Thursday, November 10, 2011

New goals and direction for the next few months

I know I haven't posted in a while. Sorry about that.

I've come to the realization that I'm pretty happy with my health and body fat levels, so I'm not really trying to lose weight right now. I've been doing my own program for a little over a month and I'm continuing to get stronger, which is really my focus right now. At the Powerlifting cert I mentioned in the last post I hit a personal record of 445 lbs. on the deadlift, and did a 355 lb. box squat (having box squatted a grand total of maybe 3 times in my life). Two days ago I power snatched 175 lbs. which matches my squat snatch PR. I recently power cleaned 235 lbs., which matches my squat clean from my weightlifting meet back in March (just in case you aren't aware, most people trained in the Olympic lifts can squat clean/snatch more than they can power clean/snatch, so it means I'm getting stronger).  I've hit 11 dead-hang chin-ups (and did 6 with 25 lbs. added weight), front squatted 230 for 8 reps, and am increasing my bench press every week (just did 225 for 8 reps). I've got incredible momentum right now, so I'm going to take at least the rest of the year to work on continuing to get stronger and more explosive.

That's not to say I'm not watching what I eat. I've been doing daily fasts until about noon or 1:00, eating low carb until my workout, and then eating a higher carb dinner with tons of protein. My bodyweight has increased to about 210, but I'm still on my fourth belt loop while the legs of my pants are feeling tighter, which tells me I'm gaining size but not fat. I can still perform muscle-ups, and as long as I can continue to increase my chin-ups/pull-ups (and not my pants size) I'm not really going to worry about raw bodyweight.

I figure I'll keep going in this vein until I stall out, then maybe cycle into a 4-6 week cutting cycle before next summer. I definitely wouldn't mind being more muscular come summertime. I'm also considering trying a powerlifting meet or two next year just to get a feel for that sport. My goals right now?

  • Front squat 300 lbs. by 12/1/11 (current PR 290)
  • Back squat 400 lbs. by 3/1/12 (current PR 355)
  • Deadlift 500 lbs. by 3/1/12 (current PR 445)
  • Bench press 300 lbs. by 3/1/12 (current PR 265, almost a year ago)
  • Clean & jerk 250 lbs. by 1/1/12 (current PR 245)
  • Power snatch 185 by 1/1/12 (current PR 175)

I think these are all very doable, especially the front squat and clean & jerk. If I can hit those numbers for the back squat, bench, and deadlift in a powerlifting meet I would total a pretty respectable 1200, only 79 pounds short of a Class I ranking (third highest classification in raw powerlifting, check this chart for details) in the 220 lb. weight class, and 9 pounds shy in the 198 lb. weight class if I decided to cut weight (which is probably doable).

I'm also staying on top of my conditioning workouts, doing sprints (rowing and running) and shorter Crossfit-style circuits twice a week each. I don't want to be one of those dudes who is crazy strong but gets winded walking up a flight of stairs. My goals are always to be as strong as possible while maintaining a very high level of overall fitness.

It's been 4 years since I started this blog. When I started the only goal was to lose weight and get healthy. I had no idea how far my journey into physical fitness would take me. So here's to another year of continued improvement and health!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Small setback in fat loss, but good gains in fitness

Today's Weigh-In: 206
Weighted Moving Average: 205.3

So I've gained back about a pound and a half, looking at my averages from the beginning of this month. Not what I wanted at all, and not what I planned.  On the bright side at least I have been keeping good track of this data and can now look at it and use it to stop myself before I get back into that old cycle. I want to keep losing fat, I want to get lean and jacked! I want to increase my strength-to-weight ratio, and be able to do 20 deadhang chin-ups. But that's not going to happen unless I bear down and do the work. My main issue is just eating too much, overall. Quality is 90% good, but willpower is weak during the early mornings and later in the evenings, and I tend to want to snack on nuts and stuff, which is probably what's putting me over my caloric requirements. I think I'll knock that off now.

My new training program is going pretty well. I'm on my second week, and while I've had to make some concessions due to time and other conflicts I've been pretty darn consistent. I got 4 workouts last week and 3 so far this week, with another one planned for tonight, *and* I'm attending the Crossfit Powerlifting Certification this weekend at my gym, Crossfit 714 so I'm sure I'll be lifting weights all weekend. I got the chance to attend the cert at the last minute (noticing a pattern here?) so it forces me to adjust my training schedule, but that's okay because I know it'll be super informative, and maybe I can apply some of the Westside Conjugate method principles to my own training as well as programming for our clients.

I've come to the realization that my right shoulder still isn't 100%, and I really can't snatch or overhead squat heavy right now. I will need to add in more mobility and rehab work to get it stronger, but in the meantime I'm going to stick to power snatches and heavy front squats, with some pressing to keep strengthening everything. Last week I got a PR power snatch of 165 (only 10 pounds below my max squat snatch), and this week I set a PR of 10 deadhang bodyweight chin-ups. It's only a 1-rep PR, but I'll take it!

If anyone is interested in the program I've created just drop me a line in the comments and I'll make it available.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A little experiment

Today's Weigh-In: 201.8
Moving Average: 203.6

Still making good progress. Still sticking to mostly Paleo foods. Had a bit of fast food over the weekend and definitely regretted it, and got right back on the wagon on Monday. I'm really hoping to get under 200 by the end of October, and I think it's doable, if I can avoid all the candy that's sure to magically appear everywhere.

I'm beginning a new 8-week training program on Monday. I went ahead and programmed 5 workouts a week for 8 weeks, targeting my weaknesses and continuing to build my strengths. It consists of sprinting, Oly-lifting, powerlifting, conditioning sessions, and a little bit of endurance work, in the form of either bike rides or intervals (rowing or running). I put a lot of work into it, and I'm hoping it will be a success. I'm also using this as an experiment in programming Crossfit-style strength and conditioning workouts over a long period of time, as I would like to apply some of this to my role as Crossfit coach. Our gym currently does workouts from with an added strength program, which is okay, but I think we could be doing a lot better for our athletes by programming everything in-house. I'm brand new to this, so I'm going to use myself as the guinea pig. Hopefully I'll learn a lot about what works, what doesn't, how to manage volume, how much periodization to include, etc. Should be fun! I'll keep you posted as to the workouts themselves and how everything goes as I move through the next 2 months.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Update on USAW cert and general diet progress

Today's Weigh-In: 204.2
Weighted Moving Average: 204.8

After a bit of a (planned) hiccup over the weekend I'm back on track. My friends are having a baby, and they threw a baby shower/big ass party on Saturday, where I had quite a few adult beverages and some off-the-reservation foods. But I did a fair job at keeping the damage contained to that day, and after a bit of stomach/digestive issues over the subsequent two days I'm totally back to being clean. I just really love the way I feel when I eat strict and sleep well, and I hate the way I feel when I don't. So that helps a lot with staying on the straight and narrow.

I got another comment from a coworker on how much weight I've lost (this is someone I only see every few months, so it's probably easier for her to notice). She even took the time to ask me what I am doing, and seemed genuinely interested in my answer (which was basically "avoid grains and vegetable oil, eat meat, veggies, fruit, and coconut"), which makes me feel good. I am fully convinced that this is the way to eat for life, and it makes me feel good to share this information with others who might benefit from it.

