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Archive for the ‘Progress’ Category

My Results From The MI40 Transformation Contest

How Ripped Can You Get In 40 Days?

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I have not written for a while.  This is for a couple reasons, first life has been busy but more importantly second, I have been hitting the gym hard for the MI40 Transformation Contest.  Here are the pics, I will add my comments after.

MI40 Transformation Results Front

MI40 Transformation Challenge Results Front

MI40 Transformation Challenge Results Front
MI40 Transformation Challenge Results Front
Side

Side

Back

Back

 

This was a huge transformation, that I really can’t believe.  I didn’t think I was that bad to start with and it was going to be tough.  I don’t think I will win, there are probably some pretty high level bodybuilders that follow Ben’s program.  There were a couple things that prevented me from doing better.

First was a 10 day vacation at Disney world with my family.  Our hotel had an awesome gym but I only got 2 workouts in.  And trying to eat good when eating out every meal for 10 days is tough.  That on top of a couple nights of deserts.

Second thing was as much as I made this a priority, I still have a family and job and other things in life that are a much higher priority.  My sleep was good most of the time but could have been better.   My diet was almost perfect when we were home, mostly thanks to my awesome wife.

Last thing was the 2 gyms that I go to, neither of them have all the equipment that Ben puts in his program.  Most notably is a hack squat machine.  I usually replaced them with some sort of front squat usually in a smith machine, but you can’t over load the legs the same way.

My weight only went down about 2-3 pounds, which is good.  I will be adding in some more carbs the next while to add some more mass.

One thing to note is I did this all without counting any calories or macronutrient ratios.  I did keep carbs really low at certain times but never counted.  I followed my normal paleo with leangains style intermittent fasting.  If you want my specific eating routine and workout schedule sign up to my email list I will be sending it out sometime soon.

As for the blog, I am going to keep writing, hopefully writing some more.  I am not going to be as detail and do as much research, it will probably be more opinion based stuff, or maybe just some copy/paste of posts I make on reddit and 4hbtalk.com.  If there is anything specific you want me to write about let me know in the comments.

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Mi40 Results

Cutting it short at day 35

You are probably wondering why I am not doing the full.  First off I had great results with this program.  I think I am at my biggest and leanest that I have ever been.  I will be getting a BF% test done soon to find out specifics.  So if it is a good program and I had success then why stop with only 5 days left?????  Well Ben just started a contestwith some pretty cool prizes.

Before MI40

Before Pic On Day 3 of MI40

After MI40

After pic MI40 May 3rd 2012

I am pretty happy with the results so far. I will be updating my routine shortly to show all of the meals and supplements I have been doing.

Because the contest starts in a few days I am going to rest up, sleep and eat as much as I can and start the program all over again on the 7th.

Check out the prizes

Anyone wants to join me let me know via email or in the comments.

The Real Diet Hack From The 4-Hour Body That You Haven’t Read

Boost Your Fat Loss By Reading The Bonus Chapter

Shortly after the book came out Tim released some material that did not make the final cut here.  One of the bonus chapters was a guest chapter written by Seth Roberts, author of The Shangri-La Diet: No Hunger, Eat Anything, Weight-Loss Plan.  The chapter is title An Alternative to Dieting: The Bodyfat Set Point and Tricking the Hypothalamus.

After the first time I read it I did not try it right away.  Then I started reading Stephan Guyenet’s blog and his hypothesis on obesity is based solely on leptin … what !?!  So I figured I would give it a try.  I had kinda stalled out around 12% body fat and was happy with that but still wanted to cut down, so I did a teaspoon of olive oil in the morning and whenever else I remembered to, which was usually 1-2 times a day.  I didn’t not follow the exact method of having it between ever meal.

Then the whole Gary Tabues VS Stephan Guyenet fight at the Ancestra Health Symposium happened.  I had already listened to the audio book for Taubes book Why We Get Fat so I started reading all the stuff on leptin that I could to see what Guyenet has to say and I re-read the bonus chapter to see how Roberts’ stuff relates to Guyenet’s.

So from my n=1 experiment what was the conclusion?  It works, actually it works so well it is kinda scary.  I am never hungry, I never get hunger pangs … never.  I have to remind myself to eat when lunch time rolls around.  I rarely snack on almonds but more out of boredom than anything.  Actually boredom (or working on something that I didn’t want to be working on) was when I would get most of my cravings, that has totally changed now.

And what about my body fat?  Well you can see from my last photos how much more I have leaned out, and I have stayed the same weight or gained about a pound.

What does this mean?  I think there is some merit to the flavor energy (calorie) connection and how that controls appetite.  How that controls body fat I still don’t quite get.  Do I think it is the cause for our energy imbalance (excess fat), not completely, insulin still plays a large role in that.  Is it the cause of us over eating, binge eating, having cravings?  Yes I am pretty sure that it is for most people.  I also think this explains a few things about “diets” in general and diets that are more bland may be more successful at fat loss.  It also explains a lot about artificial sweeteners and the high flavour with zero calories will really confuse our Endocrine glands.

