Posted by: draknor | August 29, 2011

Diet & Fitness: Week 6 update

I’m sitting here, eating pizza & ice cream. How’s that for diet plan progress ? 🙂

So, I realized I never actually made a post about my work-out plan.  It’s probably poor form to retroactively post, but I might just do that, otherwise this post is going to be a gazillion words long, to explain both what I did for a workout, and my current progress.  Since I have pretty much no readers yet, I don’t think anyone will hate me…

But, on to the results!

First, a note on diet — I’ve been logging my food for the last month in a Google Spreadsheet, but I’ve been learning that’s painful to do.  For September, I plan to try out some of the online diet-tracking tools out there, such as Self Nutrition Data, DailyBurn, and FitDay.  I’ll post my experiences here as I try the different tools.

Diet Results
As you may recall, I set out a diet plan and some goals at the beginning. To summarize, I hoped to lose 16 lbs of fat by consuming 2000 calories/day on average (cycling between 2600 calories on workout days and 1500 calories on rest days), or 14,000 calories a week.  So how did I do, quantitatively?

  • Week 1: 20,800
  • Week 2: (n/a — not all days were tracked)
  • Week 3: 16,400
  • Week 4: 18,900
  • Week 5: 19,900
  • Week 6: 16,900

Yikes! That didn’t quite work, did it? So let’s drill down a bit deeper and compare workout days vs non-workout days:

  • Non-Workout Days: 2650 calories (average), range: 1350 – 4000
  • Workout Days: 2760 calories (average), range: 1610 – 4750
Observation #1: I’m really not cutting back my diet on rest days.
Let’s look at macro-nutrients — one key element was to make sure that I’m getting enough protein (which I calculated to be about 740 calories per day). What does the log show?
  • Protein: 570 calories (average per day), range: 250-1040
  • Days goal was exceeded: 6 (out of 39 days recorded)
Observation #2: I’m not getting enough protein.
There’s more quantitative analysis I could do, but I want to take just a moment to discuss the qualitative aspects.  The numbers show what’s working (or more correctly, what’s not!) but what about my experiences?
  • Intermittent Fasting: Seems to work pretty well in general, although I don’t usually get the full 16-hour (8pm-12pm) in.  Probably ends up being closer to 14-15 hours most days.  But my body seems to be adapting to not eating until 11am or 12-noon; I don’t have the hunger pains in the morning as strongly anymore.
  • Whole, unprocessed foods: I’ve been pretty good about this, although there’s always room for improvement. Eggs & bacon/sausage are my standard breakfast.  Burrito salads (no rice/tortillas) made up a large chunk of my post-workout meals.  Steaks, burgers, and fish with salad greens are common dinners.
  • Chewing calories vs drinking:  I’d say I’m about 80% of the way there; when I “drink calories”, its usually a protein shake or a coffee drink (latte, mocha, etc) and I’ve cut back on both.  I did notice myself drinking a lot of diet cola (w/ aspartame), which is something I’ll want to cut back on in the future.  And I’m drinking coffee every morning, 1/2 regular + 1/2 decaf — I might consider switching to full decaf to reduce my caffeine consumption.
  • Rhythms: I’ve gotten good about eating my first meal around 12-noon, but that may need to adjust if I switch to working out in the morning (unless I switch to the fasted training protocol). My other emails are generally around 4pm and 7-8pm, but I’m not so consistent with those.
  • Biggest challenges to my diet were travel & special events.  Harder to time my meals and get the right mix of macronutrients when you are on someone else’s schedule with someone else’s menu.  Or just wanting to celebrate events in your life.  I’m not about to deny myself those “simple pleasures”, but I can factor them into the bigger picture.
Final observation: Tracking everything in a spreadsheet where you don’t see the results until you tabulate everything at the end (which for me means downloading it into Excel and crunching it there) means I can’t course-correct as I go.  So a critical feature that I will be looking for is showing me cumulative results as I go.

Workout Results
As I described in my workout program post, I’ve been focusing on 4 exercises for the last month: dead lift, back squat, overhead press, and bench press.  I do need to note that for the first 3 weeks of my program, I was using a plate-loaded bench press machine instead of a barbell.  As luck would have it, the machine was in use last week when I was working up to my 1RM, and so I tried doing the barbell bench press. Wow — what a difference!  The machine was definitely cheating me, I found out!  (I also quickly learned how to escape when you couldn’t press the weight back up to the rack, thanks to the safety guide I read on StrongLifts!)

So without further ado, here are my week one 5RM and week four 1RM results!

  • Deadlift: 5 reps @ 185 lbs => 1 rep @ 305 lbs
  • Back Squat: 5 reps @ 205 lbs => 1 rep @ 295 lbs
  • Overhead Press: 5 reps @ 105 lbs => 2 reps @ 135 lbs
  • Bench Press: 5 reps @ 178 lbs (machine) => 2 reps @ 155 lbs (barbell)
Not too shabby, eh?
But that’s not all — I also started doing some distance running on the weekends, to prepare for my upcoming marathon on Oct 2.  So last weekend I ran 20k in 2:12, but that was with having to stop & walk a bit.  Today I re-ran the course, but completed it in 2:02!  That’s some great improvement — I ran the whole thing (minus a few seconds here & there walking to water fountains or around road construction), and kept myself mentally strong.  That was the key challenge for me today — to just keep running.  Now I’m proud to say I did it! If I can keep that up for a couple more weekends, I should have exceptional mental stamina & endurance for the marathon (not to mention physical ability!)
So aside from my run today, I’m taking this week off from working out, to give my body time to recover & recharge.  Starting next week, I’ll be following the StrongLifts 5×5 program (as well as continuing my weekend 20k run) to continue to build strength, burn fat, and gain muscle.Metrics

I also took new pictures and measurements.  Nothing much noticeable — the pictures between July & August look very similar, and the measurements are pretty much identical (+- 1cm).  The two notable changes are my weight (up to 187.4 lbs), and my handheld-scale body fat % (down to 14.3%).  My previous floor scale died, so I don’t have a new scale body weight measurement.  I’ve been weighing myself over a couple of days and my weight is pretty consistent at 187 now (where it had been pretty stable at 185), so I’m taking that to mean my lifting has started adding some muscle.  That’s encouraging!  Now I just need to work on the diet to reduce the fat, and I’ll be ripped in no time!