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  1. I've been a lurker on Nerd Fitness for quite a while, and finally decided I'd start a thread of my own to track my progress to gain muscle mass while staying lean. Here's a little back story to who I am, and my fitness/diet history. I'm 32 years old, and have 3 daughters with ages 10 years, 2 years, and 15 weeks. I have a wonderfully supportive wife, who does more for me than I deserve. So basically the only males in the house are me and my Alaskan Malamute, so we're quite outnumbered. This will be a long post consisting of my dieting/fitness history, but I'll provide a simple summary of current goals and fitness/diet plan at the end, so feel free to skip the long story section if you want or it gets boring. Long Story: I didn't really get overweight until after I separated from the military in 2006. I was a Seabee in the military (construction), and tended to stay in pretty good shape the majority of the time. I got my college degree, separated from the military, and started working as a Software Engineer a month later. Over several years the weight started piling on, and I topped out at a weight of 192 pounds and 30% body fat in April 2011 due to stress, poor eating habits, and decreased activity. I'm only 5'6" tall, and had typically hovered in the range of 155-165 for my adult life. I decided on 4/9/2011 to get a handle on the weight through a combination of tracking calories, running, and weight training. I moved to maintenance on 8/27/2011 when I made it down to 154 lbs, and a body fat of about 18%. I fluctuated up and down between 146-165 lbs. for the next two years, and focused on increasing my running ability. I ran a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, and finally a 50k during this time. After running the 50k, I decided that I wanted to have a lower body fat and weight than the 155 lbs. and 18% body fat I had fluctuated around up to this point. On 10/14/2013 I dedicated myself to getting down to 145 lbs., and re-evaluating at that point. I reached that goal on 11/6/2013, but my body fat had only decreased to 17%. I still looked pretty similar, since I had lost probably about half muscle mass and half body fat. I seem to lose a decent amount of muscle mass when I diet, and I knew that if I wanted to lower my body fat further I'd probably lose muscle right along with it. I then decided I'd just go all the way down to about 10%, and just accept the loss of muscle mass that comes with it. I reached mid-10% body fat on 7/3/2014, and have been eating maintenance for the past four weeks to give my body some time to stabilize and it seems to have settled at 129-130 lbs. and 10.8% body fat. I'm now on a quest to slowly add back some muscle mass, while staying lean. As of Monday I've set my weekly calories in an estimated surplus of 2000, and I'm using a calorie cycling strategy of: Mon (+700), Tue (+700), Wed (-750), Thurs (+700), Sat (+700), Sun (-750). Why the drastic cycle of calories, you ask? Well I enjoy eating big, and I have a bottomless stomach. I'm very much a man of extremes, and I find it easier to eat big when I'm letting myself eat, and eat small when I'm trying to keep things restrained. I'm a big fan of intermittent fasting, and I follow the blogs of Anthony Mychal, Leangains, Brad Pilon, etc. I've been doing 16/8 fasting since around January for days that I eat maintenance, while also incorporating two days of Eat Stop Eat style where I just eat dinner one day each week (so I only had below maintenance calories two days per week). Currently I lift weights every day, as I've slowly built up the tolerance to it since last October, and I just lift lighter when I feel residual soreness. This may change in the future, as I've started lifting heavier and adding weight now that I'm increasing calories, and may need more recovery time. I follow a 3-day split primarily composed of all compound movements: Day 1 Back/Biceps, Day 2 Chest/Shoulders/Triceps, Day 3 Lower Body. The exercises done on any given day may change, but the body parts I work don't. We'll just have to see how my body holds up. I also run 4 miles in steady state cardio fashion twice a week on my below maintenance calorie days. I'm debating on just eating in Warrior Diet fashion each day. I've been eating in a window from 12PM-8PM, but I find that I don't want to stop eating at 8. I think I'd rather just not eat until I get home from work about 5 PM, and just eat until I go to sleep around 9:30 PM. I'll probably switch back and forth on various days based on how I feel, and what fits my life best on the specific day. For instance I'm going to a daytime company picnic for my wife's job on Friday and then out to dinner for my sister-in-law's birthday that night, so it'll probably be a 16/8 day. After this post I'll add my data for the past couple days, and I'll try to update the log with my daily workouts and diet adherence. Hopefully this will add a little bit of pressure for adherence. I've attached my start pictures from Monday, and I'll try to upload monthly progress pictures, which will help to gauge my results. Summary: Stats: 5'6", 32 years old, Male, 129.18 lb trend, 10.85% body fat trend Goal: Add muscle mass while staying lean or until 15% body fat (hopefully the former) Diet Calories: Mon +700, Tues +700, Wed -750, Thurs +700, Fri +700, Sat +700, Sun -750 Macros: Protein (1.15 * bodyweight), Carbs (1.5 * bodyweight on +cal days), Fat (.4 * bodyweight) Strategy: Various fashions of intermittent fasting Workout Day 1 Back/Biceps, Day 2 Chest/Shoulders/Triceps, Day 3 Lower Body Two 4 mile runs per week on -cal days
  2. I'm a little late to this party, but what the hell... Back in January, I put up my first 1 RMs on my big three, then took a couple weeks off to let some patellar tendinits heal, got busy at work, and now I haven't touched a barbell in 1 month (to the day actually). Ouch! Gained some weight. Apparently, if you stop lifting weights, but keep eating as if you were going to the gym 3-4 times a week, you gain weight. "I know right... makes no sense... " he added sarcastically. So its time to get back on track. Gonna keep it real simple. Goal 1: Strength Training at least 3 times a week Doesn't matter what I do, as long as it involves barbells and is intense, that'll work. I've been sticking with stronglifts, and have graduated to 3x5, I might change up to doing less each workout, but going as frequently as possible. We'll see. Prolly gonna throw in some HIIT or circuits occasionally. Goal 2: Stick to Warrior/Renegade diet eating plan In the past I've always tracked macros. I am tired of that. It takes too much time, and I'm at the point where I can safely judge the majority foods I eat on a daily basis. Plus, the warrior/renegade thing prevents me from overeating and it fits my lifestyle well. Goal 3: No alcohol for the rest of the six weeks. (with one exception) until my Birthday. I've been reading about the estrogenic, stubborn fat gain aspects of alcohol. Plus its the number one x-factor that tends to tank my challenges. However, I will make one exception. I am turning 30 before the end of this challenge and I know another friend has a birthday in March as well. If I can't get out of a big birthday bash thing... I might have a few drinks. But that is one night only for the challenge. Life Goal: Track and Learn to manage my mood. Get back on track with this Dissertation. Another factor in my recent derailed challenges has been my mood. I missed three whole days of work over these past two months because of depression and anxiety. I am fairly certain I have something going on with my mood that's been screwing with my life that I've been ignoring, so I'm going to start doing something about it. Tomorrow, I'm going to talk to a counsellor. That's the first step. Then I'll be starting to track my mood daily with an app on my phone and maybe start journaling. Hopefully, I'll be able to identify some patterns and triggers, and work out a strategy to deal with whatever this is. Take vitamin D. I'm gonna have to haul ass on my dissertation. I'm gonna have to work extra hours, weekends, etc. to meet a list of goals and deadlines. No real plan involved as of yet other than to just work as much as I can, try to maintain my sanity, and keep going. Grading: Right now I'm just thinking pass fail for all.
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