Saturday, August 24, 2013

Crossfit Hates Me

Sometimes, the easier you make things, the more you can progress.  Since my last post, I have been watching my sugar consumption (although I have indulged on birthdays and vacation....whoops).  Anyway, I want to put this out there....I have not counted calories in the past month.  I have not monitored a thing that I have put in my body.  I have enjoyed every meal, and have skipped quite a few as well.  I still is probably the single reason why I have been able to control my calories.  I have switched up my eating plan in the last month to make it even more accommodating to my lifestyle.  Before I worked on this meal plan, I did calculate that I wanted to keep my calories between 1800-2000/day.  Well, for 2 days of the week, I only eat dinner, and a normal dinner, meat veggies and carbs (and I don't really care if the carbs are starchy....what a joke).  Anyway, I've calculated on 2 days of the week, I can't exceed 600 calories during those meals, and the remaining 5 days, I can stick to 2300-2500 calories.  So, with those numbers, I don't go crazy on my fast day dinners, and I eat bigger meals on the non fast day.  I even mix in breakfast on  those days (gasp!).  Anyway, I figure my protein consumption is fine, and I am being responsible for my eating on most days.  If I slip and have a desert, I'm well aware of my lack of control, so I monitor it closely.  But, with my new position at work (it's almost been a year, hence the slowdown in the blog), I'm entertaining clients.  Plus, if you are in an office like mine, there is always good stuff lying around (although I do my best to stay away).  Anyway, the point is, I love my new meal plan, and by controlling my intake 2 days a week through fasting, I'm more relaxed with my eating the remaining 5 days.  This does not mean I eat anything I want!  Be responsible!  Oh, and I still don't drink :).

Now, remember how I separate my fat control (diet) with my muscle gain (weight training)?  As you can see from the updated photo, I am putting on some good muscle.  I also am thrilled with my numbers at the gym on the big 3 (bench, dead lift and squats).  Today, 315lbs on bench, the past few days has yielded reps of 395 lbs on squat and 375 lbs on dead lift.  This is on an empty stomach.  I made the mistake a few weeks ago of drinking a protein shake prior to my workout (don't ask me why), and I had a horrible time...I felt bloated and weak, go figure.  I'm still not doing cardio, so, the diet has been working just fine.  I do enjoy a protein shake after my workouts and I have been mixing in a tbsp of creatine.  I wouldn't say this is the sole reason for my gain, it's really just improving my numbers everyday at the gym.  I still keep track on my clipboard.

So, where am I at right now in my journey?  I'm 38 years old and the strongest I have ever been in my life.  I haven't been on the scale in 3 hell with the scale.  I have found a meal plan that is not a scam (I'm living proof, and no, it's not that I have a special body type and it's only right for me, it's science), and I still workout 3 days a week....oh, and I still hate cardio.

Friday, May 31, 2013

A Few Quick Notes...Down With Sugar

As we get closer to summer I would like to share a few things. #1....I'm getting stronger still, which is always a good thing.  I'm up to 345 lbs on my deadlift (4x) after starting at 135 lbs. last May.  #2...sugars kill me, and if I stay away from them, I'm fine.  When I indulge, it leads to other bad decisions...that's the way I am.  At some point, I'm going to have to make a long term decision on what I will and will not stick to from a diet standpoint.  I eliminated alcohol a few years ago, and my success skyrocketed.  I've been hovering around the 189-193 lb range and have had muscle gain, but I'm ready to really dig deep and see what I am capable of achieving.  I plan on checking back in at the end of July to give you some updated photos.  I think you'll notice muscle gain for sure, but I'm still struggling with a cleaner diet.  I embraced the idea of "anything goes", and I think it's a great concept.  The problem is, anything should not be in my vocabulary if I want to continue to have long term success.  Alcohol I don't miss.  Hopefully, my next post will state that I don't miss sugars.  I'll keep you posted.....but remember, this journey started when I validated my insulin issues at the doctor.  Sometimes, starting a new job, working hard and progressing your career causes you to lose focus. Why would I continue to put things in my body that are causing it harm long term, just for a few seconds of instant gratification?  I'm not saying I'm never going to enjoy foods, it's going to be difficult for me to stay on track if I allow certain foods to remain in my life.  It starts now, alcohol has been gone....sugar, you're next....I have to remember what led me here in the first place.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Holiday Abs and the Summer Slim Down

Photo: I'm always jazzed to see people working towards their goal. I'm going to try to do a better job of acknowledging people in the gym, at every level, who are making an effort.

You may have noticed I haven't been blogging lately.  I have been having a hard time finding time when my new position started in September.  But, I feel this blog is important to get my success/failures out there so others can see and possibly relate to what I am going through.

