Project Rockstar 2017 - Pre-Training Fitness Program Weekly Journals

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  1. #1
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    Sterling is offline Certified Love Systems Instructor

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    Project Rockstar 2017 - Pre-Training Fitness Program Weekly Journals

    The Project Rockstar 2017 class has been selected!

    Project Rockstar represents a multi-faceted complete life transformation. From the moment the Rockstars are selected the training begins. The Rockstars have to go through a mandatory, extremely grueling fitness program. They are tracked daily, with photos and measurements submitted every week for assessment, and pushed to the absolute limit.

    Roughly 2-3 hours of gym time every day for 12 weeks and preparing ALL their own meals as part of a strictly controlled nutrition and diet program. That means upwards of 4,000 calories a day for those gaining mass, and less than 1,500 calories a day for those losing weight. With no question the guys will be stepping into summer in the best shape of their lives.

    Through their struggle and transformation, we hope to impart inspiration to your own journey of self-improvement. While these lucky guys have an overwhelming amount of support and pressure to succeed, there's nothing stopping you from doing it too.

    It is my pleasure to present the Project Rockstar 2017 fitness journals.



  2. #2
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    Week 1

    Hey guys, little intro. Iím 25 and I work as a financial advisor for Fidelity Investments in LA. This is the first time I have ever participated in a customized fitness plan. I played water polo and was on the swim team in high school, but neither of those teams participated in a structured weight-training program. In college, I went to the gym off and on, and I actually participated in the 12 week Gethin program before I went to spring break my junior year. I didnít understand that I needed a goal in order to be successful. That lack of direction meant that no matter my dedication, I was never going to see the results I wanted to. Last year that changed. I spent three months working through Gethin one more time, while following a nutrition plan a personal trainer friend of mine put together for me. I saw great results, although I was a little disappointed because I had not focused on the right thing for me. But it was a start. I believe this program will help me to be much more successful. It exactly aligns with what I want to do: put on 20 lbs of muscle while staying lean. I am more than excited to be doing this, I know this is going to be a foundation that I can use to fuel a renewed focus on my health for the rest of my life.

    I noticed differences in myself right from the outset of the program. My second day on the program, I had a boner throughout my entire Tuesday morning office meeting. I work out in the morning, and both the first and the second day after I had finished my lift, all I could think about was finding a girl and tearing off all of her clothes. I like to think Iím a pretty sexual guy, but if Iím being honest I have felt that my overall sex drive had been waning over the last couple months. I have had blue balls throughout this entire week. Itís almost like my body is telling me, ďBuddy, this is what weíve been missing.Ē

    First lesson of the week: If you eat chicken, make sure you cook it thoroughly. When I went on my diet program last year I had a set rotation of foods I was comfortable with so I just upped the size of my meals to match the number of calories I was eating. This was my first time cooking chicken on a grill in probably 4 years. Turns out I messed up the timing. There are some pros to under cooked chicken. For one thing, I get to have a ten foot space bubble around me at all times, and the peace and quiet makes it a lot easier to get work done. Iíve also sent my little bro a ton of hilarious memes using all the time Iíve been spending on the porcelain throne. Thatís about it. Cons include, surrounded by smell of dead animal, stomach starts speaking in tongues, stool looks like it would power a nuclear submarine, must replace underwear once a day(sometimes twice), and will feel like you spent the weekend with a dominatrix wearing a strap on(your asshole will be on fire if that wasnít clear). When you cook use a meat thermometer or make sure you nuke your chicken before you actually eat it.

    Second lesson, on the weekends, you need to make sure eating is a priority and space out your eating time. Itís easy to get your workouts in, that maybe takes 2 hours tops in one focused sitting. When you are eating 4,000 calories a day, you NEED to space your meals out or you WILL feel sick. On the weekends I like to sleep in and be overall lazy. I learned the hard way today(Sunday) that compressing your meal times is a surefire way to be miserable. I woke up this morning, went on a run for the 20 min cardio, and when I came back I got ready to start cooking for the week. I ate a banana to put something in my system before I got my breakfast ready. Within an hour I had stomach cramps and I ended up throwing up(see lesson 1 for more information). This was at 11a. It wasnít til 5p that my stomach settled and I could resume eating again. As I write this blog, I still have to eat 40% of my food. Itís 9p and I just ate. 9p is my food eating curfew(I live with my grandparents, they get grouchy if Iím in the kitchen past 9p). FML I have to eat all of my food now. Start eating early, and eat throughout the day.

    Third lesson of the week: space out your responsibilities. I crammed shopping, cleaning my room, cooking the food, packing the food, eating some food, working out, writing this post and taking pictures all into one day. Granted, I got it all done but I started my day at 10am and Iím still writing this post 12 hours later. Ok wait I lied, it still looks like a tornado touched down in my room. Some things you canít reschedule, like you obviously canít get all your workouts done in one day. You can go shopping on Saturday and be ready to cook and prep on Sunday. You can do your laundry and clean your room on Friday so that you can balance your work time and your fun time. Space out your responsibilities so you can get everything done you need to.

    If you ever get into a situation where you have to travel(I had to be up in LA rather than my home in Long Beach), an ice cooler is going to be your best friend. I ate all my uncooked foods(eggs, veggies, oatmeal) in the morning before I left and then I took my chicken, tuna, rice, and pasta with me on the road. Do you hate eating your food cold? Looking for a microwave? Have no friends whose microwave you can use? Fear not, if you are well dressed and smell respectable Whole Foods has public microwaves that are available for your convenience. Basically, donít look like your homeless and theyíll look the other way. I was able to heat up all my food(crucially important considering the state of my chicken) and I did it all for free. Will be going back there to use the microwave again. Pro tip: If they hassle you just tell them that you everything in the Tupperware is Whole Foods brand.

    Thatís going to be the end of this post. Iíll see yíall next week. In case youíre wondering yes Iím still eating and yes it still sucks.

  3. #3
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    Week 2

    Week 2 has been a rollercoaster, a lot of highs and lows. One over arching theme throughout: energy. Before this program I would constantly be yawning throughout the day even though I would get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Then when Iíd finally lie down to go to sleep, it would take an hour before my mind quieted down enough for me to pass out. Since starting this program, my energy has been at peak levels. I rarely if ever yawn before 7p and when I do lay down I fall asleep within ten minutes. Still canít take naps but I am curious to see if that will change as the program continues.

    I canít speak enough to how helpful reading everyoneís blog posts is. When I started reading everyoneís posts I got all jazzed up about being on this transformation. I realized just how powerful it is to have people around you that support you and/or are striving towards similar goals at the same time you are. It helped me really push during the ab ripper program. Ab ripper X is so satisfying, I have always wanted to see my six pack so although my screams can be heard a block away I love an ab ripper day. And you know the first place I go after finishing is straight to a mirror to check myself out. Ab ripper X made me realize how weak my abs are. By the time the pulse ups coming along Iím practically throwing myself forward just to get up.

    Quick update. I started week 1 at 192lbs 9.6% body fat(I am 6í6Ē). This week I started at 197lbs and 10.5% body fat. My coach asked me to start splitting up my fat and carbs into separate meals instead of eating it all together. Unfortunately, all of my meals were already prepped together so next week will be first week implementing those split macros.

    I love chest days. I always feel like I have a little extra motivation to throw up weight on chest which may or may not be because your gym man hood is based exclusively on how much you bench. I have always wanted to be able to bench two plates on each side so I typically hit it pretty hard. While I was putting up the weight, I felt my left shoulder start to strain. I have a friend who told me about how he had tore his rotator cuff doing bench. I remembered this, and immediately dropped the weight down. It was really discouraging; I felt really weak and that if I pushed myself too much I was going to set myself back even farther, or worse not be able to continue lifting in prep for the program. I pushed through the workout and moved on to the next day.

    It wasnít until Thursday that I realized how much I had limited myself over fear of injury. When I was a freshman in high school I strained a muscle in my back while doing deadlifts, which took me years to recover from. I also have a split disc in my back from doing some lifting while at work that I am still dealing with three years later. I was reading some more of the blog posts while I was doing my preworkout cardio, and I realized that over the years I had continually put a cap to the amount of weight I had put up. I put limits on the amount I was comfortable lifting in order to protect myself from any imaginary injury that may occur. Unless I thought I was using ďperfect formĒ I wouldnít let myself go any higher. I thought back to Monday and although there is danger in lifting really heavy weight, I had limited myself even when there wasnít any feeling of strain or pain. When I continued to read through the week 1 posts, I realized that if I didnít push past my comfort zone Iíd never hit my goals. I walked into the gym on Thursday to ready to destroy. If you had put earplugs into my brain you would have heard screamo death metal blaring at you. It was a little disappointing to realize that Thursday was calf day. I felt rather silly making loud grunting noises as I strained at the calf machine but I they got wrecked nonetheless.

    On Friday, I took that energy and focus I had acquired the day before and took it out on my back. For the first time I felt like I was at home. For years I had felt self-conscious about what I was doing in the gym; how much I was lifting or what exercises I was doing. I always felt like the other guys knew I was a beginner and were in someway doubting me. That day I raged on my back, it was my best workout since the program started. As I continually pushed my boundaries, I felt almost at peace in the gym. I looked at all the other guys that were working out as brothers. We were all there to accomplish the same goal. I finally felt like I was apart of the group. I felt confident in myself that I was going to be able to change the way my body looked.

