FatPixel's Training Log

4/24/08

Alright, I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to do this program, and now’s the time.

I’ve completed a month of “basic training” and now I’m ready to take on some more advanced stuff like the WSP.

Today’s gym session was testing weights and movements for the first week’s worth of exercises. Can you believe I’ve never done upright rows? The whole program is going to be a shock to the system, even for this former powerlifter.

Will have an official weight tomorrow (around 216?) and then I start the program Monday morning at 7:30am.

Goals: I would like to see 1.5 lb per week weight loss, so I’d like to see 12 lbs lost over 8 weeks. Ultimate goal: To be under 10% bodyfat by March 2009 (35th birthday).

My stats: Age 34, 20 yrs lifting experience (some competitive), 216 lbs, about 22% BF, 6’ tall. Will aim for 2500 kcal/day and 216g protein and adjust from there. Will be eating T-Dawg 2.0 style.

The ass kicking I deserved…

4/25/08: Day 5 of Waterbury Summer Project. Today’s gym session was a tough one. Had to reach down really far to finish this one but I feel like I finished the week strong. In a nutshell it’s two minutes of unlimited reps of the following: deadlift, pushups, squats, pulldowns, 90s rest in between.

I was dripping sweat like none other. Had to just sit still and rest after it was done. I am not looking forward to next week.

First week results: Thus far I’m down about 2 lbs on the scale to 214. Latest bioimpedance BF% measure (read: crapshoot accuracy) says I’m down to 20.8%. However, this measurement was done in the morning with no food in me.

First measure was done mid-afternoon with food. I know from past use that makes a difference. From now on I’m going to take waking measurements-- weight, BF%, temp.

The workouts are hard. However, I do feel like I’m getting a break not having to do my cardio after a weight workout. Today (week 1 day 5) was B R U T A L!!! Two minutes, as many reps as you can get?!?! Holy crap, first round I was crushed, second and third I prayed for death so at least I’d have a good excuse as to why I ended the set early.

I was sweating so much that after my pushup sets I left a puddle on the floor. Not a bunch of droplets-- a puddle. Squats were hard on my traps-- my traps are sore all the time on this workout. Everything else is fine.

It has taken me a while to get my treadmill speed up to where it needs to be for HIIT sessions, but now that I’m there I think they will be even more productive. Looking forward to the second week.

4/29/08 (retro-posting to stay up-to-date)

Today could have been a good day. Got on the scale, lost another 1.5 lbs in 5 days. But the BF% reading says something straight evil: I’ve actually lost muscle, gained fat, and my BF% is UP!

Now, I know this thing isn’t totally accurate, but it’s still giving me cause for concern. The whole point of this diet is to be protein-sparing, aka don’t lose muscle while losing fat.

I think I’m going to revisit my total carb intake on lifting days and nix the morning HIIT training on an empty stomach. Since it’s high-intensity but brief it poses a big risk of being catabolic. So I’m going to have one or two scoops of protein with water to stave off muscle loss.

Otherwise, this diet is a dream. Yesterday I had to get motivated to eat MORE. Getting 200g of protein a day is not easy, and I should be getting 250-300 by some estimates. Bought myself a Foreman Grill so the chicken breasts will be plentiful.

4/30/08 Week 1 reflection:

Day 6 I was spent, totally spent. Did not do my HIIT session as I knew my body just needed to rest. Stayed in bed until 10:30 when I am usually up by 8 on weekends. The whole day I was dogging it. Went to a friend’s garage to tune my mountain mike to prep for the season; I felt so flat it was like I was going into ketosis (see below for: need more carbs).

Sunday (day 7) I did my HIIT session. The treadmill I use allows you to program the specific speeds you want for walk and run, so the speed-up time is minimal. Also, I think it’s good to take 5-7 seconds to get up to sprint speed. I build the extra time into my “walk” time.

Week 2, day 1: Today I struggled more than last week. Hang cleans/front squats were a problem; I need more practice on form. The front squat stance bothers my wrist and shoulder. Also I’ve got some lingering shoulder tightness from last week. From this and the “flat” feeling I conclude that my recovery efforts are suffering.

