Day 69 (tee hee!), Squat Practice

2015-06-01 11.52.51After a couple days of ice and heat on my hip, I went back to the gym this morning to work on my squat form. It’s really is humbling when I drop 90 pounds off my previous PR and realize that there are still plenty of things to tweak about my form.

I ended up doing about 5 sets of 5 at 135, going very slow, trying to get below parallel and keeping the rest of my form precise. I spent a lot of time warming up my shoulders and experimenting with bar placement. In a nutshell, I’ve been placing the bar a bit too low and keeping my hands too wide. Once I corrected that, things felt better.

The final tip I got from a fellow gym-goer was to be cognizant of any bend or curve in my back on the way up. Prior to today I’ve always been concentrating on using my hips to raise up out of the low position and probably neglected any attention on keeping my back straight and chest up. But I think I’ve got it now. I swear, the squat is hardest exercise to do with proper form, but it’s really rewarding when you get it right!

After squats I put up 115 on the overhead press for 2 sets of 5 and then only got 3 on the final set. This is fine since my goal is 115 and I will have one more workout next week before the break.

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Finally I loaded the deadlift bar with 265 (after warming up of course) and got a nice set of 5. I constantly go back and forth between doing one or multiple sets of deads. I think trying to do 3 sets of 5 last week may have been too much.

Diet wise, I’ve changed up my macros (yes, again!). I’m still not a fan of the carb cycling even though I’ve had a few good days doing it. As I’ve stated before on this blog, I think it adds another level of complication to menu preparation.

So I’ve simplified my numbers:

200c
150p
50f

Based on all of the literature I’ve read and all of the advice I’ve received I now declare these to be my magic numbers! And while I’m not sure that these numbers will affect my fat loss in either direction compared to what I’ve done up until now, they seem to be three numbers I can live and work with. The overall calories for these macros is 1850 which by most calculations is about a 500 calorie deficit per day if I’m working out 3 days a week. Even better, these numbers are easy to track and remember.

From here the plan is to go to the gym Wednesday and Thursday (I’m off Friday) and then take next week off entirely from lifting weights. I must say that I’m looking forward to the break!

Day 63, Holiday Diet Regrets.

From a dieting standpoint I’d like to try and put this weekend behind me and just move on.

peanut-butter-marshmallow-krispie-brownieSaturday was my first attempt at a no carb (read: “low carb”) day. This first attempt coincided with the first of 3 days of picnics and get-togethers where the carbs flow fast and free! For the most part, I did very well on Saturday. I allowed myself a beer but ate raw veggies instead of chips and my dogs and burgers had no buns. Then dessert came. My wife decided to make what I have now dubbed “Devil Brownies”, which are cocoa rice crispy treats on top of a fudge brownie held together with marshmallow fluff. I call them “Devil Brownies” because once you eat one the devil rises up from hell and laughs at your feeble attempts to control yourself and not eat any more. I had 3. But despite my best efforts prior to this dessert debacle, it was 9pm and I was still short about 80 grams of protein for the day.

Devil 1, Diet 0

Sunday, I awoke to find the devil had slept over and got me started on eating more of his brownies as early as 10 in the morning. By 2pm the remaining brownies were locked in Tupperware inside a bag tied very tightly on the highest shelf of the kitchen. I had eaten somewhere around 6 more. With my diet considered ruined for the day I surrendered to a dinner of pizza, fries and mojitos.

Devil 2, Diet 0

Monday, memorial day proper and a picnic at my mom’s pool. I decided to put my best foot forward and eat according to my training day macros (175p/200c/30f). Let me tell ya, that big 200 number next to the carbs really gives you some breathing room at a picnic. After a sensible breakfast and a bag of protein chips to squash the mid day snacking urge, I kept myself busy with the kids and the pool and only snacked a little before dinner. By the end of the day I was just under on calories and carbs (even considering the 2 mojitos… damn they’re delicious when it’s hot out!) but once again, very lacking in protein.

Devil 2, Diet 0 (I consider Monday to be a push. The devil didn’t win, but neither did I…)

So now here I am on a Tuesday morning, armed with renewed motivation and a shit-ton of high protein foods. All my meals are planned out and I should be able to stay under 50 grams of carbs today. But it’s a lot of freaking work! I feel the need to plan better.

