Monday, April 27, 2009

Weigh In and Update

I've been so busy the last week and a half that I let my updates get behind.

As for intermittent fasting, I've stayed pretty much on schedule, though I did eat meals several days in a row that I shouldn't have. Last Friday and Saturday evenings I ended up hanging out with friends and we ate Italian on both days, which has helped contribute to me getting more carbs than I usually get.

Over the past two weeks, I haven't lost any more weight. In fact, I've gained two pounds since last weigh in, so I'm up to 222 lbs.

I like how IF makes me feel: light, a little hungry, and alert, but I'm wondering if I'm just not getting enough calories.

Today is Day 39 of my experiment in intermittent fasting, and I can look back and say that after about three weeks I started to lose some interest and things started looking like they were slowing down.

My thought now is to get back to a more active eating pattern; to do what is called a 'leptin reset' where I will be eating 5-6 meals per day, starting with low-carb for a week, then low GI/GL for a week, then higher GI/GL for a week, then on the 21st day, have a 'cheat day' where I eat anything and everything I want. People may recognize that this matches Joel Marion's Cheat To Lose Diet (which is currently being renamed and updated to Cheat Your Way Thin, which will be officially released tomorrow). I will be following Joel's plan, as I've had some good success with it in the past.

After that three week period, I'll do the maintenance phase, which is low-carb for Sunday and Monday, low GI/GL Tuesday and Wednesday, higher GI/GL Thursday and Friday, and then a Cheat Day on Saturday. I'll work on that for another three weeks, so I'll have a total of 6 weeks of eating this way.

The only bad thing I saw on eating this way before was that I was only getting around 1800 calories per day, and that stalled me pretty quickly as I was doing heavy weigh-training and martial arts. So, this time around I'll up the calories to around 2000 for the first week, then work up to 2400 the second week, and then level out at around 3000 for the last four weeks.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Training for April 18, 2009

Similar workout to Wednesday:
  • 10 minutes of pumps, halos (w/16kg bell), and face-the-wall squats
  • 12 minutes of alternating between kettlebell swings (w/16kg bell) and jump rope
  • 3, 3-minute rounds of heavy bag work, punches and kicks (30 seconds rest between each round)
During the day, I did a few GTG sessions of cleans and presses with the 80lb sandbag.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Intermittent Fasting, Day 29, April 17, 2009

Decided to check my body temperature first thing this morning: 96.8 degrees F. That's rather low, and I'm beginning to wonder if this diet is slowing down my metabolism.

I'm going to monitor this for the next several days to see what happens.

Morning supplementation:
  • 2g Vitamin C
  • 2 capsules green tea extract
  • 75mg DHEA
  • Men's multivitamin
  • 50mcg zinc
  • Vitamins A & E
Note to self: Don't ever take all those supplements on an empty stomach again.

I'll take the BCAAs and l-Glutamine later, closer to my workout time.

Edit: I felt miserable for most of the day. Just a feeling of "crapness." Tired, hungry, cold, weak. I think that I've been cutting my calories too low, as I hypothesized in the previous entry about diets and testosterone. Today I just needed to eat whatever, whenever, plan be damned.

Around 1pm, I was just so hungry that I decided to eat. This hunger wasn't the "oh, I'm hungry but I can ignore it" kind of thing. It was a deeper feeling, something that felt like it needed to be resolved. I suppose that doing intermittent fasting has made me more sensitive to actual periods of need, rather than my socially conditioned meal times.

A few hours after eating and I began to feel much better, but it wasn't until about 6:30PM that I felt un-crappy enough to exercise. I didn't feel like I could do much, so I decided to not push it. Just some simple sandbag training, cleans and presses; 80lbs in the bag,

I feel tons better now, as I write this, but I think that I will get to bed early and try to recuperate. Maybe I'm just fighting a cold, but I'm not sure. It doesn't feel like a normal cold, it feels deeper than that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Training for April 15th, 2009

Today's workout:
  • 10 minute warmup, alternating pumps, halos (w/16kg bell), and face-the-wall squats
  • 5 minutes Turkish Getups with a 24kg bell
  • ~20 minutes of heavybag work, practicing punches and kicks (I already had sore shins, waaaaahh!!)
Had a break through on the squats today. I realized that I was slightly rounding my back, which was making it difficult to get lower, more comfortably. So I focused on keeping my back straight, and immediately got more stability, even with my right ankle being as weak as it is.

I've been squatting for years, and I know the proper technique, I think that it just started slipping my mind or maybe I was training incorrectly for a while due to the ankle and other issues and just didn't catch it until now.

