Weighing in at roughly 170lbs for the week. My legs and hip flexor have felt almost completely healed, so I decided to add in some some squats this week. Cardio also feels much better and I have no pain at all. I implemented some front squats and abs into my full body routine and it took a little longer than I wanted and planned for. I may have to split it up again soon just to save time, so I dont run over on my lunch break. Not sure how I plan to break it up, but I’m thinking push, pull, legs and shoulders may be in the cards again.
I’ve also been doing higher reps this week and really enjoying it. Doing an exercise for 3 sets of 12 reps with PERFECT FORM is entirely different than doing 4 sets of 6 reps with sloppy form. I’ve been guilty of lifting with my ego instead of my actual muscles here recently and I plan to change that in the coming weeks. I plan to stick to 3 sets of 8-12 reps for everything and aim towards the higher end of the range. It’s kind of hard mentally to drop the amount of weight your doing for the sake of perfect form, but I feel like its very important in order to feel the muscle.
Nutrition wise been sticking to the same ole diet for the most part. The only exception is one day a week I go to town on food. I usually wait for this day to find me, but I think its a very important thing to do when keeping calories reduced most days. There is usually one day during the week (usually Tuesday or Wednesday) when my appetite it absolutely ravenous haha. My body is telling me something on these days, so I usually eat surplus on these days. What’s funny is after this day I actually lost 2lbs down to 168lbs. The whoosh effect at its finest. Do that everyday and it leads to fat gain, but do it once a week on a healthy eating plan and the body responds favorably. Cortisol drops dramatically and leptin goes up. These both help to burn fat quicker.
The reason is hormonal, but overfeeding has a lot of benefits that low calories shut down. I’ve been sticking to 2000 calories most days of the week and 1-2 high calorie days. But again I let these days find me, I dont plan them. Because sometimes when I’m not hungry on Tuesday I dont do an overfeed, because I dont feel like I need one. But lets say Wednesday comes and I’m ravenous I know its time to eat more. Here recently I’ve been listening to my body more. I’ve been more liberal with my eating plan and it seems to be working very well.
Also I was having a conversation with a resident and they asked me what my favorite foods are. My top 5 chicken, broccoli, protein bars, protein powder and low calorie ranch (Bolthouse). (Weird I know) I must be the only person on the planet, to have protein bars and powder on the list, but I absolutely love them. I tried Muscle Pharm’s Birthday Cake protein bar this week and I would say hands down one of the best bars I ever had. It tastes exactly how it sounds. Quest bars are still the best, but these bars deserve some respect.
On an unrelated note, I highly recommend listening to The Weeknd if your into music. I think he could be the next Michael Jackson in terms of talent. He’s a little older than me at 25 years old, but he’s got one of the best voices I’ve ever heard. I think Justin Beiber is due for a good comeback as well. I see some Justin Timberlake potential in him and I think he has a very good voice, especially recently. His early stuff not so much, but his last album was very good. Also for workout music, you can’t go wrong with Eminem while lifting. Cardio I like motivational soundtracks and faster paced music like EDM or Techno and I feel like it enhances my workout.
Good week overall in training and eating. Weighed in at roughly 171lbs on average and exercise performance was good. I stuck to 3 weight training workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Monday was 4×6, Wednesday was 4×15 and Friday was 4×8. 4×8 is by far my favorite rep range and I just felt that one the best. Although I did really like the high rep day as well, mainly because I don’t do those days that often. Did a different exercise each day for each body part and was careful not to overdo it. The only thing I did add was some pushups to both workout and non workout days.
I have also been getting to work early to walk an extra 30 minutes in the morning. Really enjoy this time to read, listen to music and clear my head. Been hitting at least 5 miles a day each day and it becomes really easy to hit this number, when your zoned out and reading. I also try to hit 5-10 minutes on breaks and around 20 minutes during my lunch break. Not trying to set records with speed or anything, I’m only doing 3mph on a flat incline. My hip flexor has felt way better this week and considered adding a leg exercise to each full body day, but I’m going to give it one more week on both legs and abs just to play it safe.
