Missed my weekly post last week due to moving out all weekend. Unfortunately, I will be moving out all next weekend and then I will be moving into my house the weekend after that!
I will say I have really enjoyed going through all my stuff and getting rid of things that I no longer need. We have taken loads of items to either Good Will or the dump. This makes packing a lot easier and reduces a ton of clutter in your house. It is kind of amazing how much crap you can accumulate over time without even realizing it. Commercialism at its finest! I have reduced my closet down to everything I will actually wear. We plan to do the same thing with food we have. We are trying not to eat out so that we can literally eat everything out of the freezer. This way we don’t have to transfer anything.
For training this week, I did a 5 day Push/ Pull / Legs workout. I have increased my bench press up 5 reps from last week and my lunges up to 45lbs in each hand. My chinups have still been no bueno. I feel very heavy every time I do them. Only one day of cardio, which I did yesterday.
Diet has been more or less the same as recent weeks. Had a couple of higher carb meals than normal at dinner, but I’ve had a weird urge to do Keto recently. I found a really good recipe out though. It tastes like cake and has pretty low calories:
1 whole egg (70 calories)
1/3 scoop of protein powder (30-50 calories)
Mix up and heat for 30 seconds
Total 100-120 calories
You can literally customize this in endless ways, but this is the base. It has a really good “cakey” texture to it and it is extremely easy to make.
Tried a new protein bar called MRE bar by Redcon. 5 out of 10. It has a really good package and looks really dense and chewy, but it tasted dry as hell. The ingredients were on point though. Every time I try a new bar, I almost always regret it. I just need to stick to Quest Bars. Quest Bars are unbelievably good and other bars just can’t hold a candle to them.
I was able to get the scale down to about 179.4 lbs on Sunday morning. This is my lowest in awhile and it felt good too. My diet has been mostly protein with lowish carbs and moderate fat. My routine was 2 days of cardio and 4 days of lifting last week. This week I plan on doing 3 lifting days (full body) and 3 cardio days with one day off. I kept it pretty low cal 10x bodyweight the whole week and then had a bigger eating day on Sunday at my parent’s house. Ate a lot of salty shrimp, Tzataki sauce with some pita bread and ton of fiber from veggies which if eaten in excess can cause you to retain a lot of water. (The fiber basically attracts water in the stomach.) I went back up to 183lbs, but still a 4lbs difference than last week. I expect to hit a new low this week.
I strained my lower abdominal last Friday doing heavy bench press followed by heavy chinups. I’m assuming the chinups are the reason I strained my abs, but luckily the pain went away in about 3 days. The pain was pretty intense at times though almost stabbing. That being said my strength was better than ever on these exercises even after losing about 7lbs of total weight over the week.
Some interesting high protein food finds I have found recently:
Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps
Low calorie / High protein chips
Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans
All flavors are good. Whole bag is 300 calories and 21 grams of protein.
Ole Wellness Wraps
These have a very doughy taste and are a really big size for the negligible 50 calories they have. Be careful with the fiber though, it can add up quickly if you are eating a lot of other fibrous foods.
Tyson Chicken Strips
I have a weird relationship with cooking raw meat recently. I always dry it out because I’m afraid of undercooking it and really don’t like the taste anymore. This avoids this by being pre-cooked and taste phenomenal every time. The whole bag is like $6.
Speciality bread from Vitamin Shoppe. $8.50 a loaf so not cheap, but tastes very good and you only need one slice. It also has 14 grams of protein per slice.
Nuff said. You can find this anywhere and its high protein and way less fat than most bacon. It also tastes really good in my opinion.
Costco Steak Jerky
High Protein / low carb and very low fat.
I have recently found myself eating these a lot again. If found on sale its no big deal, but I really dont buy them anymore if they are full price.
Also of all of the new Quest products to come out, its original bars are still by far the best.
I’ve also been eating a lot of egg whites. Very cheap protein source and I usually hardboil 18 at a time and snack on them all day when I get hungry. My grocery bill has also gone down after eating this way. Tend to buy less junk and more filling food.
Chipotle Bowl – Double beans, no rice, chicken/ barbocoa and veggies
Missed my normal blog post time this week due to a trip to Virginia Tech. Nutrition wasn’t on point this weekend, but luckily I didn’t really miss a workout. Haven’t had a chance to weigh myself in awhile, but I estimate right around 173-174lbs.
