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Ivan: Building a Better Beast


Ivan

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Background:

 

Back in April, I was your classic "skinny-fat". With my clothes on, I looked normal, slender even. But at 5'10" I weighed 163 lbs and had a body fat percentage of 21%. I decided I wanted to do something about that and began the Starting Strength lifting program, as well as tracking my calories to run at a gentle deficit.

 

I now weigh 147 lbs, and have a body fat percentage of 12%. I want to go lower, but I also want to put on some actual muscle before dropping the remaining 2-3% body fat. Although I have been lifting regularly, my age (mid 30s) and calorie deficit have meant that my gains were anemic, and my recovery times poor.

 

 

Main quest:

 

I will build strength and muscle, while keeping my body fat percentage low.

 

I will do this by:

 

1) Submitting a Form Check video of each of my squat, deadlift, bench press and overhead press to the Form Check forum. I need to make sure that I'm exercising safely and effectively!

 

2) Adopting a LeanGains style approach to eating, which means tracking my calories AND my macros to ensure that I am getting enough protein to build muscle. My goal is one gram of protein per pound of body mass per day (147g/day).

 

3) Adopting a LeanGains style three day split routine that focuses on the basic lifts while giving my body enough time to recover between workouts.

 

Note: I have a pre-booked family holiday from in early August, and I am exempting myself from my quest for this period!

 

I like binary results, so I'm going to keep the tracking simple. Each week, I'll update this thread with a progress report, and, each day, for each quest, I'll get either a 1 or a 0, depending on whether I did, or did not, do what I said I would do. At the end of the challenge, I'll look at my total score for each quest, and compare it to the maximum possible score. If I score 85% or better, the quest was a success.

 

 

Life quest:

 

I will successfully arrange and execute the house move I have pending at the end of August!

 

 

My motivation:

 

I want to be (even more of) a sexy beast.

  • Like 3

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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First.... BIG CONGRATS to your weight and bodyfat loss!

 

I really like that you included form check in your challenge. You are right this is super important.

 

How about a little body weight training when you are on your family holiday?

 

So, your Quest one is fine and meassurable ( submitted or not) but what about the other two?

How will you meassure your eating and training goal?

Katastrophenkatzchen - Progress, not Perfection!

Race: Troll | Class : one ambitious  Druid-kitty

Level: 2 | STR 1 | DEX 2 | STA 1 | CON 2 | WIS 2 | CHA 2

Challenges: 0,5, 1, 2 , Babysteps

Spoiler

 

(137/180 days) 26/9/14

76.1%
76.1%

No alcohol (12/42) 26/9/14

28%
28%

 

Start: 194 lbs, Final Goal: 154 lbs, Next Goal: 190 lbs / Current: 194.9 lbs (15. Sept. 2014)

-1%
-1%

 

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Thanks for the congratulations! It's been a long slog but I much prefer the person I see in the mirror now.

 

You are absolutely right about my other quests - I need a way of being accountable. I've updated the original post to reflect my intention of posting the information I am tracking on a weekly basis, and scoring myself accordingly.

 

I also agree that I ought to do something to maintain momentum during my holiday, and I would like to be tracking calories, if I can. Bodyweight exercises sound very doable; I'd love to be doing chins, dips, and pushups. While pushups are a given, I'll have to see if I can find a chin or dip bar somewhere. I think there might be a children's playground in the area...

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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Maybe the hotel room workout can help you in your holidays.

With meassureable I mean something so you can say, yes I achieved this weeks goal or no, I missed this time.

How many grams of protein are your goal for muscle buidling?

How often do you want to workout? Oh I see I overlooked it. Ahhh please excuse my sillyness.... I guess wearing my glasses sghould be part of my challenge lol.

 

With lean gain, do you mean something like this LeanGainguide?

I'm pretty sure the warriors will be able to inspire you.

Maybe have a look at their meet up/chatting thread once it's up.

Katastrophenkatzchen - Progress, not Perfection!

Race: Troll | Class : one ambitious  Druid-kitty

Level: 2 | STR 1 | DEX 2 | STA 1 | CON 2 | WIS 2 | CHA 2

Challenges: 0,5, 1, 2 , Babysteps

Spoiler

 

(137/180 days) 26/9/14

76.1%
76.1%

No alcohol (12/42) 26/9/14

28%
28%

 

Start: 194 lbs, Final Goal: 154 lbs, Next Goal: 190 lbs / Current: 194.9 lbs (15. Sept. 2014)

-1%
-1%

 

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I really like your idea of how you're going to measure your challenge :D

 

You might notice i have added a Warriors tag to your thread.  This isn't to pigeonhole you into a guild, but rather to catch the attention of one of their ambassadors who might be able to assist you, mentor you and offer you some advice during the course of your challenge because of your quests being very similar to what they focus on.  You are also of course welcome to visit their Meadhall and introduce yourself or ask any questions you might have. Don't feel like you can't ask me too - that's what i'm here for.

 

Good luck

AB xx

  • Like 1

Half Faerie (Sidhe) Scout | Black Belt Kitchen Ninja
"A positive attitude will not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort" - Herm Albright
You're welcome to skype me (audriwolf) too but let me know who you are

My challenge

 

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No worries! I'll be joining the warriors after my first challenge anyway, so any help and support I get from that direction is welcome.

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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Love the new way to tackle things!

I do binary counting too, I made a Excel sheet for that. It's easier to make good goals this way, because you know it has to fit the 1 or 0 meassurements.

 

 

Well done!

Katastrophenkatzchen - Progress, not Perfection!

Race: Troll | Class : one ambitious  Druid-kitty

Level: 2 | STR 1 | DEX 2 | STA 1 | CON 2 | WIS 2 | CHA 2

Challenges: 0,5, 1, 2 , Babysteps

Spoiler

 

(137/180 days) 26/9/14

76.1%
76.1%

No alcohol (12/42) 26/9/14

28%
28%

 

Start: 194 lbs, Final Goal: 154 lbs, Next Goal: 190 lbs / Current: 194.9 lbs (15. Sept. 2014)

-1%
-1%

 

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Thanks for the warm welcome, all.

 

It's silly, because it's the same stuff I would be trying to do anyway, challenge or no challenge, but I'm really psyched to get started.

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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You seem to have a pretty solid plan here.

 

I was gonna suggest the warriors as well but you seem to already have that in mind.

 

I think you planned some wise attainable goals. I find it tough when you already have a workout regimen to add even more fitness stuff. Your idea of a form check challenge is pretty good.

 

Maybe when I start lifting heavier (when I can actually find a gym the necessary equipment) ill do the same.

 

Good luck on your challenge!

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Battle Log | The Return Arc - [1] [2] [3] [4] <--Current Challenge

 

 

 

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Are you already IF'ing or will that be new to you too?

 

As far as LeanGains goes, the workout will be completely new (although I'll be familiar with all the lifts), and I'm looking forward to trying Reverse Pyramid Training in particular.

 

The diet has been a little more phased - I've been tracking calories for months now, but I've only started tracking macros in the past couple of weeks. Needless to say, this has been a big eye opener, and I've been making some diet changes to increase my protein intake. I will try carb cycling, but I don't want to make it part of the challenge because I simply don't know if it is something I'll want to maintain, having been very low carb during my cut.

 

Timing wise, I've unwittingly been Intermittently Fasting for quite some time. I've been working out in the mornings for months, because it's the only time available, so the only real change I will be making to "go IF" will be to take some BCAAs and push breakfast back two hours to fit within the 8 hour feeding window.

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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Congrats! I've heard good things about LeanGains from various people. And yeah, it sucks that athletic potential in the 30's is not what it what once was...but even if we don't have the same potential now as when we were 21, we still have plenty of potential we're not using and it's more than enough to accomplish all our goals and be generally badass.

 

I love the form check aspect of your challenge, by the way. Very smart. Good luck and I look forward to seeing more.

Level 2 Dwarf Assassin | STR 3 DEX 2 STA 2 CON 2 WIS 3 CHA 2

Current Challenge: Climb More, Eat Better, Make Music

My Battle Log: Lift Climb Run Farm

 

 

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First form check post is up.

