I stand before you a happy man. Since writing my last article, I have made some appreciable strides towards my goal of succeeding in competition some time in May 2005. Furthermore, I was able to test out (non-sponsored) some really great products, and get the down-low on their effectiveness. Be prepared, because this article will bring to you, the ever-hungry reader: 1) an update on my progress; 2) my review on some relevant supplements; 3) my plan for the next month or so.
What Went Wrong?
Please note that these results are not optimal. However, I was not in a situation where my diet could be optimal. I visited friends at the shore for about 2 weeks right smack in the middle of August, and I enjoyed the summer life a bit too much. Furthermore, I forgot my supplements; all I could use was some whey protein my friend had. I will say though, that when I followed my training routine, when I had my diet in check, and when I had access to my entire arsenal of supplements, I was able to put on what appeared to be fat free mass.
What happens now? Well, I do not believe that I am less than 10% body fat. I would put myself more in the 11-12% range. Caliper measurements should be in my opinion, used primarily to track progress, not as tools for assessing exact body fat percentages. Thus, I have decided that in order to make my final contest dieting block easier, and to be able to remain in a calorie deficit for less time, I will take the next 4-6 weeks and dedicate them to a mini cut. I will not have a cheat meal during this entire session, because I feel I was uncharacteristically bad throughout this last month. Now that the bad aspects are out of the way, we shall move on to the positives.
So, Did Your Fat Ass Get Even Fatter?
Yes and no. Measurements say yes, and a nine-point body fat test says no. I would say that my body fat stayed about the same. However, you can be the judge:
Abdomen 8.5 8
Bicep 2 2
Calf 6 5
Kidney 14 15
Pectoral 6 6
Quadricep 8 7
Subscapula 7 6
Suprailiac 12 13
Tricep 4 4
TOTAL 67.5 66
Bodyweight 178 180.5
Weight change from previous – 2.5
Total/Bodyweight 0.37921 0.36565
(Total/Bodyweight)*0.27 0.10239 0.09873
% Bodyfat 10.2388 9.87258
lbs Bodyfat 18.225 17.82
Fat Mass change from previous – -0.405
Fat Mass change from beginning – -0.405
lbs Lean Mass 159.775 162.68
Lean Mass Change from Previous – 2.905
Lean Mass Change from beginning – 2.905
A possible reason for the inconsistencies between the body fat test and my measurements is due to my tester’s relative inexperience with calipers. Perhaps the first time he was inaccurate, while in subsequent attempts he became comfortable with the calipers, making the readings more accurate. So, from this point on, the body fat readings should be more precise. As for measurements:
All Measurements Cold and Unflexed
Date/Time:7/27/2004 10:05 8/29/2004 11:35
Weight 178 (12 PM) 180.5 +2.5
Arm (Straight Out) 12.625 inches 12.875 inches +. 25
Arm (SO by Shoulder) 13.125 inches 13.625 inches +. 5
Arm (Curled) 14.75 inches 14.875 inches +. 125
Forearms 11.5 inches 11.5 inches +0
Neck (head back) 15.375 inches 15.5 inches +. 125
Neck (regular) 14.625 inches 14.75 inches +. 125
Chest 39.75 inches 40.25 inches +. 5
Waist (End of Ribcage) 31.625 inches 31.875 inches +. 25
Waist (Belly Button) 31.625 inches 31.875 inches +. 25
Thighs 23.125 inches 23.25 inches +. 125
Calves 15.5 inches 15.5 inches +0
Bodyfat % 10.23% 9.87% -.36%
(9 Point) (9 Point)
The Hidden Supplement Review
During this part of my article, I will discuss my experiences with a few non-traditional supplements. I will not waste my time talking about the basics, such as whey protein, a multivitamin, etc, but rather only invest energy in talking about the more complex supplements. Proceeding right along…
Avant Labs’ LeptiGen Mass and SesaThin:Let’s get these bad boys out of the way. I am grouping them because I never really took one without the other, and to give complete credit to one of them would be unprofessional, and possibly inaccurate. First, I will discuss the tastes. LeptiGen Mass was by no means intrusive; it consisted of a mild fruit punch flavor, which mixed favorably with my ON Whey and improved upon ON’s taste of cold coffee taste.
SesaThin’s taste can be described as “nutty,” and its texture somewhat creamy. I actually found myself enjoying the taste of SesaThin. Coming from someone who downs unflavored micellar casein protein + flax seed oil, I could drink cartons of the stuff. When I was able to dose this combo as intended, I actually gained fat free mass. There is nothing more to be said, because this is the truth. In the last week when returning from the shore, I gained around half a pound (which was not from the Creatine in LG Mass), and my body fat measurements remained constant. I applaud Avant Labs on designing and bringing these products to the market.
