Journal Entry 276 – Chicago

Life:

Last week Sarah and I went to Chicago to visit my brother Justin and his wife Rebecca. We haven’t been up there since he moved, so we wanted to visit his new house. Awesome city though. I have been to a few big cities and Chicago is one of the cleanest I’ve seen. It has about 3 million people living directly in the city and a lot more on the outskirts. Much less than New York, but way nicer and more affordable. Lake Michigan was Bahama water blue and basically looked like a beach. If this “lake” was in Europe it would be called a sea. It was a massive body of water. There was also a river cutting through the city, which is actually disconnected from the sea due to keeping the lake clean from the river’s toxins. That being said the river looks very nice cutting through the city.We ended up going on a boat tour through the river and a bus tour through the city. Both were nice, but I liked the boat tour better as we didn’t have to weave through traffic. The last day we went to Wrigleyville and saw Wrigley field. Cool town even though I’m not a huge baseball fan.

I recently got a promotion to shift lead, so my schedule is no longer 9-6 Monday through Friday. It is now 1pm-12am Wednesday through Thursday and 9am-8pm Friday and Saturday. I’m looking forward to it though as the job comes with more money and more responsibility.

Food:

Chicago’s eats didn’t disappoint. The first thing I wanted to get there was deep dish pizza. It took about an hour to get, but it was awesome. Reminded me of pizza, lasagne, and pie mixed together. We got cookie dough ice cream, burgers and fries from a place called Shake Shack, carrot cake from Mandy B’s and biscuits from Crosby’s. I was convinced I just didn’t like biscuits, but these were life changing. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Really good. Mandy B’s was a dessert place that pretty much served everything. Sarah is the one that loves sweet’s, so I told her to get whatever she wanted and I would share it with her. It didn’t disappoint.

For my normal diet, I have started to add in some kefir to my diet. After doing research on it, I think it can really help clear up my psoriasis. One of the most potent probiotics on earth, mainly because it has 15-20 billion probiotics per cup and since it’s also a prebiotic, the probiotics don’t get destroyed in your stomach, before they actually reach your intestines. This is supposed to fix a lot of issues with digestive enzymes, leaky gut, skin issues, bloating, energy and mental health. Looking forward to seeing the benefits. My plan is to pound it pretty hard the first month or so and then back off to maintenance dosages.

Macro wise has been much higher in carbs, moderate in fat and somewhat lowish protein for me 90 to 120 grams.

Workouts:

My chin-ups have finally progressed up past 3 sets of 8 reps with 30lbs to 3 sets of 12 reps with 30lbs. My accessories have also increased.

My bench press is sadly still the same, but still feels good when I’m doing it. My dips, however, are way up at almost 3 sets of 20 reps. I’m not adding weight to dips, but instead I’m adding a lot of reps. Really good pump from these.

Barely been doing any cardio recently, mainly because my gym has been packed at 7am when I usually go run. Luckily, I dont have to go at the time anymore, so I will probably pick up running 2-3 times a week again.

 

Journal Entry 242 – New Shift

Starting on the 31st of this month, I have been told my hours are going back to 9-6 Monday – Friday. This has several advantages from a lifestyle standpoint with my girlfriend, because I will get to see her every night. It does prevent an interesting challenge for the gym though. I wrote last weeks post undecided on what I was going to do and I can honestly still tell you I don’t know haha. I will either have to go early in the morning waking up about 7 or after I get off work at 6 PM. I prefer the night approach as of right now because after making a list of pros and cons, the night shift has more positives. The only huge negative of the night shift is the amount of people that will be in the gym at that time. This makes certain exercises very hard to do. The main problem with the morning shift though is I hate the feeling of being rushed in the gym and the only way to avoid this is to wake up really early. Then I feel like I’m forcing myself to get up, when I don’t want to. I also feel the night before I have to go to bed super early, so that I don’t wake up extremely tired. With the night shift I can avoid this by simply getting up at 8 AM or so and just go to bed by 12 AM. This still gives 8 hours of sleep and I can just hit the gym later in the day when I’m more awake. I can also schedule my dinner to be the postworkout period, which I plan on having a huge feast at this time.

Since I will be doing this schedule 5 times a week, I actually have figured out an eating plan that I plan to do with this setup. Basically a modified intermittent fasting plan, that I think will work very well. It’s also very simple:

  • Wake up – 8AM – Coffee
  • Meal 1 –  10 AM – Protein Pudding with berries – 200 calories
  • Meal 2 – 12 AM – Coffee and Quest Bar – 200 calories
  • Meal 3 – 2 PM – 1 bag of Popchips Ridges and Diet Coke – 350 calories
  • Totals 750 calories
  • Workout 6:20 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Meal 4 – 8 PM – 12 AM – Dinner / Postworkout Feast (Mixed Carbs, Fats and Protein) 1000-2000 calories

So no matter what I’m doing in the gym (workout wise) this will likely be the way I eat during the day. As for the feast at night, it will vary probably every day. This is what I call having structure, but also a lot of flexibility. I tend to snack during the day, so that bag of Popchips can last me awhile and kind of fuels me while I work. I also really like having something salty around lunch and I’m trying to avoid meal prep and preparing food during the day, so this is a really good alternative. Also I’m getting about 50 grams of protein during the day, so if there is any advantage of “stoking protein synthesis” then it will be taken care of. The only days this layout wont be in place is on Saturday and Sunday, but that calories will be similar.