For optimal recovery, I think I need to really hit that 100g carbs on lifting days and 70g on HIIT days. I have been slacking on carb intake. Also, I am going to make sure my calories are on the high side of the range for now since the fat loss has not been a problem. If that doesn’t help I’m going to consider upping the fish oil intake and perhaps getting some glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM complex.

5/1/08

I guess it wasn’t a good idea to get on the scale the day after my moderate (<100g) carb day. But I did, and the scale went up. That was frustrating, but the way I’m seeing it is that I have to gain/retain muscle at some point. Yesterday’s workout was so good that combined with the super huge protein shake I had, I was bound to at least retain water in the muscle.

Today was HIIT-- High Intensity Interval Training. 18 minutes of 80 seconds walking/40 seconds sprinting. Since I (foolishly) wanted to weigh in, I made my coffee to drink post-weighing. So I went out the door without any shoes on. Holy wow do I need my coffee in the mornings now! Then I went back in and put on the cross trainer shoes, not the running shoes. Duh.

In October I completed a scavenger hunt my office building was sponsoring. I won because I was the only one who played. I love battles of attrition where there’s no attrition. Anyway, part of my prize was a free massage. And since I’ve got a few bumps and bruises from this new program, I thought I should redeem my prize.

It was great-- my first real massage ever. 45 minutes of elbows digging deep in my muscles. I went for the deep tissue and I think it really worked-- last night was the first night in a week I didn’t wake up from shoulder discomfort.

So I’m scheduled to go back at the end of the program (June 13th-- last day) and get another one. I think if I keep up the hard workouts, it’s something I should invest in every 3-4 months.

5/1/08

I like being the big dude. Around here they call it a Size King.

Part of the problem I’ve had in life in losing weight is that I’m reluctant to give up my size. As a guy, you want to be a little bigger than the rest-- chicks dig that. But unfortunately for me, that extra size has come at the cost of extra fat.

I recall ten years ago when I got down to 183 lbs. I went shopping with a friend for a new shirt for a wedding and the one that fit me was-- wait for it-- a medium! GASP! I don’t think I wore a medium, like, ever.

Not since I made the jump into men’s clothing from the boy’s husky section anyway. Instead of being satisfied that I had lost so much weight, I was a little uneasy at being only medium-sized.

That’s not going to happen this time, because I know that after I get down to my desired level of lean-- single digit bodyfat percentage (by March 2009), I’m going to keep that while using a quality mass-up plan to gain back all the size. So when I finally get back into the size XL shirts I had to give up, it won’t be the buttons that are bursting at the seams-- it’ll be the sleeves, baby.

5/1/08

Today’s weigh-in went much more smartly, since it was after a cardio-only day. 210-- just on the cusp of the coveted two-oh’s. That put me in a semi-decent mood since it’s very clear that, as opposed to last year, I’m gaining strength and keeping/increasing muscle. I like that.

Eating enough is a struggle. Strangely, my cravings are close to nonexistent. Certainly having carbs and treats all the time only made me crave them more. I couldn’t go a few hours without chocolate just a month ago; now I haven’t had so much as a Hershey’s Kiss in two weeks. Last night I had to convince myself to eat even though I wasn’t hungry at all. But not eating would have left me under 1500 calories-- not good. Not smart.

Will do today’s workout from hell later in the day. Stomach pain last night left me groggy and worthless this morning. After that I’ll be looking forward to the revamped workouts for weeks three and four.

5/2/08

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this focused. I must truly believe that I have to do this now or I’ll never get another chance. Whatever it is, I’ve never been this goal-focused in my entire life.

I had a busy weekend lined up. Friday night I went to a friends house (I’m there so often it’s now my “summer home”) and instead of camping out and playing the newly-released Grand Theft Auto on Xbox, I went to the gym and did my workout from hell (see last Friday for more on day 12 of the Waterbury Summer Project).

Ok people, did you see what I just wrote? Instead of playing the latest in the series of my favorite video game of all time, I lifted weights. Truthfully, I think I was just anxious to test out the supplements that just came in-- Surge Recovery and Metabolic Drive. They make such a fuss about Surge on the T-Nation forums that I just had to give it a shot.

