routine

Journal Entry 306 – Almost Wedding Time

The new schedule is in full effect and it’s been pretty busy at work. Along with the new schedule, my wedding is coming up this week, followed by the honeymoon. Soon after we need to move out of the apartment and find a new house! We have a lot on our plates at the moment. Really looking forward to the wedding and honeymoon though. Sarah and I have been together a little over two years at this point and we are very ready to get married.

My routine this week has been simple. No cardio, 4 days of lifting on a Push/Pull split. My calories have been pretty low during the week to cut some fat before the wedding. Scale is down to about 178-179lbs and my pants are definitely fitting looser. My diet has been almost exclusively protein for the past week and half with pretty low carbs and moderate fat. I’m not doing a ton of exercise though, so I really don’t need to eat a ton and I’m also trying to drop fat. That being said my lifts were down a little this week. I’m also pretty stressed at work, because of the greatly increased workload, but that will just take some getting used to. My sleep has been great though. Getting at least 8 hours a night.

I’ve been eating a ton of egg whites recently. In the morning before work, when I get home from work and sometimes after dinner if I’m still hungry. They are basically a perfect food right now though for me, because they are super low calorie and all protein. I also just really like the taste and texture for some reason. I usually eat Our Little Rebellion Protein Crisps as well during the day. These are 80 calories per serving (24 chips) 10g protein, 10g carbs (4 fiber) and 2.5g fat. Pretty much epic in terms of macros and you get a lot for the calories. They also taste really good. I also do a protein shake during the day at some point. I have protein powder at my desk, so this is pretty easy to make. Dinner is always a super high protein meal and usually some kind of vegetable. I then follow this with a protein shake before I go to sleep at night.

I never take lunch to work or even breakfast anymore. I really enjoy it. I don’t have to prep anything. All I take with me is coffee. Everything else is either at my desk at work or is a bag of chips, so nothing to prepare. Dinner is the vast majority of my calories and is essentially my only meal except for high protein snacks during the day. It’s been working so I’m sticking with it.

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Journal Entry 303 – Minimalist

Time to return to my minimalist roots for awhile.

Workout

My routine is back to a super minimalist template and will be a 4 day Push / Pull routine as shown below:

  • Day 1 – Push
    • Barbell bench 4×6-8 reps
    • Dips 4 x AMRAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8 reps
  • Day 2 – Pull
    • Chinups 4×6-8 reps
    • DB Curl 4×8 reps
    • Ab Machine 4×8 reps
  • Day 3 – Cardio
    • 30-40 minutes of Cardio
  • Day 4 – Push
    • Incline Dumbbell bench 4×10-12 reps
    • Dips 4 x AMAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8 reps
  • Day 5 – Pull
    • Db Rows 4×10-12 reps
    • Chinups 4x AMRAP
    • Cable Crunch 4×8
  • Day 6
    • Cardio 30-40 minutes
  • Day 7
    • Cardio 30-40 minutes

I love it so far. I wanted to do full body but quickly realized that there was no way I could possibly finish that on my lunch breaks. The above is actually really intense despite the lowish volume. I want to hit the abs with heavy weights and more frequency. You will not find any isolation in this routine because it doesn’t really fit well into a time saving minimalist routine. I also do at least 100 pushups a day and have for some time now.

Diet

I have decided to go pretty close to a PSMF diet until the wedding with a few occasional cheat meals. I’m trying to get down to about 175lbs and stand at 182lbs currently. My calories are actually much higher than a normal PSMF, but the point is basically to eat protein and veggies only. Carbs and fats are incidentals. I estimate with my current deficit I should net about 1lb to 1 1/2 lbs per week. Since my protein is high and I’m lifting regularly to retain my strength, I’m expecting this to be pure fat.

I may eat some carbs at night (prob not many though) and have an occasional cheat meal (probably once a week) just for a little variation, but I plan to stick to this pretty rigidly for the time being. Of all the diets I have done when I eat nothing but lean protein and veggies and keep carbs and fats low, the fat always comes off.

Journal Entry 262 – Shoulder Strain / Organizing My Plan

The routine I wrote about last week is no bueno. My left shoulder into my chest has a slight pain when I start benching now and I’m not sure exactly what it is, but common sense tells me that if I continue to keep on with it, it will be an injury waiting to happen. After really taking a hard look at my routine, I really started to question where the rationale came from. Sometimes I get ideas that I think would work well and in reality, tfall flat very quickly. After going back to the drawing board, I’m going to do a 4 day push / pull workout loosely based on Lyle McDonald’s (the man) hypertrophy workout. This looks really good on paper and also allows me much more rest time.

The one thing I really didn’t like about the workout I made was repeating the same workouts that often. Talk about boring. Again this is something I should have seen coming but didn’t. I was so focused on how to get as much benching as possible in my routine, it was as if logic flew out the window. Anyway, I have two push workout and two pull workouts and each will be slightly different. Shoulders will also be added back into the workout (direct shoulder movements).

