Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day Fourty-Four

Today's Weigh-In: 215.1 lbs.

I'm still maintaining a slow but steady weight-loss of about a pound per week. Pretty happy about that. My energy in the gym and recovery capacity hasn't been awesome, to be perfectly honest, but I knew going into this that I would have to make some trade-offs to achieve this goal. In the past when I started to have trouble recovering I would end up eating more, but that would stall my weight-loss efforts, so I would basically stagnate. But this time I have one goal, and that's weight loss with as little strength/muscle loss as possible, and so I know that having to reduce my volume and stick to the basics is a necessary thing. I really like being in the gym and training, so it's hard mentally, but once I hit my goal and ramp up my calories I'll be able to ramp the volume back up.

Right now I'm mostly focused on hitting my strength work (back squat, bench press, shoulder press, deadlifts, and Olympic lifting) consistently and only adding in as much conditioning as I feel I can recover from, which right now is about 2 really short (5-10 minutes) workouts a week. I've been doing a version of CheatMode on my workout days, fasting for 16-18 hours, eating one meal, hitting my workout, and then eating the rest of my food (including higher carbs) after. On non-workout days I've still been mostly doing the fasts but eating lower-carb and spreading things out more evenly, and just eating less food. It's definitely working; the numbers don't lie, and I'm leaner visually (can see my ribs more clearly, and shoulders look more cut). Still got a long ways to go, but if I can keep up this momentum I will definitely hit my goals.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day Thirty-Two

Today's Weigh-In: 217.4 lbs.

Well, I lost 4 pounds this month. Less than I wanted, but hey, it's still 4 pounds gone. If I can keep it up I'll be at my goal in 5 months instead of 3, but if that's what it takes then fine.

Not much to report. Doing pretty well overall. I have made one fairly big change in my lifestyle recently which was to stop consuming liquor completely, and to limit myself to a 2-drink maximum when drinking wine or beer. This should help me get through those weekend get-togethers without blowing through my calorie limits with non-nutritious booze (and bad food decisions made as a result). I had been drinking 4-5 drinks per night, mostly whiskey, which I knew was too much but didn't care. Now I care, so we'll see how it goes.

I've been asked to help judge an Olympic weightlifting meet tomorrow, which should be fun. I've competed once before but never judged, but I'll be excited to meet some other local people who are into this (unfortunately not very popular) sport.

I'm trying to fill my time with as much gym-time as I can. It keeps me accountable, and it keeps my mind focused on my goals. Even when I have to drag myself out of bed to go I know I will feel awesome when I'm done. We have a great community of people and friends at Crossfit 714, and they inspire me to push my limits, so the more time I spend around them the better.

Anyways, that's all for May. I'm hoping June will be a bit better due to my modifications, and If I can hit 211 by July I'll be pretty happy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day Twenty-Two

Today's Weigh-In: 217.6 lbs.

So, the weight's not quite coming off as quickly as I had hoped. I seem to be hovering around 217-219 still, but I think I should be under 217 before the week is done. Kinda frustrating, but I know how this stuff works. I didn't gain the fat in a week, I'm not gonna lose it all in a week either.

I've actually been doing pretty well. The only off day was a pool party I attended on Saturday where I had quite a few beers and very little actual food. But other than that I've been solidly within my calorie limits and hitting my protein requirements nicely. I ended up getting in four training sessions (plus one easy bike ride) last week. I had hoped for five but I was just too sore. Now that I'm consistently hitting intense workouts my soreness should be much less, though, which will allow me to get more sessions in this week. I'm just going to continue what I'm doing, and listen to my body. If I feel good I'll push it, if not I'll kick back and do more recovery work. I like the intuitive nature of my training right now, so let's see where it goes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day Sixteen

Day Sixteen

Today's Weigh-In: 217.2 lbs.

Sorry for the delay between posts. I've been super busy and it's hard for me to post during work any more.

So this week has had its ups and downs. I started out strong last week, then kinda petered out toward the end of the week. The weekend was better, but not perfect, and then I got fired up for this week again. Right now I'm feeling really motivated, so I'm just gonna ride it out as long as I can. I think if I can manage to be in the gym pretty much every day and working out with others who are better than me that will help me stay motivated and consistent.

I did two conditioning workouts yesterday, and then did some Olympic weightlifting and front squatting this morning. I plan on hitting two gym sessions tomorrow (strength work in the morning and conditioning at night).