Let's rewind to July 2012, 9 months after starting my journey.  I bottomed out at 178....starting at 238.8.  I say bottomed out because I have gained some weight, but I am unsure what is muscle/fat.  I have gained some fat back for sure, and I'll get to that in a moment.  In July, we took a week long vacation to California.  I was feeling good, but I really didn't pay attention to my quality of foods.  I ate anything I wanted, just less frequently.  But I was eating foods that were not whole, nutrient dense, or high in quality.  It was bad carbs....fried....sugar....etc.  I started to forget what got me here.  It was ok to indulge in the bad stuff, just understand the calories you are putting in your body.  When I returned, I never really got back on full track.  The Holidays hit, and both Thanksgiving and Christmas were times in which I never really monitored the quality of foods I was putting in my body.

Two things happened during this time period.  #1....I become stronger.....I mean, my weight lifting numbers were's like the over eating really gave me a boost of energy I was lacking when I was at 178.  #2....I gained fat....I'm currently at 193.....but I'm estimating 5 pounds is muscle since starting back in the gym in May.  That leaves me with about 10 lbs. extra gained from July.  That seems reasonable, the top of my body is still pretty shredded, but my waist area still has my "Holiday abs".

Now, if you know me, I have been analyzing how I can maintain my success and not fall back into old habits for an extended period of time.  I isolated the one thing that was keeping me successful that I was not doing, and that was calorie counting.  You know what I found?  Calories counting is a pain in my ass.  I hate having to log my meals every day, it's like, if I wasn't inputting my meals for the day, I had no guide and would eat whatever I felt because I could make it up the next few days when I did start counting.  Only, I haven't really consistently logged meals since July.  So, now I have concluded that I hate calorie counting, and I have gained back some fat, but also gained muscle and strength in the process?

Here am today, with an even simpler plan that you can monitor with me.  I will get to 168 pounds.  Remember, with my height and average lean muscle mass for at 37 year old male calculations, that weight should put me in a good body fat %.  I'm currently at 193.  I still love fasting.  Non-workout days....I'm going to stick to try and max 1800 calories a day.  Two of those days, I will be mixing in a 24 hour fast and try to shoot for 1400 calorie days.  Workout days, I my go as high as 2800 calories.  I'm still skipping breakfast and giving around 16 hours between meals.  Here's the catch, I hate counting calories, but I also have a ballpark feel now about how many calories are in each of my meals. If I go out to eat, I will have a pretty good estimation about what plate I will be eating and the calories involved.  Also, I keep telling myself that if I monitor the bad stuff, I can mix it back into my diet for balance.  I can, but I have to be ready for a battle.  To many times of having a sweet here or there, or a deep fried meal leads to more indulgence, and I find myself gaining weight.  It's tough for me to stop when I go down that road, that's just how I am wired.  If I am going to detach from calorie counting entirely, then I will need to stick to the quality foods....whole, nutrient sugar (for the most part).  1-2 quality meals/day should get me to my goal.  If I anticipate a bad meal coming (and I am going to limit them), then I will break out the calorie counter. It's going to be that easy.  Also, I will listen to my body....if I am feeling depleted (I was feeling this way at 178), then I will feed my body with quality stuff.  I am going to, as Brad Pilon coined, "detach and relax".  Again, I am still gaining muscle, and that's a good thing, and I have to find that balance of feeding my body, but not over feeding it.  No supplements either, and lifting on a empty's great.  I imagine if I stick to the quality foods, continue to lift heavy, and stop sweating the small stuff....I'll be ready to go by summer....I'll keep you posted.  Who's going to join me on this summer slim down?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Anything Goes....

If you have been following along, you have seen me progress from being a "healthy, clean" food, macro counting enthusiast to a laid back, watch your calories type of individual.

What is encouraging is that I am still putting on solid muscle and losing fat.  What's even more encouraging is that I have been eating whatever I want to, just in less quantities.  Here is the bottom line:  Until my abs start going away, my diet is going to be varied with nutrient dense foods, and junk.  It will be balanced.  If I had to chart it, I would bet five days out of the week, I am eating a majority foods that are lower calorie and dense with the nutrients.  The other two days, higher calories with lower nutrients.  The point is, I'm not too worried about it.  I'm trying to average 2,000-2,100 calories/day.  The rest just sort of falls into place.

That brings me to my main point....I recommend if you want to get technical and follow a diet, subscribe to John Barban's Anything Goes Diet.  It's full of great information like: eat whatever you want, just eat less........don't mind if I do.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm still here....

I apologize for not posting an update for a while.  Things have been very interesting in my work life, and I hope to have things back on track soon.

Weight training has been going wonderfully for me.  I continue to hit personal bests in squats and dead lifts. Yes, I am one of those who carries a clipboard around the gym and records my numbers.  I can't understand why you wouldn' seems like I'm just spinning my wheels if I don't document my progress.

I'm beginning to really notice a difference in my shoulders and across my chest.  I put on a suit the other day and needed size 32 pants (down from 38).  I also and wearing medium to large t-shirts...down from XL and XXL.