Nutrition – I had one high carb day in the middle of the week and the rest were around 1800 calories or so. I’ve been keeping fat around 45-55 grams almost everyday and I’ve bumped protein back up to at least 160-180 grams. I had recently dropped protein to 120 grams, but I noticed some decreases in strength. I think 120 grams is fine for some people, but call me crazy I think for some people that are used to eating more protein than that still benefit from the higher intake. I also look leaner and feel stronger with the extra protein in my diet. I should also mention appetite is much better with increased protein. I heard a podcast not too long ago, that basically said once you’re used to eating a certain amount of protein, your body actually learns to use more protein as an energy source. So he basically said unless you drop your intake slowly, then you are essentially “locked into” a high protein diet. If that’s is the case then so be it. Protein is by far my favorite macro, tastes good and makes me feel better after meals.
Another thing I have been doing is eating more carbs in balance with protein. So instead of having a big starchy carb dinner, I just eat roughly the same amount of carbs as protein in each meal. This usually a means a decent portion of starch and loads of vegetables or beans, etc. Energy and strength feels really good. So I plan to replace the big carb meals with just more balance during the day. Carbs are right around 160-180 grams at the moment. I also dont feel like I need the carb refeed day when carbs are more moderate. It almost felt completely unnecessary, since my strength levels have felt so good without it. So basically just keeping an even keel blood sugar all day instead of a big fluctuation at night. As for dietary fat, some is essential, but more is not better. A little dietary fat goes a long way, meaning you dont need a meal covered in butter or oil to make it taste good. 10-15 grams per meal is plenty and makes the meal taste awesome without overdoing it. Extra dietary fat also doesn’t do anything for strength and performance in the gym and subbing out the fat for more carbs at each meal, helps at lot in that regard. Energy is also much better.
As for calories been keeping it roughly 1800 during the week and have 1-2 higher days of 2500 or so, usually on the weekend. For me this works really good in terms of staying lean and gaining strength.
Another thing I wanted to bring up. One is intermittent fasting. One thing I hear from a lot of people I talk to is that almost every single one of them do intermittent fasting without even realizing it. These people are also very overweight. They skip breakfast and usually lunch and eat their first meal around 5pm. If intermittent fasting was beneficial, then these people would be in much better shape and have far better health, but they dont. Most of the leanest people on the planet eat all day long with controlled meals and a high protein diet. Not saying intermittent fasting doesnt work, but some people make it sound like its the holy grail. Trust me its not. IF only works if your diet is on point to begin with. Also I think there is huge benefits in keeping your blood sugar level within a certain range. When your blood glucose gets too low >75-80 mg/dl either through skipping meals or undereating then a lot of negative things start happening, such as the body holding on to fat, low energy and entering too deep into a catabolic state. Going above 110-120 mg/dl basically means your burning zero body fat and are entering fat storage mode, which is what most people experience. Once you reach this state its very similar to low blood sugar in that you start to become hungrier and suffer low energy. Most people only bounce between these two states. For example, they undereat all day or for 2-3 days and then binge uncontrollably to balance it out. They basically skip the beneficial properties of keeping your blood glucose within 80-110 mg/dl, which is a more anabolic state to be in and promotes far better energy levels. It also helps you body release fat more efficiently, because your body doesnt think its starving to death. The way to reap these benefits is to prevent undereating too low of a calorie intake (usually anything under your lean body mass x 11) and keep a healthy amount of protein and carbs in you diet.
Week 2 of Westside for skinny bastards. Progress has been good, except for bench press. Not sure what is going on with that but everything else went up. I also replaced bench jumps with 3 sets of max reps on squats. I felt kind of strange busting out the box jumps to be honest haha. I felt like the squats would carry over better to other lifts. I also replaced dumbbell swings with dumbbell hip extensions. Really like DB hip extensions for some reasons. I feel like there a really good exercise for the lower body and abs and carry over well to other exercises.