Diet has been really spot on. I had had some digestive problems last week and as a result have removed any and all gluten-containing foods from my diet, and haven't had any issues since. I seem to be tolerating a small amount of dairy, mostly greek yogurt or some cheese, without issue. I'm hanging around 2500-2700 calories on my workout days, 2200-2400 on off days. Not being super strict about counting calories, but I try to keep track of what I eat throughout the day so I know how much I have left in my allotment for dinner, and try to stay within that range.

I'm about half-way done, and I'm about 4 pounds down; perfectly on target to hit my goal of 7 pounds this month. I'm very excited, and I know if I hit this goal it will motivate me harder to keep going and finally get the physique I want.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day Nine

I didn't get a chance to weigh-in today. But I have been hitting the gym consistently. I've done two workouts thus far this week, mostly strength work. I'll get some conditioning in tomorrow and Saturday, and see if I can't squeeze in some hill sprints or something on Friday. I hit a PR clean and jerk today, 260 lbs. I've never jerked that much from the front rack, and it was a big surprise as to how easy it was. I guess just going through the motions in my class each week (remember that I teach an Olympic weightlifting class on Wednesday nights) has improved my own technique, even without actually doing anything heavy for a few months. It's pretty interesting stuff.

What's also interesting is how some days in the gym feel great and others feel terrible, and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Monday I was back squatting, and I was feeling really stiff, I didn't feel like I was getting a good bounce, and the whole thing just felt awkward. But today I came in, got a good warm-up, and hit a PR in less than 20 minutes. Nothing has changed, but I felt really good today. I guess it just goes to show that not every day is going to be great, and that doesn't mean you're failing as an athlete or overtraining (necessarily). It might just be an off day.

I really feel like I'm getting back up to speed with my training, and I'm feeling really good about it. My diet has been really solid, getting big protein (~200g/day) and keeping calories below 2500 each day. I'm also starting to feel more solid in terms of muscle tone, i.e. that my muscles are kinda waking up and being more active throughout the day. Just gotta keep going. 9 days down, 83 to go on (according to the plan). Although, if I'm not where I want to be by then, I'm gonna keep going. I want to get rid of this extra layer once and for all and be done with it. Good riddance.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day Seven

Today's Weigh-In: 216.7

I'm a week into my 3-month weight loss phase, and I'm feeling pretty decent. I had a pretty noticeable dip in energy days 2 through 4, but now I feel like my body's adapting to the lower energy intake and higher workout capacity and I feel pretty normal. I ended up getting in 4 workouts last week, and surprisingly didn't feel too beat up. I guess that's because I made sure to keep the volume pretty low, focusing on strength work and 10-15 minute conditioning efforts. I've been religious about getting 8.5-9 hours of sleep a night, and that's helping a lot. I don't think I could function very well without that.

Food has been pretty good, I did have a cheat meal on Friday night which, to be honest, made me feel pretty unpleasant. I think I'm going to need to just focus on smarter cheats, not ones I know will jack up my stomach/digestion or make me feel gross. I was busy with manual labor most of the weekend, which kept me pretty busy and away from the pantry as well, and I know my daily calories were right in line with where I need to be. And, as a result, I'm down about 5 pounds from Day One, so I'm pretty happy. I know it'll slow down pretty soon and I'll have to grind out each and every pound week after week, but a big start like that makes it so much easier to stay motivated, so I will take it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day Three

Hey folks. I wanted to write a post yesterday but just couldn't find the time. Project "StopBeingSoFatOhGodWhyAreYouSoFatEww" is going swimmingly. I did my bench press and conditioning workout yesterday, and ran some hill sprints this morning (which suck, btw), and I've been good with what I put in my face (and how much). Had a protein shake and a turkey wrap for breakfast yesterday, then a lunch of taco salad (lettuce, lean carne asada & chicken breast, salsa, and guacamole), and a Subway turkey sandwich (6") with double meat for dinner (which I count as one of my weekly cheats due to the bread). Been snacking on seaweed snacks, sunflower seeds, and beef jerky, and taking all the supplements that I usually do (creatine, magnesium, fish oil, and vitamin D).

I didn't get a chance to weigh in this morning, but yesterday I was 218, so I've already dropped some bloat weight. I'm feeling pretty good so far, a little tired due to eating low carb but that should go away after about a week or two as my body adjusts to burning fat more efficiently. I've had a few cravings for stuff like booze and burgers, but not as much as I though I would. I'm sure they'll hit hard at some point, so I just have to be at the ready with healthy alternatives and hope I can hold out. And I think the weekly cheat meals will help as well.

