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Everything posted by Waldo

  1. Each layer is made up of 4 pieces, the curved side pieces are cut on the bandsaw, the straight front and back are cut to length on the miter saw. After gluing each layer I flip the whole thing over and flush trim it on the router to match the speaker shape. And yes, I'm good to go and have enough material to finish. In the end they'll have used 2 full 3/4" 5x5 sheets minus a couple 2x2 pieces. Once I'm done I'm going to have to replace the blades on my jointer, bandsaw, and flush trim bit. This stuff is rough on blades.
  2. I haven't thus far seen a big spike on the scale since raising cals, 203.6 last night. I'm really chomping at the bit to get back at it. As with the last two breaks, part of the cals has come from demolishing a few bowls of cereal at snack times, and ice cream for dessert (when cutting its more like a few animal crackers for a snack and some kisses for dessert). I want much of the extra calories to come from carbs. Workout Log - 5.17.22 Bench Press 135 x 10 185 x 5 205 x 4- 225 x 2+, 2+ 205 x 5+ Still have some weakness in the left shoulder (feels like the deltoid tendons, not in the shoulder itself). Mental cue to pull back the shoulder blades helps. I didn't want to try and fail on rep #3 so played it conservative at 225. The first 205 I intended to be 3 reps, but I forgot until I was in the hole for #4. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 Ope Tuck Hold - 15 One Leg - 4 slow negatives Row - 9+, 8+, 8+ Nice rep addition on rows. The one leg negatives were stopped at horizontal; I pull the leg back some to pull back up. DB Hammer Curlz - 35 x 11, 9 DB Chest Fly - 35 x 8, 9 DB Overhead Extension - 60 x 9, 10
  3. During my diet break this week I'm not going to track cals, just want to be mindful to always have a little surplus. I already feel the side effects of dieting gone. I was super tired yesterday, sleepy tired, no doubt my body wanted to use the extra cals to recover. I think its one of the most notable effects of raising cals when you've been hitting the gym hard, tiredness and soreness at first, which is almost a little counterintuitive. Workout Log - 5.16.22 Heavy Bag w/Box Jumps - 10 min Only 2 min with gloves, the rest was without and was mostly kicking. Every couple minutes I stopped to do a set of 5 box jumps on the 20" side from a pretty good distance away. My balance has really improved a lot since I got my bag around the New Year, and my flexibility is improving. Punching power, kicking placement and form have all noticeably improved. I'm really impressed with how impactful regular work has been. Pistol Squat BW - 5/5 16" Box - 3/3 BW - 11+/11- Its been a while since I've done plyo pistols, and I've never had such a nice surface to do them on. Deadlift 155 x 3 245 x 3 315 x 3- 335 x 3- 365 x 2* I'm not sure that's what a * level deadlift rpe is, but I broke new ground in that department. That last rep didn't go up without a fight. Romanian Deadlift 175 x 12
  4. I added a new piece of equipment to the gym, a plyo box. I got one of the wood core, foam covered boxes, a 24x20x16 one. One of these has been on my wish list, to replace a super old situp bench I have that serves no real purpose but be a place to sit between sets (wife has been pushing to get rid of that thing for a while). Big thing is that I saw getting one of these as a first step to getting a new bench; doing step ups is what messed up the fabric on my bench (not the one I'm getting rid of (yet)), I don't want to spend on a nice new adjustable bench only to mess it up with step ups too (esp because I plan to splurge on a real nice bench; adjustable bench 1.0 is the cheap amazon special, got me by for the last 3.5 years). But I'm surprised at how nice it is to do box jumps on it, I thought my knees would hate them, but not at all. I'll definitely find ways to use it (in addition to being where I sit between sets, lol). Mmm, plyo pistols. Now I have the two precursors to the things I want to splurge on, a bench and a barbell. Needed a plyo box and plastic lined j hooks (got those a couple months ago). Waist was a proud 32.9". Not sure I made it all the way there, but I definitely beat 33.0". Now for a 1 week break, then back at it for 3 more weeks of cutting. I'm in that you can kind of see my abs phase. This is where I thought I was at the last cycle but no, after the measuring shift now I'm here. But the shift did away with the I'm feeling fat I think, now the tape is matching up with the waypoints in my memory. Ended that cut cycle at a weight low point, 202.6 lb, Saturday night I ran 3.84 mi (w/636 ft elevation gain) in 43:27, a 11:18 pace. 150 bpm avg, 169 bpm max Deadlifts tonight.