Hit roughly 2400 calories a day. Fat was very high and carbs were kept pretty low except for Wednesday when I did a higher carb day. I honestly felt like I didn’t need it and noticed I was a little bit more sluggish the next day, so I may considered taking it out and just doing one higher carb day on Saturday. I noticed my protein has been way elevated here recently because of the increased fat in my diet. Mainly eggs and cheese bumping up the extra protein. Been hitting over 200 grams a day. I really dont want this much in my diet, but that’s what I’ve been hitting naturally. Also been consuming more coffee here recently, almost craving it to be honest. To me that sounds like a bad thing, but maybe not. My energy has been very good though. Except for the day after the higher carb day, I felt really good all week.
Average Weight 172.6 – Average Calories – 2120 calories
Busy week and weekend this week and missed my blog post entry on Saturday morning. A lot of socializing and looking for new cars this week made my weekend feel very short. I loved my Audi TT, but the maintenance costs were very annoying and costly. I didn’t see this car being a good idea long term at all. Basically the older the car got the more issues I saw it causing me. I found a Honda CRV, which is apparently the best of the best when it comes to reliability and affordability. It also has a sunroof, all wheel drive and most importantly more room than just two seats.
Recovery and motivation has been an issue here recently, so I took 3 days off in a row and ate whatever I wanted. I can say motivation is back already. I really just needed a break. I barely walked besides going to social events and didn’t lift at all Thursday – Saturday. I picked back up on Sunday with a minimalist upper body workout and felt really good. I’m thinking an every other day lifting plan is in order. I also think the extra calories helped a lot with energy and filling my muscles out.
I also may switch back to the progressive overload template versus trying to get a ton of volume. This is because the volume is burning me out and I want my workouts to have a purpose again. Meaning I want to go in to my workouts feeling fresh and looking to set records again and get my strength up. Since I will lift every other day, this will be 4 workouts each week.
Going to make this post short this week, but will try to get it more detailed next week, when I’m hopefully less busy and more organized with training and diet.
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.
5/30 – Missed – 2500 calories / 200g of carbs / 8200 steps – 4.2 miles
5/31 – Missed – 2050 calories / 150g of carbs / 4500 steps – 2.2 miles
6/01 – Missed – 2000 calories / 170g of carbs / 14000 steps – 6.6 miles
6/02- 174.4lbs – 2100 calories / 200g of carbs / 9800 steps – 4.6 miles
6/03 – 173.2lbs – 2050 calories / 205g of carbs / 11500 steps – 5.4 miles
6/04 – 173.0lbs – 2100 calories / 190g of carbs / 14200 steps – 6.66 miles
6/05 – 173.0lbs – 2400 calories / 160g of carbs / 12160 steps – 5.75 miles
Average Weight – 173.4 lbs – Average Calorie Intake 2170 – Body Temps 97.2 -97.7 (Morning)
I must admit, reading Ray Peat’s work or at least reading others blogs that have dissected most of his research are some of the most interesting concepts I’ve read in a long time. Mainly from an evolutionary standpoint. Learning about how different foods grow in different areas and how certain foods have certain effects of the human body. He seems to be pretty unbiased as well. Meaning he does recommend certain foods over others, but does some from a research perspective.
The basis of his diet are foods that influence the metabolic rate and reduce stress. Most of his recommendations seem to fly in the face of a lot of “health foods” that many people, including myself eat. But what makes a food healthy? I mean red meat is a very rich source of nutrition, but try to tell people that red meat is healthy and they will look at you like your insane. The reality is red meat is very healthy, especially for humans to consume. Ray peat places a large emphasis on sugar in particular. Not necessarily all carbs, but seems to favor fruit, especially over grains. I noticed that Ray Peat seems to select foods that have one thing in common: the complete absence of polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat which is commonly used and grown in the U.S. seems to be the real reason people are obese, mainly by preventing the use of sugar by the muscles as a result slowing the metabolism. It makes perfect sense when you read the rationale behind it. I mean donuts, potato chips, salad dressings, and many other junk foods are all high in polyunsaturated fats. Mix that with lots of sugary drinks and due to the poly fats inhibition of sugar in the body and the lack of exercise and you have a perfect storm for fat gain.
