Accountabilibuddies

Starting the week of Christmas, I started round three of Bigger Leaner Stronger workouts. Over this period extending into New Year, a fraternity brother of mine decided he has the goal of dropping forty pounds within five months. With that goal in mind, I’ve become an accountabilibuddy for now a morning routine. With extra push from someone and a bit of a safety net, my lifts are getting better and my form isn’t suffering from my own mental barriers.

Keeping Busy

While I haven’t blogged in awhile, I’ve been busy working on an application to better help track workouts. I’ve been frustrated with the workout apps that force you into a path, don’t remember your previous performance on a particular exercise, and doesn’t store your performances in a central location. If you’re interested in helping, or feel there are certain features missing in your experiences of your tracker, please email me at paul@swollbro.com.

Another Tracking Device

A couple of years ago, I purchased the FitBit Flex. After trying to charge it once it again, it finally became useless. Seeing that the Charge 2 was decently price, and I recently had a birthday, I decided to purchase this device. I’ll post a complete review of it later as I scroll through all the functionality, but so far I’m pleased with it. Also, if you want to compete, look me up via paul@swollbro.com.

With a Heavy Heart – Veterans and Mental Health

While I’ve been keeping busy with my family, playing around with the Charge 2, hockey, and becoming an accountabilibuddy, the world churns around me. This past week, I was blessed to see many friends, but unfortunately in the worst of contexts. My friends and I were saying goodbye to a fraternity brother of ours. A veteran of the Air Force, fighting the conflict with ISIS, battled with PTSD and took circumstances into his own hands. I’ve heard this story many times, but it never came this close to home. Twenty-two veterans a day are taking their lives.

Another classmate of mine, a veteran while battling cancer, had a similar story battling with PTSD. In his dying wishes, he took his message to combat veteran suicide with Carry the Fallen, completing many rucks weakened by cancer. If you have it in your heart, I urge you to donate. Our service men and women protect us and put themselves in harms way. Our veterans have seen and experienced actions many of us civilians will never encounter. If you find it in your heart, please hear Justin’s Message and consider donating to Active Heroes.

Last Time I Checked In

Round 2 – What Has Become Habit From Routine

  • Weight – 169.6lbs
  • BF% – 17%
  • Muscle Mass – 42.9%

Round 3 – Week 4 Workout

Monday – Legs/HIIT
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Squat 235 x 6 235 x 6 205 x 6
Deadlift 275 x 6 275 x 4 275 x 6
Barbell Lunges 175 x 6 175 x 6 175 x 6
HIIT 10:00 of box jumps
Tuesday – Shoulders/Back
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Barbell Rows 185 x 6 185 x 6 185 x 6
Weighted Wide Grip Pull Up 30 x 6 30 x 6 30 x 6
Standing Military Press 125 x 6 125 x 5 135 x 3
Shrugs 225 x 8 225 x 7 225 x 6
Front Raise 30 x 6 30 x 6 30 x 6
Lateral Raise 20 x 6 20 x 6 20 x 6
Wednesday – Biceps/HIIT
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Incline Dumbbell Curl 40 x 6 40 x 6 40 x 6
Barbell Curl 105 x 6 105 x 6 105 x 6
Hammer Dumbbell Curl 50 x 6 50 x 6 50 x 6
HIIT 15:00 sprints 15seconds on / 45 seconds off
Thursday – Chest/Triceps
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Bench Press 205 x 4 205 x 4 205 x 4
Incline Bench Press 185 x 6 185 x 6 185 x 6
Weight Dips 65 x 6 65 x 6 65 x 6
Skull Crushers 85 x 8 85 x 8 85 x 8
Tricep Rope Push Down 65 x 8 65 x 6 65 x 6
Close Grip Bench Press 165 x 5 165 x 6 165 x 6
Friday – Abs/Calves/HIIT
Exercise Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
Ab Circuit 15 x 20 20 x 20 20 x 25
Calf Circuit 155 x 16 155 x 16 155 x 16
HIIT 25:00 of Box Jumps
Sunday – Hockey

Final Results

  • Weight – 168.2lbs
  • BF% – 16.7%
  • Muscle Mass – 43%

Respect Where You Are Through What You’ve Been Through

Six months ago I started a health journey that took me from 26% body fat to where I currently sit at 16.9%. With all the frustration in previous programs, I’m happy to settle with one that is yielding results. As 2017 starts, I’m excited and anticipating the journey ahead to achieve a goal I thought nearly unattainable. The past six months were challenging old habits relentlessly and for a large majority were thwarted. I kept my goals conscious in all my actions. I went to the Wisconsin vs. Michigan game where tailgating ensued and I remained strong and true to my goals.

