Day 9, Chip Attack!

Scale read 208 this morning.

Today I worked from home, which is always an adventure in dieting because I don’t really plan my meals for the day. One of the benefits of working from home is that I can just walk upstairs to kitchen and make whatever I want.

chipsI fasted until noon and then had a big lunch. Once I finished working for the day there was about an hour before dinner was ready. This was the hour of temptation! I glanced in the pantry and found an open bag of chips. But not just any chips. The superbly delicious new flavor Kettle Brand chips which I had purchased over the weekend on an impulse and managed to avoid until today. With the bag open and several other people in the house sampling a few, it wasn’t long before one handful turned into 5 or 6 and the bag was gone!

So this brings up an interesting question. Is it better to stay within your calorie allowance for the day even if you don’t hit all your macros? My chip attack didn’t blow me over my calorie limit, but I put me over the carb limit and left me 15 grams under for protein. I may be micro-managing here a bit.

Despite my chip attack, the rest of the day went well and I was happy to be home and close to my family all day.

Back to the gym tomorrow for more squatting!


Day 8, Back to the Gym

2015-03-30 05.03.56Home scale showing 207 this morning and 206 at the gym. I won’t believe it until next week but I’m hoping this means that I won’t see 210 ever again.

The students have returned to my gym. When I arrived at the lifting area all three squat racks and both benches were occupied. Luckily it didn’t last too long and I grabbed a squat rack after about 5 minutes.

First off, the workout I posted last night is totally wrong. It’s not an A/B workout. It’s a 3 day workout where the push exercise alternates between Bench Press and Overhead Press. Like this:


  • Squat 3×5
  • BP or OP 3×5
  • Chins


  • Squat 3×5
  • BP or OP 3×5
  • Deadlift 1×5


  • Squat 3×5
  • BP or OP 3×5
  • Pull ups

I approached my squats with a completely new eye. Some of the things I tried different since last week:

  • Lower rack position. As suggested so that I don’t go on my tip toes to unrack the bar
  • Safeties. As suggested so that I don’t injure myself
  • Low bar position on back: Based on my history, I was positioning the bar too high. My shins and calves are too tight to do a high bar squat
  • Hip Drive Focus: Consciously thinking about dropping the weight by bending at my hips first and then my knees
  • No bouncing at the top of the lift: As suggested which can cause injury
  • Lower weight, less volume: Because I’m focusing on form and knowing I will be doing squats 3x/week again I dropped the weight to 135 and did 3 worksets

2015-03-30 07.23.49With all this in mind the 135x5x3 was difficult, but not bad enough for me to sacrifice form (at least I don’t think so). Hopefully this becomes easier so I don’t have to think about it as much.

After that I did 160x5x3 on the bench and 3 sets of reverse grip cable pull downs. The programming for this exercise says “3 sets to failure, add weight reps go higher than 15”. I did 15 at 120 but then after adding another 20 couldn’t do more than 6. So I will stick with 140 for now.

The app I’m using is called Gym Buddy and although the interface is very outdated, the app is very functional. I have yet to find another app that handles weight lifting better. Unfortunately I don’t think the app is available anymore. So I’m happy to still have it.

Diet wise, I’m all set for the day. We’re having pizza tonight and I managed to fit 2 slices into my menu and still hit my macros.

Day 7, Week 1 Results

Busy weekend. Hardly had a chance to transfer any of my thoughts to this blog. Week 1 was a success all around. I logged all of my food and didn’t cheat. Only yesterday did I eat after my feeding window (pretty much out of necessity to hit my protein macros). I’m still obsessing over the proper workout routine, but more on that later.

Most importantly, the week 1 results:

  • Weight: 206 (-4)
  • Waist 2″ below navel: 40.5 (-0.5)
  • Waist at navel: 38.5 (-1.5)
  • Waist 2″ above navel: 36 (-1)
  • Chest: 41 (no change)
  • Neck: 15.5 (-0.5)
  • Arm: 14.5 (-0.5)
  • Leg: 23 (-1.5)

Basically, I shrunk just a little bit, everywhere. That’s fine with me.

