Category Archives: Food

Getting back on the losing train

The goal for 2014 was to be less fat. Check that, it still is to be less fat.

I’ve tried to go down this road numerous times, with varying degrees of success — but really, it’s all failure because I haven’t STAYED there. In fact, right now I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been: 265# (more or less). I don’t know my precise bodyfat measure, but if you Google around for body fat estimation pictures, I’m at least 30% body fat. Let’s do some math. That means I’m 185# at 0% body fat, which is unrealistic but it’s math good to know because assuming I maintain that lean body mass, then a 15% bodyfat would be about 215 pounds. 15% body fat is a good goal for me to start with and folks… that’s a 50# difference.

Put it this way. You go to the gym, and those big plates? The 45# plates? Lug one of those around for a while… I’m wanting to lose a little more than that. I have a little more than that just sitting on my body, weighing me down, stressing my body, my joints, and everything. And that, to me, just sucks. I also get stupid and think about how if I do decide to compete in powerlifting, that’s dropping down 2 weight classes (vs. being in the 275# class when I’m not a guy lugging around 275# worth of muscle). So yeah, I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of being fat. I’m tired of all the downsides it brings. I don’t want a flat stomach because “abz” aren’t a priority, but I do want the ability to carry things on the front of my belt, like AIWB. I want my clothing to not fit me because of muscle, not fat. Yeah, there’s vanity. But there’s also a desire to accept that my 40-something body is only getting older, going to fall apart more, and I have to change a lot of habits to help me manage this “over the hill” thing so I can still kick ass when I’m 70 years old, like Sonny:

The diet has always been my struggle. I eat to manage stress, to find comfort, escape, joy, whatever. All the things I’ve tried, I can manage somewhat, but there’s always some piece of the puzzle I’m missing. I’ve come to accept I cannot do this alone, and that having a coach, someone to direct me, to kick my ass when I need it, to be there to answer questions — well, I stress the value and importance of this in every other aspect of life, so why should it be any different here? It may not work, but at this point, it’s well worth trying.

As I’ve mentioned in some prior posts, I’m trying out the guys at Renaissance Periodization. At this point I’m doing a 6-month plan with them. I’ll talk more about this as I go along, because it’s going to be a journey. But so far, it seems like a lot of stuff I already knew, just well-structured and in a manner that I think should be more consumable with less information overload. We’ll see how it goes.

The other thing is how my lifting will go.

Since the primary goal is fat loss, I know that strength and muscle mass will be lost as well. I want to minimize this, so it seems the best recommended path for me to take is one that builds muscle mass. While a strict bodybuilder approach isn’t what I want right now, because strength is still more important to me, that philosophy is certainly there. So, I’m going to give Paul Carter’s Basebuilding a go. Philosophically it seems the right thing to do. I don’t know how well it will work on the restricted diet, but then I’m willing to adjust and adapt as I go along. I believe I read somewhere that Paul said BBing works out well in a diet phase since you can just adjust your weights (downward) and keep going. I just have to remind myself that the key isn’t to focus on the numeric value of the weight as much as it is ensuring I work to preserve strength and muscle mass. It’s the work I do, not the weight I lift.

The other thing? I have to do cardio. 3x a week I’m in the gym lifting. On my non-lifting days, I have to walk for an hour. That’s part of RP’s plan. Ugh…. not my favorite thing to do. But, I will say for a while there I kinda dealt with it because I listened to podcasts while I was walking and I kinda miss listening to them. So this will be useful. I may try just simple reading too as my reading list is backing up.

RP wants a semi-weekly weigh-in, so the plan is to weigh myself on Sunday and Wednesday. I will also take periodic pictures, probably just on Sunday. I debate posting the pictures. Part of me doesn’t want to because I’m sure you don’t want to see me half-naked, nor do I feel like sharing my half-naked self with the world. But I think about it — that’s in part because I do not like how I look. But 50# from now? Yeah, I’m sure I’ll like it more and be kinda happy to run around with my shirt off. So I dunno… part of me thinks that the public shaming and accountability it would create for myself would be good for me. Plus, look at a guy like John Stone and his pictures. If that’s not some level of inspiration…

So… here we go…. voyaging down this road again.

About these ads

Looking for something different to drink?

Wife sent me a link to this article about “5 Colonial-Era Drinks You Should Know“.

