Cutting: Week 5

So i’ve completed 4 weeks on this cutting programme and start Week 5 today. Can I see any significant difference in the mirror? Not really. There wasn’t even any change on the scales this week, in fact they were exactly the same as they were last week. 164.6lbs weight and 32″ on the waist. I’ve been told to change the day on which I do my weighings to the morning of my refeed day, so i’ll now be weighing myself on a Friday morning. I’ll keep the cardio the same as last week.

Update: It’s Friday 22nd August, normally this would be my refeed day, but i’ve decided to move refeed to Mondays as I think the upper body power session is tougher. I did have a quick weighing this morning though, to see how i’m progressing. I weighed in at 162.8lbs, which means i’m continuing to lose 1lb a week, which is not bad I suppose, slow progress better than no progress. It also means that the extra intervals i’m adding on to the high intensity cardio sessions aren’t accelerating fat burning so i’m going to go back to 5 intervals instead of 7.

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Cutting: Week 4

DAY 1: SUNDAY 10TH AUGUST

This morning’s weighing results: My weight is now down to 164.6lbs, but my waist is still at 32″. I’m disappointed in those results to be honest. Given how much work i’m putting in I would have expected a bigger drop in weight. I’ve lost 5lbs in 3 weeks, which I think should be a lot more when you consider the amount of weight training and cardio i’m doing, the calorie restriction, and the spacing out of meals. I’ve sent my results over to my coach and will see what he comes back with.

I’ll be getting ready to head off to the gym shortly for a legs session. I’ve already planned out all my meals for the day, which is a lot easier to do when i’m not at work as I know in advance what each and every meal will be. My macros for today will end on 191:139:46.

DAY 2-7: Monday 11TH - Saturday 16TH AUGUST

I kinda got bored/complacent of posting daily updates this week. I didn’t feel there was much happening on a day-to-day basis to warrant daily updates any longer. I can say my body is getting accustomed to the meal timings, and i’m getting used to eating within my macro numbers. This week I increased the length of my high intensity cardio sessions from 5 – 7 intervals.

Cutting: Week 3

DAY 1: SUNDAY 3RD AUGUST

This mornings stats: 165.8lbs on the scales (167lbs last week), and 32″ on the waist (33″ last week). This is progress, but I can’t help feeling that the results should be even better given all the work I have to put in. Anyway, i’ts progress all the same, better progress than I made doing it myself so I guess I should keep on keeping on. 2″ off the waist and a 4lb drop in weight in 2 weeks is good work I suppose. I’ll be going to the gym shortly to train legs and abs. I already have most of my macros planned out for the day.

I’m 2.220pm and i’m not long back from the gym. I had a large serving (7 scoops) of Herbalife Rebuild Strength for lunch as I couldn’t be bothered to wait 25mins for my chicken to cook in the oven. I had a really good session in the gym though. I took my squat up to 5 reps of 45kg for my last set, and on leg press I took it up to 8 reps of 105kg on the last set, so i’m really happy with those improvements.

The verdict from the coach is that we want to keep the fat loss moving, so he’s asked that I add an additional high intensity cardio session, which means i’ll now be doing 5 cardio sessions a week (4x 25mins high intensity cardio sessions plus a 30mins low intensity cardio session). So in total, i’ll now be going to the gym 11 times a week! It sounds a lot, but i’ve always said I want to train with the work ethic and intensity of a boxer, and I imagine they probably train 2-3 times a day 5-6 times a week. Still, 11 gym sessions week sounds like a lot!

My macros for the day ended on 194:136:44. I spent the end of my evening mapping out my meals on My Fitness Pal and getting my gym bag ready. Here’s what I prepared for my post workout breakfast meal! I used half a can of tuna in spring water, a plain bagel, and 50g of low fat Philadelphia cheese. The macros for this come to 34:46:6, so to bring the protein up i’ll have a half serving of Herbalife Rebuild Strength, which will bring my total breakfast macros to 49:57:7.

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DAY 2: MONDAY 4TH AUGUST

I wasn’t looking forward to today’s upper body weights session. My pecs still have a small sprain and it’s just not fun training on it. I got through the workout all the same and managed 3 sets of 5 reps with 50kg dumbbells, though my form was terrible. I was wondering if maybe the lunches i’ve been having at work aren’t as lean as I think and that some of the meals have more oil than I think, so for this week i’ll assume that they do have some and keep fats below 40g to account for that. I ended today on 183:147:38.

