T Nation

Serge Storms - 8% All Year



I feel some TLDR gold coming in this post. Two more hours on this flight and I’ve run out of gas with some of the work I was doing.

So, Seattle. I highly recommend.

Last night, I had a few stiff cocktails. Manhattans. Three to be exact.

Because I have Ninja-level control of my intake these days, it was not difficult to scale down some macros to make room for the cocktails and still come in at around 2100 calories.

The mild dehydration this morning gave me an even better idea of how close I am to my goal. I keep saying it, but I am very close. Some of what is left is sub-q water, because the dehydration brought those lower two abs into the type of resolution where I was literally able to see and feel exactly how much fat is left.

The Leangains guy wrote an article about using alcohol and it’s dehydrating properties as a measure to permanently deflate fat cells that are already at the brink of tapping out. I don’t know if I buy it, but I have had a few interesting “whoosh” type of effects where not only does a properly executed night of cocktails cause the day-after dry look, but the effect seems to stick, even after rehydration has commenced. Probably not real, but interesting.

I am not so sure that pushing harder is called for right now. I may stick even start nudging back towards 2300 calories already and just use let time run it’s course. Sometimes I can just feel when my body is in torch mode, and right now that’s what I’m picking up.

I’ll probably sneak in some kind of workout this evening, and then tomorrow morning I’ll be ready to crush chest.

If there was a men’s analog to the women’s bikini class, I could slap on a coat of oil and win that shit next weekend. As it stands, I could hold my own in a physique contest (especially within a novice class/40 year old age group)…in just one pose. I think I could really pull off the front relaxed pose where I could go sideways at the abs and legs and twist the upper half towards face-on. That’s because I have crazy ab control and can do an absolutely sick vacuum pose, which makes the taper look like I’m a blue guy straight out of Avatar.

I’d get crushed in every other pose and just in general because I don’t have much size. 180ish at 5’11 would look stringy. Plus I don’t think I could manage the fake smile and the other stuff, which I guess I’d have to do in my Men’s Bikini comp anyway.

The guy who won the 40+ age class in physique at the one show I’ve ever been to did not look like he had impressive size to me when he was on stage. But then I saw him in the gym when he was a few months removed from the show and he actually did look bigger than I expected.


1780 calories
100g F
115g C
100g P

No workout.

ELEL day? I was planning on higher numbers but circumstances allowed for a low day. Higher fat was part of the plan to drop carbs and protein today.

It was mostly effortless. That’s a good thing.


Macro average for this week is sitting at:

250g C
180g P
60g F

Weight has been 185-186 for the last few days. I got from 188 to 185 with a bit of a whoosh, so just being able to stabilize at 185 without feeling like I’m on the brink of rebounding back up is a good sign.

Next week, I will shoot for some better carb sources, but otherwise I’m sticking with those general numbers.

Workouts have been intense this weekend.

Chest and shoulders yesterday - lots of holds, negatives, super slow, twitch, micro-oscillation…you name a rep style, I did it. Mostly on the machine horizontal chest press.

Back and shoulders today. I started with a ton of extra-wide grip pull-up work. Mostly holds, slow negatives, and some drop-and catch explosive lat contraction work.

I also did a bazillion single-arm DB muscle snatches with all kinds of variations.

Threw in some floor work today in the big studio at the gym. I am working on pushing up into a handstand without using any leg kick or momentum at all. Just bend over, grab the ground, and push/pull/lever myself into a handstand. Then lower back down to my chest hitting the floor (like the “caterpillar” old-school breakdance move) in a super-slow negative. I don’t see too many dads in my age bracket throwing those kinds of pure-strength body weight moves around. Title retained.


Skulpt Sunday!

7.7% body fat on the Skulpt Chisel device this morning.

Not claiming it’s right, but it is another great step in the right direction.

Even when multiplied by my lower body weight, it appears that I am still gaining lean muscle. I’m at about 172 lbs lbm…that’s about a 2-3 pound increase.

I started at about 15% body fat back in April.

The reason for the relatively big drop in this week’s Skulpt reading is that my thigh reading dropped from about 12% to 9%. That seems about right, as my legs seem to have leaned out quite a bit over the past two weeks.

I think it’s 90% just a continuation of natural fat loss. Maybe 10% from all these high-rep leg finishers and bike sprints?

Triceps and abs both decreased, too. From about 8.8% to 7%ish for both.


Monday - 2600 calories
Tuesday -1800

240g C, 160g P, 60g F

Monday - no workout
Tuesday - Chest and arms

Holy shit, I got an INSANE pump from this workout today. I’m pretty sure the time of my workout is the most important factor in achieving a skin-splitting pump for me.