The 5 are:

  • Flip
  • Stone Fence
  • Syllabub
  • Rattle-Skull
  • Sangaree

Flip sounds most interesting:

To make a basic colonial-style flip, fill a pitcher with two beaten eggs, two ounces of rum and a tablespoon of superfine sugar (or molasses) and beat to combine. In a saucepan, heat eight to 10 ounces of brown ale over a low flame until it begins to steam. Slowly pour the warm beer into the rum-egg mixture, then pour the drink back and forth between vessels until blended. Decant into a pint glass, shave some nutmeg over the top, and serve—it’s sort of like drinking liquified earth, but it has its charms.

On the surface, it sounds a little scary to try. But yet, it’s somehow compelling.

Stone Fence is pretty straightforward, and I’m sure I’d dig it. It’s basically a shot of dark rum then you fill the rest of the class with hard cider. I like both of those things, so I bet this could be good. Of course, the real fun is finding the right cider to pair with the right rum. This requires some serious investigation and research. ;-)

Syllabub seems like too much trouble to make:

A syllabub is a sibling to posset, but uses wine or cider as its base and gains visual drama from the cloudlike egg whites that are spooned on top. Want to try it? In a measuring cup, combine five ounces of inexpensive floral white wine (these days, try Torrontes) with two or three ounces of cream, a spoonful of sugar, and the juice of half a lemon. (In lieu of sugar, a nontraditional tablespoon of maple syrup can add sweetness). Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, beat two egg whites with a dash of sugar until somewhere between frothy and peaked. Decant wine mixture into a favorite glass, spoon over thickened egg whites, and shave over some nutmeg. The flavors are akin to lemon ricotta cheese.

Despite all the trouble, doesn’t seem tasty enough to go through the effort. Of course, if someone made it for me and shoved it under my nose, I’d take a taste.

Rattle-Skull:

On its surface, this blend of dark beer, rum, lime juice, and nutmeg doesn’t seem to differ much from the other rum-based drinks of the day. Yet it packed a wallop from its proportions: three to four ounces of hard liquor (usually an equal split between rum and brandy) are dropped into a pint of strong porter, tarted up with the juice of half a lime and then showered with shaved nutmeg. This bad-ass drink is a dangerously smooth and stultifying concoction.

That sounds like it will live up to its name.

Sangaree perks my interest too:

Instead of Rioja or some other Spanish red, this wine-based punch drew on fortified wine such as Madeira or port. Combined with lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg, it was served singly in its own glass, rather than from a communal bowl. Using fortified wine lends the drink a slightly more brooding quality than sangria.

I love a good port. Alas, the recipe lacks proportions so…. will have to research more before trying this one.

Because you know… life isn’t always about guns, lifting weights, and heavy metal music. Sometimes you gotta relax. :-)

 

Shopping

I’m burned out. Taking a couple days off work for a long weekend to help me recoup a bit.

Working on my backlog of things to do, and one is some online shopping.

Ordered some 7-round magazines for my M&P Shield from Botach Tactical. I’m fine with the smaller mags, since that’s the whole point of such a gun.

Ordered various Fox Labs OC sprays from CopsPlus. Wife needs to replace hers, and I’ve been wanting to have a can for my gym walks — had a couple potential 4-legged interactions during my gym walks where OC would have been welcome. Never used Fox Labs’ stuff before, but Tom Givens commented they’re the best, so let’s give it a try.

Ordered a lot of fish oil (Meg-3) and some caffeine capsules from TrueNutrition.com.

Wife wanted 30# of einkorn flour from JovialFoods. If you haven’t tried einkorn flour, and you’re not in a dietary mode that would prohibit it (e.g. celiac’s, paleo, etc.) give it a try. Wife reports the switch to it has helped her feel better (vs. “traditional” wheat flours you buy at the store), and I’ll vouch that it tastes really awesome. I’m still waiting for her to make that beer bread with the Moose Drool Brown Ale. The beer bread with that ale was awesome, and I imagine it will be even more awesome with the einkorn.

Wife is also out hitting the H.E.B. grocery store, and the Sprouts. I finally got to visit Sprouts a couple weeks ago; neat store, I like.

Just a little peek into life… and I’m sure the NSA is minding all my credit card transactions and wondering something. :-)

2013-07-05 training log

Carbs! Sweet… sweet… glorious carbs!