    Today is Sunday, and living in California I have been enjoying the sunshine as a reward for the cooking and prep I did this morning. As I sat shirtless I realized that even if I was pushing my workouts to the max I still was lacking in one area: cardio. Itís not as though I havenít been doing the cardio, but at times I would be lethargic and would not push myself past the pain. One of my biggest gripes about my body is that I carry most of my fat on my midsection. Anyone that looks at me sees a fit tall guy but when even as I sit in this chair and look down I see fat and it makes me uncomfortable. If I really want to see the changes that I do in my body, I need to give 100% of my effort to all aspects of the program, from diet, to the workouts, to the cardio, to the sleep. In the end that is going to give me the ability to look back and say I did my best and this is what I have to show for it.

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    Week 3

    One Word. Mind Muscle Connection. Friday was shoulders and I finished what I felt was the best workout of the program(Iím seeing a trend here). What I did was during the lift, I concentrated on contracting the specific muscles that I was targeting. For example, the first set was a superset of side lateral raises and then front shoulder raises. Instead of doing what I did the week before which was taking the heaviest weight I could find and heaving it, I took my time and concentrated on flexing my shoulder muscle throughout the whole exercise. The craziest part? I felt that the weight became easier to lift. As I would approached failure and my muscles would start screaming, it was easier for me to push through the pain to complete the last couple reps. I also felt like instead of compensating with other muscle groups such as triceps I was able to concentrate more on my shoulder. And when I did compensate with my triceps during the lift, I knew it and was able to adjust/drop the weight accordingly to refocus on the shoulders. Which leads me into the next section.

    DAAAAAAAAMMMMMMNNNNN. I punished my legs. Like my future wife came down with a short skirt before we were going to dinner punished. I typically feel like my legs are one of those muscles where I skimp out. Not because I donít care but because I can usually bring the pain the most on the legs so I ďgo easyĒ on them. Not today. Using the mind muscle connection that I learned on Friday, I blasted the shit out of my legs. I must sound like a broken record, but the farther into the program I get, the more and more I am able to focus during the workouts. In fact, by using MMC, I felt like I could power through sets where in the past I may have given up halfway through. The hardest part for me is always completing those last couple reps when you really feel the pain. By the end of the workout I could have thrown away my shirt I was so drenched in sweat. Focusing on contracting the muscle upped the intensity of my workouts, and I canít wait to go at it again next week with the other muscle groups.

    In Ab ripper X, about half way through the video Tony Horton says ďwere about halfway done, parties almost over what a bummer!Ē Iím caught in between loving that I have 9 more weeks and that there are only 9 more weeks. I am feeling the best I have felt physically in perhaps my entire life. I feel full of energy, my muscles are getting tighter, and I love the small changes I am seeing in the mirror. Iím now at the point where I am starting to constantly ask myself questions like, ďhow I can improve, what do I need to do to get a better workout, how can I make the most of this week?Ē And it really comes down to having a goal and setting a time line to it. Knowing that I have 12 weeks total to see a full transformation has throttled my motivation. And I stress again I love reading the posts. I was reading Alexís earlier and reading about how he was increasing his weight by 10-15% and all I could think was ďshit I need to be tracking this.Ē Not because I need it, but because I know it will help me get closer to the results that I want.

    And speaking of making sure I get my results, I am actually noticing that I am getting better at time management. I live with my grandparents and there is a curfew on being in the kitchen past 9pm. This makes it difficult at times for me to be able to get all the food I need in my body while making my workout times. I have become acutely aware of how much time I spent dicking around not doing what I need to be doing. For example, I spend a lot of time on instagram, reading articles, or on facebook from my phone. Not because I want to but because the all-consuming vortex of social media consumes my attention. Itís a shit situation to get home at 8:40p needing to eat 1,600 calories in order to finish the day off. What I have been doing is actually really small, but I am now more aware of when I am sitting on my phone not getting my chores done. Even just being aware of it makes it easier for me to break away and go get things done. After I finish everything, I find I donít even want to be on my phone to begin with. I suddenly have the urge to go hang with friends or work on my business. In the past, 60% of my free time Iíd spend procrastinating and the other 40% Iíd get my important things done. Now I spend 60% of my time on the important things, but I can spend the other 40% doing actually meaningful things for myself.

    The food. For two weeks, I was eating my carbs and fat together with a protein but no more. My coach made some changes to my diet and let me tell you my eating has changed from fine to a struggle. One thing is for sure, I need to improve my ability to cook chicken because if I have to eat another dry piece of chicken I may go vegan. Combine that with dry whole-wheat pasta and by far I have one of the most difficult meals to eat imaginable. I literally just put food in my mouth, chew, and then drink water to help me get it down. Ugh. Weíll see how this weeks food turns out. I wouldnít call myself a grill master just yet but my skills are far superior compared to week 1ís results aka the gas blast.

    Last thing I want to do is highlight some things I want to get done this next week so I can come back and see how I did. First and foremost, tracking the weights so I can see how I am doing. What gets measured gets done, and I want to see myself not just stronger because I feel stronger but actually lifting heavier weight by the end. I am going to focus on that MMC in my workouts again throughout the week. Those are my big 2 this week. See ya next week.

  5. #5
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    Week 4

    Week 1 I started at 192 lbs with just under 10% body fat. I am now up to about 202lbs with about 10.5% body fat. If Iím being honest, Iíd like to have gained all that weight in muscle and then kept the same amount of fat. I do however want to be realistic with this process and focus on my main goal of gaining muscle mass. If on day 84 I weigh in at 210lbs I will have hit the goals that I really wanted for myself. In the past, I have been impatient with the gains. Since my week 1 jump from 192 to 197, I have been gaining weight more gradually, which although frustrating I have taken as a step in the right direction, especially since I can see changes in the mirror and my fat hasnít ballooned as I gained the weight. On Wednesday I will be doing either a caliper test or DEXA scan to get my true body fat which should tell me my actual progress compared to what Iím seeing day to day.

    Ok Iíll be straight, food wise Iím thinking of giving up tuna. Iím eating two cans a day and have started glowing from all the mercury Iím taking in. The way I have split up my protein is mostly 50/50 between chicken and fish. Itís easier to inhale the chicken if I can at least tell myself itís not more tuna. For the most part though itís getting easier to eat all my calories throughout the day. And if I do have to combine meals I can now take down an insane amount of calories in one go. I mentioned last week I wanted to find new recipes. Have not found new recipes which can be attributed to a severe case of laziness filed with the mantra ďif it ainít broke donít fix it.Ē One thing worries me, and that is when I finish Project Rockstar I wonít be able to easily build off the momentum from these 12 weeks and continue exercising. Iím not saying that I wonít go back to eating tuna and chicken when I get back from Project Rockstar but Iíll be real Iíd rather not start scarfing more tuna and chicken when I get back from Project Rockstar. My goal for this is to not have this be a one and done transformation but to be the new track that I run on for the rest of my life. So this week I plan on focusing on finding some new recipes to make my food more appetizing.

    Last week I said that I wanted to focus on two things: tracking weight and mind muscle connection(MMC). I did not track the weight I was lifting. I did however focus on the MMC to the nth degree. And I came to realize a couple things. I am not as strong as I thought I was. Donít get me wrong, I have never seen myself as a muscle head that can crush the weights on any given day, but I did feel like I could throw up a fair bit of weight in every category. Except maybe biceps(damn you T-rex forearms). Between the MMC and the pointers from my fitness coach, I came to the realization I had been lifting totally wrong since I started working out as a freshman in high school. When I focused on the little things to improve the quality of my lift: full range of motion, not bouncing the weight, controlled motion, using correct posture, I was no longer able to lift the same amount as I had before. The difference was noticeable when I left the gym. Whatever body part I had been working would be totally crushed when Iíd leave. Abs were the a prime example of this. Two days after the custom Sports Food Nutrition Ab workout I am still feeling the DOMS(delayed onset muscle soreness). Just learned that word. Make sure you add it to your vocabulary, itís badass to say the DOMS are killing me mate. Accomplishing that level of success took a complete focus on each exercise at hand. Which leads me to my next point, which is what happens when I lose that focus.
    As soon as I stopped focusing on contracting the muscle, on controlling the exercise, on strengthening my core, my mind flooded with different thoughts that derailed my workout. Some guy walked by my legs while I was doing my hip thrusts and I immediately started griping about how rude he was and didnít he see I was working out? Which was followed by my next thought of ďalright youíre almost done just keeping throwing it up, ya only 10 more just push through.Ē This doesnít sound like itís all that bad, but I stopped focusing on the exercise and I started focusing on finishing the set. As a result, my form went from contracting abs to throwing up legs with whole body as fast as possible. And I was ineffective in contracting my core muscles to the best of my ability. I realized it wasnít just working out that this habit affected, but many different areas such as at work(just ten more calls), talking with people(day dreaming instead of listening), or even writing this blog post. Whenever my focus was directed elsewhere than on the task at hand, my performance would suffer. Iím not saying that it is easy to be totally focused, but it allows you to get way more out of the time you spend. And I know when I take this skill and develop it, it will pay dividends towards my future and current success.

    This next week I will focus on three things. MMC is going to be the first thing. Even if I am using it already, I am going to continue developing it to get the most I can from the next 8 weeks. It will be paramount getting my focus as close as I can to 100% on every exercise, every set, every rep if I am aiming for 210lbs. Second, I want to have some appealing recipes ready to cook for the week, so research this week and I will implement them the week after. Lastly, I want to track the weight Iím lifting. I will focus on the weight where I feel like I have the best muscle recruitment rather than the heaviest weight I am able to put up. Cheers, looking forward to next week.