At times, I found myself excited to get to the gym, while others I felt as if I was going through the motions. Getting my ass in the gym wasn’t close to the toughest part. The dieting and justifications for poor diet habits were the worst part. It wasn’t until I laid out a plan for my macros consistently and consciously providing my body the necessary nutrition to meet my goals did I see changes in my body. I picked foods I normally consumed, but had to cut back or eliminated other foods, primarily beer and foods that pair well with beer. Through these cuts and strategic timed eating, the past six months have provided significant changes.

My Six Month Roadmap to Body Composition Success

My goals in the first six months differed. Mainly my goals in mind, dial in the diet, drink less beer, and stick to the Bigger Leaner Stronger program. If you’ve been keeping tabs on my progress, you’ll know that what I’ve done so far has been successful in terms of body composition. My goals this time around are straight forward and simple. My overall goal is to achieve 10-12% body fat. So how do I get there? How would you get there?

The Roadmap

1. Knowing Where You Are

In order to get where you want to go, you need to know where you are. At the base of this, you’ll need to know your body fat percentage. Here’s a way you can measure your body fat percentage. I’ve gone the lazy way about things and have used my scale to retrieve my body fat percentage. You’ll also need to know how much you weigh, which I’m sure you can figure that out a bit more easily than body fat percentage.

For reference, I’m sitting at 16.9% BF and 168.8 lbs.

2. Calorie Consumption and Macro-Nutrients *

I’m looking to achieve 10-12% body fat over the next six months while keeping up my strength. For my purposes, I’m looking to cut. On muscleforlife.com a handy calorie/macro-nutrient calculator is provided to help dial in your diet. After you have your numbers from the calculator, make a spreadsheet of foods you enjoy and try to closely match your targets from the calculator. Here’s my spreadsheet of foods I enjoy and how I’ve dialed in my diet to help cut. I will note that my dinners typically healthy, but with a family I don’t eat the same thing every evening. How boring on the pallet would that be to eat the same thing every day? For some healthier dinner ideas, my wife and I have used recipes from the the Shredded Chef. We’ve enjoyed the gram cracker encrusted tilapia, protein pudding bars, french toast, muffins, and pork tenderloin.

Timing of your calorie consumption and the macro-nutrients are also important. As a guideline, I typically am a bit carbohydrate heavy before my workout, and protein heavy post workout.

*This is the hardest step in the roadmap. Mainly this is a lifestyle change in every aspect and moment in your life. I often found myself with “justification calories” or “what’s another beer going to hurt” mentality.

3. Weight Training

My weight training regimen will remain the same except, I’ll be working through eight weeks instead of my normal six weeks. For MOST weight training exercises, I’m doing three sets four to six reps. Should I get to six reps, I will increase five pounds per dumbbell or ten pounds be barbell usage. Between each set, I’m waiting two minutes between each set.

4. Cardio

Cardio is limited to three sessions a week and will remain as High Intensity Interval Training sessions. For a mix of cardio activities so I’m not bored, I range from sprints on a treadmill, jumping rope with box jumps, and elliptical intervals. Typically these sessions last 10-25 minutes. If you’re in need of a timer for interval training, I’ve created a HIIT Timer available in the Apple App Store. I also play hockey on Sundays providing the best, and in my opinion MOST FUN, HIIT workout.

Why do I choose HIIT training over longer bouts of cardio? LiveStrong.com has a great explanation of why HIIT training is better than jogging.

Six Month Roadmap Expected Result

With this roadmap above, it is expected that I lose 0.5-1lbs/week. I’m aiming to get my weight down to 159lbs and hopefully that will lead me to my 10% body fat percentage. After this stage has been completed, I will begin a bulk stage which will require more calories and heavier weights. Until then, wish me luck! Happy New Year!

Have questions? Email me at paul@swollbro.com