Wendler 5/3/1 program, cycle 21, week 1

  • Work Set – Bench Press (working max: 210#)
    • 2x5x45 (warmup)
    • 1x5x85
    • 1x5x105
    • 1x3x130
    • 1x3x150 (work)
    • 1x3x170
    • 1x5x190
  • Assistance – DB Incline Press
    • 5 x 10/10/10/10/9 x 50
  • Assistance – DB Rows
    • 3 x 10/10/20 x 50
  • Assistance – JM Press
    • 3 x 15/12/10 x 95
  • Assistance – Face Pulls
    • 3 x 20 x 45

After 10 days of essentially no carbs, last night I got to finally have some. More on diet stuff below. It made a difference, as you’d expect.

I slept like a rock. Solid 8 hours of sleep. Woke up and just didn’t feel it. I felt… zoned… out of it. I couldn’t kick my brain into gear. Not sure why. But I just trudged along and figured lifting would make it all better. Physically I felt alright. The noticable part for me was not feeling like I was out of gas half-way through things. I distinctly remember my body saying “stop, out of gas, on the reserve tank, so preserve energy and stop”. But no such feeling today. I pushed and felt alright. I do not feel as strong as before all of this diet change, but that’s to be expected.

All in all tho, the session went fine. Nothing glorious either way.

As for diet….

I’m going to essentially follow Carb Back-Loading. So I finished my 10 day start up. Before I started, I was about 240#. I say “about” because the bathroom scale is old and crappy, but good enough. It’s hard to sometimes read where the needle is pointing on the dial, and I honestly don’t recall taking an official “before I start” measurement. So I’m going based upon the last known weigh-in, and even then I know I rounded a bit. It might have been 241 or 242, maybe even 239. But 240 is good enough. And weighing myself this morning (always weigh first thing in the morning, no food), I reckon 233? 234? So I’m rounding it to a simple 5#. I’m sure most, if not all, of this is loss from glycogen exhaustion, the water that goes with it, etc.. Might have lost a hair of fat, but I’m chalking it up to just dietary manipulation at this point. I don’t really count true loss until I’m down about 10# because then you know you actually lost something, not just water weight. I mean, I can flux 5# in the course of a day from just eating, food, and taking a good dump. But from weighing myself during the past 10 days, it’s solid weight loss, just I expect most isn’t fat loss.

So re-reading the CBL book and browsing the forums again, I think the plan will start something like this.

I’m targetting 200# for weight. Is that actually what I’ll weigh? Well, I don’t know because it’s not so much about weight as it is about composition. But I need numbers to go on, so 200# seems good. Why? Well, if I’m 240#, I estimate my body fat is probably 25% based upon some tape measures and looking at some of those visual charts I’ve found online. So, that’s about 60# of fat (gah!), so that’s 180# of lean body mass, and so if 10% body fat is about good, that’s 200#, right? So, a fair target, if nothing else.

With that in mind….

Every day, strive for 200g of protein. No compromise here. Oh sure, maybe some days it’ll be 190 and others 210, but essentially 200. I have to be mindful of just inhaling lots of protein because 250g, well, that’s 50g more, that’s 200 calories more, and given my goal right now, that 200 cals will add up. Basically, I’m going for 1g of protein per pound of target bodyweight.

Fat will be at least 100g a day, maybe up to 200g depending, but then probably only that much on non-carb days. So this is essentially about 0.5 to 1.0g per pound of target bodyweight.

Carbs will be cycled. I will only ingest carbs the night before going to the gym. One possible exception is Friday night, if I know I’ll have a long and hard day at KR Training on Saturday. Using the 5# of initial loss as a guide, I look up in the CBL book chart, then use the formula I read on the CBL forum which says to take that number, multiply by 1.5, then divide by the number of backloads you get in a week (3 in my case). Comes out to about 225g per backload session. And 5# is low. But I’ll explain this in a sec. But basically, it comes out to about 1g of carb per pound of target bodyweight.

Frankly, that sort of simple math I like. If I have to make this a science experiment every day, I’m going to go nuts. Part of why I’m doing CBL is because I think it’ll be something I can manage on a daily basis. Be it this, Mountain Dog Diet, Renegade Diet… lots of the shit is the same. Heck, the latest video from Brandon Lilly and Paul Carter was talking about this very stuff. So point becomes… yeah, I think this is a route that might work for me.

