Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fat Loss, Minus the Cardio: Weeks 7-10

So I've been slacking and missed making a separate post for weeks 7 & 8, unfortunately!  But here is a condensed post with all 4 weeks of this month with plenty of ups and downs.  

Weeks 7 & 8 

I was feeling pretty great with my progress during these 2 weeks - I somehow managed to lose weight despite: 

Friday, May 4th
  • 11:00 AM - Chicken salad, chickpea salad, green salad & pita bread
  • 8:30 PM - BBQ Chicken Sandwich, fries, 1 pint Blue Moon
Saturday, May 5th
  • 2:00 PM - BBQ Pork, fries, hush puppies w/ butter (Never put butter on them before...it's good stuff!), a bite of banana pudding.
  • 3:00 PM - Way too many peanuts.  Probably 400 calories worth...again.  
  • 8:00 PM - Small margarita, salad with cucumbers, steak, chicken and shrimp, some chips and salsa.
  • 10:00 - 3:00 AM - Beer.  I have no clue how many.  1 beef taco.
Lalalalala bread in a glass

To be fair....I guess I worked out hard both of those days....?

Saturday, May 12th
  • 12:00 PM - Packaged peanuts.
  • 5:00 PM - Steak and mixed vegetables, a bit of a strawberry margarita.  
  • 7:30 PM - So. Much. Popcorn.  1 chocolate truffle.  Whoops.  
Sunday, May 13th
  • 10:30 AM - like 5 slices of bacon, 2 eggs, 1 english muffin.  
  • 1:00 PM - 2 mini York Peppermint candies
  • 3:45 PM - ~5 Chocolate squares.  
  • 6:00 PM - ~4 slices of turkey jerky, handful of almonds.
I went to visit my parents for mother's day and one of our time-honored traditions (probably just because I enjoy it so much) is to go see a movie together - and inevitably we get giant buckets of movie theater popcorn and refill it at least once.  

Here's what's in one of those: 

     Cal      Fat      Chol     Sodium  Carbs   Fiber  Protein   Sugar

     1640   126         0           600        90         24       26.5         0


And I probably ate at least the equivalent of .75 - 1 serving of that.  

Now, that doesn't happen too often, but I felt pretty sick afterwards - 1/2 out of guilt and 1/2 out of actual "oh god how much did I just eat??" sickness.  Follow that up with the sugar I ate the next day and I was certain I was in for a bad weigh-in that Monday.  

Weight (5/14/12): 161.3lbs 

Well I was pretty shocked at that number.  I expected it to be higher than my last weigh-in - not only because of my terrible eating but because of water retention from the increased carbohydrates.  But I wasn't going to complain.  

Unfortunately this led to bad decision-making the following 2 weeks - if I can lose weight eating 1.6k calories of popcorn and 90g of carbs then I can eat whatever right???

Well, while that's obviously not true, how hard I work out probably has a thing or 2 to do with it.  

So what happens when I can't work out anymore?

Weeks 9 & 10
It's a weird thing about diet and exercise - try to lose weight with just one of the approaches and it doesn't work 1/2 as well than if you used both in tandem.  A professor in college once said it in a pretty interesting way:

"When it comes to diet and exercise in relation to weight loss, 1 + 1 = 3."  

If you try only using decreased caloric intake to lose weight, you end up losing a lot of muscle as well - decreasing your metabolism, making you lethargic and making weight harder to lose as you continue eating at a deficit.  

How many calories per day does it take to sustain this body:

versus these bodies?

Alternatively, guess how many calories are in this:

780.  In a small.  (Large is 1010)

Good luck running or lifting that one off in a day.  

So it's pretty unfortunate for me that I hurt my back pretty grievously on 5/15.  Sadly an old, improperly healed vertebrae fracture from high school sometimes likes to pop up and make me quit doing anything active for a while.  

Last time this happened I was out for about 6 months - I anticipated something similar this time around.  So for one week I did nothing physical past my job, which was pretty difficult.  I refrained from standing up or walking as much as I could manage.  All in all a pretty sedentary week for me.  