I’m not sure why this week’s Workout From Hell was easier than last week, but there were many factors: 1. I did it at night, much easier than just after waking up. 2. My body was prepared for it, having done it once before, and 3. Sipping Surge during the workout. It was probably all three.

Even though my heart is always beating through my chest and I’m struggling to finish them, since the weight is so low on these sets I always feel like I should do more. But I think if you asked Waterbury himself, he would say as long as your HR is up and you are getting more reps than you did on the last set then you are doing what you’re supposed to.

Interesting note about Grow! Whey powder-- mixability is impressive. I don’t know what they put in it to make it mix up so thick with only water, but it’s outstanding. My (now former) go-to powder was only good if mixed with milk, which is inconvenient and adds cost. Also, the old stuff was about $22 for 2 lbs while Grow! is $32 for 5 lbs. Can you say, “staple?”

5/3/08

Saturday was the big party at the boss’s house. But before that was the Virginia Gold Cup. Now that I’m not drinking for these 8 weeks, I figured I could go and be the DD for the group of booze hounds going to the race.

Mistake.

I ended up getting to the pre-race meetup too early, yet we left for the races too late. And I left the races early, by myself, to get to the next party. And in getting to the meetup early, I couldn’t finish the 4 dozen deviled eggs I made. Diane, hero that she is, finished them for me, which I feel badly about right now.

Hauled my ass up from Fucking Nowhere, VA and landed in Bethesda. As always, the boss’ party is a thing to behold. Most importantly, there’s food everywhere. I had some Metabolic Drive to kill any cravings and feel full for when I walked in.

As most parties go, the spread was very carby, so I stuck with the ribs (the main attraction) and the…GASP! Deviled eggs! GOD DAMMIT. Yes someone else made them, so as I handed mine over to the kitchen staff (yes there’s a hired staff) I was kind of wondering when I would get to taste the ones that Diane made.

I never did. I kept checking back, wondering if they would be out. They never made it so far as I know. It’s possible that they were eaten while I was outside or otherwise distracted, but who the hell knows.

But, all the booze and all the carby treats (including an amazing looking chocolate cake) were avoided. Ribs (no sauce), eggs, diet Pepsi. Dinner of champions.

Today they brought in the leftovers from the boss’s party into the office. So when I came in this morning there were treats everywhere-- brownie bites especially.

This is the first craving I’ve had since I began this phase of the diet (T-Dawg) 16 days ago. I’ve heard week three is the worst, so I’m going to have to gut it out this week.

I just have to rant about how precious my time is now that cooking and working out takes priority over all-- my good pals (not) at Comcast were supposed to come over and disconnect my cable (yay Netflix!) sometime between 8-11am.

I was thinking I could workout early, then wait for him. But then I remembered that Waterbury SUmmer Project week 3 is a new workout and I didn’t want to rush through it. So I waited and drank a Grow! shake.

11:30 he hasn’t arrived. I could have completed all over WSP week 3 by now. But in the meantime, I cooked some food for the week and prepped for tonight’s cooking. And when they did the work for free after I called and complained, I was satisfied.

I’m learning that the #1 key to sticking to any eating plan long-term is the ability to specifically cook for that eating plan. The longer I go, the more creative I’m going to have to get in making things that make me feel I have taste and variety in my menu.

Tonight was week 3, day 1 of Waterbury Summer Project.

Nuts and bolts: (weight by reps by sets)
DB Reverse Lunge: 55x4x3, 50x4x1, 45x4x1
BB Bent Row 135x4x4 145x4x2

BB Push Press: 115x4x2, 120x4x4
Cable crunch 110x4x6

Power cleans 95x4x2 100x4x4
Standing calf 335x4x6

Reverse lunges: Never did these before. I like one-legged leg exercises because I feel the muscle squeezing much more. Hard to get the form just right on this one so I lowered the weights. My back is strong and legs are weak, so I tend to lean over and let the back take the weight. Have to keep the torso rigid at 90 degrees and lighter weight.

