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Deckard Gainz

Deckard wills away the knives of summertime

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The title's a reference to a song from one of my favorite artists of all time, Mark Linkous aka Sparklehorse. More on that in the spoiler below. After the music festival I attended at the end of June, I was inspired to create a musical challenge. Unfortunately, at the time I struggled to ideate goals I genuinely believed I would follow. In my time off challenging, I've unofficially began work on the trends I hope to establish in this challenge, namely eating less and tracking calories (again).

 

I still have one main goal, which can be boiled down to "look better." Yes it's vain, no I don't care. I am approaching this goal from a few different angles, some more successfully than others.

 

The good news is that exercise is going well. I'm putting in hard work with the main intention of retaining muscle mass as I attempt to cut (again). I've researched lifting on a cut with little success, but I reached out to an old high school friend that's now a competition-winning bodybuilder, and she assured me that attempting to work out at the same volume and intensity as you normally would is the way to go. I've seen that advice out there, but I've also seen "reduce intensity" and "reduce volume" with no clear scientific backing in any direction. Maybe the anecdotal evidence of her success isn't sufficient enough to be concrete, but it's enough for me right now.

 

The only real actionable goal in this challenge is surrounding diet. The short version is "eat less, and know what you're eating." The longer version involves carefully tracking, managing indulgences, coping with hunger, and probably a few more uncomfortable things to which I'll have to acclimate. Keto frankly felt like cheating, and I won't be restricting carbs quite as much this time around, so I'll have to cut calories the old-fashioned way to some extent. Most of what I cut will still be carbs, but I'm hoping to create a healthy eating pattern that's sustainable for a longer term. Keto just isn't.

 

Talking about stuff helps me focus on doing it. It's worked great with lifting, so I'm going to try it with cooking and eating. I don't think I enjoy talking about diet and nutrition as much as I enjoy talking about lifting, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. So let's talk about some specific dietary numbers.

 

TDEE calculators frustrate me, because I never know where to place myself within the range of exercise. My BMR is around 2k calories. A "sedentary" exercise level puts me around 2,300-2,4000 calorie TDEE, while "moderate" puts me around 3,000. That's a pretty significant difference for a somewhat arbitrary distinction. Though my actual activity level is probably closer to moderate (3-5 days a week), it's incredibly unlikely that I regularly consume over 3,000 calories a day at the weight I've been maintaining, so I am opting to place myself around the 2,500-2,750 mark. This also accounts for missing the gym some days, which happens much more often in the summer.

 

I'm hoping to cut that by about 500 calories a day, which should equal out to about a pound a week. That puts my average calorie goal in the ballpark of 2,000-2,250. As I mentioned, I'm hoping to retain muscle mass so I'm aiming for .8-1g/lb or  180-230g protein daily, though I've seen recommendations that say as low as about 100g per day is sufficient. Daily fat recommendations I've seen anywhere from 60-100g per day, and everything else can be carbs. Long story short, I'm not terribly focused on macros, but I want to aim high on protein, the fat will likely come naturally, just have to make sure not to go too high (100g+). Carbs will mostly be vegetables and budgeted indulgences (like beer).

 

Speaking of beer, a secondary facet to this is minimizing drinking. I've been fairly good about not drinking much over the past few weeks, and being able to limit myself to a single beer here and there on a lot of cases. Most of my major summer debauchery is behind me now, with a few events on the horizon that I'll need to plan and budget for. 

 

I haven't been very good at eating under maintenance in general, so I'm giving myself a little lenience in either direction. If I want to cut harder, I'm ok with some collateral lean muscle mass loss. Social events might bring me over maintenance calories for a day, but I'm hoping to never break maintenance for a week. Ideally I would be 3,500 calories under my weekly TDEE (about 15,750 calories).

 

As promised, this challenge will have a musical element, though no promises as to whether or not it has anything to do with the actual challenge.

 

Sparklehorse - Knives of Summertime

Spoiler


I don't think I'm capable of doing any literary justice to the way I feel about Sparklehorse. Many better writers than me have attempted to capture the beauty and tragedy of his music to varying degrees of success. He lived a sad and wonderful life, he wrote a bunch of music about it, and then he shot himself in the heart in an alley in Nashville in 2010. Mark Linkous seems to be one of those guys that's not nearly as well-known as I think he should be. People in the industry knew and were inspired by him; he's collaborated with a lot of famous artists from Radiohead to David Lynch. But most people I talk to have never heard of him. So here's my attempt to get his music out there to a few more people.

 

 

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I can dig me some Sparklehorse if not for name alone, lol. The music is super chill. 

 

39 minutes ago, Deckard Gainz said:

I still have one main goal, which can be boiled down to "look better." Yes it's vain, no I don't care. I am approaching this goal from a few different angles, some more successfully than others.

 

I'm in the same boat, dude. Nothing wrong with wanting to look better :)

 

Image result for I look good gif

 

Wolf

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2 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

 

Talking about stuff helps me focus on doing it. It's worked great with lifting, so I'm going to try it with cooking and eating. I don't think I enjoy talking about diet and nutrition as much as I enjoy talking about lifting, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. So let's talk about some specific dietary numbers.