I just realized I've never really shared some of my favorite Paleo/Primal/Ancestral eating sites and resources; I've added a resources section to the side of the blog to remedy this failure to share this valuable information. Take the time to check them out and get your life on track.

Ooh, I just got an email from USA Weightlifting: I passed the certification test! I'm now officially a USAW Certified Sports Performance Coach! I wasn't too sure if I passed the test, because it was hard. I studied the materials pretty in-depth, and I'm fairly well-versed on technique, but it was still really tough. That's a relief, though; you have to pay to re-take the test online, and I really didn't want the added expense. I'm feeling very happy right now!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feeling confident

Weigh-In: 204.2
Average: 205.5

Had a great time at the USAW Level 1 certification this weekend. I learned a ton about performing and coaching the Olympic lifts, as well as program design and assistance movements. Once my shoulder is back to 100% and I fix some of the mobility issues I've been having I would really like to do a 12-week weightlifting cycle, ending in another competition. I would also like to compete in the 85kg weight class this time, instead of 94kg like last time.

I'm making good progress on the weight-loss front. I have had a couple of cheats (a couple beers one day, some corn tortillas another) but in general I've been really strict, even on the weekends. I've managed to completely avoid wheat which is something I plan to continue as strictly as possible forever. My digestion is so much better without it, and I think cutting it out is what has led to me losing much of the chub from around my waist (see the new book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis for more info).

I'm now comfortably using the 4th hole in my belt after being stuck on the 3rd (and even the 2nd, at times) for a few years. I think this time I've finally managed to get fully back on track to reach my goals. I know I'm still a ways away, but I feel pretty confident now that I have the ability and drive to get there. It's a good feeling.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Leveling up my knowledge

This weekend I'm going to be attending the USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach Level 1 Certification being held at our gym. I wasn't planning on it, but one of the owners of the gym can't make it, so the opportunity falls to me. This is an awesome opportunity, as I've been teaching the Olympic lifts as part of our beginner's intro course, and also when I help out with the classes, and to be honest I probably enjoy that aspect of coaching the most. There's just so much to learn in the O-lifts, it never gets boring, but it does require me to continue to stretch my limits as a coach and increase my knowledge about the technical aspects of these lifts. I've attended a couple of seminars put on by local Oly coaches, but this is the first real USAW class and cert for me. I've thought about starting a weightlifting club at Crossfit 714 at some point in the future, and USAW requires certification to do that, so this is a good step in that direction, should I choose to go down that road.

While this is an awesome thing, it's going to make it tough to find the time to cook my meals for the upcoming week, but I'm going to do my best to make the time, even if I can only do a couple of slow-cooker recipes. I'm really making good progress with regards to my body-fat, strength, and performance, so I need to be on top of my nutrition to keep the ball rolling.

I've actually gotten 3 remarks in the past few days with people saying I'm looking lean, or more buff, and one lady I've never spoken to before started talking to me about healthy eating and that she could tell I was into that. It's a really great motivator when others comment on your progress, and I'm hoping that'll help keep me on track mentally to reach my goals.

Training has been good this week. I hit new personal records in the power clean (230# for 1 rep, 5# PR) and front squat (290# for 1 rep, 15# PR). I completed Murph as prescribed on Tuesday (took just under an hour) and hit my PRs on Wednesday, so I can only imagine that those numbers could be a little bit better if my body was fresher. My shoulder is continuing to feel better and better, and even the 100 pull-ups in Murph didn't bother it. All in all I'm feeling really good with where I'm at and where I'm going.

Edit: I wanted to post a recent picture, for posterity, cuz I haven't posted anything in a while. Here's me from a few weeks ago during my birthday party.

I've dropped a few points of body-fat percentage since then, but it's fairly indicative of where I'm at now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Making progress

Today's Weigh-In: 205.4
Moving Average: 206.9

Looks like my weight is starting to move downward. I've weighed in under 206 the past 3 days. My goal is to be under 200 by October 1st, so I've got 17 days left in this month. I'm not sure if I'll make that goal, and I really don't want to try to hit it through restricting my calories drastically, but I'm hoping now that everything seems to be dialed in that the weight will drop more consistently. We'll see.

The thing that is surprising to me is that I have made absolutely zero effort to restrict the quantity of food I'm taking in. I've been eating tons of meat, fruit, coconut, nuts, vegetables, sweet potatoes, etc., even to the point of fullness and I'm still leaning out and dropping weight. I doubt that will continue forever, because from what I've seen and read it does take some restriction to get down to sub-10% levels of body-fat, but I'm going to ride this as long as I can, and when I stall out then I'll think about modifying my intake or counting calories.

My girlfriend and I came up with a delicious healthy snack to help with those times where you just want something a little sweet and comforting. I've had a big tub of shredded coconut just sitting in my cabinet for over a year now, so we decided to take a couple scoops of that and mix it with the vanilla coconut milk from Trader Joe's. On its own it tastes similar to Frosted Mini-Wheats if you let them sit in milk for a long time, but instead of being filled with poisonous gluten and gliadin it's full of healthy MCTs and fiber. We experimented even more with it, and my girlfriend came up with a mixture of shredded coconut, coconut milk, chocolate whey protein, cocoa powder, a little sweetener (stevia or sucralose), and a touch of coffee, which is absolutely delicious. It's a chocolatey treat with a balanced amount of protein and fat, with only a small amount of carbs. Yum!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Good first week of clean Paleo

Today's Weigh-In: 207.4
Average: 207.4

Last post I mentioned starting a strict 30-day Paleo routine that I would be starting September 1st. I have indeed started, and am now just over a week in. Even after just a week I am feeling tremendous! The first few days without caffeine were rough, and I slept a lot over the weekend. What this tells me is that I was sleep-deprived, and was using caffeine and energy drinks to prop myself up, when what I really needed was good, restful sleep. After the first few days I started to feel much more energized, my brain cleared, and avoiding caffeine has become routine. To ease into this whole thing I didn't restrict myself (quantity-wise) at all the first week, just eating to fullness, and eating more fruit and nuts than I normally would. This has had a good effect on my digestion, as before I was not regular, nor did I have healthy BMs (sorry, TMI, I know), but now everything is moving through excellently. And from the information I've been consuming it looks like a healthy gut is key to a healthy life. I'd been damaging mine with alcohol, wheat, and sucralose (Splenda) and now it's beginning to heal.

But, the biggest benefit I've experienced is, by far, my increased performance in the gym. Yesterday, which was my third day working out in a row, I beat everyone in the gym on the workout, even those guys who usually destroy my times. I felt super fresh the whole time, and my recovery between the end of the WOD and the cool-down was noticeably faster than usual. Usually after a hard metcon it will take me a good 10-15 minutes to scrape myself off the floor and get moving again, but yesterday it only took about 3 or 4 minutes. Then, right after, we did 3x400m sprints, and they felt better than I can ever remember, and again my recovery between attempts was very quick.

My shoulder is healing up pretty nicely. The anti-inflammatory effect of the Paleo diet is definitely helping in this regard. I am able to do pressing movements (shoulder press, push-ups) as well as power cleans again already.  The only thing that still hurts are dips, pull-ups (if I kip too much), and I haven't even attempted muscle-ups because I know the risk of re-injuring myself is high if I try them when I'm not ready. So I'm just taking it slow, doing my mobility and rehab/prehab work, and substituting troublesome movements with ones I can do pain-free.