My numbers are low. Do the math. 200g protein is 800 cals. 100g fat is 900 cals. So that’s like 1700 cals a day on my no-carb days. Shit, that’s low. If I throw in the 200g carbs, that’ll be 2500 on those days, which is a bit more normal. And really, if I was training to get bigger, I’d probably have that 2500 every day, maybe 3000. And while I’ve always minded things like protein, I haven’t minded carbs and fats as much. Heck, last night when trying to figure out my carbs to get 200g, I realized that’s a LOT of carbs, at least from the sources I was trying to get it from. But then I also realized how quickly carbs can get out of hand.

Case in point. Wife found this awesome recipe for a “chocolate mousse” thing that was just cocoa powder, maple syrup, a little vanilla, and then avocado as the base. Oh, this is totally awesome stuff. Thing is, I looked at the syrup bottle (real maple syrup, not that corn syrup artificial flavor shit). The serving size was 1/4 cup and you got like 53g of sugar. 1/4 cup isn’t much, and I’d reason most people put at least that much tho probably more on their pancakes and waffles. Now you’re also eating pancakes and waffles on top of that, which is just carbs out the wazoo…. and you wonder where and why we get fat.

But then when I was trying to eat carbs this morning with my breakfast, post-workout, a peach, a banana, and some greek yougurt… and that was enough. And somehow a lot more satisfying not just to my stomach, but also my palette. But yet, that’s all I needed post-workout. Yet trying to cram another 150g or more? Shit… that’s almost work! Maybe I should just drink maple syrup. :-)

Nevertheless, I know these numbers are low. I want to see what they do for me. Again, I expect to lose some muscle and strength, and I begrudgingly accept that, so long as I do drop the fat. I’m hoping these levels will get me there, and I will adjust if and how I need to.

I figure if I can stay the course until the end of the month, that should be a good time to fall back and assess if this is working for me or not. If so, Labor Day will probably be the next big milestone checkin to see how it’s going. If I can drop 1-2# week, gee… 15# or so dropped by Labor Day? That would be awesome and be a noticeable difference.

Onwards.

Dehydrator – Any Advice?

Finally got ourselves a dehydrator!

It’s an Excalibur 9-tray with timer. Enough people recommended this brand as tops, so it’s what we went with. Also figured we might as well get all the trays… what would it hurt?

When we started getting our weekly CSA veggie boxes, we’d get things we just could not use in time. One of the biggest culprits was herbs, basil especially. Of course, the fresh herbs were awesome, but we just couldn’t use them in time and they wouldn’t keep well enough so we’d be throwing them out. Of course, they are prime for drying and keeping. In fact, there’s a lot about the weekly boxes that make sense to get now and somehow preserve for later. Doesn’t have to be 5 years of storage, but perhaps just the ability to have some summer vegetables in the winter and vice versa. Between the vacuum sealer and the big chest freezer, now the dehydrator, we can keep things pretty well.

But where to start?

And what advice can you — oh experience dehydrator user — bestow upon us n00bz?

As of this writing, we have tried two things: drying basil, and beef jerky. :-)

We got our CSA box and it had a HUGE bunch of basil in it. Wife washed it, snipped off the leaves, and into the dehydrator it went. Alas, it also happened to be a very wet and humid day, so it took quite a while. The timer already paid for itself, because we just cranked things up and let it run overnight. Woke up to… basil chips. :-)  It’s possible we over-dried them because they didn’t have a very strong basil smell (even after crushing a leaf and comparing to some store-bought basil). Of course, it could just be that particular basil, but… it was what it was. We’ll see how it pans out after Wife uses this dried basil the first time.

Of course, I couldn’t resist trying out some jerky. When we ordered the dehydrator, we got a special deal from the company and it included a bag of their jerky seasoning. So I figured to try it their way. Took a sirloin out of the freezer, mostly defrosted it (easier to slice when slightly frozen), sliced it somewhat thin, then sprinkled their powder on it. I was skeptical, and rightly so. It tasted like dried beef with some seasoning on it. I used to make jerky long ago when we had a gas oven and I could get the temperature low enough. I liked wet marinades, and no question that’s the way to go. But it wasn’t a total loss. I did slice some against the grain and some with, and with slices that thin I think with the grain is more to my preference. Also had some variations in the thickness of the slices and thinner is going to work better; not “wafer-thin” but thin. It’ll be fun to experiment with jerky making. Especially nice that it only takes a few hours to dry.

Open to hearing anything you’re willing to share!

