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 206 – San Diego, Low Calorie Days and Eating More on Rest Days

Under Armor - Getting cold in Virginia
Under Armor – Getting cold in Virginia

I’m heading to San Diego later this week and two things are for certain. One nutrition is going to be pretty bad. Two I’m not going to be able to train. Not a big deal and I’m really looking forward to the trip, but I had to improvise a little this week in preparation for it.

I moved my normal Friday workout to Saturday this week. That way I can hit the weights Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. I leave on Thursday, so it’ll be four days in a row with no weights. I’ll try to hit some pushups or something, but that is going to be it for resistance training. Walking should be no issue and our house is on the beach, so that should be the best way to go for exercise.

Workouts have been good and consistent. I plan to implement either 1-2 low calorie days a week though most likely on a workout day. Some days my definition is lacking and I know if I continue to push the calories for weeks at a time then I’m not going to look the way I want to look. However, staying on low calories all the time to keep the definition is a good way to make zero gains at all and you have to constantly monitor calories and only really enjoy yourself a couple days a week. Not a good long term plan. It also lowers your metabolic rate leading to plateaus. The solution to making gains and keeping definition is to have 1-2 days out of the week that your eat at most half of your maintenance level. So if I burn 2700 calories a day, then I will eat a max of about 1350 calories. The beauty behind this is that your eating your maintenance or slightly above 5 days out of the week and burning the majority of your fat 1-2 days of the week. This way you make gains in the gym and maintain your metabolic rate, while experiencing very little plateaus. You’ll also lose bodyfat if you do it twice a week. You’ll likely just maintain (which is fine) by doing it once a week. My recommendation on these days is to do it sometime between Monday – Thursday. I like Monday and Wednesday. The rationale is most people are very busy during the week and cutting calories is much easier. Also not much socially happens on Monday and Wednesday. I even remember in college, those were basically the only two nights that no one went out drinking.

If you can I also recommend doing a low calorie day on a weight training day. The reasoning behind this is because of hormonal interactions. Weight training and cardio (AKA exercise) is similar to fasting in many ways. It burns fat, uses your body’s own resources, heightens insulin sensitivity, blunts appetite, increases adrenaline, increases euphoria, reduces stress and anxiety (this is a short term effect if done correctly), increases growth hormone and many other positive interactions. So by combining the effects of a low calorie day and the effects of exercise, you create this massively beneficial state, where when you eat the next day, your muscles soaks up food like a sponge. You also burn more energy on workout days, which again is beneficial from a fat loss perspective. Quick note however – Staying in a state of deprivation leads no where. Notice these days are done a max of two times a week.

My next point is why it’s better to eat more on your rest day. Rest day means recovery day. If you ate a bunch of food on your workout day, when you should of been burning fat, then whats the point of the rest day? Recovery days are meant to reload and rebuild the muscles that were depleted the previous day. Relaxing, eating and not working out leads to bigger muscles. You tend to burn less energy on rest days and if its a true rest day, then you dont workout. The body is primed to absorb food and is in the parasympathetic state. By eating on the rest day your also well stocked for the next workout.

Conventional wisdom says, Load up on Monday after your weight training workout, then eat a massive deficit the next day on your rest day to burn fat. From a common sense standpoint, does that make any sense? By the time Wednesday rolls around, since you didn’t eat enough on your recovery day, you will likely feel flat and have low muscle glycogen. Contrast this to going low on Monday, then loading up on Tuesday (just your normal maintenance or slight surplus diet), then by Wednesday your ready to go from loading up the previous day and not two days ago. I greatly prefer this way and my workouts have been much better by eating on rest days vs workout days.

So basically my plan is 3 full body workouts a week. Two of those are low calorie days and the other 5 days are normal. Monday and Wednesday are currently my low days. Although last week I only did one low day. I also use the low days to create a deficit for the weekend, which is always higher in calories. (especially this coming weekend ;)) The low calorie days are basically protein pudding, vegetables and lean protein only. ¬†Very filling foods that make it easy to stay satisfied. The carbs come in high amounts on the other 5 days. My normal days have been around 2600. If I eat like this every day, I notice I smooth out, but after implementing these low calorie days it has dramatically increased the amount of calories I can eat on normal eating days. I usually don’t get hungry on the low days either and still eat a lot of food, however the food I eat is very low in calories. I try to hit at least 90-100 grams of protein on this day and then a little carbs and fat from incidentals. Again I don’t tend to worry too much since these low days are wedged between normal days of eating with plenty of nutrition and calories. If these low days were done for prolonged periods like most diets, then kiss your muscles and sanity goodbye. The high days tend to be different every day, but I do make sure to bump up the carbs big time. Fats also get a boost. Big stirfys with tons of rice, veggies and protein is always one of my favorite meals. I also really like pasta with chicken and broccoli mixed in.

There are two excellent articles on Tnation talking about using this concept. In my opinion, its very effective for the average recreational exerciser. Brad Pilon also has a similar system except he fasts twice a week. I still eat, its just not very many calories. Similar principals and most likely similar results.

