Day 91: Results Day

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So it’s finally results day and in spite of yesterday’s kebab and chips and breaking my 7 day cut after 5.5 days here are my results:

Day 1
Weight: 11.96st
Body Fat : 24.6%

Day 91
Weight: 10.8st
Body Fat: 14%

I even double checked it at home – a great result.

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Here are my some phots of what that looks like, for the record, I trained at 6am and pictures were taken around 6pm after dinner, so I’m not as cut as I could be… Just saying.

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So after 90 days I was able to get myself in good shape. I will continue my training, will aim at competing in a charity boxing match in Dec and will aim to cut my body fat down more and put on some more muscle…though I won’t be able to lift for a couple of days because I cut my finger quite badly so it’s legs and cardio for the next few days.

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As for the blog I hope it has helped the few thousand people that viewed it. It definitely forced me to learn loads about exercise and training and helped me develop a new lifestyle.

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Day 90 of 90: What I Learned (nutrition)

Today was a nutritional disaster, on top of the daily food intake I ended up having 3 jam tarts and kebab, chips and some cola not to mention a protein shake and a few tablespoons of peanut butter (I guess when I started eating I couldn’t stop – on top of that I cut my finger making a fruit salad, what a day). Needless to say I think the cutting phase can come to an end and I will share with you what I learned about nutrition over these 90 days and post my final results tomorrow evening:

1. Forget Cheat Days: Although, there maybe times when you slip or times when a social occasion might mean that you will end up having fried food or a few beers do not make a whole day of it…err like I almost did. Hey if you train hard it is no big deal but what you don’t want to do is go nuts.

2. Keep Protein Levels High: Before I began I did not have a clue about macro-nutrients. Keeping your protein levels high is essential to keeping you full, building muscle and losing weight.

3. Protein Shakes Are Great: Your post-workout nutrition is often considered one of the most, if not the most, important meal/shake of the day. This is because your body is at its most absorbent after intense activity (or first thing in the morning). Shakes then allow you to receive an instant hit of protein (please remember that different varieties are needed for different goals so do a little research i.e. for lean muscle and weight loss go for something low in carbs, low in fat and high in protein).

4. Control the Carbs: Starchy carbs like porridge oats, brown rice and plain popcorn are great and are needed to help provide energy and build muscle but I wouldn’t  eat too much of them and would limit there intake after 6pm. White bread, potatoes and white pasta I would try to eliminate altogether.

5. Have Unlimited Salad/Veg: This will provide you with numerous health benefits, will keep you full and provide you with much needed fibre.

6. Lots of Fruit: Now I know fruit is filled with carbs and natural sugar but again it is filled with fibre. If your wanting to lose weight again restrict your fruit after 6pm but before this have a anywhere between 2 to 4 portions a day.

7. Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat: The fat found in nuts, oily fish, lean meat and avocado is essential for a healthy lifestyle and should be limited but should not be completely removed from any healthy diet.  I try and have by diet mainly consist of healthy fats, protein, green carbs (fruit and veg) and a little starchy carbs (porridge for breakfast and maybe a small portion of brown rice for lunch and/or dinner).

8. The Water of Life: The water of life is water. It is calorie free, helps you avoid over eating (try a glass next time your hungry) and, in my humble opinion, tastes great. I try always to have a glass/bottle with me,_p particularly at night…I will warn you though, that these water-only crash diets are extremely unhealthy and an over-consumption of water is detrimental not only to your bladder but to your health.

9. Crank Up Your Metabolism: Grapefruits, lemons, chilli, celery, green tea, raspberries etc all help boost your metabolism so try and get some metabolism boosting food/drinks in daily.

10. Preparation Helps Maintain Progress: By having a few boiled eggs, cut salad and fresh fruit in the fridge and some cooked meat in the freezer it will help you stay focused. Often nutritional discipline is lost when you are hungry but have nothing prepared.

So that, in no particular order, is some of the most valuable lessons I learned over the 90 days and something I hope to maintain in the future.