BB Bent Rows: Love love love doing these with reverse grip! For some reason it enables me to bend over to almost parallel with no problem.

Push press: Never did these but I like them a lot!! I find I’m pretty much loving any Olympic lift variation. Plus I love military presses anyway.

Cable crunch: I always feel like my torso is pulling the weight with weight, not muscle. Have to focus hard on making abs move the pile.

Power cleans: Never did these and started light. Was focusing on keeping bar in straight line, back straight, exploding up. One of the few exercises in FatPixel history where explosive power increased as the sets wore on.

Calves: I like that I can nearly rack the standing calf raise, but don’t like the spinal compression the machine gives. Donkey calf raises eliminate this, but have you seen a donkey machine lately? Neither have I.

i was sweating like MAD this workout! Never did I think sets of 4 would have me going through towel after towel. Wow, Cardio what?!

3/4 Surge before workout, 1/4 serving after, followed by one scoop Grow! Whey and 2 fish oil caps before bed. Protein over 200g for the day. New goals: 1800 cals weight days, 1500 non-weight days. 1500 on rest day too.

Today’s workout: HIIT. Did 16 minutes of 40/80 sprint/walk intervals. Still pushing my running speed up, got to 7.3 today. That’s the fastest I’ve ever run, at least on a treadmill.

I can feel it in my shins. They need to be stronger to adapt to 200 pounds punishing them for 20 minutes. And that’s on a treadmill! Sidewalks would not be as forgiving. That’s why I’m sticking with running for the HIIT sessions instead of switching it up: I actually want to be good at running.

Speaking of “feeling it,” the right knee does not feel too good today. Small discomfort when mimicking the actions of last night’s reverse lunges. Next session I will cut the weight considerably and see if I can correct my form. If not then it’s back to step ups. Hopefully not because I can feel the effects of the rev. lunges in my glutes today!

Strange scratches on my shoulders today from last night’s session. Weird because I usually get them when squatting heavy, but didn’t do any squats at all last night.

Today’s food:
2 scp Grow! pre WO
6 oz chicken,
4 tbsp mayo
2 cans tuna
Will hit up more Grow! tonight since light on cals today. Got a new heart monitor and I can’t wait to try it in the gym tomorrow. Resting heart rate (RHR) is 56 right now. Would be nice to get it down in the 40’s without being a skinny-ass marathon runner!

Today I learned I’m not a slacker.

Last night I got myself a heart rate monitor because I’m always curious about how my heart works. Without going into a long explanation and percentages, here’s how it breaks down:

Sitting down at night typing this: 55 bpm
Walking around: 71 bpm
Stretching pre-w/o: 93 bpm
Pulldowns, situps: 140 bpm
Burpees, squats: 170 bpm

I was curious about how much of a cardio workout I’m getting while lifting. I always knew it was up there, but I didn’t know it was this high! I sweat my ass off during these workouts and it’s easy to see why I don’t need to do cardio to get my heart rate up.

Today was the second day I used Surge and I have to say I think it makes a big difference. I did about 12 oz coffee an hour pre-w/o, then Surge sipped throughout.

I got to the last complex before I hit the wall. Then for sets of 15 on squats I just gassed. Couldn’t even hit half that with a weight I can normally do for 20. Oh yeah, thanks for putting these at the end, Waterbury!

The cold, hard numbers (weightxrepsxsets):

Lat pulls: 80x15x1, 90x15x1, 100x15x1 (90 is best)
Squat thrusts (db’s): 25x15x3

Squat thrusts got my juices flowin! I like these. Takes the wind out of me though.

Situps: 25x15x3
Back Ext: 25x15, 15x15, 10x15

I don’t recall back extensions being this hard! Did the stiups on the swiss ball since I feel more of an abs contraction.

Decline press: 135x15, 50x15x2
DB Ext Rotation: 15x15, 10x15, 8x15

Ok, so as I’ve been doing external rotations every week, I notice that my range of motion keeps getting better and better. I could barely go past parallel when I began, now I’m almost pointing to the floor. What gives?

