Monday, January 31, 2011

Leangains Meal - Rest Day


Some of you following my blog may be wondering what I'm eating - when I am eating, that is. Going 16 hours a day without food is not that difficult most days. I only have trouble when I'm bored. Luckily I have a job that keeps me on my toes and a life that is quite full when I'm not at the office.

What I eat varies a bit depending on whether it's a rest day or a workout day. On workout days, I eat higher complex carbs/starchy veggies because my muscles have been greatly depleted of their glycogen stores through my short, yet intense workout. If your muscles are empty, there's plenty of room for glucose! Add to this the increased insulin sensitivity I'm creating within my system through a low sugar, low carb diet the rest of the time and when I do eat anything that is turned to sugar, my body cleans it up in no time, using the glucose for energy and refilling the stores in my muscles - leaving nothing to store as fat. Yes, it is that simple.

Carbs I typically eat - brown and wild rice, whole-wheat pasta, small amounts of yams, corn, carrots...And not all the carbs I eat are "good." I ate an entire bag of gummy goodness last week at the movies and the other day I sucked down about 5 Oreos and a big glass of skim milk before bed. Mmmmmmm...Sweet treats aside, I always pair my carbs with LOTS of protein - 30g or more if possible as well as fats such as coconut oil, bacon grease, olive or canola oil, etc.

On non-workout days, I go lighter calories and really low carb - like today. Pictured above was today's lunch. Two Perdue chicken breasts, a pile of Romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, 1/2 cup of black beans, an ounce of shredded cheddar and a couple of tablespoons of chunky salsa. I couldn't finish it all!

Tonight's dinner was about 6 oz of ribeye steak, a handful of asparagus spears, some sauteed onions and a handful or two of fresh blueberries.

For the day, that puts me at the following macronutrient breakdown:

I know, I know, you see the cholesterol and sodium levels and freak out...well, I drink a TON of water and green tea all day and cholesterol isn't the devil it's been made out to be. More on that later.

For now, I wanted you to see that while I am only eating around 1,200 calories a day (I will have a casein shake or fluff before bed), I go to sleep satiated and wake up feeling fantastic every day. My energy has never been better and, in fact, I find it harder to fall asleep than I did before I started IF. I cannot go to bed before 10:30 when I used to be nodding off on the couch by 9 pm. I'm hitting personal records with EVERY trip to the gym (not surprising when you are as out of shape as I was) and I'm never tired anymore.

Well, time for a little R&R as I haven't sat still all day!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pullups, dips, chins...and assorted leg torture

It's been a productive and eventful past couple of days. On Thursday, I did more pull-ups than ever before - BW X6, X5, X4; heavy walking lunges - 90x20 steps, 80x20 steps, 70x20 steps, 60x20 steps; Romanian (stiff-legged) deadlifts 95x5, 90x5, 85x5 and, to finish off, I did leg extensions - 160x5, 145x5, 130x5.

Today, Saturday, I did weighted chins w/ BW+10lb plate for 5, BW+7lbs for 5 and BW+5lbs for 5, then BW x 6 and then 3 and I was FINISHED. Somewhere in between I added some standing military presses - 60 x 5, 55 x 5, and 50 x 5.

To wrap it all up, I completed my 'easy' Saturday at the gym with some Circus Bears...wonder what they are? Well, I think I came up with the name...I get on all fours on a large swiss ball and then I get into a kneeling position and balance for as long as possible. Try it. They're great for the core and thighs. I'm trying to keep my surfer's balance in tune since I haven't been in the water FOREVER.

Update;
Weight: 118.8
BF: 26.5%

That's if for now.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting a little stronger every day

Had a good, quick workout yesterday. Benched my PR w/o a spotter - 90 lbs x5, followed by two more descending sets. Oh, did I mention I did 10 pushups between each set and had only enough rest to remove plates.

Followed chest with standing military press. Went easy because my back is still not 100%. Started with 40lb barbell x 5, then 30lb x 5, then 20 lb x5 with no rest. Walked, stretched and hit the road.

I'm adding compound exercises to my bench and deadlift days, but I want to do it slowly. Since I'm using heavier weights I don't want to hurt myself by getting too eager!