The other day, a kid came up to me, around my son's age, at the pool, and said I was really athletic and that his dad couldn't do flips off the diving board like I was doing (although with bad form).  I want to let you know, if you are 37 like me and can't do flips with your kid off the diving board because of your physical condition, you're missing out.  I would take that as a slap in the face to switch up your lifestyle.

We were in Wimberley, TX last week at a place named Blue Hole....essentially it's a creek in the Hill Country for recreational swimming.  It also has a few rope swings to swing out over the water.  One particular swing has a ring to hold on to (see picture below), and if you choose, you can get a running leap from a platform and catch the ring mid-air for a great swing.  Let's just say, it took me half a day to get the timing down.  Once I had the timing, I was catching the ring with the high school boys.  Not many were physically able to do this, but it was the most physical fun I had in a long time.  Why am I telling you this?  Because I was probably one of the few 37 year old dads who could conquer the ring.  The best moment came when I swung out over the water, did a back flip off of the ring.  When I looked up, I could see my eight year old son smiling and clapping for me.

Each day, I am getting stronger and leaner.  I don't exercise 6 days a week, and I don't eat 6 clean meals a day. I watch my calories and bust my butt to make it matter in the gym.  You know what?  I'm in my late 30's, and I'm getting in great shape.  One year ago, I was fat, depressed, and confused.  Today, I am happy, confident, and excited what the next day holds.  I'm tired of excuses....I'm tired of seeing other dads sit on the sidelines while their kids play.  I was that way, and thank myself each day for getting control of myself.  I accepted responsibility.  No weight loss or fitness program provided me with the magic bullet.  Yet, I figured it out...YOU DON"T HAVE TO BE DEPENDENT ON ANY ONE PROGRAM OR PLAN....FIGURE IT OUT FOR YOURSELF.....IT'S MORE SUSTAINABLE THAT WAY.  Yes, I am know why?  Because I'm tired of whiny excuses I'm hearing from people.  I'm tired of absolute statements of "this works, but not that"....shut up and find out what works for you.  Oh, and do not drop another dime on some fitness scheme designed to drain your wallet.  There are plenty of free calorie counters out there.  It's that easy.  I'll see you at the pool....will you be doing flips with me and the kids....or will you be sitting on the sidelines?


Monday, July 23, 2012

In Defense of Calories

Great article I read that really gets down to the psychology and resentment that can surround calorie counting.  If you haven't been following, I have been shifting my core philosophy towards not exceeding my maintenance calories on a weekly basis.

See link below:

In Defense of Calories

Friday, July 20, 2012

Finding The Right Balance

I thought I would update the blog today because I'm trying to take my mind off that horrible news coming out of Colorado.

Lately, I have been feeling very hungry.  Yesterday, I put away a large amount of food, so much that I didn't really feel like tracking it.  The other night, I consumed 2800 calories, then the next, a little over 2,100.  At the same time, I continue to get stronger.  Most of the calories I have been consuming have been fruits, veggies, and lean meats.  Last night, that wasn't the case, it was Dominoes pizza and wings.  I notice the difference today.  I  feel a little more sluggish, not on the top of my game, and it goes back to my point that there are certain foods your body thrives on.  The key is finding the right balance between those foods that make you feel good, and the kind that you know you couldn't eat on a regular basis, but you enjoy for the taste.  You can have both, finding that balance is the key.  For the most part, my success has come from enjoying that balance and listening to my body.  Getting my fruits, veggies and lean meats in, but topping the day off with an ice cream sundae.  My performance at the gym doesn't suffer, I feel great, and I am still treating myself to things I love...that's balance.  I don't become bent out of shape anymore because I didn't stick to a completely "clean" diet.  The old me would have that mentality, and you see how well that worked for me.

Anyway, I am upping my calories to around 2,400 on gym days (because those are the days I really feel the most hunger pains) and keeping them around 1800 on non-workout days.  My latest calculation for my goal weight at 168 had my caloric need at 2,100 daily if I did very little exercise.  I figure with this conservative estimate, I'll continue to be under my maintenance for the week and shed this last bit of belly fat.

On another note, I continue to implement intermittent fasting into my day.  I don't know if I could have been successful at this point without it.  I still eat breakfast, I just don't BREAK the FAST until 11 am or 12 pm.  If you are finding it very difficult to control your cravings and are ravenous for every little small meal 5-6 times a day....try breaking it into 1 or 2 big meals.  I don't have any scientific evidence, others have done the leg work in this department.  But, my cravings are controlled, and I feel satisfied.  I also still workout in the mornings in a fasted state, and my muscles are still growing.  I've also average out my protein macros over the last month while I have become stronger.  130-150 grams on average, well below 1 to 2 times my body weight.  You don't need as much protein as you think and chances are, you are getting enough in your weekly diet.  This brings me to my CONCLUSION: Watch your calories, try and stick to the foods that make you feel good, but balance in some garbage to make you feel complete.  I assume none of us are looking to get on a stage to flex anytime in the near future, so let's make this journey fun.  Slow and steady will win the race, and may provide a sustainable lifestyle for continued weight control.