Day 71 – 8 Week Results

The time has come for me to take a break from lifting. My body is in desperate need of some extensive healing and stretching. The timing couldn’t be more perfect though. Friday I’m on vacation, Monday I’m working from home and next Friday my gym will be closed for graduation. Trying to shove a lifting session in the middle of all of that is probably not worth the effort. So I will spend the next 11 days stretching, resting and doing a bit of cardio.

So now is the time to check the numbers and evaluate my progress.

Starting numbers as of April 1st. Three sets of five for all lifts (3 x 5)

  • Squat: 135
  • Bench: 160
  • Dead: 195
  • Press: 70

Latest numbers as of June 3rd.

  • Squat: 225 (+90) 67% increase
  • Bench: 205 (+45) 28% increase
  • Dead: 265 (+70) 36% increase
  • Press: 115 (+45)  64% increase

Looking at these numbers I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. I remember a time ten or twelve years ago when I was *about* this strong, but I wasn’t doing squats or deadlifts. So it might be valid to say that I’ve never been stronger! That’s amazing to me and something I wasn’t even expecting!

Obviously these types of gains cannot progress forever and I’m sure that I will eventually switch to a 3 day split. But for now I plan to continue the StrongLifts progression and finally add in the desperately needed barbell rows every other workout.

The common advice is to deload by 10% on all lifts after a week off, so this is where I will be starting on June 15th:

  • Squat: 200
  • Bench: 185
  • Rows: 155*
  • Dead: 240
  • Press: 95

Regarding rows, on my first day back to the gym I will increase the weight every set until  5 reps becomes difficult and that will be my work set weight for the next session.

Whew! That’s a lot of number crunching. And I haven’t even mentioned my diet yet!

It goes without saying that I’m hoping to stay on target with my macros during the week off from the gym. My new numbers (200/150/50) seem to be working well for me (so far at least). The next few days will be fraught with temptations – 3 birthday parties and a trip to Atlantic City – so I need to stay focused and plan around these calorie bombs!

I’m not sure how often I will post to this blog. 2 or 3 times at least just to keep myself accountable. Here’s to the next 8 weeks!!

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…