  5. For a while I used Strava alone while running, but to add the HRM I run it through the Wahoo app, which then sends the data to Strava which sends it to MFP. I haven't opened Strava for a while tho. For a HRM I use the one that came with the Schwinn IC4 bike, a basic forearm one. My wife has a different brand that is very similar. It auto connects to the phone when Wahoo is open super easy, and doesn't interfere with tunes on the bt headphones. The IC4 Bike also connects to the Wahoo app, tracking speed (power) and cadence; its a great app for tracking workout data from sensors (Wahoo is big in the bike sensor business) and it plays well with other apps to feed data. Here is my most recent progress photo on the speakers: I'm a little beyond this, the next layer I do will be the top of the big circle. There's a lot of funky lens effects going on, the top and bottom cherry stripes are the same size, as are the 4x 6.5" woofers, and it has mostly the same profile top to bottom (the radius on the corners drifted wider as I went up, see the top on #1 (its not glued, just sitting there)). I'm going to glue like 3/8" solid cherry "veneer" across the top (probably a set of bookmatched strips cut on the bandsaw), the bottom is going to come from a massive hunk of 8/4 cherry I have, being a little wider but carved into a smooth transition.
  6. Yes, level accomplished! Check of the tape this am was 33.0"; goal of losing 1.1" accomplished. I have 2 days for extra credit, I'd like to get another 1/8". Then on to a week of diet break starting Monday. I already have my ice cream pail to go to town on. Scale was 202.6 last night, set a new low for the first time in a long, long time. I started working on a wall mount for my little plates in the gym. A while ago I bought a few basic wall mounts, however my walls are made of made of old masonite paneling, which is nowhere near stiff enough to mount the steel plate holders to, so I'm building a backing board of plywood. I'm working on the shape, once I'm done with that I'm going to chamfer the edges, then paint it, with the edges a different color. About to head out for a long run. Workout Log - 5.13.22 DB Overhead Press 40 x 10 50 x 6- 60 x 5+ 50 x 10+, 10+ After issues pressing my last 2 workouts, I took it easier this workout and played it safe, just 1 set with the heavier weights. Tendonitis definitely improved. I had been using a 45 degree angle grip, I switched it to hands parallel; felt a little better, though probably affected my max reps. Pullup BW - 5, 15 +35 - 3+, 4+ BW - 14 Added 10 lbs this week, 2nd set definitely felt easier. L-Sit - 15, 15, 15 sec Dip BW - 5 +60 - 5+, 5- Added 10 lbs here as well this week. As with pullups the 2nd set was easier. Chinups +35 - 5-, 5+ And finally I also added 10 lbs on chins this week. Unlike pulls and dips, chins were harder set 2. I'm glad I started doing these again, they hit the biceps so much better than pulls. I just know I have to be real careful with form, keep the stress off the elbows.
  7. The scale did drop yesterday as I suspected, to 203.8. Back into the 203's and in range of beating my Feb 7(!!) low of 203.2. Granted I was sick with the flu that day, but still I had another low in the 203's a week later; if you would have told me at the time I would not see the 203's again until mid-May, and that I didn't fall off the wagon at all and was still on plan abs, I would have thought it impossible. If I would not have tape data and a lot of experience, I'm quite confident that I would have lost it by this point and just quit trying to cut in disgust. My first few calculations of my target end goal weight (when I got serious about plan abs; not a feature of the first 9 months of this diet) were around 192, now I'm thinking more like 198. I would not be surprised though if it continues to climb. Took another full set of measurements today; I think I'm going to keep doing it for a while, its really good info to have. Not much changed except around the waist and upper thighs (areas with fat). Still physically identical to how I was in 2014 when I was 36, a win in my mid 40's, lol. Slightly bigger chest and glutes/hams nowadays, smaller quads. Part of the reason I've gained so much LBM while cutting (a lot came during diet breaks, 4 weeks total) is that my muscles are getting back to their old sizes, which leads me to believe that I actually still have a few pounds to go, as my arms and legs aren't as big yet as they used to be; I'm about 8 lbs of lean mass lighter than where I used to be in 2016. But maybe you only gain back a portion of it super easy. I guess I'll see. I'm running hard through the finish line to the next diet break. I've been able to keep the hunger at bay but its getting tough, just 2 and a half more days to go. 3 weeks might be pushing it next cycle, I might need to do a refeed going into that 3rd week. Workout Log - 5.12.22 Kicking and Stretching - 10 minutes I didn't much up the bag as it may be contributing to the shoulder tendonitis, so I gave it a rest. Kicking was more slow and balanced active stretching than anything. Pistol Squat BW - 5/5 +30 - 5-/5- +40 - 5+/5- I guess next week I'll add another set at +50, working up to 5 reps, trying to run the rack (lol). Front Squat 135 x 5 185 x 5- 205 x 4+, 3-
  8. 33.1" on the tape today, getting close. Scale was down a bit, to 204.6 last night. This morning I woke up feeling thinner, it was a firm day in the squishy cycle which should mean I see some good scale movement. I'm starting to be able to see the first hints of the bottom abs when flexed. I've maintained a pace on the tape better than 1.5 lb fat loss per week through this cut. I'm definitely feeling the first hints of dropping leptin, hunger is growing. Right now I'm so close, right on the cusp on a couple of things. My overall diet; I've broken it up it to little undulating chunks lately and fell off a bit in the middle, but I've been dieting now since last March; over a year now, and I'm no more than 2 undulations away, just a couple more months, until I reach the boss level. The speakers I'm working on in the shop; I'm now like 4 layers away from finishing the main stack on #2, then I just have to do the 2 cherry layers and 2 more plywood then finally, after about 15 months of work, I'm done with the stack lamination. Should take no more than a month. After that I need to cut the holes, fill the foam and make the x-overs, make and glue the tops, make and glue on the bases, then final sanding and finishing. Last night I ran 2.9 mi in 33.07 min. Avg HR was 148, max HR 166. My pace was crazy consistent, 11:27, 11:20, 11:27 per mile (11:25 avg).
