Progress on my cut: Master of straight lines?

Just a progress update and some observations as I push deeper into this cut. Between my hamstrings and body weight charting, I am proving to be the master of straight lines.

As progress on this cut continues, I hit a new low weigh-in this morning of 188.5 lbs.

At the the start of this cut, I was torn. Do I simply drop the chub or look to push deeper into lean this time around? However, I ended-up deferring that decision, opting instead to change the nature of the game and see how far I could get without any kind of food tracking or unnecessary restriction.

So far, so good, and a full account of the cut will be posted at the end – whenever that is. But for now, I wanted to share a few thoughts and observations from my progress so far, ten weeks and three days into my cut.

For reference, in terms of hard data, 5.5 lbs ago, I was 10.4% body fat at 194lbs. So my guess, assuming minimal loss of lean mass, is that I’m very roughly 8.5% body fat at 188.5 lbs.

  1. I am the master of straight lines.
    Joke. Kind of. I mean, beyond my weight-loss progress, my hamstrings, too, are the shortest distance between two points!
  2. Notice how body weight change moves in waves.
    Loss, loss, flat, increase, loss, loss, flat, increase. And even then, the magnitude of the tides vary greatly in the Scalar Sea.
  3. 8.5% body fat, and not an ab in sight.
    Seriously. There are people that can walk around at 10 or 11% body fat with a nicely defined midsection, but genetics have a huge roll to play here. This is in part why I have always wrestled with the commitment to getting lean enough to have a six-pack. I have to go really deep into my diet to see those kind of results.
  4. I’m going to keep pushing, for now.
    Despite the likelihood I will not be entirely happy with the visual results at the end, I am feeling more and more inclined to go deeper into this cut. Bottom line: We’ll see.
  5. Tracking schmacking.
    20lbs down from my bulking peak, and absolutely no food tracking at all. Just diligent monitoring of body weight and a common sense approach to hunger management.

There’s likely a lot more to discuss on some of these points, and a full account of the bulk and cut will eventually be posted. Just wanted to drop a short update and bring people along on the journey in something close to real time.

If you want to discuss my approach or ask questions about my diet or data, hit me up in the comments, or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

The gains monster is an attention-seeking child

The gains monster is everywhere, just waiting for you to slip-up. Make a mistake. Leave yourself vulnerable. And then, without warning, it’ll suck you dry of everything you’ve worked for.

Yesterday was absolutely manic from start to end.

Up at the crack of dawn, fighting with traffic to get to a four-hour training course. Dashing out ten minutes before the end to get a jump on traffic to race back home in time for another two hours of conference calls.

Breakfast was so-so, and only moderately nutritious.

Lunch was skipped in exchange for making it to my next meeting.

Read more…

Do you have a reference physique?

We all need something to motivate us. Push us to the next level. One way to do this is having a reference physique you aspire to. Who’s picture do you have pinned to your refrigerator?

Do you have a reference physique?

A photo or image of a body that encapsulates everything you admire and desire in a physique, but a physique that is also attainable for your height, build and genetics?

The latter is important, for no matter how much I love Arnold’s body, I don’t have his build or genetics. The bone structure, the deep insertion points and thick muscle bellies. I can literally never look like him.

Read more…

I see potential everywhere

I’m lucky enough to have a gym at work, but depending on my split, I still have to train closer to home at the weekends.

For me, that means hitting-up my local 24 Hour Fitness.

Living way in the burbs, east of San Francisco, clientele at the gym skews older; quite a bit older, in fact.

At peak times, you still see groups of jocks congregating around the benching station, but by and large, the majority of the men and women are in their thirties, forties and fifties.

And you know what, a lot of them are pretty darn jacked!

Read more…

Stop waiting to be ready

Are you still putting things off, waiting for that moment when the stars align and you’re finally able to declare you’re ready?

I know I’ve been there; we probably all have.

And frankly, given my ability to procrastinate, finesse and otherwise bog down on details, without my very best effort, I’ll likely be there again.

I stumbled across this quote this morning, on Facebook of all places, and it immediately struck a chord with me.

It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any. – Hugh Laurie

Don’t spend your life waiting to be ready, or it–whatever it is–may simply never happen.

My porridge is juuuust right.

arnold-schwarzeneggers-mammoth-chest-and-back-workout_graphics_arnold-series-3We’ve all done it; an extra set here, an extra set there, swapped out an exercise, or perhaps added a new one. Instinctive training, they call it, and some swear by it. Me? I am not so sure.

For almost a year now, I’ve been working with Adam Bornstein and following his training programs. Sure, we’d make a bunch of swaps for certain exercises, and he’d always encourage skipping anything that hurt etc. But that’s not what I am talking about.

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Another milestone in the rear view

VascularityWe reached a new milestone this morning, seeing 185lb on the morning scale for the first time! Sure, we need to see it more than once, but once is a great start.

For perspective, last November I was 169lb, and on January 1st, I was holding 175lb in the mornings. As it turns out, 175lbs was a HUGE sticking point for me. It took another two months to break that plateau and inch toward 180lb. I’m not sure what’s happened, but 185lb has come pretty quick by comparison… just a month since I was dunked at 180lb on March 25th. Gettin’ chubby.

With 185lbs in my grasp, I’ve been thinking about quantifying my goals. The numbers make it real, and kinda scary.

Read more…

Too long to Tweet

IMG_20150425_083821-COLLAGESometimes, I have a lot to say… other times, not so much. Of late, I’ve not had a lot good to say, so I’ve kept pretty quiet. Twitter is where I spend most of my time, and a closed Facebook group I am part of. You can also see crappy progress pics and photos of food up at Instagram.

So why let the blog slip?

I’ve pondered this long and hard and come to the conclusion that I need to lower the bar somewhat. Not necessarily in terms of quality, just in terms of airing thoughts and getting stuff down. I tend to set the bar too high for the blog, looking for ways to write an elaborate detailed and thematic post, and that can turn into a half day commitment… time I just don’t have (or want to dedicate) to blogging.

So my plan is try and post a few times a week, but to make those posts shorter and easy to digest. That way, I still get to write, you still get to read, and collectively, they still tell the story of me.

As I always point out, this blog is more of a journal than a resource, and thus usefulness and/or interest to the reader will vary dramatically. There’s too much information on health, fitness and bodybuilding out there, and if you do want REAL information, you’ll already be following the likes of Adam Bornstein and Bryan Krahn.

As always, if you have questions about what I am doing, my goals, plans etc., just ask – I’m always happy to share my experiences and what I have (or at least should have) learned.

Just about anything will work

just do workI’ve been working informally with a couple of people of late, helping them build a program to reach their training goals. And it’s been fun.

However, regardless of what route we take, the “split”, the programming, periodization, intensity, loading, volume etc., I always end-up distilling the advice down to the following. So much so, that it’s worth stating here:

At the end of the day, it’s good to remember that just about anything and everything can work in the gym. It’s largely about showing up, working hard, consistently, for months, and eating large amounts of good healthy food.

Sure, there’s a lot of detail I could have added. I could have talked about rest intervals, recovery patterns, dietary intake, macros, supplementation, sleep; the list is pretty much endless. But in the end, 90% of the progress you’ll make in the gym comes down to forming good habits, showing-up regularly and simply doing the work.