I had nothing to eat for about five hours before my workout at around 5:30. On the way to the gym, I had one serving of Mag-10. My workout was intense, but it usually is. When I was doing arms, I had one of those “my head doesn’t look like it belongs on my body” moments. Crazy pump. Awesome.

Still hovering at around 185. I’ve had a little more event-based drinking going on than I’d like lately. Can’t exactly avoid the events, and they’ve just been the type where abstaining would be more painful than just having a few.

Good news is, on these few recent events, I’ve been sticking to light beers and dropping my other macros to make room. Might not be a great formula for long-term health or body composition, but at least it doesn’t disrupt the fat-loss momentum like a proper binge with a late-night pizza would.

I did my high-rep finishers with leg extension and leg press today. My legs looked tiny. I can’t believe how much fat I was actually carrying between my waist and my knees. A lot.


Dugdale: "Something special happens when you suffer through a diet in pursuit of a mid-to-low, single-digit body fat percentage. First, you learn a ton about how your body works, even if the end result falls short of your expectations. You learn the intricacy of how various food sources and the timing of their consumption impacts your progress, while gaining a better respect for those who attain incredible conditioning. You’ll learn how various training programs and cardio approaches impact your energy levels, muscle retention, growth and fat burning capacity.

All this knowledge can’t be gained without personal experience in the trenches of a grueling, multi-month-long diet. It’ll help you grow and maintain a favorable body composition even if you never compete again."


As usual, Mark Dugdale with some insightful comments.

I’ve been doing something that resembles a contest prep diet for over four months now. I haven’t had to make big adjustments to maintain a certain pace of fat loss, so it’s been a bit easier for me to sustain and I haven’t had to endure any real pain or sacrifice yet.

But I am still learning valuable lessons. One of the simplest lessons is that if I want to get and stay lean, I need to accept the reality that I’ll be eating less food. While it might be possible to get super lean and then tweak up your macros by using smart timing and food sources, you can’t walk around shredded and expect to be able to eat like a normal person. At least I can’t.


Took a round of pics today.

Comfirms the need to stay the course and keep shooting to drop more leg, lower back, and lower ab fat. I may need to hit 180-182.

Before this “cut” (hope the bodybuilding gods aren’t offended by me borrowing their term), I joked with my wife that this time around, I wouldn’t stop until I hit 179. She kinda freaked out and said I’d look like Skeletor at 179. I’m thinking 179 may not be out of the picture. She doesn’t need to know what the scale says. Shhh.


Training Wed, Thurs, Friday:

I lifted my ass off. Every day. Sometimes twice.

Chest, Back, Thickness, Width, Shoulders, Arms. And Legs!

Today I was going to do some leg extensions to finish my workout, but my quads were still a bit sore from the bike sprints and previous leg extensions.

As I started doing the first few reps, I realized that the soreness and contraction was really very localized to just the vastus medialis. Since my reason for doing these leg finishers is ultimately to burn fat, I decided to engage a larger engine and switch to leg press.

My knees are okay at 43 years old but not awesome, so I moved my feet up in the platform and did glute/ham focused leg presses. Boom. I’ll be adding these to the mix. I try to keep my entire leg contracted, so the reps are extremely controlled and I think the blood flow is slightly constructed to help get an earlier burn.

Side note and maybe for the flame-free confession thread:

I’ve been doing a lot more lower back and ab work lately. I believe that even though I claim it is for lower back health and overall muscle balance, it is really because I am trying to increase blood flow and signaling in the area in hopes of inducing localized fat loss.

Spot reduction. Is…real? Maybe? A little?


Let’s get theoretical on this last bit of fat.


Aim: Fasting is characterized by increased whole body lipolysis and lipid oxidation, decreased glucose oxidation and insulin resistance. To identify the regional sources and underlying mechanisms, we studied 10 healthy male volunteers post-absorptively and after 72 h of fasting.
Methods: Each study comprised a 3-h basal period and a 3-h hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp and we used a combination of leg and forearm arteriovenous techniques, upper and lower body microdialysis and glucose and palmitate tracers.
Results: In the basal state, plasma levels, fluxes and oxidation rates of free fatty acids all roughly doubled after fasting. Palmitate fluxes across the forearm and leg also increased by two to threefold and interstitial leg muscle glycerol concentrations doubled. Subcutaneous femoral glycerol concentrations and blood flows were unaltered, but abdominal subcutaneous blood flow increased by 50% in the presence of unchanged glycerol concentrations, indicating stimulated abdominal lipolysis. During the clamp, we observed whole body insulin resistance and glucose uptake across the leg and forearm decreased by 60%.
Conclusion: Our data show that fasting induces insulin resistance in upper and lower body muscles and suggest that increased lipolysis, is primarily due to the activation of lipolysis in muscle-associated fat (in the leg) and in upper body subcutaneous fat, whereas peripheral subcutaneous fat is spared.