  9. Weight rebound is very different than fat rebound. You really need to break a destructive understanding of the scale. Weight is always going to rebound after dieting. There will be more stuff in your guts, more glycogen in your muscles and liver. This can be more than a 5 lb difference (you actually look the best after this rebound has occurred, usually 3-5 days after raised cals is your appearance peak). Actual rapid gain that results in fat gain, right after a diet, is borderline impossible. Just to rebound a pound in a week takes buckets of ice cream (I have tried, and failed, to do this, lol) Very true. When I first started losing weight I did so at around 1500-1700 cals, and did it for a couple months; lost gobs of weight, but I was quite obese so it wasn't a big deal. I did a taper up to something more sustainable, but one of my "if I did it again what I'd do different" is that I excessively tapered to too small of a deficit over time and very slow progress (dieting too slow is a colossal waste of time). I counted cals strict for 3 years and have counted every time I've dieted in the 8 years since. I'm usually pretty lax about it; the most strict I get with counting the in general the less I eat and bigger the deficit gets; right now I'm in a strict mode as I'm in the final push to abs. It was a good experience to do it though for those years; I ended up with a plethora of data and experimented with some extreme stuff to understand the boundaries (it good to know what the body's hormonal starvation defense feels like and the effects, though I do not suggest trying this at home, my body lost a few hundred cals of resting TDEE over the course of a couple weeks that took a year of bulking and cutting to recover). I don't think I'll ever stop reading labels or having a general idea of how many calories I've eaten today, that level of self awareness will always be there, kind of like which way north is. It can. There are multiple mechanisms at work. Simply losing fat causes TDEE to drop. You weigh less, which requires less effort to move. Fat has a metabolic cost, albeit very low. It takes less calories to maintain a smaller body. But there is more on top of that, a hormonal, mental, and physical process. It most likely is controlled by the hormonal process, but it seems some times the mental process gets away (you get super lazy, just sit around huddled under blankets, and drop the neat) even when there is minimal hormonal defense active. Like all things in this category, time is likely the stronger variable, in this case teeny tiny pushes turn into habits that throttle TDEE. When the hormonal process is active you experience a rebound effect physically when you raise cals. Raising cals initially will make you super sore, your body has been doing minimal recovery to conserve cals, increasing available cals rapidly dethrottles the recovery choke and you spend a week tired and sore before the increased cals overtakes the actual recovery load. There is also thought to be a physical process with beige fat, which is a recently discovered type of adjustable fat with white and brown properties, that could feasibly modulate the body's temperature setpoint a bit to conserve cals (so the coldness isn't purely psychological). When the hormonal process is strongly active, that's when both mentally and physically there is a strong calorie conserving push, incl potentially loss of sexual function (girls lose it easier than guys). Defending against the hormonal process, time and body fat are the strongest variables, the time variable can be broken with diet breaks and extended with refeeds. The leaner you are, the more rapid the onset of the hormonal process (body fat is literally the organ the generates the hormones, it has some minor endocrine functions, this is one of them). But I also think resting TDEE is not a number but a band. Your body can raise and lower metabolism to a small degree to prevent net change in fat mass. I think what ends up happening for a lot of people is that time with a teeny tiny deficit leads to lots of times where the body adapts to the lower intake (you sit on the couch huddled under a blanket, spend extra time laying in bed) then that just becomes habitually how you live in that state of throttled metabolism, sabotaging your good days as well where you had enough of a deficit to cause loss, but now you get less loss. (Habits like these can be broken pretty easy if you know what to look for). To me it sounds like you are doing pretty much everything right, a case of overfocus on the scale, better tools for measuring fat loss (tape measure) will show there is nothing to be concerned about and the lack of weight loss is strictly a positive; fat loss is being offset by lean mass gain. This isn't a forever process and eventually the scale loss will pick right back up. Quit lifting and in 2-3 weeks or so you'll miraculously lose a bunch of weight as your body ditches the extra locally stored fuel that has been hiding your fat loss from the scale the last couple months. Now eventually you'll notice the hunger start to grow. Getting a growly hungry stomach at times when you don't typically eat is a huge red flag that the anti-starvation hormones are active, the situation is going to continue to degrade daily until you take a break or do a refeed; if you don't this is when muscle loss and TDEE loss is a huge risk. Extra growly before meals is another clue. I don't mean run of the mill I'm dieting hunger, at some point it legit starts to get much more intense, this is a symptom of dropping leptin. Refeeds (huge jolt of carbs w/o concurrent fat or protein, the point is to spike your insulin which causes a leptin pulse) will buy you time and take the symptoms away for a while. Diet breaks are a total reset, its like you're starting a new diet afterwards. 2 hour workouts and a 700-1200 deficit? Yeah man, you're out of gas. That's very excessive for cutting. 1 hour is good enough, 3-4 work sets per muscle group. Work up to a peak set (which should be unaffected), then expect to start losing reps (and strength when severe) in later sets as the lack of fuel bites. You'd be better off spending that 2nd hour walking up hills on a treadmill. Its ok to push, but its good to know when to say when. Max effort should be restricted to just a single peak set per muscle when cutting, otherwise leave a rep(s) in the tank (this rule doesn't apply to beginners). Never do crazy things that trash your recovery like rest-pause work when you're cutting. Rule of thumb switching from bulking to cutting is to keep or increase the intensity while dropping the volume. Low rep strength work is what best preserves muscle and is least affected by calorie deficits.