Gave up on the BB decline press because I can’t feel my pecs doing any work on those at all. Triceps only.

Back squat 135x7, 95x15, 100x15
Seated ham curl: 90x15x3

Like I said, TOTALLY bonked on the squats. WIll load 115 next week and go from there.

The last complex really crushed me. I showered and then hit the Surge half serving waiting in my car, and WOW I was totally juiced after that! Was walking around my house yelling at myself about how fat I am. They weren’t kidding when they named that stuff.

At work I got a “compliment” from a co-worker that I was “wasting away.” It’s going to be REALLY hard to accept that by the time I am done with this transformation, I will probably be around 170 lbs at 6 feet tall if I’m going to see abs. I don’t want to go back to wearing medium-size shirts!

I guess the only thing to do is buy the bare minimum new clothing while I wait to gain quality mass on the way back to XL!

Today’s session was HIIT for 18 minutes, 75/45. However, since I’m an idiot and didn’t read my HIIT prescription for this week, I did 80/40.

Still, I usually hit the “run” button 8 seconds before the time starts to get the speed ramped up before the time limit, but I would rather have been exact about it.

The Polar S120 HR monitor I bought interfaces with the treadmill (LifeFitness) so that it displays HR as part of the readout. It’s nice to not look at your watch while running.

Average HR for the session was 133. For my age, that’s 72% of max. Range was about 120-160. Noticed that sprinting at 8mph only got me to 160bpm, but squatting light weights yesterday got me to 170. Hmm…I’m going to have to rethink this cardio thing. Seems I can get all the heart benefits just fine while lifting.

I’m constantly pushing up my sprint speed, breaking the 8 mph barrier today. But soon Waterbury is pushing me over to biking, which I’m not happy about but at least it may help out my mountain biking.

Friday didn’t go so well.

Thursday night I had some pretty bad stomach pains from a chronic digestion problem I occasionally have. That kept me up most of the night, so I was in no condition to attempt the WSP end-of-week hell workout. I took that as my off day, but still went to weigh in.

  1. Two fucking twelve. I was pissed. I’m always pissed when the scale doesn’t go down. I’m even more pissed when it goes up two pounds in a week.

This past week was the first time I started using Surge. I’ve been using it since last Friday, 5/2/08. So I’m not sure what happened, but I’d like to think that it’s making me retain more water in the muscle as a by-product of enhancing recovery.

That’s what I’d like to think. I’m going to continue with Surge and monitor my measurements closely.

Today (Saturday) I did day 5, week 3. I admit I dogged it a little this workout by letting the rest periods go too long. But it was more like a few seconds over rather than my usual to-the-second. I think I was just pissed that I’ve put in all this work and been totally perfect on my diet, yet progress doesn’t seem to be going quite as well as I’d hoped.

The way I see it, on this plan I should be losing 2 or 2.5 pounds per week. So far, I’ve only lost 4 total, or a little better than 1 per week. And that sucks. I want to stick to the plan, but it’s tempting to dump it and go with the Velocity diet. But I think now that things have evened out a little bit with Surge, I hope I go back on the scale this week and see that I’m back on track, two pounds down and well below 210.

Lesson learned: Do NOT skip the Friday workout. It causes all kinds of problems down the road.

I skipped Friday and made that my rest day, then continued the rest of week 3. That meant I did the WWFH (Waterbury Workout From Hell, the end-of-week workout) two days before starting week 4. Mistake.

I was still sore from WWFH when starting my week 4. But I got through it with 1/2 Surge serving pre-w/o and 1/2 serving post workout. Oh and my goddamn iPod ran out of juice during power cleans! Not cool.

I’m afraid to get back on the scale. I just can’t see my weight go up again or else I’m going to lose motivation. My workouts have not been quite as satisfying since that day.

However, all other indicators have been positive. My pants are looser. I’m working towards the final belt hole on all belts. All XL shirts are too big now. Size 36 pants are fitting the slightest bit loosely. Triceps, pecs, and shoulders seem to be larger and I can feel the shoulder separation happening.

