Weekday Update, Because it’s too late to claim the weekend.

So, two weeks since the last update. So, pretty much my weight continued to increase, though my measurements remained about the same. For this two week period, I’d added 15 minutes of treadmill running to the end of my workout (which I will continue into the next two weeks). Then last week, I changed my train day/rest day breakdown from +10%/-35% to -10%/-30% (though using the same TDEE from when my weight was 194lbs). The good news is that I’m now seeing a reversal of the weight gain and hopefully it will continue it’s downward trajectory.

I think I’d mentioned another powerlifting meet to take place in April. After getting the correct date (April 15th), I’m now gunning for squatting 330lbs, benching 220lbs, and deadlifting 420lbs in the gym y the meet. Then with the help of adrenaline and caffeine, probably hit up to 230lbs on the bench and 450 deadlifting in the meet.

 

Luckily, the meet coincides with the start/end of a two-week cycle for me because following it, I’m going to be switching things a bit in an attempt to speed up my weight loss. So I’ll be departing from “leangains” a bit in the second half of April, still eating leangains style but adding an hour of treadmill on my “rest” days (with one true rest day per week). I’m hoping I can be 195lbs by the meet and 185lbs by the end of the month.

Strength stats will be from two weeks ago to now.

  • Bench press: 205×1 -> 210×3
  • Squat:             305×2 -> 320×2
  • Deadlift:         405×1 -> 410×2
  • Chinup:          +50×7 -> +60×4

Weekend Update: Lots of DOMS

So, there is a points challenge going on in the weight loss group on fitocracy. To help boost my numbers, after my normal Friday workout later that night, I also did a lot more upper body work at home (I’m still working on a good set of challenging lower body home exercises). Anyway, about 18 hours later, delayed onset muscle soreness set in and has been going strong since.

Anyway, it is update time. Strength-wise, I’ll be using what I hit in my RPT style workouts. I mention this because my bench and deadlift numbers will be less than what I achieved in the powerlifting meet. I think my nervous twitching (and performance) that day were probably aided by adrenaline from being excited and butterflies, etc. Though, I’ve also been a lot more sore for the past week, especially my lower back so it could be that once I’m “fully” recovered, we’ll see a jump in my lifts that takes me past my meet performance.

 

I’m writing this post before uploading my bi-weekly video, so I’ll update it later once that is ready. Strength stats will be from two weeks ago to now.

  • Bench press: 195×2 -> 205×1
  • Squat:             290×2 -> 305×2
  • Deadlift:         375×1 -> 405×1
  • Chinup:          +50×5 -> +50×7

Composition-wise, I’ve gained some weight. Could be just muscle, but the bodyfat analyzer on my scale says my bodyfat is up from about 19.8% to 20.2%. I got the digital bodyfat caliper that I ordered. According to it (and my inexperienced measurements, though I did watch videos and repeat them about 20 times), my bodyfat is between 8% and 11%. Though that seems like an underestimate based on my abs and legs – I’d expect more definition were I actually at those numbers. While my scale is likely higher than my actual bodyfat as well, I’ll continue using it for tracking purposes though I’ve started logging both anyway.

Along with my caliper is a retractable type tape measure. This will help me get slightly more accurate readings for my different measurements (it seems like either I’ve been slightly under reading my waist/belly measurements or that’s where some of my weight gain went to this week).

So, to switch things up over the next two weeks, I’m going to stay at the same point macronutrient-wise and workout-wise, but now add 15 minutes of sprints to the end of my workout. If in fact, my bodyfat is closer to 11% than it is 19%, it could be why making forward progress from this point has been tough. From what I’ve read, you really need to be strict and consistent to get bodyfat down from around 12% to single digits. So, I’ll give this two weeks, then depending on how that goes, may need to rework my macronutrient calculations or shift focus from strength building to pure weight loss (At this point, even if every lb of weight lost is 50% muscle, I’d still see a pretty nice change definition and bodyfat wise. I just want to forestall having to go that route to drop fat then work rebuilding the muscle).

Powerlifting Meet Results

I won 2nd place in the open raw 198lb weight class for the deadlift.

So, I’d been prepping for a powerlifting meet that took place on March 10th. My goals for the meet were to be able to bench 200lbs and deadlift 400lbs. I’d also wanted to be able to squat 300lbs, though squats were not one of the lifts at this meet. Well, I not only met my goals, I feel I handily exceeded them. Bench-wise, I’ve got a lot of improvement to do to be competitive raw at my current weight class. Deadlift-wise, just adding 50-70lbs to my current top lift greatly improves my competitiveness. I plan on participating in another meet in April, likely in the same weight class. My goals are to be able to bench 250lbs, squat 330lbs, and deadlift 475lbs by that meet (also bench and deadlift only). Even better, this one has cash prizes!