Hipsters – the new face of hunting

 “A few people roll up in monster trucks, but others ride over on their bikes,” [hunting instructor Dylan Eyers] laughed. “That seems to be a new thing.”

Anti-gun and anti-hunting groups are going to have to find a new group to stereotype and demonize, because the growing trend isn’t to the redneck bubbas but rather to the young hipsters that understand:

“Hunting makes sense as part of a DIY foodie lifestyle. There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes from being able to grow or prepare your own food, and you end up with something that tastes great and I know it’s a lot better for me.”

Full story.

Look at the trends as of late. To think global but act local. To be a locavore. Organic and sustainable farming. Ethical farming. Reactionary to industrial ranching, “pink slime”, ingredient labels you can’t read, and so on.

Folks, that’s what hunting is. (or is supposed to be… yes I’m sure, we all know of some exception).

You don’t get more “free-range organic” than a deer that’s been tromping around the woods all its life, eating acorns and leaves.

There’s a trend of returning to our roots. Yeah, globalism isn’t working out, so while young folk appreciate being connected globally, they’re living more locally and trying to embrace what once was. I mean, it wasn’t too long ago people tended to grow their own food, hunt their own food, make their own clothes — life wasn’t solely obtained at Wal-Mart. So a return to hunting is just a logical next step for folks.

It also speaks to current hunters and gun folk: these people are your future. Please look past their skinny jeans, tattoos, piercings, and other appearances to see they are trying to embrace and learn about something you hold dear. Be loving and open, accepting, understanding, patient, and happily recruit these people into the fold by teaching and sharing your passion. You know… bring us together.

Support Raw Milk

Why is it so burdensome to obtain raw milk?

I like Sand Creek Farm. They run a top-notch operation with delicious milk. But if I want their milk, I have to drive 2 hours to get it. Here in Texas, that’s the only way I can get it. Oh sure, they come into Austin fairly often and could deliver it or have some other sort of distribution, like at the local farmer’s market or maybe a private person has their home as a drop-point, like we can do with our vegetables from Johnson’s Backyard Garden. So if we can do this with our veggies, why not milk?

Why deny the small farmer a way to support their farm and their family?

Why deny the willing consumer a way to get the products they want? Or if not deny, make it such a burden to obtain?

So why is raw milk so denied?

I reckon it’s to “keep us safe”. Fine, if that’s what it is to be… and not large mass dairy farmers trying to use legislative muscle to protect their turf. But raw milk in and of itself is fine; usually problems arise in the processing, such as if the milking machinery or bottling process was unsanitary. How long would a family farm stay in business if they held themselves to low standards of sanitation and product quality? How long would it be until the lawsuits drowned them if someone became sick or died? It’s very much in the best interest of the farmer to make a high-quality and safe product. In fact, building such a reputation only serves to build the business too.

Funny thing, that.

BTW, why raw milk in the first place? The current nutritional zeitgeist is to be as “close to nature” as possible; zero to little processing, as straight-up as you can get it. Thus raw milk. Yes, I was very wary at first, but gallons later and boy if it’s not good. And you know what’s best?

I can drink it, and I don’t turn into a farty mess. They’re still not sure what exactly is behind this, but people eating raw milk and raw cheeses and other raw dairy products just don’t have the… uh… intolerance problems… that you get from processed dairy.

I support 83(R) HB 46. No it’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

 

Dietary stuff

I’ve been doing the Carb Back-Loading thing for what? 3 weeks now?

It’s not horrible. It’s tough in some respects, awesome in others.

I think overall it’s pretty awesome because I don’t have to make radical changes to my life and diet, but yet it is still a big change with a lot of required discipline.

It’s great because I don’t feel weak. I don’t feel drained in the gym. I can go in, hit the weights hard. No feelings of tired or just being out of gas. But this took me a little bit to realize that I do need to eat more carbs than I think. Can’t go overboard, but it’s more than the “restricted carb” type diet mentality that pervades every other type of dietary plan out there.

It’s great because I can join in with the family. The other night Wife couldn’t make dinner so I just ordered pizza. I ate with gusto (it was the night before a workout; recall I am on the adjusted CBL program due to morning workouts), and I didn’t care much. I didn’t bloat and overly stuff myself, but I didn’t fear it or think I had to eat just 1 slice… or maybe just scrape off toppings… or maybe let the family eat pizza and I scrounged around to find something else to eat that “fit my diet”. No, this was great. Great to just eat with the family, be part of the whole experience instead of being the “one off”.  It’s also nice on the mind and soul because there’s not this deprivation.