My weight has fallen to a solid and steady 119 lbs. Won't measure BF again until Sunday - still my BF scale is probably nowhere near accurate. I just hope to see the numbers continue to inch downward!

Clothes feel looser. Pants fall off without a belt and more room in all areas of my shirts that used to be tight except for the button downs I can't wear now because my lats are getting bigger. Oh, well. I'll take that trade any day.

Anyone out there try IF yet? If you have or are trying it, let me know how it's working out for you.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lazy bum or wily genius?

If I told you that, in the last two weeks, I've worked out for a total of maybe 3 hours, you may ask why I'm slacking off. Perhaps you'd think I am nursing and injury or just haven't had time to hit the gym the way I used to. Or, maybe you'd just think I've gotten lazy...again.

But, what would you say if I told you that, in the last two weeks, I've hit PRs (personal records) on chin-ups (9), pull-ups (4), dips (12), deadlifts (115x5), bench press (95 x 4) ...lost 8 pounds AND ~2% body fat? Would you still think I'm being a bum?

OR, is it possible that you just may come to the conclusion that I am a wily fitness genius. :)

I wish I could take credit for it all but, alas, I cannot. I have Martin Berkhan's
Leangains to thank for each deliciously heavy rep and every bit of body fat that is melting from my body. I can, however, take all of the credit for having the discipline to stay at a daily calorie deficit and fast for my total 16 hours each day - 9 p.m. - 1 p.m.

I'm working out less often than I ever have and I am getting stronger each day. I'm sure much of that is the shock of hitting my body with heavier weights than I have ever lifted combined with the fact that, in the shape I was in, I had nowhere to go but up. Whatever the reason, I don't care. Results are results

The 16/8 IF is a piece of cake to stick to. I never feel cheated. I enjoy wine or a beer when I want it (drinking some now whilst cooking my famous meatballs for dinner). I eat all of the foods I love. (NOTE: I have always loved lots of meat and veggies, so this has been easy for me). And what's best is that I'm losing body fat while gaining lean muscle AT THE SAME TIME.

When I get leaner and you can see the difference for yourselves, I will post before and after pics for those of you who doubt my approach. Stay tuned and keep moving!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rockin' the Chins

Today I rocked the chinups, totaling the most ever in the fewest sets.

Set 1 - 9
Set 2 - 7
Set 3 - 4

These are full chin-ups; I went all the way to lockout like the woman in the pic and back to the top where my chin was above the bar.

What's better than doing 9 chins? Doing 9 chins, hopping down and seeing a 300 lb stacked dude smiling at me with the "way to go" look. :)

Next time I'm adding weights. I'll look a bit silly with a 5 lb plate hanging from my waist, but you have to crawl before you can walk!

Stats:
Weight - steady - 119.4-119.6
BF - down to 27.1% (yay!)
Tummy - FULL of chicken meat and jambalaya! Tonight's dinner? Homemade pulled pork sandwiches and sweet potato fries! If this is a diet, I'm in heaven.






Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gummy Goodness

Unfortunately no workout today. Tweaked my back about a week ago - possibly when I caught the downhill edge of my snowboard last weekend and landed flat on my back (thank GOD I wear a helmet). Between that, my heavy squat day and my lumpy mattress, I'm toast. Dragged my butt to a Chiropractor who made my neck, midback and lowback snap crackle and pop. Going back Monday to see if everything is still straight.

Have a lot of soreness now, so I'm focusing on keeping the diet loaded with protein and low carbs b/c it's movie night - and I can't go to a movie without a bag of gummy bears!

Will see how I feel in the morning and hopefully get to the gym and do some upper body and more stretching. Don't want to aggravate the back with deadlifts. Probably wait until next weekend to try again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

From Starving to Stuffed...

I went to bed last night stuffed to the gills. I had 177g of protein yesterday and my total allotment of 1,326 calories and yet I lost another pound.

Then, I was really hungry this morning and was prepared to devour every morsel of my 4-piece of Grilled Caribbean chicken I got at the grocery store, but I couldn't finish it. I'm not sure if it's because my body gets tired of eating chunks of protein or what, but after making quick work of a wing and two drumsticks, I only got halfway through the breast.