This is how my personal version of BroScience works:

I get to a point where I want to accelerate my progress.

I weigh my options.

I consider approaches that make sense but have not yet been through the broscientific rigor of my own experimentation.

I choose one.

I do a literature search to find that there are at least a few studies to back up my approach.

Confident that I have “real” science on my side, I give it a shot.

So here’s what I’m gonna do instead of doing my typical main training session at 6 AM and eating a light breakfast at around 8:

Go for a walk when I get up.
Do my main workout between 11-12 with one serving of Mag-10 before.
Delay my late lunch as long as possible and make it around 500 calories.
Get the rest of my calories from 4-8.
Add a bike sprint or similar session in the evening or whenever. Add a walk or easy bike ride when I can.

Let’s see what happens. Will try to keep intake around the same (2200-2400), but if conditions favor a low day, I will go low. I will reserve any kind of cheat or re-feed to a business-critical feast occasion or vacation meal.


I do five or six of these a day.


Weekend Recap

High Output
Including a monster stair sprint interval session at the toboggan chutes Saturday morning.

That one was 90 minutes long, 1,000 calories burned.

Hi Input
4,500 calories on Saturday. Mostly food. Party. Guac. Hummus. All homemade.
But also a Nuts 'n More excursion to the tune of 980 calories.
And a honey episode that would have shamed Winnie the Pooh.
And still, because the stairs was one of three sessions that day, I netted out in a deficit.

Holding at 186 for the past few days.

My primary goal right now is to string together as many 2350 calorie days as possible. Maybe 12/14.

I’m not 100% sure that I’ve honed my dietary control skills to where I’m ready for macro cycling. It’s fun to pretend that I’m “on a cut” and coaching myself through “adjustments”.

But really, I need to first master doing the same shit every day. I’m not one or two tweaks away. I’m just one or two WEEKS away. Stay. The. Course.


I need to get back on reading your entries.
I’ve got some catching up to do!
It’s been too long on my part.
(Still lifting here too - but rarely get onto T Nation of late).


Hey man, thanks for stopping in. You’re right, it has been a while. Totally different crew of posters around here these days, but still good peeps.

Hope everything is great with you.


Sunday: 2350 calories
Monday: 2350 calories

Training Sunday - Chest/arms. 2 bike rides
Monday - no lift. AM easy bike with a few sprints.

Work dinner tonight, and then an all-day meeting on Wednesday. I plan to NAIL the 2350 number. If there is a day this week I’m going to miss the number, it will be Saturday. POOL PARTY!


Oh good lawd, this is the day people!!

Nail your calories, smash the gym and don’t even think about dropping a pump between now and than, lest it vanishes forever!

I don’t want you raising a non training related sweat and absolutely no stress! Fuck it, take the week off work. Have they invented water proof tans yet? Get one… Get 3!

It’s ok Serge, calm down buddy! We will smash this!


That’s some advanced pool prep coaching right there. I will do my best! I’m setting aside 20 minutes each morning to visualize my pool entry and exit sequences. I’ll be leaving nothing to chance.



These are the moments.

Those moments when all that time spent counting macros and working out come together.

That rare time when you can justify taking off your shirt in a room full of people, most of whom don’t work out and none of whom are in anywhere near as good shape as you, for them all to marvel at you.

You see their girlfriends taking subtle sideways glances. You see the men whispering to each other about you.

Enjoy it, Serge.



I’m getting older, so the girlfriends have all become wives.

And wives stop giving a fuck after a while, so the sideways glances become “holy shit, what are those? Are those abs? Let me see those. Bring those over here. Let me feel that. Ladies, come over here and feel these.”

And the men stop giving a fuck, too. So instead of whispering, it’s just flat-out, “dude, get the fuck out of here. What kind of job do you have, do you just work out all day? Eat a fucking cheeseburger, asshole. Somebody get this guy a burrito.”

Especially after the cocktails. See…this particular pool party comes at the end of a neighborhood pub crawl. We are riding bikes from bar to bar. Drunk people on bikes ending at a pool party. I’m surprised MTV hasn’t contacted us yet.


I’m so glad I watched that video before this weekend. Totally ups my game. I thought I was ready before. NOW, I am ready. I mean, he provided several options specific to the pool party scenario. I can’t go wrong.