  10. Its mind over matter at this point, I made brownies for the kids earlier, only touched a little bit, can wait until tomorrow for a little more. I want to finish this cut strong and keep on pace to finish at 32.9" Monday morning. I'm going to destroy a gallon of ice cream next week, lol, maybe make some more brownies. Scale made a nice move last night, down to 204.8. It seems like the muscle reinflation might be over. Running here in a bit. My new shoes are great, so comfy. My old shoes were worn down to nothing, had like 1500 miles on em. Workout Log - 5.10.22 Bench Press 135 x 10 185 x 5 205 x 3- 225 x 1 + F 205 x 4+, 3- Feeling some deltoid tendonitis in my left shoulder and I poked it real good with a stick doing yardwork on Sun, both fed into a weakness there. Plus I couldn't make up my mind on my grip. Just meh. I should have reracked 225 after 1, I didn't think #2 was going to go up and it didn't. Took it easy on the last set. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 sec Open Tuck - 15 sec One Leg - 4 reps (3/4 rom) Row - 8+, 8+, 7+ Added a rep to set 2 and 3 on the rows. I'm feelin 9 next week. DB Hammer Curl - 35 x 10, 10 DB Fly - 35 x 6- DB Overhead Extension - 60 x 10, 10 Was really feeling the tendonitis acute during the db flys so I stopped the first set and didn't do a 2nd. Upped the extension weight to 60.
  11. For someone with a 2500 resting TDEE, eating at 2000 calories and doing 500 cals of exercise is in no way shape or form "extreme". Its eating less and moving more. 2500 is the standard male TDEE. 500 cals is what you'll burn running a 5K or lifting for an hour. Pretty much any guy with some gut can maintain an intake at 2K/day indefinitely, its not a tough number. As you get leaner, periodic breaks are much more effective than slowing down. If you're in shape, its no biggie to kick that workout burn even higher with some LISS. Fasted LISS is well known to target fat directly in ultra lean folk that can't mobilize the remaining fat via any other means. Walking up hills on a treadmill works wonders, its the oldest cuttin time cliche there is. Big deficits are always going to come from exercise, not semi-fasting, you always want to eat a decent amount. If you go out and run 10 miles, you'll need to eat over your resting TDEE to not have a deficit >1K. Granted, not everyone can do this, but I'm just sayin, when you're in shape its ok to kick up the exercise and not eat it back, especially the easy exercise. Were our hypothetical person above eating 2K/day and running a 5K or lifting an hour every day were to add a 2 mile brisk walk with the dog each day to their exercise, an additional 200-250 calories or so, taking their deficit to 1200 per day, fortunately muscles would not instantly deflate, hormones would not instantly freak out, but the scale sure will be friendly real quick. What was dude at the gym's advice to OP? Eat at 2K and hit it hard. Hmm. Its the classic good advice for guys on how to lose weight and get some muscle tone.
  12. Extreme is more like 1500+, where you are basically semi-fasting and/or doing absurd amounts of LISS. Most males can handle 1K just fine down to very, very lean (heck for many 1250 is nbd). Certainly 750. The diet industry has pretty much scared people off from cutting with big deficits, but yet at the pro level, actors, athletes and bodybuilders, when they cut they go for it hard. 5 year forevercutting is better for business for the diet industry. Muscle loss pretty much only happens when the starving hormones are active, control those hormones and muscle loss is minimal. And when you "lose muscle" you mostly are not actually losing muscle fiber, you are losing some of your local glycogen and atp reserves and their persistence. Things are severe when real muscle loss is happening and at that point there's absolutely no mistaking what is going on with your body, as your body's war on starvation has gotten extreme. When it comes to hormone control, time is a much stronger variable than depth; our bodies are better at sensing y/n that loss is occurring than the rate. Most of the serious gurus nowadays agree that cutting when lean is best done undulating with breaks, as you alluded to. When you're lean and start cutting, your leptin is going to drop in about 2 weeks no matter how hard you cut, and by 4 weeks the going will be tough even if you are doing small deficits (assuming you arent at maintenance every other day). 1 week is the minimum for a break, beyond 2-3 is getting excessive. You want to refill your glycogen reserves, so the first few days of a break you want a small surplus. There really is one long continuum of depth of cut and break frequency: - the obese can cut at any intensity without breaks without affecting hormones - those in the normal zone could use a break every 2-3 months, shorter with high intensity - those lean will see ideal break time shrink from monthly to biweekly, no matter the intensity. One neat little trick people have figured out; the body's hormonal system doesn't understand you a cutting when you come out of a break for about 2 weeks. No matter how extreme you get, you aren't going to get any hormonal pushback for the first 2 weeks. This is a core principle exploited by the pros.
  13. Right here is where you plant the seeds to success. The reason so many people saw the covid 15 at first in 2020 was the huge shock their basic daily routine; most people tend to eat more and move less in the face of uncertainty. Goals can at times be counterproductive; looking away to the future, mind wandering from where you are, what you are doing. Its good to focus on the process too, and physically that starts with your daily routine, for both diet and fitness. My career evolved a couple years back from a goal oriented position (engineer) to a process oriented position (project manager). I think my training and diet background actually played a huge role in the successful transition. Engineering is linear and goal focused, I led the team that produced a set of construction documents that showed how to build the design I developed, there is a final deliverable end goal for each project. Project management OTOH (the kind I do, more of a PM of PM's, I have a huge # of projects now) there are basically no goals other than trends, you try to manage throughput efficiency via the process (a workout program for example is a process), something I understood right away. Process goals aren't tangible successes in the way a typical goal is, but the process can always be improved. A lot of times when my diet and fitness has suffered, a tweak to processes is in order. Whether it means starting workouts 15 minutes earlier or the coming up with a workout plan and sticking to it. Coming up with an sticking to a basic daily routine will do wonders for you, its the basic process everything else is built on. With a good process you don't have to try to be successful, that extra try effort isn't needed, stick to the plan and don't think about it, success will come.
  14. There is no such thing as hitting that wall where cutting calories is not beneficial (when your goal is fat loss). There are a whole lot of confused people around the diet and fitness industry. Pre-workout is marketing mumbo jumbo. The only people it matters for are marathoners and legit "can productively lift for >90 min" bodybuilders. Your body stores over 1000 calories of readily available fuel in the muscles and replenishes this from carb and protein intake throughout the day (there is no metabolic pathway for fat to resupply). When you are lean and cutting hard (think >1K cal deficit for several days in a row) then you'll see the affect of local stores tapping out, where you lose the ability to sustain strength and start dropping reps bad after a few sets . This usually does not affect peak output, you can still 1RM; 5 reps is also a point of low impact (its kinda like the 1RM of glycogen fueled strength), whereas 3 rep and 10 rep work will be hugely impacted. Most people are going to hurl if they to squat heavy (or run) on a full stomach. There is no outwardly detectable difference between "true" simultaneous loss/gain (undulations under the measurement frequency) and short undulations; 3:1 (week), 4:1, 8:2, etc.. (a spouse would likely not detect the fat flux when doing a 4:1 undulating bulk). If you are at 19%, go for it, that's well into the linear dieting zone. There's no reason you can't drop to a 1k/day+ deficit and hold it for a month to get down to 14%. Toward the end it'll start to suck but its NBD if you want your end goal. Now below 14-15% or so, that's when breaks start to become relevant. Max cutting speed doesn't start to seriously slow until single digit body fat; you can still cut over 1K a day on down to 12%; thats about where muscle loss becomes an issue too (not unrelated to max speed). That said, there are some old truisms with this sort of thread. 19% body fat usually means 25%. Gross underestimation is the norm, which is not good mentally when you realize your error. Even people that are really good at this and know their body well underestimate their body fat %. We all have to fight against this tendency. The tape (and historical personal info) is your best defense against it. For most males, when you start seeing the first hints of abs, you have to lose another 10 lbs (>5% body fat) before your appearance changes much again. There is a very wide visual plateau in the mid-teens body fat %. I'm eating at calorie level x and not losing weight usually means that you need to try again at x-(>500), especially for males whose bodies in general can handle larger deficits than women.
