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Thanks for taking the time to write all this stuff out. It's very interesting, and helpful.  Do I understand you correctly to say you eat at a deficit of 1,000 to 2,000 calories? What about for someone smaller that has less calories to begin with. My maintenance is around 1,800, if I work out and walk.

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No, not 2000.   1200 on the higher days.  A lot of that though is coming from exercise.  If I eat at a smaller deficit and just ignore the existence of exercise, I'm actually running a rather large deficit, 750-1K.  Some days its higher though.  It usually takes me until Thursday to start seeing a cut on the tape, by then I'm 3K or so calories in

 

To some degree dieting is about willpower, the larger the deficit the harder it becomes.  When that day is one in a seemingly endless continuum its hard to have many of those great days where you skip the snacks and really give good effort.  But when monday is raising cals day, its so much easier to pass on something today.

 

When I have more time tomorrow I'm going to write out my workouts, but its been amazing, I moved the time forward a couple of hours, I've had way more time and feel like I'm a little stronger that time of the day.

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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18 hours ago, Waldo said:

The hormonal effects we are interested in countering primarily is the drop in Leptin.  Leptin is a happy signal.  When your body is producing it its happy, you're not starving.  Leptin is produced by bodyfat.  Bodyfat is in fact an endocrine organ, and Leptin is one of its products.  As your body fat drops lower and lower, all of a sudden its not able to produce as much Leptin and needs strong signals to produce.  What tells your bodyfat to produce Leptin?  Carbs.  Gylocgen in the muscles, insulin in the blood.

 

Refeeds are a form of hacking thyself where you take in a huge jolt of rapidly available non-fructose carbs.  It'll all get quickly sucked into the muscles and burned up, however as the process occurs your body will send out a Leptin pulse that will last a few days.

 

Odd question that popped into my head, but do you have any knowledge around keto and how that affects leptin? Just a question that popped into my head reading this and wondering how that worked when burning properly ketones. Based on what you're saying I would assume it would stay low, but I'd be curious about cases where people are doing diets with like 75% fat (so they are basically staying in ketosis with low amounts of carbs) and they are still at caloric maintenance or surplus. 

Probably mostly irrelevant, but it popped into my head.

 

18 hours ago, Waldo said:

A 2 week diet + 1 week break rinse repeat is almost bulletproof when it comes to hormonal side effects, no matter the deficit size or how lean you are.

....

That last point is very important for diet breaks.  A good diet break (for the purposes of an undulating diet) should be a surplus and carb heavy.  The key item you are trying to achieve is to refill all of your bodies carb stores, which is most efficiently done when energy positive.  It can be a bit unnerving, weight is going to shoot up, but you'd need like 3K+ calories of surplus to see any noticable fat gain.


So your recommendations during your breaks are make sure to consume extra carbs per day, but keep calories within 1k of maintenance?

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I try to eat a surplus every day, but not particularly large (there are days it is large though).  But I do want a big chunk of increased cals to come from carbs.

 

Bodyfat itself is what makes leptin, when you have a lot of it the signaling doesn't matter, the body produces plenty.  Its not a straight on-off logic circuit, its like a faucet that still runs a little when off, only when the pressure in the pipe drops does the faucet stop dripping, in this pressure head = body fat level, while carb intake controls the spigot, high enough intake and it opens.  Keto diets in general are not very effective as you get to lower bodyfat levels, the main early side effect of dropping leptin is that your body becomes a whole lot less gentile at reminding you that you should eat something, you'll be hungry outside of typical meal times and get it extra intense before regular meal times.  Keto diets though are apparently quite effective though for short undulations when lean as they mobilize stubborn fat better, but this is a problem for people at 9% trying to get to 8%.  Remember the rule I said about 2 weeks being about the fastest leptin can drop no matter the situation.  Workouts apparently fall apart to total crap fast, but that doesn't matter for a situational peaking diet.

 

Starting this week I changed my workout start time from 1030 (ha, 1045) to 815, right after the youngest kids door is closed for the night.  That is where it used to be back when I joined NF long ago, it drifted later and later, especially in recent years.  It seems so obvious to me now, but we get so set in our ways that something like this is hard to come up with.  Here I've been trying to gain an extra few minutes for workouts late at night, whereas I waste a bunch of time surfing the net and playing video games just after the kids go to bed.  I just needed to change the order of things, truly prioritize workouts and do it first in my free time.  Now I have plenty of time to add additional sets or do accessories.  I'm still going to run later, its f-in hot outside here in the ATL, big difference when its well after dark.

