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Waldo

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  1. No, I'm sure it is water (bound to carbs). I use the tape measure around the waist primarily, so the scale is just a sideshow. But after a long period of going crazy starting with the first break I took, once I got into the undulating pattern it had settled down and was moving very close to the tape, and stayed that way for a couple of months. Refeed broke that pattern unfortunately. That said my long term goal has always been 205, so I'm not going to complain about being around 205 while continuing to get leaner.
  2. The end of this cut has been a challenge. In part because the refeed has worn off, in part because I've been doing an unusual number of public things where people eat and drink, but I limped to the end here and did hit my tape goal, 32.0", 1 day early. Ever since the refeed the scale has been in crazy mode, in the 203-205 range. After the refeed I was pretty amped about how easy it was to sustain the cut, but my the end of the week my mind was changed. It's only going harder as well, so next round I'm going to do away with it and just go 2 weeks before another break. But this means I probably will do 2 more cut cycles, trying to get down to the low 31" area. Incidentally, with a break this week, 2 cut cycles will line up exactly with this next challenge. Right now bits and pieces of the upper abs are visible all the time even though there's still some spare tire below. Looking pretty lean otherwise, my arms are starting to get rather vascular. Still not great shoulder definition though. I can make out the various muscles in my legs when I flex. If I flex my abs you can see all 6 pretty easy. 32" is historically where I enter the every day brings new details zone. I'm definitely not satisfied with where I'm at as an end point, already itching to get back to cutting and I haven't even started the break. But, break is important, it makes the following 2 weeks go. That scale though, I was hoping to be under 200 by the end of this cut, looks like no. Next cycle. Refeed just sent the scale flying. It had been rather stable too for a while before that.
  3. Into week 3 of of this cutting cycle now,. I did a refeed last night; demolished most of a box of cereal, about 1200 cals worth. Cereal is pretty good for it, I picked one (store brand multigrain Total) that doesn't have any fat at all, and a moderate amount of protein, but tons of non-fructose carby goodness; usually I drink the milk but avoid when refeeding (due to the fat slowing digestion). The cut hit like a ton of bricks on Saturday, at just under 2 weeks, refeed so far seems to have worked, I've felt fine today despite going right back to a hard cut. Of course my weight was up, had been in the 201's since that low point last week, but I was at 203.0 last night, side effect of refeeding. I'd like to see it dip under 200 later this week. Tape was 32.4" this am, on pace to hit 32" by the end of the week and the next diet break. And then? Next cycle is going to be the last in this undulating pattern, the 4th round of it. I'm getting close to my end goals of this cut and am looking forward to gym progress picking up once I'm done cutting. Its getting close to that time to put in an order to Rogue for a new barbell. New barbell has been my planned reward to myself for reaching my overall end goals, I've been really looking forward to it for a long time. I haven't jumped the gun yet though. Once I'm into the next cycle it'll be about time, I imagine they don't have next day delivery a la Amazon. I've got my heart set on a black oxide Ohio Bar w/o center knurling. I don't back squat, not sure I ever will, but I do front squat. Pretty hard to find a bar bigger than 28mm that has no center knurl. It seems like its pretty much the perfect bar for me.
  4. Was that Wormsloe that you were at? We haven't been down to Savannah yet this year. Rented an airbnb above the main shopping strip (near the theather) in the historic district last year, got to spend some time at the beach.
  5. I finally got around to taking pics of the weight plate holder I made for the gym: And that whole side of the gym, now that I've mounted the clock too: I needed the board for extra stiffness, since the wall is just flimsy paneling. But I cut it in an interesting shape, and put a good sized chamfer on it all around, so that the painted edge can still be seen from the front. Taping it off to paint the top white (I did the edges first) was pretty awful, tape doesn't do chamfered curves, so I needed tons of individual pieces. As opposed to last cut, this time around I'm not really counting cals every day in MFP. Basically if I want to snack more than something small I need to figure out if I have space. I can either take that step and go through the effort, or skip the snacks. Which is the route I've gone. Deficit is pretty big but that's fine. Right about at the halfway point of 3 weeks now. Sunday I'm going to do a refeed to hopefully eek out another easy week of cutting. I'm still not really feeling any effects from it, but that's going to change soon. Progress-wise the tape is moving every other day. Waist was at 32.5" today. Scale dropped big yesterday, down to 200.8. It seems like all of the scale weirdness is over, its been moving lock step with the scale since the start of the previous cut cycle. Before this cut is over I expect to see under 200, which hasn't happened since 2017. I haven't really seen much change in the mirror tho. I did go shirtless in public for the first time last weekend as the neighborhood pool opened. I'm not as lean as I'd like to be, but, at least close enough that I'm not embarrassed at all. But I've been working toward a July 4 goal. Next year I'll shoot for memorial day. Workout Log - 6.2.22 Bench Press 135 x 5 185 x 5- 205 x 3- 225 x 3+, 4* 205 x 5+ Gave it my all and got rep #4, a new PR Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 sec Open Tuck Hold - 15 sec One Leg - 4 slow negatives Tuck Row - 11+, 10+, 9+ Smashed my recent PR's, I'm nearing all time PR's on tuck rows Time was short so I didn't do any DB circuits
