Category Archives: Health & Fitness

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.

Ended On A High Note

IMG_6792 (1)Training wise, I ended the cycle with a bit of a whimper after getting sick the last part of it. I pushed back the competition day from the 1st to the 9th so I could finish the Total Tension Complex program. So we’ll cover both form and fitness.

The last cycle of the year I focused on adding muscle for two reasons, vanity and increasing strength. Three weeks in I beat a personal record on the double kettlebell military press. It taught me a few things during this program: four week cycles to preserve my CNS and lower fat levels, and no hard training during cold and flu season. I read somewhere that it suppresses the immune system as the body rebuilds itself after training. I also formed a love/hate relationship with front squats and double kettlebell swings. IMG_6794 (1)

As far as my strength and conditioning goals I ended 2014 stronger, maintaining the 62lb one-rep max from the last competition. My lack of conditioning was cured by the double swings and 5 minute snatch tests. Instead of my test weight I trained with the 44lb kettlebell. When I tested on Friday with the 53lb ‘bell I increased my reps from 29 to 54. I ended the year more conditioned as well.

So what did the double kettlebells and eating everything in sight do as far as body composition?

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.0                14.5              +0.5

Shoulders             42                  44.8                   +2.8

Chest                      36.2                   38.8                      +2.6

Waist                             32.5                        34.1         +1.6

Biceps                    12.3              12.8                         +.50

Forearms                   11.1            11.1                                      +0.1

Thighs                         21.20                 22.6                          +1.4

Calves                          13.5                   13.6                          +.10

Weight                  153.8lbs          164.2         +10.4lbs

Body Fat %                16.1%                18.3%         +2.2%

Lean Body Mass    129.1lbs            134.2         +5.1lbs

Gained over 10lbs, and looking at how I ended last year the complex added muscle instead of just fat from eating all the holiday food. Might repeat that, or just watch what I eat… The next cycle I’ll return to Simple & Sinister on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and seeing what Strength Aerobics do for my conditioning on Tuesdays and Thursdays.