Journal Entry 349 – Clean House

Another week in the books. This week at work was much better than it has been and felt far less busy and stressful. I actually missed my post last week, because I had a really strong urge to “Clean House.” I was looking in the kitchen and realized that some of our cabinets were absolutely packed. Considering we don’t use that many kitchen items this didn’t really make sense. I decided to go through and organize everything as well as trash some stuff we no longer use. It turned out to be a really good idea. All of the cabinets are organized and I got rid of a decent amount of things, that was literally just taking up space. I extended this cleaning to the closets, the utility room, and the bathrooms. Had about 4 bags of trash worth and the house looks much better now. The main thing I want to add to the house is a liquor cabinet. We have a lot of liquor currently and it would be nice to have something to organize it all.

Anyway, that house cleaning ended up taking the entire weekend, but again I think it was worth it. Sarah and I did end up having a date night last Saturday. We went to Cooper’s Hawk and then got Grapevine to go. Both were great as always. This weekend is going to be a bit more laidback.

I’ve actually hit the gym almost everyday last week. Literally just hitting full body every day doing higher reps and lighter weights. I wanted to take a break from heavy lifting for at least a week, so decided to more or less just “play around” in the gym with no real goal or priority. As for diet, been keeping carbs low this week. I started bringing some hardboiled eggs to eat with me each day during the workweek. This past week, I’ve been eating about 6 whole eggs a day for lunch. Super easy and cheap meal.

Next week is a short one. Only three days for me due to the July 4th Holiday, so really looking forward to that!

Journal Entry 341 – Game of Thrones

Another week in the books. Sarah and I went to Cooper’s Hawk on Friday for date night followed by Mezeh for dinner. Yesterday, I played tennis for the first time this year against one of my good friends. We both entered a tennis tournament at work, so trying to get some practice in. Tonight we are having people over for a Game of Thrones watching party. Final season and the first episode in what feels like a very long time. I expect good things though.

Workouts were great last week. I decided on switching to a Push / Pull routine. This was mainly to break monotony, but also to introduce some novelty back into my workouts. I have a very simple routine each workout and I can actually knock them out pretty quick.

Diet has been consistently low carb. I have been increasing my intake of whole eggs recently and I honestly feel like it is making a difference in the gym. I usually have 2-3 before I go to the gym and did this consistently on every workout day. My goal is to continue eating 3 a day and maybe bump that up provided my strength continues to rise. I have also been increasing dietary fat in my diet as well as sodium. This has greatly helped my workouts. My weight is currently at a solid 180lbs and slowly decreasing.

The new trailer for Star Wars Rise of Skywalker has been released. Not going to lie, it looks pretty damn good. I really hope they give the Skywalker Saga a proper sendoff my incorporating all of the movies together.

 

Journal Entry 182 – Making Adjustments

Log:

Week 26

4/11 – Missed – 2900 calories – 16500 steps – 8 miles

4/12 – 176.4lbs – 2550 calories – 5300 steps – 3 miles

4/13 – Missed – 2000 calories – 15000 steps – 7 miles

4/14 – 176.6lbs – 1800 calories – 11200 steps – 5.3 miles

4/15 – 175.6lbs – 2000 calories – 12000 steps – 5.3 miles

4/16 – 175.2lbs – 2300 calories – 12800 steps – 6 miles

4/17 – 176.6lbs – 2550 calories – 17500 steps – 8.4miles

Average Weight 176lbs – Average Calorie Intake 2300 calories

Workouts

Changed up my workouts a bit this week. I had some extra time to workout, so I split my workouts up into Chest/Tri, Back/Bis, Shoulders/Traps/Abs, Legs, rest/repeat. Ideally this would be followed by a rest day, but if I feel good then I’m just going to keep it going. This allows you to hit each body part roughly every 4-5 days, which is probably the best in terms of overall rest and recovery. 2-3 days usually isnt enough and 7 days is just too long. I’m keeping the same rep scheme for the main move on each day (3 sets of 5,6,8 reps with 3 warmup sets) then on everything else I pretty much do 3 sets of 8-10. Simple and effective. I used to like doing 4 sets, but noticed if I do 4 sets of too many exercises I start to get tired to quick and I usually end up doing less variation of exercises. One thing I really like about this split though is the shoulders/traps day. Mainly because I dont have to hit shoulders on Chest and Back day anymore and this saves me a lot of time and allows me to do more exercises that I dont normally do. I usually knock these workouts at in under 40 minutes or so. The beauty of this though is that I can “squeeze” these workouts into my day instead of going over and hour like the others one took. Also Abs are done randomly during the week. I usually add them to shoulder day though because shoulder day is usually much easier and quicker than the others.

