Day 86 of 90: Slowing Down a Little – Advice whilst Cutting

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I’m one of those, addictive personalities, an all or nothing kind of guy. Having said that my first two days of cutting have been dogged by splitting headaches and therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to ease up a little on the training. I did a bit of research on it and it seems that muscle cannot only be maintained but it can be built during cutting, however, it is essential that I lift heavy, keep the reps down and have a good rest periods between sets. The headaches are probably a result of the lack of glycogen, something that is depleted by training and normally replaced through food – something I’m restricting. If I don’t ease up a little it appears that I will lose muscle. This isn’t at all bad because they are easily rebuilt when the normal food returns because of something called muscle memory but it is something I want to minimise or try to avoid and therefore, I’m going to alter my training a little and see if my body will just adapt to it.

FOOD LOG – CUTTING PHASE (DAY 2) (lose a stone in a week diet link)

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Day 85 of 90 Tracking Progress

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Regardless, of what you are trying to achieve the tracking of your progress is essential and that’s why the last week of my training log I have got these bad boys. Now to start not only were they £13 from Lidl but these scales from Sanitas measure body weight, fat percentage, muscle mass and water…and…they can be connected to a laptop to upload and track your progress. Whilst you can do this at some gyms and doctors surgeries it means that I am able to have a more comprehensive picture of the results of my training and nutrition. No doubt there are better scales out there but these will allow me to take my training further

FOOD LOG – CUTTING PHASE (DAY 1) (diet link)

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Progress

Day 1: 11.96 lbs (24.6% body fat)
Day 30: results incorrect (I only found out much later)
Day 60: 10.13 lbs (20.6% body fat)

I began increasing my calories significantly around day 75 (and began to bulk around day 80), as I was losing more weight than I wanted (I was planning on a serious cut for the last 7 days, so as to keep muscle). My reading today was: 10.13 lbs (21.8% body fat)

note I have been hungry most of the day and developed a splitting headache in the afternoon which has persisted. I might need to ease up a little on the gym work.

Day 84 of 90: How to Lose a Stone (or 14 lbs) in a Week – The Cutting Phase

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A number of years ago I served in the armed forces, the Royal Navy to be exact and a friend of mines lost a tremendous amount of weight in a short period of time.  Everybody was asking him how he did it and it turns out that a PTI (physical training instructor) had given him a special two week diet.  I tried it but didn’t complete it but my mother did it and lost over a stone on it (in fact, it was almost a stone and a half).  Anyway its turns out now, according to my research, that they have refined the diet so that you are guaranteed to lose a stone in a week.  Having said all that I am not keen on losing a stone and definitely do not want to lose any strength or muscle so I have been bulking recently as my aim is to maintain my gains (strength and muscle and shred body fat).  So here’s the diet or cutting phase that I will begin tomorrow:

DAY BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER
1 1 dry toast with grilled tomatoes fresh fruit 2 boiled eggs with salad and grapefruit
2 grapefruit and 1 boiled egg grilled chicken with tomatoes with 1 dry toast steak and salad
3 grapefruit and 1 boiled egg fresh fruit 2 lamb chops with salad and grapefruit
4 1 dry toast fresh fruit 2 boiled eggs with salad and grapefruit
5 1 dry toast fresh fruit fresh fish with salad
6 1 glass of grapefruit juice fresh fruit grilled chicken with carrots and grapefruit
7 scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes 2 poached eggs and spinach steak and salad

RULES

1. Bread should be brown.

2. All meat must be lean; cut off the fat and grill.

3. The scrambled eggs on day 7 should contain ONLY eggs and should be beaten and cooked in the microwave.

4. It is a chemical diet (no supplements or shakes) so the food must be eaten in the order and the amounts given, if there is no amount then this is an unlimited portion (though this isn’t an eating competition so no 3 man’s rations).

5. No snacks in-between and no condiments except a small amount of lemon juice.

6. No drinks except black tea/coffee and water.

7. The food must be eaten as 3 meals – there is no snacking between meals or having half now and half later.

8. Look for a grapefruit juice without added sugar on day 6 or go for freshly squeezed.

9. After doing this diet I would not repeat the process for at least 4 weeks.

MY TIPS

Because you are guaranteed to lose a stone without training (apparently) and I will be training here is some of my tips to maintain muscle through this.

1. Where it says chicken I would go for chicken breast as it as a higher protein content.

2. I would cut down on the cardio, unless you have loads of weight to lose, and keep lifting or start (or your body will shed muscle and  you will become saggy and the weight loss will be hard to maintain).  You may not be able to lift as heavy on the last couple of days and might want a rest day or two (I’m going to keep training).  If you really don’t like weight lifting then weights machines or bodyweight exercises should seriously be considered.