  6. #6
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    Preamble

    What a great first week. Before I get into it, a bit of an introduction. Iím a 26 year old engineer from Australia, Iíve been weight training consistently for around 5 years, and have been extremely fit and active for *nearly* all of my life.

    As a teenager I was a national level athlete, and played plenty of sports. However, once I was out of my sporting environment and moved to university, I neglected my fitness and physicality fairly severely; training sporadically and eating a lot of takeaway while partying or cramming. By the time I finished my final year thesis, most of the muscle I had was gone and I was about 18kg overweight. Something had to change, I lost all the weight (still had hardly any muscle); that year was my welcome to bodybuilding.

    While I knew how to train for performance, under a coach and a supportive environment, I had no idea about proper nutrition or moving toward goals under my own steam; I was useless at being the master of my own destiny, I was a passenger in my life. In hindsight, this was probably a significant turning point not only for my physical health, but my mental attitude toward life. Something Iíve only recognised recently is that the process of fixing my weight problem and learning to learn that followed in that year was the first (of many) dominos in adjusting my mental dialogue to realising everything in life is down to me, my attitude and my willingness to work my ass off to get what I want.

    I made fitness and health part of my life from that point. Over the last 5 years Iíve gone through a physical and mental journey, my attitude toward food has completely evolved several times, my physique is decent, Iíve accumulated what I feel is a lot of knowledge on the topic, and had the privilege to be peers with some of the fittest men in the country. My training over the past year, and leading up to the start of the Rockstar fitness program, has been back down to around 5-6 sessions a week, lifting weights, eating at a slight caloric deficit to keep myself lean (interspersed with very occasional cheat meals, eating out, chocolate, Christmas etc).

    Week 1, Days 1-7

    I was really looking forward to starting the program, to see where I could take my physique during a 12 week period of intense focus alongside a bunch of other motivated guys. Adapting my training routine to the program wasnít a huge adjustment, apart from adding a lot more cardio in and actually training the smaller muscle groups that Iíd often drop for more time on compound movements (looking at you biceps & calves). Iíve been meal prepping for the last 5 years, and the types of food I eat havenít really changed, but the amount surely has (roughly doubled). Iíve essentially been cutting (i.e. at a caloric deficit) for the past 5 years Ė I would routinely work for ~8 months to get to <10% body fat for summer, then in 1-2 months Iíd be back up over 15-18%, having partied and ate all the Christmas ham with a ruined metabolism. Despite knowing all the right information to reverse diet correctly and telling myself I was going to put on some size Ďthis yearí, Iíd stick at it for a few weeks before I got scared of getting fat, what people would think of me, and all the extra time cutting Iíd need if I kept putting on weight so fast (more on these fears shortly). So Iíd start cutting again, rinse and repeat. Having the structure and the peer network of the Rockstar fitness program has given me more confidence to actually try and put some decent size on, while controlling the fat gain.
    The first few days I was a bit hesitant to eat so many calories, and was constantly full. But by even the second day, during training I could feel my body responding well to all those extra carbohydrates it isnít used to having. 7 days in, I wouldnít say Iím back to the strongest Iíve ever been, but Iím very quickly approaching it, so Iím confident by week 2 or 3 Iíll be back to that level, with the rest of the program to shatter new heights.

    Getting the cardio in can be a bit of a pain; at least twice this week I was out there at midnight after 17 hour days of work & night classes Ė though I havenít had to dig too deep to get it done. Over the years when people have seen me consistently training, eating well and saying no to cake and TimTams at morning tea, they often ask how Iím so motivated. It makes me laugh. What Iíve come to understand (and try to teach them) for anything hard in life, is that Ďmotivationí only gets you there on day 1 & 2, or maybe even week 1 & 2. Itís Ďdedicationí, a burning desire for change/progress, and a level of what I call Ďgoing full robotí (get out of your head and execute the plan you made when you had a clear mind) that will see you through weeks 2 to infinity.

    Letís talk briefly about the abs componentÖ Ab Ripper X - ďI haate it.. but I love itĒ *said with crazy eyes*. I thought my core strength was solid, but man that circuit will teach you a thing or two about humility if you do each movement correctly. My abs ended up a bit sorer than normal for me, but after legs on day 1 and this on day 3, my hip flexors were ruined. I was in agony trying to go between sitting and standing, and just standing up straight would be a 15-30 second movement. Lesson: stretch more often.

    As Iíve seen with fitness over the years, the biggest effect it has is not on your physique, but rather on your mental state and inner dialogue. To be honest, because of all the success and progress Iíve had in the past with this area of my life, I didnít think I was going to get a huge mental benefit out of the fitness component. This evening Iím incredibly grateful I was wrong. This short time, 1 week, has been enough to get me to realise the thing thatís been holding me back physically, and by extension highly likely other areas of my life too (money, relationships, business). FEAR. Fear of LOSS. For fitness: (1) fear of losing the level of physique Iíve got, because of (2) fear of getting fat with no muscle gain to show for it, (3) fear of not being able to get lean again after putting on too much weight, and (4) fear of what people will think of me if Iím bigger than I usually am (this one probably goes back to being repeatedly told I was fat growing up). The funny thing is, Iíve routinely REALISED those fears, every year, because Iíve essentially let fear rule my decision making (i.e. going back to cutting shortly after getting just a bit fatter, resulting in nil/negative overall long term physical progress). While desperately holding onto the physique I have, Iíve stopped myself from getting better Ė Iíve fallen trap the monkeyís dilemma (where they get trapped by holding onto food in a jar, just need to let it go and be free). I never really set out a proper plan for getting bigger, so that I could dedicate and go full robot. Fear stopped me making that plan. I donít remember where I read it, but I saw something once that said that if you fear something, youíll probably get it. Lesson learned, no more fear. I think itís Tim Ferris that routinely practices poverty for certain periods; cutting back his life to the bare minimum, eating rice and beans, wearing old simple clothes etc. The idea being that once you actually face up to your fears, youíll see theyíre not 1/10th as bad as in your head. I understand that sentiment this week: Iím a week in at roughly double my normal calories and Iíve put on marginal fat, feeling much better in the gym, had some of the best sessions in a long time, and women are commenting positively.

    Iím really happy with this mental progress, and grateful for one more barrier falling away. Clarifying the fear issue in my head helped me reconcile the conflict between believing Iím someone with dedication (and not just motivation), with the fact I couldnít really ever commit to bulking. Rockstar, this year, and hopefully the rest of my life will be a series of smashing limits, and I cant wait to see what else is in store.

  7. #7
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    Week 2, Days 8-14

    Another great week down. It feels like yesterday I was sitting down to reflect on week 1, and I’m already at it again, yet for some strange reason Monday & Tuesday feel like a lifetime ago. I’m certainly settled into routine at this point, and didn’t have to do meal prep this week as I did 14 days’ worth of it last week. The training this week was a bit up and down; some days easier than others, so I ended up adding a few exercises to days that were a bit light on (calves day for example; I added triceps as they weren’t going to be trained for a few days after that).

    Most of the guys from the program have now got each other on Snapchat too, which has been fun getting to know each other a bit and share in collective triumphs, pain, and just general jovialities as we go about our days. I cant wait to be in the same room as these legends and kill it.

    Now that I’m getting back into it, cardio is starting to get fun again. I used to like running before training, pushing myself and seeing how far I could run in 20mins, or doing 3x 1.6 km sprints before weights. I’ve just been upping the speed of each pre-training run, I’m at around 13km/hr for 20min now, I’m aiming to hit 15km/hr by week 6 or so, then I’ll start sprinting and mixing it up a bit. I’ll also look to start rowing and cross trainer next week, to add some variety.

    I fixed my bike so I could start cycling to the gym on weekends, figured I’d give it a go today. It was great fun, and a nice afternoon. It then turned into a bit of a horror show; riding home after training legs can be a recipe for some mental toughness training, let alone after doing 200 hack squats… In the long run it was probably a good thing, a decent cooldown running the legs over while cars laughed at me trying to go up hills.

    I’m loving the clean, consistent higher caloric intake. I’m at roughly double what I’d normally eat when trying to maintain a 6-8 pack (..whilst also tending to eat all the foods from every restaurant, chocolate shop and bakery in my city on the weekends). I had been fairly worried about going too high on the calories too quickly, but on around 3850cal for 2 weeks now, I’ve put on about 1.1 kg (though this morning’s measurement was another full 1kg higher, I suspect additional water weight from varying my meals yesterday, and there wasn’t a weights session). The 1.1kg gain is likely also part water weight, since I was extremely low carbohydrate pre-program, and I’m now at around 300 grams/day.

    Overall, my bodyfat % is only up about 0.4%, but I’m feeling and looking much bigger, smashing heavier weights in the gym every session, and for the first time in a long while I’ve had plenty of energy to push through long sessions rather than burn out and lose all strength and will to live half way through. I’ve also noticed a significant increase in sex drive, so my testosterone levels are likely at a much healthier level – thanks calories! It would have been interesting to have hormone levels taken before the program, during and after. Next time.

