Day 44, Three New PRs!

Not sure how this happened. I woke up this morning super groggy and sore all over. But I dragged my ass to the train and 1:15 later I was in front of the squat rack, stretching everything in every which way and dreading the first work set of 200.

200??? Seriously? I weigh 200. Are you telling me that I am strong enough to squat my own weight 15 times? Ok, well maybe this had something to do with it…

2015-05-06 07.38.05At the beginning of the workout this thing was full of double strength cold brew iced coffee. No milk, no sugar, just a straight up blast of Good Morning! For those interested, I used this recipe.

The first squat set was tough and I chalk that up to my creaky old body needing a little more time to warm up. But sets 2 and 3 were strong.

2015-05-06 07.31.25After squats was overhead press for 100 x 5 x 3 and finally the granddaddy of all vein-popping, hernia-inducing exercises, the deadlift. After *warming up* with 225 x 3 (I smile as I type that!) I blasted through 250 x 5, trying to hold my breath through the entire movement, which is really tough!

So now I’m facing a new dilemma. Should I do squats again on Friday or start skipping every other workout? I could probably manage 205 on Friday with enough rest and sleep but trying to fit squats in on the same day as bench and barbell rows takes a long time. One of my primary goals for this 12 week program is to hit 225 on the squat, and I think I can accomplish this with squatting 2x a week. I haven’t decided yet. I think I will wait until Friday morning and see how I feel.

I ate breakfast again this morning. Not sure if this is a permanent break from intermittent fasting or just a temporary one…

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Day 42, Breakfast? WTF is Breakfast?

Since starting this blog (and actually a few months before) I have been using intermittent fasting as my eating schedule. And although I’m not convinced that it is a better method for weight loss over normal eating, I really enjoy the freedom it gives me to prep my food around 2 or 3 large meals instead of 5 or 6 small ones. On most mornings, after the first cup of coffee I completely forget about food for a few hours and concentrate on other things.

But today is not one of those mornings. Despite a decent amount of sleep over the weekend I woke up this morning completely exhausted and even contemplated calling out sick in order to catch up on some sleep. Of course, that would have never happened, so I dragged my ass to the train with the plan of getting to the gym at lunch time.

Since waking up, my neck, shoulders and lats are terribly sore. No sharp pain. Just “jammed up” as my old chiropractor would say. Of course, this doesn’t bode well for doing low bar squats, bench presses and barbell rows so I needed to get some Ibuprofen into my system. And that’s where breakfast comes in. I can’t take Ibuprofen on an empty stomach so I washed them down with 380 calories of greek yogurt and high protein granola.

So there you have it. I “broke” my fast early out of necessity. My work day is very light so I should have enough time to get a full workout in at lunch time. Wish me luck!

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.

Day 25, Sometimes you just have to say, “Screw it!”

By 9:30 pm last night I had just about had enough of being alive and productive for the day. The work day was over, the kids were in bed, the kitchen was clean and my son’s lunch was packed. With all this done, I was still faced with figuring out what to eat for the next day. And frankly, after 24 days of doing it I said, “Screw It! I will improvise tomorrow”.

This is both a good and bad thing for me. Clearly it’s good for me to take a break and be confident in the fact that I haven’t sabotaged my diet. But it’s also bad because the minute I decide to change something about my plan I look for an excuse.

In this case I find myself in the following situation. I have one more workout this week. When Monday comes I will have reached 4 weeks since I started. Starting Monday afternoon, I’m taking 24 hours off from normal life to relax in Atlantic City with my wife. I will not think about calories, macros or worksets. When Wednesday comes I will return to the gym to start the next 4 week block. The numbers for my first 4 weeks aren’t official yet, but it’s safe to say that I didn’t lose as much weight as I had hoped. However, I am stronger and my measurements are moving in the right direction.

Despite this, I’ve decided to implement some changes for the next 4 weeks.

Workout plan will change over to StrongLifts 3×5. This isn’t a major change. The only difference between this and what I’m currently doing is that I alternate barbell rows with deadlifts. Considering that I should probably hit 235 tomorrow, deadlifting every day will probably be too much as the weight goes up. Plus, StrongLifts has one of the best workout tracking apps for the iPhone that I’ve ever seen, and it’s free. The only problem is that the app doesn’t do much good unless you’re following the program exactly.

Diet will change to IIFYM + IF. Again, this isn’t a major change but enough to hopefully make things easier and in turn make results happen with less effort. I will still being doing intermittent fasting with morning fasted training. I love this schedule so I’m sticking with it. However, I will not continue with the calorie/carb cycling. It seems like an extra layer of complexity that isn’t helping as much as it’s hurting. Being able to eat extra carbs on workout days is great, but having to stick to low carb days on the weekends is difficult. So the numbers will change as follows:

  • calories 2084
  • carbs 275
  • protein 124
  • fat 54

The biggest change here is the drop to 124 grams of protein a day. I certainly like the idea of getting more carbs and having less stress of hitting my protein numbers by the end of the day. But I needed to justify the decrease based on evidence. From what I’ve read, overweight people should based their protein needs on lean body mass instead of body weight. Which for me is 157 * 0.8. There have also been many studies that prove that 0.8 grams per pound of body weight is more than enough for even the most intense bodybuilding competitors.

So now, armed with all this new information and these new marching orders I just can’t wait until Wednesday to start. I switched my macros over to this new plan immediately. But here’s the rub. It’s not because I’m super motivated. It’s because the new diet is easier than the current one so I want it to start right away! If I had decided to switch to a more restrictive diet I would certainly wait until next week.

2015-04-16 12.58.33All of this culminated in my “screw it” reaction this morning which ultimately lead me to my favorite falafel restaurant for lunch.

I don’t know what to do with all of this information other than just dump it out of my head and into this blog. Perhaps that’s enough for now…

Day -3, Morning – Say Goodbye to Breakfast!

2015-03-19 07.53.38So this is my first post which commemorates my last breakfast for the next 12 weeks. Tomorrow is my “soft launch” for Leangains (IF) which properly begins on Monday. I decided to give myself one warm up workout (tomorrow) and 3 days of IF before firing the starting gun.

Unlike previous attempts at blogging, I’m not going to fill up the first post with a shit-ton of background information. Instead, my history, analysis and decision making processes will be sprinkled in with the daily posts when appropriate.

Today is day negative 3 and the goal is prep. I will eat whatever I want and ensure that I have everything in place to blog daily for the next 12 weeks. I will also total my calories and macros for today’s binge (just for fun)…