3. I would increase my sleep to aid muscle repair (7 hours plus).

4. After it is finished I would immediately get the protein levels back up.  The body will be at it’s most absorbent so do not binge out when you finish.

5. Keep the food varied.  So in the salad include peppers, avocado, radishes, celery, fresh coriander etc and in the fruit include mango, pineapple, kiwi, guava, papaya, raspberries, coconut (is a coconut a fruit or nut…oh well I had it anyway) etc.

6. It is likely that this diet will slow down your metabolic rate and therefore it is important that you consume metabolism boosting fruit and veg AND that once the diet is finished you eat healthily and get loads of green tea or oolong…if not you may lose your gains because your metabolic rate would have slowed down.  [point 5 & 6 were written after the diet]

7. If you do this make sure you tell me how you get on.  I am going to be using myself as a guinea pig and will record my weight and body fat % before and after.  If it is muscle weight and water I lose I will be hacked off but the protein in the diet looks ok and. worse-case-scenario, I could always bulk when its done. [my results are now below]

 

TODAY’S FOOD LOG (BULKING PHASE)

Snack: banana

Pre-Workout: bowl of muesli

Post-workout: all-in-one shake

Breakfast: almond and honey porridge with a banana

Snack 1: a tablespoon of peanut butter

Snack 2: 2 tangerines

Lunch: steak, rice and chorizo ham with salad

Mid-Day Shake: whey

Snack 1: plum

Snack 2: steak and salad sandwich

Snack 3: a tablespoon of peanut butter

Dinner: pork casserole and rice

Snack: homemade bread and honey

Evening shake: whey

PS I only lasted 5.5 days and lost about 5 or 6 lbs but lost a lot of body fat (which was my aim anyway). RESULTS LINK

Day 83 of 90: German Volume Training

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When beginning to lift many people can be confused by the amount of reps and sets to be done and whilst it depends on your goals I normally hit 3 sets but I often use Saturday as a bit of an experiment. A day when I can mix it up.

This Saturday I went a lot lighter than I normally would and went for 10 reps and 10 sets of each exercise, something known as German Volume Training. GVT is a way of shocking the muscles and has been known as one of the quickest ways to put on muscle mass and shed body fat do simultaneously. Added to this, is the fact, that GVT saves time moving around the gym or adjusting benches. So why not so some of your own research on it and give it a try?

TODAY’S FOOD LOG – Bulking Phase
Snack: bowl of muesli and a banana
Pre-Workout: pepperoni and chorizo omelette
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: almond and honey porridge
Snack 1: big bowl of plain popcorn
Snack 2: a plum
Lunch: tin of tuna, 2 boiled eggs, rice, pepperoni and salad with homemade bread followed with a fruit salad.

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Dinner: Korean seafood curry with rice

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Desert: 2 slices of homemade bread with peanut butter and honey
Evening Shake: whey
Snack 1: a bowl of muesli
Snack 2: pepperoni and cheese sandwich with homemade bread
Snack 3: tangerine
Treat: 2 little chocolates (I thought I was bulking so why not a big cut after tommorow)

Day 82 of 90: Oolong Tea – Green Tea on Steroids

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It seems that everywhere you go these days serves green tea: Costa, Sainsburys and even my mum’s house and why wouldn’t they? Green tea has numerous health benefits which include boosting your metabolic rate and, therefore, helping weight loss. Nonetheless, when I heard of people in the online fitness community referring to oolong as green tea on steroids I thought I’d get some – so, here’s the gen on it.

1. Whilst there has not been as much extensive research on it it has been used for weight loss for centuries by the Orientals and in a 2009 study of 102 obese participants 66% lost more than 2.2lbs and 22% of them lost more than 6.6lbs by just replacing their hot drinks with oolong.

2. It seems to contain slightly more caffeine than green tea, which is negligible but what some research, I read, shows is that the big difference between the two is that it helps reduce the absorption of unhealthy fats, whilst green tea works better at reducing overall weight.

So what am I suggesting? I’m suggesting that rather than replacing green tea why not add oolong to you selection? The research might be a bit patchy but something seems to be there and although, it is a little harder to get a hold of (I got mines from a Korean supermarket but you can get it online) and a little more expensive it has numerous other health benefits (like reducing cholesterol and preventing diabetes) and makes a nice change.