If anyone has tried this please let me know in the comments.  If anyone is trying to get through a plateau I highly recommend giving this a try.

Why I Don’t Do Cheat Days

I knew many people would not like this post, but I do want to stress that cheat days can be good and even necessary for some people. I choose not to do them because a) I want to be single digit body fat and b) I feel much better without them. I am NOT saying that you should not do them, what I am saying is that they are not required, and it could be beneficial not do to them.

I “Cheat” Everyday and Feel Better With Even Less Body Fat

Cheat days seem to be the most beloved topic of people starting out on the Slow-Carb diet as prescribed by Tim Ferriss in the 4 Hour Body.  People seem to live for their cheat day talking about it all week and rejoicing when it comes.  A I talked about before this was never really an issue for me.  My initial thoughts were that if I keep thinking about cheat day then I will never break the physiological hold that sugar has on me.  None the less I continued to do cheat days on Saturdays, sometimes starting early on Friday night.

I often speak to one even that seemed to be my “harajuku moment” of cheat day.  I  had 2 birthday parties to go to in one day, one at lunch one a diner.  I gorged myself on deep fried food at the first party, then ate a ton of desert at the second party.  The next day was not a pleasant one, I will spare you all the details.  Since then I have not had a full cheat day, I have also cut back and had very little gluten products.  This was huge for me as I leaned out very quickly after that.

So I did not stop cheating completely in regards to what is “allowed” on the slow carb diet.  I have fruit regularly, when I first started I cut back on it drastically and only had a little, then after I stopped cheat days I stated being more free with it, once I got on the Paleo band wagon and listened to Robb Wolf’s podcast and started lifting heavy I used it for pre/post workout energy and restoring glycogen.

I also eat way too much dark chocolate.  It is a regular nightly occurrence for me and my wife to have dark chocolate fondue with fruit, usually bananas and strawberries.  I also snack on it sometimes at work.  Recently I have dialled it back and eat it much less in an effort to get to single digit body fat.

How I Deal With Social Situations

This is probably the hardest part of eating healthy.  The peer pressure to eat cake, friends that don’t care about their diet and are fat and out of shape make fun of me for eating healthy.  And free food, who can say no to free food?  I remember it very clearly the first time I said no to free donuts at work, it was fulfilling, I felt like I accomplished something.  After that point saying no to food got easier and easier.  I rarely give in to social pressure these days.  I will have very small piece of cake every once in a while, or maybe a small scoop of ice cream.  If people pressure me too much I just tell them I am allergic to gluten and it is as easy as that.  Is it a lie? not really because gluten does make me sick.

Maintenece Mode

People on 4hbtalk.com often talk about foods to add after they reach their goal, increasing sweets or adding an extra cheat day.  I am have been a bit over critical towards these people but here is my point.  That is not the point of the diet, that does not make it sustainable and you will probably put the weight back on and you will probably be unhealthy too.  Refined grains and refined sugar have been compared to tobacco or alcohol, they are addictive physically and mentally.  I think people need to start thinking of them this way in order to realize how detrimental they can be.  An alcoholic can’t have a drink for a reason, it has a domino affect.  Just like Tim talks about domino foods like almonds, refined sugar and flour are 10 times worse than almonds.

My Suggestions

Hopefully you don’t see me as being one of the over zealous, dogmatic Paleo types.  I do think that everyone is different and there is no one perfect diet.  I am pretty adamant about refined sugar and refined flour, I really don’t think there is anything positive about them.  I suggest trying breaking the physiological control of sugar, slowly.  If you need cheat days to do then thats is fine.  I just don’t see the point of lowering your sugar intake until you reach a certain weight and then start increasing it.  If you have cravings for sugar that is normal, small amount of fruit should not be an issue as long as you work on lowering the quantity.  If you are trying to get really lean and in the last mile stage then you will need to avoid fruit.  If you need a cheat day, I highly suggest keeping it gluten free as well.

See a good article on cheat day/meals by Vince Delmonte here.

What is your take on cheat days? Do you need it? Like it? Hate it? Leave a comment and let me know

Updated Progress

I have not posted a progress update for a while, I have been mostly in maintenance mode until the last couple weeks.  After reading Gary Taubes book “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It”  I was motivated to cut my carbs back even more, and I saw immediate results.

One other change that I did make 2 months ago was a new job that had a Gym very close, so I now am able to lift real weights at lunch time 3-4 times a week.  Lifting heavy vs bodyweight exercises is a big difference.

Here is a new picture compared to my last pictures.

December 29th, 2010

April 21, 2011 - 113 days

August 17, 2011 - 231 days

Progress Update

Had some big wins this week. First Tim Ferriss tweeted and posted on his facebook links to my pictures that I posted on 4hourpeople.com. Needless to say I had over 6 times the amount of traffic that day.