But apparently my mouth didn't get the memo:

Tuesday, May 15th
  • 1:00 PM - Wendy's cheeseburger w/ fries.  I was planning on eating this as post-workout and I shouldn't have with my back making my workout pathetic, but I did anyway - probably because I was mad. 
  • 6:30 PM - egg scramble w/ bacon, peppers sausage
  • 8:30 PM - finished the rest of my peanut butter / whip cream 
Thursday, May 17th
  • 12:00 PM - small salad w/ balsamic vinaigrette, sandwich with turkey, roast beef, ham, irish bacon, tomatoes.  
  • 8:00 PM - Steamed chicken & shrimp with mixed vegetables and brown sauce.  
Friday, May 18th
  • 2:30 PM - 2 chicken wings and some chips 
  • 5:00 PM - Walnut-crusted chicken w/ mixed vegetables and mashed potatoes, Tall Miller Lite.
Saturday, May 19th
  • 2:00 PM - Hibachi Chicken w/ broccoli & soy sauce.
  • 6:00 PM - Protein Shake w/ skim milk and 3 eggs.  
  • 8:00 PM - 2 pieces of really meaty pizza, coconut shrimp, a lot of wine.  
Sunday, May 20th
  • 11:00 AM - 1 english muffin w/ butter, 3 pieces bacon, cheese, 1 fried egg
  • 6:00 PM - Bangers & Mash w/ onions - only ate like 1/2 the potatoes though.

Well then!  

No surprise that when I hit the scale Monday morning I was greeted with 163.8.  Only a week past and the damage was done.  Go figure, with my inactivity and poor eating.

I was pretty motivated after seeing that, however, and tried to have a pretty decent week 10.  I may have overdone it on chocolate chips once or twice, but it was a pretty decent week overall.  And thankfully, I was only out for ONE week!  I came back in this past week and was able to do a lot of upper body work - though my routine is pretty thrown off I must admit.  I am completely ecstatic about feeling okay after just 1 week!   

3/18/12 - 1753/29/12 - 171 (-4)
4/13/12 - 167 (-4)
4/29/12 - 164 (-3, )
5/14/12 - 161.3 (-2.7)
Weight (5/27/12): 160lbs (-1.3, -15 total)

Here's 1-month pictures, unfortunately I didn't have the shorts I normally wear on-hand so these aren't the best comparisson photos:
Taken 5/27
Front                                                                                                                         Side

My face was
really stupid here              

Back                                                                                                          Back Flexed

Ah yes, the popular
"double hitchhiker"
back flex pose.

Workout Log, Weeks 7 & 8

Monday (4/30/12)
  • Powerclean: 8x2x85lb
  • 100 KB swings w/ 35lb KB in 3:20
Tuesday (5/1/12)
  • Squat: 45x10, 85x5, 105x3, 125x3, 160x5, 180x3, 200x1, 200x2, watup.
  • Squat...again: 1x10x135lb
  • Lunges: 5 x 12-16 steps w/ 40lbs
Wednesday (5/2/12)
  • OHP: 2x3x45lbs, 55x5, 60x3, 70x1
  • Incline 1-Arm DB Press: 3x10 each arm x 25lb
  • Chin-Up: 3x5 superset w/ Tri Extension: 3x8x80lb
  • 50 KB Snatch (20lb, 25 each arm) in 4:00
Friday (5/4/12) 
  • Bench: 45x5, 65x5, 75x3, 95x5, 110x3, 120x2
  • Assisted Chin-Up: 3x5 superset w/ Face Pull: 3x10x60lb
  • Push-Up x 6 superset w/ Band Pull Apart x 15
Saturday (5/5/12)
  • Deadlift: 135x5, 135x3, 180x5, 205x3, 135x20
  • Reverse Hyper: 3x8x190lb
  • Prowler: 2 x ~20 yards x 205lbs
Sunday (5/6/12)
  • Threw for ~30min
Tuesday (5/8/12)
  • Squat: 45x10, 85x5, 105x5, 125x5
  • Speed Squat: 8x2x95lb
  • 1-L HS Curl: 3x5 each side superset w/ Lunges ~25 yards w/ 40lbs
Thursday (5/10/12)
  • Overhead Press: 3x5x45lb
  • Tri Extension: 3 x 8 x 60lb superset w/ Chin-Up: 3x3
  • Push-Up x 5 superset w/ Band Pull-Apart x 10
  • Jump Rope: 4 x 1 min  (I'm a terrible jumper!)
Friday (5/11/12) 
  • Bench: 45x5, 65x5, 75x5
  • Chin-Up x 3 superset w/ Face Pull: 3x10x30lb
  • Push-Up: 3x3
  • Jump Rope: 3 x 1 min