But that said, there is deprivation. There isn’t much breakfast eating any more, tho sometimes on off days I might have a late breakfast with the family. I do need to come up with better lunch options, especially in the veggie department. And man… for me… a guy with a big sweet tooth… it gets hard. Oh sure, I’ll have my ice cream before bed. But sometimes during the day I like to have a Jolly Rancher. Or have a Mexican Coke (i.e. sugar, not HFCS) since I’m fortunate the day job stocks those in the fridge. But alas, no. And that gets to you. When everything is savory. When you can’t just satisfy the sweet tooth. It gets hard. You know better, you push through it, but it still wears on you.

So I’m trying a few things with artificial sweeteners. Like some sucralose; because all the bitterness of the whey and casein, sometimes you just need something to counter the bitter. Or that maybe I’ll have a Coke Zero at work. I found this Crystal Light Pure stuff (with Truvia) which isn’t half-bad. I generally stay away from artificial sweeteners, but right now I’m trying to transition. I know it’s best, long term, for me to just ween myself off. But that’s the thing: ween. Cold turkey is just going to risk failure, and all the CBL changes as it is are tough enough. I have noticed the Coke Zero seems to give me headaches, and I have no idea if the bout of diarrhea I’m presently dealing with is because of these things or something else. I just don’t know. I am not going overboard, but things are there. I do need to do more reading on these. I think the best rule really is to have none of it at all: natural or bust. But if I’m going to, what could I have? It seems pure sucralose can be OK (be mindful, because things like Splenda and even Equal’s version bind to maltodextrin) and also pure Stevia (I just read that Truvia is kinda sorta Stevia but isn’t, and is bad). Well, we’ll see. Overall they aren’t horrible things to have, but they could stall progress amongst other side-effects. So… I just need to learn to ween myself off it all, tho if I’m going to have something, aim for sucralose (only) or Stevia. Thing is, read the ingredients list sometimes for “sugar free” stuff. Almost impossible to escape acesulfame potassium and/or aspartame.

All the caffeine kinda wears on me too. There are days I can tell it’s driving me too much. Since I got the caffeine anhydrous powder/capsules from TrueNutrition, I needed to pare back since those hit faster. I’m trying to take the low-end of the scale in any of the CBL recommendations. So that generally means 200mg at a time. I do find it works nicely, and makes a good pre-workout. All that other pre-workout shit is “meh”. Just take some caffeine and roll on. But keeping my doses down to the minimums, given you take a bunch throughout the day, seems to wear on me better.

Hydrolysates. Holy shit! These are gross. Ever blow up a balloon and get that powder and rubber in your mouth? Imagine that, times 100, then chase it with a burnt tire. That’s what they taste like. Everything I read said they are “bitter”. That’s a lie. This is beyond bitter to fucking gross. :-)  I tried mixing a couple ripe bananas with it. Even throwing in dextrose. It might reduce the horrible taste, but it’s still there. I believe the recipe calls for 10-15 grams. I go for 10g, seems to help a little bit (vs. 15). Look, I am going to trust Kiefer here about taking these, but I cannot wait until I don’t need to take these any more. Bleah.

Coconut oil? It’s solid at current room temperatures, so I just swallow a spoonful straight up. If I drank coffee I’d probably mix it in. And yes, I’m going to see if I can keep doing CBL without coffee because if the main purpose of this is appetite suppression, I’ll live without coffee. I just am not a coffee person. But taking a spoonful of the coconut oil is kinda weird. Tastes fine, just a glob of it is a funny texture in my mouth.

So results?

Hard to say at this point.

My weight is holding steady around 235#. But I (and Wife) notice that there doesn’t appear to be as much flab around my middle – the muffin-top is shrinking. I’ve also noticed more muscle in my arms and chest and such; evident when I’m crossing my arms, or putting on a shirt. You really can’t go by scale weight. Looking in the mirror tho, at how clothes are fitting, etc.. I think things are slowly getting there. I reckon if this all goes right and well, it may take me 6 months before I’m where I’d like to be, but that’s alright as long as I get there. Plus if it’s 6 months, that’s time for things to become habit and “the way it is” which improves chances of long-term success, instead of a crash diet.

So far, so good.

Random nutritional things

So I’m doing the Carb Back-Loading thing.