I seem to get full fast, then hungry again pretty quickly after eating - even after STUFFING myself with protein and veggies. I'm planning a cheat day on Sunday where I will eat something fatty and sweet so my leptin levels can climb again and kill this constant hunger. Just so you know, I don't feel like I'm starving all of the time. The feeling is more like what you get an hour after eating Chinese food - you know you just ate, but you could probably eat a bit more.

If any of you have taken up IF, let me know how it's working for you.

Update:
Weight: 119 (yay!)
BF - don't ask. But since my weight is DEcreasing and my BF % is no longer INcreasing, I will assume that I am losing some since it's calculated based on weight. Lower bodyweight with zero or little change in BF = higher BF reading... I think that makes sense. I don't think I'll see a big difference until my weight stabilizes for a while...stay tuned.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Protein, protein and even more protein!

OMG. How I can go from so hungry to stuffed so fast is unbelievable. As my 16-hour fast ticked down to a close, I prepared to devour my lunch: two tilapia fillets smothered in mushrooms and onions, a small yam and about a cup of blueberries.

shortly after I was STUFFED. I felt like this little guy over here - full belly and ready for a nap. Luckily it was the almost 50 g of protein in the fish that filled me up, so I rebounded in about 20 minutes.

Only about 90 g of protein to go. Ugh. How in the heck am I supposed to get it all from food! I guess it's another ribeye for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

FLUFF!!

Thanks to Martin Berkhan's Leangains, I found my new love - PROTEIN FLUFF! He makes his with casein protein, so it whips up better, so I used one of his blog reader's suggestion to whip up egg whites to soft peaks before adding the whey protein powder that I have here.

I tried chocolate with mashed frozen banana pieces first using skim milk, but it didn't get nearly as fluffy. The vanilla, above, is seriously the texture of meringue! I put it in the freezer in the hopes of exponentially increasing it's fluffy goodness. I'll let you know how it turns out.

In the meantime, if you want to experiment with this yummy, deceptively healthy snack, check out Martin's site - just do a search for "fluff."

Pictured above:
1.5 scoops EAS vanilla whey = approx 32 g protein
2 egg whites = about 6 g protein
ZERO carbs

100% yummy. Can't wait for my 9 p.m. snack!



Monday, January 17, 2011

The "new" food pyramid...WTF?

Ok. I'm just going to put it out there. What in the hell is going on with the food pyramid? Apparently the powers-at-be at the FDA decided that what we needed was greater flexibility in the recommended foods that we eat and decided to revise the pyramid to make the recommended guidelines easier to understand...

Pictured on the left here is the revised Food Pyramid, which is really just a vertical version of the old food pyramid, but much more confusing. I guess the narrowing of each segment is supposed to offer more flexibility on servings of each food group.

Let's just start with the fact that they both the old and new food pyramids are way off in their recommendations of what we should be eating. When will the FDA and the rest of the world catch up with the FACT that carbohydrates - of ANY and ALL kind - are primarily responsible for heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, etc...

Don't believe me? Ok, but before you move on to another website, humor me for a moment and listen to what I have to say:

When we eat carbohydrates and starches from ANY source, the bodies first response is to break them down to sugar. Whether it's a baked potato or a soda, your body doesn't know the difference at the cellular level.

Once the carbohydrate is broken down, your blood is filled with sugar (the amount will depend on the quantity of carbs and sugar you've recently consumed.) Your body does NOT want too much sugar circulating in the blood. So, evolution has handily supplied us with the ability to manufacture insulin (unless you have juvenile diabetes; but that's another topic altogether).

Insulin's primary daily job is to sweep up extra sugar from the blood and store it - either in muscles where it is used for energy or in the liver where it is saved for later. After you eat carbs or starches (or sugar), your insulin levels increase and your body shuttles that glucose to your liver until the energy is needed by your body. Between meals — when insulin levels are theoretically low — the liver releases glucose into the bloodstream in the form of sugar. This keeps blood sugar levels within a narrow range.

I say theoretically because the health industry's recommendation of eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day does not allow your insulin levels to drop and your liver can only store so much glucose.

