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Road to the Stage: Weeks 8&9

Body Weight and Composition

Weeks 8 and 9 of my contest prep have come and gone! Progress has begun to pick up a little as well.

At the end of my last update my weight was 193.9 lbs. At the end of week 8 I had seen a nice drop to 192.8 lbs. This was actually a huge drop compared to what I had been seeing and I definitely felt the changes. However, in the following week at the end of week 9 my weight completely held at 192.8 with no change.

For those that have been keeping track, it has literally taken me 9 weeks to lose an average of 3.3 lbs. This is a brutally slow pace and admittedly slower than I would prefer however I am making the appropriate changes to my plan and eventually the scale will move. After all, if I keep cutting and the weight doesn’t drop then that would only mean that I am the first person in the history of the world that is not able to starve to death. Not very likely.

This week I have included some updated progress pictures to show exactly where I am at.

Nutrition + Cardio

As I mentioned above, I made only one change to my macros in this update. Here are my new current macros:

  • Protein - 275g
  • Carbs - 275g
  • Fat - 53.5g

I also have a high calorie day once every 7th day with these macros:

  • Protein - 250g
  • Carbs - 515g
  • Fat - 70g

Food choices have remained largely the same with only a few minor changes. Just to recap, here are my go to foods on most days. 

  • 94% Lean Ground Beef
  • Chicken Breast
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Fruit (mostly apples and berries)
  • Oatmeal
  • Fairlife Chocolate Milk (This stuff is AMAZING)
  • Fairlife 2% Milk (typically mixed with the chocolate)
  • Core Nutritionals Peanut Butter Pro (Mixed with the chocolate milk)
  • Core Nutritionals ISO
  • Core Nutritionals MRP
  • Vegetables (all from Green Giant Sautees)
  • Breyers Slow Churn Ice Cream
  • Cinnamon and Honey Nut Chex

The timing of my meals has changed a little since I had to cut my numbers. Once again, this timing can change if I need it to fit my schedule. 

  • Meal 1 (upon waking) -  P- 55   C-35   F - 12
  • Meal 2 (pre-training meal) -  P - 55   C - 75   F - 12
  • Meal 3 (post training shake) - P - 55   C - 45   F - 1
  • Meal 4 (post training meal) - P - 55   C - 45   F - 8.5
  • Meal 5 (before bed) - P - 55   C- 75   F - 20
  •  

    Cardio

    Still no cardio.

    Training

    Training has been going extremely well lately. Even with the cuts in calories and the small weight loss I am still holding my strength really well. I know it will drop eventually as my body weight continues to fall but for now I will continue riding this as long as possible. Here is a review of my current split. 

    • Monday - Upper Body (4-8 reps)
    • Tuesday - Lower Body (4-10 reps)
    • Wednesday - Upper Body (12-20 reps)
    • Thursday - Off
    • Friday- Lower Body (12-20 reps)
    • Saturday - Upper Body (GVT day 10x10 for upper only)
    • Sunday - Off

    Below is a sample of my training day from this past Saturday:

    • Hammer Strength Decline Press - 10x10  255 lbs. each set
    • Standing DB Row - 10x10  85 lb. DBs 
    • DB Lateral - 10x10  30 lb. DBs
    • Preacher Curl - 10x10  55 lbs.
    • Cable Pushdown - 101x10 70 lbs. 

    With these weights I was able to complete all sets however I am getting very close to failure on the latter sets of the preacher curls and cable pushdowns. As the weeks progress I suspect these will be the ones that fail first.

    Supplementation

    Supplementation has remained mostly the same however I have adjusted the dosage of some of the supplements that I take. Here is the updated list of the supplements that I am taking, as well as the dosages.

    • Core ABC (7 scoops per day)
    • Core ISO (as needed)
    • Core PRO (as needed)
    • Vitamin D (1000 IU daily)
    • Multivitamin (once daily)
    • Core Commodities Beta Alanine (1 scoop daily)
    • Core Commodities Taurine (2 scoops daily)
    • Core FURY Extreme (as needed but typically one full scoop)
    • Core PUMP (one scoop before training)
    • Core HMB (4 grams daily)
    • Fish Oil (2 capsules daily)
    • Core Commodities Creatine Monohydrate (5 grams daily)
    • Core Commodities Glutamine (15 grams daily, primarily taken for immune health)

    Additional Updates and Thoughts   

    This week I wanted to talk about the progress pictures I have included in this update. One thing you will notice is that in these pictures, I don’t look nearly as lean as I do in some of the intro pictures for the prep log or as lean as I do in some of the pictures I have on Instagram or Facebook. There is actually a specific reason for this and it all has to do with lighting and angles.

    As a coach, whenever I have clients email me progress pictures about 90% of the time they will send them and say “I look leaner than this in person. I don’t know why I never look as good in pictures.” This is actually pretty common. People feel like they are looking really good and lean when they look at themselves in the gym or in the mirror, but then when they take a progress picture it doesn’t look nearly as good as they hoped.

    The first thing that you need to know is that lighting and angles are almost as important for making us looking huge and ripped as our diet and training. Once you get good at it, you’d be surprised just how much of an impact proper lighting can have when it comes to taking a progress picture. Upon hearing this, most people reaction is wanting to know how to take amazing pictures. This is why sometimes my clients will send me their weekly progress pictures in some excellent gym lighting and they Instagram their pictures before sending them to me.

    My response to this that you shouldn’t try to work the angles or the lighting for your progress pictures. It’s fine if you want to do this for fun or to have some good pictures to put up on social media. Heck, I do it too. However, for the pictures that you are going to judge your progress of your prep by, do not use any tricks. Don’t use only great lighting, don’t use a filter, and don’t work the angles. Ideally progress pictures should be taken in pretty bright light and no shadows. The reason for this is that you don’t want to trick yourself (or your coach) into thinking you are more ready than you actually are. You don’t want to be that guy or girl that only looks good in certain lighting and from certain angles. You want to be the person that looks good in EVERY lighting no matter how bad it is.

    I always tell my clients that when they send me pictures in harsh lighting and they look good, then I know in person they must look REALLY good. And that is precisely our goal.

    So for my own progress pictures I do the same. I take the pictures in harsh, bright light. I use no filter, and I track my progress honestly. I will also say that people that are pale (like myself) will notice that they look worse in pictures than in real life in more so than other people. But once again, it is just part of the process.

    For all of your that track progress yourself or through a coach, make sure you are using accurate progress pictures to do so or else you might just trick yourself into thinking you are ready when you actually aren’t.

    Until next time!


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