Category Archives: Health & Fitness

I’m Shrinking! Six Week Assessment

We’re two weeks away from the competition day on June 1 and I’ll predict that I have added a rep to my military press record. The snatches I’m not so sure of.  The six-week assessment creeped up so I had to evaluate what the diet’s been doing. I know I’m getting stronger with the ease my 53lb kettlebell press during training as compared to before. I did have to adjust with the program though.

The four-day a week training I dropped to three days, and added practicing the progressions to a handstand push up from Convict Conditioning. I think if I can do that, my military press will get stronger. I kept my Clean&Press rep scheme the same, though I added rest according to the 1:4-6 work/rest ratio after reading a StrongFirst article, which helped me complete the sessions. I changed the swings from the one-arm variant with the 53lb kettlebell for 10 sets of 10 to 2 sets of 25 with the 71.4lb kettlebell. I’m curious how the Snatch test will go now.

The diet has been slowly chopping fat off without sacrificing too much muscle. I lost 2.2lbs of fat with 1.6lbs of muscle lost, not too worried. After this next cycle is over I’ll start a hypertrophy program, with a slight dietary adjustment, mostly extending my eating window from 9 hours to 12. It’s been a easy diet to stick with.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.5                14.25              -.25

Shoulders                      45                  43.5               -1.5

Chest                              37.5                   37                      -0.5

Waist                             33.5                     32.75         -0.25

Biceps                           12.8              12.5                        -0.30

Forearms                      11.1            11.0                        -0.1

Thighs                         22                 21.25                    -0.75

Calves                          13.5                   13.5                      0

Weight                  156.4lbs          153.6        -2.9lbs

Body Fat %                17.1%                16.1%         -1.0%

Lean Body Mass    129.7lbs            128.9         -0.8lbs

I may have shrunk a bit as the fat went away, that’s my guess at least. After the program I’ll do a program of Max Shank’s I saw on the DragonDoor page until the cycle is done. I’ll continue eating in the 9 hour window, going off what Dan John said about going from a caloric deficit to surplus triggers growth since the body isn’t used to the amount of food.

Slow but Steady

This assessment snuck up on me, honestly. I have been disciplined with my eating according to the Time Restricted Diet which naturally cut my calories to over a thousand less a week. It was a little hard at first with my growling stomach arguing with my willpower. What helped is that weekends are free, so long I don’t raid a dessert bar at a buffet. Gives me something to look forward to. It took awhile for me to notice the weight to fall and I’m hoping that’s because its mainly fat while I keep the protein up so I don’t waste much muscle.

As far as training goes I changed over to a daily Rite Of Passage type program. 4 days a week I press the 53lb kettlebell, then swing it for a 100 reps and then carry the 70lb around or my pair of 53s. I think it may be a little much for me, I’m not recovering well. So I will dial back the swings to 50 a day. Not sure if I’ll just use the 53, the 70, or alternate on different days.

Either way, here’s what it’s done for body comp. In two months we’ll see if it worked to get my press strength up and maintained my conditioning.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.5                14.5              0

Shoulders             44.5                  45               +0.5

Chest                      37.5                   37.5                      0

Waist                             34.0                        33.5         -0.5

Biceps                    12.8              12.8                         0

Forearms                   11.2            11.1                                     -0.1

Thighs                         22.8                 22.0                          -0.8

Calves                          13.8                   13.5                          -.30

Weight                  158.8lbs          156.4        -2.4lbs

Body Fat %                18.1%                17.1%         -1.0%

Lean Body Mass    130.1lbs            129.7         -0.4lbs

I lost most of the gains and I can only blame my poor choice of diet. The Time-Restricted Plus plan is supposed to be sustainable so we’ll see.

 

March 2015 Competition 

Dan John says keep the goal, the goal, and a way to do that is to have a date set that helps you focus. For me it’s the 1/2 bodyweight kettlebell military press and 100 snatches in 5 minutes. That’s how I mark progress athletically every three months. 

So after tying on a five pound girly weight to my 53lb Kettlebell I tested my one-rep max.

  • Right: 3 reps w/58.2lb (62lbs/39%BW)
  • Left: 4 reps w/58.2lb (63lbs/40%BW)

I maintained my max and relative strength compared to the 159 I weighed in at with my right, and gained strength on my left. Simple and Sinister kept the pressing strength up. 