Think of your muscles and organs as a car engine that runs on sugar (glycogen). There's only so much fuel that the gas tank can hold. So, when you're spilling over on sugar - and I guarantee that most of you are - the excess is stored as fat for later use. The problem is, it is rarely ever required for "later use" because you're never at a deficit of sugar if you don't stop eating carbohydrates for a while. See what I'm getting at here?

Insulin isn't necessarily the devil, however, without it, we wouldn't be able to shuttle all of that great energy into our bodily tissues and muscles that need it for basic processes.

The problems start when you have TOO MUCH insulin circulating. This often results in insulin resistance - and 75% of you have some level of insulin resitance. This is a bad thing.

When people are insulin resistant, their muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin. As a result, their bodies need more insulin to help glucose enter cells, creaing a viscious circle whereas the pancreas tries to keep up with this increased demand for insulin by producing more. Eventually, the pancreas fails to keep up with the body’s need for insulin, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, setting the stage for diabetes. Many people with insulin resistance have high levels of both glucose and insulin circulating in their blood at the same time.

Insulin resistance increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease among a host of additional diseases and ailments including obesity and/or weight gain.

So what do you do? Unless you are running on low bodyfat (around 5-8% for men, 13-15% for women), your body doesn't NEED extra energy in the form of sugar. So, stop stuffing your face with bagels, pizza, chips (baked or otherwise), bread, rice, pasta, white potatoes every chance you get and pick up a drumstick (and I'm not referring to the ice cream treats).


That's right - EAT MEAT - or fish, shellfish, poultry, lamb, pork, wild game, etc. When your body is lacking in sugar, your insulin levels drop (a GOOD thing for most people) and your fat storage mechanism all but stops as long as you're not overeating. As an added bonus, you'll gain insulin sensitivity (another GOOD thing) so that when you do eat carbs and sugar, your body gets really, really good at using it for energy instead of storing it.

So, in short, eat protein - and a lot of it. Don't be afraid to eat your bodyweight (in grams) of protein each and every day. Just make sure you eat lots of fibrous veggies, too!

If you do nothing more than swap out starch, sugar and carbs for protein and fibrous veggies -and remain within your daily/weekly caloric requirements (get a free account on
Livestrong.com to find out how much you should be eating) - you will lose fat faster than you can say "Moo." It's the easiest diet out there.


(This information is for general entertainment purposes. If you suffer from a metabolic or other health condition including diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, I would recommend discussing all of this with your doctor before doing anything silly.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

8 lbs in One Week

A week ago, when I began my foray into IF (intermittent fasting), I weighed in at about 128 lbs. Now, that doesn't sound like a lot, but I'm pretty short (5'2"), so I was looking quite soft. Well, I'm proud to announce that after 1 week of IF, a sensible meal plan, and a few hours total in the gym, I now weigh 120 lbs.

According to my Tanita body fat scale, I went up briefly this week from 28.5 to just over 30 (as I flushed water weight most likely) and was down to 27.5 when I woke up this morning. Now, I have no idea how accurate these scales are, but what I am shooting for is a downward trend. When I get leaner I will get the trainers at the gym to do a caliper measurement to see where I stand.

I know a good deal of my weight a week ago was water weight, but I am feeling thinner and lighter and already fitting into jeans that were too tight just a week ago. I don't look like the woman in this picture...yet...but I'm happy with my progress.



Today's Update:
Squats (just enough rest to remove weight from the bar)
95 lbs x 20 reps
85 x 15
75 x 10
65 x 10
55 x 12
45 (just the bar) x 12

Leg Extensions (very little rest between sets)
100 lbs x 10
85 x 10
70 x 8
55 x 6
40 x 5
25 x 3 (I was D.O.N.E.)

Abs
Decline sit-ups with 20 lbs on chest, then 10, then 5, then bw until I couldn't do any more.

Walking
15 mins at 3.5-3.8 w/moderate incline

FOOD

Lunch
Rotisserie chicken leg and thigh
half of a yam

Dinner
Braised chuck roast
sauteed brussels sprouts

9 pm (last meal yet to be consumed as it's only 7 pm as I write this)
1 cup cottage cheese w/frozen banana pieces

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pullup or Chinup...that is the question.