 

TDEE calculators frustrate me, because I never know where to place myself within the range of exercise. My BMR is around 2k calories. A "sedentary" exercise level puts me around 2,300-2,4000 calorie TDEE, while "moderate" puts me around 3,000. That's a pretty significant difference for a somewhat arbitrary distinction. Though my actual activity level is probably closer to moderate (3-5 days a week), it's incredibly unlikely that I regularly consume over 3,000 calories a day at the weight I've been maintaining, so I am opting to place myself around the 2,500-2,750 mark. This also accounts for missing the gym some days, which happens much more often in the summer.

 

 

Yay, I have read extensively about food and diet (there's lots of contradictory views out there, but I think I'm starting to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Mmm, wheat). I will talk about food and diet extensively if encouraged. As for the TDEE calculator, it sounds like you're taking the right approach: best guess then adjust based on results. 

 

May I ask, are you looking to lose a lot of weight? Or are you close to your goal/already reasonably lean? 

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7 minutes ago, Harriet said:

May I ask, are you looking to lose a lot of weight? Or are you close to your goal/already reasonably lean? 

 

I would like to lose a lot of weight. If my biometric scale is accurate (it's probably not), I am around 30% body fat. At a 230lb bodyweight, that would be about 70 lbs of fat. I am officially categorized as "obese."

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I had reasonable amount of success cutting overall calories but maintaining (and even increasing) protein.  I kept workout volume the same.   I only did it for one month, but I ended up losing weight while maintaining strength. 

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17 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

I would like to lose a lot of weight. If my biometric scale is accurate (it's probably not), I am around 30% body fat. At a 230lb bodyweight, that would be about 70 lbs of fat. I am officially categorized as "obese."


Groovy. Hopefully that means you can use some slightly more ambitious tactics without suffering too badly? I'm having to take a very careful approach so that my brain doesn't unleash psychotic hunger demons on me and innocent bystanders. 

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23 hours ago, SheriffWolfpool said:

I'm in the same boat, dude. Nothing wrong with wanting to look better :)

 

Whether my deadlift max is 400 or 500 has no practical implications on my life, whereas the social benefits of physical attractiveness have been documented in numerous studies. The comment about vanity was mostly a joke (and a dig on @Curl Brogo, who dissed exercising for appearance alone at the end of his last thread). This is pure pragmatism baby!

 

12 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I had reasonable amount of success cutting overall calories but maintaining (and even increasing) protein.  I kept workout volume the same.   I only did it for one month, but I ended up losing weight while maintaining strength. 

 

I have had similarly positive results with similar methods. I've been under 200 lbs in the past 10 years. That was pretty dramatic -- eating 1 salad per day and pushing SL 5x5, but the newbie gains did prevail for a while. I stalled out at a 200lb bench and 300lb squat, but with probably 700 calories a day and who knows how much sleep (not much), that was to be expected at a certain point. I put over 150lbs on my total max in the past couple years, mostly while losing weight as well (at a far less dramatic deficit). The only times I've really gained weight were when I was not doing any kind of lifting.

 

2 hours ago, Harriet said:

Groovy. Hopefully that means you can use some slightly more ambitious tactics without suffering too badly? I'm having to take a very careful approach so that my brain doesn't unleash psychotic hunger demons on me and innocent bystanders. 

 

The less theatrical version of that is that when I provide too much stimulus for my willpower, it fails, just like a muscle would under a supermaximal load. Also like with muscles, if there is a sufficient stimulus and adequate recovery time/resources, willpower can adapt. Unfortunately I don't know what the "1 rep max" of my willpower is, nor do I really understand the scale at which I can progressively overload it. But it is a thing, and it does require gradual change. Maybe this is what you mean by "a careful approach." I do think it's important to provide that training stimulus though. I think some folks get too caught up in the idea that a good balance is always comfortable. I anticipate some suffering, and it's ok. Life is suffering.

 

---

 

Yesterday was gaming. An early-morning errand squished my workout window, so this is the type of day I'd normally consider a wash. However, I kept things lean with a few salads and ended up in a decent calorie range in spite of having some beers with friends. It looked something like this:

 

Calories: 2,448

Carbs: 101g / 404cal

Fat: 106g / 954 cal

Protein: 129g / 516 cal

Alcohol: 82g / 574 cal

 

The math is kind of a guess on these because I had to calculate some stuff manually. Alcohol isn't a macro in MFP. And of course some of the values are estimated so in spite of my specific numbers, this is mostly a ballpark. In any case, the split isn't horrible for a day I might normally have written off. Slightly too much fat and not enough protein, and alcohol is bad. But overall calories was under maintenance, probably. I was hungry by the time I got home later at night, so that's probably a good sign.

 

Edit: I went to the symmetric strength site mentioned in @Harriet's thread and chuckled at these results: 

84192737_2019-07-3008_24_45-SymmetricStrength.png.b269aa439d6c1eff56fd90a73d782bca.png

Looks about right.

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On 7/29/2019 at 7:10 PM, Deckard Gainz said:

Sparklehorse

 

Wait, wait, wait. Any link(ous) between Mark and unicorns? Or motorbikes, for that matter?