Cutting Day 6 – Total Failure

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Day 89 of 90: What I Learned (training)

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As I come closer to finishing my 90 days I thought I’d write a quick blog on some of the most important things I’ve learned about training (I’ll do nutrition tommorow and then do results on day 91)

1. Lifting weights helps you lose weight: Muscle is active tissue which helps speed up your metabolic rate which helps you lose weight and keep it off (it’s unfortunate that most women’s magazine ignore weight training – you’ll only get big if your hitting big weights and consuming a few thousand calories – seriously).

2. Lose fat and not muscle: I wish I would have chucked out the standard scales as all weight loss is not all equal, sometimes your losing muscle and water but you need to be losing fat. So get a scale that tells you or do a health assessment at a gym.

3. It’s better to lift BIG than to lift more: Multiple reps with small weights burn fewer calories and produce fewer muscle gains. So for strength hit 1-5 (reps) heavy, for muscle 8-12 (medium) and for endurance 15-failure (below medium but not light) but make sure you get some burn. DO NOT do a set of a 100 reps on 2kg (your better off hitting 3 sets of 10 with 60kg).

4. Rest is important as training: Now I know I’ve been training every day but Sun is light and I will probably just train 5 to 6 days when I’m finished this challenge. Rest, particularly sleep, helps repair your body, I’ve neglected it sometimes.

5. Slow-state cardio is crap: I love cardio so I still do it on Sundays but if you want the fat loss do it on an empty stomach, do it after other training and/or get some high intensity in. So today I hit chin-ups and tri-dips, 29 mins cardio and then 1min sprinting.

6. You don’t need to do abs to get abs: Now I still do them but the bigger muscle groups are much more important though (back, legs, chest)… Having said that my obliques are just showing and I’ll have to shred more fat to get the abs out but there coming, first time in years.

7. Keep it old school: The classics like the bench press, squat, deadlift and the military press are the bread and butter of training. So although a magazine might say that you can get ripped in 2 days by standing on one leg whilst swinging a cat around you head there probably making it up….Probably.

8. Everyone has to start somewhere: I didn’t have a clue about weights but the truth is the internet is filled with great info and if you speak to enough people you will find that they are helpful and willing to talk. If people keep saying the same things then this might be a clue that it’s a truism, watch out for bro-science though.

9. Everyone makes gains if they work hard: When I started training I could do 2 or 3 chin-ups now I can hit 5 sets of 10 (50) unassisted and 12 sets of 10 (120) assisted (on a machine)… That’s after a training session. Miraculous? Maybe, or just persistence and hard work.

10. It’s worth it: Not only have I enjoyed it but I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, I weigh what I weighed at 18, am sleeping better and eating more.

TODAY’S FOOD LOG

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(Fresh sardines and king prawns with dried chilli, lemon and coriander)

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(I had a good few portions of it with smoked salmon and a avocado salad)

Cutting phase (day 5)

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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 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 80 of 90: Superfood – Peanut Butter

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25g – 141 kcal – 3.1g carbs – 6.4g protein – fat 11.5g (2.1 of which are saturated)

Since beginning my training I have come to love peanut butter, not the ones with added sugar or salt but the 100% natural one, which you can get in health shops and weight lifting websites. And here’s why.

1. It’s cheap: Apart from tasting great you can pick this stuff up for about £6-£7 per kg. The best tasting one I’ve found is also the cheapest (£5.49) and can be purchased from Muscle Food (PS: it’s UK only and there is a £30 minimum spend) (link).

2. It’s full of fibre: This means apart from the fact that it is very high in calories, it is great for weight loss.

3. It’s full of protein: Since it has a high protein content it helps aid muscle growth and muscle growth in turn speeds up your metabolic rate.

4. It’s full of fat: Now before you freak out, it’s full of the healthy kind, this will keep you fuller for longer and will aid muscle growth.

5. It’s full of potassium: This helps maintain good blood pressure and kidney health.

So, you see, you might not eat peanut butter by the spoonful like me but it might be something you to consider.

TODAY’S FOOD LOG (carb-loading)
Pre-Workout: grapefruit
Post-Workout: all-in-one shake
Breakfast: porridge, banana and mixed nuts
Snack: plum and apple
Lunch: tuna salad with dark rye bread
Snack 1: tablespoon of peanut butter
Snack 2: apple
Dinner: pork casserole and couscous

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Snack: tablespoon of peanut butter
Evening shake: whey
Snack: tangerine and banana

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.