The age-old debate...which exercise is better for you: the chinup or the pullup? There's a fairly scientific discussion on this issue on the Leangains site.

My theory is that they're both pretty damn good exercises.

As you can see, skinless man here is preparing to do a chinup. Palms facing in, arms locked out, forearms, lats, and posterior delts are engaged in preparation for the lift.







As he pulls his chin above the bar, pretty much his entire back is engaged as well as his forearms and a bit of his rear delts. You can't see it in this picture, but I belive this grip also targets the rhomboids (middle back muscles).






Now this guy here is performing a pull-up.

As you can see through his range of motion, the pullup hits only the lats and teres major back muscles while the rhomboids remain inactive. His biceps and triceps are fully engaged, however, I think it's safe to suggest that incorporating both pull-ups and chin-ups into your routine is a great way to hit many muscle groups simultaneously while increasing your strength.


I'm also pleased to report that after maxing my bench today with reverse pyramid sets beginning at 85 lbs (my PR is 95 but I did not have a spotter this a.m.) all the way down to just the 45 lb bar (with pushups between sets), I was able to perform 6, 6, and 3 in my chin-up sets.

Six months ago I could not do one.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Get me to the Savannah


Last night I hit the gym for a quick interval workout followed by a slow 30-minute walk/jog to keep the fat-burn going...I kickstarted the HIIT workout by jogging at 4 mph for 30 seconds and toggled to 9.5 mph for 30 seconds and continued for 10 minutes. I'm going to just put it out there - I was hauling ass.

For someone who stands at a whopping 5'2" tall, my legs were spinning - I probably looked the RoadRunner does in this picture.

What's more is that it was EASY. Where'd that come from? I felt like cheetah on the savannah, sprinting after prey that had no hope of escape. While I broke a mean sweat, I didn't start to get winded until about minute 8.5. It was after 6 pm and all I had eaten so far that day was a quarter of a cantaloupe, some green beans, and a balance bar at lunch.

I have to admit, working out while fasting feels amazing. I have more energy and stamina than I've ever had. Yes, I do feel sorta hungry most of the day, but I guess I'm getting used to it. I feel light. I feel tighter. I feel really, really good.

Today is a genuine rest day for me. No gym. No intervals. No walking. No weights. I'm going to eat low-carb, a bit more fat and a ton of protein. I plan on topping it all off with half-price Raw Bar at Rooney's tonight as my reward for sticking with the fast for a week.

UPDATE:
Weight: 122 (quick loss of about 5 lbs this week probably mostly water weight b/c I've been living in the bathroom!)
Energy: High
Mood: FANTASTIC

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hunger Level Defcon 5

Starving today. Logged into my Livestrong account and see I'm waaaay below the 1,536 calories a day I'm supposed to be eating (and that's my restricted goal, not maintenance). I need to eat a lot more during my "window."

Then, to top things off, the turkey I brought to eat with my veggies and fruit was so salty I couldn't eat it. That's what I get for bringing in lunchmeat - but it's not the pre-packaged kind. It must be the marinade they used at Wegmann's, but it's icky. I had to eat a, GASP, Balance Bar so that I didn't cannibalize my boss.

I think this fasting thing is going to require a little more preparation on days I have to be at the office.

Short post this afternoon - I'll have more to say later after my workout and the ensuing pig-out on ribeye steak and yams that I'm currently plotting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Is No Place Sacred?


I was at the gym early this morning, powering through a tough set of deadlifts, followed by exhaustive sets of pull ups when I noticed a maintenance-type guy preparing to hang a framed poster on the wall...

Was it motivational? No. Was it inspiring? No. Did it make me hungry as hell? YES.

There I was. Tired. Sweaty. Hungry and 10 hours into a 16-hour fast and what is this guy hanging on the wall next to the pull up/dip station? A cheery picture of Craisins.

Personally, I love Craisins. I like the tangy-sweet taste they add to my salads. But, being as they're just a step above Mike-n-Ike's, I don't usually keep them around (I can't be trusted near Mike-n-Ike's either.)