As you can see I haven't lost any scale weight lately, but a look in the mirror shows me at the leanest I've ever been, more so even than when I weighed 196 a few years ago. I'm beginning to see veins in my arms (which I've never had), and I've been complimented on more than one occasion about my chest and shoulders looking strong. My waist size has also dropped, to the point where some of my boardshorts I wear for working out are almost falling off, even when tied as tightly as possible. The only downside to this increased muscle is that my thighs rub together again, which makes running a pain.  I'm hoping that as I drop some more fat that will become less of an issue, but I don't know to be honest.

I know I promised more posts this month, but I've taken on the responsibility of doing daily blog posts for the gym so that may not work out as I had thought.  We'll see.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Info dump

Bah. Been treading water again. Averaging about 208 still. Starting September 1st my girlfriend and I are doing another 30-day super-clean Paleo challenge. I like to do this every so often so reassess where I'm at versus where I should be, and to get rid of the stuff that's holding me back. Right now it's booze, diet sodas/energy drinks, and too many cheat meals. Now that summer's coming to a close, and all the events, vacations, and parties are off the docket I can tighten everything up and get back on track again.

This past weekend I drove up to Big Sky, Montana with the owners of Crossfit 714 (the gym where I train) for the annual Crossfit Affiliate Gathering. I had an amazing time (other than the long drive to and from southern California)! Did some downhill mountain-biking, experienced whitewater rafting for the first time (so much fun), stayed in an amazing penthouse suite, ate elk, boar, venison, duck, and bison, drank a ton of Montana beer, built a bonfire, and hung out with some awesome people (including Greg Glassman, the creator of Crossfit!). It really was an awesome experience, and I hope that I'm blessed enough to do it again (maybe next year).

On a more bummer note I partially dislocated my shoulder (again) the day before we left for Montana, doing behind-the-neck jerks. My grip was too wide, and I was so eager to put up a big number that I rushed the lighter warm-up sets that should have prepared me for the bigger weights. Last time I maxed-out on this movement I put up 275 lbs., so I was confident I could get 300, and I felt good through 265. I loaded up 285, got it overhead, but the weight traveled behind me and I didn't let go in time, which resulted in my humerus moving forward in my shoulder socket, and a nasty grinding feeling, along with a disturbing pop when the bone popped back in immediately when I dropped the weight. It's a very surreal feeling to have your bones in places they're not supposed to be!

Since it did immediately pop back in I didn't feel the need to go to the doctor and just started icing it right then. It's been a week now, and while it still hurts it's much less severe than it was in the couple days following the injury. I'm taking it easy for at least another week, and if the pain doesn't get better I'll see the doctor and maybe get an MRI. My biggest fear is that I tore something, but I think the pain would be worse than it is if that were the case, to be honest. But like I said, if it doesn't feel better soon I'll go see the doc. In the meantime I plan on doing some rotator cuff strengthening exercises that I learned when I was in physical therapy earlier this year. I think slacking off on those rehab/prehab movements is partly to blame for the re-injury.

I can still use it, as I did when mountain biking and rafting, I just can't internally rotate it or do any overhead movements (at least, without pain) at the moment. Today I'm going to test how it feels to do push and pull movements, and adjust my training accordingly. I think this effectively puts the kibosh on my Olympic lifting career, at least for now, but it also allows me to explore some other aspects of strength and conditioning that I've been neglecting (like sprinting and explosive plyometrics).

Anyway, once I get started on my 30-day challenge next month I'll be posting a lot more frequently, and I'll keep you posted on my training as well.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wizard needs food

Today's Weigh-In: 208
Moving Average: 207.8

I've been really hungry this past week, and it's showing on the scale. While I've done a fairly good job of keeping my food quality high the quantity has been too much to support weight loss. I think my body just wanted a little more energy, so for the past few days I've eaten more food. I feel better now, so I can reduce my intake for a while. This is how it seems to work for me: eat enough to lose weight for a few weeks, start getting hungry and more tired, eat higher calories for 3-4 days, rinse and repeat. I guess it just comes down to listening to my body and trying to keep it happy (while not indulging in foods I know it *doesn't* need).

I hit a new PR on my back squat yesterday (#355 Oly-style) so I know my time in the gym has been well spent. Still hoping to get 400# by the end of the year, though, so no slacking now. I also did 20+ muscle-ups on a pull-up bar yesterday, which is the most I've ever even attempted. Unfortunately I tore the skin on my right palm, so I have to deal with that. It's minor enough that I think I can just tape it up and continue working out this week. We'll see, though.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quick analysis of progress to date

Today's Weigh-In: 208.2
Moving Average: 208.9

Now that I have a few weeks of weigh-ins recorded I can start using the exponential weighted moving average formula I added to my spreadsheet (details about the algorithm are here for you nerds). It's the same formula and weighting used by but more flexible because I can do whatever I want with the spreadsheet, versus the very limited functionality of the physicsdiet website. I've set it up so that I have a goal weight to meet each week (remember, I'm shooting for 1 pounds/week through the end of the year), and I'm using the Sunday value of the weighted average as my measurement. So far I've hit all my weekly goals, but I know I need to tighten everything up if I'm going to continue making progress.

I figured I'd do some analysis of my progress so far.

What's working

My athletic training is still going great. I'm still making progress on my back squat from week to week (going for 2x5@285 tonight). My capacity for doing longer workouts is greatly increased (I did a Crossfit workout named Barbara last Tuesday that was almost an hour, and I mountain biked for close to 3 hours on Saturday morning, and I'm not even sore). The one thing that has slipped a little is my Olympic weightlifting, simply due to time constraints, but I'll make sure that doesn't happen any more.

Eating during the week is pretty solid. I've been mainly doing fasting until about 2 or 3PM, eating a meal or two before I hit the gym, then eating another when I get home, which feels good and works well for me.

What's not

Too many cheat meals the past 2 weeks. I've allotted myself 2 per week, but I've been having double that, mainly on the weekends. Too much alcohol on a daily basis as well. I need to limit my intake to 1-2 glasses of wine/night, and not every night. This has always been tough for me, as I'm so used to coming home, making dinner, and having some drinks to wind down from my day. I need to find a healthier alternative, for sure.

Weekends. Always been an issue, probably always will be. All I want to do after a hard week of working and working out is eat chips and drink beer while sitting out by the pool or playing video games. I've been doing an okay job of stemming this activity, but it's still been happening more than it should. I think just being aware of this tendency (and not ignoring it) can help.

I haven't been doing the mobility work that I know I need to be doing on a daily basis either. It's so effing beneficial, but I hate doing it so bad. It just hurts, plain and simple, and it's really hard to get motivated to do something that hurts, even if it makes me feel *way* better afterward. I'm thinking I should add this into my gym time instead of trying to do it at home, that way I'm already primed for doing hard, possibly unpleasant work. I'll give that a shot.

