Today is my 42nd birthday.  It’s also been one year since I’ve been to my trainer at the York JCC.  I stepped on the scale there this time last year and had the following results…

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In case you can’t see this….

Weight: 347.8 pounds

BMI: 51.4

BMR: 2843 calories

Fat%: 57%

Fat Free Mass: 149.2 pounds

Fat Mass: 198 pounds

Water: 109.2 pounds

And this is today

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Weight: 294.6 = 53.2 pounds lost….but wait – it’s not necessarily about scale weight..

BMI: 43.5 = down 8 points

Fat%: 42.8% down 15%

Fat Free Mass: 168.6 = about 21 pounds of muscle gained (new gains!!)

Fat Mass: 126 pounds = 76 pounds of fat melted

Water: 123.4 = 14 pounds more water

 

So…I’m on the right path.  I wanted to pause and reflect at one year.  Some of my lessons learned?

  • I started with 2-3 cheat meals a week, and I usually have 1 a week or 1 every 2 weeks.  You NEED to have that bridge to wane off of some foods.
  • “Flexible dieting” or If It Fits Your Macros (IIYFM) has been my method of choice.  I might go over one day by a bit and the next day make it back.  I try to fit within my macros.
  • Biking/swimming = good for me.  Running not so much.
  • I like my full body workouts.  I used to do them once a week for 30 minutes.  I now have built up to 2 hard one-hour full body workouts a week.
  • I am adding calories back and not gaining weight.  You don’t always have to drop calories to lose weight.  Take a look at “reverse dieting”
  • YouTube fitness channels are insane with information.  Find what works for you.
  • Get a trainer. So many screwed up years.  So much lost time.  I wish I had done this right out of college.
  • For me, the “muscle confusion” full body workouts have been awesome.  One thing that killed me in all of my previous years of lifting was boredom.  You do the same workouts, the same way, hit plateaus, get injured, gain weight, stop.
  • Meal prep is an absolute for someone as busy as me.
  • You have to be disciplined and focused, even though this may not fit nicely into other peoples’ lives.  I did it their way before and it took me to 372 pounds, I’m doing it my way now.  I like living.  Going to try and do it another 40-50 years.
  • I am getting my life back. I’m so more active now.
  • I am having issues with clothing not fitting.  It becomes a real struggle when you are a high level professional and have to replace many suits/shirts.  I have drilled holes in all of my belts…some of them have 4 holes in them.
  • I am losing INCHES.  The weight number can mess with your head.  You need to work the program and let everything else take care of itself.
  • I really screwed my body over 41 years.  I’m ok with another 2-3 years of this.  I’m one year in and on my way to where I want to be.  I’m a determined son of a bitch when I want to be.  It just so happens this time I found the winning combination.
  • Sugar (table sugar) really is something everyone needs to evaluate in their lives.  Seriously.

Where am I going?

  • I am introducing HIIT (high intensity interval training) to my program.  I’m now at 2 hour-long full body training sessions a week.  I’m planning to do 1 or 2 days of 15-20 minute HIIT workouts.  I do my weight training on Saturday and Wednesday.  The Saturday training with the trainer usually has me kind of sore until Monday/Tuesday.  My Weds training I’m ok come Friday.  I think I’m going to add these Monday/Thursday.  HIIT is the preferred method for many of the goons you see online.  The science of it is far better than low intensity (walking, light swimming) and moderate (jogging – which apparently takes your muscles with it).  HIIT is high bursts of energy, rests, and more bursts.  What is interesting is this can burn fat for FORTY EIGHT HOURS after you do it.  This is the workout that made me run out to York Barbell (one mile from my house) today to buy a bar.  main-qimg-a61c6276087a46f498ba8ef68b02ae7c
  • Increasing my calories by another 100 to take me up to 2500.  Going to continue on my recomp with adding some more muscle and taking off more fat.  Interestingly enough, when you add more muscle, you add more water and glycogen when you eat pastas.  So while your scale may stay the same or slightly go up, work the process.  You are adding more high powered fat burning engines!!
  • Looking into creatine after the holidays.  One thing at a time – but creatine is pretty much looked at as universally safe.  It can add more water weight to you, but it will also help my workouts and add more muscle.

So…York Barbell.  Many of you probably heard of the brand.  It just so happens to be 1 mile from my house, and the weight lifting hall of fame is there.  I didn’t know they actually had a store there and have competitions there!  I just happened to stumble on a competition today.  I think they were loading about 650 pounds on the squats when I was there.  Lots of goon looking dudes and unbelievable gorgeous women – even some of the women weight lifters were amazing.  I am going to their next one in the spring to watch!!