I’ve only begun so it’s going to be weeks or months before I can really say much about it. But here’s what I can say right now.

Caffeine

Wow. There’s a lot of caffeine on this program. I’m not anti-caffeine, but I also have tried to minimize it in my life just because I haven’t had reason to ingest it. Plus if I wanted the “alertness” affects to really take hold when I need them, better in my mind to not build up a tolerance so that if I’m driving late and need a “5 hour energy shot” to get me through, it’ll work out.

So I’m just taking some caffeine pills to help out, per Kiefer’s dosing. I should note part of my (extra) reasoning for this is because I train in the morning, and caffeine becomes a necessary part of that approach. But when I dose, well.. first few days I tried the higher-end of the range, and found that as the day wore on I got really… out of whack. So now I’m trying to lower-end of his suggested ranges and we’ll see how that goes. Perhaps over time I might have to increase the dose, but I can do that then because obviously I presently don’t have the tolerance for it (thought I did, I was wrong).

BTW, I have been using some caffeine pills/tablets that I bought at Walgreens. I just put in an order with TrueNutrition.com and am getting caffeine anhydrous in 200mg capsules. The powder should work better (given what Kiefer recommends) and this is FAR cheaper — Walgreens was 100 count 200mg tablets for about $10; TN is 120 count 200mg capsules for $3.50.

Morning Workouts

Because I work out in the morning, I have to change protocol a little bit. But it seems only a slight change, which is fine. I haven’t noticed a horrible feel or change in stuff in terms of going into workouts with an empty stomach. I’ve played with this on and off for many many months, trying to generally err on an empty(er) stomach. First, too much food and I’d just feel bad. So try something light, a little sugar, maybe a pre-workout like TN’s Buzz Saw. But now, it’s nothing… well, just some caffeine. Not feeling any adverse effects, but it seems to require that I do in fact ensure a good loading the night before, which is fine.

So far, so good.

Fish Oil

I ended up reading more on fish oil, because I knew not all was created equal. I ended up learning about Meg-3. Someone said that Meg-3 is to fish oil what CreaPure is to creatine.

The fish oil we get tends to vary depending where and when Wife grocery shops. I’m going to ask her to stop and buy only on Meg-3 based brands. Not too hard, given Meg-3 sources to folks like Wal-Mart/Sams, Costco, and so on.

But hey… I contacted TrueNutrition and asked, and their fish oil is Meg-3. Again, it’s a price issue. Their fish oil softgels are 1000 count for $25, whereas anything I buy in the store is a LOT less quantity for a lot more money. I think the Sams “Simply Right” runs like $20 for 150 or so. Again, TN wins on quality AND price.

Yeah I know… this is reading like a shill for TrueNutrition. I’m not on their payroll, just 1. satisfied customer, 2. it’s simple math, folks.

Coconut Oil

Medium-Chain Triglycerides are a part of CBL, so coconut oil it is. I had no idea coconut oil was solid at room temperature. :-)

But it tastes really nice. Like a subtle buttery coconut. It’s kinda neat.

One thing I’m doing to help consume it is to use a metal measuring spoon. Run warm water over the spoon, then scoop the oil out of the jar – the warm spoon helps to scoop oil into and release oil out of the spoon. Since I’m not putting the oil into coffee, just mixing with my water and whey, I’ll heat it up in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt/liquefy it, then drink up. It’s really not bad at all. I know there are liquid MCT’s out there, but this is kinda fun for now.

I’d like to look into full-fat coconut milk too. But here I’m a bit at the mercy of Wife’s grocery shopping.

Lifestyle Impacts

I think one of the cool things about this is that it’s actually fitting into my general life better than any other plan I’ve worked with in the past. In my case, it’s a combination of just my personal life but more so my family life.

Before, anything I attempted would really impact the rest of the family. If we went out to dinner, Dad’s needs had to be taken into account. If Wife was cooking dinner, what did Dad need. When grocery shopping, what does Dad need? etc.. There was a lot of special-casing on Dad. And while I’d often tell Wife to just make whatever and I would make due since I was the exception, still, it wasn’t always enjoyable and often became difficult to manage. It’d just be another factor in the failure.

But with CBL, this looks like it could work out and blend better.

