Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger...

The blogging front has grown stagnant lately, and several of you have reported dissatisfaction looking at Billy Corgan every time you check my page. Well, I'm sorry. I've been busy, I write in a private livejournal now, and I can't think of anything to write about. Until now.

Jaylynn and I are getting married in 13 months at St. John's in Clinton and the reception is at Harrington Farm in Princeton. We are both trying very hard to get in shape for that big day, and for many days after. Grad school has made it difficult for both of us to stay as fit as we'd like. We've had various setbacks from injuries and schedules, and for two people who value health so much, it's been hard on the psyche, particularly mine. I've gained quite a bit of weight since I moved to Worcester, something I never thought would happen after I lost 60 pounds my senior year of high school. I'm currently 217, reaching a high of 230 this past May. To my knowledge, I was roughly 190 upon moving to Worcester, and I was pretty lean. It all seemed to go wrong last spring. I started letting myself go and eating Price Chopper muffins two at a time for lunch, and eating Fruschetta pizzas for dinner every night. Having a part-time desk job instead of speed-walking behind a lawnmower every morning decreased my activity more than I realized, and costochondritis in my sternum made it painful to lift weights.

I had been going back and forth with different workout ideas throughout the summer, all with no results or dedication of more than a week or two. With an ever-changing schedule, I found it very hard to stick to anything. I figured my "jacked" days were long gone.

However, the upcoming wedding has given me a pretty substantial drive to really make this happen, and I'm not attempting to use Hydroxycut or SlimFast this time, either. For the first time ever, I'm following a set 52-week training program called The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove, and focusing my diet on a few simple principles from Dr. John Berardi's Precision Nutrition and Men's Health's The Abs Diet. I'm already a big fan of the New Rules book because it goes through a number of phases, including fat loss, hypertrophy, and strength. These are pretty reputable authors in the fitness world, and I discovered them through The Fitcast and Max-Out Radio on iTunes, a couple of great podcasts on health and fitness. I've joined the forums over at JP Fitness (www.jpfitness.com) and I'm going to write my workouts and diet there and get feedback from the trainers, nutritionists, and other members.

I've decided to keep myself accountable through this blog. I'm going to use this to write down my workouts and my diet for the next 13 months, along with my progress.

So, that's the deal. Here's what I've done so far:

The Wedding Workout:

Current weight: 217 lbs

Monday 9/24:
Break-In: A
1) squat: 2x15xbodyweight & static lunges 2x10xbodyweight (BRUTAL superset, could barely finish it)
2) single-arm 2-point dumbell rows: 2x15x30 (easy, but awkward) & pushups: 2x20 (another very hard superset, funny because I used to do 60 pushups...)
3) planks: 2x30 seconds

That was supposed to be a "break-in" workout part 1 of 2. I figured it would be easy, but it was incredibly hard. I was surprised how tiring it was. It goes to show how ineffective my old workouts used to be. My legs are killing me today. Even though I've lifted weights for a while, this made me feel like a true beginner. I tried to load up the bar with 135 for a "warm-up" squat I used to do 20 reps with just to loosen up and could barely do 4. Shows how bad my form was, too. I'll stick with bodyweight for a while.

Tuesday 9/25:

Intervals: I just sprinted up my aunt's driveway and then walked back, repeating 6 times. I walked around for a little bit to cool down. All in all about 15 minutes.

(Another thing, I've simplified my workout playlist, too. For everybody who thinks the iPod is the greatest thing ever created (and I'm one of those people), something that is lost is the fact that it turns people into musical schizophrenics. I can't count how many times I flip through my music at the gym because there is so much to choose from. It takes away focus and it ends up being less help than a CD player. I've got 6 songs on my list this time on repeat, and all are spine-crushing: 3 by the Smashing Pumpkins, 2 by Eminem, and 1 by the Deftones.)

I'll post more as the days go by.

The Wedding Diet:

I won't write down everything I'm eating, but here are the guidelines I'm using:

1) small meals every 2-3 hours (about 6 per day)
2) lean protein with each meal (eggs, chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, whey, etc.)
3) green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, green beans...and that's about it)
4) fruits, but pretty much only after my workouts (bananas, apples, grapes...again, that's about it)
5) healthy fats (olive oil, almonds)
6) getting most of my daily carbs from fruits/vegetables and saving any grain-based carbs for after my workouts (presumably in a post-workout shake)
7) lots of water
8) only 1 cup of coffee per day, followed by green tea

I'm not counting calories or macronutrients, just trying to stick to the above. My staples are two-egg omelets with turkey and low-fat cheese, baked chicken breast with green beans, low-fat string cheese, peanut butter spoons, handfuls of almonds/raisins, and a bunch of shakes. I need to comply to this diet 90% of the time. So 42 meals in a week means I can cheat 4 times at most. That's not too hard.

In order to get the vegetables in my diet, I've had to become very creative. I've always hated vegetables (I blame my parents), so I throw them in a blender. The shakes I make have always grossed people out to some degree (I've never understood how what essentially breaks down to a chocolate/peanut butter milkshake turns people off), but the vegetable shakes I've included can be pretty appalling to people, myself included. For that reason, I'm going to call the big one "Soylent Green." Here's the recipe:

"Soylent Green" Shake:
-1 package of frozen spinach, defrosted
-1 package frozen broccoli, defrosted
-1 tomato
-1/2 apple
-1/2 cup cottage cheese

I blend the hell out of it, put it in big shaker bottle, and have two or three swigs during the day at meal times. This gets me about 2 servings of fruits/vegetables at every meal, especially vegetables. The apple makes it a little easier to stomach, but it's still like taking medicine. I'll get more creative as time goes on, including sugar-free Jell-O, lime juice, and other flavors depending on what I'm going for.

My protein and post-workout shakes are based around low-fat cottage cheese, whey protein, peanut butter, oatmeal, and a banana.

I've got a few desert-type shakes I've used regularly, including the aforementioned Peanut Butter Cup (chocolate whey, peanut butter, cottage cheese, etc.), Cinnamon Roll (vanilla whey, cinnamon, nutmeg, banana, peanut butter, cottage cheese, etc...tastes awesome), Strawberry Banana (self-explanatory), and various combinations of tropical shakes (good for the summer, using mango, pineapple, coconut shavings, strawberry whey, etc.). There are tons of recipes online and from my books that I can use. I've made shakes that aren't particularly healthy despite the scoops of protein (the Cookies-N-Cream with vanilla whey and Oreos comes to mind), so I'll try to avoid those as much as possible. I've got ideas for a nice autumn shake (something with canned pumpkin, nutmeg, vanilla whey, probably some other crap) and an eggnog shake for Christmas (vanilla whey, fat-free eggnog, nutmeg, etc.) I've got this shit for all seasons, son.

My supplements include:
1) whey protein, obviously
2) multivitamin
3) fish oil
4) CLA
5) BCAAs

That's about it. Nothing too complicated, other than my shakes with I try to drink throughout the day and take some preparation beforehand.

So, there you have it. The detailed plan for becoming an Adonis in time for October 12, 2008. I'm using this blog as a tool to stay accountable. Please get on me if you don't hear from me regularly. Wish me luck, here we go...

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