Pics from the week:

Pasta with low calorie cheddar soup, meat and veggies
Pasta with low calorie cheddar soup, meat and veggies
Frisco
Frisco
Homemade BBQ chicken Special K Chips Whole Egg Imitation Crab Meat Veggies Butter Bread
Homemade BBQ chicken
Special K Chips
Whole Egg
Imitation Crab Meat
Veggies
Butter Bread
Eggs and Veggies (Low cal day)
Eggs and Veggies (Low cal day)
I think Bandit likes have me around
I think Bandit likes have me around
Papa Murphys Pizza - Meat Lovers
Papa Murphy’s Pizza – Meat Lovers
Papa Murphy's BBQ Chicken - best flavor This place is amazing
Papa Murphy’s BBQ Chicken – best flavor
This pizza is amazing
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest bar
Protein Pudding and Pumpkin Quest bar
Carabba's Chicken Parmesan with a side of pasta and side salad
Carabba’s Chicken Parmesan with a side of pasta and side salad
Meat, slice of pizza, veggies and auntie annes pretzel bites. Strange meal but good
Meat, slice of pizza, veggies and auntie annes pretzel bites. Strange meal but good
Shrimp, veggies and sweet potato skin
Shrimp, veggies and sweet potato skin

Workouts:

Steady strength gains. Didn’t go up in everything this week, but everything was either the same or slightly better.

Workout B
Workout B
Workout A
Workout A
Workout B
Workout B

Journal Entry 199 – Beach Trip

IMG_2777 IMG_2779

Missed my blog post last week due to beach trip to the Outer Banks for the weekend with a couple friends. It was a really good time and I didnt get back til late afternoon on Sunday, so didn’t have the time to do a weekly update. It was also very busy at work because it seems like the entire east coast went on vacation this week to various places haha.

My eating was was way off while there, but it was nice break from monotony. The trip also refreshed my mind and my mood. I plan to take a lot more trips soon to various places just to experience this level of mental relaxation of changing surroundings. I realized after the trip how few vacations I’ve actually taken recently. I feel like its not a healthy thing for the mind to be in the same place for too long or at least to do the same routine over and over without change. I didnt even use vacation time either. As long as you stick to somewhere withing 3-5 hours, you get Friday night and all day Saturday to use a mini vacation and you’ll likely not spend too much money since its only for a day. I want to save the vacation time for trips that are further away and when I’ll need the extra time. Got a Bachelor Party in San Diego in October for 3 days and a Cruise to the Caribbean for my Birthday in November. Really looking forward to those.

Since I knocked out my training during the week, the weekend didnt mess up my routine at all. I did play some beach volleyball for a couple hours at the beach which was basically cardio. Also some football on the beach and basically walked everywhere. Actually had a good sweat going during volleyball and everyone I played with was pretty good. The teams I was on went 3-0, though so must have been my epic serving that gave us the win haha.

Friday I had Wawa’s buffalo chicken wrap and Kashi chips for dinner. It was actually pretty good and had a decent amount of protein and carbs and low in fat. It was also very easy to eat in the car, while driving. Then had some drinks when we got down there. Saturday was 6in Subway sub and chips for lunch and Plaza Azteca for Dinner. Sunday I didn’t eat much at all. Probably clocked in like 1200 calories. By the time I got home and took a shower I literally had a Monster energy drink and that was it mainly because I wasnt hungry at all. I did make sure to eat a high protein dinner. Weighed myself on Tuesday morning at 170.0lbs. Lowest I’ve been in awhile. I was roughly 175lbs before I left. The dehydration didn’t do much for my lifts in the gym and the chest workout I did was pathetic in terms of weights lifted. Even my warmups felt heavy. After a couple days of good eating I tried benching again on Friday and I felt much better.

This weeks training was Full Body 4 times a week with all different rep ranges. Day 1 is 4×6, Day 2 is 3×8, Day 3 is 3×8 and Day 4 is 3×15. Each move is a superset pair and I only do one move for each bodypart. I try to keep it to more compound vs isolations as well. I also change exercises for each body part for more variety. Also changed the routine to include a Sunday workout, just so I can use Gold’s Gym again. I haven’t been there in a month, because I my workout split is finished by Friday and I just do cardio on the weekend.

As for my diet, I’m thinking about doing some carb cycling. 4 low days and 3 higher days. I plan on having my higher days on the rest days. The opposite of what most people do, but I plan to eat most of the carbs at night and research shows what you ate the night before is basically your preworkout meal for the next workout. So if I workout Wednesday at noon, then Tuesday night’s meal should be preworkout, which is a rest day. I’m also hungrier on rest days then workout days. So basically rest days = more food and rest and recovery and workout days = less food and more fat burning hormones circulating. I plan on aiming for a pretty good deficit on these days.

Also on my routine, if I know I have a trip coming up then I’ll just add one set to each day. So Day 1 would be 5×6, Day 2 4×8, Day 3 would be 4×15 to compensate for missing a day. As soon as my hip flexor is healed, I will start some more leg and ab movements in the routine. But I still got some pain down there. It does feel much better, but I heard these strains can take a while to heal.

Bertuccis Calzone
Bertuccis Calzone
Coffee Shake
Coffee Shake
Shrimp and Beans
Shrimp and Beans
Rice, lean meat and veggies
Rice, lean meat and veggies

IMG_2756

Lean meat, veggies, steamed dumpling
Lean meat, veggies, steamed dumpling
Shrimp and Beans
Shrimp and Beans
Veggie Stirfry with chicken
Veggie Stirfry with chicken
Gnocchi from Trader Joes with broccoli and chicken
Gnocchi from Trader Joes with broccoli and chicken
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Chicken, veggies and pasta
Chicken, veggies and pasta