    I’m happy with my diet. It’s over 7 or 8 meals, and I’ve spread out enough meals across it that I LOVE so that the chicken/rice/broccoli meals don’t get old. My avocado/peanut butter/protein/banana/cinnamon/spinach/cucumber smoothie rocks my world. Twice a day I’m having a serve of ground beef and sweet potato. Last week when I meal prepped, I tried to save some change by buying 6kg of beef in bulk at the markets. Bad move, as I got low quality beef that had a bit of an odd smell, and yes, that smell carried through to the taste. By the 3rd or 4th day, I was able to get through it with only gagging 2 or 3 times. Now I actually kind of enjoy it, so either the freezer killed the badness(?) or I’m losing my mind. Meal prep is awesome, just be sure of what you’re doing when you make 28 of something… I look forward to re-making this meal with proper beef from a reputable butcher this weekend. Until then, bon-app-the-feet.

    In terms of current lifestyle, I’m happy to be a bit of a hermit and focus on fitness. I’ve also got nearly full time postgraduate classes and study outside of work hours, so with training, EATING (takes a lot of time), full time work and study I don’t have space for much else. I’m still being social where it’s easy and doesn’t interfere with diet / training or sleep, but it’s a lower priority. The best occasions have been dates and catch ups with friends have been combined with evening cardio, or cooking steaks / bulk sweet potato and eggs.

    To date, I haven’t had any cravings for junk food or a cheat meal (and I didn’t expect to). Pre-program I was at a point where I was having a cheat meal every 4-6 weeks, but I still had cravings occasionally. This was a big change from 4-5 years previously, when I’d hardly make it to Friday before I felt like I needed to binge on pizza, Thai food and ice cream. With the large increase in calories though, I doubt my body wants anything more or is even capable of having a craving. I’d attribute this also partly to the mental approach; from day 1 I completely put the idea of a day off the diet out of my head. Something I’ve known a while, but is reinforced here: when something is non negotiable it is 100x easier to adhere to it. So, set your goals, don’t allow yourself excuses or easy ways out, and execute your plan.

    From here, I’m looking forward to getting into week 3 and keeping my head down and training even harder, pushing heavier weights for more quality reps and bigger squeezes. Plus, Ab Ripper X, I’m starting to love that and am going to challenge myself more and more going forward. With that, I raise my smoothie and say let the period of eating at a caloric surplus continue.

  8. #8
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    Week 3, Days 15-21

    I’m now 3 weeks into eating clean at roughly double my pre program calories, and weighing in at 87.0kg @ 14.54% bodyfat at 6’1’’. From Day 1, I’m up 1.3kg with an increase of 0.31% bodyfat. I’m not willing to immediately trust this number as a massive muscle increase or expect much accuracy from these scales; it’s more likely an increase in water retention and general extra weight from being full all the time. My next dexa scan is 10 or so days away so I eagerly await that assessment and having some concrete numbers.

    This week has been another good week in terms of training, and I’ve made some decent progress on all of my lifts. Monday was an incredible chest and triceps session; I felt a bit average at the start but by the end the pump was on another level and my muscles where cooked. Google actually called and wanted to use a photo of my arms a basis for the new Maps app; the vascularity was legendary. Back on Tuesday was the real deal too, the last exercise was close grip chin-ups with legs elevated, doing that at a point that your muscles are past deep fried is emotional.

    It’s getting quite cold here now, so doing cardio at midnight in the rain isn’t the most pleasant thing I’ve ever done, but I find it enjoyable in a weird way because it’s an opportunity to test myself; it pushes me to think about my motivations, why I’m doing what I’m doing etc - I seem to keep showing up for more so that tells me something. I’ve started to feel a little less horsepower and energy in the gym than normal – which I think is expected after 3 weeks of solid training and no real rest days. This week had 3 days in which there was no weights (the standard 40mins of cardo, plus ab circuit and stretching only), and I was grateful for the few lower intensity days. I was feeling strong and energetic again today, so looks like those days were needed.

    Toward the end of this week I was feeling mentally exhausted overall, and a fair bit ‘off’. I’ve been feeling relatively ineffective at getting things done for the past fortnight or so, had headaches all of Thursday (and I never get headaches, and seldom get sick), and felt horrible Friday afternoon. So, after I knocked off work, I rescheduled my other professional commitments and went home, grabbed two delicious eye fillets and attempted to take the evening off to chill out and recover (after cardio!). I spent the time basking in the awesomeness of my own company (a rare occurrence as a relatively extraverted dude) and calling friends and family. I wish I could say I rested over the weekend, but come early Saturday morning I had to get back into it. I’m feeling OK now on Sunday evening, having done not much else but work/eat/train/meal prep over the weekend, but I do probably need to find some time to take a short break from burning the candle at both ends and refocus. I also need to learn to say ‘no’ more often; trying to do everything and be everything is a recipe to end up doing and being nothing. I realise I probably don’t have that many commitments that matter, or many tasks that are important in the bigger scheme of things, so I need to get some perspective and stop working 70-80 hour weeks, most of which is for someone else. I like working hard and being productive, but I’m feeling like a lot of my energy is scattered at the moment. The one constant is my commitment to Rockstar, and I’m glad to see that when pitted against the other elements of my life, it continues to emerge as my number 1 priority.

    Moving forward, I’ve got a few commitments to finish early this week, after which I’ll be refusing to take on more and taking a few days off to train, eat, and *relax* - something I may find hard to do.

    Something I’m very excited about is being finished with those mince + sweet potato meals I made in bulk with the poor-quality mince. I ate the last one yesterday, did a little happy dance after I finished gagging, and immediately started dreaming up what else I could make instead. Nailed it tonight, I roasted a large chunk of lean beef PERFECTLY, with a heap of sweet potato and some red onions. I look forward to smashing this meal twice a day for the next week or so. On that note, can we just take a moment to appreciate sweet potato? It’s fucking delicious.

    Enough talk, time to smash some Ab Ripper X, then get some rest and work on growing some muscles! Lets get massive.

  9. #9
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    Week 4, Days 22-28

    This program is flying by. At this point, the process is mostly routine (apart from the occasional workout I completely underestimate before having a few lessons in humility delivered at a rapid rate). About now is when I’d be expecting to see some results, and I am. I’m looking softer in most areas, but still have OK definition in my abs, chest and back, and am still looking fairly lean whilst training. Muscle’s are looking full and feel tight, and I’m loving training. I’m weighing in at 87kg again this week, with 14.6% bodyfat. I’m looking forward to my next Dexa scan in a few days, to firm up some of these numbers.

    Last week I wrote about feeling fairly drained and mentally exhausted, and I’m pleased to report I took some time this week to catch up on rest and some headspace. The week was fairly busy for the first half, but training was great and I achieved some skin splitting pumps. To fit everything in, I ended up training a few times past midnight.

    Went to a ball on Friday, which was great to get socially recharged with good people after majoring in the hermit life for the past few weeks. Luckily there was roast beef & sweet potato on the menu, so I didn’t have to pull out tupperwear full of chicken and rice in the middle of a swanky event. Another big highlight for me this week was getting to meet one of the Rockstar mentors while he was in town on business; we grabbed some chicken and trained chest. It was awesome to meet such a likeminded determined guy, who has killed it in various parts of his life but is still so driven to work on himself. I know I’ll learn a lot from him over the next few months and years.

    Over the weekend, I committed to having some down time. I minimised phone use, locked my laptop away, spent some time in the (winter) sun and hung out with a friend. I even slept in, which I haven’t done in months. The tranquillity ended on Sunday afternoon when I went to the gym to train legs, having earlier only quickly glanced at the seemingly simple session. It was a session for anyone that’s a sucker for punishment, so I enjoyed it once I could get out of the wheelchair. Can confirm the stairs to the change rooms afterward felt like Everest, and lowering myself down them again with the railing was a feat of strength.

    I’ve noticed my body feels as if it’s adjusted to the longer workouts. The implication of this is that the workouts themselves actually feel shorter, so I’m working on pushing myself further mentally: from the cardio, and from the first exercise of the first set, right through until the last rep of the session. I’ve been using a concept I learned through many intense testing periods during military service, with the idea being to apply extreme focus to the direct challenge in front of you; forget the rest of the session or what you’ve got to do the rest of the day/week etc, and focus only on the task/threat/action required in that moment. In the gym, this looks like completing the goal number of reps with the maximum weight, without worrying that I’ve got X number of sets more to do, or X number of exercises left, or that if I keep up that intensity I won’t make it through the whole session. Forget it, face only the challenge in your face. This applies to the wider fitness program, and achieving any large goal. It’s like eating an elephant one bite at a time. I expect Rockstar will be like this throughout the entire journey. I imagine that when it’s 4am, I’m sick/tired, we’ve got seminar in a few short hours, some massive challenges coming that day, and the day after that, and the week after that, it’ll be easy to call it a night and go to bed, so building this muscle of focusing on the now and pushing myself will be valuable.

    A colleague asked this week how I manage to get training in amongst everything else, assuming that I must not get much sleep. It took a moment for me to process the question, and thinking about this conversation brought to light a philosophy I’ve taken on over the years. To me, working out has become a mandatory part of my life, up there in importance with sleeping and eating. A regular exercise habit is health for life, it is awesome for mental health, leads to improved mental performance, and is a key contributor to wider productivity. For some people, it’s the easiest thing to drop when life gets busy, but it’s a false time gain because they lose the productivity and overall long term health benefits. So when she asked how I do it, it was easy to tell her that skipping training for me isn’t an option, because it will affect everything else I want to get done. Then I went home and did the day’s 90minute yoga session… at 1am, after a 17 hour day (side note, slept amazing after it, 10/10 would yoga and sleep again).