DAY 3: TUESDAY 5TH AUGUST

So looks like my Core Nutritionals order that I placed last Monday is finally on British shores! According to the tracking information it was checked into a UK Post Office last night so should hopefully be with me in the next few days, which is just as well, as my Core Pro is running pretty low. I ordered peanut butter ice cream flavour as I love anything peanut butter flavoured! If it tastes good i’ll order another tub right away so that i’m fully stocked up and don’t have to worry about running low towards the end of the month.

Anyway, today was just cardio this morning so I was on the stationary bike as usual. I covered just under 11km in 30mins and I was sweating loads by the time i’d finished. I actually felt quite good afterwards though.

Today’s lunch (and dinner) is sweet chilli satay chicken with veg. I think this will probably be my typical lunch and dinner going forward, veg or salad with chicken or turkey:

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My delivery has just arrived! And I completely forgot that the order included some free samples! So what have we got here? Core PWO is a post-workout protein shake with 28g protein, 43g carbs, and 1g fat. It also has 4g BCAAs. Core ABC is their BCAAs supplement, which I already use in White Grape flavour. The sample is a 5g serving of Wicked White Watermelon. Lastly there’s Core Fury, a pre-workout energy supplement which I also already use in their Lemon & Lime flavour.

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I ended up having to scale back my dinner and have a protein shake instead. I could have had kale and chicken but the portion was going to be so small I didn’t think it was worthwhile. I’m ending the day on 189:142:35.

DAY 4: WEDNESDAY 6TH AUGUST

I’ve now tried the Core ABC, Core Fury, and Core Pro that I got yesterday. I have to say none of them particularly impressed me. The Core Fury didn’t taste great, Core ABC tasted too sweet and sickly, and the Core Pro peanut butter ice cream flavour was just a disappointment. I had the Core Pro after my workout this morning with water, maybe it’ll taste a bit better with milk.

I trained shoulders, arms, and abs today. I decided to drop the weights slightly from last week, not because I couldn’t push as heavy but I thought the whole idea of hypertrophy workouts was to train at 65% of the power days. I’ve asked for clarification on this. Even though I was training with slightly lighter weights I was pretty taxed by the time I started on arms, which was especially surprising because the Core Fury sample I had was 1.5 servings.

DAY 5: THURSDAY 7TH AUGUST

Today I tried having 1.5 servings of Core Fury again for my legs session. Again, I can’t say I noticed any difference. For my squats I used the cambered bar. I didn’t even know what a cambered bar was a few weeks ago! I found it a bit easier and more comfortable using this bar and will use it going forward now. Macros for today are 192:138:39. I will admit that today i’ve been mentally questioning the amount of work i’m having to do and the results that is getting. For the amount of work i’m putting in at the gym and the strict diet i’m on – not just the calorie restriction but also the meal frequency – I guess I feel that I should be seeing much better results. But admittedly this is only Week 3 and I haven’t even done the weighing for this week yet. But I remember when I was doing Insanity I began seeing results after 3-4 weeks. Anyway, let’s see what the scales say on Sunday, hopefully they’ll be good.

DAY 6: FRIDAY 8TH AUGUST

And here we are, on what is now my favourite day of the week – Refeed Day! Yep i’ve now moved these to Fridays so that mentally it still feels like a ‘cheat day’ of sorts. I trained chest, back, and abs this morning. By the end of the workout I was pretty exhausted to I think this is definitely the best day for a refeed. I tried that Core PWO sample this morning too as I figured the extra carbs would be okay today. My verdict: poor taste i’m afraid, like most of their other products. I think the only Core Nutritionals supps that i’ll continue using going forward will be Core Alpha and perhaps Core Fury, and even those i’m sure I can find alternatives.

I’m starting the day with what is now my usual breakfast: a tuna bagel with low fat cheese, but with this one I added some bbq sauce.

This afternoon’s cardio session seemed tough, perhaps my quads haven’t quite recovered from yesterday’s workout and the lactic acid was building up a bit quicker. I’m so glad it’s done though and that is my last workout of the week! I’ve had bbq chicken (no skin) with potatoes and a bottle of Lucozade for lunch, and my macros so far are 130:262:30. So i’ve got some freedom and flexibility for dinner.

I’m at the end of what has been an enjoyable refeed day. I think for next week I won’t bother with Lucozade to help me hit my carbs numbers, i’m pretty sure I can hit it with solid food. I’ve spent part of this evening working out what food I have in the fridge and what quantities to have tomorrow to stay within my ‘rest day’ macro numbers. For today, my macros are 169:304:37.

DAY 7: SATURDAY 9TH AUGUST

Not much to report today. I had a well-deserved day off from the gym. I had planned my meals for today yesterday evening so already knew what i’d be eating and when. Macros for the day came to 191:110:37

Cutting: Week 2

DAY 1: SUNDAY 27TH JULY

It’s 7.30am on Sunday morning. I’ve just finished sending off my update of the last 7 days over to my coach. I decided not to monitor body fat and muscle, because if the numbers were disappointing it would probably derail me psychologically. I’ll monitor body fat and muscle once a month, but for now it’s just body weight and waist measurements. This morning I weighed 167lbs and my waist is 33″, so i’m 3lbs lighter and an inch thinner around the waist, which I guess is a good sign. I also slept pretty well for the first time this week! I guess my body is finally getting used to the ingredients in the Core Alpha supplement.

I’m heading to the gym at noon today, and I really had to think through and plan my meals – not only their timing, but also the macros too. I’ve planned the day so that most of my carbs are eaten in the morning and right after my workout, that fats are kept relatively low before and after the workout but increased for dinner, and protein is spread out relatively evenly throughout the day. Provided I stick to what I have planned I will end the day on 1697 calories (189:133:45). I should be able to have lunch around 1.30pm, then dinner should be around 7.30pm

DAY 2: MONDAY 28TH JULY

My aim this week is to push harder and increase my weights from last week now that i’m familiar with all the movements. I trained legs this morning and was generally able to push the weights up. I was particularly happy with leg press, my last set was 8 reps of 85kg, and afterwards I felt I could have increased it to at least 90kg. I did abs too, and i’ll be going back at lunchtime for my interval cardio session. I’ve also ordered more supps to that i’m fully stocked up for the month. I’ve ordered another tub of Core Pro protein powder (peanut butter ice cream flavour). I hope it tastes as good as it sounds! I also ordered another tub of Core Alpha, and a tub of Herbalife Rebuild Strength. Holland and Barrett do chewable probiotic capsules in a strawberry flavour, and you only have to take one or two a day, instead of the current brand i’m using where you have to take 3 before every meal. So i’ll be switching to H&B’s brand when I get a chance to.

I measured my waist again this morning as I wasn’t entirely sure I could drop a whole inch in just a week, and actually it was just under 33″ this morning so looks like this is definitely working. You can’t see any difference in pictures, but I expect i’ll be able to see a physical difference after 4 weeks.

I’ve been using that Deep Freeze on my chest the past week and haven’t really seen any improvement. If anything the pain has now spread to both sides of my chest. It’s not a serious pain, but when I tense my chest I can feel the sprain in the sides of my pecs and it doesn’t seem to be improving. I may have to skip the next chest workout to give it some more time to heal. I’ll see how things go over the next few days.

I went for a little food shop this evening. I bought a few things including some focaccia bread, tinned tuna, and low fat cheese. The macros on these were all pretty good and would make a great post-workout sandwich! When I got home I had planned to have chicken and veg but the carbs came in way too low. Looking back at my meals in the day I realised that the carbs I had at lunch were too low. Ideally I should be having most of my carbs earlier in the day (especially immediately before and after my workout), and then having low carbs at dinner.

DAY 3: TUESDAY 29TH JULY

I had prepared a great focaccia sandwich with tuna and low fat cheese before bed last night and had it in the fridge ready to go, and I was about 10mins down the road on my way to work when I realised I had forgotten it in the fridge. I did my 30mins cardio session on the stationary bike this morning and I was out of the gym earlier enough to head to Tesco and look for an alternative. I had a low fat tuna sandwich and a serving of Herbalife Rebuild Strength protein shake, which worked out just as well. Whilst I was at the gym I had an idea to allow my pecs more time to recover: I’ll switch tomorrow’s chest + back session with Friday’s shoulders + arms session. Or even better, I could make tomorrow a back + shoulders session then do chest + arms on Friday. This would mean that tomorrow’s session is still intense enough to keep it as a refeed day, as i’d like them to be spaced out fairly evenly.

I went over on my carbs a bit today, ended on 1664 calories but split was 193:151:30.

DAY 4: WEDNESDAY 30TH JULY

Refeed day today, i’ve been looking forward to this! It’s kid of similar to a cheat day in that I get to consume a lot more carbs. I bought a multipack of Lucozade and brought in 2 bottles to work with me. One to have with breakfast and another with lunch. I trained back + shoulders this morning and I could feel the slight sprain in my chest when I did shoulder press. It didn’t affect my workout though and I was able to up the weight in most cases. I’ll be heading back at lunch for cardio. By the way, I had my focaccia tuna sandwich for breakfast and it went down a treat! This will definitely be my go-to post-workout meal.