My plan for cardio is to do 2 days on the weekend with some abs on either Saturday or Sunday. I will then probably to cardio only on Wednesday (rest day from lifting) and take Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday off. Lifting will be prioritized on these days.

I kind of delved back into some reading this week about various diets, splits, rest periods, weight fluctuations, etc… After getting a large headache from the contradictory information ;), I tended to see a few things I still agree with and think is very important to your success without these things taking over your life.

  • Progressive overload is far more important than how frequently you train, how many sets or volume you have in your workout, or what kind of split you have.
  • Protein has numerous benefits and can be increased to very high amounts without fat storage. People that gain fat easier can use this to your advantage when bulking, but it is not the only macro you should eat. Higher protein diets may have additional fat loss benefits when recomping.
  • Carbs are highly individual and may or may not be hugely necessary for the diet. All sources are broken down to the same end product (sugar) and most people get better results with moderate amounts (compared to either very low or very high) especially in the long term.
  • Fat – some is good, more is probably not better.
  • Bulking is highly unnecessary and so is cutting for that matter. Eat enough (varies drastically) to progressively overload your muscles and you will gain muscle and may even lose fat if your calories and training are adequate.
  • Lyle McDonald is the man. He has really interesting podcasts and basically knows everything. Every time I found myself listening too much to the opinion of others, I usually return back to him.
  • Protein synthesis varies based on training status (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced). For intermediates, protein synthesis is heightened for 24 hours and slowly returns to baseline after 48 hours. Structuring training to ride these waves is very important for progression.
  • I think undereating (mainly referring to PSMF) on rest days is a pretty dumb strategy. I never liked it and never worked for me. I think consistent eating no matter what day it is very beneficial for progress. I think PSMF style days can be very effective, but mainly if they are used after a day or two of overeating. So it is more or less used for balancing things out.
  • Personally, I noticed that starting and ending my day with a high protein, but lower calorie meal is a very good strategy. It’s very good for energy purposes, staying lean, decreasing hunger and feeling good in the gym. Once I have these two bedrocks in place, lunch and dinner become highly variable. I also like eating at least one high-quality protein bar (almost always a Quest Bar) during the day. This gets me 3 protein servings of very high-quality protein and then I don’t have to stress too much about getting a ton of protein at lunch and dinner.
    • If I had to pick an ideal eating strategy for myself based on current research, it would be to regularly eat not intermittent fast, by eating a high protein breakfast (300 calories), a small lunch (4-500 calories), a large dinner (600-1000 calories) and a high protein dessert (150-200 calories).

Journal Entry 259

Weekly Routine:

  • Sunday – Cardio 60 minutes
  • Monday – Chest
  • Tuesday – Back/Bis
  • Wednesday – Shoulders / Traps
  • Thursday – Chest/Tris
  • Friday – Back/ Bis

Added a few reps to my bench press and I’m getting very close to the 200lb mark for 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Shoulder press was stationary and chin-ups I was able to gain a couple of reps. I played around with some rep schemes on my accessory exercises, but I think I found one of my all time favorite chest workouts.

  • Chest or Chest and Tris
  • Barbell Bench 3 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Incline Bench 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Dips (weighted) 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Flys or Skullcrushers 3 sets of 10 reps

Always get a massive pump after a day like this even though the reps are on the heavier side. The tension from the sets feels incredible. Not too heavy and not too light. Sometimes by dropping the weight too light, I feel like I’m moving the weight, but not really getting much of a pump. I also feel like I can gas out pretty quick even with the lighter weight.

Diet has been more or less the same. Calories fluctuate between 2000-2500 calories a day and I really have not been emphasizing protein in the least. If anything I have been emphasizing carbs. Some days my protein has fallen below 100 grams and has not even remotely affected my strength levels. I have been drinking a lot of caffeine during the day at work, but has really always been high in my diet.

My weight is still hovering around the low 180’s at the moment.

 

Journal Entry 258 – Grind Update

Another week in the books. Very similar to last week in terms of diet and nutrition.

Weekly Routine:

  • Sunday – Cardio Only 4 miles
  • Monday – Chest and Tris
  • Tuesday – Morning Cardio / Back and Bis
  • Wednesday – Shoulders
  • Thursday – Morning Cardio / Chest and Tris (PR hit)
  • Friday – Back and Bis
  • Saturday – CaOnly ONly – 5 miles

I hit a PR on Thursday with Bench at 190lbs for 8, 7, 7 reps. This estimates my one rep max at 240lbs. Not bad. Chinups have increased to 35lbs between my feet for roughly 5 reps a set. Shoulder press is about 120lbs for around 8, 6, 6 reps.

Diet has been very similar to last week as well. More or less 5 days a week it looks like this:

  • Oatmeal with PB
  • Popchips
  • Protein bar of some sort
  • Varies Daily
  • Protein Pudding

There is no huge focus on protein in this diet. Mainly more of a focus on carbs. Fats are always incidental, but adequate. This is by no means a low-fat diet.