I ended up buying one of those 45 pound 7 ft bars there.  Then fell in love with a power rack I might want to buy over the holidays.  I wouldn’t have done this shit at first…but I’m outgrowing the bowflex a bit.  There are some good things I can continue on the bowflex:

  • Seated row
  • flys

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However, I may part ways with it if I get this and use dumb bells for the flys.  Loved it.  It was great for being a starter…but I am getting more advanced.

This is what I’m looking at.  Although I’m not exactly sure what those things in the front are, my mind went into the gutter when seeing that – I’m just not sure that’s good marketing.  They need to be clear what the hell that is.  I still have no idea.

 

Why?

  • Well, the smith machine at the gym I like – there’s a safety setting, if you will.  So if you want to do benches, you can set this and it won’t let the bar down lower than that.  This has sort of the same feature with bars across.  So I wanted that for benching/squats.
  • I like the 200 pound stack behind it,  which is good for pull downs, triceps, etc.
  • I like the high bar area for squats.  I’m not someone who can really do these yet (well).  I’m going to continue to work on the goblet squats and build some form.  My leg press numbers are insane, but this is a bit different with form.  The bowflex doesn’t do squats.  Technically, it does.  Just not really comfortably.
  • I don’t like the strain the bowflex can put on my shoulders when I’m lifting the “whole stack”.  The weight for me isn’t hard, but the stress on my shoulders getting to a lift point is a bit concerning.

Given I now have an Olympic bar and York Barbell 1 mile away, my next items will be looking for the Olympic weights and maybe a leg press?

shut-up

The “Great Plateau”

To recap the last few months.

  • Sept 4th, weighed in at 294.  Then went to the poconos and put on 19 pounds in a 5 day bender with the guys.  Drank my face off.  Promptly paid for it on the scale.  Ran my face off for 3-4 weeks.
  • Oct 10th, weighed in at 295.  Lost all of the poconos weight. My guess was 5-7 pounds of fat and water weight.
  • November 18th, weighed in at 294.  1 pound lost in 5 weeks.  However, pay closer attention to the numbers and you will see my 2 weight training sessions a week and increase calories have paid off with muscle gain/fat loss. IMG_3319

Now, these scales are far from perfect, and have some decent variances.  However, I’ve consistently used the same scale, so I’m ok with this!!

One thing to note…this plateau of sorts.  I put on a decent amount of muscle the last 6 weeks while I have also been adding water/glycogen to my muscle.  Water weight went up 7 pounds.

I just continued to work the process.  I needed another hole drilled in my belts.  Clothing I haven’t worn in 9 years (or ever) now fit.  While I have been running out of clothing, I went into the recesses of my closet to dig out things that never fit – as I’m too lazy to take it back.

I also felt a lot stronger and noticed my muscles feeling larger.  Notably my chest, biceps, and calves.  My clothing have been looser around the belly area.

My weight has not changed….

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So – the scale will start to go down soon.  Not sweating it.  I think adding the HIIT may rapidly take off 5-10 pounds in the next month, so I’m excited to see how it affects my numbers while I’m adding muscle.

If my research is correct, I’m looking at max of 12-15 pounds of muscle I can add this year and max of maybe 5-8 in year 3 – then after that, maybe 1-2 pounds a year.  So…I will be trying to maximize muscle gain while controlling my calories, using HIIT, walking, swimming, and biking.

My estimate is next year at this time I’m going to be around 235-245, for another 50-60 pound loss.  My guess is my FFM will be about 180-185 and my fat mass may be down to 40-50 pounds, putting me somewhere in the 17-21% bodyfat range.  From here…..I’m going to look kinda jacked…but it’s where I’m going to start going on a cut which WILL take off muscle to get my weight down.   Year 3 of my plan is to go from 235-245 down to 190-195 or so with 15-18% bodyfat.

For those of you who might scoff at this, I’m 5’9″ with very broad shoulders and my upper body has a rather large chest cavity which might give me some good genetics for this.  Most of the weight lifters/bodybuilders you see are indeed around my height.  The natural guys who compete – well….the natural game isn’t about being 200 pounds with 20%.  The natural bodybulding game is 5-7% bodyfat weighing in around 180-195.  I have zero interest in this.  I want to be a healthy 12-15% long term and retain some muscle for shape.  That might be in year 4.  That is…if I can even get down that much.  The hope is that over time, skin cells die out and just don’t come back.  Plenty of fish oils, healthy eating, healthy fats, vitamin E – I’m hoping I’m ok…which is also why I want to have a packed frame of muscle.

But the great plateau is among us!!

Thanksgiving this week.  All I see is meal prep of turkey, potatoes, and broccoli coming my way!!

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