First, most of the “meals” from waking up until dinner aren’t that much of meals (at least, given my early morning workout approach). I do a lot of supplementation, whey and shakes, caffeine, simple snacks like almonds, and so on. My lunch? In a lot of respects, it’s not much different than what I’ve been taking to work already. Yeah sure, maybe not taking leftovers so much now, but it’s fairly straightforward: about 8 oz of “plain meat” and then a bunch of fibrous veggies. That’s really simple to make, to assemble when I’m trying to get out the door, and so on. In fact, one thing I can try to get better about might be something like grilling 3-4# of chicken breasts on Sunday and then I’ve got lunch meat for the week. Couple that with some bagged salads or whatever fun might come in our weekly CSA veggie box, maybe something different from time to time, but overall, there we go. Simple.

The better part comes with dinner. Now Dad doesn’t need to be special-cased so much. The other night Wife made home-made pizza (make the crust dough herself, etc.). Sure she piled on the meaty toppings special for me, but she was able to make pizza instead of me saying “no, can’t have it”. Dad can just eat with everyone else. It’s really wonderful and fits so much better into the household.

So CBL has this going for it. It isn’t so much “work” to make it go, and it fits better into the rhythm of the household. Chances are better.

Questions

I’ve got a bunch of questions about CBL. Biggest of which is the ratios. I mean, if I’m reading the “amount of carbs” to get table correctly, am I really supposed to take in 800g of carbs!?!? Holy crap that seems crazy. I hope I’m reading things wrong.  There’s a forum specifically for this stuff, and I’ve registered but am still waiting on activation.

Supplemental Details

There are numerous “shakes” that one is to take during CBL to make things go, since CBL is all about manipulation of insulin levels. So I’m working on my shopping list from TrueNutrition.com for things like leucine, hydrolysates, etc..  Right now I’m keeping it fairly simple, e.g. using whey isolate for all the protein needs. So we’ll see what difference things make once I can follow the formulas precisely.

Overall

I’ve only been doing CBL for a little while now, so the jury is still out.

So far, it’s alright. Yes, the mornings can be a little tough. I still need to experiment to see what I can do about improving on hunger. Even eating well at lunch and having some sort of afternoon snack… it’s hard to get through to evening. Every day gets a little better, but it’s still hard. I’ll get there tho. Really, this has a fair chance of success given how it does work pretty well into the lifestyle.

Time will tell.

Gas Grilling

I caved.

I have a gas grill.

It’s a Weber Genesis E-330. It’s pretty cool.

I’ve actually had it for a few months (it was a birthday present from my Mom. Thanx, Mom!). The thing is, I really don’t like nor want a gas grill. I prefer fire, charcoal, wood. But with all the droughts and burn bans we have in Central Texas (with no sign of it getting better), I just do not feel right about burning. Sure they say it’s legal and fine to do, but I see how embers escape. I see how they can easily drift through the air, carrying and landing far away. You can be all the careful you want, but shit happens. I just don’t want to risk it.

But gas? I can do that. It’ll work.

It took me a lot of looking and researching, and in the end I didn’t want the Weber because I thought it too costly for a first gas grill… but I realized that anything less just wouldn’t leave me satisfied. That they don’t get hot enough, that they burn out within a couple years, one shortcoming or another.

So far tho, it’s been a lot of fun.

I love the heavy cast-iron grates. I love how it gets wicked hot in there. I love searing venison steaks or beef steaks. A nice little technique of the hot “sear zone” side is cranked up but the right half of the grill is on medium. Then a simple routine of hot zone side 1, flip, then move to warm zone, flip. Each zone/flip for a couple minutes depending how thick the meat is. Works out quite nice.

I even did beer can chicken this past weekend. First time in my life for doing that. Yes I know, I’m horribly remiss. I’ve wanted to do it numerous times, but didn’t for some reason or other. Finally got to doing it, and it turned out great.

Yes, I love the steady heat. Yes I love how hot it gets. Yes I love how little waste of fuel there is. Yes I love the quick start up, and the easy clean up. Yes I love the steady and easily controllable heat. It’s really got a lot of pluses.

But I really hate the lack of smoke. Yes Hank Hill… taste the meat, not the heat. But damnit, I like the heat!

I’ve tried putting wood chips into the foil pouch and putting that onto the “favor-izer” bars… but it doesn’t work unless the burners are cranked up, which wasn’t possible if I wanted to get the right temperature for the chicken.

Maybe there’s a better way… maybe there’s another way. If you have suggestions, I’m all ears.

While a gas grill is not my first choice, I have to admit it’s growing on me.