Initially I had planned to do a cheat day, but now that I'm actually doing this I think doing 2 simple cheat meals per week is a better plan. That way I can do one during the middle of the week (Wednesdays are particularly busy for me) and one on Friday or Saturday when I can go out to dinner with my girlfriend. I've been reading Dr. John Berardi's recommendations (from Precision Nutrition) and eating 10% of meals out of diet is in line with what he prescribes, which seems to work pretty well. It also forces me to get right back on the wagon after a cheat instead of just letting it ride for a few days and lose a ton of progress. We'll see how it goes, and I'll adjust if it's just not working.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day One

Here it is, day one of my 3 month cutting cycle. Before we get into any of that, I'd like to share my experience at the very first Legendary Competitor Powerlifting meet this past weekend. It was a blast! The weather was gorgeous, the contest went really smoothly, everyone was super cool, and I PRed in 2 of my lifts! I squatted 385, benched 260, and deadlifted 450 for a 1095 total. For not having been able to train for about a month I'm pretty happy with my performance, but now I want more. The next meet is in September, and I plan on squatting at least 400, benching 285 or more, and deadlifting 475+. All at a lower bodyweight, hopefully sub-200 lbs.

Which brings me to the point of today's post. Time to lose some weight! I actually started yesterday, but whatever. Today's the official day one. I weighed in at 221.6 this morning. My goal for the month of May is to get my weight down by 7 pounds, which means 31 days from now I should be 214. This goal is easily doable as long as I keep my mind on the prize. In order to continue to increase my strength numbers I'm still making sure to hit the big lifts (bench, deadlift, squat, and press) at least once a week. I'm actually planning on squatting twice a week, one back squat day (powerlifting focused) and one front squat day (Olympic lifting focused). My plan for conditioning workouts is to hit sprints on the rowing machine once a week, and do 2-3 Crossfit metcons with other people per week. Add in some mountain and road biking whenever I get the chance and I'll be getting plenty of activity.

Diet is simple: focus on clean foods. Stay away from processed stuff. Eat big on protein, moderate on fats, and low on carbs. 3 big meals a day, minimal snacks. Snacks should be low-calorie (fruit, beef jerky, veggies). Lots of fish, chicken, and steaks with a side of veggies. Omelettes in the morning. Turkey chili and turkey wraps for lunch. Simple.

I've got a solid plan. I know what to eat, how to cook, and how to train. The only thing keeping me from reaching my goal is me. If I can be consistent in my training and diet as I've laid it out there's no way I can't be successful and hit my goals. Just gotta stay on the wagon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting Geared Up

It's been a few weeks, so I'll bring you up to speed. Life's been pretty hectic lately, what with the new job, moving out of my apartment and into my parents' house (to save up for a condo/house of my own in the near future), changing to working out in the mornings, and a severe lack of free time in general. In my last post I noted that I was doing pretty good with eating right. Well, the last few weeks have made that statement incorrect. I've kinda been in "don't give a crap" mode in the weeks leading up to my move (which occurred this past weekend) and I hate it. My workouts have been minimal, although I've maintained/gained on my strength numbers. Right now I'm focusing on my powerlifting meet on the 28th, so just trying to get at least 3 workouts a week (mostly strength) and eat as well as I can.

What I am getting geared up for, though, is to very seriously start making a push for some serious fat loss. I've gone between 235 and 196 over the years, never really being happy with my body composition, even though I'm so much stronger, capable, and athletic than I was 4 years ago. I've been pretty waffly about my goals, switching between fat loss and strength/fitness gains without a whole lot of rhyme or reason, and that's (I feel) the biggest reason I haven't achieved my body comp goals. The best gains I ever made were in the early days when I was totally focused on fat loss and nothing else. Now, today I'm much better informed about how food and exercise affect me, and I have much better tools at my disposal, but I'm still lacking that one, singular focus to really drive me.

May 1st that changes.

I'm making a 3-month commitment to lose 20 pounds of fat.

I'm not doing any challenges, not going to worry about being strict anything; just going to watch my calories, choose quality foods, get lots of protein, and hit my workouts hard. I'll focus on Paleo foods, but I'm not going to flip out if I have to eat something outside of that or have a beer on a cheat day. The goal will be 6 days a week of solid eating and one cheat day, most likely from Friday dinner to Saturday lunch (sun-down to sun-down, like Passover). I'll probably throw in some intermittent fasting as a tool to reduce calorie intake, but not going to worry too much about it. Going to stay low-ish carb but not to the point where my workouts or mood are suffering. I'm finally going to use all these tools that I have and put them all together in a way that will (hopefully) allow me to really get to a place where I'm happy with my body, and improve my health at the same time.