These workouts have one strength move and the rest are hypertrophy based. I enjoy training in the hypertrophy range more, because of the better pump and less rest times. That being said I really do like aiming for a PR on the first exercise, but any more heavy moves after that just starts to drain me a little. This split also allows me to workout much more frequently, while still giving the muscles about the same rest time. Except maybe for shoulders, but they tend to tolerate higher volume anyway.

Only PR’s set this week were Chinups with 55 lbs added for 5 reps. The rest were basically the same.

Nutrition/Research

Did a good amount of research this week and decided to change up my approach a little. Due to my high volume of exercise, my maintenance is probably closer to 27-2800 calories on most days and a bit less on the weekend. Maintenance is a moving target though and some days I go well beyond 2800 and hit 3000 or more calories. In order to properly fuel this while burning fat, I decided to adjust my nutrition on a daily basis and aim for around 500 less calories each day and no more than 750 calories. This level of a deficit, I got from Anthony Colpo who wrote the Fat Loss Bible, which basically dispels every myth ever created. He’s very interesting to read and has a good sense of humor in his writing. He’s also done every diet and sure as hell does his research. So I based my diet around his numbers and recommendations. He states that once you get leaner (either under 15% bodyfat OR under 80kg – 176lbs) then you have to be careful with your deficit. He recommends cutting 300-500 a day at this level, which well net you .5-1lb a week of fat loss. He also says that going beyond this amount (no more than 750 calories a day) you tend to lose more muscle and retain more fat. You also get a host of other nasty symptoms that I’ve talked about before such as lack of motivation, decreased metabolic rate, lower hormonal status and so on. Since I burn a different amount everyday, I will adjust my nutrition accordingly. For example if I burn 2000 calories (not likely, but an example) then I will eat 1500 calories. If I burn 3300 calories, then I will shoot for 2800 calories. It just depends on my needs. I also plan to stay in a deficit each day for more overall consistency. So no more really low intakes on some weekdays, coupled with a calorie excess on the weekends. Basically I just want to burn a lot of calories everyday and eat way more while losing fat. My metabolism should benefit greatly.

Also going to be increase my carbs a decent amount. I’m eating pretty similar to the Biorhythm diet, which I wrote and article about earlier. This way of eating has some really interesting effects and should allow me to eat more carbs without worrying about all the negatives. So all day until dinner you basically eat protein/fat/fiber/some fruit and then dinner you eat the vast majority of your carbs. You actually want way more carbs then protein (example – 120 grams of carbs to 30 grams of protein) to induce serotonin and most importantly leptin. Too much protein in balance with carbs can block serotonin and at night you dont want this. Its fine for earlier parts of the day, but not at night. Also I learned that high insulin = high leptin and not necessarily glucose levels like I previously thought. This means that 400 grams of carbs of rolled slow releasing oatmeal or low gi carbs is not good for leptin, because it doesnt release insulin high enough. Your much better off not eating carbs around the clock and eating a big feast of pasta, potatoes (white), white rice or any other high GI carb at night. My theory is that its the amount of carbs at once that counts. Meaning if you wanted to use oatmeal of sweet potates at night then just eat a really large serving all at once, but not spread out during the day. Again the higher the insulin release, the higher the leptin levels and you want high leptin in order to burn fat. If your leptin is chronically low (as it is in lean individuals) then your fat burning through the day will be greatly reduced, even eating fat burning foods all day.

Also learned a few other interesting facts this week. Johnathan Bailor talks about some interesting points about body weight set point and low calorie diets. Basically he said that trying to starve yourself or chronically undereat to lose fat is basically like stretching a rubber band. You can force weight off by undereating (pulling the rubberband), but due to the physiological changes and the body’s metabolism shutting down due to lack of adequate energy its only a matter of time before the rubberband goes shooting in the other direction. In other words, if you want to reduce fat then you need to change you body weight set point. This is not done by starving yourself. He states that eating less forces the body to burn less calories NOT fat stores. I couldnt agree more and I think this point is ignored frequently. So to change your set point you still need a calorie deficit in order to burn fat, but you have to do this by not forcing the fat off and eating a healthier diet that helps you achieve a better hormonal state. Hormones are a big player in body composition and manipulating calories to achieve a certain hormonal status may be the best way to change your body.

Another really interesting article was written by Nate Winkler. He wrote some really interesting articles in the past, but hasn’t written in over 2 years for some reason. Anyway he was talking about the Central Nervous System and recovery and said it needs 3 major things to function optimally, which are choline, tyrosine and serotonin. Whole eggs are by far the best sources of both choline and tyrosine and carbs are what release serotonin the best. He didnt state amounts, but his diet is very similar to the Biorythm diet that I like to stick to. By eating certain foods at certain times, you really can reap the hormonal benefits and get much better results than just winging it like a lot of people do.

