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How we spend our days...

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by firebert, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    ...is how we spend our lives.

    These words rang true to me back when I began my initial transformation (pictures) in 2005. It isn't enough to just have a long-term goal and an deadline; without a plan that you can execute every day and that can actually bring you there, your goal is just wish-fulfillment fantasy.

    A lot of good has happened in my life since my last (short-lived) journal: I finished my M.S. I bought a condo. I've gone in with some friends on a startup (ongoing). I've fallen in love with an amazing woman (also ongoing :spaz:). I achieved powerlifting totals, nothing too special compared with some JSF legends, perhaps, but numbers that represent a very significant achievement to me. I organized a fellowship of artists in my area who take regular retreats to do artsy things together. I participate in sports and martial arts on a regular basis, something I never did as a child or young adult.

    I'm incredibly grateful for all the good things that are going in my life right now. Much of it was directly enabled by my transformation, or indirectly, by the lessons I learned going from a 300-pound sedentary office worker to fit and lean athlete. Like about having both a goal and a plan. And taking responsibility for the plan. And not making excuses. And measuring progress so that you know whether the plan is working.

    So I'm back here today because in fitness, I'm currently lacking a goal. And to honest, I've backslidden some. I haven't forgotten the lessons, but they're dusty. I'm not what I was, not by a longshot; I'm still somewhat active, and still eat somewhat clean. But that lackluster commitment has led to lackluster results. I am fatter, weaker, slower now than I know I can be.

    I plan to update this journal with my fitness goals (as I decide on them), my plans (as they solidify), and my progress (as I make it). I haven't posted much, and stopped around two years ago, but I never stopped lurking. So it's good to be back. I'm excited for the future, excited to reconnect with those of you who'd cheered me on in the past, and excited to meet some of the new JSFers.

    Hi, everyone. And thanks for reading. See you tomorrow!
     
  2. daydark

    daydark Well-Known Member

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    What a fantastic post. I wish you the best. You've already proven you have what it takes.

    I don't know why but I feel urged to share a quote with you from a book I read recently. It really had a huge impact on me:

    "If you feel uneasy about how far you've strayed from your standards, don't be dismayed. It means that the qualities you long for and feel you've fallen short of -- are in your heart. If you're uncomfortable about your own behavior, it's a validation of who you are, not a condemnation! The discomfort means you're aware of your integrity, and it's urging you to attain wholeness."

    EDIT: Quote by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.
     
    #2 daydark, Jul 20, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  3. Rogozhin

    Rogozhin Active Member

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    I needed to read this, thank you firebert. :nod: We'll be keeping an eye on you. :D
     
  4. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for the reminder, daydark. That is a great quote. :nod:

    And I just stopped in to your journal. Awesome transformation!

    Thanks, Rogo! :)



    During my initial cut, I first used a nutrition plan of my own design, then I hired SwoleCat (a former member here; RIP) to design a plan for me. We had our difficulties, but it's not much of an exaggeration when I say that he all but taught me how to cut (in a way that works for my body). So for better or worse, when I fall off the wagon and want to get on but haven't yet formed a detailed plan, I always revert to that style of eating.

    So far, I'm on track with it today, but I hope to have a plan before the end of the week.

    I've also decided on at least one of my goals, which is fat-loss. I weighed in at 246lb this morning. I haven't set the target in mind, but getting back to my adult low of about 190 while maintaining as much muscle as possible would be great. It would likely represent 9-10% bodyfat.

    At two pounds a week, I bet I can get there just in time for the dead of winter. :lol:
     
  5. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    Good day today!

    I stayed on track with the macros and calorie totals, drank a ton of water, and went to the gym for karate after work. Aaron led most of the session, and he's an animal. It was possibly the best workout I've gotten at Karate: the first 25 minutes were a bonafide HIIT workout, the next 25 was technique-heavy and slow, and we ended with kata.

    I also:

    1. emptied my email inbox (great feeling)
    2. made some headway at work
    3. cooked my meals for tomorrow
    4. made a huge mess of the kitchen :o

    And hey, I even updated my JSF journal.

    Yep. Solid day.
     
