T Nation

Serge Storms - Shapeshifter

bodybuilding
nutrition

#121

Monday

1850 calories

190g C
185g P
50g C

No workout

10 hours sitting on my ass in the car.

I can confirm a few things after Sunday’s bench press session and stair sprint workout:

Barbell bench hits my chest and front delts.
Stair sprints hits the upper glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Calves, not so much. Maybe it does, but my calves are impervious from all the rope jumping?


#122

And here I was thinking it was a hip flexor exercise…


#123

I know, right?

It’s so effective, I’m gonna start doing it every Monday.

You heard it here first, kids. Bench. Chest. Monday. Go.


#124

…could be the start of a new trend…


#125

Big News.

I did my big chest workout on Sunday.
Today is Tuesday.
My chest is MORE sore today than it was yesterday.
Oh, and the thing I said about my calves not being sore from the brutal stair workout? Well, they are now.

It’s as if the onset of this soreness is delayed.

I’ gonna start calling this Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness. I’ll use the acronym DOMS for short.

It happens whenever you transition from lifting pink dumbbells like a ballerina to lifting actual barbells with actual plates on them. Amazing phenomenon.

I did a pretty intense back workout today. Both width and thickness.

My basic formula now is that I anchor everything with a heavier, compound movements and only use smaller isolation movements on recovery days or in-between sets as an antagonist movement.

For example, today I did band pec flies in-between sets of pull-ups.

Today, I also did some vertical pulling on the seated row machine with 3 plates on each side.

Partial ROM for these. I start with my back muscles stretched to the max with a very rounded upper back, and finish in a fully shrugged, scap retracted postion. Minimal elbow bend to take the biceps out of it.

Great feel in those mid-back muscles that I can’t seem to replicate with any other movement.

Diet is ON-POINT.


#126

Tuesday 2000 calories

235g C
185g P
45g F

Can’t believe how easy it has been to hit my targets so consistently lately.

I got a few pounds of raw honey from a beekeeper today. Very versatile stuff. It seems to make me feel good. Hard to describe. I usually eat about a serving at a time, which is about 60 calories and 17g of carbs.

Honey and nut butter on a slice of low-cal bread
Honey mixed into my protein pudding concoctions
Honey in oatmeal
On a spoon
Mixed with fiber one cereal and nut butter


#127

Wednesday1900 calories
150g
120gP
50gF

No lifting. Early flight, super-hectic travel day with multiple flights and meetings and zero down-time. Those macros don’t add up because I had some cocktails. Bid. Niss. Gotta do it sometimes.

Today, I am tracking pretty low on calories and macros as well. I’m currently stuck on a plane waiting out a four + hour delay.


I’m weighing some options for setting calories and macros right now. I’d be curious to hear input from anyone who has achieved a goal of getting super lean but NOT competing. Maybe like 7% body fat or so.

Here’s the deal:

I’ve been here before. Knocking on the door of hitting my leanness goal, but also experiencing enough gains in the gym to want to ride out the recomp. I’ve been reluctant to drop calories when I’ve reached this level before, instead opting to just continue doing what I was doing because it still seemed like I was making very slow progress on both fronts.

What always ends up happening is that I never actually get to my goal, and eventually I lose interest or focus or motivation or whatever and start to gradually get complacent and maybe shift my focus into different goals.

The other pattern that emerges is that I might start trying to bust through that plateau with great tactics from Monday - Friday, and then get loose on weekends and end up staying nice and lean, but again, never really reaching my goal.

This time around, I am hoping for two things. First, I want to just get better at embracing the long-term leanness lifestyle and letting go of this sub-conscious thought pattern that I will hit a goal and then gradually slide and then repeat. That’s why the “stay the course” plan might be a good one. If I’m in it long-term, then I might as well just keep reinforcing the habits that I’m going to need anyway.

The other is to get leaner than I’ve ever been. I’m pissed that in the twenty years I’ve been doing this shit, I’ve never truly hit that point where I’m as lean as I want to be. I’ve been close, but I always bail before pushing all the way through.

I’m considering a strong push to the finish line right now with a two or three-week fat-loss blitz. Really step on the gas pedal and just get there. I feel like two or three weeks is about it.

I’d be willing to drop my calories down to about 1800, which would make my macros somewhere around 180g C, 180g P, and 50g F. No bullshit on the weekends, just a solid 21-day sprint with maybe some carb spikes if my body starts feeling run down.

Then, I can start the slow process of tweaking my calories and macros back up by a few hundred calories every few weeks to see how high I can push them and still stay within a pretty close range to where I end up. I’m at 189 right now, I might drop another 4 pounds in 2-3 weeks, so I’m thinking I’d end up at 185. I can also throw in some cardio, because so far, I haven’t been needing to do any. So metabolically speaking, I think I’m in a pretty good place for this.

The reason I’m not all that concerned about tanking my metabolism is that I have so many cards to play, and I really don’t need to leave any on the table. Since I’m not competing, I don’t really have to worry about further calorie drops or increases in cardio beyond this final push.

The other reason I like this is that it gets me there quickly and allows me more weeks of summer to win my weekend “Fittest Guy At the Pool” competitions. I mean, I’m still winning them now, but just in case there is a legit competitor in the weeds somewhere, I’d like to smash the fuck out of him.

Oh, and I also have some kind of neighborhood bike ride/pool party event going on in a few weeks. I live in a neighborhood where most of the dads are in pretty sad shape, so it’s not really great competition, but it’s a rare event. We just don’t have pool parties with all of our friends. Ever. So game on.

So, yeah. Let’s do this.


#128

Thursday.

Like I said, let’s do this.

1777 calories
185g P
133g C
63g F

If anything is impressive about my intake today, it’s that I did this with zero planning and no access to my staple food choices.

What I ate:
Muffin top (sliced a thin layer off the top of a muffin)
Blueberries
Pineapple
Salad with 10 oz chicken breast, 1 egg, bacon bits, vinaigrette
2 power bar pure whey bars
1 quest bar
100 calorie walnuts
7 oz ground turkey breast
Cherries

No lifting today. I’m gonna be fresh as a daisy tomorrow after two days completely off.

That just screams CHEST DAY to me.


#129

Friday - Chest

Flat DB press - 6+ working sets with wide/high elbows and DB held at slight angle in the hand - pinky side higher than thumb.

I used a pretty slow negative, stopped short of lockout, and explosive yet controlled concentric.

10-15 rep range

Dips - 3 or 4 sets of strict, deep dips. I ditched these, my elbow does not like them at all.

Machine fly - 5 or so sets in the 10 rep range. Slow negatives, holds, squeezes, and explosive concentrics

Cable d-Roy raises. 3 or so sets of 8ish. The chest pump/fatigue was too much to get anything good out of these. I should do these first.

Between pressing sets, I did a mix of light trap work and heavier low-rep rows.

Dry and flat this morning, and still happy with my look right now.

187.8 lbs. that’s a new low.


#130

If it isn’t the sexual t-rex himself.


#131

'Sup corst.

Wasn’t sure if you still drop in here much.


#132

Edit. Hello.


#133

Those other dad’s better watch out!


#134

186.2 lbs yesterday and today.

I may need to get closer to 184 to hit my leanness goal.

I was 202 when I started getting serious about leaning out a few months ago.

On track to hit my numbers for the week for calories and macros.

I had my wife check me out today from some different angles, flexed and relaxed.

She is pretty against the idea of more back width or thickness. She doesn’t like the bodybuilder look at all, and she thinks I’m big enough right now.
She says my body shape just isn’t a good fit for having more size than I do right now.

To complicate matters, she also thinks I’m just at the threshold where my face is starting to look too lean.

So from her perspective, she wants me to stop right here and maybe just “chisel” things a bit more.

Of course I care about her opinion, but it doesn’t change anything. “Chisel” is pretty much what I’m after anyway. I think she may not realize how good things will look in another two weeks.

The face thing can be an issue, though. There have been a few times where I got about this lean and my face started to get just a tiny bit too lean for even my liking. We will see. Those were the days when I got there by going super low carb or more “anabolic diet” style. I also used a decent amount of fat burner help back then. A higher-carb/no thermogenic approach seems to help keep things looking healthier.


#135

Spot Synthol injections in the face? Little botox???

My wife says the EXACT same things. She thinks I’m too thin right now. I can comfortably wear 32" pants at 190.

Minus the face thing, which is just going to happen, I think she’ll be happy with the result. Just don’t talk about it or make a big deal about anything. The more attention brought to what you’re doing the more she looks for the changes.

Good job dawg!!


#136

Well, I thought it would take a few weeks to get to 185. Turned out to take a few days.

185.0 this morning.

Synthol injections in the face (ouch) not required. Yet.

This is by far the most muscle I’ve ever had at 185.

But…but…but…

Still not there?

There is a very specific amount of fat I’m trying to get off of those lower two abs. I don’t need shredded glutes or grainy cross-striations. I JUST want a very specific level of leanness in the lower abs. At this point, I’m starting to be driven by plain old curiosity. What is it going to take? 2 more pounds? Hollow cheeks? Counseling for body dysmorphia?

I’m going to move forward with the assumption that it’s about two pounds. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. I didn’t even need to drop calories as low as I thought. Average last week was around 2,000. I think the key to this “whoosh” was adding some extra high-intensity sessions - most of those were lifting sessions…I only did cardio once.


#137

AM Cardio Session (BCAA/electrolyte drink)

Max-effort, top-gear sprints around my neighborhood on my mountainbike.

6 sprints total.

They were probably around 200 yards each. Here’s what I do:

Start off on a low gear, but just to get enough momentum going to quickly progress through gears to the top gear. Still going at a pretty slow speed.

Then, just go as fast as I can, like I’m in a race. When my legs start to burn and my lungs are burning and I’m red-lining, then I pick a spot about 50 yards further and make one more push to that spot, and then coast.

My HR got up to about 163 on these, which is about 20 beats lower than where I get on stairs. I think it’s just because the bike sprints is only really taxing the lower half of the body, because the effort feels just as hard.

After my sprint, I just peddle at an easy pace until my HR recovers to 120.

Repeat until critical drop off.

Critical drop off in this context refers to my ability to get my HR back down below 120. Today, that happened after about 5 sprints. After the fifth one, I was suddenly stuck above 130. It was just clear that it would take WAY longer to get down to 120 after that one, so that’s when I shut it down.

I actually did one more, but that was just me saying fuck you to the last bit of fat I’m trying to blast off right now.

THEN, after the last sprint, I like to continue at an easy pace for as long as my HR stays above 120.

This is bonus fat-burning time. I’m able to go at a VERY low perceived effort, but my heart rate is staying above 120. If I hadn’t done the sprints, that rate would be in the low 90’s.

I made this system up, but you probably recognize the influence from different approaches that are established. There is the HIIT followed by steady-state, which has been proposed already. The top-gear max-effort was inspired by Wingate sprints. Using HR to dictate recovery comes from some stuff that runners and triathletes do all the time. And the critical dropoff concept came from somewhere, but usually that one is measured by performance, whereas I go by HR recovery.

I didn’t plan on doing this cardio session this morning, by the way. I woke up late today (because I could and I was listening to my body), so I didn’t have much time this morning. I also felt sore and sluggish from the golf this weekend, which my abs and lower back are not used to, and from the intense push/pull sessions. I went out the door thinking I would just do more of a mind-clearing easy bike ride this morning.

But as I started riding, I came to life pretty quickly and just decided to do a sprint. Which led to me recalling all of these cool sprint interval things I had tried in the past, which led to 5 more springs and a kick-ass cardio workout that only took 25 minutes and made my legs feel like balloons (in a good way). It also loosed up my back a bit, which is good when I’ll be sitting at my desk for a while.


#138

I don’t love that you can’t comment on articles within T-Nation anymore. It’s all on Facebook. No fun to have an exchange with some 12-year-old in Finland about serious shit like Carb timing, so I’m gonna engage with myself and anyone else who drops in.

Some good stuff in today’s article.

I wanted to comment on Dugdale’s recommendations to put ALL carbs around your training session.

It’s a good example of something being EFFECTIVE, but not necessarily easy to execute. In my opinion, drinking so much of your carb intake REALLY takes away from the opportunity to use those carbs throughout the day to keep your appetite satisfied.

I think at a Ninja-level of dietary self-control, you could adapt to this over time.

I’m almost at Ninja-level control right now, and even I don’t think this would be easy for me to maintain.

But for a beginner, there is NO way you could just pick this up and run with it. You need to advance through several levels of mastering beginner and intermediate-level dietary control before you could successfully implement this. You might be able to turn on the crazy switch for a crash-diet, but I really don’t think many people could sustain it.

So cheers to Dugdale for fitting in hot yoga and executing the absolutely perfect diet to rack up the IFBB wins. I love his articles and contributions. But as much as I’d like to take it to that level, it just aint’ in the cards.

Strawberries, cherries, unfiltered raw natural honey, oatmeal, BREAD, cereal, Halo Top…For. The. Win.


#139

I get 320g of carbs a day entirely from rice. No fucking way I’m eating all that in 2 meals.

Do you use intraworkout carbs? I’ve never really been sold on the idea and after Skip Hill mentioned in a podcast he thinks they’re overrated I reckon I’ll never bother (I do pretty much whatever he says).


#140

Intraworkout carbs. I have used intra carbs on-and-off. I tend keep something in the inventory for days when I want to experiment, but I’d say I use it less than 10% of the time.

I usually lift in the morning. It seems like circadian rythyms don’t really favor a skin-busting pump in the morning for me, unless I use like 75g of carbs or more.

When I use that much, I think my post-insulin spike blood sugar gets pretty low, and I end up wanting to go on a massive carb binge about an hour later.

It also takes me all day to deflate from all that fluid.

If I REALLY want a pump, I find that an early evening workout after a few slices of pizza and a few ounces of a sweet liquor like frangelico will get me there without all that fluid in my stomach.