Hopefully you caught my first post on Training For Physique & Fat Loss. In it I laid out what my most recent training phase was as well as posted my workouts and what my calories & macros currently are at. I am training for a men's physique contest that benefits a charity called Make A Vet Sweat which raises money for returning veterans who are fighting PTSD.
That first phase has come and gone and I am very pleased with the result. At the onset of this journey I was at 216lbs. Currently I am 210lbs even. Pretty good for a 3-week sprint. Conditions weren't optimal either - I still had to do my job, I still had to get up early, I still had stressors that were unavoidable - but I made it a priority and was consistent with my workouts. My weights went up every week and my physique has definitely improved.
One thing that was tough was getting in my carbs on a lectin-free diet. I've been seeking out answers for some chronic gut issues and may have found the answer. (For more info on what a lectin-free diet is as well as how many carbs I'm eating daily check out the first part of this series.)
The majority of my carbs have come from sweet potatoes. My amazing wife, Clare, has made them a few different ways. I mainly have been eating them diced but we've also done mashed, baked and sliced and grilled on the BBQ. Soooo tasty.
My other carb sources are raw, natural honey (I'm using Nature Nate's brand) which I use in my coffee and on my sweet potatoes if I need more carbs; and Otto's cassava flour tortillas and biscuits. The former I use all throughout the day while the latter I use as a post-dinner treat/dessert and cover a warmed-up biscuit with some berries and/or tart cherries. I may or may not sprinkle some more raw, natural honey on there depending on where my carbs lie for the day. The cassava flour has been a life-saver as it has satisfied my sweet tooth.
Otto's is an amazing product not many people know about. Cassava flour is sourced from the yuca root, a starchy tuber similar to a potato. It is native to South America and, when ground, is an amazing gluten-free substitute for what we normally use as flour. Gluten is one of the most inflammatory triggers that we could ever eat. It is a protein (in the lectin family, mind you) and comprises 50% of our wheat here in the states. Elsewhere in the world wheat may only be as low as 3% gluten. So here in America, avoid it at all costs!!!
"Gluten is one of the most inflammatory
triggers that we could ever eat."
If you're still curious about gluten and why it's such a big deal, here's a great video explaining why the wheat we consume nowadays is not the same wheat from generations past. It's from Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness and if you follow the link there are many videos on gluten that he has posted that you'll see on the right side of your YouTube page:
So back to my training - I completed post workout (PWO) cardio when possible. Several days of the week I went back and did another 30 minutes of steady-state cardio at 130bpm heart rate. That's about 65%-70% of my total heart rate. It's boring but I put on Netflix and just start walking. My HR gets into that zone with a 3.5mph walk and an incline around 9. The incline varies day to day.
This last week was a deload week. What's a deload week? Typically every 3rd or 4th week you want to continue to up your training intensity (that's weight) but pull back on volume (total amount of reps you perform). That will keep your nervous system charging ahead while not wearing you down physically. Think of it as an "easier" week of training so as to keep progress moving forward. So all my sets went from 3 and 4 to 2. Of course, being the worker that I am I did enjoy some drop sets in there so as to get an extra pump and feel like I was working to my max effort. (Shhh, don't tell anybody.)
Regarding what my training split looked like this phase it went as follows:
Tues: Posterior Chain/Upper Body Pushes
Wed: Quad dominant/Upper Body Pulls
So as you can see I put in 6 days of training per week. It may have been overkill, it may have not. I had never done a split like this before but it worked out well for me. I plan on doing a "12,10,8,6,15" plan ala Vince Gironda for the next 3 weeks then re-assess for my final few weeks push into the comp.
Here's a couple screenshots of some of my other workouts from this phase:
*Shoulders and biceps are two lagging body parts for me. So even though I don't plan on growing lots of new muscle in a calorie deficit I definitely wanted to hit them twice per week. The Z press was actually a W press - it wasn't in the software to select, however.
*I am big on the KISS principle - keep it simple stupid. There's not any flash to this torso workout. But it was enough of a change from what I was doing to elicit a response. The last two exercises only say 1 set but there are three sets weights recorded - that's one of my drop set finishers.
*This leg workout got me gooooooooodd. Felt great with the clean pulls and it was fun doing an ab exercise again. I haven't trained abs in a long time. I'm a big believer in squats, deads, chins and overhead presses as being the best way to train your abs.
So what's next? Well I mentioned my next training protocol above: 12,10,8,6,15. The old iron guru, Vince Gironda would use a similar protocol in an Upper Body/Lower Body split. So I plan on training 6 days per week again alternating between upper body days and lower body days doing one exercise per muscle group. The plan is to engage protein synthesis often as well as hit all body parts multiple times each week.
I plan on keeping my calories where they are but upping carbs a bit. I got on the stage last year at 198 (down from 218lbs if I remember correctly) and with this prep I am eating many more carbs peri-workout. Since I'm losing weight I want to see how many carbs I can eat to hopefully keep more muscle mass on while in a caloric deficit and cutting fat.
Training starts tomorrow. I can't wait!!! Until next time - be healthy, be strong, be mindful.