So that's where I'm at right now. I'm hoping that simply by taking the time to think and write about this stuff I can make the small adjustments necessary to stay on target.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mid-week update

Today's Weigh-In: 207.2

Looks like my new lower weight is sticking around and wasn't just a fluke of hydration or something. Nothing new to report right now, really. I'm eating high quality food in moderate amounts, I'm still hitting my workouts hard, and I'm getting my 8 hours of sleep every night. I do feel a little worn down from the increased workout volume and decreased calories, but not enough to impact much. I'm really sore from Monday's workout, so I'm taking a rest day today instead of tomorrow to recover a bit more. Yesterday I was too sore in my lower back to do the prescribed workout, so I did a bunch of upper-body strength work (bench press, weighted chin-ups, muscle-ups) which I haven't done in a while, and it felt good. I talked to one of my buddies (a fellow trainer at my gym) and he independently set the same weight-loss goal and timeline as me (185# by end of year). So we're thinking we might have to come together with some friendly competition/accountability. I'll keep you posted. Now I'm just hoping to see some sub-206 weigh-ins before the end of the week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moving in the right direction, finally

Today's Weigh-In: 206.8

I know it's been a while since my last post, which probably leads you to believe that I've once again slacked off on my goals, but this time that's not the case. I'm actually doing really well. Last week I was basically stuck at 211-212 every day, and I was getting pretty frustrated at the lack of progress, especially since I've been working out 5 days a week and only eating 2 cheat meals a week. But yesterday I weighed in at 209, which was a nice drop, and today I'm at 206.8! Usually after the weekend I gain a pound or two, but I've been making sure that even my cheat meals are kept within reason. To be honest it just doesn't feel good to go out to dinner and eat so much that I feel bloated and awful. And I find if I eat any significant quantity of gluten-containing foods or vegetable oils that I get bad stomach aches and my digestion suffers for days. So, for example, my girlfriend and I went out to dinner on Friday, and instead of getting a burger and fries or a big greasy sandwich I ordered some grilled salmon and shrimp with veggies and sweet potato fries, and to be honest I enjoyed the hell out of it. I had a couple beers, of course, but only a couple, and I left the restaurant without feeling like I swallowed a bowling ball. I think I'm finally learning the benefits of moderation, not just from a weight loss perspective but in how I feel, physically.

Anyhoo, I'm feeling good. I've hit my workout goals for the past 2 weeks, and I find I'm able to push myself harder in the gym without feeling smashed afterwards, which means I'm fueling my body correctly. I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing, because it's working.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Setting myself up for success

Today's Weigh-In: 210.4

I'm a week into my new cycle, and feeling pretty good. Even with eating bad food over the weekend (camping) I've lost 4 pounds in a week. I only got 2 training sessions in last week, because I wanted to limit my soreness on the weekend because I knew I would be doing some serious mountain biking. That worked out well, and allowed me to stay fresh and active while still cutting some weight.

This week I'm going to try to get all 5 training days in. I've also made a spreadsheet which allows me to track everything I want to do every day, and accrue point values for each good habit I develop. Right now I'm tracking things like recording daily weigh-ins, ounces of water consumed (shooting for 100oz./day not counting coffee or diet soda), doing mobility work for flexibility, and taking my supplements. I'm a sucker for points, so I think this will help me stay on track better than just juggling everything in my head. I'm thinking of adding other stuff to this checklist as well, such as flossing my teeth, but I want to focus on a few super-important things first, then add new things as good habits form around the old things. I even wrote my goal weight on a piece of paper (185) and stuck it to my cubicle wall to remind me not to settle for anything less than full achievement.

I'm finding myself really motivated right now, but I know that motivation doesn't last, so I have to use the drive I have right now to set myself up for success when I'm just not feeling it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New training cycle

Today's Weigh-In: 214.6

Whoa, where did that come from? Well, in the last month I've really let my diet (and training, but to a lesser degree) slip. I was aware of it happening, but I just didn't really feel like doing anything about it. I guess I was just a bit burned out on the whole thing. This is probably a natural cycle, just part of the process, but it probably could have been managed better, or planned for. I hadn't planned any rest or deload weeks, so everything was kind of ad-hoc, and I don't thrive in that type of setup.

The good news is that I'm feeling quite motivated now, so today is officially Day 1 of my new training cycle. My training during the first half of the year was dedicated to increasing strength and performance in the Olympic lifts, while maintaining a good level of conditioning. I think I've accomplished this fairly well, although I was 10 pounds shy of my goals in both the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. I still made great progress, though, especially considering my shoulder injury and the 6 week rehab I did on it.

The goal for the next 6 months is going to be a focus on losing body fat while increasing performance on Crossfit workouts. To do this I have to dial in my diet, sleep, recovery, and mobility. I need to lose weight to increase my performance in bodyweight movements like pull-ups and running. I need to get the correct amount of food that will allow me to train with maximum intensity while burning fat, and also avoid foods that are detrimental to performance, such and pro-inflammatory foods (grains, sugar, milk, vegetable oils). I need to get good sleep every day, so this means limiting caffeine and alcohol. And I need to be in the gym 5 days a week to maximize gains.

While this probably sounds like a lot, it's really not that far off from what I'm used to. I'm used to training 4 days a week, so adding another day isn't a big deal. I already know how to cook good food. I know what foods affect me negatively, and what foods I thrive on. I've built the base for this over the past 3 1/2 years, it's just time to put it all together and make a solid push towards excellence.

Oh, I almost forgot. What's my weight goal? Right now, it's 185 pounds, but ultimately it'll be whatever weight I find I perform most optimally at.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just a little update

Just wanted to fire off a quick update, since it's been a while. I weighed in at 203.4 today, so I'm on the path to sub-200. I got a couple of personal records this week: 275# front squat and 245# clean and jerk, which is 10 pounds shy of my goal for the year. All the squatting I've been doing has helped a lot, and getting stronger is just fun.

I've also kept up my conditioning by doing short, power-oriented circuits. Here's Monday's workout, to give you a taste:

2 minutes max reps push press, 135# (I got 27)
1 minute rest
2 minutes max reps squat clean, 135# (12)
1 minute rest
2 minutes max reps chest-to-bar pull-ups (21)
1 minute rest
2 minutes max calories on Concept2 rower (32)
1 minute rest
2 minutes max holds L-sit on parallettes (40 seconds)

Pretty tough stuff, but I love it.

Even though my weight hasn't gone down considerably I'm noticing that I'm leaner than I was a month ago. I can see my top 2 abs easily, as well as my ribs on the sides, and my shoulders and arms are more defined. I have veins in my forearms where I didn't before, so everything's headed in the right direction. I've just got to tighten the food/drink reins a bit and dial everything in. I find that I do things in cycles: a period of time being very strict on food and alcohol, and a time where I'm more lax. I figure as long as I don't lose the progress made during the strict phase, and return to being strict relatively quickly, I'll continue to progress toward my goals. Right now I'm being not so strict, but I think next Monday I'll tighten everything up again for a few weeks and see if I can't make a push for sub-200 pounds.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Well, the end of the month is coming up, and the question is will I reach my goal of sub-200 by May 1st? The answer is no. I weighed in at 207.2 this morning. But that's okay, for a couple reasons. I started supplementing with creatine again, to help my weight training. This always adds a few pounds of water weight. I ate a lot of carbs (and calories) over the weekend (dinner with friends, Easter brunch with family, Easter candy(!)) so some more water retention (and possibly some legitimate weight gain) there. But my diet during the week has been great, my training is still going strong, and I'm at the leanest I've ever been. I have to use the 4th notch of my belt to keep my pants on, whereas for the past few years I've been stuck on the 3rd, and the 4th would just hurt. So the number on the scale has to be taken for what it is: a single measurement that doesn't take all factors into account. And I'm learning to be okay with that. That said, it's still a useful metric, and I still want to be under 200 sometime soon.