  15. Solid 33.3" on the tape this AM, I'm on pace to hit 32.9" by Monday. The scale was 205.6, so maybe its starting some movement. I am looking forward to a break next week. This has been the strictest 2 weeks and 2 days I've had since starting this respawn over a year ago. Hasn't been bad at all thus far though, but I expect that to change as the week goes on. I should have a deficit around 1K today. Definitely feeling it in the gym. We've got Covid in the house. Oldest testing positive was a wonderful mothers day gift. Youngest now has joined in the fun. We're all max vaxed (except youngest who couldn't yet), but that doesn't seem to help this round except make it lighter. I would not be surprise if I come down with it in the next couple days. Workout Log - 5.9.22 Heavy bag - 10 min 5 minutes without gloves mostly kicking, 5 minutes with gloves mostly punching. Pistol Squat - 5/5, 11+/11- I lost a rep here vs last week. That's the deficit talking. Fingertip Pushup - 5, 5 Deadlift 155 x 3 245 x 3 315 x 3- 335 x 3- 355 x 3+ That was definitely the easiest 355 has felt (lately). I didn't lose bar speed that last rep nearly as much as I have recently. Belt over 300. Romanian Deadlift 175 x 11
  16. Well there will come a point, and you should be at it soon, where lean mass gain will completely cease and it will no longer affect the scale. This effect only occurs 1-4 mo or so after starting strength training anew, after that muscle mass will only increase in a sustained calorie surplus with sufficient training. "Fatigue kicking in" is what that point feels like, you've hit the trained plateau of fatigue management (more calories = bigger muscles = fatigue management); when cutting you will usually stall out strength gains and even go backwards a bit. But, its not a totally hidden process. Fat loss goes in notable cycles, where fat gets squishy then you wake up one morning and things firmed up an shrank. Also usually where whooshes occur. Squishy fat is a dead giveaway that fat loss is occurring. This cycle gets stronger and stronger the leaner you are (it also can feel like little grapes under the skin when squishy). The tape measure is your friend. For males around your waist is everything. Details in your abs come in at a specific measurement; this number will not change much even after years of training. Fat mass changes extremely linearly with the tape; changing from 33"-32" will be the same fat loss amount as 35"-34". The tape is far more reliable than the scale, it isn't subject to big swings from hydration and glycogen levels. For me (6'1", 206) ab details come in around 31.5" and 1/4" = 1 lb fat. Right now I'm at 33.25"; I'll need to cut about 7 more lbs to reach abs, to just under 200. But usually the issue with calories and why it isn't working comes down to poor estimating.
  17. I decided to change the way I'm measuring my waist to better match my historic data, to flex more, which adds an inch to my waist. Bummer. But looking at all the measurements in my old spreadsheet and comparing, a 1" larger waist matches lbm and fat mass calcs much better. I actually did the exact same thing in 2016 at almost the exact same time. So I'm further away from my goal than I expected, but I had a suspicion that that was the case based on how much spare tire I still had. This knowledge though does change my plans a little. I think I'm going to stick with process based cutting instead of goal based. I'm still going to stop at the end of this week (3 weeks cutting) for a 1 week break, then do the exact same 3-1 cycle again instead of switching to a 2 week cut cycle; I should still be able to handle another 3 week cut without the hormones going crazy. I feel ok today, its the start of week 3 and I'm still going to be rocking big deficits this week. Tape was 33.4" today. On track to hit 33" by next week.
  18. I guess I could say 2 reasons, and both are intertwined, I'm not entirely sure which came first. I got my first real introduction to lifting weights with steel hex in gym class. For a brief time I worked out in the HS gym after school, machines and steel hex is what I used. When I was in college I decided to start lifting and I started by buying a couple sets of steel hex to work out in my room; after a bit I outgrew them and moved on to the school gym for a while. When I decided to start losing weight back in 2011, dusting off the ol DB's is where I started strength training, and I added another set of at that time. Steel hex have that sort of homey apple pie feel. The first reason is that I already had some steel hex. I had 15's, 25's, and 35's. My wife had picked up some 20's. So we already had a set going, it was just a matter of adding to it. I did not intend to fill out the set when I started adding to it, but that's they way things ended up going. The second reason is that I prefer steel hex to any other DB's. They are rock solid and balance well. The bevel away from the handle means you never knock them on your wrists. They don't roll and can stand on their end. Now which came first, really liking the feel of hex DB's or buying my first hex DB's, I couldn't tell you. When I outgrew my DB's in my little apartment workout corner I started going to the rec on campus, I remember they had movie posters on the wall for the Matrix just before it came out, so 1999. Buying those DB's was the start of my home gym, I still have them and use them. I filled out the set to 50 buying used on facebook marketplace. I refinished most of them (including my old ones), brushing all the paint out of the knurling and derusting and repainting the iron, filling in casting holes. I left the handles unpainted, just bare steel with a little oil. Above 50 I decided to switch to rubber hex and only do every 10 lbs. Starting to get heavy enough that putting steel down not so easy at that weight is going to damage the floor under the rubber flooring, rubber weights shouldn't have that issue. Its expensive but I don't expect to need much.