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about priorities. For any aspirational goal that requires sustained dedication, most any excuse can be eliminated by proper prioritisation - being clear on what you want and putting the steps to get there above other competing goals. Everyone wants 6 pack abs, yet will skip the gym/eat take out because they’re tired (want to relax more) or have work to do (want to advance career). They want to buy their own home, yet want to be more social so they buy $19 smashed avocado on toast 3x a week and spend $200 on drinks at bars. We all want a multi-million dollar business, to date supermodels, have great friendships etc, but don’t prioritise the process of achieving those things highly enough, so never make real progress. For a lot of driven people I talk to, this is their problem: too many competing ambitions, and it’s been a problem for me in the past. This year, and this program so far, has been an awesome exercise in focus. Any physical changes will be great but immaterial overall; what will matter is the process of committing to a goal and giving it sufficient priority to execute an ambitious plan. I will look to carry this mindset through all of Rockstar and beyond.

  10. #10
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    Week 1

    23/4/2017 - Week1

    I'm John, a 38 yr old IT professional based in Adelaide, Australia. As this program starts I'm tipping the scales at 237lbs and 29.6% body fat. One would argue I fit the stereotypical unfit and overweight desk ridden IT keyboard warrior, the upside is the opportunity to have such a profound transformation physically - this is very exciting.

    I'll be completely honest - fitness hasn't been a massive priority through my adult life.
    As a teenager I was always very active in various sports and I never used to worry about diet, my metabolism and active life I could pretty much eat anything I wanted and not put on size. In my early 20's this slowly changed, I became a little less active with sports whilst still maintaining the unhealthy diet. I'd notice my jeans wouldn't fit anymore and need to buy the next size up. I wasn't too concerned, I had a long term girlfriend and soon got married. Infact after getting married both of us kind of "let ourselves go" body wise. Fast forward 12 years later, I was massive - probably 280lbs or more, stuck in an unhappy marriage. I'd managed to build an awesome career but was miserable inside.

    I had a burning for change - and over the course of 12-18months I put my energy into "fixing" my life and getting out of the downward spiral. Firstly I needed to get down to reasonable weight and do something with the failing marriage. In the end the best decision for both of us was to go in different directions. Although hard at first, it was clearly the right move.

    I was quietly impressed when I hit the scales a while back @ under 220lbs. This was the result of a few crash diet attempts and some effort into fitness - many light cardio. I didn't really know what I was doing and my efforts were more spasmodic than strictly regimented. Not having a clear goal or program to follow, my body has yoyo'd to its current form.

    The first week of the program has hit me like a tonne of bricks. For the first 5 days I thought I was going to throw up in the gym - I was constantly pausing my sets. I've never taken supplements and I'm not sure if it was my body adjusting to the new intake or just pure exercise shock.

    I got accepted to Rockstar on the Easter Friday and the program was to start on the Easter Monday. I had only just returned from a holiday trip to Stockholm on the Thursday afternoon and I was mega jet lagged from the 30hrs of transiting home over 3 flights. It was a long weekend in Australia for Easter and many shops were closed for most of the weekend. I spent the weekend completing the shopping list as best I could.
    I was all set for the gym starting Monday. My usual gym is a private gym only provided to staff of a company that I do consulting for. All dressed in my gym gear I swipe the access card and I hear the noise of rejection. I didn't realise but they don't allow access on public holidays - I'd never tried Ė public holidays were never a workout day for me in the past !!

    I was devastated, but with my "PR2017" mindset I thought - improvise - whatever you need to do to get it done - just do it. I went to a couple other gyms to try to get some kind of temporary access - no luck. So I'm 1 day behind on the program which has been eating at me all week. Plan is tomorrow (public holiday here) to get squeeze a morning and afternoon workout into the same day. Early the next day when businesses resumed trading, I sorted a new 24/7 gym with pretty much all the equipment I need (thus far).

    Diet has been pretty simple chicken / broccoli and brown rice to get me started. I've been moving house which made cooking challenging. I've found no matter what, I need to put PR2017 first, and then just plan the rest of my life around that. Its quiet a shift in mindset but is critical to my success. Life is busy, there is always excuses why you canít do this, or need a cheat meal here or day off there. Hand on heart I can say I haven't had one ounce of food not permitted on my nutrition plan.

    Moving house definitely caused some time challenges. Often I would only start at the gym @ 11:30pm as that is when I would finish packing boxes. Preworkout drink a few hours before bed doesn't work well I found out the hard way. Week 2 I need to fix my workout times and sleep patterns.

    This is the first of many updates and I look forward to sharing more insights to my transformation. I finished the week with 234.1 lbs and 29.0% body fat. A loss of 2.9 lbs and 0.6% body fat.

  11. #11
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    30/4/2017 WEEK 2

    Week 2 is done and dusted. Canít believe we are nearly 20% complete on the fitness program. A challenge long term will be to maintain the fitness post Rockstar. I expect the intensity may change slightly Ė however Iím looking forward to always having fitness and nutrition as a leading part of my life.

    Vital stats at the end of week 2 are 231.3 lbs and 28.3% bodyfat. This is a 5.7 lbs loss and 1.3% drop in bodyfat since the start of the program. To be honest, everyday when I jump on the scales Iím half expecting to see big numbers and get a little disappointed when its just a small drop or no drop at all. One day I even had a slight increase in weight which totally spun me out. I just keep reminding myself stick to the process, in the end the results will come Ė donít focus on the daily scale results. This is good advice not just for the fitness program but also the infield part of Project Rockstar - focus on the process !!

    The toilet is seeing a lot of me lately Ė a gallon of water a day needs to go somewhere. Night and day I seem to be peeing all the time !!

    Body is feeling well overall. I do have my share of aches and pains Ė usually the day after I work out. I never understood why people would have ďlegĒ day in the gym and just work out certain groups of muscles. Iím starting to understand why now and it makes sense.

    Energy in the 2nd half of the week was a little flatter but post workout I have a sense of achievement. My usual busy life combined with the program is always a challenge. I had to push some of the workouts to late night this week due to my schedule Ė one even started at 11:55pm on a Saturday night. My brain just wanted to sleep but Iím 100% strict on myself Ė no cheat days in the gym or food wise. I expect the same challenge in vegas Ė my brain and body say sleep but u gotta push through and give the infield stuff 110% - you only get 1 Rockstar !!
    Late night is less than ideal and this week Iím trying to swap to morning workouts. Drinking a preworkout drink at night makes it hard to sleep for the next few hours Ė and sleep is really important for this part of the program.

    To help with the lack of time Ė Iíve implemented a few small efficiency adjustments. Firstly I purchased a pill organiser and get all the vitamins sorted a week in advance. Now I donít have to remember if I took the supplements on a certain day, or if I counted them correctly.

    Secondly I purchased a large rice cooker and also a jumbo George foreman grill. Now I can do larger batches of food a lot easier.

    So far Iíve only told 1 close friend about Project Rockstar, however a lot of people have noticed my strict diet and commented that Iíve lost some weight in the face. Iíve had it before where the fat seems to disappear from the face first Ė I wish it was the tummy first Ė guess Iíll just need to be patient and the transformation will come with hard work.

    Iíve noticed food is everywhere. Its on TV, newspaper, radio Ė even walking down the mall I get offered free samples or vouchers. I donít really get hungry or have cravings but I do avoid extended exposure like the TV cooking food channel etc. Iím glad the program doesnít have ďcheatĒ days. Its so much easier to accept that the diet is just part of my life 100% of the time.

    My favourite achievement this week was catching up on the missed day from day 1. I picked the lightest day and combined 2 days in one monster gym session. Iím looking forward to week 3 and raising a sweat in the gym.

  12. #12
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    Week 3

    7/5/2017 - WEEK 3

    OMG week 3 has flown by so fast. ľ of the fitness and nutrition program is finished. The first week was a real shock and wakeup call to my body. The last couple weeks have been more fine tuning and pushing my body to the limits whilst making sure my form is correct.

    Vital stats at the end of the week are 228.2 lbs and 27.8% body fat. This is a 3.1 lbs weekly drop and 0.5% less body fat. Always looking for bigger numbers but happy they are headed in the right direction.

    Iíve realised how hopeless I am at breathing correctly. Its never been something Iíve ever thought about Ė just comes naturally right ? Once I get on top of correct breathing I will be able to push myself a little further and endurance should greatly benefit. Often I find myself incorrectly holding my breath as Iím doing a rep. More work to fix but at least I can sense Iím doing something not 100% correctly.

    Iím really proud of myself that 25% into the program and I havenít had one cheat meal, not even one gram of a cheat meal. There is plenty of food temptation every where. I even went to a ďTasting AustraliaĒ event all about local cuisine and produce during my lunch hour. It definately wasnít an ideal setting for someone on a diet, I was just trying to spend quality some time with my workmates before I finish work and make time for international travel for the later part of 2017. The smokey aroma of amazing meats being cooked over the fireplace normally would be irresistible but I was strong Ė I didnít even contemplate for a second - a cheat meal or even a sneaky bite. After the event I went back to the office and heated up my usual chicken, broccoli and brown rice.