I’ve been eating 3-4 whole eggs a day here recently and increasing my carbs at night. I should also mention that my dietary fat is kept somewhat low in the last meal. Not too low though probably 20 grams or so, but you dont want too much fat with too many carbs, because too much fat can impair glucose tolerance and prevent your muscles from soaking up the glucose.

So my Macros for the next few weeks will likely be close to the following: 2200 calories 165 grams of protein; 73 grams of fat and 220 grams of carbs. Protein and fat eaten during the day and protein and the vast majority of my carbs , probably 150 grams or so all eaten at dinner. If I’m very active, I’ll throw in some red wine occasionally in moderation.

Pics from the week:

Junk Food Sunday Bertuccis Pizza, Half Chickfila Sandwhich Veggies
Junk Food Sunday
Bertuccis Pizza, Half Chickfila Sandwhich
Veggies
Lean Meat  Potato Veggies
Lean Meat
Potato
Veggies
Lean Meat, Potatoes, veggies, whole egg
Lean Meat, Potatoes, veggies, whole egg
Same as above
Same as above
Trader Joes Breaded Chicken Strips Potatoes Veggies
Trader Joes Breaded Chicken Strips
Potatoes
Veggies
Breaded Chicken Strips, fat free pringles and broccoli
Breaded Chicken Strips, fat free pringles and broccoli
Vino
Vino
Protein Pudding with Blueberries and PB and a whole egg with broccoli
Protein Pudding with Blueberries and PB and a whole egg with broccoli

Getting Stronger – Journal Entry 163

Log:

Week 17

2/7 – 176lbs – 2800 calories – 8200 steps – 4 miles

2/8 – 176.8lbs – 2000 calories – 5500 steps – 2.8 miles

2/9 – 177.8lbs – 1850 calories – 10000 steps – 4.78 miles

2/10 – 176.8lbs – 2000 calories – 10800 steps – 5.13 miles

2/11- 175.4lbs – 2000 calories – 9200 steps – 4.3 miles

2/12 – 175.2lbs – 2100 calories – 11100 steps – 5.2 miles

2/13- 175.2lbs – 2800 calories – 10800 steps – 5.1 miles

Average Weight – 176.1 lbs / Average Calories – 2200 calories

Been feeling really good this week. I’ve been eating around 4 whole eggs a day and I feel like I’m recovering faster than ever. Weight is more or less stagnant around 175lbs, but I’m getting leaner than ever before at a higher bodyweight. Body recomposition at its finest. Been hitting the weights hard for 6 days a week, so I feel like I’m favorably shifting the vast majority of my calories into muscle. I really like staying around this weight. 6ft tall and 175-180lbs at or around 10-12% bodyfat is very good for me. This way I can focus on lean gains and getting stronger and stronger at roughly the same bodyweight.

Training

Really good week in training. I’ve been able to push past almost every plateau this week. Hit 235 for 5 reps on squats and I remember not to long ago 205 felt really heavy. Hit 195lbs on bench for 6 reps, so I’m bumping it up to 200lbs. Dumbbell Lunges have been really good at 60’s in each hand at 8 reps each leg. This is way more than I’ve done in a long time. Been hitting Abs really hard twice a week as well. I do one move for the rectus abdominus (cable crunch) one for the obliques (Russian twists) and one for the lower abs (hanging knee raise). Also got 110lbs on Dumbbell Rows for 7 reps for back. I really like doing the 3 sets of 6,8,10 reps as well. Sometimes I dont hit it exactly, but I’ve been pushing almost each set to failure, which means even if I hit my goal of “8 reps” on a set, if I feel good I just keeping going for an extra rep or two. I feel this has greatly helped my strength out.

I’ve been doing the same legs and push workout twice a week. Since I’ve been able to increase my lifts each day I plan to keep it this way. Pull is not as important to me, because there is no key lift that I’m really eager to keep pushing. Dont get me wrong, I’m increasing the weights on each exercise, but I like the variation on pull days, especially since back is such a big muscle group. One thing that’s important to is sticking to 3 sets. This really narrows in your focus and keeps the quality over quantity. Sometimes by doing 4 sets especially with the last set being a higher rep set, than you get tired for the rest of your workout.