So Ray Peat basically says cut those poly fats out and eat more foods that dont promote fat gain and cellular damage. Mainly Saturated Fats (coconut oil, dairy fat, cheese) and avoid the unsaturated fats. A good example he gives is about an avocado. Leave an avocado out in room temperature and what happens? It oxidizes immediately and beings to spoil. Why is this? It has to do with being in room temperature, which is not its natural environment. Consume this in your body, which should be 98.6 degrees and it may cause some oxidative damage. Saturated fats dont do this because of the double bonds they contain. At room temperature they are stable and dont break down. This makes them safer to eat, especially considering the temperature of you body.
Ray Peat also states how adequate sugar shuts off the stress response. Stress is very good in small doses, such as exercise, but most people have too much stress in their daily life and if you combine that with exercise, you get a scenario where your stress levels are way unbalanced with your recovery. You want to strike more of a balance between good stress and recovery from that stress. So Ideally when you eat, you want to end your stress levels or at least keep them at bay. Sugar prevents the body from breaking down protein as fuel, which greatly accelerates muscle gains. It also helps to prevent adrenaline and fat burning hormones from surging too high and allows the thyroid to accelertate and power the metabolism.
Very interesting research, but I’m not going to follow all of his recommendations. He did state that the most important thing to worry about is to eat foods that support the metabolic rate. As long as you eat a diet high enough in carbs or sugar, adequate protein and amino acids and some, but not a ton of saturated fat then your metabolic rate will be very good and along with it you health and energy levels. Also the most important thing is enough calories. If you want to cut fat keep the calorie deficit moderate, so that you can still keep your metabolism high when cutting.
I could talk about this all day, but Ill leave it at that. One more thing is he seems to place a large emphasis away from seeds, whole grains, lots of fiber as well. These foods seems to encourage fat gain by slowing metabolism and inhibiting nutrient uptake. Again as long as your not eating nothing but these foods, I don’t see a huge issue, but shouldn’t make up the bulk of the diet. Again as long as your body temperature is high and look good and maintain a healthy body temperature, then that is by far the most important thing for you physical and mental health.
Sat – Pull
Sun – Push
Mon – Walking Only
Tues – Pull
Wed – Walking
Thursday – Push
Friday – Walking Only
First two days were more machine based and higher reps and the last two workouts were strength based. Hit 50lbs around my waist for 5 reps and Benched 200lbs for 4 reps. My first time going for strength in awhile, but most of it was intact from last time. I think I will stick to the 4 day split to balance recovery and working out. I’ll likely stick to the push, pull, legs split as well, with push and pull workouts rotating each week. I’m also doing PLP recommended by Chad Waterbury. Basically doing Pushups/Lunges/Pullups every single day. You start with 10 reps and add in one rep everyday for 60 days. Obviously the beginning is much easier then the end, but I really like this idea. I mainly use it as a warmup to more workouts. Keep in mind that this is in addition to your other workouts.
I was talking with a resident of Williamsville about their nutrition and the person said something I found very interesting. We were talking about ideal food sources and the resident wanted to try a meat free diet. I said it could be done, but likely not a good idea long term. The resident brought up that humans likely don’t need that much meat, because we don’t have claws. I thought the statement was funny, but he had a point. Humans are not pure carnivores, because if we were we would have fangs and claws, yet we don’t. This likely means that a very high fat, high protein diet with low carbs (meat) is not a natural human diet. We aren’t omnivores either though, because we do have strong jaws and teeth and strong muscles that help with energy and finding food. Again this points the need to strive for balance in diet.
My own diet is starting to include more carbs in general. As I showed in my log, my carbs didnt drop below 150g all week nor did it last week. I’m introducing them slowly, because I know for a fact that if you got from roughly 100 grams a day to 300 grams, your body’s metabolism will quickly be overwhelmed and store fat. I’m using body temperature to slowly increase carbs. Meaning the higher my body temperature the more carbs I eat. I’m also not eating just fruit, but a lot of potatoes and other carbs sources as well. My main goal is to limit a lot of polyunsaturated fat or at least keep it to small amounts. I also noticed that if you eat a high fat diet, its almost impossible not to get a lot of polyunsaturated fat in your diet. That is unless your diet is almost all coconut oil and butter, but that diet would get very old very quickly. My Macros are roughly 220g of carbs / 170g protein / 50-60g of fat. The plan is to keep protein and fat stable and bump up the carbs. If I drink some alcohol, I will usually just take the carbs away and sometimes fat.
