Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fat Loss, Minus the Cardio: Weeks 1 & 2

Two weekends ago, I competed in my first powerlifting meet.  It was pretty swell.  Unfortunately, in the weeks leading up to it, I threw my diet by the wayside.  I was simply trying to eat large quantities of food in hopes of guaranteeing my strength for the big day.  A bit foolish, but I was so nervous I didn't want to even concern myself with what I was putting in my mouth. 

The morning of weigh-ins, having eaten and drank nothing, I weighed in at 175lbs, putting me in the 181 lb weight class.  Now, I've never really been much for concerning myself with the scale number.  I knew how much I weighed, and it didn't bother me - still doesn't for that matter.  What does concern me, however, is that if powerlifting is something I want to continue in (which it is!), it would serve me best to compete in a weight class with the least amount of fat I can manage realistically and stay happy.  Plus, I've never really been a lean person, and who doesn't want to look really, really good in their bathing suits and shorts in the summer?

So to that end, I'm embarking on an endeavor that most people reading this have probably done at some point or another:

I'm gonna lose some weight.

But I'm not going to be that general, I don't just want to lose weight - that's silly.  (In fact, I talk extensively about that point in an earlier post!)  I don't want to lose any precious muscle or bone density, I only want to lose fat.  So if that's what I'm going to do, how am I going to do it?  I could take the normal route of a combination of cardio, strength training, and eating small, healthy meals several times a day - but let's be honest, I hate cardio with a passion.  I also hate packing food to bring to work and eating breakfast during the week; after all, that is precious sleeping time I'm losing.

So this road to weight loss is going to be a little project for me.  I have a few conditions and I hope to prove some points here, not just to readers but also to myself:
  • Steady-state cardio is in no way necessary to lose fat.
  • Strength training does a perfectly good job of helping one to lose fat and retain muscle.
  • It is less about when you eat, but more about how much total you eat that really matters.  
I'm also going to take this time to experiment around with different kinds of food, different meal timings and sizes and find out what works best for me.  So here are the ground rules for what I mean by doing no cardio:
  • I will spend zero time on an exercise bike, treadmill, rower or any other cardio machine, nor will I do any other forms of running, biking, swimming, etc.
  • I will not spend more than 15 minutes in a row exercising without any, or with minimal rest.  (So no circuit training for longer than 15 minute spans)
There are, of course, a few exceptions.  I do work as a personal trainer, and will not deny myself active hobbies I enjoy:
  • Sometimes I have to run or demonstrate / participate in exercises with clients that involve my banned pieces of equipment.
  • I will still do activities that I do normally: hiking, frisbee golf, hanging out at the pool/lake, throwing, etc.  I don't expect these to have a significant effect on my fat loss efforts.
So in these posts, I will be logging my exercise, food, weight and posting pictures once a month.  I'm planning on posting regularly at least until August, but this is a lifelong endeavor for me, so the effort will continue even if the posts do not!

So here is the review for Weeks 1 & 2:

Age: 22
Height: 5'6
Starting Weight (3/18/12): 175 lbs

Week 2 Weight (As of 3/29/12): 171 lbs (I attribute a lot of this to reduced carbohydrate intake, thus less water weight)

Week 2 Pictures (Taken 3/29/12):

Back Relaxed                                                                                                 Back Flexed


So here is the Exercise Log for my past 2 weeks.  I don't want these posts to be a mile long, so the food log is under a new tab you'll find at the top of my page titled "No Cardio Weight Loss Challenge: Food Log."  I may also consider making these exercise logs a different page as well, since it's gonna get lengthy!

Exercise Log for Weeks 1&2 (3/19 - 3/30)

Monday, 3/19
  • Squat: 45x5, 80x5, 100x5, 120x3, 130x5, 150x5, 170x8
  • Glute Bridge: 3 x 8 x 185lb
  • 1-Leg Kettlebell Deadlift: 3 x 8 each leg x 70.5
Tuesday, 3/20
  • Bench Press: 45x5, 60x5, 75x3, 80x5, 90x5, 105x8
  • 3 second Pause Bench Press: 3 x 4 x 95
  • Cable Bicep Curl: 3 x 8 x 60
  • TRX Inverted Row: 3 x 8
Wednesday, 3/21
  • Powerclean: 8 x 2 x 75
  • Speed Squat: 6 x 3 x 95
  • Speed Deadlift: 8 x 2 x 135
Thursday, 3/22
  • Overhead Press: 45x3, 45x5, 50x5, 60x5
  • Band-Assisted Chin Ups: 3x5
  • Tricep Extension: 3x8x70
  • Incline DB Press: 3x8x25
Friday, 3/23
  • Deadlift: 135x3, 150x5, 175x5, 195x8
  • Hyperextension w/ 5s hold: 3 x 10 x 10lb
  • Random Clean & Jerk practice w/ new bumper plates!
Sunday, 3/25
  • Turkish Get-Ups (reps are how many done on each side): 20x5, 25x3, 30x2, 35x1, 40x1, 45x1, 2 x 1 x 50
  • 10 Minute Kettlebell Circuit w/ 25lb KB.
Monday, 3/26
  • Squat: 45x5, 80x5, 100x5, 120x3, 140x3, 160x3, 180x5
  • Glute Bridge: 3x8x185
  • Cable Crunch (Reps done for Front, Right and Left): 3 x 8 x 120
Tuesday, 3/27
  • Bench: 45x5, 60x5, 70x5, 90x3, 100x3, 110x6
  • 3-second Pause Bench: 3 x 5 x 95lb
  • Band-Assisted Chin-Up: 3 x 5
  • Bent-Over Barbell Row: 3 x 8 x 85
  • Push Up (5, 8, 10) superset w/ Band Pull Aparts (3x15)
Wednesday, 3/28
  • We got a new piece of equipment at work I wanted to learn how to use: ViPRs.  I did a random total-body movement exercise with those for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 10 minutes.
  • Ball Slam: 30lbs x 10 reps every minute for 5 minutes. 
Like rubber logs with handles.

Thursday, 3/29
  • Overhead Press: 45x3, 50x3, 55x3, 60x5
  • Band-Assisted Chin-Up: 3 x 5
  • Tri Ext: 3 x 8 x 75
  • 1-Arm Incline DB Press: 3 x 8 x 25
  • Push Up (3x5) superset w/ Band Pull Aparts (3x15)
Friday, 3/30
  • Deadlift: 2x3x135, 160x3, 185x3, 210x5
  • Hyperextensions: 3x10x15lb w/ 10 second holds at top
  • Rack Pulls: 3x8x185lbs (Done conventional-style, hence lower weight)
  • Step-Ups onto 2.5 foot box: 3x8 each leg
Whew, that was a long one. 

Well, that's my goal, that's what I'm going to do to get there, and hopefully we'll learn some stuff along the way.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. I've left this blog sadly neglected for the past few months due to writing a bunch of blog posts over on my company's website.  You should check them out here: