T Nation

Back in Action

Like my namesake Moon Knight, I am trying to pull myself out of an apathetic wasteland of non-existence.

Some people probably have already heard my plans in one or more of my threads, but I’ll repeat them here.

My first priority is health. I was feeling very spotty, and had been for a long time since, years back, switching my diet away from something that was mostly workign, and then getting out of lifting all together. The short story is my life goals changed several times and I wound up getting out of shape as one result.

Besides getting into a more healthy state I want to get stronger; a lot stronger. I also want/need to lose some weight both for health and aesthetic reasons.

I ran with my own program for a month which had a 5x5 lift and a 3x8 lift at its core, with lots of accesory movements thrown in. Then I did Dan John’s One Lift a Day for a month (that is the entire length of the program). I am now going through the Russian Bear program (just started, takes about 2 months), with some GPP thrown in on my off days consisting of light high rep movements, barbell carries, and strongman moves.

I’m hoping to build a core of strength, gradually lose fat, and put on a little muscle during this early phase. Afterwords I will take a week off, then do a short (a month?) low-volume program while more or less maintaining (maybe losing a little fat).

After that I will find a good routine geared towards fat burning, switch cardio in on my off days instead of GPP, and add HOT-ROX Extreme to my supplementation. I expect to spend 2-3 months on in that phase. Then I will maintain for another month and see where I am and where to go next.

Next post, my diet.

This is what I eat 9 out of 10 days. I need to add more variety I know, but given my time constraints, financial constraints, and limited resources at work for storage and prep this has been what works.

7:30 am - 2 scoops Isopure, 5 g glutamine, 7 g BCAAs, 2 oz almonds
11:00 am - 12 oz sausage
1:30 pm - 8 oz hamburger, 1 slice cheese, 2 strips of bacon, 12 oz broccoli
5:00 pm - pre-workout shake 2 scoops Isopure, 5 g glutamine, 7 g BCAAs
6:30 pm - post-workout shake same as pre-workout but plus 5 g creatine
7:30 pm - 12 oz chicken thighs, 15 oz canned pumpkin
10:30 pm - 8 oz hamburger, 1 slice cheese, 2 strips bacon

I don’t always have bacon on the hamburgers. Occasionally post workout I have tuna, broccoli and almonds with salad dressing instead of chicken and pumpkin. Sometimes my mid morning snack is an 8 oz block of cheese, or some sausage topped with cheese, or a 6 oz pack of pepperoni with slices of cheese on the side.

I am going to be upping the glutamine to 10 g per shake from now on, and I am going to cut out the 2 oz of almonds. I’ll post an updated dietary snapshot in a couple days when I get things worked out.

My supplements are as follows:
stinging nettle, milk thistle, ZMA - empty stomach on rising
BCAAs - as listed above
dessicated liver tablets - one at every meal
fish oil - 6 caps (310 mg omega 3s each) at each meal
multivitamin
rhodiola rosea
ashwaganda
ginseng
gingko biloba
magnesium, acidipholous, DHEA, GABA, and Alpha Male - taken on an empty stomach before the final pre-bed meal

Eventually, once I am feeling healthier (I think I am bouncing back from fatigue for one thing), I am going to cut out the ashwaganda and DHEA, and start cycling between rhodiola rosea and ginseng, rather than taking both. I may give up the stinging nettle once my current supply runs out.

I’ve been sipping on water, and/or water + 1/4 tsp sea salt + 1/4 tsp baking soda the last couple days. This has slowed down my urination but otherwise I am not seeing much of a difference. When I drink the salt mix for awhile, especially around a salty meal (e.g. sausage), I get bloated.

I’m not going to rehash all of my internal electrolyte debate that some have read already. I switched back to potassium supplements and salt substitute on my broccoli last night.

I woke up five and a half hours into my sleeping with a bad dream, rapid very noticeable heart beat, and very thirsty. My first reaction was “ok, no more potassium”, but, then I decided I am going to stick this out for at least a week. If my body has stored up a lot of sodium (which it may have, I had a pretty salty diet before getting clean, I have been in ketosis (dehydration), and I was taking a supplement with licorice in it for a few weeks) then it may just need time to balance, and until then it will seem worse.

4 years ago, when I was in college, eating low carbs, and in the best shape I ever had, I was taking potassium supplements. In fact I went about 3 days with no sleep when first getting on low carbs that first time because my potassium was so low. I went to the doctor and he essentially said eat some bananas which I did and out I went that night.

I have nothing to lose. I can’t fall any further.

Well, as I said this morning, only got 5.5 hours of sleep last night. I’ve been draggy today, and pretty dehydrated (especially at certain points), plus some bad gas. Despite all of this I had several mid-day erections which is unusual for me of late. I am doing something right.

I am thinking of cutting out the liver tablets. Since getting back into lifting several months ago I have gone on and off them, at times suspecting they are causing bowel disturbances and at other times crediting them for better circulation and blood volume.

I’m going to cut them out and see since I really do suspect they are the culprit behind my bad gas and occasionally loose bowel movements.

Anyway, the workout. Great despite the lack of sleep. I was a bit lethargic, not psyched up at all, but I sucked it up and put 5 lbs more on all of today’s sets. I plan to add 5 lbs to each next time too.

I felt really good about all of the lifts except the first military press. I really think though that with a little rest and a bit more sleep that I will have no problem putting up 125 x 5 next Wednesday when this scheme comes around again.

military press and pull-down
120 x 5 x 1
110 x 5 x 1
95 x 5, uncounted working sets

deadlifts
220 x 5 x 1
200 x 5 x 1
175 x 5, uncounted working sets

Cheat meal tonight, chicken thighs and organic rosemary and olive oil potato wedges.

The last few nights have been very rough on sleep. I’ll sleep about 5.5 hours and then wake up. Since I had today off I got to go back to sleep and get another 3 or so hours but it was not the same.

Yesterday I was getting aroused throughout the day which is unusual for me lately, and I was not having bloating/water retention issues.

On the other hand today, while not bloated (and actually looking trimmer in the belly), I am looking and feeling kind of smoother in general.

Also bathroom visits have been way down. Maybe 3 all day, whereas I was going once an hour some days last week (mostly on days that I did not drink salt water).

I am using salt substitute (potassium chloride) to season my food though I do have the occasional salty item (bacon on a hamburger, cheese, salad dressings). Also I am taking 4 - 99 mg potassium tablets at each meal (using a version bound to an amino acid to prevent stomach irritation).

And I havn’t exactly felt easily aroused today either. Honestly, I would like to eventually lose some fat, but I really had hopes that cleaning up my diet and eating right would fix the nagging health problems like troubles with sleeping and erradict sexual performance (some days and/or times of day I am all set for it but other times I feel kind of dead).

Finding the right formula is not proving easy though.

Bad sleep again last night. Same formula, 5.5 hours, wake up. Had to get up early for work so no chance to get back to sleep really (usually takes 60 minutes or so to get back to sleep, and I only had 1.5 hours before I had to get up anyway for work).

Felt ok today. Not particularly aroused at any point despite my mind drifting to things sexual now and again (can’t help being a guy). I stayed pretty well hydrated today I think, though there were some lows. I don’t think there was ever a point where I felt bloated really. Energy was good despite the lack of sleep. No yawning or lethargy except that which could be explained by boredom towards the end of the work day.

Today’s lifting routine:

bench and bent row
145 x 5 x 1
130 x 5 x 1
115 x 5, uncounted sets

squat
145 x 4 x 1
130 x 4 x 1
115 x 4, I would say uncounted sets but I really only got about 3 or 4 sets in at this weight

Overall a good workout and an improvement over last week when I had this setup. The bench portion was pretty easily handled so that weight will be upped next workout. Rows were still kind of rough. I was using a good bit of leg drive/lurch during the first two sets (the heaviest two sets). I managed to add a rep to each set of squats from last week.

It’s pretty embarrassing that my squat is lagging behind my bench, of course my deadlift kind of makes up for it a little I guess.

I am feeling a little stretchy tight soreness in my lower back. Nothing too painful really, more annoying. Hopefully it is nothing. I think my form was good overall though some of the rows were pretty rough, the last set of squats may have been edging towards good mornings, and I had to pull the bar from the floor to my shoulders to load it back on the rack after doing the rows in preparation for benching. Some of those pulls were poorly done I am sure.

All things considered, given how tired I should have been before heading into this, I think it turned out well.

Lifted again today:

military press and pull down

125 x 5 x 1
115 x 5 x 1
110 x 5 x uncounted

deadlift

225 x 5 x 1
205 x 5 x 1
180 x 5 x uncounted

The first set of each exercise was a little tough today. I’m going to have to see how much energy I feel like I have next week and see then whether I feel I can add weight or not. The work sets went real smooth though. Ab and grip strength seem to be holding up my deadlift more than my back and legs.

Overall I have felt better today, though a bit tired and dehydrated at times. I switched back from supplementing potassium and seasoning my food with salt substitute to using salt and having a little salt in my water this morning. Tomorrow I think I will just use plain water. I started back up with the liver again too.

Yesterday I was feeling so cold, and had some muscle spasms and eye twitching and decided something just was not right, hence the added liver and reduced potassium.

So… its been a few days since last posting.

Last Friday I was totally wiped out. Trouble sleeping combined with my wacky work scheduling which always makes Thursday-Friday the worst transition in the week (I close the store Thursday and have to open Friday) on top of already being pretty worn thin just was too much. I skipped Friday’s workout.

I gave up the liver again, added back in an adrenal bolstering pill (bovine adrenals, licorice, clove, gotu kola) that I had used a month or so ago and felt a bit better over the weekend though I had some bad mid-day drowsy spells on Sunday.

I’ve decided that I just cannot afford to eat low-carb anymore. The reality is that I am poor and even if I cut out all of my supplements (many of which I feel I practically need to get over this fatigue/stress situation my body is in) I cannot afford to be eating low-carb.

I’m going to cut calories a little more since I’ll be adding carbs (less thermogenic effect of food, calories were probably a little high anyway). I am not going to go overboard on carbs and I will try to avoid carb+fat meal combinations as much as possible and keep junk foods 90% out of my diet.

I’m going to switch to a cheaper, mostly whey concentrate protein powder (instead of isolate), cut out L-glutamine, and ease off some of my supplements (had planned on that anyway).

Today’s diet outline in the next post.

7:00 am = 2 scoops whey, 2 scoops glutamine, natural peanut butter shake
10:00 am = 1 pint 2% milk, couple small bowls of Count Chocula cereal
1:00 pm = 1/2 lb hamburger and 12 oz broccoli
5:00 pm = 2 scoops whey, 1 scoop glutamine pre-workout shake
7:00 pm = grape juice and creatine; 2 scoops whey shake
7:30 pm = bbq chicken and all natural potato wedges
11:00 pm = cottage cheese and ??? (I may or may not add something)

I lifted this afternoon and really felt like I did a good job.

bench
150 x 5 x 1
135 x 5 x 1
120 x 5 x uncounted

bent row
145 x 5 x 1
130 x 5 x 1
115 x 5 x uncounted

squat
150 x 5 x 1
135 x 5 x 1
120 x 5 x uncounted (only a couple sets)

Bench and squat went up. I am going to up bench again next time. Bent row form is improving. Probably after the next workout I can increase the weight on it. I upped the squat weight because I was feeling good all around today and I did nail 5 reps although it was a bit of a struggle and form still needs some work. I still think form was improved from last time.

I didn’t really want to post today. I was feeling so draggy that this workout was just kind of average. Not really an improvement over the last one with these exercises.

I tried to up the weight on the military press but couldn’t get more than 1 rep, despite upping it only 5 lbs. I didn’t bother trying to up the weight on the pull-down after that, though I did up it on the deadlift and only managed a triple. Not bad, and if I had had a bit more steam I think I could have pulled off 5 reps (I had a 4th rep almost, but it was rough and never quite got to lockout).

See the last military press/pull-down/deadlift day above for weights otherwise. I did manage to get more sets in with the deadlift than usual. That was the bright spot I guess.

I didn’t stop posting in here because I stopped training, I just have been too busy and preoccupied. After pushing myself through what feel like increasingly long days at work, trying to ignore my continual health quirks (I finally scheduled a physical so that I can get some blood tests done), and forcing out an hour or so of training I don’t much feel like sitting down and typing about it.

Generally I eat dinner and watch a movie, then go read and get to bed. Seems like every couple nights my sleep is disturbed though.

Anyway, I’ll post again some more next week. Looking at the numbers again I figure I can afford to eat low-carb if I cut down on the shakes (morning and pre-workout) and cut calories in general (I was eating around 3200 most days). Calories will probably sit somewhere in the 2250-2500 range.

I am seriously concerned about kidney problems now, especially given how I have felt since moving back to eating more or less whatever with the caveat that I get enough protein and fiber and get some fruits and veggies in. I was hoping that some of the problems I had from the diet, like dehydration and feelings of acidosis, would right themselves after including more carbs but things have not changed much. If anything I feel worse.

Low-carb redux day one, and I actually feel a bit better. Not how I should feel but I am definitely reminded that low-carb makes me feel better than higher carb. Is it the carbs? Is it something I was allergic to? Don’t know.

So far hydration has been decent, heart rate has been ok, have felt too warm if anything, and no bad bowel movements. Here’s to hoping things continue in the positive.

I doubled the amount of fish oil I am taking. I am trying to cut out morning and pre-workout shakes (to save money and to cut calories a bit). I’m taking a double dose of ZMA each day for now, 3 capsules in the morning, and 1 capsule three separate times the rest of the day.

My post-workout shake is going to more closely mirror some suggestions I’ve gotten in the recent past here (and which also match what Coach Poliquin said at his recent conference). Its going to be 50 g whey isolate, 20 g glutamine, 20 g glycine.

Lifting today was decent but I didn’t break any PRs. I felt a bit tired but I think I kept good form on every lift.