 

I know, I know, it's early. But I wanted to feel like I'd actually started.

 

 

 

Oh, and I changed my avatar. The old one was cute. The new one is sexeh.

  • Like 3

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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Minions!

Awwww!

 

Well done, getting started with form check.

Just keep it up.

Katastrophenkatzchen - Progress, not Perfection!

Race: Troll | Class : one ambitious  Druid-kitty

Level: 2 | STR 1 | DEX 2 | STA 1 | CON 2 | WIS 2 | CHA 2

Challenges: 0,5, 1, 2 , Babysteps

Spoiler

 

(137/180 days) 26/9/14

76.1%
76.1%

No alcohol (12/42) 26/9/14

28%
28%

 

Start: 194 lbs, Final Goal: 154 lbs, Next Goal: 190 lbs / Current: 194.9 lbs (15. Sept. 2014)

-1%
-1%

 

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Gah, I suffer from some skinny fat as well. Congrats on your progress, that's so inspiring! 

 

Good luck on the rest of your challenge goals, too.  :peaceful:

Level 2 - Wood Elf - Ranger 

STR : 2 | DEX : 2 | STA : 5 | CON : 3 | WIS : 3 | CHA : 2

 

Challenges: #1, Current - #2

My Triathlon Training Logs: #1, #2

 

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I was going to update weekly, but where's the fun in that.

 

Monday, 28th July

 

 

Quest 1 (form check: 1 point for each video)

 

As mentioned in an earlier post, I've uploaded a form check video for my back squat. Replies have been really helpful so far, and I look forward to my next squat session (Thursday).

 

I also have a deadlift video that I will probably upload in the next couple of days, which will leave me with just my bench press and overhead press.

 

Cumulative score: 1/4

 

 

Quest 2 (calories and macros: 1 point for calories within 5% of target AND protein equals/exceeds target)

 

I was within 11 kcal of my target (2676 kcal), and beat my protein target (147g) by 11 grams. I struggled, though. I'm just not a big eater, and my workout calories are so damn high. Non-workout days are much easier.

 

Cumulative score: 1/31

 

 

Quest 3 (workout: 1 point per workout)

 

All workouts are RPT (reverse pyramid training). This means that if I hit 6 reps on my top set, I increase the weight at the next session.

 

I hit all six reps for my deadlift, which felt great. Actually, it felt like I was going to die, but I'm still pretty happy about it. This means I'll be adding weight to the bar when I get back from holiday.

 

I only got five of my chin up reps. This isn't bad, considering I'd just gone up in weights, but I wonder if I couldn't have made that sixth rep. Trouble is, I had a phone call just before my work set, and it threw my focus off a little. I'll have to get that sixth rep on Thursday.

 

Cumulative score: 1/15

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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Tuesday, 29th July


 


 


Quest 1 (form check: 1 point for each video)


 


No further videos, yet.


 


Cumulative score: 1/4


 


 


Quest 2 (calories and macros: 1 point for calories within 5% of target AND protein equals/exceeds target)


 


I was within 1 kcal of my target (1676 kcal), and beat my protein target (147g) by 28 grams! Non-workout days are so much easier; the meals are more manageable.


 


Cumulative score: 2/31


 


 


Quest 3 (workout: 1 point per workout)


 


Today was not a training day.


 


Cumulative score: 1/15


I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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Wednesday, 30th July


 


 


Quest 1 (form check: 1 point for each video)


 


I've uploaded my deadlift video, which can be found here. I've got a bench press video waiting to be uploaded, but I've been experimenting with false grip overhead press, and I've put of making a video of that until I decide which grip I prefer.


 


Cumulative score: 2/4


 


 


Quest 2 (calories and macros: 1 point for calories within 5% of target AND protein equals/exceeds target)


 


I was within 67 kcal of my target (2676 kcal), which seems like a lot, but is still within 5%. I'm normally closer than that, but I'm clearing out my fridge before going on holiday, so my options are more limited. I beat my protein target (147g) by 20 grams. though.


 


I'm really not sure how I feel about varying my calories between workout and non-workout days. I feel really uncomfortable with how much I have to force myself to eat on days where I work out, and I think I'm going to go back to just eating maintenance calories each day, once I get back from holiday. The weekly calories are same, just spread more evenly over the week.


 


I'm also not sure about cycling my macros, either. I lost 10% bf on a low carb diet, and I always felt good about what I was eating. Now, on high carb days, I often feel like I'm eating stuff I don't feel good about just to get my macros right. I'm going to try going back to low carbs, but I'll monitor my performance to see if my recovery time suffers.


 


Cumulative score: 3/31


 


 


Quest 3 (workout: 1 point per workout)


 


All workouts are RPT (reverse pyramid training). This means that if I hit 6 reps on my top set, I increase the weight at the next session.


 


I hit all six reps for my bench press, which felt awesome, especially as I'd just gone up in weight. This means I'll be adding even more weight to the bar when I get back from holiday. Small chance that I might even hit bodyweight bench press by the end of the challenge if I keep up my progression like this.


 


I also got all six of my OHP reps. This is good, but I didn't get all my reps on my 10% drop-down sets. For such a small muscle group, 10% might not be enough of a drop, so I will try a 15% drop next session - it's important for me to actually get enough volume to exhaust the muscles and stimulate growth.


 


Cumulative score: 2/15


  • Like 1

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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Awesome goals! I used to do Leangains for a while, got some good results with IF... but then travelled and stopped IF and the strength started building up faster... weird :S maybe it's a girl thing. If you are looking to his those macros I absolutely love to cook with protein powder! proteinpow is a great resource for some delicious protein-based recipes, I made up a few myself as well that I've been experimenting with on my blog. And the leangains proteinfluff is half a step away from paradise :D

 

Excited for your upcoming progress!!!

  • Like 1

      Human Warrior

Current Bests                         Quest Goal

                      Squat: 91kg   (200 lbs)       Squat:    95kg 2x2 (209 lbs)
Snatch: 45kg     (99 lbs)        Snatch: 50kg (110 lbs)
         Clean & Jerk: 60kg (132 lbs)       Clean and Jerk: 65kg (143 lbs)

 

Level 2 | STR 5 | CON 5 | WIS 3 | CHA 4

 

TINSI'S Current Challenge

TINSIs Cooking and Recipe Blog!

 

TINSI's First Challenge!

 

 

 

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Thanks for the encouragement, both. I always get so pumped when I feel my lifts are going up, but get so down when I stall. The best thing about the LeanGains approach so far has definitely been the Reverse Pyramid Training. By allowing progression in both reps and weight, I can see smaller increments of progress, which in turn keeps me enthusiastic and motivated.

 

I also like the IF aspect of things. It makes sense to me and fits witb my schedule. It's the macro cycling I've been less keen on - going low carb was basically what started this journey for me, kickstarting my weight loss and driving my interest in fitness, so I suspect there is a psychological element to my attachment to low carb eating. Whatever it is, I just feel much better about my diet on high fats and proteins.

I will do today what others won't, so that I can do tomorrow what others can't.

Building a Better Beast: Challenge #1, #2, #3 #4

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I really like that pyramide approach. It#s easy to understand and gives you a good clue when it's save to move on.

 

I'm still sucking up all info about lifting and doing bodyweight workout as a start. I mean, how shall I squat weight if I can't even do squats with my own body weight, right?

Katastrophenkatzchen - Progress, not Perfection!

Race: Troll | Class : one ambitious  Druid-kitty

Level: 2 | STR 1 | DEX 2 | STA 1 | CON 2 | WIS 2 | CHA 2

Challenges: 0,5, 1, 2 , Babysteps

Spoiler

 

(137/180 days) 26/9/14

76.1%
76.1%

No alcohol (12/42) 26/9/14

28%
28%

 

Start: 194 lbs, Final Goal: 154 lbs, Next Goal: 190 lbs / Current: 194.9 lbs (15. Sept. 2014)

-1%
-1%

 

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