I’ve been training with someone at Williamsville all this week as well. He’s been training since high school and is around mid 40’s currently. He’s probably twice as strong as I am. Its pretty humbling seeing a guy easily push weights that you struggle with. This just makes me work way harder than usual. This guy is a rock though. If he cut down some weight, he could easily enter a bodybuilding show and do very well. He also has some of the biggest forearms I have ever seen. Definelty going to miss when he leaves though, since I’ve had some of my best workouts since he’s been there. I plan to start training with other people at Williamsville, even if they aren’t nearly as strong as this guy is. I have to stay after work to do it, but its just really nice training with someone else for a change.

IMG_1831 IMG_1833 IMG_1834 IMG_1835 IMG_1836 IMG_1837

Nutrition

Been hitting about 2000 calories during the week and hitting maintenance around 25-2800 calories on the weekend. Average calorie intake is around 2200 calories.

Weekday macros are roughly 170-190g protein / 70-80g of fat / 100-120g carbs. A lot of vegetables, meats, cheese, eggs, fruit and a little starch. I’ve been eating a big banana after training almost every day. I prefer fruit to starch, just because I feel like its way healthier from a micro-nutrient standpoint than bread is. That being said I’ve also been having a few slices of Panera bread with my dinner. Trying to keep carbs around 30 grams or so per meal, to help increase protein synthesis a bit more than protein alone can provide. Also protein is a bit higher this week, but I just really like eating high protein.

As I said earlier, been consuming 4 whole eggs a day, mainly for the cholesterol. Training 6 days a week there is a lot of repair going on, so its important to keep my nutrients high. I’m going to start viewing eggs almost as a supplement I need to take daily. I feel like a lot of the recent muscle recovery and strength gains I’ve had have been do solely to the increased cholesterol and nutrients that eggs provide. Even if I dont have a meal with eggs in it, I probably eat them on the side hard boiled and aim to eat at least 3 a day.

Still been eating a deficit during the weekdays to keep burning fat. I’ve slowly bumped up calories a little bit, mainly by increasing more fat in my diet. I used to hit around 50 grams and now I hit around 70-80grams every day. Joints, strength levels and overall leaness has never been better. Carbs are still pretty low around 100-120 grams or so. As per Layne Norton’s research 30 grams at a meal is all that is needed to increase protein synthesis past what protein alone can provide. So I aim to get around that eat each meal. The only meal I don’t include carbs in is lunch and that’s just because its just easier not to pack carbs at lunch. I just eat a banana after training to make up for the lack of carbs there. I really dont care about the source of starch either. Carbs are essentially just sugar and eaten with a balanced meal it really doesnt matter the type of carb, but more the overall amount. I like bread/toast WAAAYYY more than rice, so I never eat rice any more. I just dont like that much and it feels kind of dumb to eat something that doesnt taste good and really doesnt provide the body with any nutrients either. Rice is literally pure glucose with almost nothing else in it and no flavor. I’ll pass. Been downing some blue cheese here recently, but I plan to switch to feta this week to change it up. I also really like goat cheese as well.

Here are some pics from the week:

Bertuccis Calzone with some added chicken and spinach
Bertuccis Calzone with some added chicken and spinach
2 whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese
2 whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese
Spaghetti Squash with homemade vegetable marinara sauce and chicken with Italian cheese
Spaghetti Squash with homemade vegetable marinara sauce and chicken with Italian cheese
3 Whole eggs, 4-5 oz of meat, veggies and Asiago cheese toast from Panera
3 Whole eggs, 4-5 oz of meat, veggies and Asiago cheese toast from Panera
Same as above
Same as above
Same as above
Same as above
Same as above
Same as above
3 whole eggs, 5oz of chicken and firehook crackers
3 whole eggs, 5oz of chicken and firehook crackers
Protein Pudding with 2 whole eggs
Protein Pudding with 2 whole eggs

Whole Eggs and Protein Synthesis – Journal Entry 162

Log:

IMG_1776

Week 16

1/31 – 177.4lbs – 2650 calories – 7700 steps – 4 miles

2/1 – 177.8lbs – 2800 calories – 6500 steps – 3.2 miles

2/2 – 179.3lbs – 1800 calories – 11700 steps – 5.7 miles

2/3 – 178lbs – 1400 calories – 8500 steps – 4 miles

2/4 – 176.6lbs – 2000 calories – 10800 steps – 5 miles

2/5 – 176lbs – 2000 calories – 10800 steps – 5 miles

2/6 – 174.8lbs – 2300 calories- 11000 steps – 5.3 miles

Average Weight – 177.1 lbs – Average Calories – 2135

Workouts

  • Saturday – Push
  • Sunday – Pull
  • Monday – Off
  • Tuesday – Off
  • Wednesday – Shoulders and Triceps
  • Thursday – Pull
  • Friday – Legs and Abs

I’m going back to the Push/Pull/Legs split probably training 6 days a week or if I feel good I may just keep the cycle going constantly. Hands down my favorite split as it allows me to train everyday without burning out. 4 days just isnt enough for me and on rest days I have withdrawal symptoms from not working out. The key to not burning yourself out on a daily schedule like this is to limit the amount of heavy lifts. In the past I would do every exercise for 3-4 sets in the 6 rep range and on the first move may even go down to 4 reps. Now I’m doing a reverse pyramid setup, where I do 6, 8,10,12 and maybe up to 15 reps on some exercises.