Workout Log, Weeks 9 & 10

Tuesday (5/15/12)
  • Squat: 75x5, 95x5, 110x3, 120x5, 140x1 (ow my back)
  • Lay down on ground in pain for ~15 minutes
  • 1-L TRX Squats w/ best form ever: 3 x 5 each side
  • Core Ball Stiff-Arm Overhead: 3 x 10 x 16lbs superset w/ Bodyweight Split Squats x 10 each side
Wednesday (5/16/12)
  • Hip Raise Holds on Physio Ball / Marching Drill / Dying Bug / Hamstring Curls on Physio Ball 
Friday (5/18/12)
  • Same as Wednesday
Tuesday (5/22/12)
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 12 x 30lbs w/ 2 second descent, 2 second hold at the bottom.
  • Chin-Up: 3 x 5 w/ 2 second hold at top.
  • 1-Arm Overhead Press: 3 x 8 x 20lb each side, superset w/ 1-Arm KB Row: 3 x 8 x 35lb each side.
Wednesday (5/23/12)
  • Eccentric Jumping Chin-Ups (no assistance) x 8 (Eccentric means I am lowering myself as slowly as I possibly can from the top)
Thursday (5/24/12)
  • Close-Grip Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 85lb
  • Chin-Up: 3 x 5 w/ 2 second top hold (assisted)
  • 1-Arm OHP: 3 x 8 x 20lb superset w/ X-Lat Pull-down: 3 x 10 x 90lbs each arm.  
Saturday (5/26/12)
  • DB Bench: 3 x 10 x 35lbs
  • Chin-Up: 3 x 3 (assisted)
  • Push-Up x 5 superset w/ Bat Wings: 3 x 8 x 15lbs w/ 3 second top hold. 
  • Prisoner Squat x 10 superset w/ TRX Ab Rollouts x 10 (3 sets) 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fat Loss, Minus the Cardio: Weeks 5 & 6

It's been a little over a month since I started this dieting extravaganza, and things are still progressing well despite my weekend blunders.  If I wasn't fortunate enough to be young, those deviations from a good diet might be costing me a lot more - not to mention I'm still at a point where I have plenty to lose.

As I age and as I get into the lower numbers, I'm going to need to get these slip-ups on lock down.  Should I continue this trend, I'm going to have to confront my failures - not to mention post about them on the internet!  

I've had a couple other questions / comments that I'll add to the FAQ, but address them here as well:

I couldn't do what you are right now - your workouts are much more intense than mine.  I'm no where close to what you're lifting, so I'd have to do a lot more to get the same effect.

This is one point I hope more people who are trying to get into exercise recognize: Intensity is completely relative.

For example, let's pick one of my workouts at random: 

Version 1
  • Squat: 45x5, 80x5, 100x5, 120x3, 150x5, 170x3, 190x2
  • Glute Bridge: 3x8x185lb
  • 1-L Squat: 3x5 each side
  • Cable Crunch: 3x8x125lb
If you couldn't do those weights, does that mean you won't get a lot out of your workout in terms of calorie expenditure?  

Absolutely not!

All this means is that if you do your own version of this workout scaled to what you can do, but is still difficult, for you, then you will get similar effects of what I did.  For example, you could scale this back to:

Version 2
  • Squat: Bodyweight x 10, 20x5, 45x5, 65x5, 85x3, 100x2
  • Glute Bridge: 5 x 5 x 65lb
  • 1-L Squat to high box: 3 x 5 each side
  • Cable Crunch: 3 x 8 x 50lb
All I did was scale the weights back, adjusted the reps while maintaining the same volume, and modified one of the exercises.  Need to scale it back further?