My conditioning was a little lacking…

  • 50 snatches with the 53lb Kettlebell in 5 minutes (-4 reps)

It’s a half step back on conditioning but still much better than the sad numbers I started with last year. In a week I’ll be exactly 12 weeks from the next competition and I’ll begin a program with a heavy press focus to see what happens. 

That’s Disappointing…

Eating everything in sight is a hard habit to break; it has been taking a while to get back into a more disciplined eating style. I upped my protein to maintain the lean body mass I had gained. Still it resulted in a drastic drop in calories and I was ‘hangry’ without the extra 500-1000 extra calories. I searched for a plan to cut fat without sacrificing what I had, finding most from T-Nation’s Facebook feed; The Time-Restricted-Plus DietFat Loss & High-Protein Breakfast,  and How Many Carbs Do You Need. The next six weeks I am going to make sure my carbs do not exceed my weight (158lbs=158 grams), cut junk, eat breakfast, and intermittent fasting with protein pulses. Already started after reading the Time Restricted Plus article.

Performance wise, when I restarted Simple and Sinister it was at a higher level. I could do ten one-hand swings with the 53lb kettlebell after the double kettlebell work increased my grip strength. I do have to give credit to the new Rogue kettlebell’s finish as well. Before I had to switch hands after five reps halfway through the set, and with my get-ups I decided to just use the 44lb kettlebell instead of alternating with the 28. Within two weeks, I was able to incorporate the 53. Then I had a two-week break to move (trading lifting weights for lifting furniture) and started again. I will do S&S until I am 12 weeks from the June 1 competition.

The March 1 competition I have not even prepared for, specifically. The plan for the June 1 competition is to start a near daily ROP, an idea I got from a thread on the StrongFirst forum. I will have another assessment halfway through the program.

So where am I on body composition now? Worse than I thought actually.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.5                14.5              0

Shoulders             44.8                  44.5                -0.3

Chest                      38.8                   37.5                      -1.3

Waist                             34.1                        34.0         -0.1

Biceps                    12.8              12.8                         0

Forearms                   11.1            11.2                                      +0.1

Thighs                         22.6                 22.8                          +0.2

Calves                          13.6                   13.8                          +.20

Weight                  164.2lbs          158.8         -5.4lbs

Body Fat %                18.3%                18.1%         -0.2%

Lean Body Mass    134.2lbs            130.1         -4.1lbs

I lost most of the gains and I can only blame my poor choice of diet. The Time-Restricted Plus plan is supposed to be sustainable so we’ll see.

 

Fieldstripping Life

One of the first articles I read in 2015 was on artofmanliness.com about a principle called via negativa. I read about the concept before in the book Antifragile. It is fieldstripping life by removing deadweight rather than a complete change in direction. Instead of using your willpower to create a good habit in place of a bad one, just drop the bad one. The article gave two tools to do this: make a list of what NOT to do to be a better person and to make a list of all you want to do in the next few years. Then you focus on the top five and drop the rest like the plague.

As much as I hate to admit it, I procrastinate when it comes to things that bore me like maintaining the house and cars. I also seem to have the ability to lecture with just a look, according to my wife. I know when I teach, I get lecture-y (is that a word?) and preachy, which is why I do not teach like that anymore. Lastly, to not be insensitive, at times the narcissism rises up and I think I am the only important one. That is the list of bad habits I am dropping.

Now to make the good even better, I listed my goals for the next few years, which was easy since I only had five. All things I am doing in one form or another now so really, so really, if nothing helps accomplish them then it will not be considered. The list:

  • To be a better follower of Jesus Christ
  • A home of our own
  • Supporting my wife’s dreams
  • Getting stronger and healthier
  • Making WJ profitable

Looking at the size and scope of this list, putting myself last, self-discipline, thousands of dollars, and time is a bit overwhelming. This verse came to mind, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Every decision I make should do one of two things-benefit the kingdom and/or make sure I am representing Jesus. The latter should also take care of the former, I would think. Heh, rather reminds me of the old WWJD bracelets. At least I have a singular point to really focus on.