My body temperature this week was around 97.4 and it started at 96.6. Not bad for two weeks. If anything I have actually lost fat as a result. My body weight has been hanging around 173lbs down from an average of 175lbs on the higher fat diet. So basically ate more, lost more. No problems there. Calories averaged about 2200 and my estimated maintenance should be around 2600 or so for a normal day. I have noticed my appetite has gone up as well. I feel like this is natural considering a higher body temperature requires more energy.
I’m still eating most of my carbs (starches) at dinner time and most of my fruit during the day. You wouldnt believe how much food you get to eat at the end of the day by doing this. Massive amounts of food. Been doing a bean, corn, chicken mix with taco seasoning and corn tortillas on the side. Almost tastes better than Chipotle. Also throw in some fat free sour cream. This meal usually has upwards of 100g of carbs and pretty low poly fats. I’m still playing around with different recipes though.
Still feel like there is lot more I want to say, but will probably end it here. Some pics from the week:
Average Weight – 174.8 lbs – Average Calorie Intake 2300 calories – Average Body Temperature – 97.2 degrees (Morning)
So my average temperatures this week were around 97.2 degrees which is .6 degrees better than last week. Definelty trending in the right direction and I have noticed reduced soreness from lifting and better overall energy levels. My goal is to keep slowly increasing calories until my temperature hits roughly 98.6. I will say though that my temperature has reached 98.6 at different points in the day and usually increases well beyond 97.2 after certain points in the day.
My split this week was Push on Saturday, Legs on Sunday, Monday was rest, Tuesday was Pull, Wednesday was Push, Thursday was Legs and Friday was off. Sets were mainly 3 although I went 4 on some exercises and reps were kept right around 8-10 reps for the most part.
My diet was kept pretty similar to my normal routine. I usually have 2 low calorie meals for breakfast and lunch with high protein, small amounts of fat and fruit or vegetables then I have a huge dinner to make up the rest of my calories. Basically it looks like this:
Breakfast – Two scoops of protein powder, 1 cup of berries, half a quest bar
Lunch – 5oz of lean meat, 1 hardboiled egg, 2oz of imitation crab meat, 2-3 cups of greens and 1 laughing cow cheese wedge
Snack – Half of Pure protein bar, 1 4-5oz apple and maybe .5-1oz of beef jerkey
Dinner – What ever is left. Every night is different. Most of the time its potatoes and meat, but this week was pizza one night, wine and bbq chicken with baked beans another night and chinese low fat fried rice with meat and vegetables another night.
Dessert – 1 cup of almond milk with 2 tbs of fat free/sugar free jello pudding (various flavors) and 1/3 cup of frozen berries and finish quest bar (this is really good and turns into a pudding)
I’ll also throw in a banana or at least half of one with some of my meals
This way of eating works very well for me. I like to keep the first half of the day low calorie, because it keeps energy very high during the day. It also allows me to get in most of protein and fat and vitamins and then have a big meal at night. Usually I have at least 1000 calories to play with at night sometimes over that. This allows me to keep my early meals consistent and my dinners a little more varied.
I also think there is some nutrient partitioning benefits to eating this way. Basically keep the body in a somewhat depleted state during the day (meaning low calories and low amounts of fat and carbs) and then replenish at night right before bed. I also noticed a high protein breakfast, meaning over 40 grams or so can shutdown your appetite for the whole day. Its almost fail proof. Sometimes I get home and I’m not ever hungry. This makes my diet very enjoyable, because in the past when I tried to add in calories at earlier meals, such as including oatmeal and banana at breakfast and rice at lunch, I would noticed my hunger would increase and I would be hungry all day. Not the case with my current diet.
Eating in this fashion also works very well with being social, because you can easily go out and fit in something from any restaurant and get it under 1000 calories.
I’m aiming for roughly 250 carbs / 60 fat / 180 protein and around 22-2400 calories. I’m not tracking this with the goal of hitting exactly those numbers though. Its more an approximation. I also have some alcoholic drinks every now and then so that will also throw my numbers off, but it’s all good.