So I think refeed days are now my favourite day of the week! It’s almost a cheat day in that you can eat a lot more carbs. Here’s what I had for lunch: pasta with broccoli and walnuts, with chicken, all washed down with an ice cold bottle of Lucozade. This was after my cardio session and it went down a treat!

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I ended the day on 2369 calories (173:300:49).

DAY 5: THURSDAY 31ST JULY

On my cycle home yesterday evening I noticed that I wasn’t feeling the pain in my pecs anymore, which is great! I decided i’d give my chest one more day or rest, so I trained legs and abs this morning. The workout took a little longer than I expected, but I was pleased with the progress I made from last week, increasing the weights on almost everything, especially on leg press. I ended today on 1723 calories (187:142:41).

DAY 6: FRIDAY 1ST AUGUST

I trained chest + arms this morning, but didn’t try to go heavier on the dumbbell press, as I could feel that the muscle wasn’t completely healed. I went back in the afternoon for my final interval cardio session. I am beginning to see some progress in my physique now. I can certainly see that there’s a bit more volume in my shoulders, and my abs are just starting to creep in too, but only just! Here’s what I had for lunch today; tenderstem broccoli, basil grilled turkey, and fried polenta. It was pretty quiet at work so there was plenty left over, so I made a takeaway box and stashed some away for dinner too.

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Even though it’s only 3pm i’ve already added my dinner into My Fitness Pal and know i’ll end the day on 1603 calories (196:140:29). Well that’s what My Fitness Pal says anyway. I couldn’t find a reliable entry for fried polenta (some of them had 0 grams of fat!) so i’ve made an assumption that each ‘cake’ has 10g of fat, which would take my fat intake to 39g and my calorie intake to 1693 calories.

I should be rejoicing that i’ve finished this week’s training, but actually i’m already looking forward to training legs again. Specifically, i’m looking forward to seeing how heavy I can go on leg press. Well i’ll be hitting legs on Sunday so i’ve not got long to find out. I want to be able to rack 4 plates of 25kg (100kg) on the machine like some of the other guys i’ve seen in the gym. I think that would be a great achievement considering i’ve only just started training legs last week.

DAY 7: SATURDAY 2ND AUGUST

Rest day, but I still had to be disciplined and eat within my numbers, which I did quite well, ending the day on 184:107:50. I had turkey 175g of turkey breasts for breakfast whilst driving in the car, saving the carbs for lunch and dinner. I also had my BCAAs between lunch and dinner.

Cutting: Week 1

DAY 1

So today is my first day working with the programme I received from Paul Revelia. It’s a Sunday and I had the day to myself so decided to give myself a headstart and went to the gym this morning. I was training Upper Body Power, which involved training chest, shoulders, back, and arms, but using a combination of low reps and heavy weights, with moderate weights and reps. To give Paul visibility on what i’m doing I decided to log my workouts down on a Google doc and share it with him. I’ve done the same with My Fitness Pal. So he can see how i’m training and what i’m eating.

Before I left for the gym, I weighed myself (169.8lbs), measured my waist (34″), and took a set of new pictures of myself.

I spread my meals out as follows:

  • 9.30am: Pre workout meal
  • 11.40am: Post workout shake + BCAAs
  • 1.30pm: Lunch –  tin of low sugar baked beans with two chicken lime and coconut chicken breasts
  • 3.3opm: BCAAs
  • 6.30pm: Dinner – steamed mixed veg with two chicken breasts and two boiled eggs
  • 8.30pm: BCAAs
  • 11pm: Protein shake

I also had 2x creatine capsules 30mins before and after my workout. Getting used to the new supplements will take a few days. Because I went to the gym later than usual my whole schedule was running about 3hrs behind. In addition, I should have probably had 2 servings of protein after my workout instead of 1, which would have helped me hit my numbers earlier in the day. So today i’m not taking the Core Alpha. To take it in the evening you have to wait 2hrs after a meal, which for today would mean i’d have to stay up until 1am. Tomorrow should be better as i’m planning on getting up at 6am and the day should work out a lot smoother.

My calories for today are 1763 calories, with a macro split of 193:144:43. I find that I start to feel a little lethargic and weak after 5hrs without a meal, but its early days yet and hopefully my body will adjust to the new routine.

DAY 2

Legs session this morning, the first time in probably 10 years that i’ve trained legs, and I actually enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to doing it again and seeing how much heavier I can go, especially on the squats. So far, i’ve managed to take all my supplements, but I did struggle to finish my breakfast as I was a little full after 2 servings of protein. I’m heading back to the gym later this afternoon for my interval cardio session. I wonder how my legs will feel in a couple days time!

I’m going to pop to the shops later to get some deep heat. For the past couple weeks since I started PHAT training, my left pectoral muscle hasn’t felt 100%, like it’s been sprained or something. I want to get it back to full capacity as soon as possible.

Today’s meal timings are as follows:

  • 6.30am: Pre workout meal (2x bananas)
  • 8.30am: Post workout shake (2x scoops)
  • 10am: Breakfast
  • 12.30pm: BCAAs
  • 3.30pm: Lunch
  • 5.30pm: BCAAs
  • 8.30pm: Dinner

This will be my typical routine Monday to Friday. I managed to get something for the muscle sprain in my chest. I’m hoping it can work a small miracle and make the discomfort disappear completely before my next chest workout.

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Cardio this afternoon was tough. I went back to the gym around 2pm to do a 25mins interval session, and it felt a lot more challenging than the last I did it. I may try and go a little earlier next time so that i’ve got a bit more energy in the tank. But other than that, it’s been a pretty good day today. My legs (particularly my glutes) are already feeling a little sore from this morning’s workout, so i’m stretching every few hours. I’m ending the day on 1714 calories and a macro split of 191:137:45.

DAY 3

So I thought today being just abs and cardio i’d have a lot more energy and would find cardio easier. Nope! Even though it’s not a particularly long session, sprinting for 30 seconds really takes it out of you! For breakfast I had scrambled eggs with a slice of toast and mackerel fillet. I should have checked My Fitness Pal on the nutritional info first – mackerel is so high in fat! I’ve almost hit my number for fats and it’s not even 10am!

Today was tough. All because of that high fat breakfast, the knock-on effect was that I had such limited options with what I could eat for lunch and dinner. Also, I keep forgetting to take the probiotic tablets before meals! Anyway, here’s what I had for lunch. I went to Tesco and bought some rotisserie chicken (took the skin off) and some Moroccan couscous.

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For dinner, I was trying to find what I could eat that would be very low in fat, very high in protein, and moderate carbs. It actually took me a good 10-15mins playing around in My Fitness Pal with different foods, and different quantities, until I found something that was reasonable. In the end, I settled for this yoghurt with 2 scoops of protein, mixed together. The yoghurt is actually quite handy as it contains no fat whatsoever, not even a single gram, but it’s high in protein.

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In fact, I am finding that on an eating programme such as this where you are restricting your calorie intake and your meal frequency, it does help to have certain foods on hand that are high in protein but low/no fat, or high in carbs  but low/no fat.

So the lesson of the day is that breakfast is the most important macros meal of the day. Keep it high in protein, get your carbs in for your insulin response post workout (55g for me), and keep the fat really low. Today my intake was 1725 calories, split into 196:124:51.

DAY 4

2 nights of crap sleep (due to the heat and noisy neighbours) caught up to me this morning. I really felt tired when I got up this morning and really didn’t feel like going to the gym. I went anyway and it was a chest and back session. I think if I was better rested I could have probably pushed harder and gone for slightly heavier weights. I felt so exhausted during the workout, the thought of coming back for cardio was a mental challenge, but it’s got to be done.

I’m taking my BCAAs around 12pm and planning to go to the gym around 12.30pm to get the cardio out the way. On a more positive note, i’ve had a much better start to the day nutrition-wise. After my pre and post workout meals and breakfast, my macros are 93:99:7. I’m going to make today my ‘refeed’ day, so my target will be 170:300:50.

So i’m back from my cardio session. I got to the gym around 12.30pm and all the treadmills were taken as there was a class going on, so I decided to use the bike instead and really enjoyed it. I think i’ll use the bikes instead from now on. I’m not sure whether it was the BCAAs that I had shortly before, or the workout itself, but I feel a lot better now. A lot more energetic.

I read today that the whole point of a refeed day is to give your body a reboot of Leptin, hence the higher carbs. But fructose doesn’t have any effect on Leptin, which would mean eating fruit and fruit juices won’t give you the desired effect during a refeed day. So this evening I figured instead of having another apple juice I had a bottle of Lucozade with my dinner, which is primarily glucose. The other thing I discovered is that bagels are great! They’re high in carbs but really low in fat:

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I picked up two packs of these, the plain one above, which I can use with savoury stuff, and a cinnamon and raisin one which will go well with sweet stuff or just by itself. These will also be great to have for breakfast after a workout. My intake for today is 2368 calories, and my macro split is 175:291:40. Bear in mind it was meant to be 170:300:50, so not too bad.

DAY 5

Today I trained legs and abs in the morning, then decided to get my final cardio session out the way and went back at lunchtime to do a 30mins cycle. I really like the bike now, i’ve never used a stationary bike in the gym until now, but I find that it’s more enjoyable than the treadmill and cross trainer. In the 30mins I managed to cover a distance of 12.29km. I ended the day on 1735 calories (204:145:35).

DAY 6

I’ve not slept great all week. Initially I just thought it was because of the new noisy neighbours downstairs, but now I realise it must be the Core Alpha that i’m taking before bed. I’ve noticed that I keep waking up around 1am, which is approximately 3 hours after I take them, so it must be whatever sort of stimulant in them that is stirring me out of my sleep. I remember the same thing used to happen to me when I used to use Hydroxycut years ago.

So today I trained shoulders and arms this morning. It’s a slightly shorter workout than the others so I was able to be out of the gym a little earlier than usual and get breakfast in by 8.45am. I decided seeing as it’s Friday I can stay up a little later, so i’d try and space my meals out a little further. I had lunch at 2.30pm, two chicken breasts + salad.

PS – I found the video in which Layne Norton talks about how much protein can be utilised for muscle growth in one sitting. You can check it out here.

I had dinner just before 9pm, ending the day on 1721 calories (189:136:42). Something I learned today is that most of my carbs are deliberately front-weighted to be taken just before and after my workout in the morning. For lunch and dinner I won’t have many carbs left so salads and mixed veg are good to have with chicken.

DAY 7

Rest day, no cardio, no weights. But i’ve still got to be disciplined and eat within my macro numbers. For a non-training day this is 190:110:45. The only real change is that the carbs are 30g lower. I’ve managed to do this more or less and i’m ending the day on 1630 calories (196:109:43). I had creatine with my breakfast in the morning and had 5g of BCAAs between meals (early afternoon and late afternoon).

10 in 10: Week 7

DAY 2

I went to the gym this morning for a consultation with one of the PTs at the gym. Interestingly, when I stepped on their scales it said I was 28% body fat, and they’re by the same manufacturer as the scales I have at home. But he asked me to take my top off to take a look at my physique and said the scales must be wrong as I was definitely not 28%.

He took some info about my training style, eating habits, etc and said he’d draw me up a training and nutrition programme. He has been training for 12 years and has entered competitions. He says his specialism is weight training and body composition. I also purchased a deal from the gym where I get 3 PT sessions for just £50, which i’ll use with him.

I didn’t manage to workout as by the time I had finished with him I decided to just hit the showers. On the way home, I decided that in order to get the level of attention I want from the PT in the gym i’d have to pay for 12 PT sessions, which would cost around £700. The alternative, is to go ahead with Paul Revelia who i’ve been emailing for the past week and has been very responsive on emails and costs £340 for a 12-week programme. So when I got home I told him we were good to go and sent payment by PayPal.

DAY 3

After a refreshing night’s sleep (I fell asleep at 8pm last night!) I hit the gym this morning and trained chest and arms. I wasn’t sure how strong i’d be giving that I didn’t do any weights last week, but I was able to keep up with the load I had done previously, in some cases I actually went heavier. I did feel light-headed afterwards and had to sit down for a few minutes to let my body recover. This is something that always seems to happen to me when i’ve been out of the gym for a week or more and then push too hard.

I asked Paul to send me a list of the supplements that he recommends so that I can get them ordered ahead of time so that i’ll have them in hand by the time i’m ready to start the programme. Many of the products were by a brand called Core Nutritionals, which i’ve never heard of.

I had a protein shake shortly before bed. Interestingly, when I completed my entries on My Fitness Pal, my total calorie intake for the day was just 1861 calories, with a macro split of 180:239:34. I managed to keep fat down to 34 without even trying or tracking my intake during the day. And the only reason the carbs are as high as they are is because I had some apple juice with my breakfast and some more with dinner. Those two alone account for 53g of the 239.

DAY 4

I started today with a 20-minute cardio session on the cross trainer. My programme from Paul Revelia arrived in my inbox overnight and I had a quick glance at it before I left the house. I saw that on the heading for cardio it said “Never do fasted cardio” in the heading. So I had half a herbalife meal bar and made my way to the gym.

Looking through the plan, my macros split for training days will be 190:140:45 and 25-55g of fibre. On rest days it becomes 190:110:45 and the same amount of fibre. Once a week on my toughest training day (which will either be back + shoulders, or legs) i’ll have a ‘refeed’ day where the macros change to 170:300:50, still keeping fibre intake the same. For weight training, i’ll be doing the same ‘PHAT’ training system that started a couple weeks ago, but i’ll now be training legs for the first time in many many years. I’m told this will help with fat loss as legs (particularly quads) are such a large muscle group.

In other news, some of my new supplements arrived this afternoon. I ordered them from PowerMyself.com and would *highly* recommend them! Bear in mind I placed the order just yesterday afternoon, not only are they here already but I was also getting text notifications to give me status updates on the order and an estimated delivery time. Very impressive!

So here are most of my new supps, as recommended by the Coach. These are by a company called Core Nutritionals, which i’ve never heard of.

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Core Alpha is some sort of testerone booster. You take two capsules a day for 8 weeks then you need to take a 4 week break. Sounds potent! Core Fury is a pre-workout supplement that should give an energy boost during training. Core ABC is a branch chain amino acid (BCAA) supp which i’ll be taking several times throughout the day to help muscle development and also help me feel full. Then Core PRO is their whey protein.

I would say the biggest change to my routine is that i’ll now be eating every 4-6 hours instead of every 2-3 hours that i’ve been used to for so long. I’ll be having the BCAAs between meals which should help stop me feeling hungry.

I ended the day on 2377 calories, with a macro split of 197:320:81. Again, I had quite a lot of apple juice and a fizzy lemonade (almost 1litre in total), which accounts for much of the carbs there. I also had a packet of crisps and chocolate bar late afternoon. So i’m not too worried about the carbs and fat numbers as I know stripping them out will bring the numbers right down.

DAY 5

This morning was back and shoulders. I decided that I want to gradually start implementing elements of my new programme so that its not such a massive change come Monday. So I decided to have a bar and a half of a herbalife meal bar to hit the required number of carbs for a pre-workout meal, and for breakfast I had 2 servings of herbalife meal shake with 2 scoops of Rebuild Strength. Before I left the house, I read over the guide and realised that I had miscalculated the numbers for my post-workout meal, and that this should have 55g of carbs. This mistake wasn’t spotted by Paul when I sent it to him, which I would have expected him to if i’m honest. My next meal shouldn’t be for another 5-6hrs, i’ll see how long I can hold out for, but it would help if I had brought a serving of BCAAs to have mid morning. A couple of my other supps are arriving in the post later today.

So I decided to push out my lunch to start getting my body used to spacing out my meals, so I didn’t have lunch until just before 4pm! It wasn’t easy, there were times when I felt a little tired, sleepy, and obviously quite hungry. I tried to limit my protein to around 30-40g per meal as i’m pretty sure I recall an article/video/podcast by Layne Norton in which he said that whilst you can eat large amounts of protein in one sitting, it would all be ‘absorbed’, but only about 40g would be used for muscle synthesis. But i’ve been told to up my protein intake per meal to 50-60g to hit my target of 190g per day, so that’s what i’ll do. I wish I could find that article by Layne to go over it again though.

I held out for dinner until 9.30pm, but it wasn’t easy, and I wolfed it down. the longer gaps in meals meant that I felt tired. So I ended the day on 2069 calories and a macro split of 151:148:89.

10 in 10: Week 6

DAY 1

I had planned to go to the gym this morning  for a cardio session and be back in time to catch the Wimbledon men’s final between Federer and Djokovic (it was an epic game btw!). But I was feeling so disillusioned from yesterday evening I decided to just have a rest day and regroup. I’ve stuffed my face with yet more crap, but I think sometimes you just need to chill out and do whatever. Plus, I think I may have damaged my left pec muscle. Since my weights session on Friday morning it feels like i’ts got a little tear in it or something. I didn’t do any stretching at all last week, which I really should have given that I was pushing really heavy weights.

So i’m into Week 6 now, i’m way behind track and probably won’t achieve my aim of losing 10% in 10 weeks given that so far i’ve only lost like 1 or 2% (embarrassing). But I remember seeing one of these internet memes that says something like ‘You haven’t failed, you’ve just discovered methods that don’t work’ or something like that. So I guess the same is true for me here.

I tweeted Layne Norton yesterday asking if he’d be willing to coach me, he came back to me earlier today and gave me his email address so i’ve sent some initial info over to him and will see what he comes back with. On his website he says “I am not cheap…”, but I’ve reached the point where i’m prepared to pay (to an extent) for expert guidance and coaching. A couple months ago a ‘friend’ of mine on Facebook wanted to charge me £450 to devise a 16-week program to help me cut. He has been doing this himself for a few years himself and has incredible results, even entering in his first amateur bodybuilding competition earlier this year. But it really pissed me off that he would feel he is qualified to start charging £450 from the get go without having any extensive experience coaching others. It still really annoys me thinking about it. If i’m going to part with that sort of money it will be with someone of Layne Norton’s pedigree and expertise.