I notice a man in a black overcoat sort of overseeing the process and I said to him, "Why don't you just hang up a picture of a candy bar while you're at it?"

He sort of laughs and we get into a discussion about marketing decisions (I won't bore you with that here). The crux of it is, advertisers are losing their audiences and they're paying big bucks for the eyeballs of a captive audience.

This is a new low, even for the traditionally seedy health-club industry and I'm very disappointed in Workout World (in Ocean, NJ) for stooping so low as to profit from people's hunger and lack of discipline by hanging food cues disguised as "healthy foods" all over their club. (There was also a picture of Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter by the dumbell rack). What will appear on the walls next, a frosty pint of Chunky Monkey in the aerobics studio? Maybe a Budweiser poster in the spinning room?

My gym, which was once a refuge from temptation for hundreds of hungry exercisers trying to make the right choices is no longer safe. If you workout at WoW, consider yourself warned.


Check it out: can you tell which of these labels is for Craisins and which is for Mike-n-Ike's (no cheating!) *Both serving sizes are approximately the same size.


CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE


Look closely. There is one major differentiating factor that should give this away - Craisins have fiber, Mike-n-Ike's sadly do not.

The crazy thing is that Craisins seem to actually have MORE sugar than their candy cousin! I should tell the guy at the gym to just save time and hang pictures of candy on the walls.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to kick your own butt in 25 minutes

If you're a 125 lb woman like me, grab a 30 or 40 lb barbell and do the following circuit with no rest between exercises:

10 Romanian Deadlifts (stiff-legged)
10 Bent Over Rows
10 Hang Cleans
10 Push Presses
10 Front Squats (using your hands/shoulders, hold barbell up against your upper chest/neck)
10 Lunges (ea. leg) with barbell behind your head resting across your shoulders.


Rest 1-3 minutes. Repeat entire circuit 2-4 more times.

I did this 4 x's with a 40 lb barbell (except for the push press I used the 30) and one more time through the entire circuit with the 30 and I could barely walk on the stairmaster! I was flushed, hot, sweaty and my legs were shaking. Even now, at my desk 3 hours later, my shoulders are feeling it. Followed this routine with a 30-minute walk on a slight incline and called it a day.

This circuit seems like it would be nice to throw in a couple of times a week for fat-burning instead of just running intervals. It's the equivalent of HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) and, when followed by slow, steady-state cardio, can turn you into a fat burning machine. Also best done on an empty stomach or short fast.

Try at your own risk - this circuit will send your heart thorugh the roof. If you're a guy in decent shape, use a 45 lb Olympic bar with a 10 on each side (if you dare); if you're out of shape, start with the bar and work your way up.

If you do give this circuit a shot, let me know how it goes.

Get lean. Get mean. Be a fat-burning machine!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Experimenting with Intermittent Fasting

I've been doing a lot of poking around online recently and I stumbled upon a lot of information on Intermittent Fasting.

Intermittent Fasting can mean going without eating for 20-24 hours once or twice a week, or giving yourself a daily window of 6-8 hours in which you are allowed to eat each day. Those who use the practice claim it helps them to burn fat without sacrificing muscle gains or energy.

Hmmmm.

As someone who never backs down from a challenge, I thought I'd give it a try. I read and read and read and found a blog by a Swedish trainer, Martin Berkhan (www.leangains.com), who offers a TON of free nutritional information regarding fasting. Berkhan's Leangains is a 16-hour fast with an 8-hour window in which you consume your allotted calories for the day.

I was intrigued by the idea that I could reap the benefits of a fast AND be able to eat regular amounts of clean foods every day so I decided to give it a try. I could have my cake and eat it too, well, sort of.

Last night I made a pork stir-fry with cabbage and other veggies at 9 pm and a whey protein shake before going to bed. I hadn't eaten much the rest of the day for one reason or another, so I think I was operating on a serious calorie deficit already.

I was weirdly alert and could not get to sleep easily. I wasn't sure why I was so awake as I had a draining workout yesterday morning of 10 minutes of sprint intervals followed by a 40-minute run. Usually I can't keep my eyelids open past 9 pm. Perhaps that was more a response to the large quantities of wine I had been consuming, but that's neither here nor there.