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

 

 

On 7/29/2019 at 7:10 PM, Deckard Gainz said:

I was inspired to create a musical challenge

 

Color me hooked.

giphy.gif

 

 

I'm here for the music but will gather any eating insight dropping by. Looking forward to seing this unfold.

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2 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

The less theatrical version of that is that when I provide too much stimulus for my willpower, it fails, just like a muscle would under a supermaximal load. Also like with muscles, if there is a sufficient stimulus and adequate recovery time/resources, willpower can adapt. Unfortunately I don't know what the "1 rep max" of my willpower is, nor do I really understand the scale at which I can progressively overload it. But it is a thing, and it does require gradual change. Maybe this is what you mean by "a careful approach." I do think it's important to provide that training stimulus though. I think some folks get too caught up in the idea that a good balance is always comfortable. I anticipate some suffering, and it's ok. Life is suffering.

 

What I meant was, I think the last few kg are harder to lose than the first few, because (not completely sure but I get the impression that) the more you lose, the more the body ramps up its psychological defences against further loss. So at the start of the weight loss journey a significant deficit might be more doable. Whereas if you were close to your goal, more incremental steps might be warranted. Hmm, maybe you're right about developing willpower. That's an interesting way of thinking about it. I think the hard dieting of 2017 might have led to overtraining and chronic inflammation in my case. Gotta start again with the equivalent of gentle stretches and bodyweight squats or something. 

 

2 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

I put over 150lbs on my total max in the past couple years, mostly while losing weight as well (at a far less dramatic deficit).

Looks about right.

 

Niiiiice job

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2 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:
On 7/29/2019 at 1:53 PM, SheriffWolfpool said:

I'm in the same boat, dude. Nothing wrong with wanting to look better :)

 

Whether my deadlift max is 400 or 500 has no practical implications on my life, whereas the social benefits of physical attractiveness have been documented in numerous studies. The comment about vanity was mostly a joke (and a dig on @Curl Brogo, who dissed exercising for appearance alone at the end of his last thread). This is pure pragmatism baby!

 

If I were a meaner person I would make a butterface joke, but I am just too nice to do so. 

 

86b2a24acea62486a4895e55f9f7e630--exerci9k=9k=

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7 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

 

Whether my deadlift max is 400 or 500 has no practical implications on my life, whereas the social benefits of physical attractiveness have been documented in numerous studies. The comment about vanity was mostly a joke (and a dig on @Curl Brogo, who dissed exercising for appearance alone at the end of his last thread). This is pure pragmatism baby!

 

 

Who needs personality when you have cold hard pragmatism and guns like these?

 

8f1f7f.gif

 

Admittedly, the joke is lost if you don't know what movie this is.

 

 

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On 7/30/2019 at 1:58 PM, Jean said:

Wait, wait, wait. Any link(ous) between Mark and unicorns? Or motorbikes, for that matter?

 

I do believe he rode a motorbike, and also has a song called "Gasoline Horseys" which sounds apt.

 

On 7/30/2019 at 3:12 PM, Harriet said:

What I meant was, I think the last few kg are harder to lose than the first few, because (not completely sure but I get the impression that) the more you lose, the more the body ramps up its psychological defences against further loss.

 

There's a perfectly valid physiological explanation to this phenomenon, which is just that our bodies adapt to our stimuli, and things become less effective over time. There are certainly some hormones that affect our psychology, but most of that is far too advanced for me to tackle. So I'm settling for a general message of "yes things will be difficult; do them anyway."

 

On 7/30/2019 at 3:13 PM, Sylvaa said:

If I were a meaner person I would make a butterface joke, but I am just too nice to do so. 

 

Do your worst. I am only concerned with factors within my control (and not willing to go through cosmetic surgery).

 

On 7/30/2019 at 8:15 PM, Curl Brogo said:

Who needs personality when you have cold hard pragmatism and guns like these?

 

8f1f7f.gif

 

Admittedly, the joke is lost if you don't know what movie this is.

 

You should see my business card...

 

Actually this is a pretty apt comparison given that Christian Bale is the fucking MASTER of body recomposition. Shit if I had his schedule and personal trainer and dietician and millions of dollars...

 

On 7/30/2019 at 8:52 PM, h3r0 said:

Sparklehorse, interesting. I like it, very chill. Thanks for the tip, I'll throw him into my Spotify rotation. 

 

If you guys like chill stuff, stay tuned. I've got plenty of it.

 

---

 

On a scale of 1-10, zero week is probably at a 5. Long story short, my car is broken, and my fiance started working 3rd shift for a while, both of which contribute to an uncomfortable shuffling of routines that has completely prevented me from wanting to work out. I've been hovering around a caloric maintenance range (2200-2500 calories generally), and I intend on hitting the gym tonight so that I don't go a full week without working out. Small wins are better than no wins.

 

I'm disappointed that such seemingly minimal issues have such a profound effect on my ability to maintain focus on long-term goals. There are certainly ways I could have managed to work out this week, and eat better/less, yet, I just... didn't. I've been short-sighted, caught up in day-to-day minutae, rather than focusing on the big picture. Talking about the big picture is helpful, but I need something that I can carry with me in the moment. Or I need to meditate or something to be more present with my thoughts rather than drifting from distraction to distraction. 