I'm on my last week of physical therapy for my shoulder. Just one session left. Monday I did some heavy snatches and overhead squats, which are by far the worst aggravators of the injury, and had no issues whatsoever. Definitely good news. Now I can go back to training for Olympic weightlifting full-time.

I bought a bicycle last week, and I've been riding as often as I can. It's really fun, and a good way to burn some extra calories. I rode 6 miles to work today, and I'll be riding home tonight as well. It's a full-suspension mountain bike, so it's not the most optimal road-riding solution, but it does the job. Many of my friends are into mountain biking, so this summer should have a ton of opportunities to hit the trail, which is something I'm looking forward to immensely.

Overall I'm happy where I am, and where I'm headed. Making good progress all-around.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Good start to the week

Today's Weigh-In: 203.6

Yesterday was a great day. I ate great, had an awesome workout, and slept really well. I think the calorie boost over the weekend really helped me recover, because I felt strong when I was lifting, and my wind was great when I did a conditioning workout. I never felt like I was hitting a wall, which is really amazing for me, especially when losing weight.

Got more good food and more good exercise planned for today. Let's keep this train a-rollin'!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bad weekend, but recommitting to succeed

I don't have a lot to say today, but I need to write something. This weekend was not very good diet-wise. I let my plans slip far too much, and overate on more than one day. I also had alcohol on 3 days instead of one. I guess I let my recent successes get to my head and open up myself for a failure. But it stops today.

I weighed in at 201.8 on Friday, and my waist measurement is down 1/2 inch to 35.5 inches. My body-fat measurement was 16.5% Saturday morning (at 203 pounds). I know that I can get under 200 by the end of the month if I don't let any more of these multiple-day slips happen, so I'm re-committing to my plan as of today. Slip-ups are bound to happen, and I'm accepting that fact. I figure as long as they're very occasional, and don't end up going from a couple days to a week or more I'll be fine in the long run. Also, the aches, pains, and intestinal discomfort I received from loosening my diet has helped remind me why I am doing this in the first place.

But yeah, new goal is sub-200 by May 1st. Totally doable. Gotta focus on food quality, good training, staying healthy, and sleeping well. What I'm doing is working, I just have to keep doing it. Sorry if this isn't very interesting to read, but I need to put it out there to keep myself accountable.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weekend wrap-up, training and rehab update

Sorry for the Tuesday post, I've been really busy at work lately. This weekend was definitely a success, diet-wise. I missed Friday's workout due to a meeting at work, but I made it up on Saturday morning, so I'm still on track. I was famished all day Saturday and Sunday, and I ate a lot, but I stuck to the good stuff. Fruit, meat, salads, and potatoes. I figured with the higher carb weekend I would gain some weight by Monday, but I weighed in at 206, and today even lower at 204.6. I'm really happy with the progress I'm making right now.

Yesterday I tested my 1-rep max back squat, and nailed 345 using a high-bar placement. This matches my old (1.5 years ago) PR, which is kind of sad, but I had lost a lot of strength in the past year due to some dietary and training problems. Also, the old PR was done using low-bar style, which usually allows a larger weight to be moved, so doing the same weight high-bar (and ass-to-ankles deep) is a good achievement for me. It proves that my current program is working, so I'm going to keep on riding this pony till it dies. New goal is a 400 pound back squat before end of year. With that I can probably nail a 300+ front squat, which makes heavier clean and jerks much easier, which is my ultimate goal.

Shoulder rehab continues. I'm doing more strengthening exercises for my rotator cuff, and I feel a lot stronger in the ranges of motion where I was having trouble. It also feels a lot more solid in the socket, which gives me confidence that I can start snatching heavy again soon. I did a few ring muscle-ups yesterday and had no pain, no impingement whatsoever, and my transitions felt smooth and solid.

All in all, I'm pretty happy about how things are going. Let's hope they keep going for a while!

Friday, April 8, 2011


It's the end of the week, and I'm feeling pretty good about it. Nailed the nutrition and sleep yesterday, and today I'll be back in the gym trying to set new PRs. I'm up to 3 sets of 5 reps at 265 pounds for my back squat, and I'm going to be hitting some weighted pull-ups as well. Still a bit sore from Wednesday's workout but not too bad. I weighed in at 206 this morning, which is about what I've been averaging for the past 6 months or so. Just gotta keep it up.

The weekend is a trial by fire for these types of endeavors, and I've failed on more than one occasion in the past. I need to focus on what I eat, and make sure I don't end up in a situation where I have to make a compromise. I need to focus on my rest, and get plenty of it. I need to focus on recovery, and also on making time to just have some fun. What's the point of being lean and fit if you never have any fun?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 4

So, I had a bit of a cheat yesterday. My good friend called me up and wanted to go out to a bar, and my first inclination was to decline because of my current fitness goals. But I thought about it, and realized that I don't get very much time to spend with my friends these days, and it's something that I'm really working on addressing in my life. So I made the decision to move my 1 day of alcohol intake to yesterday instead of Saturday. Everything else was kept the same, I stuck with hard liquor (no beer) and had a good time. I had to be up early, so I missed out on a bit of sleep, but I can make it up by going to bed early tonight.

I don't regret this decision, and ultimately it will average out the same, while keeping me from getting neurotic about all this stuff. I'm back 100% today, no caffeine, no alcohol, etc. and I will continue until my next drinking day, sometime next week.

Everything else is going well. I nailed 3x5 back squats at 260 pounds yesterday, which was tough but doable. I threw in a short bodyweight metcon just to test my conditioning, and did really well. The strength I'm gaining is definitely translating to easier bodyweight movements, and I didn't feel like I was going to die, so I haven't lost much (if any) work capacity. I've got a couple more weeks of physical therapy before I can get back to heavy Olympic lifting, but right now I'm happy just getting stronger. Now to go eat some beef shank and berries to refuel.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Current measurements

Today I remembered the measurements that I took on Monday, so I wanted to post them before I forget:

Weight: 209 pounds
Body fat (measured by handheld bio-impedance device): 17.1%
Bicep: 14.5"
Thigh: 24.5"
Waist (relaxed): 38"
Waist (flexed): 36"
Chest (relaxed): 42.5"
Chest (flexed): 44.5"
Hips: 36.5"

I looked back at my info from a year ago, and I had 18.1% body fat at the same weight, so over the course of a year I gained 2 pounds of lean mass and lost 2 pounds of fat. Definitely not the best results ever, but still an improvement. If I kept that rate up for 10 years I would end up at 7.6% body-fat at 210 pounds. But that's still a bit slow for my tastes :) The most important measurement I'm looking to change is my waist measurement, since that's where a majority of my fat currently lives.

Today I weighed in at 206, so I'm down 3 pounds from Monday already. Blah blah, water weight, I know. Still feels good. Been drinking decaf coffee with organic heavy cream during the day (along with lots of water), and at night I've been having sparkling water with lime juice on the rocks, and some herbal tea. My sleep last night wasn't as good as the night before, and I had some crazy dreams, so there's still some adjusting going on internally. Today I'm fasting until at least 1PM, then I'll have some pot roast and some carne asada I made last night, along with some strawberries and olives.

