pushups

Journal Entry 282 – The End of Elite XT / Less Meat

Life:

I have used the same protein powder as my main source for probably around 5-6 years at this point. The changed the formula again that apparently is “new and improved.” Not even close. They completely changed the texture of the protein and now it basically looks and tastes like the cheap whey protein you can find at Walmart. It tastes way worse, has less protein, more carbs, and the BCAA profile is worse. It has also risen in price to $40 for 4lbs. It used to be $32 for 4.4 lbs and that was back when it actually tasted good. What a shame. 😦

I have recently switched to Cytosport 100% Whey Protein from Costco. Six pounds of protein for $39. That’s $0.50 a serving and about as good as it’s going to get for a high-quality protein powder. It doesn’t mix thick like Elite XT USED to mix, but it still tastes very good. Casein can also give a lot of digestive upset when consumed too frequently, so since this is 100% whey it avoids this.

I have been eating way less meat recently, so I really think it’s important to find a high-quality protein powder. After doing more research into factory farming and its dramatic impact on the planet, I really have found myself eating close to a vegetarian diet with very small amounts of meat. I don’t even think eating meat is a bad thing if you are hunting in the wild for fresh game. But this is far different from factory farming, where animals are seen as food and not animals. Unfortunately, if you buy meat at a grocery store or restaurant, then you are eating factory farming. I still eat some meat, but it is drastically reduced from where it used to be. Not to sound like a hippy, but I wonder how much better the planet would be doing if all livestock farming ended. Almost get to the point where if you want meat, you need to go out and hunt for it.

Workout:

I have decided to change up my workout to something entirely different than what I have done in the past, but still allow me enough to complete my workouts on my lunch break. I really want to increase my volume for size, but I also don’t want to burn out or spend hours in the gym. I have designed a workout where I mainly focus on one move a day and do lots of volume for that one move. I plan to do roughly 10 sets of each move each day for about 8 reps.

An example for Bench Press would be to warmup, then start with a weight I can get for about 8 reps. If this feels heavy, I take off weight and then get 8 reps with the new weight. I continue this pattern until I have done 10 sets. I did this on Saturday and got down to 155lbs on the 10th set. My arms were shaking afterward. I also seem to be able to get away with eating a lot more food training this way.

I also plan on doing at least 100 pushups every day (spread throughout the day) in addition to the one move of the day in the gym.

  • Sunday – Pushups only
  • Monday – Chinups 10 sets
  • Tuesday – Dips of Inc Press 10 sets plus pushups
  • Wednesday – Chinups mixed grips 10 sets plus pushups
  • Thursday – Bench Press 10 sets plus pushups
  • Friday – Chinups or Rows 10 sets plus pushups
  • Saturday – Bench Press 10 sets plus pushups

Diet:

As I have alluded to above, I’m eating much less meat than before. Protein is still adequate, but since I’m eating very quality whey protein, I need way less protein than you would think. The higher the quality the less you need overall. My carbs are pretty high, which is at least double the protein. Fat is always at a moderate level. I have been eating a ton of fruits and vegetables recently and make those the bulk of my diet.

 

 

 

 

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Journal Entry 240 – Low Protein Challenge

I have been playing around with my diet this week in that I have been purposely eating more carbs and fat and way less protein. I’m trying to keep protein between 110 grams and 140 grams on the high end. I have honestly been shooting for the low end by literally just not eating lean meat. This is very difficult for me due to the way I’m wired, but somewhat fun nevertheless. Carbs have been much higher and I’m trying to keep fat at about 50% of protein intake. So between 60-70 grams. Carbs make up the rest of my diet after protein and fat has been met. Calories have been around 2500 calories this week. Still weighing in around the 170-174lbs.

I noticed that I have been suffering from “protein guilt” a lot of the time. Which simply means that if I don’t eat a high protein meal or a meal with out SOME protein in it, then I have guilt about the meal. This week has been somewhat different and I noticed without even worrying about eating enough protein, I usually get enough in. Basically trying to sub out chicken for fattier chicken or egg whites for whole eggs. Using more starches and cheese to make hitting this easier. I’m not going to lie I haven’t really noticed a lot of benefit from doing so as of yet. It definitely puts more food back on the menu though, which is nice. A lot of the bloating issues I used to get from too many carbs and calories are starting to go away though. Especially from cheat days. It used to take me 2-3 days to clear  that bloat at least. Now I can wake up the next day and look fine. My volume in the gym is pretty high though. I have been adding in A LOT of pullups and pushups everyday. Also I should mention that usually when I go to be with 200+ grams of protein I have a bloated stomach. Lowering it down to this level I have noticed this has gone away.