I got a few hours of sleep and was pretty hungry when I woke up. Determined that even I can go 16 hours without food, I made a cup of green tea.

Now, according to Martin's philosophy, you should never train when truly fasting, so he suggests 10 g of BCAA's (Branch Chain Amino Acids) before strength training. I don't have BCAA's at the house, so I had some whey protein - a suitable substitute when in a pinch - before heading to the gym.

I did reverse pyramid (heaviest weights, lowest reps first) and killed flat bench, incline bench press, incline dumbbell press and decline press before finishing off with about 40 mins of slow-state cardio (walking/jogging). A funny thing happened while I was training. I was lifting heavier weights than I have ever attempted on only one scoop of whey powder in more than 12 hours, and I wasn't hungry...or tired.

My appetite did come raging back after the gym but, by this time, it had been 16 hours since I had eaten and it was time to enjoy my biggest meal of the day! Then I eat again around dinnertime and again before bed...as long as I don't max out my calories for the day - (about 1,500 a day to stay in a deficit and lose fat). Now this is a program I can get behind.

Recap:
16 hour fast
Chest workout + 40-mins slow-state cardio
Mood - Good
Energy - GREAT
Hunger level - nonexistent while training; annoying when not doing anything
Commitment Level - 10!

Stay tuned!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Whaddya mean I can't drink my wine?!

Wine is making me fat.

It's true and I couldn't be more hesitant to admit it. But the time has come for me to face the facts.

There is nothing I love more than coming home from work on a cold, winter day and sipping a nice Pinot Noir while I make dinner. This in and of itself isn't necessarily bad. The problem lies somewhere between sipping a glass and downing the entire bottle - by myself.

Turns out, a bottle of an average red has more than 550 calories! To make things worse, once you consume any kind of alcohol, your body stops doing anything but trying to get rid of it - that means no metabolization of protein, carbs and, yes, even fat!

If you like to drink beer or wine while noshing on fatty snacks - even cheese and crackers - this is bad news.

So for all of you drinkers out there trying, like I am, to find your abs, be wary of booze. Consume it at your own risk, preferably on an empty stomach while on the treadmill.






Friday, January 7, 2011

Ouch!

Ok...so I didn't quite look like this chick pictured here. She's obviously some sort of freak of nature. But I practiced the clean and jerk using just the 45lb bar - you know, like the one that's holding about 150 lbs for the girl in this photo.

I must admit, it was an interesting experience. First of all, after reading that shoes with gel cushioning would defeat the entire purpose of such an advanced move, I donned the only somewhat gym-appropriate shoes I own that have absolutely no support - my Chuck Taylor All Stars I got at Target for like $14 last year.

Using such a low weight, I found didn't really need to the the split-squat thing Wonder Woman is doing here. Nevertheless, I think I mastered the basic mechanics - and have sore legs (and shoulders) to prove it. At least I didn't hurt myself.

Tomorrow we're going snowboarding - I hope I didn't sabotage my day at the mountain with this exercise! If I can't get off the toilet in the morning, I'll know I'm in trouble.

Give the Jerk a Chance

I finally put my finger on it. The type of phsyique I most admire is that of sprinters. What's not to love about a sprinter's physique? They're lean, compact, strong, muscular and, of course, FAST!

Now, being that my track experience at this point in my life is limited to driving by one at the local high school, I decided to do some research to find out just how these men and women achieve these amazing bodies.

In addition to literally running their asses off in sprint training, hill training, and the like, it turns out that sprinters do a lot of strength training.

There is a lot of information out there on this topic, but it all pretty much points to one thing - compound lifting. Clean and Press, Clean and Jerk, Hang Press, Push Press...all of these exercises work your legs and core - giving you power, strength and stability.

Sprinters have huge, muscular legs and a high power-to-bodyweight ratio and very low bodyfat. Sounds ideal, right? Just because the closest thing I'll get to sprinting is chasing my dog doesn't mean I can't achieve the look of a sprinter. So, today when I get to the gym, I'm going to give the jerk a chance.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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