Monday Catch-Up and Routine Change

I finally got a nice day and was able to fly. With that comes an oral board tomorrow and a check ride to prove to my instructors I can take the plane up on my own. The next few days are big for me, and during the midst of studying I wanted to check in with everyone. I figured typing a few lines in between flash cards will help my mind and keep me focused over the next few hours.

So, lets catch up. The big thing I wanted to talk about today, was my decision to change my routine. While I was performing Jim Stoppani’s 6 weeks to shred, I was bored. I finished through week 4, and I really enjoyed the workouts, but I was getting bored and ready for a new routine. Like I mentioned in my article about bulking vs shredding, the workout is not the difference, it is the calories. So over the next two weeks I will be eating the same calories, 2200 plus calories burned in the gym. At the two week mark of my new workout I will begin eating 2559 calories plus calories burned. This will keep my on a shred diet for 6 weeks and then I will begin a period of gaining.

What is my new workout? It is Steve Cook’s Big Man on Campus. This is the same workout I used in January to drop from 190 to 175 (over 12 weeks). This time around I will be eating for a clean bulk and will shoot for a gain of 5 pounds and limiting fat. Once my goal is reach I will decrease calories for maintenance and will attempt to stay at 180 pounds while growing stronger and letting fat reduce a little more. This phase is similar to a shred. If you eat appropriately it will allow muscle to grow and fat to burn at an equal rate.

On top of the BMOC routine, I will be added in Situps, Pullups, and Pushups. On Monday/Thursday I will perform 20 pullups and this will be done in the fewest possible sets. Tuesday/Friday I will perform 100 situps in the fewest possible sets. And I will finish with Wednesday/Saturday 100 pushups in the fewest sets possible. The goal will be to continue to decrease the sets until I can do the exercise in a single set.

My upcoming schedule looks like I will be in API in the next 10 days. If this is the case I will update you on the calorie plan and workout routine. During API we swim daily, and so I will avoid the gym during this period of time. Once API is complete I will pick up on my gaining program. Sometimes the Navy just doesn’t fit with my gym plans.

I-Must-Go.-My-Gym-Needs-Me.

What is a Clean Bulk

I have done a lot of talking about a clean bulk, but until today I have not told you what a clean bulk is. In short a clean bulk is eating excess calories while sticking to the healthiest foods. Sounds simply right? Nope.

The first piece of the clean bulk puzzle is to eat the right amount of excess calories. No matter how healthy the calories are, if you have too many you will build fat. The average lifter can safely gain about 1 pound a week and minimize the fat. When lifting and eating right, you can gain about 1lb of muscle a week. Using the calculator from The Weight Trainer I need 2659 calories a day to gain 1 pound. Anymore than that I will begin to gain fat. Remember, like I said yesterday, I calculate my numbers based a sedentary lifestyle and add in the calories burned in a workout. At the end of the day I burn tons of fat, build muscle and eat 2900 calories.

The second piece of the puzzle is knowing that the most important food group are tolerable carbohydrates and eating fats is ok. Carbs are things like wheat bread, Ezekiel Bread, oatmeal, carrots, apples, quinoa and sweet potatoes. When eating for weight gain, I need 489 grams of carbs, while only eating 144 grams of protein and 111 grams of fat. Everyone fears the carbs, but you can’t gain weight without them. They effect muscle growth as much as protein and they help the body run efficiently. Make sure you don’t exceed your gram count, and you eat unprocessed or refined carbs.

Ezekiel_Sprouted_Grain_Bread

The final piece to the puzzle is the workout. Find a workout that works for you. I know this sounds simple and like a cop out, however it is the best advice in this area. Your workout can be in sets of 12 or in heavy sets with only 4 reps. There is no workout that builds your muscles any more or less than another. Each workout builds muscle that serves different purposes. You can gain muscle mass with your calories, and if you want to long and lean muscle you focus on lower weight and high reps, but the muscle will grow and you will gain the weight. Decide what your goal is-big and lean that can work for hours on end, or short, bulky muscle good for lifting HEAVY poundage.

By knowing the right calories to eat, the right types of food to eat, and what workout is right for you, you can eat a clean diet and achieve a clean bulk!

To help I have listed a few foods:

Fage (click here for good snack)greek-yogurt-400
Almonds
Walnuts
Peanut Butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Broccoli
Lettuce
Ezekiel Bread
Sweet Potato
Brown Rice
Lean Red Meat
Egg Whites
Cod
Chicken Breast
Turkey
Tilapia

Good Luck!
I-Must-Go.-My-Gym-Needs-Me.