Back to the workout. I think I’ve decided that the 3 day split is too advanced for me. I still have a lot of work to do on squats and I need the practice. So I’m switching back to a novice Starting Strength routine. The programming will be taking from the Practical Programming book and is set up as follows:

Workout A:

  • 3×5 – Squat
  • 3×5 – Overhead Press/Bench Press (alternating)
  • 1×5 – Deadlift

Workout B:

  • 3×5 – Squat
  • 3×5 – Overhead Press/Bench Press (alternating)
  • 3 sets pull ups to failure

For the first 4 workouts that include pull ups, I will probably use the cable pull down to see how heavy I can go for 5-7 reps and then switch to pull ups. This seems like a realistic schedule to fit in to 50 minutes.

Much more to think and blog about but I have to get some sleep if I’m going squat tomorrow.

Day 5, Sushi!

Finishing off the day with some delicious raw fish.2015-03-27 18.10.01

I know, I know. The white rice is not optimal, but have ever tried brown rice sushi? It might as well come in a bowl.

Been obsessing about squats and my workout programming. I think I want to try squatting 2x/week, but that means changing up a workout that I’ve only done for one week. So I’m conflicted…

Day 5, Temptation

My very thoughtful manager decided to bring in *TWO DOZEN DONUTS* this morning.

Now look, these aren’t just normal Dunkin’ Donuts, they’re not even Krispy Kreme or Federal Donuts (if you’re in Philly). These are fresh donuts homemade by the Pennsylvania Amish. He’s brought them in several times since I’ve started working here. They’re always still a little warm and they’re ALWAYS delicious!

I got close enough to them to take this picture and then walked away.

2015-03-27 09.43.21

There’s something about fasting that makes dieting easier. It’s not about making healthy food decisions or watching portion control. It’s about not eating anything. When you’ve committed to not eating anything before noon it seems easier to pass on the donuts, since you really have to pass on everything.

By 11:30 I was famished so I headed over to Chipotle to indulge in my carb day. Chipotle is much more accessible for dieters because of how many options they offer. My go to meal is a brown rice bowl with chicken, black beans, grilled veggies, salsa, corn and lettuce. Notice there’s no cheese, no sour creme and no guac. Not that these things are bad, but carb day also means low fat day, and this bowl tastes so go that you don’t even miss the fat.

2015-03-27 11.55.48
That’s an unsweetened iced tea, in case you were wondering!

Nutritional info:

  • cal: 650
  • fat: 18
  • carb: 83
  • pro: 49

Day 5, My Legs are WEAK!!

The bathroom scale registered 208.4 again this morning. At the end of my workout the gym scale read 205. I like the gym scale better!

2015-03-27 07.19.17I got to the gym ready to do some squats. Warmed up with the bar twice, then 95 x 3, 115 x 2 and 135 x 1. Then I moved to my work set of 160 (5 pounds heavier than last Friday) and was flabbergasted when I realized that the weight was too heavy for me to complete 5 x 5. I completed one set, dropped the weight to 155 and completed the other 4 sets. But damn, were those sets hard!

I don’t know what I was expecting. Prior to today I had done 2 sets of 5 at 155 after taking a month off and prior to that was 160 x 5 x 5. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’ve stalled, but it seems like my legs have always been weak. There’s a whole bunch of legitimate reasons why my squats are where they are and I’m willing to accept them. I’m not going to change my programming again since it’s only been one week. If I can get my squats up to 200 by the end of the 12 weeks I’ll be happy.

The only thing I’m unsure of is my form. Everyone *thinks* they have good form until someone else critiques it. Knowing this, I captured one of my sets on video. The thing I notice right away is that my heels come off the floor, which is a signal that I’m using my legs more than my hips to get the bar back up. Otherwise it seems like I’m going deep enough.

If anyone can give me some advice on my form I’d be grateful.

After squats, I did overhead press 65 x 5 x 5 which was what I expected. I hadn’t done OPs since last year and my shoulders are still a little sore from Wednesday.

So that’s it for week 1 at the gym. I’m heading to Chipotle for lunch to do some serious carbing up!