The Getups were harder this time, and I think that's due to the fatigue I had from last night's Krav training. My right shoulder bothers me sometimes (also felt some achiness and tightness during the pumps) . . . I need to focus on that, and my ankle, in Z. I've skipped some Z sessions and I need to get off my ass and do it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Training for April 14, 2009

One hour of Krav Maga starting at 6:50pm. Was all standup work, mostly light sparring. Got sore ribs today from taking a couple good hits. One thing I noticed is that one hour is not enough work for me. Afterwards I wanted to keep going, and I may start taking grappling or Jiu Jitsu classes to supplement my training.

I had my ankle taped up and it got rather sore. Maybe it was too tight. Anyway, at least my ankle feels pretty darn good today, much less sore than last week.

Other than that, I did a little GTG with windmills (w/ 16kg kettlebell) and sandbags.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Training for April 13, 2009

As per the EtK Program Minimum:
  • 10 minutes of pumps, halos, and face-the-wall squats, alternating every 3 reps of each
  • 12 minutes of swings (w/ 16kg bell) alternating with jump rope, minimal resting
and the results are . . .

Tired legs, heavy breathing, curse words, and contentment.

Another week or two and I will move up to a 24kg bell, I think.

Edit: Forgot my post-workout nutrition: 3 capsules of Vitamin Shoppe brand BCAAs. I can't eat until 6pm, so these puppies will have to do til then!

Edit: Worked in some rehab for the ankle after resting for a while.

Intermittent Fasting, Day 25, April 13, 2009

Today, I will be fasting until 6pm (last meal I ate yesterday was around 3pm).

Morning supplementation:
  • 2g Vitamin C
  • Men's multivitamin
  • 5g l-Glutamine
  • 3 capsules Vitamin Shoppe BCAAs
  • 2 capsules green tea extract
  • 75mg DHEA
  • 50mg zinc
I added the zinc to help with fighting the slight cold I was experiencing this weekend. Sometimes, adding zinc makes me feel odd, so I'll keep it in every day and will remove it if I start to feel strange. I already get some zinc in the ZMA supplement I take every night.

Edit: What I ate for dinner.

I grilled up some lean ground turkey with some onions, and mixed that with some nice pasta and a delicious pasta sauce (Blue Parrot that I picked up from CostCo). I ate a big bowl of that along with an equally big bowl of steamed broccoli and cauliflower and two slices of bread. I was totally stuffed after that, and I didn't want to eat anything else, which is odd. :)

Not Quite A Weekly Weigh In & Training Update

As of this morning I weighed 220 lbs, which is 4 pounds less than last time, which was two weeks ago. So, averaging 2 pounds per week isn't bad at all.

I am visibly smaller and both my gut and sides seem tighter over the past week.

As for training, I took the weekend off from heavy training because of two reasons: 1, my ankle still wasn't feeling too good and I didn't want to stress it by going to Krav Maga training, and 2, I felt like I was catching a cold this weekend, so I mostly relaxed and drank Theraflu (but not enough water, stupidly). However, I was not all laziness this weekend.

Did GTG work with sandbags (not much, mostly cleans and crossovers) and also did shoulder flexibility work. I am capable of doing one-arm overhead squats (woohoo!) with a 16kg bell but that darned ankle still makes things a tad difficult at the bottom. I tried doing doubles but I just don't have the flexibility to quite get it. I can get almost parallel with two 16kg bells, but not lower.

Also, I can finally do reps on deck squats, using a 16kg bell for counter-balance. Previously, my weakened ankle made it hard, and likely my upper body fat did, as well. But yesterday I did 4 solid reps without much issue at all. I was able to keep my upper body nice and tight and driving through with the hips while pushing hard into the ground with my feet was quite easy.

Progress!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Intermittent Fasting, Day 24, April 12, 2009

I decided to skip today's supplementation, just to stretch out my supplies. Since I'm unemployed as of April 30, I may do this several more times.

I've been working my IF days in a sort of random fashion. For example, Saturday and Sunday were both "Breakfast" days, where I would eat after waking and every 3 hours or so after, stopping at 6pm.