 

Incidentally, music can really help me establish and maintain a mood or persist a memory or motivation. Here's a song I always found inspiring, to power us into week 1.

 

"Don't tell me that I can't change, cuz I could change if I wanted to." (And I do want to!)

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Deckard Gainz said:

Small wins are better than no wins.

This.

 

Also:

42 minutes ago, Deckard Gainz said:

Or I need to meditate or something to be more present with my thoughts rather than drifting from distraction to distraction.

What works for me is either breathing (taking a few really deep breath -  that's it) or laying my hands open on my desk, palms touching the wood as much as I can.  I want it to be time not consuming and it still allows for a light reset to cut the next decision from what has happened the minute before.

 

Also, also: I like Gasoline Horseys. I don't know how to interpret the lyrics, could be either pretty dark or just something about riding motorcycles, but it's chill in a good way. I'm under the impression that dark and chill is kind of part of what Sparklehorse does, it's pretty unsettling.

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On 7/29/2019 at 11:10 AM, Deckard Gainz said:

TDEE calculators frustrate me, because I never know where to place myself within the range of exercise. My BMR is around 2k calories. A "sedentary" exercise level puts me around 2,300-2,4000 calorie TDEE, while "moderate" puts me around 3,000. That's a pretty significant difference for a somewhat arbitrary distinction.

I haven't been very good at eating under maintenance in general, so I'm giving myself a little lenience in either direction. If I want to cut harder, I'm ok with some collateral lean muscle mass loss. 

I'm late to the party, but FWIW I typically calculate TDEE based on sedentary activity levels, and then roughly estimate kcal burned from specific activities based on calculators. eg. this one, or that one, or even this one is good too. The advantage of doing it this way is that you eat more on the workout days, and less on the active recovery days.

 

 

In terms of keeping more 'in the moment', I've found that a time audit did wonders for me to see what I actually spent my day doing. From there, I can create more of a 'schedule' for myself and then plan in things like meal prep & workouts. It's a win-win. Looking forward to watching your progress, I know you're going to do well this challenge! 

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On 8/2/2019 at 3:19 PM, Jean said:

Also, also: I like Gasoline Horseys. I don't know how to interpret the lyrics, could be either pretty dark or just something about riding motorcycles, but it's chill in a good way. I'm under the impression that dark and chill is kind of part of what Sparklehorse does, it's pretty unsettling.

 

Most of Sparklehorse lyrics are just evocative imagery. Dark, chill, and unsettling hits the nail on the head. 

 

On 8/3/2019 at 5:26 PM, Defining said:

I'm late to the party, but FWIW I typically calculate TDEE based on sedentary activity levels, and then roughly estimate kcal burned from specific activities based on calculators. eg. this one, or that one, or even this one is good too. The advantage of doing it this way is that you eat more on the workout days, and less on the active recovery days.

 

I have a system in place to do all of this with Fitbit's integration with MFP. I don't necessarily trust Fitbit's calorie burn assessments, but it's consistent if nothing else, which should allow me to make tweaks that work, even if the actual values are inaccurate. In practice, I do already eat more on workout days, sometimes deliberately, sometimes not. Big leg days make me ravenous.

 

On 8/3/2019 at 5:26 PM, Defining said:

In terms of keeping more 'in the moment', I've found that a time audit did wonders for me to see what I actually spent my day doing. From there, I can create more of a 'schedule' for myself and then plan in things like meal prep & workouts. It's a win-win. Looking forward to watching your progress, I know you're going to do well this challenge! 

 

Thanks, it's nice to hear. I actually get a lot of anxiety when every second of my day/week/life is all planned out, so I explicitly don't fully schedule out my time. Maybe my execution percentage would increase if I more formally scheduled out my activities, but I'd much rather rely on some other sort of mindfulness tactics than a rigid itinerary. I can't articulate why, but I spend so much of my life feeling like I'm on rails, or being herded down a single path, that trapping myself into more scheduling myself feels like self-sabotage. I am generally good at finding windows for high-priority activities like working out, but when I'm presented with adversity, I'm quicker than I'd like to drop activities that are still important to me. I think I can manage to improve that flaw with some other sorts of tactics, but I'm not entirely sure what they are yet.

 

Weekend Update

 

I ate and drank a little too much this weekend. I had a good workout Friday, but I ate a big lunch and went out for dinner, and then to a friend's going-away party. I had 1 beer with dinner, and 1 fairly conservative whiskey-coke-zero (and no food) at the party, which I consider a win for alcohol consumption. However, I still ended up at around 3,500 calories. Fitbit compensated me around 1,000 calories for my exercise efforts, which seems like a lot, but if it's to be trusted, I guess that would put me in a comfortable range for the day.

 

Saturday I did some chores and went out to a friend's cookout. I had a bloody mary early in the day, and 5 beers over the course of the night. Is it sad that I consider that not a lot? Like I definitely could have drank more. I ended out the day around 2,500 calories, which is good, but given that probably about half of that was from alcohol, maybe not so much.