I hit my chest day on Tuesday and it was horrible. I felt extremely weak in the gym, even with ample amounts of protein. This is why I decided to start this experiment. Fat tends to get too low in my diet and I feel like I was just way to unbalanced with the excessive amount of protein. It didn’t seem to helping too much either. So I wanted to bump up the fat and lower the protein. Obviously need to keep carbs and sodium high though for gym performance. The rest of my week has been really good though in terms of strength in the gym.

So a few simple changes I have made is to replace one of my protein bars (which are expensive anyway) with a Poptart. Poptart is mainly carbs and a little fat. Another change is instead of jerky at lunch, I take a bag of rice cakes or popchips for about 400 calories. This is mainly carbs and a little fat. Dinner is highly variable, but is almost always my biggest meal of the day with a lot of carbs, fats and protein. A lot of my daily protein comes from this meal. Because I’m not trying to go low protein, just cut it down to where it needs to be. Although eating this amount to me feels like super low protein. 😉

Downed about 3000 calories yesterday due to a trip to Mellow Mushroom. Protein actually got high up to 180 grams which is the highest its been since I started the challenge. Not too worried about it though. Mellow Mushroom is hands down my favorite restaurant at the moment. Carbs were around 280grams and fat got up 100grams.

Going to try and keeping working some “funner” foods into my diet for the following week. Only requirement to keep eating this much is to just to exercise for an hour a day. As long as I do that, weight gain doesnt seem to be an issue. 🙂

Journal Entry 221 – One Lift A Day

So this week I decided I wanted to set up my split to lift everyday. For some reason, I’ve really had the urge to lift everyday. When I just go to the gym to walk, the exercise isn’t intense enough to do anything to my energy levels. As soon as I start lifting and pumping music, my mood and energy immediately get better. So I designed a routine to allow me to lift everyday (without burning out).

There a few things I plan on doing every day:

  • 100 pushups
  • 20 chinups
  • Hip Flexor Stretching
  • Abs – 3 sets a day
  • Rear Delt Raise – every other day
  • 10-20 minute walk after lifting

These are things I really want to get good at and I’ve noticed by doing pushups between sets, I have already gotten very good at those. I can crank out 30 set a very easily. Chinups I’m good at already and when I do chinups I go all the way down and let my chest touch the bar at the top. If I don’t get a full rep I don’t count it. However doing these everyday should allow me to get even better at them. The stretching is mainly for my desk job and it just feels good. I do stand most of the day, because sitting makes me tired and standing has been shown to burn about 40 calories more per hour than sitting does. Even if its not actually 40 calories, you still burn more standing while working and it actually increases my energy levels. Multiply 40 x 8 hour workday and you get 320 calories a day just by standing. I’ll take it. Also abs are being done everyday, because after my core lifts my abs are already sore and I kind of want to finish them off so to speak.

As for my routine, it looks something like this:

  • Chest – BB Bench Press 4×6 / 4×8 reps / * 3-4 sets of triceps
  • Back – 75 chinups – increased as this gets easier / *3-4 sets of biceps
  • Legs – BB Squats 4×6 / 4×8 reps
  • Shoulders – BB Seated Press 4×6 / 4×8 reps / Traps – BB Shrugs – same / *Db lateral Raise 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Triceps – 10 sets of Dips (bodyweight only – arms close to sides to emphasize triceps)
  • Biceps – BB Curl 4×6 / 4×8 reps (this exercise also really works the core)
  • No major muscle but do my daily routine above and extra walking

So basically one major lift a day. I still have my key lifts intact except for db rows, which I have taken out for chinups. Not sure why I just have really been into chinups recently and wanted to give them more focus. There are a few optional exercises, such as triceps after chest day, biceps after back day and lateral raises after shoulder day.

I actually really enjoyed this though. I noticed my abs/core are very sore (a lot of this is due to the increased volume of pullups), back is very sore and my strength on the key lifts is still very good.  Appetite has increased, but that is just do to the higher volume and intensity of the lifts. These sessions do not take very long either which is awesome. I hate marathon workouts, because sooner or later you end up dreading them. With these workouts you get in lift and your done in 45 minutes, maybe longer if you walk, but I dont really count walking as part of the workout.