 

Workout Log - 7.25.22

 

Heavy Bag - 12 min

7 min without gloves, 5 min with

 

Pistol Squat

+15 slam ball - 5/5

16" box - 5/5

+15 slam ball - 10-/10-

I had another rep in me but lost balance in the hole on the left that last set.

 

Deadlift

135 x 3

245 x 3

335 x 3-

355 x 3+

375 x 2+

Added a rep at 375.  My old pos bar has some good bend going on at 375

 

Romanian Deadlift

205 x 8-

Had time to add an extra set of these

 

Workout Log - 7.26.22

 

Bench Press

135 x 10

185 x 5-

205 x 3-

225 x 3+, 3+

185 x 7F, 8+

Hands were too wide on that first 185 set.  Added an extra set at 225.  New bench arrived so I got to try it out, love it.

 

Ring Front Lever

Tuck Hold - 15

Open Tuck Hold - 15

One Leg Hold - 5 sec x 2, 5 sec x 2, 3 sec x 3

Tuck Row - 13+, 12+

Geez, added time to my one leg holds. Added an extra one leg set.  Added a rep to each row set.  That 3 sec to 5 sec jump is pretty significant; a 3 second hold is not a strong hold, you have it for a little bit, and its definitely not a negative (whereas a 1 sec hold...), but your hold is brief.  5 seconds is a much stronger hold with better form; it just feels easier.

 

EZ Bar Curl

89 x 6+, 6+, 6+

Yeah, I got that extra rep on all sets

 

DB Raises

Front - 12 x 10, 11

Side - 8 x 10, 12

Rear - 12 x 10, 12

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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I've been hitting the breakfast cereal hard, it is a break week.   Holy cow did I get the tired & sore effect this break.  I've still never seen anything written about this effect but I've experienced it many times.  Raising cals seems to trigger a different type of recovery with higher recovery load than there is when cutting.  I get sleepy and unusually strong doms.  You get used to it and it fades as you sustain maintenance+, but at first its really noticeable.  This time its particularly strong, I wonder if that means another jump in lean mass is coming.  Thus far the scale has gone up, but not that far (201.6, 202.0).  Curious to see what the tape is going to say tomorrow.

 

Workout Log - 7.27.22

 

Run 2.91 mi in 36.53, 12:40 pace

Lol, I even tried running faster.  This is pitiful.  It was hot, but its been hot and I've been a lot faster than this.  The arch of my right foot was kind of sore, but I don't think that it affected the run.  It didn't seem like something running would make worse, I chalked it up to raising cal soreness.

 

Workout Log - 7.28.22

 

Heavy Bag - 20 min

6 minutes with gloves in the middle.  Spent extra time on the bag tonight.

 

Pistol Squat

+15 slam ball - 8-/8-

 

Front Squat

135 x 5

185 x 5-

195 x 5-, 5*, 3-

That last rep barely made it set 2 at 195.  Didn't push it the last set.

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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Big jump in lean mass this week.  The excessive soreness and tiredness was a clue.  Just like the break 6 weeks ago, basically every muscle group ticked up in size, and all are as big or bigger than they got to 6 weeks ago (some lost a little since), including chest and upper thigh, which both have a contribution from fat and should shrink.  I'm showing about 6 lbs of lean mass gain since I started measuring in early May.  Though those calcs are made purely with waist measurements and scale data, its absolutely backed up measurements of muscles themselves, my legs have gained 3/4" and 1/2", my arms each gained 1/2", chest and shoulders 1/2".  Heck even forearms and calves have gained 3/8".

 

The diet plan I've been doing has been super effective for recomp; I'm slowly losing weight, but losing fat at a much faster rate and gaining muscle.  I wonder if this still would work if I was at a muscle mass apex, as opposed to still smaller than I was at one time.  Though I'm getting pretty darn close, at least in the upper body.

 

I made some travel plans for work in a couple months, and it occurred to me I'll be able to visit a couple places of interest on my family tree.  My brother does the same thing as Rooks, doing the national park bucket list.  I've never really thought about something like that, but a desire to visit places of interest in my family tree is something that I've always been interested in.  My moms side of the family has done visiting the old country trips.  Its something worth doing that I want to do, it seems like I should formalize it into more of a goal.  Part one would be coming up with a list of places of interest.

 

But I'll get to check off a couple big ones; the earliest known NA immigrants in my tree are from the 1630 Winthrop fleet,  the ship I can trace to landed in the Salem area.  I have two completely separate branches with roots in the 1630's Salem area, definitely want to see the harbor.  One of those branches that goes back to early Salem includes one of the girls accused of witchcraft, so I'm also interested in seeing where that happened.

 

A few other places that definitely make this list include: New York City (manhattan+harlem), Amsterdam, and Saratoga, but I can surely come up with a lot more.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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Back from the most recent challenge

 

I'm going to get a thread going in the next challenge, but figured the log was due an update.

 

I stopped cutting during the last challenge and have been at maintenance for the last 2 weeks.  Well maintenance+, I think my maintenance is 2500-2600.  Historically it was around 2700.  I've been at 2700 calories, and counting cals like a hawk to be sure.  This week I'm raising to 2800 cals and plan to leave it there a while. Weight had a low point around 196.  I've been just over 200 the last couple days, scale average is stabilizing in the 199 area.  Tape around the waist hasn't moved at all.

 

I planned out both my diet schedule and strength workouts for the rest of the year last challenge.

 

Diet Plan

 

Today - 11/6: calorie surplus (9 weeks)

11/7 - 11/20: cut (2 weeks)

11/21 - 11/27: diet break (1 week)

11/28 - 12/11: cut (2 weeks)

12/12 - 12/23: maintain and recover (1.5 weeks)

12/24: beach

 

Workout Plan

 

Pretty much 5/3/1 with 5x10 add on accessories.

 

Monday

 Heavy Bag

 Pistols

   Medicine Ball Pistol (1@amrap)

   Plyo Pistol (1@ amrap)

 Deadlift (5/3/1)

 RDL (3x10)

 

Tuesday

 Bench (5/3/1)

 DB Bench (5x10)

 Ring Front Lever

  Isometric Hold (3x)

  Lever Rows (3x)

 Bicep Curl (3x10)

 DB Shoulder Raises and External Rotations (2x10)

 

Thursday

 Heavy Bag

 Front Squat (5/3/1)

 Front Squat (2x5)

 DB Box Pistol (3x10)

 

Friday

 Kneeling OHP (5/3/1)

 Seated DB OHP (2x10)

 45 Incline DB Bench (3x10)

 Pullups (lots)

  Chest to Bar

  Weighted

  Pyramid

 DB Bicep Curl (2x10)

 Wrist Circuit

   DB Wrist/Finger Curls (2x10)

   DB Reverse Wrist Curls (2x10)

   Broomstick wrist rotations (2x10)

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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Back to my battle thread from the previous challenge.

 

I decided to sit this challenge out; I've gotten really bad at updating, if I had a goal that was it.  I'm in the groove with workouts and diet.  Currently gaining for another 2 weeks, then I'm going to start cutting for the beach at Christmas.  Bulk started out slow but I've made gains the last few weeks.  Looking forward to a wrap up post.

 

Part of the reason I've gotten so bad at updating is the time that I used to do it I'm working out instead.  531+5x10, what I've been doing as a gaining workout plan, has been taking me about 90 min per workout.  Hitting it hard.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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Entering the final week of gaining here.  I'm up almost 10 lbs total.  Definitely feeling fat, I've noticably lost definition in the stomach.    Measurements this week show I'm up 1/2" in the waist now, and gaining size at 1/8" per week.  I'm very much ready to begin cutting mentally.

 

That said, what a great week of measurements.  I've gained about 7 lbs total this bulk, of that 5 of it is lean mass.  Now I expect that 2-3 lbs of that is transient (stuff in guts, extra glycogen, etc...), but still I've definitely gained a couple pounds of muscle mass, which is borne out in measurements and workout performance.  Just about everywhere gained this week, chest and upper legs saw big gains.  It was an anti-whoosh, scale went up and muscles notably inflated.  Within the last couple weeks I've gone from thinking the extra chest targeting isn't helping much and I'm barely gaining there, to maybe my measurements aren't capturing it because it looks and feels like I'm making chest gains (and I've gotten notably stronger), to there's no way the tape isn't going to jump, my chest looks and feels huge, and it did.  I've always been a chest hard gainer (my good measurements have always been the product of my upper back), this past couple weeks has literally been the most noticeable change I've ever seen, by a lot.  Ofc my quads are gaining at a good clip, but that happens every time I bulk.

 

Something I realized looking at measurement data - My upper arms unflexed now are bigger than they were at the end (not beginning) of my first bulk when flexed.  My chest relaxed is bigger now than it was fully flexed at the end of my 3rd bulk.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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I did the last round of measurements for my bulk today.  Instead of waiting until Monday to start cutting, I'm going to go ahead and just start now.  I've been deloading this week, not lifting at all, hopefully to get rid of the golfers elbow that still is hanging on.  Last week it started to outright hurt, which at least is a sign its healing.  Feels a whole lot better, but then again it also did last deload, but it came back with a vengeance once I hit the weights again.  At least with cutting, I'm going to drop out the extra volume and just do an extra set or two after the 5/3/1 block in my workouts, so that should help.  I also incremented my training max (for 5/3/1 calcs) to just under my PR on all exercises, a decent jump from last round, changing to a strength focus for cutting.  I dropped counting cals when traveling for work this past week, I don't think I'm going to bother again until after the holidays, I don't need to to cut.

 

This bulk was the 8th one I've done.  It was 10 weeks since I raised cals.  Its actually shockingly similar to the 3rd bulk I did, back in 2013, both in results and what I was doing before I was bulking (long cut).  I gained very similar amounts in almost every measurement between the two.  I do consider that one one of the best I did, so I expect that this one too will look good in hindsight.

 

Overall I was at it 10 weeks.  Gained 9.2 lbs.  Gained 3/4" in the waist.  Works out to about 6 lbs lean mass, 3 lbs fat, a 2:1 ratio.

My chest gained 1.1" flexed, 3/4" unflexed

My upper arms gained 3/8" each flexed/unflexed

My forearms gained around 1/4" each

My upper legs gained around 1" each

My quads gained around 1/2" each

My calves gained 3/8" each

I really notice it in the mirror in the chest.

 

I'll lose some of it here when I cut, but a good chunk should persist.  All n all pretty awesome results, especially now that I'm 9 years older and theoretically shouldn't be able to gain like the young 'uns (should be noted tho that only now am I returning to the max amount of muscle mass I previously had, its easier to regain than build the first time).

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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I'm supposed to be starting a diet break today, wrapping up a short cut to get me back to the waist measurement I was at when I started bulking, but I'm still 1/8" up so am going to give it (at least) another day.  Cutting this round has moved slower than I've expected, I haven't been counting cals but I also haven't been excessively snacking, I should be losing at a pretty good clip.  Last weekend we went to a party, drank quite a bit, that has messed with weight and measurements, even worked out of the system it seems to have delayed things cutting-wise.  But it was fun, we all pooled our kids together with a sitter elsewhere; its been years since I was more than moderately drunk, and it was neat to learn that basically everyone we know (kids friends parents) hit the herb as well, I am by no means an outlier.

 

Either way though I'm pretty much at my intermediate goal point, to get back to the same amount of body fat as I was at when I started bulking.  This has been a weird cut in that I haven't paid that much attention to it physically in the mirror (not helping that its darn cold, too cold to be shirtless long), but when I do its been a pretty big change in a short time.  Unflexed abs are right there, just peeking through.   Scale has been up though, not sure what to make of it yet, where it settles, but it seems like I gained 6 lbs of lean mass.

 

I do think that bulking made the fat deposits look a bit nicer at this waist.  Can't see the abs as well, but less around the belly button and love handles; I think time evens out the stubborn deposits a bit.

 

After this break I'm set to do another 2-3 week cut to get next level lean then its off to the beach.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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I ended up raising cals yesterday even though the tape around the waist has been stubborn at 32.6", 1/8" up from my target.  Technically that is where I was when I raised cals at the end of summer, I dropped another 1/8" early on raising cals.  Even though that measure was the same, I checked a few others in the waist and all were showing 1/8-1/4" loss since more complete measurements last Fri, and some are smaller than they were when I started bulking.  Either way I'm pretty confident I'm within 1/2 lb of fat mass of where I was when I started bulking.

 

The cut hasn't been hard so I've questioned why I'm raising cals, but I know a break now sets up week #3 next round and I could cut into week #4, the end of that being the end of cutting until spring comes around.  But I think I could pretty easily have kept going another week or two.  But I expect to be ready to get back at it Monday.

 

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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And I am back at it on the cutting train starting yesterday.

 

No damages from the diet break, waist measurements are where they were when I started.  I have a boss level scenario set up again like the end of the summer, I can overrun an extra week or two, but there is a terminus, the cut is a short and intense finale.  I'm basically at where I was when I stopped cutting at the end of the summer; it didn't make much sense to reach peak leanness in October, ready to push on to the next level now.  I'm sort of at that middle ground where I have both a bit of spare tire and somewhat all the time visible abs.  Hopefully in the next 3 weeks the spare tire shrinks to nothing and the abs get sharper, and I can throw down a marker for future cutting goals; if not that sets up some wonderful spring goals.

 

The scale is still surprisingly high, the peak during the diet break is 2 lbs lighter than the peak while bulking.  206 last night.  Low during the last cutting round was 204.2.  I don't have any scale goals, but I'd like to end up 200-202.  Be nice to see 19X.X again once.

 

Golfers elbow is still an issue, so I'm going to further modify and stop all bent arm pulling (pullups).  Instead I'll just train front lever both upper body days until its gone.  Its so frustrating how slow this is to heal.  I haven't punched my heavy bag or done any weighted pullups in months.

 

Workout-wise when I was bulking I followed the pattern 3-5-1-break-3-5-1-break.  But I was also adding on 5x10 after the 531 workout so doing huge volume.  Cutting I've followed the same pattern but dropped the break; this week is supposed to be a break week if doing single cycles but I'm doing a double (3-5-1-3-5-1-break).  I also dropped the 5x10 work and have been strictly doing the 531 barbell work, with an extra peak set.

 

I incremented the training max of all my 531 lifts 10 lbs this cycle.  I started out at 80% of 1RM for a training max when I started bulking (I was less focused on strength than volume when bulking).  Last cycle I brought all training maxes up to 5 lbs under my 1RM.  Now I incremented all to 5 lbs over.  The plan is to retest my 1RM's the final week before Christmas.  Last week I hit 4's on my amrap final set on all lifts but OHP, where I hit 7, so a 10 lb increment to training max should be workable.  I've made a ton of progress on OHP, I feel like I'm going to crush my 1RM when I retest.

 

Its starting to get cold.  My lungs don't like running in cold air, so when its under 50 I ride the spin bike instead; its been a couple weeks now since I last ran outside.

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currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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Like usual, Thursday was when the first hints of cutting came through.  Friday's measurements were almost exactly the same as last week, with the exception that waist measurements were 1/8 to 1/4" smaller.  Saturday I had big time squishy fat going on, but the scale was high, yesterday the scale dropped and stomach firmed up.  Both yesterday and today I've been feeling leaner.  So things are moving right along full speed.  My snack avoiding motivation is super high.  On the downside, my body is definitely starting to figure out that I need to eat something.  The question is how long I go.

 

During last Friday's workout it occurred to me that I've made quite a bit of front lever progress, I'm starting to work it twice as much as I'm waiting for my elbows to heal, and historically I make big gains on the front lever when cutting; it is becoming entirely within the sphere of feasibility that I hold a full layout front lever before I leave for the beach.  I've been doing the one leg variant for while now for peak sets; I realized my continuous hold time was up near 15s and I should move on.  Sure enough, I can hold it for a few seconds each side with one full leg the other knee at 90 degrees (same position as open tuck hold).  There is only one more intermediate step, one leg full one bent at the knee, before full layout.  I got slightly closer than I am now in early 2014 before I moved, but losing 3-4 lbs in the next 2 weeks (even if some is water weight) could cause a good jump.  I had written off ever holding a full front lever, despite training it I didn't ever expect to make it to a full hold, its just a lat and ab exercise, but holy cow if I pull this off.

 

I did try a full front lever on Friday and it was still a fairly uncontrolled negative, but firing the abs right is going to take some practice (and strengthening).  Definitely not going to get a full layout without a bunch of negatives first.

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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Less than 2 weeks now to the beach.  I definitely have the motivation to push through one more week of cutting.  Definitely not happy with where I am as a stopping place, too much belly softness.