So what’s the plan for this week? Well the gym is going to be closed on Friday for refurbishments, so whatever I do i’ve got to get it done within 4 days. I’m definitely going to have to make double trips to the gym as I want to get in 4 cardio sessions and 2-3 weights sessions. I’m thinking I’ll do my cardio sessions first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (back to basics), 30 minutes on the cross trainer. Then go back in the afternoon or evening and do my weights. I’ll enter my food intake into My Fitness Pal but I won’t be ‘tracking’ calorie intake or sticking to any sort of macros split. I’ll have some carbs in the morning to help recover from my first workout and prepare for the next, then keep carbs low for the rest of the day.

DAY 6

No update for the past few days, where have I been?? What have I been doing?? Well, I went to the gym on Monday and Tuesday morning and did some cardio, but didn’t make it back for the rest of the week. I decided to take a break and ‘let my hair down’ as far as my eating is concerned. That means lots of crisps, chocolate, juices, fizzy drinks, and probably just about everything you shouldn’t eat whilst trying to cut body fat. But I figured hey i’ve hardly lost any body fat the past 4 weeks and from next week i’m back on it with a new determination, so 1 week of indulgence won’t be the end of the world (though I need to stop doing this sort of thing when i’m not training!).

Anyway, this week hasn’t been a complete waste though! In my 12 years of going to the gym i’ve never used a personal trainer or paid someone for any sort of training programme, but I feel ready and determined enough to do that now. At the gym I use we get access to a trainer once every 6 weeks, so next Monday i’ve got a meeting at 7am with one of them called Mikey Smith. According to their website he came 3rd in the 2011 UKBFF Bodybuilding Championships and his specialties include body composition management and bodybuilding. So i’ll be discussing my my goals with him and see whether he can draw me up a plan to get me to 10% body fat.

Layne Norton came back to me by email and said he was too busy to take on new clients (translation: you’re not important enough), but he did give me a list of other trainers that he trusts and recommends. I went through the list and got in touch with a few of them, a couple of which I am seriously considering working with. They’re all based in the US and charge around $300 for a 12-week training and nutrition programme, which works out around £175. I gave many of the coaches a lot of information on what i’ve been doing over the past few weeks and gave some of them a link to my blog to read too, and asked them what he felt I was doing wrong. He came back with this:

“Right off the bat I can tell you that your metabolism is suppressed. Your fat burning hormones like T3, leptin, and etc. are down regulated. You could benefit immensely from a refeed day and a free meal 1x per week”

Well that’s interesting. It could certainly explain how i’ve managed to lose so little body fat over the past 4 weeks despite training pretty hard and eating well. Of the trainers I put this question to he is the only one that even attempted to give some sort of ‘diagnosis’ of what i’m doing wrong.

So that’s where i’m at right now. Next week i’ll begin training and eating properly again, but I probably won’t decide which coach i’ll use for another week as i’d like to make sure that the person I take on really knows what they’re doing and will really get me the results i’m paying for.

DAY 7

I started today with a herbalife shake, and had intended to start eating clean again, but by mid morning that plan was out the window. Funnily, i’ve just stepped off the scales and i’m not sure I believe the results really:

  • Weight: 172.4lbs
  • Body Fat: 19.7%
  • Water: 58.9%
  • Muscle: 131.6lbs (how!?)
  • Visceral Fat: 7
  • Metabolic Age: 34

How have I managed to gain 5lbs in muscle from last week, when I have done no weights whatsoever this week and probably not had much protein either? Not only that, but i’ve pretty much spent the whole week stuffing myself with crisps, chocolates, cake, and all other sorts of junk? Those results can’t be right.

Anyway, I think i’m close to choosing a coach. I’ve got it down to 2 guys with very different backgrounds and levels of experience. One is fairly young, I think he’s around 24 but he seems to know his stuff. The other guy appears to have a lot more experience and charges almost twice as much as the other guy, but this is probably because of the level of experience he has. He’s been really responsive on email and he reckons he can get me pretty cut in the space of 12 weeks, which is exactly what I want to hear. Before I decide, i’m going to see Mikey Smith on Monday morning at the gym to see what he has to say. Both of these coaches are based in the US and their coaching would all be online, but if Mikey could give me the same sort of coaching then it would probably be better to go with him as he’s right here.