Today’s numbers:

Lunges: 45x4x6 Felt quad pull on non-working leg
Bent rows: 145x4x1 135x4x5 Had to drop weight since it felt heavy. Energy kicked in after this complex.

Push press: 115x4x1 120x4x5 Need to move up weight now that form is improving
Pulley abs: 57.5x4x6

Power cleans: 105x4x6 Need to move up
Standing calf: 14-pinx4x6 Stack not heavy enough. I hate standing calf; want to switch to donkey or seated.

I need to get some Myotape and record measurements because the scale pisses me off.

Off topic, but I just have to say that some of these figure competitor pictures are driving me up the wall!

First, Jamie Eason-- cutest butt ever? I welcome all challengers to send me pictures.

Now this girl in the half shirt and camo skirt-- GOOD LORD that is off the charts! I wish I knew her name.

Well we’re well into week 4 and after this week I really need to step things up. Looking back, I think I’ve done well diet-wise; it’s been almost a month since I touched any kind of sugar.

In four weeks, I think I should be able to lose about 8 lbs of fat. So by the end of this week, I should be about 208. That would be a reasonable amount.

However, starting on week 5, I’m going to:

-Take all starting measurements
-Drop calories a bit lower on non-lifting days
-Measure waking HR and temp
-Eat more veggies
-Up my fish oil to 20g/day
-HOT-ROX

#4 is my biggest problem. I get the FIber from Benefiber in my shakes, but I need the veggies badly.

Calories will be 1300-1800 depending on lifting days.

Today’s workout was HIIT, 70 cruising/50 sprint. Got speed up to 8.4 for the last interval and I am definitely pushing my limit. Quads are tighter than usual. This week I am going to stop pushing the speed so much and focus on keeping a pace of 8.0 as soon as possible on the sprints.

Even if this second half goes spectacularly well and I lose another 8 lbs of fat, that still only 200. And man, do I still have a long way to go after that.

Today was week 4 day 3 of WSP.

Felt good when waking even though I didn’t get my 9 hours. Bought a thermometer (CareOne brand) and took several readings: Last night I got 95.something and then 96.something. This morning it was 97.7. That seems a bit low for me. I’m going to test it every morning over the course of the program. I can’t help but wonder if my T3 levels are low due to the stupid fast dieting I did last summer.

Really pushed things today and had the weights move up a little. The only thing I don’t like about this program is that the first week you are learning your weight limits, then the second week you know what they are and use them properly. I feel it would take a third week to really know if you are gaining strength. But the solution to this is to push that weight on the last set to the max and then base your subsequent workout off that.

Training:
Pulldowns 9x15x3 a bit heavier than I thought it would feel
Squat Thrusts 30dbsx15x3 Moved the weight up

Ball situps 30x15x3 moved weight up
Back ext. 15x15x3 These are really hard for me after situps.

DB Dec Bench: 45x15x2 50x15 Was pausing on some reps; always worried I’m benching with delts/tris.
DB rotation: 8x15x3 These burn

Squats 105x15x3 Ass to ankles and paused for some
Leg curl seated 95x15, 100x15, 105x15

Really pushed hard today and was strict on rest periods. Only fucked one up when I had to cross the gym and load a squat bar.

I keep wondering about cardio. The WSP recommends T-Dawg diet and HIIT, but Thibs cautions against HIIT on a low carb diet for the Physique Clinic guys. I don’t want to give up my beloved HIIT treadmill sessions (where I play a little game I call, “Ivan Drago”) but if it’s catabolic and not optimal for fat loss, I might have to experiment with long, slow, BORING ass walks.

Tomorrow I will weigh in. I’m afraid again but it must be done. Also reached final hole in my black solid-buckle belt (hole 5). Yay. Now kindly remove this extra 20 lbs from my abdomen.

Weight: 210
Waking temp: 97.2
BF% (bioimpedance, fasted, no fluids): 20.8%
43.6 lbs fat
166.4 lean

So that means (according to my totally suspect handheld BF analyzer) that I’ve lost 2 lbs of muscle and 1 lb of fat since the last measurement.

I’m going to get my BF tested via calipers this weekend.