Diet this week has been pretty much the same as last week. Pretty balanced overall and just kind of listening to my appetite. I have noticed that if I hold off breakfast until 9 or so (this is 3 1/2 hours after I get up) that my cognition is usually better and I’m not as hungry. Lunch is the same in that if I eat it too early, it just seems to make me hungrier for the rest of the day. If I somewhat under eat during the day, my energy is actually better and my appetite is more under control. I also like having a lot of calories left to eat at night. If I eat around 6-800 calories during the day, this leaves about 12-1400 calories left to hit 2000 calories at night. All of these calories are in the “post workout window”, which is bro science approved. Either way I do enjoy eating this way and if it has advantages I will take it.

I’m not going to lie though, here recently right before bed, I have been really hungry no matter what I eat. My macros are pretty balanced at the moment, so I dont think its a specific need for a certain macro, but its kind of confusing. You would think a 1400 calorie meal would be satisfying before bed. Think again. I wonder if this huge meal is actually making me hungrier than a normal 4-500 calorie meal would. The bigger meals you eat the more you stomach expands to compensate, so basically the more big meals you eat the more calories at each meal you need to feel satisfied. This makes me wonder if the small meal approach would be more advisable then packing down a feast at night, due to appetite control.

I have noticed though my long dieting history is that the metabolism can and will adapt to just about anything you throw at it. I used to be fine on 1500 calories a day in my uneducated state of mind, but if I ate that now I would be ready to chew my hand off in intense hunger. Metabolism can and will increase or decrease depending on how you feed it. This makes a strong case for cycling the diet in an organized manner. All diets are cyclical though. Yo yo dieters experience this unintentionally by gaining and losing weight constantly. Bodybuilders experience this intentionally by doing bulking and cutting cycles. The question becomes what is the optimal way to cycle the diet. If you want to stay lean year round then obviously you have to cycle in shorter cycles such as a weekly setup. There is even research to show that the typical weekend diet Friday-Sunday off and Monday -Thursday on, is actually an effective way to do it. Weight will spike over the weekend and drop during the week. 4 days of dieting is balanced out with 3 days of maintenance or higher. This keeps the metabolism and hormones strong and does so in a way most people will enjoy. This way of dieting is not lighting fast and you do have to be dilligent during the week to make sure your not blowing it. Most people dont report calories very well and if you are only aiming for 500 calories of deficit over 4 days and then go crazy on the weekend then your metabolism is likely fine, but you’re not going to lose any fat.

The cycle diet by Scott Abel and the slow carb diet are also good options at least in their setup. Stick to your diet 6 out of 7 days (85.7% of the time) and go crazy on one day that works the best for you to increase your metabolic rate. Works for some and they get results by doing it. The cycle diet calls for a crazy amount of calories though, somewhere between 40-55 calories per pound of lean body mass. If you have 150lbs of lean body mass, this would be 6000-8250 calories a day. That is insane, but probably works. I believe Scott Abel said the reason its so high is because this is the amount needed to “reset leptin”. Not sure where he got that from, but I don’t think he made it up either. That day sends your metabolism a strong signal and since its only done for a day most of the energy is stored in the muscles (if you actually workout) or burned off as heat. You then get back on a fat burning diet and strip off the excess at a very quick rate. If you skipped the cheat day, this so called fat burning diet would likely just become maintenance over time and stop working. This could leave you bloated for 3 or so days after though. Since I havent tried it yet, I can’t really recommend it, but it does sound pretty awesome. I do think after a day like that you may be way hungrier on your diet days. There are hundreds of videos on Youtube of 10000 calories challenges and I think doing it once would be awesome. Once a week even better haha. Also notice that most of the people that do these challenges are very lean and do not gain tons of fat after such a challenge.

The best way to make this work is to make to two lists. One is the way you eat on your diet days. Include foods that are healthy, control your appetite, give you energy and let your create a 500-800 daily calorie deficit. I’m kind of boring so eating the same meals each day works well for me. (as long as you enjoy the meals you eat) AKA your typical lean meats, fruits and vegetables. On the other list make a list of every food you crave during the week and add it to a list. Once your cheat day hits, eat these foods guilt free (psychology plays a big role in how your food digests) and eat as much as you want. Get the foods off your mind and then get back to the diet (that you still enjoy) the rest of the week.

Apparently the first few times you do a day like this you get bloated and gassy, but after 4-5 rounds of it your metabolism increases and these symptoms start to disappear.

Some pics from the week: