HISTORY: I have always enjoyed athletics and fitness. In fact, I planned to pursue a career in the fitness industry. I received my undergraduate degree in Physical Education and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology. My plan was to work in a Cardiac Rehabilitation Center or Corporate Fitness; however, during the recession of the early 1990’s, most companies cut their Corporate Fitness Programs and Cardiac Rehabilitation Centers replaced Exercise Physiologists with Registered Nurses. Needless to say, there wasn’t much work out there in the industry. As a husband and father, I found myself working in jobs more and more removed from the fitness industry in order to provide for my family and as the years went by, my passion for fitness slowly faded away. In 2002, at the age of 36, I was in the worst shape of my life, which motivated me to rekindle my passion for fitness and embark upon a new journey to the physical fitness I once enjoyed, but I wanted to bring my wife along with me on that journey. I started looking for programs that would spark an interest in my wife and I discovered Bill Phillips’ book “Body for Life”. I read the book and was excited to finally find a program was that based upon some sound fitness and nutrition principles and might motivate my wife to join me on my journey. I gave the book to my wife to read and she bought into the program. We both spent the next year getting into the best shape of our lives. We took our first vacation without our children; celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary basking on the beaches of Central California. Things were good. At this point in my life, I decided I would make a career change and join the Peace Officer ranks. Shortly thereafter, I obtained a job as a Peace Officer and off to the Academy I went. During the time at the academy, I noticed I was feeling more and more fatigued, which I attributed to my three roommates who snored like buzz saws, as well as the stress of being in the Academy, away from my family. However, upon graduation from the academy, I continued to feel more and more fatigued and this time I attributed my fatigue to the shift work that was now a part of my new job. I felt too fatigued to exercise, was gaining weight and feeling worse and worse, day by day. Knowing that I needed to exercise to have any chance of feeling better, I decided to get serious about working out again and started hitting the gym daily and eating a clean diet as I had in the previous year. However, after every workout I felt physically sick, but I kept pushing myself and pushing myself until I got Pneumonia and I was down for the count. This cycle of exercising and getting sick continued for about a year, after which I finally gave up. I stopped working out, stopped eating clean and gained over 50 pounds. I felt like I was in a death spiral, feeling worse and worse every day. I was obese, fatigued and depressed, with no hope. Life had slammed me to the ground and I couldn’t get up. I was barely able to get through a day at work, let alone work-out. After several years of weight gain, extreme fatigue, and depression, my wife was up one night and noticed that I kept holding my breath while I was sleeping, which I initially dismissed. After much prodding from my wife, I finally decided to get a sleep study done and lo and behold, I had severe sleep apnea, which was slowly killing me. I stopped breathing 83 times per hour and my oxygen levels were dangerously low throughout the night. As a result, the doctor prescribed a CPAP machine and told me to lose weight. I explained to the doctor that I believe I gained the weight because of the sleep apnea, but he insisted that my weight gain was the cause for my sleep apnea. Needless to say, my journey back to fitness began in an effort to prove the doctor wrong, which, by the way, I have proved him wrong. I still need to use the CPAP machine to sleep at night and prevent what has been explained to me as an eminent cardiac arrest in my sleep. The use of the CPAP machine allowed me to get a little better sleep at night, which enabled me to start working out again without getting sick. Although I still only get five or six hours of restless sleep on a good night (try sleeping with a full face mask forcing air down your throat), I was determined to get back in shape. I started a new fitness program and was motivated to prove the doctors wrong. However, living in a rural community with very few people involved in health and fitness proved to be a challenge. I had absolutely no support until I discovered Bodybuilding.com and BodySpace. I immediately joined BodySpace, set some specific goals, and downloaded some before pictures that I had already taken. I figured I would put my obese self out there for everybody to see in an effort to hold myself accountable for my goals. I looked at other BodySpace member accomplishments and read articles on Bodybuilding.com to keep me motivated and focused on my goals. I started interacting with BodySpace members providing encouragement and receiving encouragement as well. Being associated with likeminded men and women who are determined to build a better body and live healthier lifestyles is definitely a major key to success. My association with others on BodySpace kept me motivated, focused on my goals, and accountable to others in the BodySpace community with similar goals. I started my journey back to fitness with three days per week of weightlifting and three days per week of cardiovascular work and abdominal exercises. Over a period of a year, I worked on my nutrition and managed to lose over 40 pounds and lower my percent body fat to 11%. Daily exercise and healthy eating habits had once again become my lifestyle; however, I had fallen well short of my goal of 6% body fat and seemed to have hit a plateau. It was at that time I decided to really take my training to the next level. Since I was having trouble losing more fat and had already committed myself to the fact that health and fitness is a lifelong endeavor and not just a temporary state, I decided to take the time to build a bigger furnace in order to burn up that spare tire that was so securely attached to my waistline. So I spent the next eight months building a bigger furnace. I bumped up the intensity of my workouts and I managed to build 15 pounds of lean mass. Now it was time to take control of my diet and make use of the furnace I had built over the past eight months, so I developed a plan of action identifying the following specific areas where I needed to improve in order to achieve my goal. 1) Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night to allow my muscles to recover adequately. 2) Eliminate my free day and replace it with a free meal. 3) Increase my water intake to at least a gallon per day. 4) Reduce my reliance upon protein bars in lieu of clean, nutrient dense, whole foods. 5) Continue to eat seven small, nutritious meals throughout the day. 6) Focus on achieving daily macronutrient goals, which allow me more variety of foods, rather than relying strictly upon chicken, fish, broccoli and brown rice. 7) Cycle my carbohydrates depending on my workout routine for that day. When I started implementing these changes into my lifestyle, I began to see instant results. The spare tire that was so securely attached to my waistline was slowly disappearing and the abs I had worked so hard on over the past two years started to appear. It was at this point in my journey that I realized I was slowly becoming a bodybuilder. I had fully embraced the lifestyle and became more involved in encouraging others on BodySpace to achieve their health and fitness goals. BodySpace members who have competed before started encouraging me to compete. It’s something I always thought about doing, but I never had the confidence to get on stage. Although I had made much progress over the past two years, my body was nowhere near in shape to compete and I had this Sleep Apnea obstacle to overcome, which severely limits the quality and amount of sleep I get on a nightly basis and limits adequate recovery. After much consideration, I decided the sleep apnea is just another obstacle to overcome and I entered the Bodybuilding.com/Optimum Nutrition $100,000 Transformation Challenge to prove that sleep apnea is not necessarily the result of obesity, to prove that health and fitness can be achieved despite severe sleep apnea and to see if I really have what it takes to get in competition shape. I immediately set a goal to lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks, get my body fat down to 6%, and win the Bodybuilding.com/Optimum Nutrition $100,000 Transformation Challenge. I started working on the seven areas I identified as needing improvement and continued working hard in the gym at least six days per week, sometimes twice per day. During the first four weeks of the Transformation Challenge, I lost eleven pounds and was already over half way to my goal weight. I looked at my body, and considering I had eight weeks left, I changed my goal. I now was seeking to get my weight down to 200 pounds and percent bodyfat to below 6% and not only win the Bodybuilding.com/Optimum Nutrition $100,000 Transformation Challenge, but truly obtain the physique of a bodybuilder. To accomplish this feat, I knew that I would not only have to train my body, but I would have to train my mind, to make it as strong as or stronger than my body. I had to a be able to visualize what I wanted my body look like; I had to train my mind to do the right things day in and day out, regardless of the obstacles I might face, and I knew I would have to make adjustments along the way if I had any chance of being a champion. I developed a strategy to achieve my goals, started training my body, and started working on the mental toughness I would need to destroy any obstacles that would inevitably get in my way. DIET STRATEGY: I started out eating 3200 calories per day with 40% of my calories coming from protein, 40% from carbohydrates and 20 % from fats. I monitored my weight weekly and any week I failed to lose at least one pound, prompted a change in diet. About week #4, I reduced my calorie intake to 2800 calories and changed my ratios to 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 20% fat in order to keep my protein intake between 300 and 350 grams per day. I accomplished this primarily by eliminating non-fat milk from my protein shakes. At approximately week #9, I further adjusted my diet down to 2200 calories per day and changed my ratios to 55% protein, 25% carbohydrates and 20% fat. At this point, I eliminated my last dairy product, which was Non-Fat Greek Yogurt with mixed berries for my morning snack, and replaced it with oats and a protein shake. Below is a sample of my daily diet during the last four weeks of my program: 7:30 AM: 3 Cups Coffee 3 Packets Splenda 1 Teaspoon Non-Dairy Creamer 2 Scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Powder 1 Tablespoon All Natural Peanut Butter 1 Teaspoon Optimum Nutrition Fitness Fiber 9:30 AM: 2 Scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Powder ¼ Cup Dry Old fashioned Oats 1 Packet Splenda 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 11:30 AM: 5 oz Grilled Chicken Breast 2 oz Baked Yam ½ Cup Green Beans 1:30 PM: 6 oz Baked Salmon ½ Cup Brown Rice 6 Asparagus Spears 3:30 PM: 2 Scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Powder 1/2 Cup Dry Old fashioned Oats 2 Packets Splenda 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 7:00 PM: 6 oz Grilled Chicken Breast 2 oz Baked Yams ½ Cup Green Beans 9:30 PM: 1.5 Scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Protein Powder SUPPLEMENTATION STRATEGY: In addition, to my diet, which includes protein shakes, I incorporated the following supplementation strategy: 5:00 AM Pre-Cardio: Optimum Nutrition BCAA’s prior to my morning cardio workout. 7:30 AM: Post Cardio: 2 Scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey, Optimum Nutrition Fitness Fiber, Optimum Nutrition BCAAs, Optimum Nutrition Glutamine; Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil, Sci-Fit Kre-Alkalyn; Bodybuilding.com Yohimbe; Bodybuilding.com Green Tea Extract, Bodybuilding.com L-Carnitine, Now Nutrition Tribulus. 9:30 AM 2 Scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey 3:30 PM Pre-Workout: 2 Scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey, Optimum Nutrition BCAAs, Optimum Nutrition Glutamine; Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil, Bodybuilding.com Yohimbe; Bodybuilding.com Green Tea Extract, Bodybuilding.com L-Carnitine, Now Nutrition Tribulus. 9:30 PM Bedtime: 1 Scoop Optimum Nutrition Casein Protein (sometimes 2 Scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey depending on how late my workout went), Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men Multivitamin, Optimum Nutrition BCAAs, Optimum Nutrition Glutamine; Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil, Bodybuilding.com L-Carnitine. I tried several brands of thermogenic supplements and all of them resulted in arrhythmia issues for me. After some research, and some advice from a friend on BodySpace, I decided to stack Yohimbe, Green Tea extract, and L-Carnitine as my thermogenic/fat burning supplements. I typically consume 200-400 mg of caffeine per day with my coffee and Crystal Light Energy Drinks. This stack did not cause any heart arrhythmias, so I stuck with this formula throughout most of the Transformation Challenge. Based upon my research, Yohimbe, Caffeine, Green Tea Extract and L-Carnitine are the main ingredients in many thermogenic supplements. WORKOUT STRATEGY: When I started the Transformation Challenge, I knew I had a long way to go and a relatively short time to achieve my goals. I know well the principle of adaptation, and knew I would have to keep my body guessing to prevent adaptation and slow progress. I still trained the same muscle groups on the same days during the week, but I varied my exercises, order of exercises, sets, reps, weight, etc. every week to prevent my body from adapting to my workout program and slow progress. I did typically start my workouts with compound exercises and work down to isolation exercises. Below is a sample of my weekly workout routine for the last four weeks of the Transformation Challenge: Monday: AM Cardio (60 minutes)/PM Shoulders & Calves: Arnold Press: 4x8-12 Front Dumbbell Raises: 4x8-12 Lateral Dumbbell Raises: 4x8-12 Rear Dumbbell Raises: 4x8-12 Shoulder Shrugs: 4x8-12 Rocking Calf Raises: 4x8-12 Seated Calf Raises: 4x8-12 Tuesday: AM Cardio (60 minutes) and Abdominals/PM Quadriceps & Hamstrings: Abdominals Tri-Sets 3x12-20: Decline Weighted Crunches Cable Oblique Crunches Plyo-Ball Weighted Leg Raises Quadriceps & Hamstrings: 40 Degree Leg Press: 4x8-12 Hack Squat: 4x8-12 Dead Lifts: 4x8-12 Leg Extensions 4x8-12 Romanian Dead Lifts: 4x8-12 Leg Curls: 4x8-12 Wednesday: AM Cardio (60 minutes) Thursday: AM Cardio (60 minutes)/PM Chest & Triceps: Dumbbell Bench Press: 4x8-12 Dumbbell Incline Bench Press: 4x8-12 Hammer Strength Seated Chest Press: 4x8-12 Cable Cross-Overs: 4x8-12 Cable Tricep Extensions (Rope): 4x8-12 Reverse Cable Tricep Extensions: 4x8-12 Friday: AM Cardio (60 minutes) & Abdominals Abdominals Tri-Sets 3x12-20: Cable Crunches Weighted Bicycle Oblique Crunches Weighted Hanging Leg Raises Saturday: AM Cardio (60 minutes)/PM Back and Biceps: One Arm Bent-Over Rows: 4x8-12 Hammer Strength Seated Rows 4x8-12 Reverse Grip Lat Pull Downs: 4x8-12 Lat Pull Downs: 4x8-12 Back Extensions: 4x8-12 Zottman Curls: 4x8-12 Cable Curls: 4x8-12 Sunday AM Cardio (60 Minutes) or rest depending on my progress for the week and my state of fatigue. LESSONS LEARNED: I have learned several things about myself on this twelve week journey. First, I now know I have what it takes to complete, I just need a little more time. Second, a support system such as BodySpace is critical to one’s success. It would be extremely difficult to achieve a competition ready body without the mutual support of like minded men and women. Third, the mental training is just as important as the physical training. I learned to stay in the game mentally. I learned to anticipate obstacles and devise a plan to destroy them on my journey. It is definitely true that if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Fourth, my sleep apnea and lack of quality sleep seems to affect the degree of carbohydrate reduction my body can handle. I can’t drop below 25% of my diet from carbohydrates without severely impacting my energy levels. As a result, I have learned to cycle my carbohydrates and take in most of my carbohydrates in the morning and pre/post workout for best results. Fifth, as my percent bodyfat and weight dropped, it became more important to actually weigh my food. I started off the Transformation Challenge ball-parking my portion sizes and as I lost weight, I found it necessary to actually weigh my food in order to continue to see results. Last, it will take about another 10-15 pound weight loss to get this body competition ready. I was hoping 200 pounds would get me there. AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: There are three major areas I need to improve upon to reach my goal of a competition ready body. The first major area I need to improve upon is my water intake. I actually took in one-two gallons of liquid daily, but little of that was water by itself. I drink a lot of Crystal Light, which has artificial sweeteners. For some reason, I don’t care much for water alone. I simply need to drink more plain water. The second major area I need to improve upon is my reliance upon artificial sweeteners. I use Splenda in my coffee in the morning and my oatmeal and even my Greek yogurt, when I was still eating dairy. I really need to reduce my reliance upon artificial sweeteners as there are all kinds of negative health effects from using too much of these artificial sweeteners. The third area I need to improve upon is back width. I have a hard time hitting the lats adequately. I have a tendency to overpower my back movements with my arms, which has resulted in less than optimal back width (reducing the waistline will also help in this area). RESULTS: Over the past twelve weeks, I have received much support from fellow BodySpace members, who have helped me stay focused on my goals and helped me develop the mental toughness I needed to succeed. I managed to lose a total of 25.5 pounds, which is .5 pound beyond my revised goal. My initial goal was to lose 20 pounds and get down to 205 pounds, but after the first four weeks, I revised my goal down to 200 pounds. I finished the Transformation Challenge at 199.5 pounds. I reduced my percent bodyfat from over 11.6% down to 7.8% in twelve weeks. Although I don’t feel my body is competition ready, I managed to lose a little over two pounds per week, which is a healthy rate of weight loss, without losing too much lean mass. Although I probably have the best balance of lean mass and fat weight that I have ever had, I plan on continuing to take my body to the next level and press on to get this body in competition shape. I have a 25th wedding anniversary coming up in July, and I can’t think of a better time to have a competition ready body. I have shown that with hard work and dedication, health and fitness can be achieved, despite severe sleep apnea. I have also shown that sleep apnea is not necessarily the result of obesity and that sleep apnea can in fact, cause obesity. Sorry Doc, you were wrong! I just want to take the time to thank all my BodySpace friends who played such a big role in my accomplishments thus far. I couldn’t have done it without you…you are all the bomb! Stay tuned, this journey has just begun!
Week #11 brought a new challenge…the dreaded six day road trip. I prepared 17 meals ahead of time and planned where I would work out each day. I got in all my workouts and was able to use some different equipment to hit the muscle groups at different angles. It was awesome and the workouts were intense and went as planned. The diet was a little more difficult. Eight hours on the road each way with no microwave posed to be a problem. I snacked on some lean beef jerky, almonds, unsalted peanuts, and protein bars while driving, which worked out pretty well. The biggest problem was all the time spent out doing things with the family, away from the hotel and microwave. We went to many restaurants with lots of great, but unauthorized foods. If there was a healthy choice on the menu, I ate, but if not, I just waited until I got back to the hotel to microwave my food. If I were to do it again, I would stop at a mini-mart while on the road to microwave my food and try to prepare some foods that don’t need to be cooked for a quick snack. I did pack some decent protein bars, in case of an emergency, but I had to rely on them too much. Needless to say, no weight loss for the week and 200 lbs may be out of reach. However, in some cases damage control is a win, and I didn’t back slide, so I count that as a win. Man it was tough to sit there and watch everybody eat
Woodstock’s Pizza, but I didn’t touch the stuff. I will be bumping up the cardio to 90 minutes and reducing the carbohydrates this week to try and reach the 200 lbs mark by Saturday. At least I can say, I reached my original goal of 205 lbs, but I am about another 15 pounds or so from competition shape. I am a little disappointed that I don’t look better than I do at my current weight, but I have made steady and healthy progress to this point. I didn’t want to lose much more than 1-2 lbs per week and I am on target to accomplish an average weight loss of two pounds per week. I will just keep plugging away during week #12 and try to hit that 200 lb mark. I have to keep in mind that this is a lifestyle choice I have made and not a temporary condition. I will continue to press on toward the goal and continue to live the lifestyle. Train on!
Yesterday marked the end of week #10 of the Transformation Challenge. Week # 10 brought some new challenges. First, I had to prepare to present a two hour class on leadership in addition to my already busy schedule. Additionally, Friday and Saturday brought a men’s retreat out of town, where I had to conduct my class. During the week, I was up late every night preparing for the class and probably averaged four hours of sleep per night all week, so I was pretty fatigued all week, but I knew my schedule would be tough, so I re-arranged my normal routine so I could get all my workouts in for the week. Even though I was fatigued, I managed to hit all my workouts as planned. I bumped up the cardio to one hour per day and I continued to hit the weights intensely. Since week #6, I have been hitting the same muscle groups on the same days and keeping the sets/reps at 4x8-12, but I have been changing up the exercises weekly to keep the body guessing and prevent adaptation, which seems to be working well.
On the diet front, the men’s retreat provided a challenge with the diet. There was about every type of junk food that exists. I simply prepared my food ahead of time and packed it up there. I managed to get through the retreat without eating a bite of junk food….that’s definitely a win for me. During week #10 I dropped my calories down to 2200 and changed my ratios to 60% protein, 20% carbs and 20% fat, which seemed to work well. The previous week, I only dropped .5 pounds, but this week I dropped three pounds. I am currently sitting at 204.5, which is .5 pounds beyond my original goal of 205. However, after the first couple of weeks on the challenge, I adjusted my goal to 200 pounds based upon my initial progress. So I have 4.5 pounds to go in 2 weeks, which is doable. I am not sure I will be able to hit 6% bodyfat by the end of the challenge, but that will be OK, since I will continue on until I get below 6%. I don’t want to lose too fast and really tap into the muscle. Week #11 will bring another challenge. We are going out of town for the better part of the week, so meal planning/preparation will be the key for this week. I am looking forward to working out at some higher-end gyms. My gym is old school, which I like, but a change of scenery will be nice. It’s crunch time now in the final two weeks. I plan to keep hitting it hard and I will be monitoring my weight closely. If the early part of the week doesn’t bring weight loss, I will be adjusting my diet and bumping my cardio up again. I am shooting for a 2 pound loss this week, which will leave me with 2.5 lbs the final week. I hope everybody has an awesome week….train insane and destroy obstacles.
Just completed week #9 of the Transformation Challenge and only dropped a half a pound this week. I still hit all of my workouts hard and got in at least 45 minutes of cardio every day. One difference week #9 brought was a total lack of sleep. As most of you who know me are aware, I am dependent upon a CPAP machine to keep me breathing during the night when I am sleeping. On a good night, I get 6 hours of restless sleep; however, I have lost so much weight in my face that my equipment doesn’t fit anymore and is making it difficult for me to sleep (why couldn’t it come off my abs?). As a result, I haven’t really got much sleep over the past week and new equipment is at least a week or two out. As a result of the lack of sleep, the carbohydrate cravings are out of control. I have been able to stave off the additional carbohydrates, but I did end up adding some more protein/fat to the diet this week to just get through the week. The combination of the lack of sleep and additional calories obviously affected my progress this week. I am now six weeks out and 7.5 lbs to go to reach 200 lbs, although my original goal was 205 lbs.
To reach my goal in three weeks (7.5 lbs), I am going to bump up my cardio to an hour per day and keep lifting heavy. Every day except Wednesday will bring AM and PM workouts. Wednesdays, my day starts out at 0430 hours and I get home about 2100 hours so two workouts on Wednesdays are impossible. This week I will also reduce the calories from 2400 to 2200 and keep my ratios at 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 20% fat. I was previously concerned that I was tapping into hard earned muscle, but I have been getting some questions in the gym about how I am managing to get cut (I definitely don’t consider myself cut at this point) and keep the muscle, so I guess I am doing ok in that area. My protein intake has remained at 300 grams per day up until this point. Hopefully, in week #10 I will be able to make up for the lack of progress in week #9 and get back on track to reach 200 pounds. It’s crunch time and I just will have to fight through the fatigue and the carbohydrate cravings to reach my goal. We all have obstacles to overcome and lack of sleep is my obstacle…just have to keep pressing toward the goal, despite the obstacles we face to achieve what others say is unachievable! Destroy obstacles, overcome adversity and achieve the unachievable!
Completed week #8 of the Transformation Challenge and it was another good week. I lost 2.5 lbs in week #8 and I have implemented the adjustments identified in week #7. In week #8, I also pulled the rest of the dairy out of my diet and one serving of mixed berries due to the fact that my sugar intake was still a bit high. I am still eating 1/2 banana and three strawberries with my morning protein drink. The most difficult thing for me has been getting enough fat and enough fiber. I have started to add almonds to my diet to help with my fat intake and adding a tsp of ON Fitness Fiber to my diet to help with the fiber intake. I have also been tracking my food intake on Physiquetransformation.com, which is an awesome site to track food intake. It breaks all the nutrients down so I know excatly how much I am taking in, all the way down to sugar, sodium, vitamins and minerals. This week brought my daughters 16th birthday party, which came with a potluck, burgers, dogs, a banna split bar, cake, etc. There has been a ton of junk in the house, but I have managed to avoid indulging. I am focused and am pressing on toward the goal. Eight pounds in four weeks is doable, but I am hoping the bodyfat goes and not the lean mass. My strength has been good and still increasing, just not as much as before I started dieting, which is encouraging. I am doubling up on my workouts Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with my primary cardio workout in the morning and primarily weights in the evening. The next four weeks is crunch time and they will bring new challenges. I have something going on every weekend and will be doing alot of traveling. Planning will be the key. If I fail to plan, I am planning to fail and failure is not an option. I will also start tanning in week #9 hoping to get a little color on this white body.
Week #7 of the challenge went pretty much as planned, except Monday I had to rush my daughter to the hospital right before my workout because she was having a severe asthma attack. I had to alter my workout schedule to make up shoulders and calves, so I just doubled up on the weights one day …not a problem. Although last week I only lost .5 lbs, this week I lost 2.5 lbs down to 210.5. However, I measured my bodyfat using a seven site skin-fold caliper test and I only lost 1.5% bodyfat, which was disappointing since I have lost 14.5 lbs in the first seven weeks of the challenge, which is on target. What this means is that I lost way too much lean mass. Based upon my calculations, I only lost 2.5 lbs of fat and 12 lbs of lean mass, which is disturbing since I have been eating at least 250-300 grams of protein a day and about 2600-2800 calories, depending on the day. However looking at my body, I would not guess I have lost that much lean mass and that little fat. It is possible that I hold more internal fat than normal, but I am not quite sure what to make of it at this point. I am sure some is water weight as well. The only other thing I can think of is that my sleep issues are affecting my ability to recover, leading too overtraining and more than normal muscle loss. On a good night, I get 6 hours of restless sleep so there is not much time for recovery. I have definitely been more tired than normal, but I expected that to happen. I am currently splitting my workouts between cardio/abs first thing in the morning and weight lifting in the evening after work. I have been mixing up my cardio workouts between HIIT, longer duration interval training and low intensity longer duration cardio. My weight workouts are a four day split shoulders/calves, legs, chest/triceps and back/biceps. Cardio is 6 days per week and abs twice a week. All my weight workouts are heavy, typically 4x8-12 until failure. I have been incorporating some super sets, giant sets and drop sets into my routine, but still heavy, until failure. Over the past two weeks, I have been changing up my exercises weekly, but maintaining the same sets/reps. If these numbers are correct, I have lost almost all the lean mass I worked to put on over the last 8 months…not good.
In an attempt to keep more hard earned muscle here is my plan for the next five weeks:
1) Low intensity cardio only.
2) Split my cardio into 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.
3) Continue to lift heavy.
4) Try to get more sleep (not sure this is even possible).
5) Keep my daily protein intake at 1.5 grams per pound of body weight (315 grams).
6) Keep my calorie intake about the same.
If any of you experienced bodybuilders have any suggestions, I will take any advice I can get at this point. Hopefully, the next five weeks will bring more fat loss and less loss of lean mass. The goal is 6%, which is 4% in 5 weeks. I am not sure that is even doable at this point.
Week #8 will bring a new challenge…daylight savings time. My body will be telling me it’s 3:30 am when I get up 4:30 in the morning. It usually takes me a good 2-4 weeks to fully adjust. As usual, I will power through…just want to keep more lean mass in the process!
Week #6 presented a new challenge for me...the dreaded wedding weekend. We went out of town and stayed with some friends for the weekend. It was tough, but I made the best food choices I could considering we attended two receptions. I did miss my first workout in months on Saturday, because the wife took the car to go out to breakfast and decided to do a little shopping. By the time she returned, it was time to get ready for the wedding. I was going to make it up Sunday, but the whole day ended up being jam packed with activites and after a four hour drive home, it was time to get some sleep. The good news is that I still managed to drop .5 lbs, which is still moving in the right direction. Thirteen pounds to go in 6 weeks is doable.
I also tried supplementing with Shred Matrix this week. The ingredients sound great so I thought I would try it. After my first dose, the old heart started doing some flip flops and it made me feel pretty crummy. I tried it for a couple of more days, but the same effect both days. There is something in there that causes me to have palpitations, so I had to stop. I ordered individual bb.com ingredients to help with fat reduction Yohimbe, Green Tea Extract and L-Carnitine. I will report on how those work when I blog week#7, but if you haven't checked the bb.com supplement line you should...big bang for the buck!
Girth measurements and % bodyfat coming for week #7.
Another week down in the Transformation Challenge. This week brought several new obstacles to overcome. I had several different things going on at work, which forced me to change my routine up a bit. Several days I didn't have time to eat all my meals, so I had to grab a protein bar (which I carry with me just in case). instead of my regular chicken/fish, brown rice/yam and a veggie. Not the best, but it does ok when you are in a pinch. My wife was also sick all week, so I also was pretty much a single dad all week, carting kids around to all their activities during the week as well. I had to change my schedule up quite a bit, but still hit all my workouts, I just had to get them done at my home gym with the exception of leg day, which was a killer workout at the gym. All in all it was a good week. I only lost .5 lbs this week, but that was to be expected after a 4lb drop the week before. I am hoping to get down to 211 lbs, this week, which is the lowest I have been in ten years. Just have to be determined and disciplined. I am looking forward to an awesome week with intense workouts and a perfect diet. The meals are prepared, the workouts are planed and I am ready to take on a new week. Next weekend I will be at the half way point and will be taking bodyfat and girth measurements to see where I am at. I am determined to see if I have what it takes to compete. I am in this thing to win...no excuses, just hard work and determination!
Week #4 of the Transformation Contest is down for the count. It was a good week. Hit all of my workouts as planned and cut out non-fat milk from my diet. I was using non-fat milk with my ON 100% Whey protein drinks. During week #4, I lost 4 lbs, down to 214 lbs. The past four weeks, I have dropped 11 lbs, which is about 3lbs more than my goal of 1-2 lbs per week. Considering the way I look now, at 214, I have lowered my goal weight from 205 to 200 lbs, by the end of the challenge. That should get me where I want to be, and hopefully I will be competitive to win this thing. No sense in entering a contest without the expectation to win. The beginning of week #5 brings more energy, motivation, discipline and determination. Time to turn it up another notch, adding some drop sets and more cardio to my routine.
I am finally getting around to blogging about week #3 of the Transformation Challenge. The workouts for week #3 were awesome. Even though I was feeling a bit low on energy, I dug deep and kept the intensity high. I knocked out 2 HIIT training sessions a moderate interval training session and three low intensity cardio sessions along with four lifting sessions. Unfortunately, I didn't lose any weight during week #3, but the body is changing. The pants are getting a bit too big! During week #4, I have removed non-fat milk from my protein drinks and it seems to be helping with the weight reduction. We will see when I weigh in Sunday morning. All in all, I have lost 7 lbs in three weeks, which is on target. The first week was alot of water weight, but I am shooting for 1-2 lbs per week. So far I am still on track and remain focused! I am using this challenge to see if I have what it takes to compete and to learn how my body responds to best reduce bodyfat. The results of week #4 will determine what week #5 looks like. I am trying to listen to my body, reassess, and make adjustments on a weekly basis. I will try to update week #4 on Sunday.
I am still in a bit of a quandry about cardio...some say HIIT for bodyfat reduction, but I see alot of successful bodybuilders doing only low intensity cardio for 20-30 minutes 3 or 4 days per week. I am trying to mix it up to keep my body guessing, but I also don't want to unnecessarily lose lean mass in the process of doing my cardio. I figure I will let my body do the talking to determine what is best for me.
Hope everyone has an awesome weekend.
I was originally going to attempt to blog my workout/diet/supplements daily, but I found I just done't have enough time to blog daily. After logging my daily food, working out, food prep for the next day, etc., etc. there just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day. So from here on out, I will try to do a weekly recap.
Week#2 went very well. The diet was on target, even during the potluck that was at our house. I managed to hit every workout as planned and improve on the previous week for every exercise. I am in the process of changing my supplements and I will try to update my supplements on bodyspace this week. Week two workouts went like this: Monday: Shoulders/Calves; Tuesday: AM Cardio&abs/PM Legs; Wednesday: Low intensity cardio (45 minutes); Thursday: AM Cardio/PM Chest/Triceps; Friday; AM cardio and abs; Saturday: Back and Biceps; Sunday: Rest. I am making some small changes in my exercise for week #3 and adding AM cardio on Monday, followed by PM Shoulders/Calves.
Sleep was the only down side of the week. I was feeling fatigued with the reduced calorie diet and the lack of sleep. Averaged about 5.5-6 hours per night, which is still an F in my book. Need to really work on the sleep this coming week. Fortunately, everything else was an A.
Week one results: lost 2lbs...perfect...as planned!
I was still very fatigued from two nigts with little sleep, but managed to power through both my AM and PM workouts. I did opt to do my leg workout at home to save some time and hopefully get to bed early.
AM 30 Minutes HIIT/Abs (Tri-sets):
Cable Crunches mailto:3x12@120
Weighted V-Ups mailto:3x12@20
Hanging Leg Raises mailto:3x12@0 Straight Legs
Full Squats: mailto:2x10@235; mailto:2x10@245
Front Squats mailto:3x10@155; mailto:1x10@165 (Still working on form)
Leg Extensions mailto:2x10@170; mailto:2x12@170
Romanian Dead Lifts: mailto:4x10@205
Leg Curls: mailto:4x10@105
Had some stomach issues last night and got very little sleep, so I had a hard time getting started in the morning, so I split my routine today. I did shoulders in the morning and finished up calves after work. This week was the first week I did Military Press with the Olympic Bar post AC Tear and it went well...very little pain.
Military Press (Olympic Bar): mailto:4x10@135
Front Delt Dumbbell Raises: mailto:4x10@30
Lateral Delt Dumbbell Raises: 2mailto:2x10@30, mailto:2x12@30
Rear Delt Dumbell Raises: mailto:2x10@30; mailto:2x12@30
Calves (Giant Sets)
Seated Calf Raises: 2mailto:2x10@195, mailto:2x12@195
Single Leg Standing Calf Raises: mailto:4x14@45
Ok...week #1 of the Transformation Challenge is down for the count and it was a good week. Hit every workout as planned and was able to keep the intensity high, even though I was feeling a bit fatigued at the end of the week. The diet was on target and I dropped 5lbs. Being the first week, I am sure at least half of that is water weight, but I will take it. Workouts and diet were an A for the week. Sleep, on the otherhand was an F, which is why I was so fatigued at he end of the week. I am still averaging only 6-6.5 hours of sleep per night and the goal is 8. I tried to get to bed earlier last night and starting having some stomach problems so it was only 4.5 hours last night and I had to eat some carbs to settle the stomach down. I have learned that when my stomach gets really empty on a high protein diet, I need to ingest some carbs to settle it down. Not sure why. Obviously, that was an unplanned meal late at night, but it settled my stomach down so I could get a little sleep. Tired this morning, but still going to hit shoulders and calves before I head off to work. All in all, not a bad week, just need to work on increasing my sleep to improve recovery.
Back and Bicep day today. Worked out at home, so I changed things up a bit, but still got in a great workout.
Seated Wide Grip Rows: mailto:2x12@175; mailto:2x12@180
Reverse Lat Pull Downs: mailto:4x10@170
Lat Pull Downs: mailto:1x10@140;1x12@140;2x10@150
Stability Ball Back Extensions:1x14, 1x16; 1x18; 1x20
Reverse Grip Bent-Over Rows: mailto:3x10@155; mailto:1x9@155
Standing Dumbbell Curls: mailto:1x10@35; mailto:2x12@35
Incline Dumbbell Curls: mailto:1x10@25;1x12@25;1x8@25
Single Arm Cable Curles (High Pulley): mailto:2x10@20; mailto:1x10@25
Overall a great workout. Some have asked me about my sets/reps. I report the total number of reps completed in each set, which includes partial reps. I try to hit at least 10 reps, even if they are partials. If I report less than 10, that means I couldn't even budge the weight. Typically at least sets 3 and 4 include partial reps. The diet is still on target. Energy was a little low at the end of the week, but still managed to ppower through every workout.