I think the daily blogging is helping a lot, so I'm considering extending it another week to keep up the momentum.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 2

Day two is off to a good start. I made sure I get to bed early last night, and it paid off with a great night of sleep, almost 10 hours, which tells me I needed it badly. Got a great lifting session in, and hit the squat weight that I missed last week. As they say, there's no such thing as over-training, just under-eating (and maybe under-sleeping) and that's what I was doing last week.

I ate a lot yesterday, more than I normally should if I want to lose weight, but I was hungry and wanted to make sure I got enough calories. I'll adjust my quantities on a day by day basis based on how quickly I drop weight.

I'm feeling a bit clearer mentally today, lack of caffeine notwithstanding. I'm looking forward to a few weeks down the road when I'm fully clear of stress-inducing substances and running at 100%.

That's it for now, but things are looking good.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Off to a good start

Today's the first day of my grain-, sugar-, alcohol-, caffeine-free month. Drinking decaf coffee is fine, but I'm still pretty tired, which tells me I should probably just work on getting more (quality) sleep. My brain also feels a bit foggy, but I know these things will pass within a few days.

I took some measurements this morning but forgot them at home, so I'll post them tomorrow.

Breakfast was some beef shank stew with vegetables, lunch will be chili and Manhattan clam chowder along with some strawberries, and teriyaki chicken with veggies (and maybe a sweet potato) for dinner. The chicken has a little bit of sugar, but as long as I only use a tiny bit of sauce it'll be fine, especially after a workout.

I'm feeling recovered from last weeks aches/pains/issues so I'll be back in the gym tonight squatting and getting stronger. I'll be posting every day this week, even if it's just a short status update. I think I'm off to a good start, now to just get some momentum built up.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Time to shape up

Time for a confession: I've been letting the diet slide lately. And I feel like crap as a result.

The past few weeks I've been seeing a physical therapist for my shoulder injury 3 times a week, so I decided to lay off the Olympic lifting until I finish the PT. I changed up my training to 3 days a week of heavy compound movements (back squat, weighted dips, weighted pull-ups, deadlift) with some metabolic conditioning thrown in when I have the time. All of which was going great, and I've been making really good gains in strength. But, in the interest of "recovering" from my workouts I've started allowing things that I had practically eliminated from my diet. Rice, fast food, candy, etc.

But the funny thing is I'm now recovering worse than before, even though I'm eating more calories and more carbs. Right now my body is terribly inflamed, I had no energy for my workout on Wednesday (which I had to give up on), and I'm sore as heck from a level of volume that should be easily maintainable by me, even while attempting to lose weight. I had forgotten just how sensitive I am to dietary toxins, but this has been a rude reminder.

What all this means is that it's time for another round of "super diet clean-up." Beginning Monday, April 1st I will rid myself of the following things:

* Any beverage stronger than green tea (includes coffee, energy drinks, alcohol, diet soda, etc.)
* Any and all grains or grain-like seeds
* Sugar
* Most dairy save for some whey protein post-workout and a small amount of grass-fed butter, as I've found these don't bother me

If I need some post-workout carbs I'll have a couple bananas, or a sweet potato, and just stick to meat, eggs, veggies, berries, a small quantity of nuts, fish oil, and a variety of spices to keep it interesting. A square or two of 85% dark chocolate here and there, and a few glasses of wine once a week (on the weekend) to help keep me sane.

The goal is to stay this strict through the month of April, and re-evaluate at the end to see what worked and what didn't. I can practically guarantee a few things, though: improved recovery, improved sleep, more energy throughout the day, improved body composition, and hopefully some PRs in the gym. The first week is always the toughest, so I'll be blogging every day next week to keep my mind in the right place. I'll take some measurements this weekend as well for comparison.

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meet results

Saturday I competed in my first Olympic weightlifting competition in the 94kg weight class. It was tiring, chaotic, motivating, and fun. I made 5/6 attempts, snatching 70kg (154 pounds) and clean&jerking 107kg (235 pounds) for a total of 177kg. I missed my second snatch, and watching the video of my snatch attempts I can see why. I was not fast at all in the catch, and it cost me. My snatch PR is 175 pounds, so I'm kind of bummed that I didn't even come close to hitting it, but you have good days and bad days.

After the snatch I was pretty focused on the clean and jerk, and was able to match my PR on the platform. I'm just so much more confident in both my clean and my jerk than I am in my snatch, and that's a big factor. All said and done I placed 3rd (out of 5) in my weight class, and I'm pretty happy with my performance on my first time out.

Now that the competition is done I need to focus on getting my shoulder back to 100% and getting stronger. I did end up getting a prescription for physical therapy, and I'm seeing the PT 3 times a week. I'm going to avoid doing any movements that aggravate my shoulder for the time being, and just focus on getting as strong as possible in other parts of my body. Unfortunately this means I won't be able to do heavy snatches for a while, but I can still practice my form (which is my real problem) with lighter loads that don't bother me.

My weight is fluctuating right now due to having to make weight for the meet. I weighed in at 202 on Saturday, and this morning I was 206, so I figure it'll stabilize somewhere around 204 within a day or two, and then I can focus on getting under 200.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quick update

Today's Weigh-In: 204.6 Average: 205.4

Hey, just wanted to post something quick. My weight is back on the downward slope, so I'm happy about that. I tweaked my shoulder in training the other day, so I'm going to see the doctor on Monday to hopefully get a referral to see a physical therapist, as my shoulder is a constant source of injury and missed training days. I'm hoping they can assess me and give me some rehab movements that will strengthen my shoulder and allow me to train at 100% again. I'm still planning to compete at the lifting meet, but I may have to be more conservative with my weights due to the shoulder problem. I'm sure it will be a fun experience either way, though.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Hey everyone, sorry for the gap between posts (again!). I did end up getting a cold after my last post, but thankfully it was short and easy (3 days) and I was back in the gym by the next week. My weight-loss has pretty much stalled since then, with no real movement in either direction on the scale. I've indulged too much in food and drink, and now I'm reining it in once again. I know what I have to do, and I'm doing it.

My training is still going pretty well. I took a weightlifting seminar this past Sunday with Sean Waxman from Waxman's Gym which was pretty enlightening for me. My starting position on the first and second pulls of both my snatch and clean and jerk was off, and we got it corrected, for the most part. I just have to drill the movements to ingrain them in my muscle memory.

Last week I hit another PR, this time in the clean and jerk. I nailed 235 pounds, which is 5 pounds more than I did a few weeks ago. I tried 240 but I just couldn't get under it fast enough. I feel that I'm nearing the limits of my strength in the clean, unfortunately. My best front squat is 255 pounds, which is pretty darn close to where my clean is at. I have a similar problem with the snatch, although not quite as close percentage-wise (max overhead squat being 195, best snatch is 175). I've also lost some strength on my back squat and deadlift due to not programming them into my workouts for the past few months. So I'm retooling my program a bit to incorporate more strength work (squats, deadlifts, presses) as well as both heavy and light Oly work (it's based on this template, if anyone's interested). I just started yesterday, so we'll see how it goes.