The meals on both days was pretty similar:
  • Egg white omelet (1.5 cups eggwhites w/2 whole eggs) w/ onions and lean ground turkey
  • 1 slice low-fat swiss cheese
  • An orange or an apple
  • 2 capsules of Biotest Flameout
Lunches and snacks were similar, as well:
  • Bowl of high-protein cereal (mostly flax, pumpkin seed, grain cereal) with
  • 1% milk mixed with a scoop of added protein
  • High-fiber grain toast with a little peanut butter
Only once in the past week did I eat fast food. I went to Arby's and got one of their new "roastburger" sandwiches, along with a medium fry and a diet dr. pepper. It really wasn't that great. The sandwich wasn't bad, but the fries tasted horrible and the soda was disappointing.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Built a Pull-Up Bar!

I got sick of waiting for one to magically fall out of the sky and decided to build a pull-up bar today. I ran over to Home Depot and bought:
  • 2 72" long, black powder-coated 1" diameter pipes
  • 1 48" long, black 1" diameter pipe for the bar
  • 2 90 degree elbow connectors
  • 2 t-connectors for the bottom supports
  • 4 12" long black 1" diameter pipes for the feet
Ended up costing about $80 USD. I could have spent less, but I didn't want to attach it to a wall at this point, as I wanted something that is fairly easy to move around just in case I want to lug it outside when the weather gets warmer.

It seems strong and stable enough. :)

Now, I really can't do pullups. Maybe one, and that one is pathetic. I've been avoiding pull-ups because I'm so weak. That's about to change. On my off-days from doing the EtK Program Minimum, I'm going to work on pull-ups. 'nuff said.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Training for April 10, 2009

Again, following the Enter The Kettlebell Program Minimum. Today it was the Turkish Getups!

After a 10 minute warmup of pumps, halos (w/a 16kg bell) and face-the-wall squats, I proceeded to do 5 minutes of Getups with a 24kg bell. I felt strong, and really enjoyed them.

I think that made today's workout such a great experience was that between the movements in the warmup, I focused on complete relaxation. Bouncing lightly on the balls of my feet and shaking out all tension, breathing deeply throughout. I think it's just too easy to forget to do this.

My right ankle definitely has some flexibility and stability issues, which made the face-the-wall squats slightly difficult at the absolute bottom of the movement, but it is slowly getting better.

After all that . . . I ended up getting suckered into helping my mom move a granite slab-topped table she'd just bought. Darn thing must have weighed 500, maybe 600 pounds. Good thing I had the help of one of her neighbors.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strict Diets Decrease Testosterone Drastically?

Over at Muscular Development is a new article that has some interesting points (this article is directed towards males, as it focuses on testosterone levels):
  • Resistance training while dehydrated can increase cortisol and decrease testosterone response
  • Severe dieting, where calorie intake is highly restricted, causes testosterone levels to plummet, interfering with the body's natural negative feedback loop of testosterone regulation, even when protein intake is considered high and anaerobic training is included
  • That athletes, fitness professionals, and likely anyone training to just lose weight and improve their physique, should reconsider their nutrition if they are experiencing symptoms of testosterone deficiency
What are symptoms of testosterone deficiency? Here are some:
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Loss of strength and/or muscle mass
  • Diminished work capacity
  • Etc.
Normally, resistance (aka anaerobic) training results in increased serum testosterone, as does a diet that provides sufficient nutrition, mainly lean proteins for the basic building blocks of muscle (amino acids), fats for the production of hormones (surprise! cholesterol is vital for sex hormone production in both men and women), and carbohydrates for fueling exercise (though protein and fats can provoke an insulin response, nothing does it better than good old glucose). Yes, I know this is a simplification and I may be wrong about some technical particulars.

This article has me rethinking my decision to start intermittent fasting. Sure, IF can assist in weight loss and there are potential benefits in regards to insulin resistance and hormone balance, and while I do not seem to be exhibiting the symptoms of testosterone deficiency right now, I was diagnosed with low testosterone recently (around the middle of last year). I am wondering if I might be making things potentially worse for myself by fasting. Weight training can decrease insulin resistance, so am I really doing myself a favor by combining them?

Being that I'm still working on figuring out my own testosterone issues, choosing to do IF right now might be muddying up the waters. My calories are really not as restricted as the wrestlers mentioned in that article, but mine might be low enough to eventually cause issues.

I think I'll do some calorie counting, just to see what my intake is.

Training for April 09, 2009

Decided to "get back to basics" today, by doing the Program Minimum from the Enter the Kettlebell book by Pavel Tsatsouline.

I did about 10-15 minutes of "pumps," face-the-wall squats, and halos, the latter with a 16kg bell. The halos feel wonderful, by the way. Right ankle is just unstable enough that squatting begins to get difficult after a while.

Following that was 12 minutes of alternating between two-handed swings with a 16kg bell and jumping rope. That was pretty killer and it felt great. My right ankle is a little sore afterwards, but the great toe on that foot feels OK.

