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

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