Fitness Cycles

When it comes to fitness goals, one typically chooses between losing weight (fat), maintaining weight, or gaining weight (muscle). Of these three goals, some lifters cycle through gaining and losing. Typically the lifter goes through a gaining phase and after a selected time period, or significant growth, the lifter will cut calories and thus enters the cutting phase and loses weight. When done properly the lifter maintains a high percentage of the muscle mass gained, and loses fat.

In the next few weeks I am going to enter a gaining phase, and I wanted to be sure to walk you through the process. There is no cutting or bulking routine. This is all done by changing your caloric intake and watching your macro nutrient levels. Without ever changing your workout, you can reshape your body with the right food.

Currently I am using www.weighttrainer.net to calculate the calories I need each day. Using the caloric calculator on the site I found that at 175 pounds and 9% body fat, I need 2300 calories a day. When maintaining weight I eat 2300 calories a day plus however many calories I burn with weightlifting or running. This ensures I meet my metabolic rate and do not create a deficit with my workouts.

Currently I am on the cutting cycle and am trying to minimize fat before I start my bulk phase. Weight Trainer calculates my weight loss plan at 1900 calories a day. I use the sedentary choice for my activity level. I choose this because I track my workouts and I know the amount of calories I expend and need to replace. Since 1900 is what I need to lose weight without working out, I eat 1900 plus about 300 each day I work out.

cutting

For my next phase I plan on doing a clean bulk (more on clean bulks coming up). For this phase I need to eat 2500 calories a day. Since I will be working out, a 300 calorie workout would put me in a calorie deficit and I would lose weight. So again I track my workouts and add in the calories burned. Based on my size and calories, I need 144g of protein, 84g of fat, and 294g of carbohydrates. If I meet these goals, I will maintain a high level of testosterone production, will build muscle, and should gain only .5 pounds a week. This is a perfect amount for me because I plan on following the bulk phase for 12 weeks and I would like to gain 5 pounds.

bulk

Now that you know a little about each cycle, and you have a good reference site for your own calculations, please take some time and setup a plan for yourself. In the next few days I will outline my diet plan (grocery list) and talk about what a clean bulk means and is.

I-Must-Go.-My-Gym-Needs-Me.

Playing Catch-Up

The flight schedule has been a little crazy recently and while I was able to find time to workout, I neglected the blog a little. I want to go ahead and catch up with everyone and let you know where I am.

This week marked the final stage of the Shortcut to Shred. Weeks 4 through 6 lower your calorie intake from 2600 calories a day to 2200 a day. This well ensure a good reduction of body fat, and help create that lean and cut look.

Today is also the 45 of my 365 day challenge. In the situp pushup challenge we are on day 26. The number for today is 90. Take your time and don’t rush. If you need a little break, take one, the most important thing is don’t sacrifice your form.

Now that we are up to date with all of that, I am looking ahead to my next phase of training. Earlier this year I followed the big man on campus and ate a low calorie diet. In those 12 weeks I saw my strength sky-rocket and my weight drop. I lowered my body fat almost 7%. This time around I plan on eating a clean bulk diet, and following the routine. I expect to gain 3 to 5 pounds over the 12 week period, maintain a body fat of slightly less than 10% and see another boost of strength. This time around will be much different than before because I will have excess calories for use.

Over the next few days I will post articles on clean bulking as well as calorie intake for appropriate weight gain and muscle development. Stay tuned!

I-Must-Go.-My-Gym-Needs-Me.

 

High Protein, Low Calorie Snacks

Today is the first day of what I hope to turn into a short series. Through my exercise journey, I am learning more and more about food and focusing on the right way to eat. I hope to bring you new snacks and help you achieve the results you want by incorporating better lifestyle habits in the kitchen.

My first snack is quick and easy. I have never been a fan of yogurt, but my wife has gotten me into Greek Yogurt, and we have been using it like sour cream for our tacos and burritos. I recently saw a meal plan with Greek Yogurt on its own.

greek-yogurt-400

The meal plan also also called for pineapple chunks. Now I love pineapple, so this was much easier to get behind. I got an 8 pack of tidbit cups and eat one a day.

Dole Pineapple Tidbits

 

Now for my easy snack. Can you guess? I combine the two. I drain the tidbits and place them in a bowl. Next add 1/2 cup of Fage Greek Yogurt and mix. The combination of the two has a great taste and is a perfect post workout snack with your protein shake, or has a side to your lunch. The snack has a total of 125  calories, no fat, and 14 grams of protein. Give it a shot!