Second I actually went to a gym yesterday. Funny thing I ran down to the community gym I used to go to about 4 KM run. There weren’t open for another hour because of the holiday. Luckily there is another gym 1/2 a KM up the road so I ran there and did some crazy lifts. The gym was small and packed, so I am not going to go back there. I got to do deadlifts, did a personal best of 275lbs and I could have done more but my body isn’t used to lifting heavy yet. I wanted to do flat bench but they were all taken. I did incline bench instead, this was always my worst lift. I did a reverse pyramid and finished with a personal best of 165lbs 4 reps. Then I ran the 4.5 KM home. Was an intense workout day for me and really fun, wish I had that much time to workout everyday. Also I find it pretty crazy that I am stronger than I have ever been but the only thing I have been doing is pushups, pullups and 2x20lb kettlebell exercises. Who says you need to pay $400 a year for a gym membership.

Also my 4HB buddy Jason posted a link to my old progress page from a few weeks ago on his blog.  So I though it as time for another picture update.  Here is a list of pictures to show my progress.

December 29th, 2010

March 4th, 2010 - 86 days65

March 25th, 2011 - 86 days

April 8th, 2011 - 100 days

April 21, 2011 - 113 days


I thought I would write a short list of tips for people as well.  Things that are not really stressed enough in the book.

  1. Eat lots of veggies if you want to lose fat.  I think this is more important that legumes.
  2. Schedule you carbs around your workouts.  Eat smaller portions on days off.
  3. Do a big workout on your cheat day.  Usually cheat days are on the weekend when you have more time so do a longer workout before you pig out.
  4. Control your portions.  In the book he says you can eat as much of the allowed foods as you want, but I found this really detrimental to fat loss.
  5. High intensity resistance training is better for fat loss than long bouts of cardio.  This is to be debated scientifically but I have found you get much more bang for your buck.

Stay tuned for my new post on “How exercise does and does not affect fat loss”

Refocusing Your Goals … 100 Push-up Challenge

Jason from Finding My Fitness recently made a post about Q2 Progress.  And previously I posted about how important goals are and how important it is to track them frequently.  Well it is time for me to start taking my own advice.

I have recently reach and surpassed some of my goals.  I went from 183lbs down to 155lbs, right now around 156-158.  I have good ab definition and am close to my 10% body fat goal.  Previously I was doing all my goal tracking based on my scale, but this is not going to change much anymore.  I started taking daily pictures which is a good fun way to track but is very ambiguous. I have still progressed and have had decent results but I stopped tracking something that was tangible and easy to track.

I have recently started reading Chad Waterbury’s blog and articles on T-Nation.  He writes about things that align very well with my goals, and is a pretty smart guy.  He had a recent article on Dragon Door about the importance of lifting speed.  In it he describes a protcol for reaching 100 push ups in one set.

How to Achieve 100 Fast Push-ups
The push-up is one of the best upper body muscle building exercises and the ability to knock out 100 fast push-ups is an impressive display of physical prowess. Here’s how you can reach that milestone.
  1. Do 100 fast push-ups every other day regardless of how many sets it takes.
  2. Your rest periods should match your current rep max. If you can only get 20-25 push-ups in one set, start with one minute of rest between each set. If you can already knock out 40 or more push-ups at once, start with 30-second rest periods.
  3. Decrease the rest periods by five seconds with each workout, but only if you get more reps in the first set than you did for the last workout. Let’s say you start this push-up program on Monday. And let’s say you got 41 reps with your first set. On Wednesday, if you got, say, 43 reps for the first set drop your rest periods to 25 seconds and complete 100 total reps. If on Friday you only get 43 reps for the first set keep the rest periods at 25 seconds.
  4. Follow the rest progression until you reach 10-second rest periods. Once you reach 10-second rest periods continue with the plan until you get to 100 reps for the first set. Importantly, only high-speed reps count. Stop each set once your speed slows down. The 10-second set limit I mentioned earlier doesn’t apply here.
This method can be applied to any lift with a submaximal load where a target number of continuous reps is the goal.
I will have started doing this every night, which may be a bit of overtraining but I seem to recovering quickly and this is the only chest/tri/push exercise I am doing.  I will be tracking my reps per set and total time to finish 100.  Last night I did 35x20x20x20x5 and took approximately 5 minutes.  I have included a graph below that doesn’t have much info now but I am doing this everyday so it will grow quickly.
I must say that I am noticing a huge gain in chest size in just 3 days, I will do some measurements as well.
To finish up, remember that once you reach your goals, or get close enough to them that you start becoming complacent, make new ones, make them EASY to track.
If you want to do the 100 push up challenge with me please do and let me know.  If you can’t do a full push up that is OK, there is a great progression for push ups in the Convict Conditioning book.  Start will wall presses, then incline push ups (on a bench or stairs), then a 1/2 push up (just go 1/2 way down), then a full push up.


UPDATE: I hit 100 pushups a while ago and It was actually pretty easy. I probably would not have been able to do it without going to the gym and working on my bench press which I am doing over 205lbs now.