  6. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    7/21

    I had some friends over for dinner yesterday and made stuffed grape leaves. I stuff them with ground lamb (or beef), rice, parsley, onion, and garlic. But the grape leaf itself is the star of the show in terms of flavor. Side of brown rice and greek salad. And apart from the English toffee I made (of which I partook sparingly), the whole meal fit into my macros while being delicious enough to entertain with.

    High fives all around!

    Also enjoyed the chance to hang out with my roommate and an acquaintance that's looking to be becoming a good friend.

    The rest of the day was good, too. 50 minutes of cardio (bike and elliptical) in the morning, productivity at work.

    ---

    Today's on track so far, too. Finished off the grape leaves for meals 1 and 3, ate an avocado and some protein powder for 2 and 4. Karate's coming up in a couple hours; hope it's a good workout.

    My CSA box for the week just arrived with a whole lot of mystery vegetables. :eek:

    ---

    Trouble looms, though. I was planning to go to the Harpoon Brewery BBQ Competition as my cheat :-)drool:), which would be fine, except today, in the space of 20 minutes, I was invited to two different cookouts. One's from a friend visiting from the Netherlands, the other's to celebrate getting a Ph.D., so hard enough to refuse at least attending. And I'm a sucker for burgers and brats. :scared:

    So this week will likely be more than a 1-cheat-meal week. But no binging. A burger or a brat may not be great for me, but won't offset a week's progress. Four or five, though, just might. :ohnoes:
     
    #6 firebert, Jul 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  7. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    The weekend was, as expected, not so good in the nutrition department. Monday was very stressful (a hosting company that I work with is rolling out updates that break, well, everything), but I'm back on track training, nutrition, and otherwise.

    I guess I'll talk some about my training. For the last two years I've been pretty gung-ho about powerlifting, and I hit a total last December I felt I could really be proud of. Since then I've kind of plateaued in my lifts, but also gotten fatter. I decided I needed a change of pace and was almost about to start cutting. Then, via a personal connection, I started working with a trainer, trading my time for his (I help him out with various tech problems).

    It's the first time I've worked with a trainer. It's odd. He's of the NASM school of thought (anyone know more about that?) which is big on core, stability, range of motion, and corrective exercise ("correcting" things like lordosis, splayfoot, etc, at least in my case). The resistance work is somewhat challenging, but not in the same way or degree as powerlifting; there's a fair bit of technique involved, and I struggle with balance and so forth, but the volume is low, the tempos are slow, and the weights are low, and so I just don't have that "I left it all out there" feeling I normally get from lifting. The cardio is... interminable. And there is a fair amount of "fluff", stuff have always seen as at least bordering on pointless, or worse (lots of static stretching stretches, complicated warm up/down routines, foam rolling).

    So I'm not sure what to make of it. I kind of made a deal with myself that I'd faithfully do what he told me for 12 weeks (that was as much training as he "owes" me, anyway) before second guessing him or trying something different. But it's a bit of a struggle. The fluff feels like a waste of time, and the lifting feels listless and half-hearted. I know I'm going to lose muscle and strength, at least temporarily. But the balance/stability/splayfoot etc do seem to be issues worth working on. And my goal, regardless of training, is to be cutting, so losing muscle was gonna happen anyway.

    Anyone have experience with NASM or want to weigh in? Should I keep at it or go back to a more body-building workout?

    The final confounding factor is shotokan, which is so trunk/hip heavy that I wouldn't know if any of the aforementioned effects are from his training or the karate. Ah well.

    It's getting late, and I've got cardio in the morning. Better skedaddle.
     
  8. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    Things I suck at: keeping this journal up-to-date. :o

    Things I suck less at: staying more-or-less on-plan regardless. :blank:

    Things I know for damn certain: staying "more-or-less" on-plan just isn't going to cut it. :bang:

    I don't think I've really backslidden in the last couple weeks, but I'd be lying if I said I thought I had some forward momentum in fat-loss.

    I never really committed to updating this journal daily. The same is true of every journal I've kept since the one of my initial transformation (which wasn't here on JSF). I thought I could get away with updating it "as needed", but I'm still lukewarm. No way to be.

    So: I'm going to update this daily, for better or worse, even if it only a sentence or two, and see where that takes me.

    Today: Solid day. I felt like shite (i've got massive allergies, and I had my pupils dilated at the optometrist, which always gives me a headache) but I stuck to the eating plan and the cardio.