Anyway, I’ve got video of my lifts. First the bench press:

I’ve put up video of my lifts. Bench presses (200lbs, 210lbs, 225lbs*):

  1. http://youtu.be/vPFmgSdvcmU
  2. http://youtu.be/KVEz0kDcbyM
  3. http://youtu.be/nJJzm2MOCjA

Deadlifts (400lbs, 410lbs, 420lbs):

  1. http://youtu.be/pB1ydRxqwBQ
  2. http://youtu.be/CJlVASHLZkk
  3. http://youtu.be/KOJXtAmefkE

Since I hit all three of my deadlifts, I was able to go for a fourth, which I achieved at 430lbs. However, video of my fourth deadlift is not available due to operator error with my phone.

 

Weekend Update Anew

So I’ve put up a new video which pretty much details my progress though I’ll summarize a bit here.

As I mentioned, I’ll be updating my macronutrient values to reflect the updated activity multiplier. After some thought, I’ve decided to use an activity multiplier of 1.375 instead of 1.5. Also, I’m using Andy Morgan’s cut ratio of +10/-35 for my training day / rest day split though one way to update this in the future is to switch to a more drastic level of -10/-30 which is actually closer to what I was doing but gives me more calories on my rest days while maintaining almost the same weekly deficit. My goal is by this Saturday (the powerlifting meet) to be deadlifting 400lbs, squatting 300lbs, and benching 200lbs. I’m pretty confident that all of those targets are reachable.

Strength recap, numbers are two weeks ago -> last week -> now:

  • Bench press: 185×5 -> 190×2 -> 195×2
  • Squat: 275×3 -> 275×5 -> 290×2
  • Deadlift: 340×2 -> 340×4 -> 375×1
  • Chinup: +30×7 -> +40×7 -> +50×5

I’m pretty happy with the strength increase though I’d really like to see renewed fat loss. I’m going to try my updated macros for two weeks. If it goes well, then I can stick with it through the rest of March. Otherwise, I’ll need to start figuring out ways to tip the scales back towards burning fat (I’m thinking of starting EC supplementation – but will hold off on this till after the powerlifting meet).

Keep Chugging Along!

I only noticed today that using the new post feature from the main wordpress page apparently resulted in a new post being published everytime it decided to autosave my composition. Sorry for any confusion 3.4.2012.1808EST.

As if my day couldn’t get any better. So, over the past few weeks, all sorts of goodness has been happening to me. I change my diet and my strength keeps increasing. I regain my desire and motivation for my research work and now feel back on track to graduating not only this year, but within a few months (sometime this summer).

One issue has been finances. Still living on a student’s salary and my fellowship was due to run out in April. So that meant for the summer while finishing up my dissertation, unless I started working full-time in the area, I would be unpaid. And unfortunately things for me don’t readily lend themselves to saving for a rainy day. I could probably manage a month being unpaid. Two or three and it gets really hairy.

So, imagine my surprise and delight to find an email this afternoon from the fellowship organization saying that after reviewing things, they’ve decided to extend support for a few students, me included, for another 3 months. Not that big a deal, I won’t have tuition to pay during the summer. BUT, in addition to paying my stipend for May and June, they will also in the last paycheck thrown in stipend amounts to cover July and August!

You have no idea how much peace of mind this gives me. Instead of having to worry about how to supplement my income and cut down even more expenses so I could stretch things out while I finish with school, I am freed from actively worrying about that issue. I remember how three years ago dealing with financial concerns pretty much shut me down for several months. I had enough to deal with classes (still taking them at the time) but nothing in the tank for research or anything else in my life. My non-school related life and relationships really suffered.

Weekend Update 2: A day late. . .

So, last week I departed from my 1000 calorie a day diet and switched to following Andy Morgan’s macros for a cut that he describes on his site. So far, things are going well. My strength is up, and I finally broke through my 185lb bench press plateau. My wake-up energy levels are up, I seem to get out of bed faster now without hitting snooze. While I’m sure this was definitely nutrition related, I will admit that there were other things going on in my life whose stress could have affected my waking energy levels as well.

Weight-wise, I’m at the same point. Part of the reason is that this week, due to various social events, I’ve actually went over my macros (though only on workout days) – pretty much every single workout day. So slightly disappointing, but still amazing when you think about it. See, I went from eating around 1000 calories per day to a diet which averages to 1750 calories per day, had several days where I exceeded that average by a lot (Saturday was a 5000 calorie day) and despite all that, did not actually gain weight.

This week should be much more low key, so I’m looking forward to seeing the scale move down and cutting more fat. Anyway, let’s look at my strength change just over the past week alone:

  • Bench press: 185 x 5 -> 190 x 2
  • Squat: 275 x 3 -> 275 x 5
  • Deadlift: 340 x 2 -> 350 x 4

The squat and bench press gains as written don’t tell the complete story. So I do a version of reverse pyramid training on my three main lifts (Which are the ones that I list for benchmarks {though I sometimes also list weighted chin ups for those who are looking at the strength goals listed by Martin on leangains, but I don’t do those as often as the big three}). Anyway, for example, I would aim for the following on squats: 275 x 5, 270 x 5, and 265 x 5. If I can achieve (rep-wise) sets of at least 4-5-3, 4-3-5, or 5-3-3 or better, then I move up the weight by 5lbs on the next day I do that exercise. I’d been stuck at 275lbs on my squat for over a week and only this week did well enough so that I’ll be moving up to 280lbs tomorrow. The same thing applies to the bench, I’d been stuck at 185 for almost two months and now only finally did well enough to move that up.