My workouts have been very good and I’ve been looking forward to every single one of them. My strength, especially on bench has increased by a good 5lbs each week at least. Today I repped 185lbs for 4 sets of 8 reps. The bar felt light to me. I know in the past 185lbs felt heavy while on a low carb diet. Talk about stagnation with a diet like that. Again my goal with nutrition at the moment is simply to hit maintenance and its an approximation. I dont obsess about hitting every single calorie correctly. I weight most of my foods, but do not track everything I eat. I’d say I’m within a 2-300 calorie window of my maintenance each day. I also make sure to get a good amount of walking in everyday. I usually go for a morning walk of 1-2 miles, then do a mile jog before lifting or if its a rest day I’ll go for another walk around midday and then one additional walk in the late afternoon/ early evening. Since I’m unemployed at the moment, I have time to do this. I’m also studying at the moment and walking can help refresh the mind from too much cramming.
Macro averages for the past 7 days were 151 protein / 250 carbs / 59 fat and Calories at 2470. Based on my bodyweight and activity this is just about right. I’m in a mode where I feel good, not changing overall weight that much, but my strength is going up very quickly, so I’m not going to change a thing. The only thing is if I’m very inactive due to just being busy, I simply drop my calories by a few hundred to make up for it. Also I’m trying to emphasize more carbs while keeping fat and protein adequate but not excessive.
Below is my last 3 workouts:
I replaced goblet squats with 45 degree leg presses. Feel these really well and very easy to progress without a ton of back stress.
Average Weight – 173.5lbs – Average Calorie Intake – 1885
Saturday – Legs and Abs
Sunday – Off
Monday – Chest and Triceps
Tuesday – Back and Biceps
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Shoulders/Upper Chest and Traps
Friday – Legs and Abs
Really enjoyed the 2 on 1 off split this week. Its a really good blend between rest and working out and it definitely allows enough rest time in between each workout. Each workout is exactly the same and pretty basic for the most. The purpose behind that is to make sure to progress by a few reps on every workout. In the past, I used to stress about getting more weight every workout, which becomes very difficult. But progressive overload can occur from more reps or more sets as well. These tend to be easier to do then lifting more weight, especially when it comes to preventing form from breaking down.
For example, my DB shoulder press two workouts ago was 100lbs (50lbs DB’s) x 9,7,6 then 40lbs x 10. This weeks workout was 50×8,8,8 then 40×12. Very similar, but the latest workout had more overall volume in it. Not by much, but progressive overload still counts.
Been keeping the reps roughly 8-10 reps on everything. This is to allow for better form and I must admit I have been very sore after every workout. Moving back into a bodybuilder style training, which is still the best for muscular development and always will be. 185lbs squats with 8 reps, perfect form and full ROM (range of motion) is far better than 250lb squats with “questionable” form and a very short ROM. Not too mention the strain heavy weights put on the body, joints and central nervous system. Probably not going to set any records with this style of training, but not really a big deal to me at the moment.
Also probably found my favorite Shoulder workout of all time:
DB Shoulder press 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Incline DB Press 3 sets of 12-20 reps
Cable Upright Row (2 close grip, 2 wide grip) 4 sets of 8-10 reps
DB Lateral Raise 3 sets of 10 reps
Rear Delt Raise or Band Pull Aparts 3 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Shrugs 4 sets of 10 reps
This workout takes roughly 40 minutes (as do all my workouts) and I hit my shoulders fully and some bonus upper chest. In the past, I never liked just doing a shoulder day, but I really enjoy this one. I also noticed by moving the workouts back to every 6th day, you dont get tired or burnt out like you do when you hit them every 3rd or 4th day. It just becomes way to repetitive at that point.
I bumped up the magnesium this week from 400mg to 800mg. I read an article recently that suggest 10mg per kilogram of bodyweight, especially if you exercise. Magnesium is one supplement I highly recommend to people, based on its effectiveness against fighting stress and replenishing the adrenal gland. It also has many other benefits, but this is probably the most potent.
Based on my appetite this week and a Costco run with a lot of green vegetables, I decided to eat for fat loss. This morning weighed in at roughly 171.8lbs.
I was talking to a resident this week about sweet cravings and if I had any advice. I was like yes I do: protein powder. Elite XT when mixed into protein pudding basically tastes like cake batter, but instead of being fat and sugar, its a very high quality protein source. Since its dairy its the highest quality source of BCAA’s you can get. After eating one of these sweet cravings become non-existent. Ever since I started eating protein powder, I never having cravings for sweets. I know I would though if I didnt consume it. Also Quest Bars are a god send. Especially the ones with pieces of chocolate in it.
Top Quest Bar Flavors
Double Chocolate Chunk
Also one resident asked me how to get ripped. I will probably do an article soon on this with my top tips on how to do this without destroying your metabolism and losing muscle mass.
