Journal Entry 321 – Final Fantasy XV

For the first time in awhile, I started playing a Final Fantasy game. The last one I can honestly say I enjoyed was Final Fantasy X, which came out 17 years ago. Since then when I have played Final Fantasy it was a remastered version of an old game. I’m currently playing Final Fantasy XV for the PS4 and it has been good so far. The graphics are incredible, the fighting is fun, but can be confusing and the storyline is average so far. I like the characters, but they are far from my favorite. So far I would say 7 out of 10. I haven’t finished the game yet, so the rating may change, but this is an early impression.

Hokies had a big game last night and played great in the first half. Went into self-destruct mode in the second half. Sometimes it is hard to watch. The Giants have a big game against Carolina today. We are 1-3 so far this season, but a great way to think about it is we still have 75% of the season left. Plenty of time to turn things around and start scoring some points and winning games. After 15 years of being a Giants fan, I still delude myself into high hopes no matter how bad my team is. ūüėČ

Nothing exciting to report in the gym. My strength is about the same. I did feel very weak earlier in the week, but got stronger towards the end. Diet is still low carb of around 100g a day and I have not cheated at all this weekend. Had a decent amount of wine last night, but technically that is low carb. ūüėČ Weight has been going down over recent weeks and seems to have settled around 177.5lbs. I did reach a new low of 174.4 lbs last week, but it was due to major dehydration and not an accurate representation of weight.

Next week is one of my friend/co-workers weddings. I can honestly say weddings are one of my favorite things to go to. Everyone is in a great mood and it is always an incredibly fun time.

 

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Journal Entry 314 – Part II – Moving In

Long time no post! Sarah and I have been very busy the past few weeks with the move-in process. Homeownership as we have been told and now experienced is a lot of work. It’s one of those things you don’t really appreciate until you go through it for the first time. Most of my free time has been moving everything around, hanging stuff up, fixing repairs, and yardwork. That being said the house looks great! We also had a home warming party last night, which was a ton of fun.

I have been tearing up my workouts recently. My workout’s format is below:

  • Push Compound – 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps
    • If at home I just do 5 sets of Pushups
  • Pull Movement – 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps
    • If at home I just do 5 sets of Pullups
  • Abs – 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

That is all. I do this workout style every day and I take days off as needed, but usually only one day off on the weekend. I found by not overdoing the volume and avoiding the “junk volume/movements” I’m able to workout like this every day and perform well on every movement. My bench is already up 10lbs from this style of lifting. I try to heavy bench twice a week. I’m also doing heavy abs every workout and can really feel a difference when lifting heavy weights on my compound movements. I love it so far and another huge positive of this style of lifting is that it only takes 35 minutes a day.

My weight is down to 179.6lbs and it will fluctuate up to about 183lbs. I definitely lost some fat when we were moving in. There were a few days where we would literally be moving the entire day and I really only ate a few snacks during the day and a pretty light dinner.

My diet has been pretty consistent overall in terms of eating during the day. I eat pretty much the same thing every day and then kind of eat whatever at night. My dinner is usually healthy, but not always. This week I had higher carbs meals for dinner, but this can fluctuate daily. I always go low carb during the day, but dinner just kind of depends on what I’m feeling. Calories at the moment are right around 1800-2000, with usually around 2500 on the weekends.

Journal Entry 311 – Putting In Work

Training:

Had a really good week in the gym. I did a 5 day Push/Pull/Legs/Push/Pull workout setup with cardio on the weekend. Hit my heavy bench press and heavy rows early in the week and finished the week with higher volume and lighter moves. Not sure why, but I was really feeling EZ bar skullcrushers and curls. I got a tremendous pump towards the end of my workout from those.

Overall my strength is still slowly increasing. At this point, I really just want to be consistent with my workouts. It feels like the more I go to the gym the stronger I get, especially with back.

I also did some cardio twice this week of around 30-40 minutes.

Diet:

I have been going pretty low carb recently with good results. My weight was at 185.6lbs at a high early this week (not sure how as this is high for me) and is now around 182.2lbs. I have noticed though that I do look leaner at a heavier weight, which is always a good sign in terms of body composition.

My diet is pretty simple during the week. I have two protein shakes during the day with one being mid-morning and the other in the afternoon when I get back from the gym. I also have some Our Little Rebellion Protein Chips almost every day. This gives me a ton of protein and not a ton of calories. At night I then usually eat a pretty large meal, which is usually low carb, but not always. I then finish the night with another protein shake with berries in it. I really enjoy that protein shake. It tastes better than ice cream to me.

So the above has very consistent elements, but dinner also allows me a lot of flexibility. I can pretty much eat whatever I’m feeling at dinner. It’s almost always a healthy meal, but not always. Eating like this I don’t really feel the need for cheat days, because I can eat whatever I want every day at dinner. I’m pretty busy during the day at work, so I really don’t like messing with meal prep anymore. I enjoy undereating during the day so I can eat a big dinner when I can sit down to enjoy it.

This may seem like common sense, but the more I workout the better I look. Even when I eat healthy and don’t workout I don’t look nearly as good as I do when I do some sort of exercise every day. To me it’s pretty noticeable. It also benefits my mental health and allows me to eat more food as well.

Life:

I had a company function at place called the Circuit Bar in Richmond, Virginia. Very fun place and it had tons of old games and a ton of craft beer that was self-serve. I got the high score in Skee-ball with 320. Also, played some Tekken 3 and Madden. Sarah and I then went out to a place called Dont Look Back after with some friends and played some pool. I was out from 4-12 PM yesterday and worked from 9-2 PM. Busy day, but fun. Only thing that sucks is I really only have one day off of free time to relax.