    Bye for now.
     
  9. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    "He has only each day to be faithful for one short day, and long years and a long life will take care of themselves without the sense of their length or their weight ever being a burden."

    --

    Definitely feeling like I'm on the mend today. One thing I very much like about this lifestyle is even when I fall ill, it's a quick turnaround. I seem to have whatever's been going around my circle of friends, and some of them have been complaining for weeks. After the low point yesterday, I feel like I'm at maybe 85%.

    I'm going to play it be ear to see whether I wind up going to karate, though. Karate is very often a pretty strenuous workout, which doesn't jibe well with trying to get unsick. We shall see.

    No reason not to eat right, though. Time for second breakfast. :eat:
     
  10. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    I skipped karate but went for a run from the office. I'm lucky in that my office has showers and is in a nice quiet business loop. Out to the loop and back is 0.3mi, and the loop itself is 1.0mi, so I can just repeat the loop to add miles. Felt shitty, though, so I only looped it once.

    Stayed on plan with the nutrition, though. I'm still doing an SGX-esque cutting diet; I really need to try something different.

    Other than that, it was a pretty productive day, both at work and otherwise. Scheduled appointments, paid bills, applied for a Chinese visa :-)spaz:), etc.

    Today? Not so much with the productivity. :rolleyes: But OK with the nutrition. And I'm feeling well enough to work out in the evening. :nod:
     
  11. misterjingo

    misterjingo Well-Known Member

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    What kind of nutritional plan are you doing? Are you keeping track of calories?

    Also, I think the stretching will help you in the long run, especially with the karate. I know a couple of people here do the foam rolling and it does seem to help them too.
     
  12. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for giving me the motivation to write this out, Jingo. Here's about what it looks like:

    Weekdays. On weekdays I eat like this:

    M1: 40g protein, 15g fat, 10g carb
    M2: 40g protein, 15g fat, 10g carb
    M3: 40g protein, 15g fat, 10g carb
    M4: 40g protein, 15g fat, 10g carb
    Preworkout: 30g carb (fruit, usually)
    M5 (postworkout drink): 30g protein, 8g fat, 60g carb (whey powder in whole milk, dextrose)
    M6: 40g protein, 5g fat, 60g carb

    I work out every week day, but on cardio only days I cut the postworkout drink in half. So that works out to about 2337 cal/day.

    Foods. Rather than rigidly plan each meal, I just see to it that I hit the above numbers by eating combinations of the following foods. (I make substitutions from time to time, but I probably eat everything on this list in any given week.)

    Chicken breast, lean ground beef, salmon, tuna, cheese, cottage cheese, strained yogurt, almonds, avocados, olive oil, apples, oranges, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, brown rice, lentils, beans, barley, potatoes.

    Weekends. Weekends are thorny for me. At first, I tried to stay rigidly on-plan 7 days a week. I found that both my psyche and my social life couldn't sustain that treatment long-term. Then I decided to go with the "cheat meal" idea and just have one "free" meal each week. Psychologically this was a disaster, even worse than staying on plan, as I could never decide what "reward" was fitting for a week's discipline, so I'd eat them all and that one free meal would become an absolute free-for-all, whatever I could eat in one sitting. I always felt shitty after the binge, and I'm sure I undid a lot of the week's progress. (A typical "cheat meal" might involve a 4-plate trip to the Chinese buffet, or a large pizza, huge piece of yellow cake, and 1L of Coke. And alcohol.)

    Nowadays, my weekend approach is to eat "normally" from Saturday morning to Sunday night. What I mean is, I don't rule out any particular food/meal/macro combination, but because I'm free all weekend I don't feel all this pressure to satisfy every food/drink craving I've deprived myself of all week. I can eat at restaurants and feel free to order whatever I want, rather that feel constrained to order the heart attack special because it's my "one chance." And I can cook meals that are outside macro ratios, and maybe bigger than usual, but are still respectable, "healthy" meals (to non-JSFers ;))

    I'm not sure if the overall calorie surplus is any more or less compared with the "one meal binge" idea, and sometimes I do let it get out of hand a eat more or worse than I should. But it's a lot easier to cope with, and I've never had any trouble making Monday a hard-reset.