    This week Iíve been learning about how any weight loss program should be complimented by a good weight training program. Many people make the mistake of just focus losing kgís but donít realise they are losing muscle too. The right program will ensure your muscle mass doesnít disappear. Keeping a good level of muscle mass will keep your metabolism running well Ė which again helps keep the body fat under control and helps the ďyoyoĒ affect of weight loss and then putting it all back on again.

    This weeks program had a day of ab ripper followed by a day of stretching. I found myself feeling that I really mentally missed the gym sessions hitting the weights. I must be growing fond of my gym visits !! Iím enjoying the protein shake after the session Ė and Iím limiting myself to just 1 to keep the weight down.

    I can now do 20mins non stop jogging without keeling over and dying. Nice improvement as this is something I couldnít to do in the first week. Iím contemplating engaging the services of a PT in the next week or 2. I think its time to really crank up the motivation and push my fitness limits even more. Also some professional tips on 100% correct form would be a great idea around now.

    Energy was lower in week 2 but this week has been a good improvement. Mentally Iím probably not as super sharp as I was pre program. Kris Gethin mentioned he had the same problems and had some great tips to assist with this.
    Looking forward to week 4 !!

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    Week 4

    14/5/17 - WEEK 4

    Well week 4 finished with a bang. Instead of a nice easy Sunday in the gym to round out the week, Kris Gethin in his infinite wisdom decided that it would be "leg destroyer day".

    During this part of the program, the instruction video shows Kris was travelling and doing some late night partying with other fitness professionals. I'm sure leg day 28 was devised as a "dare" late one party night between two muscle crazed maniacs. Thanks Kris, thank you very f*ckn much !!

    Vital stats are still heading in the right direction - 224.9 lbs and 27.0% body fat - 12.1 lbs and 2.6% drop since the start of the program. I'm happy with the total weight drop, but I'm starting to focus more on the body fat % as the key figure to watch. My aim is to drop weight, but not drop too much muscle. The body fat calculations have a margin of error. The most accurate way is to get a DEXA scan or Bodpod. I plan to get one done in the next few weeks.

    Energy has been great this week. I look forward to going to the gym and seeing small gains each time I go. I've noticed friends getting a little jealous of my slimmer appearance. It motivated one of them to ask to go on a hill climb with me. At the peak of the 1hr climb I found my endurance is way better than any other time I've climbed the hill - normally I'm totally spent. I can't wait to see what another 8 weeks of training will produce.

    I'm still going strong on the staple diet of chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli. Super proud that I'm resisting all temptations of cheat meals. I have no problems sitting with other people at lunch eating food that I used to love. The offers of "have what we are having" are still flooding in - I politely remind them I'm on a strict 12 week program.

    In 3 weeks I've got some international travel to USA and Canada. Travel presents many challenges - the main ones being food and workouts. I'm thinking about the options taking my small george foreman grill with me, or even using the internet to crowdsource someone to supply cooked meals to my specifications. We have air tasker in Australia, need to check if they have it internationally or an equivalent. I'm planning to pay for a weeks casual access to a gym in both locations. I don't expect this to be a problem, but may need to limit my workouts to hours when the gym is staffed.

    Body wise Iíve being noticing lots of small little changes. Fat is disappearing from weird parts of my body. Example is my hand where it joins my thumb Ė it looks like there is a ďdentĒ inwards Ė previously it was flat. A few other areas of the body have similar. Wish it was the tummy first but patience and hard work will be rewarded eventually !!
    Iím still learning to optimise my breathing. The p90x videos are tremendously helpful. Iíve got a contact for a good PT so Iím reaching out to them this week to see
    See you in week 5 !!

  14. #14
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    Week 1:

    Fitness has always been a huge part of my life. The first time I stepped into the gym was just about 20 years ago. It was summer after high school and I spent the summer life-guarding on the beach and working out. By the end, I was in the best shape of my life. Of course all that deteriorated after 3 years of beer and wings in college. Iím now 38 and in three months I will once again be in the best shape of my life. Iím excited.

    Iím 5í5 and maxed out @ 175lb back when I was doing heavy lifting 6-8 years back. I start the program @ 155 and have been placed in the looser group with an initial body fat of 20.9%. I have never measured my body fat %, taking a laissez faire approach to fitness metrics and going more by look and feel. I found the 20.9% considerably higher than what I would expect. In fact, I was expecting to be in the gainer category .

    While staying in shape was always a priority, I rarely followed any cohesive programs. Furthermore, I have NEVER actively managed my diet, though having a relatively undiscerning palate allowed me to stay away from blatantly unhealthy foods and large quantities of anything I considered marginal. As such, this program represents a major deviation from what I am used to, in terms of firm structure of exercise and diet.

    As far the actual exercise program goes, this is considerably different from what I have been doing in recent months-years. While in my younger days I have been doing pure weight lifting and no cardio, as of late I have been caught up in more ďrefinedĒ exercise routines, focusing on things like TRX, Rings, Floor core, kettlebells, burpees, ect. I also have been doing 40-50 minutes of cardio which included the stationary bike, rowing and boxing. In the last six months I have been recovering from a pinched nerve in my neck which put me out of the gym for six months and I have been cautious about heavy lifting, rather focusing on maximizing reps. The program is designed around maximizing weight and driving sets to failure and Iím excited about switching gears and putting on some muscle while actively burning fat in a structured and tested program.

    An additional challenge that I expect will be sleep and gym access. While I live in NYC ( where I have a complete 24/7 gym) , I commute to work in Nebraska, where gym culture is less developed and things close fairly early. Furthermore, I work a mix of days and nights and frequently shuttle back to Nyc, making for occasional 24-36 hour days. I have a couple of gyms that I use in NE and deadest motivation not to miss a single workout, I do foresee some pressure days where I have to handle a couple of work outs, a work shift and a couple of planes. However, that doesn't appear as hard as getting the diet right

    End of week 1:
    I have been able to complete all workouts and have appreciable soreness on the following day. But Iím confident itís not enough and I really need to increase the weight in the second week as the program guide pushes us to do.

    Breaking up cardio into two parts has had a very interesting effect compared to a huge cardio set that I used to do at the start. I no longer feel way too burned out from the cardio to begin the lifting, though I do feel like I run out of gas by the end (before the second cardio set), whereas before I felt that the monster cardio set would in fact get me fired up for the whole workout once I caught my breath.

    Another interesting discovery: Iím guessing everyone has gym days where the motivation is just not strong, the body is lazy, the stomach feel woozy, you may have drank a bit too much the night before etc. My expectations from the workout on these days were low and prior to starting the program, those days would present an internal conflict: to stay in the gym or go home and veg. Iíd say I was about 50/50 on those. As I started the program, the hangover threat was eliminated, but another option that was eliminated was the option of not working out all together. Iíve had a couple of days this week where I was very sceptical about the outcome of the work-out (maybe the supplements did not settle well or seep was lacking) but I ended pushing through to the end and feeling great thereafter. While I generally feel well after leaving the gym, on these days the post-workout high was even stronger as it was boosted by overcoming internal obstacles.

    While the workouts have been intense, the real challenge has been hitting the diet goals. The 50/20/20 break down is very tricky. I was amazed by how quickly oats and quinoa put me over the carb limit. I never really limited my intake of these as they were the ďgood carbsĒ. Now Iím really watching those and basically focus on just veggies and protein in the second part of the day. I was also challenged by having to cook in a small hotel kitchen. I have been staying here for a year and have never turned on the stove. I am pleasantly surprised, however, as I was able to cook complete meals here.

    Hard to tell subjectively if I put on any muscle after this, week though the tracker has me losing a couple of pounds of fat. I definitely feel like my watch is looser though not sure if itís good thing. However, doing the back/bicep day for the second time today, I did feel that I can get more reps in and I did go up on the weight on one arm rows. Looking forward to week 2 and on and meeting all the guys who are doing this with me!

  15. #15
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    Week 2


    Had to make a lot of dietary adjustments this week. I really was not hitting my calorie or macro goals last week, so I made a major change as recommended by Alex and I no longer have carbs for breakfast. I also really upped my protein with protein shakes and the numbers are starting to align with goals. I really expected to feel more hunger through this program and while I do feel some abdominal rumblings, my mental preparation seems to augment the physical discomfort.

    I am a lot more constipated though. I think I used to get most of my fiber from fruit (which I miss the most on this diet) and grains and the new combo has thrown my digestive system into a conundrum. Thankfully making people poop is an integral part of my job and I’m gonna apply that professional knowledge to self.

    Finished week two with weight down 2.2lb and fat down .6%, though I will admit that these numbers definitely oscillate and the downward trend is not as strong as beginning and ending numbers would suggest. However I’m definitely seeing abs that I haven't seen before starting to peek through (hey guys, good to finally meet you!) and I’m DEFINITELY down at least 1 pants size, maybe more. Pecs look a bit more defined too.

    I feel like this week I definitely pushed myself more before I arrive at failure when lifting. I’m getting more reps and I’m pushing more weight. What I’m not experiencing is the next day soreness (or very mild soreness). While this may be because I have been pre-training before starting the program and my muscles are in some acceptable shape, I will make the opposite assumption i.e. I’m not pushing myself enough. As such the goal for week three is to feel sore.!