 

Sunday I went to state fair. You can probably tell where this is going. I ate some deep-fried olives on a stick, a float with cotton candy flavored ice cream in beer (tastier than it sounds), italian beef mozzarella sticks (???) donuts with cannoli filling (!!!) and although that does sound like a lot, I was sharing all of it so it didn't end up being that bad. What WAS bad though, is coming home and ordering pizza. I ate way too much pizza, mostly because I didn't want to have leftovers. I was over 4,000 calories for the day, and even in spite of all Fitbit's trying to compensate with calories burnt walking around the fair grounds, it ended up still being about 1,000 calories surplus.

 

A number of challenges ago, I mentioned that I tend to do a lot of social things over weekends and I end up (sometimes binge) drinking and over-eating. There was a possibility proposed that my weekends were bad enough to completely counter my progress throughout the week. Having two or more events per weekend that lead to surplus is incredibly common, especially in the summer. The funny part is that I actually did watch myself for most of this one! I had way less to eat and drink over the course of the entire weekend than I would have had I not been actively thinking about it. In any case, if all my reporting is accurate (big if), I did end up at a deficit for the whole week, even if it was a smaller deficit than I might have hoped for. I still want the rest of the challenge weeks to go much better.

 

This week entails more car and schedule fuckery, but I'm going to try my best. I'm shooting for M-W-F workouts, plus maybe a conditioning day if I can squeeze it in anywhere. One upside of my schedule weirdness is getting an extra 1-2 hours of sleep in the morning, so I'm hoping I can leverage that to improve my sleeping patterns.

 

Maybe an unspoken reality of allowing myself some indulgences this weekend is that my car situation has soured my mood for most of the last week. I won't go on a big rant, but it's incredibly silly for someone in my field, who works entirely through the internet and has most meetings over skype, to have to spend such significant resources to transport my body from my home to an office building. Having to now spend a bunch of money to fix the vessel that exists only for this superfluous purpose seems impossibly stupid.

 

To end this post and start this week off on a brighter note, here's a song I actually got to see performed live at the music festival I mentioned at the beginning of this challenge. I'm feeling nostalgic for it already. I may have cried a little during this song at the show.

 

 

 

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On 8/2/2019 at 12:38 PM, Deckard Gainz said:

I'm disappointed that such seemingly minimal issues have such a profound effect on my ability to maintain focus on long-term goals. There are certainly ways I could have managed to work out this week, and eat better/less, yet, I just... didn't. I've been short-sighted, caught up in day-to-day minutae, rather than focusing on the big picture. Talking about the big picture is helpful, but I need something that I can carry with me in the moment. Or I need to meditate or something to be more present with my thoughts rather than drifting from distraction to distraction. 

 

4 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

Thanks, it's nice to hear. I actually get a lot of anxiety when every second of my day/week/life is all planned out, so I explicitly don't fully schedule out my time. Maybe my execution percentage would increase if I more formally scheduled out my activities, but I'd much rather rely on some other sort of mindfulness tactics than a rigid itinerary. I can't articulate why, but I spend so much of my life feeling like I'm on rails, or being herded down a single path, that trapping myself into more scheduling myself feels like self-sabotage. I am generally good at finding windows for high-priority activities like working out, but when I'm presented with adversity, I'm quicker than I'd like to drop activities that are still important to me. I think I can manage to improve that flaw with some other sorts of tactics, but I'm not entirely sure what they are yet.

 

So, when things get busy or difficult, you keep doing the most important things, but drop the moderately important things? I do that, too. At least, I drop the less-well-engrained habits while continue the deeply entrenched habits. If you don't want a rigid schedule, can you make a specific time of day to check in with yourself and ask "what's most important for me to accomplish with the rest of today"? Then, even if you're like "well I was going to play guitar but I really just feel like playing video games because I'm exhausted" then at least you primed yourself with the thought of playing guitar so the possibility is still there for next time. I think making a conscious choice to not do the tasks is better than just sliding into not doing them, somehow. IDK. Still working on it.

Mmmm. Social events and food/alcohol are difficult. By the time I'm in a restaurant, it's too late for me to exercise self control without a massive battle. And socialising without alcohol is exhausting. I did it yesterday because I agreed to go to a barbecue but I wanted to lift today, and more than one drink interrupts my sleep and poor sleep sabotages my lifting. So I drank kombucha like a hippy, and exerted myself mightily to make sober conversation with strangers. It was hard, but I wanted the OHP more than I wanted wine. Anyway, I haven't yet figured out how to master moderate social/restaurant consumption. My usual tactic is limiting social events and restaurants. But then I'm an introvert who actually wants to stay home alone anyway. 

 

4 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

it's incredibly silly for someone in my field, who works entirely through the internet and has most meetings over skype, to have to spend such significant resources to transport my body from my home to an office building. Having to now spend a bunch of money to fix the vessel that exists only for this superfluous purpose seems impossibly stupid.


We may all have to work from home to reduce greenhouse emissions in the future. Employers and managers will then be forced to spy on workers through their webcams to ensure they are actually working. Workers in response will perfect their no-meme-face. It's like a poker face but it's an expression of not-particularly-entertained concentration designed to prevent your boss from knowing if you're working or on social media. Also, the shoe industry will fail because we will all wear only socks as we work from home. The sum of pet dog happiness will rise as beloved humans spend more time at home. And forests will grow where the highways used to be. Wolves will return to Europe. And owls. There will be many, many owls. 

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On 7/29/2019 at 1:10 PM, Deckard Gainz said:

she assured me that attempting to work out at the same volume and intensity as you normally would is the way to go.

 

Where there's a will there's a way. I've seen a few people pull it off, one guy described it as mind over matter. My understanding is that you do the thing and hope you don't die

 

giphy.gif

 

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On 8/5/2019 at 2:54 PM, Deckard Gainz said:

Sunday I went to state fair. You can probably tell where this is going. I ate some deep-fried olives on a stick, a float with cotton candy flavored ice cream in beer (tastier than it sounds), italian beef mozzarella sticks (???) donuts with cannoli filling (!!!) and although that does sound like a lot, I was sharing all of it so it didn't end up being that bad. What WAS bad though, is coming home and ordering pizza. I ate way too much pizza, mostly because I didn't want to have leftovers. I was over 4,000 calories for the day, and even in spite of all Fitbit's trying to compensate with calories burnt walking around the fair grounds, it ended up still being about 1,000 calories surplus.

 

I don't see a creme puff in this list though...

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On 8/5/2019 at 7:23 PM, Harriet said:

If you don't want a rigid schedule, can you make a specific time of day to check in with yourself and ask "what's most important for me to accomplish with the rest of today"? Then, even if you're like "well I was going to play guitar but I really just feel like playing video games because I'm exhausted" then at least you primed yourself with the thought of playing guitar so the possibility is still there for next time.

 

Usually this is just chores and adulting shit if I'm being honest, and I tend to get all that stuff out of the way as soon as possible. I do regularly entertain the thoughts of more "productive" things I could be doing with my free time, but I struggle to execute.

 

On 8/5/2019 at 7:23 PM, Harriet said:

We may all have to work from home to reduce greenhouse emissions in the future. Employers and managers will then be forced to spy on workers through their webcams to ensure they are actually working. Workers in response will perfect their no-meme-face. It's like a poker face but it's an expression of not-particularly-entertained concentration designed to prevent your boss from knowing if you're working or on social media. Also, the shoe industry will fail because we will all wear only socks as we work from home. The sum of pet dog happiness will rise as beloved humans spend more time at home. And forests will grow where the highways used to be. Wolves will return to Europe. And owls. There will be many, many owls. 

 

Are you a David Foster Wallace fan at all? He's not for everyone, but there's a really good bit about the webcam thing specifically in Infinite Jest. He wrote this in the 90s before video conferencing was actually much of a thing, but he proposed that people's vanity would contort the process to the point that people would be using doctored video of themselves to make them look better/look like they're paying attention and so on. I found an excerpt; it's a bit long but completely hilarious in my opinion.

 

I wouldn't mind being spied on in exchange for not having to waste hours of my life in traffic. Though I might think differently about the way I choose to shovel popcorn into my face, or any other number of absurd things I probably do while working.

 

On 8/5/2019 at 7:25 PM, RedStone said:

Where there's a will there's a way. I've seen a few people pull it off, one guy described it as mind over matter. My understanding is that you do the thing and hope you don't die

 

I'm guessing you do things with the intention of matching a well-fed workout, but at a certain effort level, there will have to be some sort of sacrifice. It's just physics. If there is no decrease in performance, then the well-fed workout probably wasn't challenging enough.

 

21 hours ago, miss_marissa said:

I don't see a creme puff in this list though...

 

I just don't get that excited about creme puffs. I bought some the first year I went to the fair and that was enough for me. It's like $3 for maybe an ounce of pastry and a cubic foot of whipped cream. I'm for sure spoiled on this because my fiancé makes these mini cream puff balls with the cream injected into the choux (everything homemade of course). They are slightly larger than a golf ball, so much more manageable than the monstrous concoctions at the fair, and I prefer the much higher pastry-to-cream ratio. Also she drizzles some chocolate over them to completely seal the deal as the better version. Do you wonder why I can't lose weight?

 

Week 1

 

I will probably just update once for the week. I got to the gym Monday. I'm kind of all over the place with my workouts, and not really feeling inspired by anything. I've been creeping up in intensity over the past month or so, currently approaching my lifetime 5rms and not really feeling any stronger than I was a year and a half ago. I also weigh more than I did then, so I'm effectively at a net negative for all these months of work. I like the idea of being stronger and leaner, I would settle for one or the other, but neither is kind of disheartening. Is all of this effort just what it takes to break even?

 

Tuesday was a farewell session for one of my gaming groups as the GM moves to CA. I drank some whiskey which cranked up my calories to about 2,600 (total, not in whiskey alone). That's high for what I'm shooting for, but still probably close to my TDEE. Aside from that bit of social drinking, I have stayed under 2,000 for the rest of the week. I had a big lunch today and will probably end up right around my comfort zone of 2,250 cals.

 

I finally got my car back after work yesterday. I did not work out. I'm going tonight. I'm going to make an effort to go on Saturday to get my 3 days in this week, but weekend workouts rarely pan out. I suppose that's all I have for now. Feeling a little listless in so many aspects of life recently; seeing practically no positive results from all my health and fitness activities seems to fit right in, but doesn't soften the blow. Sorry.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

Are you a David Foster Wallace fan at all? He's not for everyone, but there's a really good bit about the webcam thing specifically in Infinite Jest. He wrote this in the 90s before video conferencing was actually much of a thing, but he proposed that people's vanity would contort the process to the point that people would be using doctored video of themselves to make them look better/look like they're paying attention and so on. I found an excerpt; it's a bit long but completely hilarious in my opinion.

 

Lol, that excerpt was bizarre and interesting. I might look up the book. 
 

4 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

I got to the gym Monday. I'm kind of all over the place with my workouts, and not really feeling inspired by anything. I've been creeping up in intensity over the past month or so, currently approaching my lifetime 5rms and not really feeling any stronger than I was a year and a half ago. I also weigh more than I did then, so I'm effectively at a net negative for all these months of work. I like the idea of being stronger and leaner, I would settle for one or the other, but neither is kind of disheartening. Is all of this effort just what it takes to break even?

 

Do you think you are reaching the limits of your strength potential, or that something else is going wrong? I keep reading that we can't continue lifting forever and that gains eventually slow down to nearly nothing, but I guess most people never get to that point. Are there any other sports you're interested in? Maybe learning something new can help with the plateau-induced listlessness... something more technique based where you can put effort in and see rapid improvements, like, um, tennis or something? 

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18 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

Feeling a little listless in so many aspects of life recently; seeing practically no positive results from all my health and fitness activities seems to fit right in, but doesn't soften the blow. 

 

Don't apologise, sometimes the most we can do is keep things consistent in challenging times! But also, progress is never linear - maybe you'll see a 'whoosh' week in the next little while. And recovery/rest/taking a break shouldn't be discounted either - it's possible that stress & anxiety are masking your progress for now, and it will reveal itself in time. At the end of the day though, we can't force our bodies to respond - we can no control over the outcome. We can only keep on keeping on, and focusing on our actions (which we CAN control). You've got this.

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On 8/8/2019 at 8:12 PM, Harriet said:

Lol, that excerpt was bizarre and interesting. I might look up the book. 

 

Full disclosure: I only got a little over halfway through it before setting it down, and I haven't picked it up or read any other books since. It kind of killed my desire to read anything. I may have been more receptive to the profound cynicism of that book in my younger years, but while I find it entertaining, that type of writing just drains me these days. Maybe it was just really edgy to be a cynical asshole in the 90s when all the fat and happy boomers were oblivious to the consequences of their actions, but it just doesn't have the same punch when half of what he wrote is already worse in real life now than it was in his attempt at dystopian exaggeration.

 

On 8/8/2019 at 8:12 PM, Harriet said:

Do you think you are reaching the limits of your strength potential, or that something else is going wrong?

 

I highly doubt it. My napkin math suggests I have at least 10 more lbs of muscle I can grow onto my frame, and around 70 lbs of fat I could shed off of it. Again, either would be fine, neither is not. I'm definitely doing some things wrong.

 

On 8/8/2019 at 8:12 PM, Harriet said:

Are there any other sports you're interested in? Maybe learning something new can help with the plateau-induced listlessness... something more technique based where you can put effort in and see rapid improvements, like, um, tennis or something?

 

It's funny you should mention tennis as I do have some courts by my house that I've been meaning to get out and play on (I've been in my house for 5 years...), but I have no intention of being competitive or "getting good." I have felt a little spark of inspiration to check out a local martial arts place (BJJ) but I haven't done it yet. I'm being a little stingy since I already pay for a fairly pricey gym membership, but they have a free trial so it's not that great of an excuse.

 

On 8/9/2019 at 10:10 AM, Defining said:

Don't apologise

 

I was being a little extra melodramatic and I wanted to post that song. I do go through some moments of being upset about things like that but in the grand scheme of things I'm doing pretty well on stress and self-confidence. I do focus mostly on elements within my control. Eating food is definitely within my control. Having the time and energy to work out, a little less so, depending on the situation. More on that in my update.

 

Week(end) 1

 

I worked out Thursday, had drinks and junk food and stuff on Friday and Saturday, and tried to get back on track Sunday. I took my dogs to the dog park and walked a few miles with them, did a bunch of cleaning and chore cardio, and smoked some chicken wings that I thought turned out pretty good. This week I've got some house projects that I'd like to get working on and I'm helping some friends move, so gym time might be limited again. I'm hoping to get 2 days in this week, which seems to be the new normal. I'm hoping all the junk I have to do around my house gives me a good enough cardio workout to feel good about it, and I think it will. I'm not posting my tasks in advance because I'm not sure what all I'll get to, but I'll update later with my progress.

 

In other news, I'm more or less accepting the reality that I haven't been working hard enough to see the progress I want, and that I may not be able to fully focus on that for a while, or maybe ever. At the very least though, winter seems to be a better time to focus on health and fitness, when all the social events calm down. Until then, I'm letting the days go by.