One of the other trainers at my gym has also been looking to compete in weightlifting, and she found a local meet in March. I wasn't planning to compete this early, as I wanted to cut weight first, but I've decided to take on the challenge. I figure it'll give me some exposure to the dynamics of a real meet, with all the rules, judging, commands, etc. I have to compete at 94kg, but that's fine, since I'm never going to be an elite-level weightlifter in any weight class.

That being said I'm not giving up on my goal of cutting down to the lighter weight class. Just not for my first meet. I bought a singlet which should be good for both weight classes (it's made for men between 185 and 225) so no worries there. Just gotta stop eating so damn much :-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A little sick, but a little leaner too

Today's Weigh-In: 208
Average: 206.7

Sorry for the delay between posts. The past week hasn't been quite as good as the few before, due to a few reasons. Last week I started having a lot of aches and soreness all over my body, and even doing lots of mobility work and icing didn't really help. I seem to be okay now, but it kept me out of the gym for most of last week. And today I started coming down with a cold, so I'm not feeling too hot. I'm thinking that I've probably just been fighting the cold off, and that's what caused my body to break down, but I dunno. I'm hoping it's just something minor that will go away quickly.

While my weight is still higher than I would like my body-fat is down quite a bit. I've noticed more definition in my shoulders and arms, and others have commented as well. Also, my pants are tighter in the thighs and looser in the waist. I took a body-fat measurement yesterday and it showed me at 17.5%, down from 19% about a month ago. So it seems that all the heavy lifting I've been doing has caused me to gain muscle mass, even though I've been in a calorie deficit. It's counter to most "broscience", but it is what it is. If I have to compete at a higher weight class due to simply being too muscular to cut any more weight, that's simply what I'll do.

Diet compliance has still been great. I'm not having any difficulties with this at all, to be honest. I'm not really craving anything bad, except maybe beer, but I just wait until the weekend and have my cheat day. Simple, easy, and seems to be working well for now.

Hopefully I can get back in the gym within a few days and start lifting again. I don't want to lose too much ground.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Going strong

Today's Weigh-In: 206.2

Well, I didn't quite make the goal of 205 for February 1st like I had hoped, but I'm still moving in the right direction. My weight is fluctuating depending on the day of the week, since I'm doing weekly high-carb cheat days on Saturdays. So I'm probably going to make my "official" weigh-ins on Fridays, when my weight should be at its lowest for the week, and then just kind of ignore the fluctuations on the other days.

Still going strong in the training realm. I haven't missed any scheduled sessions, although I have had to move some of the conditioning workouts around due to time constraints. I'm also doing more mobility work to make sure I keep all my muscles, joints, and ligaments nice and limber to prevent injury, especially since I'm moving some pretty heavy (for me) weights on an almost daily basis. My body is holding up pretty well, especially considering the fact that I'm in a caloric deficit. The only problem I'm having is with my back and shoulders being tight, and that's due to my busted bed. Once I get my tax refund it's time to replace that piece of crap.

Diet's also been spot on, save for the planned Saturday shenanigans, where many beers were consumed and pizza eaten. It's nice to have a day where you don't have to worry about diet.

Off to the gym now for some more lifting and some conditioning. I hope everyone else is doing just as well as me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weight is down, and PRs are up!

Today's Weigh-In: 207.4 Average: 207.7

Looks like the weight is moving in the right direction now. Slow and steady is going to be key here, as I don't want to lose any muscle mass in this process. I need to have the highest possible strength-to-weight ratio if I'm going to be at all competitive at the weightlifting meet.

Speaking of weightlifting, my training has been going really well. I'm nailing all my training weights, and I can feel the benefits of improved technique and strength. On Tuesday I decided to find a new max for the snatch, as my previous PR happened quite a while ago. My old PR being 155 pounds, I warmed up with some lighter weights, hit my old PR, and then failed 6 times on 165. I had my girlfriend record video of each attempt so I could see what I was doing wrong. I was pulling the weight really high, which is good, but I wasn't getting under it fast enough, and my shoulder flexibility was limiting my turnover speed. I corrected for these issues and nailed 165, followed immediately by 175 on the first try.

A 20 pound PR is amazing for this lift, and I'm really happy about it. Since my training protocol dictates each day's lifts based on percentages of 1-rep max I now will be doing heavier weights in my training as well.

Another small accomplishment: I clean and jerked 230 yesterday after my work sets, just to see if I could. My old PR was 225, so it's only a 5 pound jump, but it felt smooth and controlled, and I know I could have done quite a bit more if I had time.

Today is a rest day, but I'll probably do a short conditioning workout since I skipped yesterday's due to time constraints. Feeling good!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quick Addendum: Supplements

I mentioned before that I've started supplementing with creatine again, and I wanted to take the time to post all the supplements I am taking, so I can look back later and see what worked, what didn't, and what to adjust.

Creatine Monohydrate, 5g - Increase lean mass & strength, improve muscular recovery
Fish oil (300mg EPA & DHA per capsule), 8-10 caps - Reduce systemic inflammation, improve recovery
Fiber tablets with ChromeMate (2g fiber per tablet), 3 tablets - Keep me regular
Vitamin D (2000 IU per pill), 3 capsules - As an office worker I don't see the sun much. This helps take care of that deficiency.
Acidophilus probiotic (1,000,000 organisms per caplet), 3 caplets - Improve digestion and gut health, allow me to absorb all my nutrients effectively.
Whey protein concentrate - I use it when I'm low on protein for the day, otherwise not a daily supplement.
Magnesium, 400mg - Improve sleep and help regulate anabolic hormones.

If I had to choose a couple which were most important, I would choose fish oil and vitamin D, as they seem to have the best benefit profiles. I'm considering some others such as Alpha-Linoleic Acid and EGCG, but as of now I haven't pulled the trigger on them. You'll also notice I don't take a multi-vitamin. From the research I've seen, and the quality of food (and quantity of vegetable matter) I consume, I don't find any compelling reason to take a daily multi. The only vitamin I'm ever low on is D, so I supplement that on its own, but everything else is fulfilled solely by food.

Monthly goal and mid-week update

Today's Weigh-In: 208.2 Average: 208.06

With 6 days left in January it's unlikely that I'll make the goal I set a few weeks ago (203). I underestimated what my average weight was, since I wasn't consistently documenting my daily weigh-ins. So my new average is 208. My weight went up a little bit in the last 2 weeks due to re-adding creatine supplementation to help me recover from my weightlifting sessions, so I'm not concerned. My stomach is looking flatter, and pants are fitting looser, so I know I'm losing a little bit of fat even if it's not reflected on the scale. I'm going to try to hit 205 for this month's goal instead.

So far this week has been good. I did a nice, heavy Oly-lifting session yesterday, along with a short, high-intensity conditioning workout, and I ate roughly 2200 calories, which is spot on for me to lose weight without killing my performance in the gym. So far today I've had eggs and bacon, some coffee with whole milk, and a bowl of chili verde that I made last week (which is really good).