    A very empowering phenomenon that I have noticed about the last two weeks, as a gateway to PR 2017 is the positive feedback that all my efforts have upon themselves. The more I adhere to to the diet, the more I’m worried about making any misstep or errors, be it eating anything that's not approved by the diet, or going over/under the goal or messing up the macro. The same thing has been happening at the gym: the thought of not completing full two sets of cardio or not feeling completely spent after each failure set gives me anxiety that I’m undermining the entire effort and pushes to me to do more and more. I mean…. Was that really my last rep, or do I have one more? I’m writing this from a dinky motel outside of DEN as my flight got cancelled. At the same time I’m picking out lean strips of chicken from the least complicated airport salad that I could find and wiping off all traces of cheese and other unholy contaminants that may be on them. The first thing I went to check out when got to the hotel was their gym as I was anxious that I may not be able to complete tomorrows work out: Thankfully I anticipated this and did legs today so that I got ab ripper tomorrow, which doesn't require much in terms of facilities. These guys have a stationary bike so I will be fine.

    The whole no drinking thing has been interesting. I’ve gone on the wagon for 2-4 weeks in the past and those excursions definitely produced clarity of mind and periods of increased productivity. They also intensified my introversion when I’m out. Thankfully, my first bootcamp instructor was Joe who never drank and whose game is beyond legendary. I also have listened to the IVS on gaming sober so I’m gonna step out at some point soon and take the sober game for a test drive. Expectations are LOW.

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    Week 3:

    Gym: I’ve gone on and downgraded all working set weights from last week to warm up weights and bumped working weights up 5-15%. I’m not losing any reps and I’m feeling more satisfied with my lifting as i’m definitely doing more work compared with weeks 1-2. In fact, I’m actually feeling more sore now, compared to weeks 1-2, something that I have been striving for. This is not the “omg, I completely destroyed a muscle group” type of soreness but rather “hey I can feel those failure sets that I was pushing yesterday right where I want to feel them”. It’s not at all incapacitating and resolves before the next work out. Ok… I may have written that too soon..Today is sunday and there is some major deeeeeee-layed DOMS(that may be repittiously redundant, but come on! I did shoulders like 4 days ago… DOMS now?) in most muscle groups. Perfect day for X-stretch.

    Diet: There is no problem with motivation or organization. I havent eaten out at all except for several travel related instances where I was trapped in airport/hotel and even there I used napkins to wipe off unholy ingredients such as feta and cranberries from chicken breast strips.. While I was never a picky eater, at this point eating is just an act of delivering the appropriate nutrients into the body with complete disregard for combination or socially acceptable time of day for any specific food (i.e. oatmeal and lima beans together at 7pm). The post workout shake and chicken do feel kinda nice and well deserved however. Major dietary challenges persist, however. Still behind on protein in my macros, though I’m starting to get closer to the target. I’m down to a single grain serving/day and that seems to help. Adding eggs (which I rarely ate before the program) is a nice catch up as they are usually available in the lounge fridge. Constipation has become a serious problem and I’m going once every two days and even that is a struggle. I think my digestive system is used to getting all the fiber from apples/oranges and oats and it’s now struggling. The strange thing is that I’m not feeling bloated or constipated. I just don't go for 50 hours. I’m going to switch away from cruciferous veggies and toward peppers/greens as cruciferous stuff can upset a fragile digestive tract. Enough about the bowels though. Overt and detailed attention to bowel habits is a topic of great interest to octogenarians residing in nursing homes in my experience and I’m not there just yet.

    I finally got all the supplements and I’m using everything as instructed. Hard to appreciate any changes in terms of performance at the gym as of yet (the mental high at the gym persists), though my fat burn is definitely accelerating. The fat burner and possibly the green tea extract have really done a number on my sleep though. The fact that I’m also working the night shift this week and cannot use (mild amounts) of alcohol to regulate my sleep cycle as I have in the past has made for some interesting days/nights. I typically work 8pm-8am, then sleep till 9am-3:30pm and then eat/work out 3pm-7pm. One day I lay in bed till 10 am and got so frustrated that I just went to the gym and did the full back/bicep workout. Only got like 3 hours of sleep that day. Frustrating, but it’s ok; when I was in residency I would hit the gym after a 30 hour shift. I feel more energy throughout the day than I have in a very long time, despite the sleep issues however.

    The weight is 151lb, which is just about the same, but body fat % is down to 14.7 from 15. I’m definitely seeing some new obliques pop out: Hey guys! Great to see you! I also now have just 1 pair of pants that fit me. Everything else falls right off, even the new stuff that I just bought three weeks ago and was perfectly snug. I’m also feeling more cut overall as well.

    Biceps have always been very lazy for me and they are still refusing to follow the rest of the muscles and get bigger. Even my left tricep which atrophied after my neck injury a year ago is getting jacked, compared to the bi-s. So I got myself a home pull up bar and will try to get some accessory bicep work done outside of the gym. Hopefully this will help bulk em up a bit.

    Reading about other guys experiences is definitely helpful and motivating. The gainers’ dietary struggles are enticing and intimidating at the same time: I feel like I’m hitting my lean weight and would like to start putting on some muscle, but I’m struggling to get 2K calories right and 3K may be a whole other ball game.

    Anyways: Motivation is a as strong as ever so bring on week 4!

  17. #17
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    Week 4.

    Week 4 is almost a wrap. A lot of interesting developments this week:

    For starters I can now blindly pull exactly 22 almonds out of the bag every single time! Certainly not the biggest achievement, but worth a mention. What has been more important is that I’m finally getting better at my calorie and macro targets. Eliminating grains as a daily staple had a strong effect. I can now fill up on protein all day long without being terribly concerned about going over on calories. I get most of the carbs from tomatoes/peppers and if I’m still behind on carbs at the end of the day, I can just make a cup of oatmeal. I also added coconut oil as recommended by my advisor.

    I had to get away from the cruciferous veggies this week because I implicated them in some serious and malodorous gas misfortunes last week and that seems to have alleviated the bloating.

    Last week I had a bunch of travel delays that significantly affected my diet goals, so now I bring a food carrier with me on the plane with 12-18 hours of food supply. I also changed my travel routes for week for more reliable airlines/airports as travel delays can also impact gym access and sleep schedule.

    While this is not a new observation, but I did note that with new diet, I never experience an after meal coma. While I never experienced serious after meal comas, I would feel sleepy at times. Not so any more. It makes sense as this food is much easier to digest so probably doesn't pull as much blood into splanchnic circulation, leaving more flow to the brain and other organs.

    On to numbers weight is 150.2 from 151 and fat % is 13.8, from 14.7. I’m thinking that I’m really starting to bump against lean weight here. I’m seeing ever new abs pop into my physique. Welcome kids!

    Gym happenings:

    Interesting observation: I was always very dependent on highly selected music for extra motivation at the gym. In fact there were days when I forgot to charge my headphones or had some other b.s. reason for not being able to listen to music and the old-fat-lazy me would say something like” well that’s a bummer… there goes today’s workout..” and head home. At this point music still helps, but its effect has been dulled by a parallel and previously rarely appreciated internal drive to push myself. I cant yet get a good grasp on it, but it definitely has to do with watching Gethin, carefully tracking my numbers: both in the tracker but also the up-titration of the weight that I’m moving.

    I’ve also found that I make a hell of a lot more noise when lifting compared with before. And while I’m not turning any heads with my grunting, more noise definitely helps move more weight. In fact I kinda blew myself away a couple of days ago: I used a bicep curl machine at some point during week one as I’m trying to bulk up my bi’s beyond what's in the program. I did working sets with eight plates. When I came up to the machine this week. I thought “Eight plates is really wimpy”. I tried 9 and that felt too light. 10..still no sweat. Up and up and I found myself doing a solid 6 reps to failure with 13 plates! Felt great though I do feel it in my wrists today.

    I crushed my thumb while doing lateral raises early in the week to the point where it’s basically swollen in one place. Pretty sure it’s not broken, but it doesn't work and these are the times when you really appreciate how opposable thumbs aided in human evolution or even in tying shoes. As a result I had to rearrange the remainder of the weeks workout as heavy gripping was out of the question. One of the aspects of this program that I really enjoy is the presence of structure and changing the whole thing was kind of annoying. However it was also an excercise in adjusting to unforeseen circumstances without missing your goals and expectations. I felt pretty good on day 28, when I was able to accomplish the whole weeks program (and a bit extra) despite the injury.

    Bring on week 5!

  18. #18
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    Week 1:

    Hi guys. Iím 48, self-employed and living in Denver, CO. I never really put my diet, physical fitness or health at the top of my priority list until fairly recently. For years, I abused my body by putting all sorts of garbage into it. I have always had a high metabolism, so I never used to get fat. I could always eat whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. That is until I turned 40. I began to notice that my pants were getting a bit snug in the waist. ďNo big dealĒ, I told myself. Iíll just start jogging a bit here and there. This would allow me to still eat all the unhealthy foods I wanted, without having to buy new pants. I would binge on junk food, and purge with cardio. (I call this ďExercise BulimiaĒ). This would all have to change.

    As the result of a motorcycle crash in 2010, I have had quite a few surgeries. For a long time, this made it very difficult to go to the gym. I used this as an excuse to not eat properly either. In the Summer of 2015 I was fat, lazy, depressed and in constant pain. I felt like I was 80 years old when I would get out of bed in the morning. I literally hurt from head to toe. It got so bad for a while, I could not even sit in a chair because my back would go into spasm. ďThis is no way to liveĒ, I thought. ďIím too young to feel this oldĒ.