Average Weight is around 182lbs.

 

Journal Entry 257 – Carbs

Another week in the books. Strength levels more or less on par with last week. Nothing really gained or lost. I cut back cardio a little this week to see if it would help my strength gains and it did not. I may add in some depletion workouts this weekend just for fun and variety in my routine. Probably like 5 sets of 15 reps with one exercise per muscle group on both Saturday and Sunday.

I have really been pushing the carbs high as of recently. I want to see its effects on my mood, energy, motivation, strength levels, etc… So far it’s been pretty good in terms of everything except strength levels. Not that strength has gone down, but it hasn’t increased either. Funny enough as my carbs go up, so does dietary fat intake. Protein has really been going down. In my current eating schedule, most of my protein is at the end of the day before bed. I have noticed some pretty interesting effects in terms of bloating with the extra carbs. Bloating has been greatly reduced, especially at night. I used to go to bed looking like buddha some nights and would wake up with a flat stomach. Now I go to bed with a flat stomach and wake up the same way. I noticed better energy during the day and the ability to go longer without food. My appetite has gone way up though with more carbs. To be really satisfied after a meal, I need to put down a good 700-1000 calories a meal. The small 400 – 500 calories meals just don’t do it. Even though my appetite has increased, my cravings for “cheat” style food has gone way down. I used to really look forward to the weekend to put down some cheat food, but not really anymore. I mean I still look forward to it, but it feels like any other day in terms of food.

Weekly Routine: (workout)

  • Sunday (last) – Cardio Only – 5 miles
  • Monday – Chest/Tris
  • Tuesday – Back/Bis
  • Wednesday – Shoulders
  • Thursday – Chest/Tris
  • Friday – Back/Bis
  • Saturday (today)- Depletion workout

Still benching around 190lbs (touching chest to full lockout) for about Repsx8 7 6. Chins are 30lbs (full range of motion) reps x 8, 6, 5. Had to switch to DB shoulders for 55lbs for reps x 8, 7, 6.

Weekly Routine (diet)

  • Oatmeal 2-3 packs (made with Cashew milk), 1/2 tbsp peanut butter, 1/3 scoop protein powder, coffee
  • Popchips (whole bag 5 servings)
  • Quest bar
  • Dinner – Varies, but a large balanced meal. I noticed the more balanced this meal is the more satisfying from a mental and physical standpoint.
  • Dessert – Banana ice cream or Protein Pudding

Average Calories 2400 / Carbs 300g (fiber 40g) / Protein 140g / Fat 70g

My weight is around 182lbs at the moment. It spiked to 185lbs after a big cardio and big eating day. It then dropped to 180lbs after a lighter eating day on Monday.

Journal Entry 250 – Holiday Break

My first post in almost 3 weeks due to the Holidays. I’m also going to Chicago this weekend and then driving to the Packers vs Giants game on Sunday for the playoffs. My brother is a Packers fan and I’m a Giants fan, so the game should be very interesting. I have a feeling it will be very close. The temperature should be about 5 degrees, so I can’t wait for that. (sarcasm)

These past few weeks have featured a LOT of overeating on all kinds of crappy food. I’m almost glad the hectic holiday season is over, so I can get back on track and ditch some of the excess weight I have accumulated. I have what I consider to be a very good plan going forward and it’s the most organized I have been in terms of routine in about a year. I really wanted to create something that was basic and very simple in terms of programming.

My plan is as follows:

  • Monday – Chest/ Tri
  • Tuesday – Back/ Bi
  • Wednesday – Shoulders/Traps – AM Cardio
  • Thursday – Legs/Abs
  • Friday – Arms
  • Saturday – Cardio – Abs
  • Sunday – Cardio –  Abs

This is the basic layout. I will lift every weekday on my lunch break. I have been doing this for 2 weeks and really enjoying it. I drive to the gym and change (10 minutes), lift for 40 minutes then change and head back to work (10 minutes) and get done easily in an hour. By lifting with only two muscles I can easily finish in 40 minutes. I also do no cardio before to minimize sweating, so that I do not need a shower. I do not want to get rid of all cardio though and plan to do it 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. During the week I plan to do it once on Wednesday in the morning and 2 times over the weekend, when I’m resting from lifting weights. I’m really looking forward to this setup and I honestly plan on keeping it for the entire year. And yes it’s a Bro split, but many use these with great success contrary to new research saying it’s very ineffective. Anecdotal evidence shows otherwise.

My goal this year is very simple; keep getting stronger with key lifts and keep my routine simple and consistent. I want to gain muscle and keep fat gains low consistently throughout the year.

As for nutrition, I plan to monitor gym performance and go from there. I do plan on eating less protein this year, because I think I always overdo it, but other than that my diet will be very balanced overall and not excessively high or low in calories. It will also include a lot of vegetables.

I also plan on maintaining consistent supplementation this year:

  • 3g of fish oil per day
  • 5000IU Vitamin D
  • 5g Creatine Monohydrate
  • Animal joint supplement (as needed)