I'm not going to focus on any specific athletic or strength goals during this time, although I do hope to see some improved numbers on my bodyweight and gymnastics movements. One goal at a time; if my strength numbers drop a little bit, so be it. I'll still be hitting the weights hard, and I'll be improving my relative strength regardless.

Another tool I'll be employing is simply increasing daily physical activity. I now have access to a Concept 2 rower in my home, and I have both a road bike and mountain bike. I plan on using these to increase my physical activity (and thus calories burned) while still keeping exercise fun. It's spring in southern California; I should definitely make the most of it!

I'll do my first weigh-in on May 1st and we'll go from there.

P.S. in case you're interested in the results from the Paleo challenge I mentioned in the last few posts: I lost 7 pounds and dropped 3% body fat. Right now I'm sitting around 215-217 at roughly 20% bodyfat.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Today's Weigh-In: 208.8

So, my Paleo challenge is just about half-way done. I got pretty sick last week with the flu, but I ended up losing a big chunk of weight. Still nursing a cough, but I'm easing back into working out this week and hope to be back (or close) to full speed next week. I haven't been 100% strict during the challenge, but pretty dang close, and I think that's helping with my weight loss.

I started a new job this week. In the past this would be something that would probably cause me to change my eating habits for the worse, but I've been pretty solid. We have a big file cabinet full of treats (candy bars, chips, cookies, nuts, etc.) but I've been sticking to only helping myself to some of the cashews and beef jerky. The other stuff just doesn't even tempt me any more (except for snickers, those are a weakness). I'm still rocking homemade lunches on most days, and just eating healthy if I do go out. It just took a change in mindset that going out doesn't necessarily mean you get to eat crap. So I eschew frech fries and soda, and get my burgers wrapped in lettuce, or my Chipotle done as a burrito bowl, or just stick with meat and veggies as much as possible. It's not hard, and I'm liking the results.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Another Paleo challenge

Today's Weigh-In: 218

Sorry about the longish absence. I'm participating in my gym's 30-day Paleo challenge so I've been focused on posting on their message boards instead of on the blog here. You can check out my log at the forums if you're interested. I've committed to a strict 30-day no-cheat Paleo diet. I measured 22.1% body fat at 222 pounds on Monday, and I'm hoping to get under 210 and 18% body fat by the end of the challenge. So I'm not dead, I'm still training hard, and I'm still focused. Just not so much on here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Powerlifting meet

Today's Weigh-In: 218.4

My first day back in the Crossfit group class went well. I back squatted 295 for 8 reps, then did a hard metcon in under 12 minutes. My cardio capacity and strength endurance aren't where I'd like them to be yet, so I need to focus on pushing the intensity in my workouts and not sandbagging when it gets hard. Today we're doing a longer workout, probably upwards of an hour, so I'll get a nice calorie burn from that.

Diet yesterday was mostly good, but I did have a couple of beers that were left over from the weekend. Didn't really track calories but just focused on high protein, with carbs post-workout only. I've committed to competing in a powerlifting competition in April, about 9 weeks away. That gives me time to complete 2 more cycles of Wendler 5-3-1 and then take a deload week before the meet. My goal is to compete in the Open division in the 210 lb. weight class. My goals are to hit a 400 squat, 450 deadlift, and 300 bench, for a 1150 lb. total. Are those goals realistic? Maybe. I've squatted 365 in the gym for an easy single, barely failed at 385, so my one-rep max right now is probably around 375. I've pulled 445 on the deadlift so 450 isn't a stretch. The bench goal is probably the most ambitious one since I haven't maxed my bench out in a long time, but I'd rather aim high and miss than aim too low and not push myself. I figure the adrenaline of the event will help me put up bigger numbers than I could do in the gym as well, which is a well known phenomenon in the powerlifting and weightlifting worlds. We'll see how the weight loss affects this as well.