My deadlift has always been my strongest and continues to improve in leaps and bounds compared to my other lifts. One thing that I’m pretty proud of is being close to reaching specific strength benchmarks. So, for the purposes of talking about this, I’ll recap my current strength levels including weighted chin ups:

  • Weight 194lbs
  • Bench press: 190 x 2
  • Squat: 275 x 5
  • Deadlift: 350 x 4
  • Chin up: +40lbs x 7

So, copied from Martin’s leangains site are the following strength benchmarks:

Strength Goals: Intermediate

Bench press: body weight x 1.2

Chin-ups or pull-ups: body weight x 1.2 or 8 reps with body weight.

Squat: body weight x 1.6

Deadlift: body weight x 2

These numbers are for a raw (no straps, belt or knee wraps) single repetition.

The progress towards the intermediate strength goals should be fairly linear, meaning that there should be no plateaus that cannot be solved in an uncomplicated manner. By “consistent” training I do not mean never missing a training day, nor do I consider taking 2-3 months off from training consistent.

By “decent training routine”, I mean “not doing blatantly stupid shit” (training 5-6 days/week, 20-25 sets for chest and arms, etc.). I do not mean optimal and flawless.

Strength Goals: Advanced 

Under the exact same conditions as the previous example, 3 out of 4 of the following goals should be reached within five years, along with all of the strength goals listed under “intermediate”:

Bench press: body weight x 1.5

Chin-ups or pull-ups: body weight x 1.5 or 15 reps with body weight.

Squat: body weight x 2

Deadlift: body weight x 2.5

Strength Goals: Highly Advanced 

Under the exact same conditions, all of the following goals should be reached within ten years. Alternatively, 3 out of 4 should be reached, and one should be “Elite”:

Bench press: body weight x 1.5, or x 1.8 (elite)

Chin-ups or pull-ups: body weight x 1.5 or 15 reps with body weight, or x 1.8 / 20 reps (elite)

Squat: body weight x 2, or x 2.4 (elite)

Deadlift: body weight x 2.5, or x 3 (elite)

“Elite” denotes one lift that is often ahead of the others. For example, people who are natural pullers (long arms) may very well hit a 3 x body weight deadlift before a 1.5 x body weight bench, and vice versa for the presser (short arms, stocky and barrel-chested) benching 1.8 x body weight but not being able to pull 2.5 x body weight in the deadlift.

Excluding the bench press, I feel I’m within a few weeks of meeting all the Intermediate goals (I already meet the chin up one). If I can maintain my strength with slight improvements, excluding the bench press I would meet (or exceed) all the Advanced goals after losing 14lbs (bodyweight of 180lbs). I feel fully capable of being at this point by the end of April and cautiously optimistic that my bench would catch up within 4 months.

Weekend Update

I’m going to have to wait until Tuesday to get a phone that I’ve been waiting for since last week Wednesday. I won the auction for my very own Samsung Galaxy Note last week but for some reason, paypal would not allow me to make an instant payment. I thought it was because there were some uncleared items in my account. However, even after they posted on that Friday, I still was not given the option for an instant payment. So I went ahead with an e-check which was scheduled to clear this Wednesday. I’d assumed the seller would ship on Wednesday, however it would appear that he did not. Despite messages from myself, paypal, and ebay, he did not ship until today, when I sent yet another message asking for a tracking number.

Moving to other things, I’ve been on my 1000 calories a day diet since the start of February and I may have reached a plateau with my weight loss. My strength gains have also started to slow down and the slowdown seem more limited by my nutrition than other factors. Working with formulas suggested by Andy Morgan here which follows Martin Berkhan’s leangains protocol , I’ve decided to end my 1000 calories per day diet two weeks early and switch to a protocol that attempts to satisfy the macronutrient requirements for Andy’s cutting formula. Based on my body composition at the beginning of March (and change from this Sunday), I will decide whether to continue it through March or make adjustments as needed.

According to his calculator, my BMR (using an activity multiplier of 1) is about 2008.64 (I round that down to 2000). Using that as my base, I’m on the +10%/-35% split for training and rest days. I’ve also decided (independently of the change in diet) to reduce my training sessions to 3 days a week from every other day as I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. I may increase that based on how my workouts feel between now and March. Planning my meals is going to require a bit more work, since I’m now more focused on hitting macronutrient levels, rather than caloric ones. But I think, after the first week, I’ll have a better intuition or at least preference for where I get my low fat carbs. Picking low fat low carb food is easy – after doing Atkins, you have a pretty good grasp of that.

Anyway, in case I don’t update this blog to coincide with my video tomorrow, here are the stat changes from two weeks ago:

  • Weight: 198.6lbs -> 194lbs
  • Bodyfat: 21% -> 19.8%
  • Bench press: 185 x 5 -> still at 185
  • Squat: 250 x 5 -> 275 x 3
  • Deadlift: 295 x 5 -> 340 x 2

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.