Version 3
  • Goblet Squat: BW x 5, 15 x 5, 3 x 8 x 25lb
  • Glute Bridge: 3 x 8 BW w/ Band Above Knees 
  • Lunges: 3 x 10 each side
  • Cable Crunch: 3 x 8 x 20lb
Here, I regressed the exercises to more beginner-friendly ones and decreased the weights again while maintaining or increasing volume.

Now, here's the main point of this again:  If I was to do version 3 of this workout as compared to version 1, I wouldn't be getting nearly as much out of it.  It wouldn't be very intense for me, so my body wouldn't have to expend a lot of energy to complete the tasks.  My body is more efficient at performing these tasks because I've been doing them for so long. 

However, for a novice, Versions 2 & 3 could be PLENTY difficult.  Your muscles would be screaming at you in much the same way mine did, you'd be sweating just as much, putting forth just as much effort.  While I would burn more energy squatting 200lbs than someone squatting 50lbs for the same reps, I burn less energy per pound lifted than a novice.  They would get more for less.   

This is a picture on the website for a gym franchise called "Butterfly Life."  If you are either A) Smiling or B) Working out at a gym called Butterfly Life, you're probably not trying hard enough.

But, as per usual, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet.  I wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to guess how many calories you are burning per workout - there are so many factors that go into that it's hardly worth your time to try and figure out.  If you wanted to attempt this, or any weight-loss plan, you'd need to play around with the calories you take in per day.  I have dieted before and knew in general how many I need to take in to be at a deficit.  This number will not be the same for every person, so try to figure out yours!  

Why aren't you eating until the afternoon everyday?  Aren't you supposed to eat breakfast?  

Because I like to gorge myself on fried-egg bacon cheeseburgers on a frequent basis, and breakfast detracts calories that I could later spend on extra cheese and bacon.

Okay that part is only like 90% of the reason.  

While sometimes I do eat breakfast, when I don't feel like it - I don't.  One of THE MOST common nutrition myths is that you must eat breakfast or else your metabolism is crashed for the rest of the day and you won't burn any calories, and thus you'll gain weight.  

There are plenty of studies that show that people who eat breakfast typically weigh less than those who do not.  However, this is an application of correlation without causation.  People who take the time out to eat breakfast in the morning simply are more likely to be people who are more conscious of and take time for their health, thus weighing less.  That's it!  Nothing to do with your metabolism whatsoever.  

Think about it:  If we needed to eat every 2-3 hours in order to keep our metabolism up / blood glucose levels from crashing / prevent the apocalypse, we would have to also wake up every 2 hours during the night to keep the pattern going or else we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot every time we went to bed.  And that doesn't make a lot of sense.  


I am hardly the first person on the internet to talk about this, so instead of writing stuff like I came up with it, here are some helpful links to learn more about the breakfast myth and fasting:

Martin Berkham: Top 10 Fasting Myths Debunked (A VERY good read, please take the time out for this one!)

Dr. John Berardi: Intermittent-Fasting Experiement (Long read, but again very informative)

J. Stanton: The Breakfast Myth Pt. 1 & 2

I highly recommend taking the time to explore both of these sites as well for their wealth of information on nutrition.  

Onto progress updates!  

Weight (4/29/12): 164lbs

Summary of weight loss at present:

3/18/12 - 175
3/29/12 - 171 (-4)
4/13/12 - 167 (-4)
4/29/12 - 164 (-3, -11 total)

So pretty steady, but I'll need to step it up to keep the same progress going.
Here are my 1-month picture updates:

Taken 4/29/12

Front                                                                              Side

Back Relaxed                                                Back Flexed
Things that need to be worked on:

  • Picture-taking ability and timing
  • Back Flexing.  It's unimpressive, really.     
It looks like I've made a little progress!  Unfortunately my wardrobe has changed from winter to summer since I started this plan so I haven't been wearing the same clothes and haven't noted much of a difference.  My work clothes are all gym shorts and pants - and those ALWAYS fit comfortably.  (Lucky me, right?)

Pull-ups are feeling better and better.  I think I'll actually make my New Year's resolution to do one with no assistance this time around, which is pretty exciting for me - it hasn't been my resolution for the past 3 years or anything...