I've decided (thanks for the reminder, Sandy!) to go back and do just this for at least 6 weeks. I am really enjoying the VO2max snatch work, and I will throw in a few days of it here and there, but I really did need to go back and work on the core movements.

Missed updates!

I've been pretty busy due to interviewing for jobs and studying for my IT certifications.

Supplementation has been consistent. Yesterday I did mostly body weight training while watching TV. I love Lost. :)

Mixed in floor presses with a 24kg bell with pushups, situps (mixed regular situps with Janda situps), pushups (alternating widths and throwing in some dive bombers at the end). Also threw in some partial getups with a 24kg bell.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Turf Toe Update

My great right toe feels pretty good today, after doing the Turkish Getups yesterday. I was afraid it'd be more sore than it is. If anything, my right ankle feels worse than the toe, as I kinda tweaked it near the end of the cardio kickboxing class on Saturday. Will need to tape my ankle for Krav.

I'm falling apart!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Training for April 06, 2009

Warmed up with several minutes of Turkish Getup/Windmill combinations (two sets with a 16kg bell, 2 sets with a 24kg), then moved on to two sets of 5 reps each of cleans and high pulls with a 16kg bell.

Realized I wasn't keeping full body tension in the cleans, and once I corrected that, all the movements after got much crisper and more powerful.

After a minute or two, I then proceeded to do 6 minutes of VO2max snatch training with a 16kg bell. Chalked my grip before starting. What a huge difference that makes. I need to get more chalk.

After a few sets I had another realization, that I wasn't fully locking out my arm at the top of the snatch. Once I corrected that, and made sure to keep my bicep close to my ear, the snatches got noticeably easier. My punch through started to just fall into line and I didn't need anywhere near as much effort to keep going.

That said, I was still sucking wind at the end, but I felt great. Win! I'll continue to do 6 minutes for the rest of this week, and attempt an increase next week if I keep everything tight like it was for this session.

However, I still need to practice the punch through.

Intermittent Fasting, Day 16, April 05, 2009

Friday and Saturday were pretty normal, as far as diet goes. Same supplements as usual.

I did overeat a little on Sunday, during the day, but I did stop eating at 6pm on Sunday night, as scheduled. I just ate more than planned, during the day. So, for the next week I will be more strict and get more vegetables and lean protein in.

What did I eat on Sunday? A huge veggie omelet (1.5 cups egg whites w/2 whole eggs, onions, green peppers, swiss cheese), an orange, and then several hours later a chicken pot-pie and a banana, and several hours after that 1/2 a medium pizza. Also ate a few bites of a Toblerone chocolate bar (3 pieces).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Training for April 05, 2009

None! I took Sunday off as a rest day. Just tried to totally relax, reading and watching movies.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Training for April 04, 2009

Went to Krav Maga training today, but I was the only one who showed up. Everyone else was afraid of a little cold weather. Wimps!

Three ladies showed up for a cardio class, so I decided to go ahead and jump in. My butt was kicked.

I took a 16kg kettlebell with me and did some windmills for a warmup before class. Turns out that the school actually bought a couple kettlebells and I didn't notice them at first. Looks like they had a 16kg and an 8kg bell.

I mentioned to one of the instructors that I have several sandbags available and that I'll bring them in for future training.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Intermittent Fasting, Day 14, April 03, 2009

Missed a few days of logging the diet, but nothing really interesting happened in those days, except for yesterday. Yesterday was my "Breakfast Day" where I eat up until 6pm. I must not have eaten enough during the day because about 8:30 at night I was so hungry that I was hurting.

I decided to finish off a small amount of chicken and pasta that was left over from the other day. Bad idea. I don't mind having slipped up once, and it may even be a good thing but today I actually feel sick. My stomach has been hurting all morning.

So, I'm back on track and won't eat anything until 6pm tonight.

I had one supplementation change: I've increased my DHEA intake to 100mg as of yesterday. In another post, I'll be detailing why.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Training for April 2nd, 2009

Warmup: 5 minutes of Turkish getups with a 16kg bell. Shoulders felt pretty good during and after.

Session: 6 minutes VO2max snatch training with a 16kg bell.

Was sucking wind afterwards!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Training for April 1st, 2009

I was feeling kinda tired, feeling like I'm coming down with a cold, so I decided to skip the VO2max training for today. I just worked on the form of my cleans and did some body weight stuff, like pushups and squats. Just enough to feel good and not stressed at all.