Black Star Labs’ GO:GO is an excellent pre-workout stimulant that excludes ephedra, but doesn’t overload on caffeine as a result. GO energized my workouts without the inevitable crash I experienced with Ephedra/Caffeine stacks. I thought there would be nothing that could beat three scoops of GO 5-10 minutes before show time, but then I discovered…
Black Star Labs’ NitroJet :BSL had a sale on NitroJet, and I decided to pick up a couple cans. I combined the NitroJet with GO, and had the best workout of my life energy-wise, with the exception of the Dymetadrine Xtreme-filled days of yore. All I can say is WOW—and I am not referring to Whip it Out Wednesdays, either. From now on, I will consume three scoops of GO with two scoops of NitroJet pre-workout, every workout.
Lastly, I feel there is merit to mention my bootleg ZMA formula (50 mg Zinc Gluconate, 45 minutes before bed). I found that taking this helped me sleep more deeply. Additionally, I seemed to have more elaborate (read insane) dreams, independent of what the dream was about. So I had some really nice dreams, as well as dreams that ranked about a 10 on the potential-to-piss-your-pants scale.
Well, there are my thoughts on some supplements I used. Feel free to embrace or dismiss them, but I am moving on to my plan for the upcoming month/month and a half.
Trimming Down Sans Trimspa™
Because I will cut for the next 4-6 weeks, and no longer, I need to make my leaning out process as efficient as possible. This will consist of a few crucial, but obvious elements: diet, training and supplementation. With the onset of school, I will be able to endure the diet portion more easily than in the summer, due to the elimination of a slab of time at home. Add in a weight training or cardio session, and the result is only a few hours of temptation each day. This advantage is crucial, as I only have to be insanely strict for a relatively small percentage of each day. Of course the actual diet is the most important facet of a weight loss program, so I will now elaborate on my plan.
I had many different options to consider when choosing a diet. Naturally, I want a diet that will maximize my fat loss, while simultaneously minimizing any muscle loss. The first type of diet I examined was the traditional restricted calorie diet.
The idea behind a traditional diet is, simply put, calories in vs. calories out. The protocol is to habitually create a calorie deficit, thus stimulating weight loss. Although this plan looks great on paper, it contains many flaws in reality. Sure, one may lose weight on this diet, but after a while, weight loss through muscle will increase, and that of fat loss will decrease. To understand why this approach has serious flaws, I will refer you to a series about leptin, written by the man Par Deus himself (and also in part by Spook). Check it out here.
Screw the continual calorie deficit. Muscle loss is not fun, and eating less and less everyday is not high on my to-do list either. On the other hand, beggars cannot be choosers right? Want to bet? I want to lose more fat than a habitual calorie deficit can offer, and eat more. Possible? Hell yea it’s possible. A cyclical carbohydrate diet, which consists of cycling carbohydrates, and therefore calories, will allow me to do this. Fellow writer Twin Peak happened to develop an excellent diet incorporating these principles, the details of which can be found here.
Without elaborating too much, Twin Peak’s diet consists of low carb, no carb and high carb days. Long story short, one out of every three days results in a calorie surplus, thus bringing leptin and other hormones closer to non calorie-depleted levels. Due to the frequency of this event, the body should be partially “tricked,” never completely catching on to the fact that the particular person is dieting. Another positive this diet boasts is the simplicity – there are three types of days, and counting calories is not even necessary! Twin Peak even gives lists of all the approved foods, furthering the user-friendly aspect of this diet. To summarize, this is an absolutely astounding diet, especially for those who do not want to feel like they are dieting; the high carb days and ability-to-succeed-without-anal-tracking mindset both hold great appeal.
I almost used this diet. However only a few days ago I remembered that I need to diet down to as low a level of body fat as possible; I need to make my contest diet as easy as possible. Therefore, I will make all necessary sacrifices. I do not mind counting calories, and I do not mind going the extra mile so long as I will reap additional results. I decided to read The Ultimate Diet 2.0 by the ever-controversial man, Lyle McDonald. Based upon the plethora of positive results many have voiced, coupled with my opinion of the actual diet, I have decided to proceed with UD2.0 as my diet.
