T Nation

Serge Storms: Balance and Control


Yeah, this stuff actually does tend to come out at parties.

Never looks quite this solid after a few drinks, though!


Whoever is in charge of content here seems to be paying attention! Interesting time to resurrect this article, as there has recently been some noise in the press about a study looking at ways to make white fat turn brown.

This study looked at a novel delivery platform and a beta-3 adrenergic receptor agonist.

I did some research and learned that there is an approved beta-3 agonist on the market already that is indicated for bladder issues. I would like to get some of those bladder pills and smash them up and mix them with some of my vasoburn gel.

Rub some jelly on my belly and watch the fat melt away? A little juice on the caboose to help reduce?

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Thursday - Food:

2420 calories

210g P
210g C
85g F

Weight = 187

This was a GREAT day.

I have started to loosen up quite a bit on hitting macro targets with exact precision.

This just comes from years of experience and an understanding of the importance of hitting the calorie goal CONSISTENTLY vs. day-to-day macros.

I feel like I’m turning a corner now, where I’m manipulating macros in real-time, with more of a strategic purpose, rather than just setting a hard goal and trying to nail it every day.

At the end of a week or a month, my macros seem to always settle out to a zone-ish breakdown of 40/30/30. No matter what I TRY to hit, that’s where they land. I’m not rally obsessing about staying under 60 grams of fat/day anymore. It’s more important that I stay within my calorie range and stick to the food choices that work for me. CONSISTENTLY. Sometimes, a very-low fat day might be a great card to play, but it’s more about keeping momentum going, breaking up boredom, adjusting to the previous day’s intake.


187 lbs.

Friday - Workout

Horizontal shrugs on the horizontal pull machine.

More upper back work with the cable machine.

Chest work on cable machine.

Front delt work with 20lb DB.

  • I was doing some physique assessment the other day, and noticed that my back-double-bicep pose would look way more impressive if I could beef up my front delts.

Not that I didn’t already know it, but it lit a fire to shift some focus to front delts.

Even thought I’m not really that into trying to match the proportions of a physique competitor, I’m going to lift every day anyway, and I still find myself just habitually trying to bring up “weak” parts.

For front delts today, I borrowed a little trick I use a lot with my D-Roy raises. I use the off-hand to help push the working arm beyond its normal range for a typical front raise. Then I release the assistance on the negative, so I’m able to load that little bastard with more weight than I normally could. Leaning forward also helps a bit.

After the lifting…

20 minutes on the step machine.

Total workout: 90 minutes. 600 calories burned.

INTAKE FRIDAY: 2400 calories
100g P
200g C
74g F

-Amino/Hydration drink - 3-4 scoops throughout the day
-Aframomum Melegueta, aka Grains of Paradise or 6-Paradol - 1-4 caps/day
-Capsaicin - 2 caps/day
-Topical fat burner with Yohimbine and a bunch of other stuff - before workout about 3-4 days/week (I am super sensitive to whatever is in this stuff, and it gives me one hell of an adrenaline rush, almost immediately)
-liquid fish oil - a few swigs/day

That is all.

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Killer workout today. I’ve discovered that my hiking Hoka OneOne shoes are better for jumping rope than my road runners and trail runners.

I figured they’d be too clunky, but they aren’t. The surface on the bottom actually slides very easily on a nice clean, dry hardwood dance floor. This allows me to moonwalk while jumping rope.

90 minute session today with more of a cardio feel.

I noticed that my ankles, feet, and knees have been feeling great lately. I have some Achilles tendinitis issues, as well as some other minor chronic foot and ankle aches. Usually my knees and legs feel kind of heavy by the end of the day. But last night, I had more spring in my step than ever on my trip up the stairs to bed. It was very noticeable.

I’m pretty sure it’s from the short sessions I’ve been doing in the step machine.

So the stepper is IN for a while.


Intense workout this morning.

682 calories burned in 80 minutes.

Today’s workout consisted mainly of shorter-duration bursts of high-intensity movement.

I did a lot of short sequences of my old-man breakdancing power moves. A short sequence can get my HR up to about 175.