FOOD LOG – BULKING PHASE
Snack: banana
Breakfast: muesli
Morning shake: whey
Snack: a tablespoon of peanut butter
Mid-day Shake: whey
Lunch: homemade pepperoni pizza, salad and sushi
Smoothie: pineapple and red berry
Snack: homemade bread and peanut butter
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Snack: tangerine
Dinner: Korean sea food soup (coconut base)
Snack 1: banana
Snack 2: pepperoni and chorizo omelette with cheese and lime pickle
Snack 3: a banana

Note: although I’m consuming a shed load of calories, drinking shed loads of milk and eating loads of carbs it ”seems ” to be muscle that I’m gaining which is good.

Day 74 of 90: Protein Porridge – A Great Way to Start the Day

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One of the best ways to start the day is with breakfast. Ok, admittedly, of late I’ve been having two breakfasts (Pre-Workout + Post-Workout), though the question you might have is what should you have for breakfast. Well porridge, particularly the whole grain variety, is considered one of the best breakfasts you can have and is one of my staples. It is high in protein, high in fibre, high in slow-burning carbs (that’s the good carbs), is low in GI and low in calories. Further than this it is delicious and pretty versatile; you can have it in yogurt, with fruit, nuts and even with flavoured protein powder, which is exactly what I did today.

You see, because I wasn’t in the gym today until the late afternoon, Sunday is my rest/cardio day, I normally hit a protein shake to keep my protein levels high but today I thought I’d try it in my porridge (ok I couldn’t be bothered washing my bottle too) and guess what it was delicious – another advantage of flavoured protein. So why not give it a shot, it makes a nice little change and turns breakfast into a wee treat. (nutritional value link)

TODAY’S FOOD LOG
Breakfast: as above
Snack 1: grapefruit
Snack 2: tangerine
Lunch: vegetable soup (given to us by a friend too)

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Desert: Indian sweets

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Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Dinner: chicken biryani, vegetable samosa and an Indian chicken tikka burger with a can of vimto

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Snack: meat samosa

Note: today has been a nutritional disaster partly because it is the Muslim festival of Eid and our neighbours brought round food and because a new Indian sweet shop opened so I thought I’d test them out. Having said that if you train hard this is no big deal, I’ve already upped my training considerably.

Day 72/73 of 90: The Ab Myth

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A few weeks ago I was speaking to a Ukrainian bloke who had lost 3 stone, through CV and swimming, and was planning on crunching his way to a six-pack – he literally did hundreds of crunches of one sort or another every time I saw him. Now please hear me, I’ve began to see a little definition on my obliques but I’m a long way from a six pack (though it might be my next challenge after this 90 days) but I do know this, that you cannot crunch your way to a leaner belly and here’s why:

1. Muscle is an active tissue that helps your body burn fat even when you are resting. Therefore, it would be better spending time on bigger muscle groups like legs, chest or back than concentrating on small muscles like abs. In fact, I read one article which claimed that abs can be developed without ever isolating abs (I only hit them occasionally and whilst they could be hit every day I would never spend a whole session on abs). This is because most peoples abs are hidden under a layer of fat, so regardless of how hard you work them you will not be able to see them until you drop your body fat percentage down to 10-15%.

2. This is to say, as the popular adage states, that abs are built in the kitchen as well as the gym. This does not mean that you have to starve yourself; in fact this will cause you to lose muscle and slow down your metabolic rate, but it does mean that you have to eat clean and enter a slight caloric deficit (burning more calories than you eat) if you are to see your body fat percentage decrease.

3. Finally abs should be trained like any other muscle. This means that whilst you may want to hit huge rep counts to fatigue the muscle, like 4 sets of 50, you also need to do more taxing ab exercises (possibly with weight/body-weight) in which your hitting 3 to 4 sets of 10-15 reps at least once a week. This increased intensity, like lifting heavy, will help aid quicker and bigger muscle growth.

So, regardless, if your looking to tone your tummy or you’ve been seduced by the six pack these are things that you want to consider.

Yesterday’s Food Log (carb-loading day)
Pre-Workout: boiled egg and steak cubes
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge, mixed nuts and goji berries
Snack 1: plain popcorn
Snack 2: dried apricot
Lunch: brown rice, steak, mushrooms, tomato, cottage cheese and chilli
Snack: a banana with peanut butter
Dinner: Thai based salmon with rice and peas (recipe)

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Desert: low fat Greek yogurt with cherry
Evening shake: whey
Snack: plain popcorn

Today’s Food Log
Pre-Workout: a tablespoon of peanut butter and honey
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge and mixed nuts
Snack: steak cubes
Lunch: Thai prawns with salad

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Snack: 2 kiwis
Dinner: chicken and okra curry with 2 chapatti (I wouldn’t had carbs but we were guests in someone’s house)
Snack: a falooda (an Indian ice cream sundae – hey it’s not everyday were in little India) (link)

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Evening Shake: whey