Without meticulously delving into every detail, the diet is a more pronounced version of a calorie deficit, followed by a period of deception. The idea is to diet in the form of an extreme calorie deficit for as long as possible before the body catches on to the fact that you’re dieting. Then, an equally extreme refeed period is utilized (1000+ carbohydrates in one day). This is followed by a brief time at maintenance calorie levels, which is in place to give the body a gasp of fresh air. A progressively increasing deficit is reestablished, until the period of near-starvation is once again reached. Apparently UD2.0 is second-to-none at diminishing body fat levels among males at less than 15% body fat while simultaneously sparing lean muscle mass in natural athletes. I shall be the final judge.
The Ultimate Diet also comes with a preset training routine. The training routine is designed to work synergistically with the various stages of the diet for superior fat loss results. It consists of two full-body glycogen-depleting workouts during the Days of Starvation, as I have so affectionately dubbed them, as the most effective fat loss occurs when one’s glycogen stores are depleted. The high volume sessions will consist of sets of about 15 reps at a moderate pace; the time under tension will reach 45-60 seconds per set. During the carb load phase, a tension workout is to be completed. This day of training uses heavier weights and focuses on a combination of strength retention and glycogen depletion. Lastly, the dieter performs a power workout consisting of low reps, focused mostly on strength retention. This workout is to be completed a day or two before the onset of the Days of Starvation. Paralleling the format of the other sessions, the power workout is done full-body style.
The idea behind the training is as follows: the workouts during the Days of Starvation will deplete glycogen stores quicker, allowing maximum fat loss to occur. Tension workouts and power workouts are completed to take advantage of the restored glycogen, and to ideally regain the lost strength and muscle from the extreme calorie deficit created earlier in the week.
Needless to say, I was impressed with the thought that had gone into the training, as well as the diet. I would have loved to be able to follow this routine to the tee. But naturally, there is always some small obstacle prohibiting me from doing so.
I emphasize small, because I do plan on dieting UD2.0-style. However, I will need to shift my days slightly, as I have tennis training Thursday night from 6-8 PM. As one can imagine, the idea of intense two-hour cardio sessions during a refeed is frowned upon. Using my maintenance calories as a guideline (~3000), my weekly setup will be as follows:
Training Diet Notes
Monday 2400 calories 80% of maintenance calories
Tuesday Depletion Workout 1500 calories 50% of maintenance calories
Wednesday Depletion Workout 1500 calories 50% of maintenance calories
Thursday Cardio (Tennis)* 1500 calories 50% of maintenance calories
Friday Tension Workout 3300 calories 1/2 diet, 1/2 carb load
Saturday Cardio (Tennis)** 4000 calories Carb load
Sunday Power Workout 2640 calories 88% of maintenance calories
* Two Hour Intense Training
** One Hour Friendly Play
I am not going to lay out the exact foods I will eat. The macronutrient guideline, however, will be as follows:
Monday: 200-250 grams of protein, low-moderate fats, remaining calories to carbs
Tuesday–Thursday: As few carbohydrates as possible, low fat, remaining calories allotted to protein
Friday: Same as Tuesday through Thursday until tension workout, then carbohydrate load, with as little fat as possible and moderate protein (~1g/lb)
Saturday: As little fat as possible, moderate protein (~1g/lb), remaining calories to carbohydrates
Sunday: 250-300 grams of protein, low-moderate fats, remaining calories to carbs
Let me introduce the final facet… supplements.
Don’t Forget Your Vitamins!
Here I will list my complete supplement entourage, and explain all the supplements that… require explaining. Click the links for a complete write-up about each of the products, as size constraints have prohibited me from engaging multiple pages of explanations for each.
ALA–For financial reasons, I have switched from r-ALA to ALA. I am using ALA for increased glucose uptake and its mild antioxidant properties. (300 mg pre-workout, 300 mg post-workout. On non-workout days, 300 mg will be ingested upon rising, and 300 mg will be taken with the highest carbohydrate meal).
LipoDerm-Ultra– LipoDerm-Ultra is the most effective supplement for topical fat loss, when targeting SAT (Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue, or fat that jiggles). (Four squirts applied to abdominals/obliques two times daily)
Those supplements will be used on a daily basis. The following supplements will be used as well, but not daily:
Recap time. You are now filled in on what happened since my last article. I made some gains, although I am not happy with them as I know I have more potential. You know which of the supplements I used worked, and which did not (Actually, everything I took worked—funny how effective researching can be). Finally, you know my plans for the upcoming month: a hardcore cut using The Ultimate Diet 2.0. Given my dedication, desire and platoon of help supplement-wise, I am already laughing at the depletion workouts that last over an hour. I chuckle as I think about the Days of Starvation. Dieting is not supposed to be a breeze, but with this plan of attack, I have difficulty seeing it any other way…
Until next time (which will include before/after pictures), I bid you farewell.