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).

Update to My Leangains Progress

Yikes, I haven’t posted  in a while.

So, from my last posts, my plan was to track what I ate and determine my maintenance calories based on how much my lean mass and fat mass changed. That plan quickly was torpedoed. As it turns out, how much I eat, what I eat, and how they are distributed throughout the week all affect my metabolism and body composition. For example, during one week, I ate around 9000 calories and lost approx 5lbs. The following week, I ate around the same amount of calories. . . and gained 5lbs. According to the bodyfat and water numbers, I pretty much just put back on the same fat and lean mass that I lost.

Anyway, I’d decided that for February, to go with a flat 1000 calories per day. No banking calories for another day and to avoid alcohol. Now, I’ve had a few days where I exceeded this and with the combination of alcohol, there was a significant impact to my weight loss results. So lesson, on the day or days that I do have a drink or go over my calorie limits, I can only do one or the other.

Anyway, dietary issues aside, I’ve still been gaining strength. Apparently, for us long limbed guys, it is normal to see such horrendous progress on the bench press. As a comparison to my starting specs in this post, here are my changes:

  • Bench press: 185 x 5   -> still at 185
  • Squat: 210 x 5               -> 270 x 5
  • Deadlift: 245 x 5           -> 325 x 5

So, pretty great gains in just one month. I actually expect to see similar gains within a month’s time. I expect a slight slowdown through the rest of February. But in March, I’m planning to increase my average daily caloric intake to 1200, though I’m thinking 1400 on workout days and 1000 on non-workout days. I expect that would boost my strength gains resulting in the same average progress.

I’ve also started a youtube account and will be posting video every two weeks documenting my progress. The first was put up almost two weeks ago with the second scheduled for this coming Sunday. You can check them out on my channel here.

One thing that has been a slight issue is the fitment of pants. Based on measuring my waist/belly when holding my stomach in. . .(yeah,  still have those fat lbs to lose) it would appear that the smallest my stomach is going to reach is 31 inches. Though before I go out and start buying size 32 pants, I need to wait for my thighs to slim down some more. So, hopefully, by March, I can start wearing pants that fit me.

My Explanation of the Muscle Burns Lots of Calorie Myth

So, on a lot of fitness websites, there is a piece of misinformation out there. It goes something like, 1 pound of muscle burns 35-50 calories per day, so build as much muscle as possible.

Now, while building more muscle is always a good thing, the number of calories you’d burn due to your muscle mass is much smaller. . .like only 10% of that 35-50 number. So where does it come from? Well, I think I’ve got it figured out. You see, we are used to thinking about weight as fat and everything else. We accept that 1lbs of fat will yield 3500 calories. We accept that our bodies need some amount of calories per day.

Let’s take a 200lb man with 20% bodyfat on requires 2000 calories per day. He has 40lbs of fat, and about 100lbs of water in his body leaving the remaining 60lbs to be “lean body mass”. Which many fitness sites call muscle – ignoring that this also includes organs, skin, etc – which all require energy to function. So, simple math says that 60lbs of muscle consumes the 2000 calories which puts us at 2000/60 = 33.33 calories/lb of muscle.

A possible other source of this error is the increased caloric consumption in individuals who have gained muscle mass. Of course, this just shows you that the writers ignored simple physics. If it takes A amount of energy to lift B pounds, if I’m now lifting 2*B pounds, I’d need at least 2A energy. Most people who’ve added muscle are also expending more energy doing the same workouts. . . because they’re using larger weights. So of course they’d require more energy!

Anyway, on a more personal note, last week sucked diet wise. I had a few nights where I did not exercise control over how much I ate or drank. For February, I’m committed to drastic change. Limiting alcohol to one drink per night, 2 nights max per week and calorie-wise, I’m going for 1000 calories per day. At the moment, I’m don’t have any cardio planned for my non-workout days. After two weeks of 1000 calories per day, if I feel I need to take things up a notch, I’ll add the cardio. So far, I’ve done a pretty good job sticking to around 1000 calories. I think the only day this month that may see me deviate from my plan would be Superbowl Sunday. So, depending on how that goes, I may add a couple days of cardio that week to help counteract the effects 😉