May 28, 2010

Training log, week 1

As noted in this week's weigh-in, I've started doing a strength-training protocol called StrongLifts5x5.  As it's the first time I've done actual strength training as opposed to body building (there's a difference), I'm going to be keeping records of my progress so I can be sure I'm actually making some.  I'm substituting hanging leg raises for reverse crunches, and alternating push-ups with dips

Anyhow, the table editor is user-unfriendly, and I don't feel like re-learning table html right this second, so here's what the first week's workouts looked like:

squat 90 lb 5x5
bench 90 lb 5x5
inverted row 12, 10, 8
push-ups 30, 25, 20
hanging leg raise 12, 12, 12
elliptical 15min

squat 100 lb 5x5
overhead press 55 lb 5x5
deadlift 120 lb 1x5
pull-ups 6, 5, 4, 5
prone bridges 30s, 30s, 40s
elliptical 16min

treadmill 30min

squat 115 lb 5x5
bench 95 lb 5x5
inverted row 12, 10, 9
dips 20, 12, 10
hanging leg raise 12, 12, 12
elliptical 17 min

Friday weigh-in: 191 lb, 26.3% body fat.

Notes: So far, the program feels pretty good.  I'm not as sore as I would be in a body-building week, but I also lifted much lighter weights (although much faster than usual).  Right now, going light early on means I can get my form and pace (much faster when you're training strength) squared away, so as the weights go up, I'll be able to endure the progressive overloading.

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May 26, 2010

Progress, finally

191 lb, 29.2% body fat per the scale. I'm pretty sure the latter number is nonsense, because my abs are distinctly more visible this week than last.

I've switched gym protocols from my normal 3-way bodybuilding split (chest/tris/delts, back/bis/traps, quads/calves) to StrongLifts 5x5, which is a strength training routine rather than bodybuilding.  That means full-body workouts, 3x a week, adding 5 lb per big lift every workout.  It also means you start pretty light so you can adapt to the volume before the weights get very large, which means this first week I look pretty silly in the gym with my 100 lb squats.  But hey, I'm doing them 3x this week, and next week, and the week after that...

We'll see how it goes, but there are plenty of folks lifting this way, and the eBook was free.

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May 19, 2010

Gut Check Time

194 lb, 28.8% body fat on the scale.  Again, that's some serious variability.  35" waist measurement, unchanged from previous, but that's to be expected as pretty much the last 4 days have been a nutritional disaster.  The worst part is that -- again -- I weighed 191 last Friday, and was doing quite well.

I went off plan.  Saturday my temporary crown was hurting, so I drank a lot of milk blended with peanut butter and blueberries rather than try to eat solid food.  This of course came after my once-per-week "treat meal" of biscuits and gravy that caused my tooth to hurt in the first place.  Sunday, my wife and I celebrated her promotion with friends, and there was plenty of junk food to which I didn't bother to say no.  Leftovers from that same party still linger in the house (mmm, brownies), so I've not been much better since then.

Part of the problem is surely psychological.  I made such significant progress early on that I've become somewhat careless.  I have a cheat meal once a week or so, I'm not as strict about getting enough sleep, I still don't watch my calories well, etc.  The end result of which is zero movement on the scale for three months, even with the body recomposition progressing somewhat, and pretty good strength gains.  This is now the end of month 7, and start of month 8, and while I'm pretty sure my original goals were much less reasonable than I'd thought at the time, I'm still no closer to my revised goals than I was in February.  The inevitable question I have to ask myself is whether or not I have the heart to really finish this, or if this is "good enough" and I can just languish here in perpetuity.  I'm not going to lose the "last 30 lb" in the next 30 days, I can't.  But I could lose 10, if I wanted it badly enough and I made a sincere effort.  If I can't make that sincere effort, clearly, I don't want it badly enough.

Enough writing.  Time to head to the gym.

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May 17, 2010

Signal Processing Lecture 14

YouTube and the work firewall appear to be having an argument, and since this isn't remotely for entertainment purposes, I'm just going to see if I have the same issue with embedded videos.

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May 12, 2010

Recovery week weigh-in

194 lb, 25.6% body fat this morning.  I'm attributing it to the meatza I made Monday night (and finished up at dinner last night), which is almost as much cheese as meat.  I'm guessing all the sodium made me hold in a bit of water, in addition to making me more electrically conductive, which explains the anomalously-low body fat reading.  I do feel pretty puffy.  I'm consistently IFing now (16 hour daily fasting period, followed by an 8 hour feeding window), which was helping before I ate the meatza (I weighed as low as 191 last Friday).  Going dairy-free for awhile might be a very good idea, or at least cheese free.

As to the title, last week was week 6 of my lifting cycle, so this is my off week between cycles.

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May 05, 2010

Still plateaued

194 lb, 27.3% body fat* according to the scale this morning. No noticeable changes from last week as far as the scale can see. My bench is up to 175 lb, though, which is nice.

I'm trying to keep my eating to an 8 hour window, meaning a 16 hour daily fast, as per Martin Beckham's recommendation. So far, I've managed to stay consistent on that since last Thursday. I've had a few cheats in that period, and that probably set me back a bit. Martin's pretty loose on carbs on work days, he has more of a cyclic ketogenic approach (to the point of eating entire cheesecakes occasionally), and in transitioning to his version of an intermittent fasting protocol, I found myself craving sugar like I haven't in months.  I'm not sold on the notion that that much sugar could possibly be good for me (or anyone, really).  If I'm going to go higher on carbs, I'll stick with natural starches like yams or sweet potatoes, which at least bring some nutrition with their saccharides.  Luckily, my sugar cravings appear to have abated for now.

*I really don't buy this number any more, and may stop recording it. I'm listening to Robb Wolf's podcasts, and he remarked in one of them about the wild inaccuracy of these measurements. Specifically, he tests at 30% on them while he's 13% according to immersion testing. He also noted that a nice hot shower and some salty food can drop your "bf%" by several whole points, and I'd rather not have my number dictated by the warmth of my feet or how salty Tuesday's dinner was.

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