  6. I started feeling like I was cutting on Wed (first round of basic cutting hunger, squishy fat, moving scale). I waited until Thur am to check the tape, sure enough, down 1/8" to 32.9". Set a new low weight just before the break, 202.6, I was at 202.8 Wednesday, 203.0 yesterday. My weight has actually been quite consistent since going below 205, despite cutting->break->cutting. No wild swings, weight stayed in the 204's through the break; so weird how that works, sometimes raising cals causes a 5 lb jump, other times barely anything. I did a full set of measurements again this AM. I gained a little bit in just about every muscle group last week. Just a hair, but it was across the board. Most importantly, those gains persisted this week. I'm still 1 1/2" smaller than my 2016 peak in the thighs, 3/4" smaller in the arms, and about 1/2" smaller in the chest; so chances are I can still eek out more 1 week break gains, lol. It'd be nice to get the flexed chest measurement back over 50", that was always a huge milepost I was working toward and it was awesome to achieve (my earliest measurements were in the 44" area back in 2012). Even though chest is a relatively small contributor to the flexed chest measurements (wide lats = wide chest measurement). Same with arms, my earliest bicep measurements had a low point of 14" at the end of my initial loss in 2012, peaked at 16.5" in 2016, 15.8" now, it'd be nice to be back over 16" (I first hit that back in 2014, before moving). Still pretty engrossed in the geneology work. I think I'd like to eventually put it into some sort of book form. I've had the basic tree, the patrilineal line, worked out for a few years. The major breakthrough I made last week was filling in the last missing bride/mother on that line. With that now I'm only missing one patrilineal line of the brides all the way to immigration, and that one is an area I haven't worked on that much yet; I'm pretty sure I can get there. This sort of goes hand in hand with my lifetime interest in history; I've been able to make a lot of it personal. Right now I'm reading the History of Everything by Graeber and Wengrow, the part I'm in discusses the role the critique of Europeans by Native Americans had on the Enlightenment, specifically how the response ("oh yeah, this is why we are better than you") basically was the Enlightenment, though a core root critique became the concept of Liberty. The philosophical framework for the enlightenment was "created" (aka best early writer of) by Rene Descartes in Amsterdam; Amsterdam was ground zero of the early enlightenment,I know my direct patrilineal descendants were book printers in Amsterdam from the late 1500's to about 1650 (Discourse on Method was published in 1637), who then moved to New Amsterdam and married into the families of the early beaver trade; where some of the critique was coming from. Workout Log - 5.24.22 Bench Press 135 x 10 185 x 5 205 x 3- 225 x 2+, 3+ 205 x 5+ I felt like #4 at 225 might have been there. Built back up to peak strength after losing a bit with the tendonitis issue. Ring Front Lever Tuck Hold - 15 Open Tuck Hold - 15 One Leg - 4 slow negatives Tuck Row - 9+, 8+, 8+ I'm pretty much able to stop the negatives at parallel (at least first couple reps). Slowly but surely the tuck row reps keep climbing. At some point here I expect to shift back to the old pattern where I make gains on the front lever while cutting, one leg+ are so deleveraged that bodyweight changes are a stronger effect than strength gain. DB Hammer Curl: 35 x 11, 10 DB Chest Fly: 35 x 8, 8 DB Extension: 60 x 8, 10 I'm about ready to go up in weight on curls. Workout Log - 5.26.22 Heavy Bag - 10 min Mixed in some box jumps. 6 min without gloves, 4 with. I've gotten sooo much faster and nimble on my feet, its crazy the difference regular practice has made. Pistol Squat BW - 5/5 +30 - 5-/5- +40 - 5+/5+ I should do a set at +50 next week Front Squat 135 x 5 185 x 5- 205 x 4+ Step Up 16" Box +80 - 5-/5- My balance was complete garbage on the right. I think in part because holding the DB's was starting to get hard and my legs were definitely beat by that point.
  7. Back at it cutting again. Another 3 weeks. I'm going to do a refeed at the end of week 2 to hopefully keep things from getting out of hand. Despite trying my best, I was not able to gain anything on the tape, break week ended at 33". I'm looking to lose an 1" again, so staying aggressive with deficits. Probably will still be a couple days before things start moving though. By the end I should be rounding third on my way to 6 pack lean. On the verge of always visible abs now, though still too much spare tire, that is the last thing to go. These last few days I went back down the geneology rabbit hole. Working out my whole American family tree is something I've been working on for many years now, I made a couple major breakthroughs the last couple days. One was pretty crazy; I started trying children's names to skip up a generation where I was really stuck on a great (x a bunch) grandmother. I knew her name but nothing else. Oddly, of their many children, only one had a name that wasn't from his side of the family. Search that name with a common old variation of the last name and viola. Same town same church, plus I found a very well worked out tree from that point on to immigration. Only the link I had to make was tough, between father and daughter, it was like striking gold. And the naming oddity became immediately clear; my great x10 grandfather from this family was a loyalist, during the war his farm was burned and he fled to Canada. His daughter married just before the revolution to my great x9 grandfather, they only used his family's names once (one of the youngest too, #7), obviously why. Another branch I worked out includes a common ancestor with Barak Obama through his mother, which was pretty rad to discover; a great x10 grandfather that immigrated in 1733. I say its a rabbit hole because you can spend a ton of time on it; and I tend to get consumed with the hunt, trying to find every piece of info I can. Workout Log - 5.23.22 Heavy bag - 10 min Also mixed in some 20" box jumps here and there. 5 min with/without gloves Pistol Squat BW - 5/5 16" Box - 3/3 BW - 11+/11- Deadlift 155 x 3 245 x 3 315 x 3- 335 x 3- 365 x 1+f That weight wasn't coming up for rep #2. Did not have time for a set of RDL's at the end.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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-
  15. 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).
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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