushups
  • Keep getting stronger on the bench press

I’m a simple man, what can I say. The bench press is my only gym workout and I’m still repping 215lbs for 6 or so reps. I think the pushups have been helping me a lot with this as well.

 

 

Journal Entry 300 – Pushups / Costco

For the past couple of weeks, I have done about 200 pushups a day, except for a few where I did around 100-150 or so. I usually do about 30 reps per set and do about 7 sets a day throughout the day. I’ve noticed some interesting benefits from them. One is that gives you a tremendous energy boost from it. Two is that pushups are getting very easy to perform and it seems the more often I do them the better I get. Third, is that my serratus anterior muscle is really starting to pop. Due to the position of the shoulder blades during pushups, the serratus anterior gets much better activation than a traditional bench press. I’ve enjoyed them so much, I’m going to start doing 2 bodyweight workouts a week. These bodyweight workouts will be a pushup/pullup superset workout with some stretching in between. Stretching is also something I’ve enjoyed. I haven’t been as consistent with pushups, but it really feels good. I usually work these in between sets in the gym.

Sarah and I went to Costco for the first time all year. I bought two new protein powders Orgain Vanilla and Creamy Chocolate. The Vanilla was new flavor and was a pleasant surprise. They were $8 off each, so no way I was passing that up. They also have a much thicker consistency, which I like. Elite XT “reformulated” its product and really ruined its taste for me. It’s way too thin and has a cheap whey protein taste. Dymatize is Trolling hard with that. ;(

We also got some frozen berries, steamed dumplings and Kirkland protein bars (their version of a Quest Bar) from Costco.

Also, Aldi has some really good frozen sushi. Spicy crab roll is awesome. You get 15 pieces for $5, which is a very good price for sushi.

Journal Entry 284 – Winging It

Not going to lie, I get very bored with training and dieting at certain points in my life. I almost have to change up what I do to prevent this from setting in. Training with low volumes and long rest periods can be fun when you are getting stronger week to week, but dear god it is boring. It’s like can I just hit the gym, get a great pump and move on with my day. It’s just so slow. Eating the same foods can be very similar to this. I start to eat the same foods over and over and crave them less and less and it all just gets so boring.

I’m going to wing it for the time being. I want to keep one boring strength day in the gym to keep my strength and the other days will be higher volume full body lifting. Cardio will be done when I have time, but I’m not going to stress about it.

As for nutrition, the same logic applies. I simply want to eat what I feel like eating without overeating on crap. Eat foods I enjoy and move on with life. The majority of the time I undereat during the day and eat more at night. This is by far the most enjoyable way of eating I have found. My stress levels tend to decrease when I eat like this. I usually have 2 protein puddings and some random stuff during the early part of my day for roughly 800-1000 calories. Then at night I eat whatever I want or feel that day. This eliminates cravings and doesn’t make you want to binge on the weekend or your cheat day. You are quite simply spreading all the food you like throughout the week and eating it in a much more enjoyable fashion. It also makes you appear more of an enjoyable person, who isn’t constantly obsessed with maintaining some lame diet plan that no one cares about.

Random Tidbits:

  • Joe Rogan’s podcast continues to provide me with hours of entertainment
  • Age of Empires 3 is a great game
  • Giants SUCK!
  • Carson Wentz is a BEAST! Really impressive to watch play. He’s a very accurate passer and tough runner.
  • Hokies are playing awesome!
  • Apparently, there is such a thing as a grey Jedi with a white lightsaber. They are neutral, who simply try to maintain the balance between the two sides. This is awesome.
  • Random pushups are incredible for an energy boost when you feel out of it.