I want to start writing more articles again for this blog. Haven’t done many recently, but I recently had the urge to add a few, especially when a certain topic peaks my interest.
Average Weigh – 176lbs – Average Calorie Intake – 2050
Another week of trail and error until I figure out what I want to do in the gym. I’ve been doing a lot of split routines that for some reason just aren’t doing it for me right now. I tend to either get really pumped for a certain day (usually chest) and then demotivated for a leg day. I’m always trying different things out to see what I like best. 6 days of lifting is too many because I actually start to become bored in the gym. I think this is mainly due to the lack of variation I have in my gym at work. There’s only a certain number of exercises you can do and doing them too often results in burnout. 3-5 days a week is good, with 4 being optimal most likely, but I think I am leaning towards a 3 day split with most of heavy work being done and a optional lighter day if I really feel like going to the gym.
I’m doing a full body superset style of workout. Basically the workout is fullbody or upperbody with 8 total moves. Each 2 moves makes 1 superset so 4 total exercise pairings. This workout gets me really pumped by the end and works a ton of total muscle mass, much more so than a split routine. Its also more fulfilling, because you really feel like you did good effective work in the gym. Sometime certain splits with just a shoulder day leave me a little unsatisfied, unless I end up doing way too much volume which is overkill.
I decided on 4 sets of 5-8 reps for every exercise. The first exercise leans towards the lower end and the rest lean towards the higher end, but as long as its in that range its fine. 3 total workouts a week with a different exercises being done every time for variation.
Horizontal Upper Body Push
Shoulder exercise (traps, medial delts or rear delts)
The rest days will be as much as walking as I want and bodyweight style exercises throughout the day like pushups, pullups and squats. I usually shoot for at least 5 miles of walking, but I can usually get way more than that. A schedule like this works very well in times like this because it keeps me motivated and works well when times are busy.
I’m thinking about doing a leangains style of diet with way more carbs and calories on lifting days and fat burning calories and less carbs on walking only days. I’m not doing the eating window or fasting, but setting up my diet using leangains principals or carb cycling if you will. Call it whatever, it basically achieves the same effect of muscle gains with fat loss. I really like these style of diets, because I feel like they work well with my metabolism and goals. I’m definitely not the guy that can get away with smashing 3000 calories a day and have all of it go to muscle, no matter the macro composition. This way of eating allows you to feast and get away with it. Leangains usually on works with a 3 day split, so that works very well with this. The way I plan to structure it, is keep the same meal plan every day and then on days I life just “refeed” after weight training, which for me will be 7pm til bedtime. This is due to lifting around 5pm or so. Research shows this may be the most effective time to feast anyway, so dont mind if I do.
I have a tendency to pick foods with too much volume for refeeds, so I plan to do some gluten free pasta (to avoid bloat) or a box of cereal or something haha. Martin Berkhan ate cereal a lot for his refeeds and it really is a perfect food, because its easy to get down when you only have a few hours to get in a lot of calories. I do love some oatmeal (quaker instant low sugar kind), but its going to be hard to get down. This is the same of potatoes. I may be able to smash some rice, but I’m not a huge fan to be honest. I would rather do pasta or cereal.
I ordered some new Mint Chocolate Chunk Quest Bars this week and I’m really looking forward to trying one of those. Could be the best flavor yet.
I went to VT this weekend to see some friends and had a really good time. Took today off from work to get stuff done as taking a trip like that cuts in to times you have to run errands and everything. Nutrition was terrible this weekend though due to some extra alcohol calories. I didnt eat that much, because combining a lot of food with alcohol is not a good combination. In the past I combined a few drinks with a lot of carbs and calories on training day and this is really not a good idea. Almost every article I read recommends skipping lifting and eating a lot on days you plan to drink. I like being social, so Friday and Saturday will likely be rest days from the gym and the calorie load will be kept lower, especially from dietary fat. Keeping fat under 50 grams (maybe even under 20 grams) will prevent a lot of fat gain on days from drinking. Carbs ideally kept under 100 grams as well and protein intake can be eaten in any amount.
Also eating and training this way tends to maximize protein synthesis rates and nutrient timing. New research shows the more years you train the shorter the elevated protein synthesis rates and it usually only last 4-12 hours. It used to be 48-72 hours, but that is only if your untrained. This means feasting in the 4-12 hours after weight training is the best case scenario for maximizing muscle and minimizing fat in trained individuals. Also hitting the muscles more than one time a week is a very good idea.