Workout Log, Weeks 5 & 6 

Monday (4/16/12)
  • Turkish Get-Ups (Reps are for each side): 2x1x25lb, 2x1x30, 2x1x35, 2x2x44lb
  • Chin-Ups: 1x5, 2x3
Tuesday (4/17/12)
  • Squat: 45x5, 85x5, 105x5, 125x3, 135x5, 160x5, 180x5
  • Reverse Hyperextension: 3x8x50lb
  • Glute-Ham Raise: 3x8
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlift: 3x5x135 Superset w/ Thick Band Goodmornings: 3x15
  • Prowler Push: 5x~30yds down & back x 140lbs
Wednesday (4/18/12)
  • Powerclean: 8x2x75lb
  • KB Swings: 5x25x35lbs w/ 45s rest between each set.
Thursday (4/19/12)
  • Bench Press: 45x5, 65x5, 75x3, 85x5, 95x5, 110x6
  • Chin-Ups: 3x5
  • Pause Bench Press (3s wait): 3x5x95lb
  • Push-Up 3x5
  • Face Pull: 3x8x50lb
Friday (4/20/12)
  • Overhead Press: 45x3, 50x5, 55x5, 60x4 (hit myself in the face on the fifth rep attempt...kinda puts a damper on your momentum.)
  • 1-Arm Incline DB Press: 3x8x25lb
  • Chin Up: 3x5 superset w/ Tricep Ext: 3x8x80lb
Saturday (4/21/12)
  • Deadlift: 135x5, 155x5, more warm-up sets I'm forgetting, 205x5
  • Box Squat: 3x2x185, not good.
  • Good Morning: 3x5x95lb
  • Threw a couple hours later for ~20-30 minutes.
Sunday (4/22/12)
  • ViPR certification course for 7 hours.
So, here is a prime example of a trainer being stupid in their own training.  The last time I had a day where I did NOTHING was 4/6/12.  That's 16 days in a row of training.  I would never suggest that for anyone at all.  It's stupid.  Don't do it.  I was DEAD during that certification workshop.  

Tuesday (4/24/12)
  • Squat: 45x10, 85x5, 100x5, 120x3, 150x5, 170x3, 190x3 - the 190 set felt much better than the 170, strange!
  • Safety Squat Bar Box Squat: 3x5x95lb
  • Reverse Hyper: 3x8x70lb superset w/ Banded Good-Mornings: 3x15
  • GHR: 3x8 superset w/ 1-Leg Physioball Hamstring Curl: 3x8 each leg
  • Prowler Push: 140lb x 5 down & back 10yd pushes 
  • Threw frisbee for ~45min - 1hr
Don't knock it till you try it.  Say hello to your upper back!

Wednesday (4/25/12)
  • Bench: 45x5, 65x5, 75x3, 90x3, 100x3, 115x3
  • Chin-Up: 3x5
  • Push-Up: 3x5 superset w/ Face Pull: 3x10x50lb
Thursday (4/26/12)
  • Deadlift: 2x3x135lb, 170x3, 195x3, 215x2.  Felt depressed about this one for sure.
  • Box Squat: 3x1x185.  Think that depression carried over.  I felt so upset about my deadlift and subsequent awful box squats I wanted to quit after the first set.  
  • Good Morning: 3x8x95lb superset w/ Hyperextension: 3 x 1min hold x 10lbs
  • 100 KB swings w/ 35lb KB in 3min 20s
Saturday (4/28/12)
  • OHP: 45x3, 50x3, 60x3, 65x2
  • Chin-Up: 3x5
  • Push-Up: 3x5
Sunday (4/29/12)
  • Threw for ~30-45min
Monday (4/30/12)
  • Powerclean: 8x2x85lb
  • 100 KB swings w/ 35lb KB in 3:20
Tuesday (5/1/12)
  • Squat: 45x10, 85x5, 105x3, 125x3, 160x5, 180x3, 200x1, 200x2, watup.
  • Squat...again: 1x10x135lb
  • Lunges: 5 x 12-16 steps w/ 40lbs
Wednesday (5/2/12)
  • OHP: 2x3x45lbs, 55x5, 60x3, 70x1
  • Incline 1-Arm DB Press: 3x10 each arm x 25lb
  • Chin-Up: 3x5 superset w/ Tri Extension: 3x8x80lb
  • 50 KB Snatch (20lb, 25 each arm) in 4:00