  19. After a few days of feeling fat, today I was definitely feeling the progress. Finally. I said it way back when I started the first diet break of 2022, when I hit 34" in the waist, that I was entering the worst part. You're so close, and it stays that way for a while, as barely anything seems to change 34"-32", which usually takes a few months no matter how you cut. Scale came in a 206.0 yesterday; it seems to be stabilizing in the 206's, why I have no idea. I got a new pair of running shoes, went back to my first "real" pair of running shoes, Saucony Kinvara. I can run with whatever for shoes (no need for fancy running shoes whatsoever, mostly a toe striker), but these I see as sort of the cadillac for my style. Tonight will be the first time using them, long run on tap (~4 mi). Workout Log - 5.6.22 Seated DB OHP 40 x 10 50 x 8- 60 x 6+, 1+F 50 x 5+, 8+ I burned myself out trying to get the DB's to my shoulders that 2nd set in combo with the calorie deficit really hitting hard, just not much peak output capacity. Did the set of 5 at 50 right after the pullups I superset with OHP. Here I was hoping to do 2 sets of 6 reps at 60, its not my first time hitting 6, but it is the first time on the first set. Pullup BW - 5, 15 +25 - 6+, 6+ BW - 13 Burnout really didn't affect pullups though. L-Sit - 15, 15, 15 sec Dip BW - 5 +50 - 8+ Chinup +25 - 8+ I only had 1 set of weighted dips and chins in me, I was crashing pretty hard by the end, not sure how I hit those rep #'s.
  20. I'm happy that I dug up my old information. All around feeling fat lately (despite being 32.5" on the tape this AM). Partly because I'm expecting the gut to disappear even when I'm sitting, and that has a ways to go. I keep thinking another inch from where I'm at, just 4 pounds, no way that's enough. We'll see. I've never really been all that lean; at all of my low points there was never a particularly good reason to keep going, I don't think I've ever actually been under 10% BF. Under 12%, yes. So I am being a bit unrealistic with my expectations. Looking back, my 2014 low point, now that I remember it, was actually rather corrosive. It was a little after I moved. I was still trying to work out how to work out well, low ceilings in the basement was really limiting what I could do. I started cutting at the end of the summer, something quick and easy, and while I was out running I remember thinking that maybe it was time to cool it with the bodybuilding, just live at maintenance for a while and work out. And that maybe it was time to switch my focus more to running and cardio. That was where the seeds of destruction were planted. My spreadsheet petered out after that and I stopped counting cals every day. In a lot of ways 2022 has been an heir to that moment in 2014 though; moving was a strict downgrade to my workout situation, I had to give up on so much that I worked so hard on (one arm handstands, handstand pushups, chest to bar pullups (+muscle ups), back lever) because I didn't have a place to do them anymore. The work gym, once I got access in 2016, was great, but it always had the limitation of being at work, so not on the weekends. And my time was limited. And it became easy to skip. The first iteration of the home gym got closer, but I still was missing bits; crazy as it sounds my basic power rack was more limiting than my old office with just a wall, a doorway pullup bar (w/10' ceilings), rings to hang from the pullup bar, a mat, a couple DB's, and a ridiculously heavy bookshelf. The upgraded home gym of 2022 finally makes my current situation better than what I had before I moved in 2014. It was a bit of a thunderclap moment when I realized that I could replace handstands/handstand pushups with DB's. That's the last missing piece of the puzzle. Barbell OHP was always a poor substitute, my shoulders don't like the straight bar, and at home I had to do them kneeing. And nothing a barbell does substitutes for one arm handstands ('cept holding a deadlift at the top, but that's down not up). In the work gym I did a lot of machine OHP (due to hammer grip) and did some handstands. For the most part the reason it hadn't dawned on me was that I concluded long ago that cost was too big a factor with DB's and just blocked them out of my mind. Though I still have some more big ticket DB's in the not too distant future, my 60's are starting to not be so hard anymore, which means a pair of 70's is up next. And they aren't cheap, at all, not even close. Honestly though I'd rather have a wall with 10' ceilings in the gym than the fanciest DB set, one arm wall handstands and handstand pushups and frickin awesome exercises, but the DB's work, I can at least press overhead. The other capabilities I added earlier this year was the ability to deadlift for real (bumpers and flooring), the ability to do loaded dips and pullups (dip belt), and rings. So now definitely my situation is better than when I moved. Workout Log - 5.5.22 Heavy Bag - 10 min 5 min without gloves, mostly kicking, 5 min with gloves, mostly punching Pistol Squat BW x 5/5 +30 x 5-/5- +40 x 4+/4- Tried to do rep #5 on the left but it wasn't coming out of the hole. Front Squat 135 x 5 185 x 5- 205 x 4+, 3+ Legs definitely petered out there at the end.