I watched the NBA finals this year, which is something I almost never do. Not a huge basketball fan anymore, since Kobe Bryant retired. He was always my favorite player. That being said Lebron James is a beast. He carried a very mediocre team to the Finals. I almost felt bad for him.  His team was so bad, he almost had no chance of winning against Golden State. Also, not a big Golden State fan. Draymond Greene is probably the most annoying player I have ever seen and his talent is way smaller than his ego. He is just along for the ride, while Steph Curry and Kevin Durant carry the team. Klay Thompson is also one of the most consistent shooters I have ever seen. I think he gets overshadowed by Curry and Durant and probably by Greene, but only because Greene is an obnoxious loudmouth. Not surprised by the outcome of the NBA Finals, but the Playoffs were enjoyable to watch.

Journal Entry 305 – New Schedule is Coming

Today is the last week of my old schedule. I luckily get Saturday off, so it will be a 3 day week. I’m moving to an 8-5 schedule Monday through Friday. It will be a big change for me as I haven’t been on that schedule for awhile. This also means some change in terms of diet and workout, which I haven’t really figured out yet. I probably won’t figure it out until I actually start and see what I like best. I thought about going to the gym early and knocking it out, but I would likely have to get up before 6AM, which I’m not really sure I want to do. I will most likely just go to the gym on my lunch break around 1-2PM. I may adjust my routine so that I’m benching twice a week and continue with my pushups / chinups¬†and stretching routine. Still hitting 200 pushups / 50 chins and stretching daily.

Not sure what I plan to do for the diet. Based on my schedule, an Intermittent Fasting setup would work really well with my hours. Eat minimal during the day when busy and feast at night. This would also be far easier from a planning and financial standpoint. What I may do is make a protein shake in the morning to drink around mid-morning, then eat a bag of Enlightened Beans or Jerky at work. This provides around 600 calories total during the day, which allows a very large meal every night, while keeping calories in check. This would allow me a couple drinks at night, a very big high protein meal and some protein pudding for dessert.

I got to a new low of 179.4lbs this week. I had a big eating day from Saturday night and all day Sunday and got up to 184lbs. I was down to 182lbs this morning. I expect to go below 179lbs by the end of this week.¬† For whatever reason, I almost felt hungover after my cheat day even though I didn’t drink. Not a good feeling. It’s probably because I went from pretty low carbs to very high carbs in a day and then back to very low carbs. That’s a pretty large swing that I’m not really used to. Calories were over 3000 for the day. I may try splitting my cheat day up into a big meal on both Saturday and Sunday night versus the whole day. I have a feeling I would not only enjoy this more, but feel much better than slamming calories all day long.

Journal Entry 295 – Scale Is Moving / New Food Finds

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.
  • P28 Bread
    • 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.
  • Turkey Bacon
    • 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.
  • Quest bars
    • 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.

Journal Entry 260 – Aldi / Weight Cut

Weekly Routine

Workout:

  • Sunday – Cardio 30 minutes / Abs
  • Monday – Cardio 30 minutes / Chest and Tris
  • Tuesday – Cardio 30 minutes¬†/ Back and Bis
  • Wednesday – Cardio 30 minutes / Shoulders and Traps
  • Thursday – No Cardio / Chest and Tris
  • Friday – Cardio 30 minutes / Back and Bis
  • Saturday (Today) – Cardio 20-30 minutes / Shoulders and Traps

Diet: (Calories Low: 16-1800)

  • Protein Pudding with berries and Coffee
  • Popchips 3-4 servings and 1 Quest Bar
  • Ton of veggies, lean meat, low calorie toast
  • Protein Pudding with berries

Last weekend my brother visited and it was a big eating weekend. Restaurant eating and full on buffets at my house. My weight ballooned to 187lbs on Monday morning and I was noticeably bloated/fat looking. I decided to do a mini-cut and take that bloat off. I stayed around 16-1800 calories¬†a day and got down to about 179lbs. In the past, this was my normal intake, but I haven’t gone that low in calories in awhile. Especially 5 days in a row, maybe went that low on occasion. So, took off roughly 8lbs of bloat (mostly water, but some fat). My energy was good all week til Friday, which I felt really run down. Basically felt like I got hit by a train. So got some extra sleep Friday night and feel much better right now. I plan on eating around maintenance¬†today and then will likely cut the following week too. After I assess where I am at the end of next week, I will most likely bump up my calories back to maintenance.

No Pr’s were set this week, but wasn’t really expecting it either. My lifts didn’t go down, though. I got a feeling 195lbs on my bench is going to be a sticking point for me that only big eating will take care of. Really enjoying the cardio, though. I could easily go more than 30 minutes, but I’m really trying to moderate myself so that I don’t burn out and get tired of it. 3o minutes is a sweet spot, where you can get almost of all the benefits with none of the downsides. Also, cardio is done in the morning and my lifting is done in the afternoon, so they don’t interfere with each other.

There is a new Aldi built very close to my apartment. This place is a grocery wonderland. It’s like Costco, but you don’t have to buy in bulk. You can literally stack your grocery cart with food (mainly whole foods) and pay like $50. Seriously, it’s really awesome. Probably cheaper than Walmart and the quality is much better. I can’t get everything I need from there, but all of my whole foods (frozen veggies, fresh veggies, fruit, yogurt, meat) I get from here. Saves a lot of money.

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.