This doesn't mean I'm going to focus on being a powerlifter. I'm still going to be doing just the standard Wendler 5-3-1 template for my strength program and hitting the Crossfit WODs for my GPP/conditioning. My goal is always to be as strong AND as fit as possible, without sacrificing one for the other. Right now I'll focus on shoring up any weaknesses for this powerlifting meet, but later I'll probably focus on a Crossfit competition or maybe even an endurance event. I like mixing it up; it keeps things fresh.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good start

Today's Weigh-In: 216

Doing alright so far. I didn't get to work out yesterday because we had a Paleo potluck at the gym, which I attended. We ate healthy food and had a good time. Today I've had a small bit of sushi (6 pieces), a big salad with egg, bacon, and mozarella, a protein shake, and some strawberries. I'm sitting at about 1500 calories so far. My goal is to hit between 2200 and 2500 calories a day (depending on whether I work out or not). Today's a workout day so I'll eat a bigger dinner, probably with some rice. This is the last week I'll be working out on my own, and I'm pretty excited to get back into the big group workouts. They're just so motivating and really push you to your limits. Now that I'm stronger I'm interested to see how it affects my performance in the lighter workouts as well. I'm hoping the increased strength will allow me to increase my strength endurance more quickly and I'll be able to endure for longer without burning out, but we'll see how it goes.

I know that was kind of a boring post, but I just wanted to write something to keep myself on track and focused on the goal ahead of me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Guess Who's Back

Today's Weigh-In: 216.4

I think it's time I came back to the blogging world. As I mentioned in my last post these past few months have been focused on improving my strength and power, and I've done a pretty good job of that. I hit a few of my goals (310# front squat, 255# clean), got closer to a couple (375# back squat a few weeks ago, still making good progress using Wendler 5-3-1), and have a few I still need to test (haven't snatched in a while). My deadlift hasn't really gone anywhere, but to be honest I haven't been training it very much. I can still do multiple muscle-ups, I'm more muscular, and my general levels of conditioning are solid. All-in-all a good few months of progress.

There's only one problem: I'm fatter than I would like to be. I'm not fat fat, still wearing 36s and medium/large shirts, but I'm feeling the need to drop some significant bodyfat and really get jacked. I was 225 at the beginning of January so I've already made some progress, but I find that I really need to get my thoughts and issues out into the world (i.e. this blog) to continue making progress and staying motivated. I'm also finding that some of my old demons (sugar, fast food, and general BS cravings) have come back to haunt me.

I've got a couple of goals on the horizon:
  • I have a bet with a buddy that I would rock a 6-pack by May 1st. 
  • I have a 30-day Paleo challenge coming up at the gym where I'll have an opportunity to get my bodyfat percentage tested before and after, and if I'm going to spend the money to do that I really want to make some significant progress in that time. 
  • I want to get back into doing the Crossfit group classes instead of doing all my workouts on my own. We're implementing our own programming at the gym now (instead of going off WODs) and we're doing Wendler 5-3-1 for strength along with short, intense conditioning workouts, and this fits perfectly with what I need. Also I just can't push myself as hard alone as I can when I hit it with others. And it's so much more fun, too. My goal is 5 days a week in the gym, 4 days doing the group class and one day for Olympic lifting.
I've updated the sidebar with my weight goals and dates. I also want to take the time to enumerate where I am strong and where I need work, and focus specifically on improving on the weaknesses.

  • I already shop and cook for myself every week and most evenings
  • I'm fairly consistent in terms of hitting the gym
  • I'm the strongest I've ever been right now, so my work capacity is pretty high.

  • Sugar cravings
  • Fast food cravings (something about salty, greasy, crispy things that drives me nuts)
  • Not as consistent in the gym as I would like to be (e.g. when my schedule gets weird I usually just skip the gym instead of going at a different time)
  • It's very easy for me to gain weight - looking at the time between October 2011 and now (4 months) I went from 201 to 225 and now back down to 216. And I wasn't trying to gain weight, that was just regular ad-libitum eating. I really will need to rein it in and focus on eating only my allotted calories. I had hoped I could get away from calorie counting but I guess I'm just not the kind of person for whom that works well.
I think once the Paleo challenge gets going that'll take care of the cravings for the most part (after the first week, of course) and doing the group classes will help me get more motivated to be fully consistent in the gym and give 100% effort. I just need to track what I put in my face hole better and it should be smooth sailing.

I think I'm gonna take some pics soon and put them up here for comparison and accountability. If I'm going to have any chance of hitting my goal of having at least some abs by May 1st I'm going to need to cut down to less than 200 pounds, 190-195 realistically. It's a stretch, for sure, but I'd rather do this thing quick rather than drag it out. First goal is sub-210 by March 1st. Let's do this!