I'm starting to feel some momentum building, and getting used to the fact that I'm going to be a little hungry at the end of each day. Once that becomes the new normal for me it becomes a lot easier to stick to the plan, especially when you know there's a cheat day coming up on the weekend. It really takes the wind out of junk food cravings.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Diet update and strategy

Since yesterday's post was so focused on training I thought today I'd talk more about diet. This past weekend I went up to the mountains with one of my friends, and let's just say we didn't eat as cleanly as possible (read: crapton of beer & liquor, chips, burgers, and some good stuff like grilled meat). But I knew that would be the case, and used it as a kind of "last hurrah" before I really started focusing on my training. So this week has been really good. I've got lots of food already prepared in the fridge, I've got a big order of grassfed beef coming in next week, and a ton of fresh produce from the local Mexican market. The worst thing I have in my apartment right now is a bar of Trader Joes 85% cocoa dark chocolate, and a few bottles of red wine. So I'm pretty set, at the moment.

The whole "eating less" thing is going pretty good as well. I've started portioning out some of the big meals into measured, calorie-controlled containers, so I can't really overeat. I'm doing well with limiting my nut and fruit intake, and I'm also eating a lot of veggies (either on their own or cooked into something like chili or stir fry). My energy levels seem to have stabilized, and my workouts are going great. I allow for 2 glasses of red wine each night, and that's it, which keeps me sane without hurting my goals.

I'm also (re)integrating one day a week of overfeeding, a.k.a. cheating. Reading back on my posts from 2008 I find that allowing a cheat day helped keep me in line the rest of the week, and to be honest you can only do so much damage in one day, no matter how hard you try. Weekly refeeds help in other ways too, as they upregulate the hormone leptin, which regulates lipolysis (fat burning), and since I'm doing pretty intense training any carbs are preferentially used to restore muscle glycogen instead of just going to fat stores.

I've missed weigh-ins the past few days, but I'm considering moving to weekly weigh-ins (just prior to beginning the cheat day, which I'm planning to be Saturdays) to get a more consistent picture overall picture. The cheat day adds a kink to the daily weigh-ins, since fluctuations in weight of up to 8 pounds (due to depleted glycogen stores prior to overfeeding, and carb and water retention after) gum up the works for a day or two after the refeed. I'll try the weekly ones and see if it works for me, and if not I'll go back to the dailies.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Training goals

I wanted to post some fitness goals in addition to weight goals for the new year, since I've actually started training for something. As I've said before I've been doing Crossfit for 3 years now, since it's a great mix of modalities that never gets boring. It's also reintroduced me to something I used to do (and enjoy) in high-school: Olympic weightlifting. As I've gotten more and more fit and capable as an athlete I've also gotten a greater desire to compete at something, and I think Oly lifting is going to be the avenue to go down.

So what are my goals, exactly? Well, the only set-in-stone goal right now is to train for a local USA Weightlifting meet sometime in June or July (from the info available the meets haven't been finalized) in the 85 Kilo weight class. This forces me to tailor my training to focus on these lifts (snatch and clean & jerk), and their auxiliary lifts (front squat, overhead squat, press, etc.) instead of doing the generalized Crossfit programming. It's also forcing me to monitor and control my diet, because 85 kilos is 187 pounds, which means I've gotta lose about 20 in 6 months.

As far as my training goes, I've implemented a program from Catalyst Athletics that focuses on the Olympic lifts, but also includes Crossfit-style conditioning workouts throughout, so I don't lose my wind and general fitness as I get stronger and more coordinated in these complicated movements. The program is designed to be 16 weeks of 5 sessions per week, but since I can only train 4 days a week I've modified it to 22 weeks, so I should finish right around the time I'm looking to compete. I'm about a week into it, and I'm enjoying it a lot. I also (finally) bought some real weightlifting shoes and a belt, which both make a huge difference in my stability and balance under tension.

You can see my current maxes on these lifts on the right, but I'll record them here for posterity as well:

Snatch: 155# (70.5kg)
Clean & Jerk: 225# (102kg)

Which leaves me with a 172.5kg total (snatch + c&j). Here are my goal lifts to hit or exceed by competition time:

Snatch: 185# (84kg)
Clean & Jerk: 255# (116kg)

Which makes for a precisely 200kg total. The clean and jerk goal is doable, since I can front squat 255 and jerk 250 currently, but the snatch goal is a bit more lofty. I'm hoping the high volume of Oly work will allow me to hit it, though. If I hit any of these goals before the competition I will adjust up as needed to continue to push myself to constantly get better.

Phew, I know that was a long post, and most of you probably don't care too much about this sport, but it's something I'm coming to be passionate about, and I just wanted to share the direction I'm going.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January weight goal, and plan of attack

Today's Weigh-In: 207.2 Average: 205.99

First off, I'd like to say welcome back to a few of the bloggers who've dropped off in recent months/years. Good to have you back, and good luck with reaching your goals in 2011. Remember, it's never too late to turn the ship around, as long as there's breath in your lungs.

I've been thinking about goals lately. I desperately want to set big, sweeping goals that lay out my fitness plan for the next 6 months, with the ultimate result being a strong, fast, chiseled me. But I have to fight that urge, because that kind of stuff doesn't really work for me. I'll be hardcore about something for a few weeks, then little things will come up that will vent the steam from my engines. Family issues, illness, work stress, etc. So I'm going to go back to focusing on smaller, more incremental goals, at least as far as weight loss goes. I figure a month at a time should do the trick, as that's what I did in the beginning and lost over 30 pounds.

Seeing as I have less than 3 weeks left in this month I'm going to have to be a bit conservative, so here it is: Be (consistently) under 203 lbs. by February 1st.

Since I'm averaging 206 right now that's just a pound a week. I think a nice, easy, reachable goal to start out the new year will allow me to regain some of that steam, that momentum, that has driven me to lose weight in the past.

Now, how to do it? Well, it's not going to be through exercise. That's one area where I've been pretty consistent for the past year and a half. Exercise has kept me from regaining weight, no doubt, but for me it's not effective for weight loss, in and of itself. No, it's diet. 100%. And while I eat pretty clean on a regular basis I do tend to eat enough to cover my daily energy needs. Which is the reason I've been stuck between 202 and 208 for the past year. It's not enough (for me) to simply eat high quality, natural foods ad libitum. I have to actively track how much I put in my face, and how often I go off the rails and indulge in a cheat.

Since I'm mostly going to be eating homemade food it's really hard to accurately track calorie intake, so I'm going to try something else. Eating by feeling. Instead of eating to full satiety at every meal, I'm going to try to eat to just about 80%, and then stop. I'm also going to start limiting my nut intake, as it's been pretty high lately, and try to focus my meals around lots of protein.

It's a simple plan, and one that holds some promise. I'll keep you posted on my progress as the weeks go by.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Obligatory New Year post

Today's weigh-in: 205.6

So, new year, new goals, blah blah blah. I'm big on refining my goals incrementally as I see need to, so there won't be any big pronouncement from me right now. I'm eating clean, now that the holidays are done, and I didn't gain any weight. I'm really focused right now as far as my training goes, and this week I've been really consistent in the gym. I'm working on new skills and strengthening weak ones. So altogether doing pretty well. I do want to pick a specific training goal to focus on for the next few months, and possibly to compete in some sort of athletic endeavor, but I still need to spend the time and give some thought as to what I really want to achieve. So that will be forthcoming within the next few weeks.

Still have the goal of getting under 200 again, so for now I'm chasing that with a passion.