As for workout, I have some ideas running through my head, but I don’t want to update the blog until I know for sure that’s what I’m doing. It will include a lot of barbell benching though ;).

Also I want to do a supplement update that I haven’t done in awhile:

  • 5 grams of Creatine Monohydrate
  • 5000 IU of Vitamin D
  • 1 Digestive Enzyme
  • Food Staples daily:
    • 1 can of leaf spinach (for magnesium and many other micros)
    • 3 eggs a day (eaten at anytime during day – for micros)
    • 1 bag of broccoli (micros)

 

Journal Entry 241 – Reevaluating

This week as pretty mediocre in terms of lifting and I actually realized why my strength has been somewhat stagnant here recently. One huge reason is a lack of creatine. I stopped taking it and I realized it was negatively impacting my lifts and volume. I noticed the biggest effect on the bench press. I also have been kind of slacking on cardio and trying to lift too often. In addition to my bro split setup, I have been going in to doing a lot of pump work and bodyweight work in addition to light running. I think this fluff is just extra noise that I really don’t need to be doing. It seems to be taking away from what really matters. Days of cardio only I feel are actually really effective to keep in for a variety of reasons, but mainly because they help shuttle recovery, prevent CNS burnout from lifting too often and also keep motivation high. Lifting everyday sounds good, but after awhile you start to extremely bored of the same repetitive workouts over and over. I plan on keeping the same split I have been doing for almost a month now and just do cardio only on my off days. I was also considering doing a split where I hit the same muscles every 4th day. For example, Workout A / Cardio / Workout B / Cardio/ Workout A. This would allow me to hit chest far more frequently which is ideal and also keep it somewhat minimalist in terms of exercises so I can really see what is affecting my strength and size progression.

Another interesting point I noticed is that by trying to lift everyday, I can seem to sleep for days. I force myself to get up at 9am after going to be around 12-1am, but if I allowed myself to just sleep, I would probably sleep another 2-3 hours easy. During the work week this really isn’t an option. On the other hand when I just keep it to straight cardio and stay the hell out of the gym in terms of weights on “off” days, I sleep well and then wake up rather spryly.

Diet has been around 2400 calories this week. I was hoping since I was eating more that I could get away with some of this extra “workout volume”, but I guess not. Also my gym is starting to get insanely packed. No matter what time of the day it just feels overcrowded. This really bums me out to be honest. Working out for me is a solo activity where I zone out and get into my “zone.” I can’t do this at all inside of a crowded gym. It really bugs me and if I start back on 9-6 soon then it may only get worse. Unless I workout earlier in the day. This is one reason I really look forward to cardio days though. When I do cardio I can be by myself and just zone out for a good 30 minute to an hour, feel awesome afterward and move on with my day. Sometimes the crowded gym prevents me from getting done what I want to get done in terms of workout and can actually really affect my mood. This makes me think a 3 day split may be better for me now, so I don’t have to deal with it as often. Still playing around with it. 😉

My diet is still far from structured and I did lower my protein this week by a decent margin. I ran 5 miles and accumulated 8 total miles yesterday and noticed my craving for dietary fat increased dramatically. I also sweat like crazy and showered after my workout and the next time I ate something it tasted extremely good. Another benefit of running for long miles. 🙂 My mom actually brought me some cookies from some place she went to for work and I actually had like 7 of them. They were on the smaller side, but I honestly didn’t care. I also woke up this morning with a ravenous appetite and I estimated taking in around 3000 calories yesterday. I think my metabolism may be speeding up a bit. I will say to before I forget that running does have some very distinct benefits over lifting (for me anyway). If you ever felt like you had way too much food just sitting in your stomach, then running is the solution. It literally clears you out and also allows you to pack in much more dirty food then lifting does. I also realized it kind of helps clear your sinuses as well. Although I think running only has benefits if you are eating enough. I think its beyond miserable when calories are too low, but then again so is just about everything else in life.

 

 

 

Journal Entry 187 – Body Temperature and Metabolic Rate

Log:

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5/16 – 174.4lbs – 2900 Calories – 7100 steps – 3.6 miles

5/17 – Missed – 1900 calories – 10300 steps – 5.2 miles

5/18 – Missed – 1900 calories – 11700 steps – 5.5 miles

5/19 – 175.4lbs – 1850 calories – 11900 steps – 5.9 miles

5/20 – 175.8lbs – 2160 calories – 11500 steps – 5.5 miles

5/21 – 175lbs – 2300 calories – 11900 steps – 5.6 miles

5/22 – 175lbs – 2400 calories – 13300 steps – 6.3 miles

Average Calories – 2200 calories – Average Weight – 175lbs

Journal:

So last week I decided I was going to do a modified version of the V-diet. This is a low carb, full body plan. But I’ve feeling off for the past 2-3 weeks and I had no idea why. Been low carbing it pretty much 6 out of 7 days of the week, just due to taste preferences and making sure to keep the fat and protein going strong. After writing my blog post, I stumbled upon an article talking about body temperature and its relation to weight and metabolism. Very interesting research and it seems pretty clear that for every degree below 98.6 degrees you are, there is a good 5-10% reduction in metabolism and this is probably closer to 10%. Basically if your BMR is 1800 calories and then your metabolism is slow by about 180 calories a day. Your BMR is the main thing affected and I’m sure you could make up for the cratering of a metabolism, by walking or jogging a ton. But the point is the dropping of the metabolism shows something is off. Not enough energy is coming in and the thyroid is slowing down along with a host of other negative side effects for energy production. Decided to test mine out and it was 96.6 degrees. Thats a big drop off of about 360 calories a day.360 x 7 is about 2500 calories a week. I also noticed I wasn’t getting nearly as motivated to life anymore. I had a burn out feeling and no matter how many times I changed my workouts, it wasn’t enough to get me into it. Lowered base body temperature is good from a longevity standpoint, but not from a good being in the “present” standpoint and this is something I need to fix.

My plan is to do more of a bodybuilding routine and do a 5 day push/pull/legs routine. I noticed when I workout my body temperature heats up to 98.6 or higher and stays there for a few hours. Hot showers also achieve this and so do bigger meals with lots of carbs. The workout surge in temperature is likely due to adrenaline. This is still good, but you ideally want your temperature to be warm always and not have adrenaline and cortisol keep it elevated at all times. I also plan to increase calories mainly through carbs. My estimated maintenance due to reduced body temps is about 2250 calories a day. Is this number 100% accurate? – Probably not. My body temperature in the morning is right around 96.6-97.2. But this is a fair estimate of how much I’m burning roughly. I plan to eat at least this everyday and slowly increase till I reach higher body temps. I noticed a few weeks back that my estimated maintenance was right around 2500 calories. It didnt make sense to me due to my high activity levels, but now I realize it could have been a lowered body temp. I also noticed body temp can fluctuate a lot during the day. I’d say on average it hits mid 97’s during the day. Again not a huge decrease, but I still want it to be at least 98 where it should be.

I do feel that normal body temp is very important. Not only for general health, but for energy and putting on muscle and strength quickly. So the new plan is to do a new routine with roughly 3 sets of 8-10 reps on everything about 5 days a week, eat more carbs and less fat and protein, eat at least 2300 calories a day and monitor body temperature as I go. Not sure how long it will take to get back to normal, I guess it depends on much I eat. Definitely not going to combine too much food with a lowered metabolism as this will mean fat gain. I really do enjoy low carb diets from a taste and ease standpoint, but if this is one of the side effects, then I may have to wave goodbye to them for now and probably for good.

Workouts:

Saturday – Upper Body

Sunday – Bodyweight Circuit

Tuesday – Chest only

Friday – Pull

Strange split this week. Took most of the week off due to lingering soreness and lack of motivation. I realize now, why I’m sore all the time, due to lowered body temp impacting recovery.

This week I plan to introduce some more variety into my workouts, by not focusing so much on strength and including more overall exercises with reduce number of sets per movement. Haven’t done this in awhile and I think I’ll like the change.

Nutrition

This week I was aiming for roughly 2200 calories 250g of carbs / 165g of protein / 61g of fat. I will bump this up if I noticed no change in body temperature. My main goal was to eat more carbs and less fat and protein while maintaining a calorie deficit. I plan to eat at least maintenance this week though. I noticed I’m actually getting leaner and pushing past plateaus by eating more carbs and less fat. I also eat most of my carbs at night, mainly for energy reasons. I dont like big carby meals during the day at all. Energy sucks and it leads to cravings. By eating all my carbs at night, I really dont care if makes me tired because I’m not doing anything anyway. Plus you get to make a really big meal and it also helps with sleep. I expected the scale to spike, but if anything it has gone down. I have lowered my fat intake a bit though mainly to incidentals, mainly because I’m trying to focus on carbs at the moment due to its effects on body heat. Still trying to figure my go-to meals with carbs and a lot of the time it ends up being random carby foods, mainly because I dont know what to make haha.

I’m hoping this is the key to getting me out the rut I currently find myself in.

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Chicken, black beans, special K chips
Chicken, black beans, special K chips
Kettle Corn made with coconut oil.Low fat though.
Kettle Corn made with coconut oil.Low fat though.
Trader Joes breaded chicken tender and veggies
Trader Joes breaded chicken tender and veggies
Protein powder with a sweet potato
Protein powder with a sweet potato
Huge strify with meat, veggies and potatoes
Huge strify with meat, veggies and potatoes
Lean meat, veggies and pasta with pomodoro sauce
Lean meat, veggies and pasta with pomodoro sauce
Breaded chicken tenders, two potatoes, baked beans, Butter bread and some veggies
Breaded chicken tenders, two potatoes, baked beans, Butter bread and some veggies