  21. This morning I did something I haven't done in a reeeeaaallly long time; broke out the old spreadsheet and tape and took full set of measurements. I used to do full measurements weekly or biweekly for years, but I stopped that around when I moved in 2014. I picked it back up for a bit in 2016, then haven't done it since. But I did it for a long time, this was the 168th row in the spreadsheet. Some observations: I'm actually shocked at how the same everything is. I really had no idea what to expect, I've been working out much of the time since 2016, but not very hard until recently. I'm actually closer in most measurements to where I was in 2014 when I moved than 2016 when I was lifting in the gym at work. (I did not exercise a lot in 2015 or 2018) My arms and legs exploded in size when I started lifting in the work gym in 2016. Its possible this has been happening, thus why the scale isn't moving, but that I started further behind where I was in 2016. Right bicep is 15.5". It was 15.8" when I moved, and 16.4" in 2016. More forearms and calves are basically the exact same size they were in 2014, within 1/8" for each measurement! From 2012-2014 I gained a bunch of muscle mass; about 25 lbs total. Those gains have persisted (or I've gotten back to that point despite a deficit). I was starting from a very low point though in 2012, I'm not some gigantic bodybuider. The gains I made in 2016 are gone though.' I feel like I hold more fat in my upper thighs, love handles, and chest/upper back than I used to and I think measurements bear it out. Signs of getting older. I have very, very good waist data from 2014 and 2016 I didn't realize I had ( have good data from 2017 in MFP). My 2017 low point was 31.3" My 2016 low point was 31.8" My 2014 low point was 31.3" My 2013 low point is estimated to be 31.6" ( I measured a bit different). Two muscle groups definitely bigger now than in 2014 are glutes and chest. Benching is the exercise I've skipped the least, I had never deadlifted in 2014. Two muscle groups that seem to have lost the most are quads and shoulders. I'd been skipping leg day for a while by last year and shoulder workout were poor in the early years of my home gym. Muscle size and strength are extremely well correlated. I'm still not back to most of my previous peaks, but I'm close (except in the legs), and that's what size shows. I definitely need to keep up single limb work. Pretty big size difference R-L. The lost years of 2018-2021 were not workout free (well 2018 mostly was); I followed a minimal plan and I was able to mostly maintain muscle mass. But simply having consistency wasn't enough; consistency without effort doesn't amount to much.
  22. Have you tried weighting pistols at all? Holding a small weight, 5-10-15 lb out away from you actually makes them a little easier.
  23. Tape ticked down another notch today, to 32.6". Starting to definitely feel a bit more hungry. Compliance is still holding strong. At this pace I'll be done by the end of next week and into a break. After that I'm thinking instead of goal based cutting doing it process based; 2 weeks cutting and 1 week break no matter instead of trying to hit specific tape targets. Realistically though that doesn't change much, that's probably how it would play out with goal based targets. Scale was 206.6 yesterday. Hopefully it'll make sense again one day. Workout Log - 5.3.22 Bench Press 135 x 10 185 x 5 205 x 3- 225 x 3+ 205 x 5+, 3F Calorie deficit shows its face. I completely ran out of gas as this workout went on, couldn't get rep #4 up of that last set. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 sec Open Tuck - 15 sec One Leg - 3 reps (+negative) Row - 8+, 7+, 6+ I definitely got those one leg reps to horizontal, could have held straighter pulling back up, but they count. DB Hammer Curl - 35 x 10 DB Fly - 35 x 8 DB Extension - 50 x 12 I only had time for 1 circuit, and my muscles were done anyways.
  24. I did lose some on the scale yesterday, but not as much as I expected, 207.0. I'm about due for a low point any day now. I've been quite strict with counting, what I end up doing is not counting exercise cals most days, only using a portion of them though. Right now for today I'm 242 cals over my 2K goal for the day, already counting the rest of the night, but I haven't counted any workout cals, and that includes walking the dog and an hour of lifting, ~500 cals quick swag for the two, so I'm actually well under. My whole diet (long spanning, going back to when I got vaccinated last March and started losing the pandemic belly) I have not really been strict at all, only counting some days, and not really maintaining steep deficits, usually more like 500-750 cal/day. With the end in sight though, my motivation is through the roof to resist the call of the cupboards. Workout Log - 5.2.22 Stretching/Martial Arts - 10 min I did some kicking and some stretching, like form work. Didn't put up the bag, my forearms have been sore so I gave it a rest. Fingertip Pushup - 5, 5 Pistol Squat - 5/5, 12+/12- I'm surprisingly good at grinding those last couple reps out. Somehow balance seems to hold up well in those Deadlift 155 x 3 245 x 3 315 x 3- 335 x 3- 355 x 3+ Belted for the >300 sets. 355 definitely felt easier than it did 2 weeks ago. Romanian Deadlift 175 x 10+
  25. Yes, I grew up in Pewaukee, my wife in Marshfield. NFL football is the only sport I have any interest in except stuff like Ninja Warrior. Extra irritable yes and no. Depends, lately no. The reason stems from the breaks I've been doing. Good solid diet breaks, where you are sure to at least eat maintenance every day, reset everything. This last one was only a week, but yet starting back into the deficit felt like a completely new cut, that the history before was wiped away. The first two weeks of a diet are sort of a diet honeymoon, your body hasn't really figured it out. I'm also very mindful to at least eat at all times I would usually eat, cutting calories means cutting portions and snack volume. But after I've been at it a while, yeah I get a bit hangry. By next week I'll be getting there.
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