My goals are to get more muscle size and endurance. I noticed my endurance could use some work, because once I get to around 10 reps, my muscles just give out. By staying in the 6-12 range though, size gains should be better and also my central nervous system wont be nearly as taxed as it was when doing low reps for strength. I noticed by training everyday I wake up looking way leaner in the morning even when I’m eating more food. Nutrient partitioning at its finest. 😉

My lifts are also going up on every exercise. Barbell Bench is at 195×4 reps, Barbell Squats are at 225×6 reps, DB lunges were 120lbs for 6 reps each leg, Chinups about the same, DB shoulder press is at 60lbs in each hand for 6 reps.

I also noticed I seem to be leaner now than I have been in a long time and my weight is still hovering around the mid 170s. I thought I would have to drop lower in weight than this to be this lean, but obviously this means that I increased my muscle mass enough where I dont have to drop that low in weight.

Nutrition

This week I have really been bumping off the fat intake. Specifically from blue and goat cheese and adding in 4 whole eggs a day. After reading Anthonly Colpo’s article on cholesterol intake and strength gains, I felt obligated to add some eggs in. Basically he cited a study where there were 3 different groups with identical calorie intakes, but all had different amounts of cholesterol intakes. The group that ate the most cholesterol (I think it was 800mg a day) gained 50% more strength than the group that had the least amount of cholesterol. Pretty amazing results.

I noticed after eating 4 whole eggs a day, the weights I was using began to feel very light. Hard to explain, but my joints felt way better than usual and I just feel much stronger. There is also a substance called arachidonic acid in eggs that can greatly improve muscle damage and repair. I also added in the cheese for extra saturated fat. Not only is this good for the taste buds, but also improving free testosterone levels, which also greatly enhance recovery. Maybe this is why I feel unsatisfied doing a 4 day split. If I am adequately recovered, then what is the point of an off day?

Also read some interesting research by Layne Norton. He found protein intake (around 20-40 grams per meal and 3-5 grams of leucine) was the most important anabolic signal for muscle protein synthesis. Adding in 30 grams of carbs increased this slightly, but adding in 90 grams of carbs did not further increase protein synthesis past what 30 grams would do. This is important as it shows that some carbs are needed for better muscle growth, but excess carbs are not. He also found that BCAA’s between meals could help prolong protein synthesis and spreading out your intake over the day is superior to one or two big meals. He stated that a certain threshold hold of insulin needs to be reached to increase protein synthesis, but very high amounts of insulin are unnecessary and dont lead to more muscle growth, but probably more fat gains.

If you set up his research with 4-5 meals a day every few hours, then you would really only need 120-150 grams of protein and 120-150 grams of carbs per day to maximize protein synthesis. (this is obviously if you used high quality sources of protein) You would obviously need more calories, which could be added in with more dietary fat on top of this amount. Goes to show you that some carbs are important 120-150 grams, but slamming 400-500 carbs in unnecessary, especially if you don’t tolerate carbs well. I find I stay and look leaner and also feel way stronger, by adding in more dietary fat and keeping carbs lower. That being said I always have 1-2 days a week at a higher carb intake to fill out my glycogen stores. Training 6 days a week, a day like this is required.

Some pics from the week:

Junk food for the superbowl
Junk food for the superbowl
White blend wine. Really good mix.
White blend wine. Really good mix.
Homemade Chipotle with black beans, chicken, onions and shredded cheese with a side salad
Homemade Chipotle with black beans, chicken, onions and shredded cheese with a side salad
Lean Meat and Veggies with a side salad
Lean Meat and Veggies with a side salad
Whole eggs, cheese, lean meat, veggies
Whole eggs, cheese, lean meat, veggies
3 Whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese 1/2 ounce of blue and goat cheese
3 Whole eggs, lean meat, veggies and cheese 1/2 ounce of blue and goat cheese
Smoked Salmon, cheese and Firehook Crackers
Smoked Salmon, cheese and Firehook Crackers
My dog Frisco who looks like an ewok from Star Wars
My dog Frisco who looks like an ewok from Star Wars