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Deckard Gainz said:

 

Full disclosure: I only got a little over halfway through it before setting it down, and I haven't picked it up or read any other books since. It kind of killed my desire to read anything. I may have been more receptive to the profound cynicism of that book in my younger years, but while I find it entertaining, that type of writing just drains me these days. Maybe it was just really edgy to be a cynical asshole in the 90s when all the fat and happy boomers were oblivious to the consequences of their actions, but it just doesn't have the same punch when half of what he wrote is already worse in real life now than it was in his attempt at dystopian exaggeration.

 

 

I highly doubt it. My napkin math suggests I have at least 10 more lbs of muscle I can grow onto my frame, and around 70 lbs of fat I could shed off of it. Again, either would be fine, neither is not. I'm definitely doing some things wrong.

 

 

It's funny you should mention tennis as I do have some courts by my house that I've been meaning to get out and play on (I've been in my house for 5 years...), but I have no intention of being competitive or "getting good." I have felt a little spark of inspiration to check out a local martial arts place (BJJ) but I haven't done it yet. I'm being a little stingy since I already pay for a fairly pricey gym membership, but they have a free trial so it's not that great of an excuse.

 


Ah. Well, I have a long list of things to read, so maybe it doesn't need to go to the top.

Oh, you can maths that shit? How much muscle can I get? Wait, don't answer that. I prefer to lift in hope. Sigh, I also feel like I'm spinning my wheels re: body composition. But I'm just not prepared to go hungry ever again. I'm done with diets, possibly for the rest of my life, so it's my own fault if I'm not thinner. But why am I not growing muscle? Oh well, I suppose as long as I'm getting stronger something is happening, and one day it will show up on my figure. That or I will just grow old and stop giving a frack how I look. Whichever comes first.

Oh yeah, you should totally join the growing number of lifting/martial arts dual-classers. I also balked at the high price of TKD classes, especially since it's at the same gym where I already have a pricy membership. But I guess taekwondo instructors need to eat, too. It's been worth it so far. It's nice to be able to see one's technique improving over time. It's also less brutally honest than the iron. TKD never says "you are slightly worse this week than last week".

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On 8/12/2019 at 4:34 PM, Harriet said:

Oh, you can maths that shit?

 

Eh you know, kind of but not really. Bodies are complex, yadda yadda. Not sure if that covers gender differences or any of that. Actually re-skimming that, my number is probably more like 15 lbs of muscle than the 10 I said earlier, but I still think my 70ish lbs of fat is probably a higher priority from an overall health perspective.

 

Week... 2?

Monday

 

Monday I went and picked up a bunch of stuff at the hardware store that I need to tinker with all week to fix some stuff in my house. Then I grilled some burgers and asparagus, and went and watched the new Spiderman movie. I liked it. I ate a bunch of buttered popcorn. By my estimates though, ended up right around 2,250 cals. Not bad.

 

Tuesday

 

I had a lot I wanted to get done so I just did 2 quick compounds at home: some heavy DLs and light-ish OHP. Then I replaced a board on my fence gate and reinstalled the gate latch on it. The gate is pretty old and the old gate latch was destroying the old, rotten piece of wood it was mounted to, so I redid the whole thing, which took maybe an hour or so. The other order of business was that the washing machine hose is a little too short, and it's mounted to my utility sink so it doesn't fall out, so when the machine runs, it shapes the whole apparatus and the pipes bang around and it's all-around annoying. So I tore the whole machine apart only to realize my replacement hose was not only the exact same length (I didn't realize half the hose was buried inside the thing), but it was also the wrong fitting size. So after over an hour of tearing the thing apart and putting it back together, I settled on just clamping my new hose to the end of the old one and crossing my fingers that it doesn't leak. We'll see. Did you know a 4 foot hose extension is like $30? For a 4 foot plastic tube. Eff that, friends. Anyway by the time all these shenanigans were done I had a little over an hour before bed, so I scarfed some leftover popcorn and guac and some of my smoked chicken wings. Also I had some granola and yogurt with lunch, so calories were pretty high in and pretty high out today. Total was around 2,750, but for what it's worth, Fitbit gave me an extra 1,000 calories to work with from all my efforts. The yardio burn is real... maybe. Yardio is a word I made up to mean yardwork cardio, which extends to all chores in or out of the house. Anyway.

 

Wednesday

 

I helped a friend move, a friend who has A Lot Of Shit. I was there for over 4 hours, just packing the truck one way. I ate some pizza and drank some beer, the classic "helping a friend move" diet. Again, I was done with about an hour before bed, and again I ate some more chicken wings, because I have lots of wings to eat still, and I was just feeling ravenous. This time though, all that stuff put me over the edge, even with Fitbit's 950 calorie adjustment, by which I mean I had over 3,000 calories total. I started watching Futureman at the recommendation of some friends I trust. It's better than the ads made it seem, which was really bad, but I have yet to really develop an opinion on it. Also, I registered a couple spots for WoW classic. Getting hype!

 

Tonight will be more hard labor and more chicken wings. This week has a theme for sure. 

 

Spoilering this one because it's abrasive and angry but relevant at points. I have just been feeling a little gritty and rough around the edges the past few days. Rock on.
 

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

 

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