Lots of higher-intensity jump rope intervals, too…


Happy New Year mate!
Still lurking in the shadows here.
You’re killing it still. Coudos.

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Just got home. Been gone since Monday.

I used two gyms this week. Both great.


Another day, another gym. XSport today.

60 minutes.

Mostly dance.

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Great workout this morning. 60 minutes, 600 calories.

I have increased the intensity of my morning workouts by about 20%.

It wasn’t really intentional, and I think it’s just because I’ve been in a pretty good zone with my autoregulation.

Another tweak: I’ve been sprinkling a handful of ten-second “shiver bursts” throughout my workout. Today, I actually started my workout with a shiver burst, and once again, I was blown away at what this little burst of movement can do.

What is a shiver burst, you ask?

If you’ve ever seen “pop-locking” performed by breakdancers, you may have seen them do a vibrating/shivering/shaking movement. Looks like they are getting electrocuted, almost.

Well, I do that just with my lower body. I start by doing what looks like the “quick feet” drill that football players do. Just bouncing back and forth from one foot to the other. Eventually, I take that movement and make it extremely quick and concentrated, so it’s like my entire lower body is just shivering/vibrating. I can adjust the frequency and amplitude of the vibrations, which is kinda fun.

When the power is turned all the way up on these, my feet are barely leaving the ground and my body actually starts floating around on the floor. It’s like that very old kid’s game where football player figures moved around a vibrating surface with magnets.

I’m sure it looks super weird. It’s almost like twerking, but standing straight up.

Why do I do this?

I discovered that this movement creates a significant increase in heart rate, and it happens immediately. The bursts are rarely longer than 5-10 seconds. The kicker is that this movement requires very, very little perceived effort. It requires full-body tension and probably a bit of body control, but it doesn’t even tax the lungs and it feels extremely effortless.

When I started my workout today, 10-seconds of this movement raised my HR from 90-120.

I tend to use these as I’m recovering from a long set of DB work, floor work, or even jump rope work. I’ll watch my HR start falling into the 120’s or 130’s, and then I’ll hit the switch on a shiver burst, and my HR will jump up to 150.

It’s basically a free and easy way to amp up the calories you are burning without working any harder!

Beyond the increase in HR, I believe the short bursts themselves create a metabolic effect. Similar to the way the body’s shiver response creates heat when you are cold.

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I made a big discovery today while I was practicing my 1990’s.

A “1990” is a spinning one-handed handstand.

I kinda knew this already, so maybe it was a re-discovery. But basically, I’m not practicing this move at full-speed, and it’s limiting my development.

The reason I don’t practice it at full speed is because I’m 43 and a slight mistake could really jack up a shoulder or back or wrist or whatever, so I’m more cautious.

But if I don’t create enough angular momentum, the move just doesn’t work. It’s very difficult to do a slow-motion 1990.

So, I’m not sure what I’ll do with this information. I have another sequence that is like the first part of a 1990, then a freeze in mid hand-stand, and then a slow-motion negative handstand pushup to a caterpillar. I like moves that demonstrate strength.

Either way, if you would have told me when I was 10 years old that I’d still be working on improving these moves when I was 43, I would have been the happiest kid ever!

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You and I would be compatible workout partners lol

I’m the ‘you’ of my gym :slight_smile:

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Two sessions yesterday. A typical workout in the morning, with a bit lower intensity and more stretching and movement stuff.

Two hours of doubles tennis yesterday afternoon.

I could write about tennis for hours, but I’ll try to keep it short. I love tennis. I miss it. I’ve played about five times in the last year.

When I picked up tennis in 2007, I went completely nuts and got very good in a short amount of time.

For anyone who knows the rating system, I was winning more doubles matching than I was losing at the 4.5 level at my peak.

Basically, I wore myself down to where a few injuries will just not heal. These are things that flare up any time I play, no matter how long the layoff.

#1) My left heel. I think I have a heel spur or something, because the day after playing tennis, I can barely put weight on my left heel when I get out of bed. BUT…that pain subsides within a few hours of being awake.

#2) A few potentially inter-related “tweaks” in my hip/pelvis/groin. Too complicated to explain, but it is something that never bothers me unless I’m playing tennis.

#3) No matter what, my knees can only handle a certain amount of tennis. Maybe 2x/week at the most.

Every time I get out and play, I get all fired up and kinda pissed about not being able to play anymore. I feel like I owe it to myself to find a way around or through these injuries. I love the sport. I deserve to reap the benefits of all those hours of studying the technique and practicing and traveling to find better players to play with.

Yesterday, I stretched for a few hours after tennis. The pelvis/groin thing was flared up, but I was able to work it out. (Sometimes, when things get really inflamed down there, I end up with a lower back spasm and can be totally wrecked for days).

The heel thing was bad this morning, but I think I might start icing my heel immediately after tennis to see if that helps. I could also probably use a little advil, which I generally forget about until it’s too late.

Bottom line, I think if I can maintain the discipline to do all the right things, I could start playing twice a week. I’m going to give it a shot.

Oh, and we absolutely CRUSHED these guys in doubles yesterday, but I’m playing a few levels down, so nothing to be too proud of. What I was proud of is that I maintained a spring in my step for the entire two hours. I also had zero issues with getting winded, which can even happen in doubles if you’re not in “tennis” shape. The work I’ve been doing has set me up nicely for a slow return to tennis. That’s not a coincidence…I have always done that on purpose because in the back of my mind, I know I’m going to keep playing.

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Nutrition/Physique Goal Update:

Last week, my intake was a tale of two halves. First half of the week, I was eating restaurant and catering food. Lots of bacon, fat, salt, processed stuff, sauces, carbs, junk, etc. Not that I went totally off-the-rails, but I basically just ate like most people around me. Which is not very good. From Thursday-Sunday, I was nailing it.

Back down to a pretty filled-out 187 this morning. Thursday-Saturday, I was eating more on the low-carb side. Yesterday, I cranked down the fats and up the carbs. This morning, I was pretty damn happy with where I am right now.

I have a Spring Break “peaking” mentality right now, but I’m so close to where I need to be, that I’m going to be a bit early…especially if I start throwing the fat loss efforts into higher gear. High gear for me just means reducing that Monday-Wed/Thurs nonsense to about 3/4 of a day/week. That’s all I need to do.

I’m not going to pretend that I can set up any hard and fast macros and stick to them. Whenever I start to get really strong with my dietary mentality, the temptation is there to start getting very rigid, because I have the confidence to execute.

These stretches of nailing macros never last longer than a few weeks, though, so who am I kidding.

In general, I’m basically starting my day with EITHER a low-carb or a high-carb approach. I’d say it depends more on what I’m trying to balance from the previous days than anything else.

I’m trying to avoid carbs and fats in combination for the first 3-4 meals of the day, when I have good control over my choices.

At night, it’s either a mostly-healthy semi-standard meal at home with the family, or a work dinner.

The “work dinners” or other big event dinners are biggest area for improvement right now. We’re at a time of year where I’m averaging about three or four of those a week. The thing is, I like to eat good food. I’ve figured out a way to make it all balance and maintain 10-12% body fat and stay under 190.

But that condition is “in shape”, and I feel like bringing more of a “holy shit” type of condition to spring break.

Over the years, I’ve realized that “holy shit” for me is all about leanness and not very much about muscle mass. It is important for me to recognize this, accept it, and act on it. Pursuing higher body weights to achieve small increases in muscle is not a path that leads to anywhere great for me.

What will get the “holy shit” reaction for me is more about being super lean. Sure, I end up looking more like a ripped basketball player or sprinter than a shredded bodybuilder, but the effect is still “holy shit”.

So for the next ten weeks, I’ll be shifting to a more singular focus…from a nutrition standpoint. Fat loss. Which means WEIGHT LOSS. Which is okay. If I was going to set a number, I’d say 184 will get me to “wow, that guy looks great”, and 180 would get me closer to “holy shit”.

Adding tennis is like throwing fuel on the fire, so if I can manage my way through the injuries, I will be way ahead of schedule. Which is great, because between here and spring break, I have trips to Orlando and Miami.

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Monday - 2500 calories 50% C/25% P/25% F

Very light workout just to facilitate recovery from tennis.

188 lbs


Throughout the rest of this week, I will have a chance to demonstrate just how committed I am to this little “mini-cut” phase, aka pre-poolside prep. This will be a chance to see just how hungry I am in my quest to retain my “Best Body” title in the Dads 40-and-over division. This is a contest that will absolutely go down at the pool in Palm Desert during Spring Break.

Nobody knows about the contest, but it happens. There was a guy, at this exact pool, about five years ago, who ALMOST beat me. He was in slightly better shape. Leaner, although not as much muscle. He ended up being disqualified because I never saw any kids around him. Sorry. Dads only, pal. Move along.

He can show up this year and I’ll still crush him. Even if he brings kids and qualifies for entry.

Today will be my 6th day in a row of hitting my calorie goal. I’m starting to knock on the door of the mental state I like to call “Android” mode. I actually googled that, and it turns out that some internet fitness writer wrote an article about it. I thought I invented it. I still think I may have, and this guy might just be reading my log.

Anyway, there is a mental state that I’ve achieved many times, where it suddenly becomes very easy for me to stick to my intake goals. If I knew the secret to unlocking this mode at-will, I’d put it in a bottle and sell the shit out of it.

Turns out that it’s not that easy. Forces must align. There may even be some timing and luck involved. A certain amount of positive momentum is required. Stress levels need to be within range. The time of year matters. So many factors.

I feel it coming, though. Today, I’m coming off of two higher-carb days, and the structure of my day lends itself to a low-carb morning. I also have the opportunity to skip my first eating window. Made easier by being stuck a bit at the airport and on the plane, and also getting a free hour with a time change to the east coast.

This is where I am loving my flexible approach and the integration of multiple intake strategies. A little intermittent fasting here and there, when life makes it easy to execute, is a great way to dig into an extra layer of fat cells, even if the difference is only the thickness of a microtome-produced tissue section.

More thoughts on accessing the mental zone:

I’ve learned to PAY ATTENTION to the thoughts and feelings that I get when I’m in the zone, so I’ve started to do a better job of learning more about it.

One thing I notice is how easily DISTRACTIONS fall to the wayside. There are days when I’m already thinking about what I’m going to eat at the airport, even before I leave for the airport. How am I feeling that day? What is my body asking for? Mostly, I play around with thoughts and ideas on how I can select foods that will do the least damage while giving me what I think my body is asking for.

Then, there are days when I’m firmly in the zone. I can walk all the way through the airport without even noticing all the shops and stands and restaurants. That was this morning. It was going to be water and coffee. There was no mental wrestling match. No distraction. In fact, all of the food and garbage tends to appear to me as nothing BUT distractions when I’m in the zone, and they are easily dismissed. I start seeing these little restaurants and newsstands for what they really are: consumer traps. Artificial variety. Intentional distractions.

There is a certain threshold of commitment and focus, and once it is passed, things get WAY easier. As I tune into my stomach during these times, I realize that I really am rarely “hungry”. It’s a good lesson, and one that I need to keep in front of me during those times when I’m slipping out of the zone or when I’m completely off-the-rails.

I believe that over the course of the day, stress accumulates and can soften the borders of this mental zone, making it easier to slip out. Throw a few external circumstances into the mix - peer pressure to join the team for cocktails, constant and easy access to a non-stop offering of super tasty food, lack of access to better choices, etc - and it becomes easy for one dinner and a few rounds of drinks to balance or offset the great choices made while in the zone throughout the early part of the day.

There are a few ways to address this. The easiest is for the entrenchment into the zone to become deeper and more intense. This requires even more momentum. Turn a five-day string of good days into twelve, and suddenly you find things getting easier. There is a subconscious pull to not only extend the streak, but to protect your investment. The strength of this pull makes it easy to stay locked in and stay the course, even when conditions aren’t optimal.

The harder ways are to start using your head to “plan” around some of these obstacles. I don’t find this one to be very successful, but maybe it’s just because I kind of suck at it. Evidence: I have many journal entries where I’ve laid out detailed and extensive eating and drinking strategies while on a plane ride to a big meeting, only to blow it all on the first night out and turn the entire trip into something that looks more like Fear and Loathing than a business trip. Every plan looks good until you get punched in the face.

There’s almost a bit of a catch-22 to this whole dance. I know that if I find myself thinking and planning too much about how I’ll work around certain situations, I am probably not in the zone. But if I don’t think about it at all, I also know that I’m setting myself up for a bad stretch.

This is where it can be helpful to simply commit to either low-carb or high-carb and let all the other chips fall where they may. I really do feel like it’s hard to do THAT much damage in one or two meals if you at the very least make an effort to NOT combine fats and carbs. For starters, the combination begets more of the combination because of the hyperpalatability issues. But also, metabolically speaking, I think it just makes sense. It’s made sense ever since before Berardi went mainstream.

Problem is, just because something makes sense, doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. What’s on the menu? Steak and booze. Or some equivalent.

So it comes down, then, to the core decision. What am I willing to give up?

As I sit on this plane, I feel like the answer is to give up the booze. Heck, it’s not like I need to be this strict ALL the time, so I’m not saying FOREVER. But in a dedicated cut, it really does make sense to ditch the booze as much as possible. I will admit, however, that it’s WAY easier to say that now than it will be after a day’s worth of stressful meetings and intense interactions.

But I have played around with the opposite approach. Keep the cocktails and just limit the fat intake. It’s not easy. I want to WANT the leanest cut of fish on the menu with plain rice or a plain baked potato, but when the appetizers start getting passed around, it just aint’ that easy.

We will see what happens tonight. One thing I know, is that on these stretches of travel, the decisions made on the first day are the most important. There will be an amazing breakfast laid out tomorrow. All you can eat, whatever you want. What I do tonight will make the difference between weather that breakfast table is nothing but a trivial distraction, or a bounty of temptation.


I’m a big fan of the transdermal delivery system.

I blame it on Biotest. Nandrosol was my first. Let’s just say I was a responder. Wow. Absolutely loved, loved, loved that stuff. Androsol and 11-Spray, too.

Since then, I’ve dabbled in a few other 11-KT type sprays. Nothing ever gave me that same rush that I got from Biotest 11-Spray though. There was something magical about that stuff. I used to save my sprays for before I’d go out on the weekends, just because it put me in such a good mood.

Anyway, these days, I’ve been playing around with some transdermals. I’ve got a fat burner, a diuretic/skin tightener, and a 7keto. I just ordered a few more from a different company, just because.

I am forming some interesting observations with the fat-burning topical. I usually apply this stuff to my abs, but it seems like I’m getting leaner in my quads and hamstrings relative to other areas. I really thing the fat burning ingredients exert their effects more systemically than locally, and my theory is that I might have more alpha receptors, or maybe more receptive alpha receptors , in my lower body than in my abs.

And when I think back to times when I was able to get my abs super duper shredded, I recall that a few of those times were back in the ECA stack days. I wonder if maybe it’s beta receptors that I need to target in order to accelerate fat loss in that area. Hmm. I haven’t really taken anything like the ECA stack, other than maybe a potent fat-burner once in a blue moon to crush my appetite, in decades. I’m not sure I would start, either. But this discovery may inform the way I use this topical fat burner.

It might make more sense to put it on my ankles, knees, and other thin-skinned, low-fat areas that are prone to mosquito bites instead of putting in on my stomach. This way, I’d probably get way better absorption of the actives. And if the most bang I’m getting is from the systemic effects, I feel like it would make sense.

The other supplement I’ve recently added is a high-dose phosphatidylserine powder. I’m thinking that the double-hit of the 7 Keto topical and the high-dose PPS might help keep the cortisol equation in-check. I’ve never tested my cortisol level, so this is really experimental for me. Lots of what I read makes sense though. And I do subject myself to the types of stresses that one would think could lead to come cortisol issues. I also know that I get a big mental boost from those 11-oxo type sprays, so that might be an indicator. I will share any observations after I give this combo an honest trial. I’ve been eating a scope of the PPS powder (reminds me of the SuperFood powder days) every morning. It’s so tasty.

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Great week so far. Minimal damage.

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This week turned out to be a wash. Overall workout volume and intensity was a bit low during the week, although I’ve already balanced that out with a double yesterday - 700 calorie workout in the morning, and a two-hour tennis drill in the afternoon.

Intake was decent throughout the week. Not great. I started getting into the cookies towards the end of the meeting because of boredom and because of cookies.

The business dinner drinks were sorta within targets, but I still have room to improve. I love a stiff cocktail, especially when the entire group is ordering one. From a metabolic standpoint, the less alcohol the better. I can and should replace all drinks with light beers. Dammit.

I have a few tweaks I’ll be playing with this week. I’m continuing my experiments with localized transdermal delivery of pro-lipolytic and anti-lipogenic compounds. (Replacing one type of belly jelly with a new type.)

I’m also cutting out the only true oral “thermogenic” that I use, even though I only use it randomly and infrequently.

Oh, and I’m cutting out the aminos for now. Whenever I’m home, I tend to sip on aminos. I also drink them before my workout. Need to give those a break.

Some of these tweaks are to help me better reduce the variables so I can get a better understanding of the difference between these topical agents.

Diet-wise, I will continue to shoot for fat-loss intake levels as consistently as possible. I’d like to start seeing the scale move, and I don’t want to throw away weeks of potential progress by stringing together too many weeks that net out at zero fat-loss.

I do have some cushion, as spring break is still about two months away, but I’d rather spend the entire month of March in an already-razor-sharp condition.


I’m on a good run with total calories.

Macros have been suboptimal.

Every once in a while, I just get super sick of feeling like my life is ruled by protein. That happened this week. I’ve been averaging 145g of protein and about 95g fat per day. Carbs have been around 225g/day.

I’d say that it’s pretty easy to maintain my weight and maybe lose a bit of body fat at around 2500 calories/day with those shitty macros. But it’s certainly not optimal. If I cut my fat down to 20% of total calories and increase my protein, I know I’ll see much faster improvements in body comp. Just means I need to get back to a diet that looks more like the tried-and-tested “How to Eat Like a Bodybuilder” diet. (Clay Hyght)

To help make that approach a little easier, I stocked up on some protein bars. I go with a vegan protein bar that markets itself for not using cows, because they are the lowest in fat. They also taste like cardboard, which helps prevent bar binges.

This morning, the scale dropped by two pounds compared to yesterday, and that was just after a day where I added more protein and didn’t change much else. Today, I’m going to try to keep the fat to an absolute minimum. Maybe even 15%. I love seeing the overnight effects after a drastic fat cut. I doubt many people ever try the approach, as we’ve been conditioned to think that cutting CARBS is what will cause the most dramatic one-day improvement. But if your water management is already good and your sodium levels are consistent and not all jacked up, I think you can get a bigger whoosh effect from a massive fat cut compared to carbs. That’s been my experience.

On the workout front, things are all good. Putting in my 1 hour every morning and trying to average about a 400-600 calorie burn.

On the stupid human tricks front, I’ve discovered a cool way to push into a handstand using zero momentum from kicking my legs up. I started playing around with pushing up from the side - from an angle similar to a cartwheel. It allows me to stack my weight in a way where I can just push straight up into the position. I’ll have to grab a video shot, it’s pretty cool. At least it feels pretty cool.

Supplements - continued experiments with belly jelly from various companies. I can confirm that if you apply a topical with yohimbine to thin-skinned areas, you can, indeed, experience some of the typical side effects that you’d get with oral yohimbine if you are sensitive to it like me.

I have also added carbolin-19 back in after giving it a break for a while. I am always impressed with this stuff, it makes me feel like I’m on a mild anabolic - more vascular, better pumps, and I just seem to pull water into the right places.

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