2015-05-25 11.50.09But I try to never end a blog post on the negative. And yesterday I can honestly say that I felt a little better about having my shirt off. The various pictures of me by the pool didn’t invoke my normal “Yuch!” reaction, which surprised me a little bit. Seeing these photos makes me regret that I didn’t try harder for the past 6 weeks. But there is progress and a good foundation of strength to build on. Now the real challenge is not to lose focus despite all of temptations that come with the summertime mindset…

Day 57, Why can’t the diet be as easy as the workout?!

2015-05-19 11.48.31Let’s start with the good news. I busted through 2 new PRs today.

Squat 220 x 5 x 3 and Bench 195 x 5 x 3. Tuesday is an off day for me at the gym but I had to deal with some logistical problems that prevented me from renewing my gym membership until yesterday afternoon. But who am I kidding, I was happy to sleep in yesterday.

So I plan to be a little unorthodox this week and take 2 days off in a row. This will set me up for Friday morning where I will finally try to hit 225 on the squat. If I’m not too sore, I’ll also shoot for 200 on the bench. Otherwise 260 deadlift again.

Diet wise, I’m still struggling. Trying to eat at a 1000 calorie/day deficit is hard and I already knew this when I started doing it last week. But the scale still doesn’t budge and I really think it should have by now. I started day 1 at 210 pounds and today I weigh 210 pounds. I suppose I should be happy because my strength went up significantly but my weight stayed the same. But I’m so conditioned to see the loss of pounds as a measure for success. I know, I know. Muscle weighs more than fat, body re-composition, etc. But the reality is that I have seen the other side of 200 pounds many times and even the other side of 190 a few times. But now I just can’t get there.

Day 52, It’s Thursday Already?

This week has really flown by and I’m a little astonished at how easy it has been to stick to my calories. Perhaps its just my “do or die” mindset right now, but it’s also possible that the fat burning I’m taking is working. Not much else to report. Here are my food stats from yesterday:

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Not too bad. Going to head out in a few for some steady state cardio…

Day 49, Cutting!

Ugh. I suck at this! I had another “Come to Jesus” moment after trying on a few non workout summer clothes yesterday. Nothing fits. And I constantly distract myself by blaming the diet.  Meanwhile the harsh reality is that I just don’t stick to the diet. I do pretty good for a couple days and then I start getting lax on the tracking or just I just convince myself that this is a long term goal so I should enjoy myself a little and eat something. Meanwhile, the scale read 212 this morning. TWO FUCKING TWELVE. Seriously, what’s the point of doing all this if I’m not going to do it right? Who am I trying to fool?

Ok, rant over. I’m cutting more calories to try to jump start some weight loss. If I notice my strength going down I will revise. But honestly I think I have enough fat storage to cut 1000 calories a day for the next few weeks and see what happens.

Slept in this morning so I’m off to the gym right… NOW!!!F

Day 40, Diet Break

I didn’t diverge too much. I just decided that I didn’t want the burden of logging food.  I’ll get back to it tomorrow.

Since I worked from home today, I wasn’t able to lift weights at the gym. Instead I spent 30 minutes with Kasandra and her Yoga for Weight Lifters video. This was just the break I needed to stretch out and loosen up. The routine is great and not overwhelmingly difficult or complex.

In and ideal world I would do this workout every day. For now I will shoot for twice a week! Tomorrow I go running again.

Day 39, Not So Fast!

Over the past few days I’ve slowly moved away from intermittent fasting. On Tuesday I ate my first meal around 10:30 before going for a run at noon. Yesterday, when my manager brought in bagels and cream cheese to celebrate our successful launching of a project, I didn’t deny myself. And this morning I had a DnD egg-white flat bread turkey sausage sandwich.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I’m still counting macros and trying not to go over but I really like the “theory” behind intermittent fasting and it hasn’t been hard to follow for the past few months. On the other hand, I’m not really seeing any weight loss results so I wonder if intermittent fasting makes much of a difference.