 

Measurements of progress have been disappointing this whole cut, it finally occurred to me today what's going on.  The spring in my tape is quite worn out; the way I was able to measure at the start of my bulk was very different than now, stronger pull on the spring and summer "sticky" skin (tape has no stick when cold and skin is cold).  I knew I was doing it too when I do Fri measurements, to do the bi-delt measurement and upper chest measurement I usually start by pulling the tape just about all the way out, that wears out the spring really fast.  I got a new tape last spring so my measurements before bulking were with a fresh tape.  Ordered a new one, should be here in a couple of days.  I also ordered a skinfold calipers, not sure why I haven't in the past, another data point; I understand how they work and whatnot quite well, should be a solid way to track progress.  Right now, at a leanness peak, is the time to do it.

 

I've been doing a really good job cutting this cut, the fat should be flying off, and I think it is.  The scale is doing the same thing it did last cutting round, fast loss followed by a stall.  Squishy fat cycles have gotten super quick,   I've only been leaner than this once (in 2017), the big memory I have of it is how my belly button disappears, and how quickly that happens.  I do have a tape measure around the waist # from then, either way I'm less than 1" away, but really think I'm closer.  Belly button has really started to shrink, esp when standing. 

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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The cut here has petered out; headed to the beach in 3 days.  I'm not entirely happy with my end point.  Overall the cut went slower than more recent ones, all measures of progress moved, just not at much as I'd like.  I'm definitely leaner than I was at the end of the summer; fat mass is lower than it was by about 2-2.5 lbs, lean mass is up about 5.5 lbs.  The overall effect is every strong, however I do tend to myopically focus on abs and there is still too much softness there.   I think shoulders and upper chest are where I notice the extra mass most, a big win as that's what I wanted the bulk to go.  Its going to be cold at the beach so I'm not sure how much it matters, would be kinda lame to get all ripped then never take my shirt off, lol.

 

My new tape and calipers did nothing to resolve the issue that the cut just went too slow.  I lost 5/8" in the waist in just over 3 weeks.  Not bad, but I'm used to hitting that amount in 2 weeks.  And I feel like I was cutting hard, I was shooting for more than 1" lost.  Ah well.  Body fat % estimate from the calipers is 13.1%, though there seems to be a fair bit of variability there (time of day and hydration level seem to affect skinfold thickness a bit, along with the "whoosh" cycle).  It doesn't seem to be as useful as the tape for day to day tracking, but does go well with my Fri measuring routine.  Muscle measurements have mostly held up through the cuts; I ended my bulk the week of Halloween and its now almost Christmas.

 

Overall this has been a pretty awesome year.  It was on my Christmas trip last year that I decided to hop back on the wagon I was falling off of again and I came up with a battle plan.  The plan was refined and evolved through the year but still was the same plan and my effort sticking to it was excellent.  I really look forward to my workouts and my kids notice, oldest one has even shown some interest (albiet minimal).  In sum total I'm only about 10 lbs lighter than I was last Christmas, but its more like 30 lbs less fat and 20 lbs more muscle

 

This week I'm retesting my barbell maxes.  At the end of the summer, when I stopped cutting and raised cals, I tested my barbell maxes then started doing the 531 program, with a pretty low starting TM, so that I haven't lifted weights anything like my maxes since those end of summer tests, last week's peak sets were the only even close since.  Its interesting to see the progress of my max, weights I haven't lifted in months.
 

Thus far:

Deadlift: 385 -> 405

Bench Press: 235 -> 250

(last test was the final week of Aug, so its been 3.5 months)

 

My deadlift PR was 425 way back in 2016, so I'm not there yet, but my bench has been at all time PR level since 235 at the end of summer.  Pretty stoked I can put up 250 on the bench; I failed the first rep but gave it another go and made it past the hard point.

 

In general the plan after Christmas is going to be to bulk, with the next peak lean target being mid-May, the start of pool season.  I haven't given the details much thought though yet, but I expect to return home from the beach with a plan.

 

I did not achieve a hold of a full layout full lever.  I tried. I've been doing half layout holds (straight to knees but knees bent) for time so I'm close.  A little bit stronger and a little bit lighter and I'm there.  I'm able to control a full layout negative to about 30 degrees, even a bit less.

 

Switching to no bent arm pulling has definitely helped the elbows, they have noticeably improved, but are still nowhere near 100%.  This has been an absurdly slow recovery.

 

  • Like 1

currently cutting

battle log challenges: 21,20, 19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

don't panic!

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