 

Today is Day 18 of 30, 75 pushups and situps for the day.

I-Must-Go.-My-Gym-Needs-Me.

Weekend Catch Up

This past weekend I was home alone! The wife and kid went to Jacksonville Florida and celebrated Grandma Clark’s birthday. I wish I could have gone, however I had to take the End Of Course and FAA exams. Once that was complete, it was a guys weekend!

Saturday evening I went to the Ice Flyers hockey game. The Pensacola Ice Flyers lost to the Louisiana Ice Gators 4 to 0. It was a really good time, and I got to see a couple of fights. I think Em would have a good time, and I want to go back for our next date.

Pensacola-Ice-Flyers-5

After the game I went to McGuire’s Irish Pub and Steakhouse. If you haven’t been, be careful with the restrooms. And that’s all I can say. I had a Pensacola Bay Brewery Oktoberfest brew and the best hamburger I have ever had. I highly recommend you give the restaurant a try.

On our way in, my friend and I passed a couple of guys outside who had had a little too much to drink. AN hour and a half later when we walked out, they were still there. It turns out that the designated driver had been drinking and was unable to really even walk. We had a quick conversation and found out the young guys were airmen from base. We instructed them to call a cab and head back or to a hotel if they had a room for the night. After a few minutes we headed to the car and got ready to leave. I didn’t have a good feeling about the situation and as we were pulling out of the parking lot the two guys were speaking to another guy, who was obviously drunk.

At this point I had already identified myself to the Airmen and instructed them to call a cab. Since that was happening I backed the car up and parked again. We got out and headed to the group. Without hesitation we separated the new guy from the two original guys and found out he was not with them at all. While we got him to leave I also told the the guys to call a cab now, while I was watching, or let me call the cab and send them to base. This got their attention and they called for a cab. Once the cab arrived I spoke with the driver and we got the boys back to base safely.

Sunday I slept in until about 10 and then got up and went for 3.51 mile run. It was the best I had felt in long while and I completed the run in 29 minutes. I think it had something to do with the classical music I was listened too. Kept me calm and in control, and the rhythm allowed me to control my breathing. If you have never run to classical music, I suggest trying it.

After running I took care of a few surprises for my wife, studied for my first flight tomorrow, and the took care of some chores. I finished by watching a movie with the sound turned up and the lights off. It was a great end to the weekend and I am glad I was able to have some time to myself to reset after a tough two weeks.

 

Today is day 36 of the 365 day challenge.
Is is Day 17 of the 30 day push-up challenge. Today is 75 push-ups and sit-ups.

Keep up the good work. Tomorrow I have a low calorie, protein packed snack to share with you.
I-Must-Go.-My-Gym-Needs-Me.

Why a Cheat Meal

Sticking with the food theme from yesterday, I want to talk about having a cheat meal once a week.

Cheat meals are based on one important fact, and that is the amount of leptin hormone your body will produce.

You ask what Leptin is and why it matters? Well, Leptin is the hormone that helps regulate the amount of body fat humans carry. The higher the body fat, the higher Leptin levels, the lower the body fat, the lower Leptin levels. During prolonged periods of dieting, Leptin levels decrease. In the first week studies show it could drop to half the original level. As Leptin drops, so does the level of liver glycogen. This lowers the level of other hormones such as Testosterone, Estrogen, T3, and Growth Hormone. This also raises Cortisol levels (stress hormone- makes you fat). A low leptin level will also stop fat burning and do the complete opposite- store the fat!

The body will fight to get fat! By eating a large carbohydrate “cheat meal” this process is reversed and leptin levels rise because of the rise in carbohydrates and insulin caused from the large feeding. This sets Leptin levels back up high and lets the body keep dieting on lower calories. This makes it more effective for burning fat than when it had lower Leptin Levels. It will also be highly beneficial to take this meal in after a vigorous workout. This will help muscle growth and inter muscular glycogen retention, and leave less room to store fat. Blood sugar is low after a workout and so the body has less room to store fat.

Flickr_hellochris_202508906-In-N-Out_triple_cheeseburger_fries

I recommend 1 cheat meal a week. Make sure it is a single meal, and not the whole day.

Today is 33 of the 365, and for the 30 days of situps and pushups, it is Day 13. The number is 70. Have fun and stay strong!

I-Must-Go.-My-Gym-Needs-Me.