    I'm curious, though: how do others deal with the above weekend/cheatmeal/etc issues?

    --

    I did cardio yesterday and I'm just about to go for a run around the business park.

    I'm enjoying the extra running and cardio but I need to get my lifting program back in order. :bang:

    I weighed in at 244.0 this morning, and still 0 nutrition deviations this week. I'm pleased as punch. :nod:
     
    #12 firebert, Aug 26, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  13. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    By the way, I'd love general nutrition advice from anyone who'll offer it, too, not just advice on how to handle cheat days/weekends. The main reason I'm on the plan I'm on now is, well, it's worked in the past. Which isn't a bad thing, of course, but if it can be improved, I'm all for it.
     
  14. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    2.04 slow miles. However, I think I'm finally past the shin-splints-every-damn-time-I-go-for-a-run hump! :claphigh:

    Nutrition was spot-on again today :) I'm having the uh neighborhood (seriously) over for breakfast tomorrow (pancakes, eggs, bacon) and really looking forward to that, followed by a lazy weekend. Which I think I've earned.
     
  15. misterjingo

    misterjingo Well-Known Member

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    If I had to guess I think most would say to you "Hey if it's working for you don't stop doing it." I do a similar plan, except I only count calories. I have 2,000 calories to dole out and I can eat whatever I want. So I quickly realized that 2,000 is very much if you're eating crappy food.

    It looks like you've got a good selection of food going so I don't think you'll burn out anytime soon.

    For me the weekend is the toughest because it isn't very structured. I don't worry about cheat meals because I only have a calorie cap to worry about. I found that I would go nuts on the cheat meals and I felt crappy afterwards and felt like I had blown the whole week.

    Since I've started my overhaul I've discovered 2 things about myself:

    1. Keeping to my diet is harder than keeping to an exercise routine.
    2. I don't keep to an exercise routine very well if I'm not eating well.


    Enjoy your breakfast!
     
  16. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for the advice, Jingo! I really do like the approach of having a calorie total for the day and just being able to do whatever you want within the confines of that. What do you do for preworkout/postworkout nutrition, though? Is it still pretty much anything goes?

    --

    243.0 pounds. :nod:

    Breakfast was a hoot. Good turnout, including my neighbor who will be traveling to India next week to do urban planning research. Great food and hilarious conversations. I've made having a laid-back, open-to-all-comers Saturday morning breakfast (pancakes, bacon, eggs, waffles) a tradition now for about six months and I have no regrets about it. It's nice living in a college town...

    Cleaned house, had a burrito, cleaned house more, went for a leisurely 1.88 mile run, boiled some ribs and the finished the on the charcoal grill with some friends.

    Near as perfect a day as I can imagine.
     
  17. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    No training to report on from Sunday. Meals were reasonably healthy foods (all home-cooked by myself) but I did overeat some as I was cooking for others and I didn't measure/weigh stuff out.

    Monday's here, though, and I'm back on track.

    Work's going to be a mother this week. :blank:
     
  18. misterjingo

    misterjingo Well-Known Member

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    I don't really change much before and after I workout. Usually I'm working out after work, and I usually eat a small meal about 90 minutes before I go to workout. And afterwards I'm going home to eat dinner so I just make sure I eat some protein then. It is working so far :nod:
     
  19. firebert

    firebert Well-Known Member
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    Monday saw me run 2.25 slow miles. Well, faster than before, but even calling it running is being fairly generous. :lol:

    Today's karate was a bear. I finally got a gi, and it took some getting used to.

    Food's been a-OK provided Laura didn't lie to me about the contents of her Cholay (which was delicious). I've sure been feeling hungry, though. I guess that's how you know it's working?

    Bathroom remodel begins, sort of. Demolition day isn't for another week, but my roommates have left town for a couple weeks, so I went a little nuts with the screw gun taking down fixtures and hardware and such. Had the desired effect of bringing the project to the point of no return.

    I haven't undertaken a project anywhere near this big before, and there are a few major bugaboos in there. :scared: But I only have one bathroom (and gracious neighbors, thankfully, but still) so the it's gotta get done fast. :nod:
     
  20. Whoracle

    Whoracle Well-Known Member

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    Nice journal you got going on here. What kind of karate are you doing?
     

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