    To try to start feeling better, I saw many different people who told me they could help me. I saw acupuncturists, chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, personal trainersÖ the list goes on. Nothing made me feel any different. I was feeling hopeless about it all, when a friend told me he had been in a similar circumstance. My friend told me, ďPierce, I have a physical therapist that fixed me when nobody else could.Ē He said, ďYou go see this guy, and if he doesnít fix your problems, I will refund your money.Ē

    Well, what did I have to lose? I went to see him, and sure enough, this guy was good. He not only works on some of the top athletes in Colorado, but he also travels the country training other physical therapists in various techniques. In a short period of time, I was feeling much better. I was able to get back into the gym, and I started eating a much healthier diet. Before I knew it, I was feeling fantastic, both mentally and physically for the first time in years.

    This all sounds great, but I have a history of all-or-nothing type behavior. (with many areas of my life) Sometimes Iím all in with eating healthy and exercising. Then something throws me out of my routine, and Iím binging on pizza, burgers, mexican and chinese food, waffle house, drinking cokeÖyou name it. Maybe I get sick. Maybe Iím traveling. (Maybe I get sick from traveling). My focus shifts to something else. Or maybe I get what I call the ďFuck-itsĒ. This is when I just donít feel like doing a fucking thing. It used to happen a lot more until I made some major changes in my life. (More on that later). Suffice it to say that inconsistency has been a constant companion of mine for as long as I can remember.

    I knew I needed help with this area of my life. I found a nutrition specialist a few months ago who put together a plan for me. I was making progress, then I took a trip, got sick, and then it was Christmas. I got back on track, but then traveled to Brazil for a month and ate horribly. I returned April 11th - just in time to get going with all of this stuff. (although I still feel like I am playing catch-up).

    Week 1 has been a shock to the system- in a very good way. It feels good to be motivated, sharp, focused, and determined. I am grateful to be doing this along with all of you guys. Itís been awhile since Iíve had to be accountable to someone else. This isnít something I can just not do if I donít feel like it. Failure is not an option.

    I have enjoyed the workouts. I like the structure and the intensity. It feels good to really be pushing my limits in the gym. Progress is happiness. I have also enjoyed the cooking and find the food discipline to be helpful. (except for the restriction to 2000 calories per day. I am used to closer to 2150 on just cardio days, and 2500 on strength days). With my personality type, itís much easier for me to have none of something, than to try to moderate my intake of it. (Much easier to do with certain substances other than with food for me). However, cutting out fruit, bread and chocolate and sugar seems to have eliminated cravings for me. Iím just not used to being hungry all the time.

    I have made what I think is solid progress this past week. (I am in the loser category). On 4/15/17 I weighed 172 lbs., and my body fat read 17 on the handheld. At end of week 1, Iím at 168 lbs., and my body fat reads 15.4.

    I feel like my biggest challenges right now are time management and better meal prep & planning. I am also concerned that I may not be getting enough sleep. I seem to be getting somewhere between 6 and 7.5 hours of sleep per night, with an average of just under 7 hours. I am using melatonin and valerian root. The earlier I go to sleep, the earlier I wake up. No time for napping anymore. Oh well, I may as well get used to less sleep now before Vegas. I just hope I am getting enough recovery time and that my immune system stays strong. I have been tracking my food and calorie intake on Myfitness Pal for awhile now. I am still not very efficient with the spreadsheet tracker. I seem to be spending way too much time entering things into the meal log.

    I had whatís called an Active Metabolic Assessment done the other day. They put a mask on you thatís hooked up to a computer. You start walking on a treadmill. Then they gradually increase your speed up to a jog, and then more into a run over the course of 20 plus minutes. This tells you what your best heart rate is for optimal fat burning, and at what point you begin to burn sugar and muscle. I have always just sort of guessed at my cardio. I am trying to be as efficient as possible from here on out. Maximum fat loss while retaining and even building muscle. Itís a very tricky balance.

    Thatís it for now. One week down, 11 more to go. Then itís a whole new world!

  19. #19
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    Week 2:

    So I am starting to adjust a little to this insane nutrition and exercise program. Since I got back in town from Brazil, I have had a few friends want to go to lunch, or meet for dinner. I have (had) a favorite Chinese restaurant across the street where we would meet sometimes. There is also a Mexican restaurant right next door which is pretty awesome. I told them that they may as well just come to my place instead, given my dietary restrictions, and since I already have tons of food prepared. I had one of my friends tell me recently that I was one of the strongest people he has ever met, and that I inspire him to be and do more. That felt pretty awesome. That’s been happening to me quite a bit this last year or so- people telling me that my story inspires them. I am humbled by it, and at the same time, proud that I am doing all of this work on myself.

    Day 8 Monday: Kickass chest and tri workout. I’m definitely getting out of my comfort zone in all sorts of ways during my workouts at the gym. (24 Hour Fitness). It used to be that I would just kind of go about my business, working my way around whatever equipment was available when I needed it- not really interacting with too many people. Now, I am moving benches around, setting up things exactly the way I need them- no matter how much work is involved, or who might have to wait. It feels like I am being more masculine by moving everything around just the way I need it. Now, people work around me. I am also interacting with people more- simply by asking for a spot here and there when I am working to failure on something.

    Day 9 Tuesday: Observations about cardio: So I have this kind of cool little trail right behind my house called the High Line Canal Trail. I have been doing my morning, and sometimes my afternoon cardio there. It’s better for my joints than running on pavement, and it’s much less boring than running on a track or treadmill. The downside? There is a Mcdonalds on one end of the trail that I pass twice during a 20 minute session. I get a whiff of what’s cooking, and it sends all kinds of fucked up signals to my brain. (how good would a big mac or quarter pounder with large fries and a large coke be?) It reminds me of how badly I used to eat, and how big of a gut I used to have. I remind myself that I don’t live like that anymore, and that I am doing something that few people have the will or discipline to do—change! If this shit was easy, everybody would do it. I remind myself that all of this will be worth it. I feel very good about how I am treating my body now.

    I have found myself hungry a few times these last few days. I moved some of my calories away from drinking them in shakes, to eating them in the form of actual food. This seems to be more satiating. Ab ripper X - It’s hard to imagine being able to get all the way through this thing without stopping. But I know that I will at some point.

    Wednesday Day 11: I have never worked my shoulders this intensely - I really crushed them. I bought a set of lifting straps which helped me get a few more shrugs in.

    Thursday Day 12: I had the longest sleep I’ve had in awhile. 8.5 hours. Feeling, of course, a bit sore, but quite well rested. Had a RMA (Resting Metabolic Assessment) test done today at Lifetime Fitness. This is how to precisely determine how many calories your body burns per day. I am operating at a considerable deficit. My body needs about 2300 calories if I don’t workout. Factor in cardio and strength training, and I’m up around 2,700 calories. This would account for why I am losing fat so rapidly. (It may also account for why I am hungry all the time.) We also reviewed the results of my Active Metabolic Assessment which I completed last week. This tells me what % fat I burn in all 5 cardio “zones” or beats per minute ranges. I now have a specific cardio plan to burn the most fat, and also strengthen my heart at the same time.
    My cardio trainer and my new nutrition consultant both tell me that based on my test results, I burn fat very efficiently. They also explained that I need to adjust my macronutrient mix accordingly. They are ok with the 2,000 calories per day for now, but they told me that I will burn fat faster if I up my fat intake to 30% instead of 20%. They said bring the protein down to 45% and the carbs down to 25%. By doing this, they tell me, my body will operate more efficiently, and I will be less hungry throughout the day. It’s cool to be getting to know my body so well. Money well spent. Crushed my calves today.

    Friday Day 12: Really pushed it today. Max effort all around. Feels good.

    Saturday Day 13: Holy fuck! Are my calves sore! Woke up to 8” of snow on the ground. It was still coming down pretty good, so I had to really gear up to get my morning cardio in, as I like to do it outside. (Funny I didn’t run into anybody else on the trail today…lightweights! Fair-weather trainers!) I can feel an epsom-salt bath soak in my future for later today.

    Sunday Day 14: Calves still sore as fuck! Epsom salt bath last night didn’t seem to do any good at all. Oh well, nothing an intense leg workout, two cardio sessions, some foam rolling and some stretching won’t fix.

    In the past when I have felt this sore, I would not hesitate to take a couple of Aleve to ease the suffering. I have not done that yet during this fitness phase. I have really been trying to do things much more naturally these days. (more stretching, foam rolling, cruciferous veg. to clear inflammation, etc. ) I really don’t want to take any medication unless it’s absolutely necessary. I have taken anti-depressants on and off for 20+ years. It seems that when I have stopped taking them in the past, I fall back into a funk. Low activity, loss of interest in things I normally enjoy, isolation, bad diet, etc. I am hopeful that if I can continue having regular exercise and a healthy diet as a consistent part of my life, that I can come off the anti-depressants once and for all. Time will tell. I am currently weening off of them under a doctor’s supervision. A strong support network is very helpful to me. When left to my own devices, my default seems to be just sitting around waiting for life to begin. But when I am engaged with other people, striving and living at my edge, I am hopeful about the future and excited to be alive.

    Overall I think it was a solid week. I began the week at 166.8 lbs and 15.2% body fat on the handheld. By week’s end, I am at 164 lbs. and 14.8% body fat. If I can continue at a pace of .5% body fat loss per week, I think that is solid progress by most standards.
    Hopefully, I am at least maintaining my muscle content, and maybe even increasing. I am liking what I am seeing in the photos. Other than a bit of soreness, I feel fantastic! My energy level is way up, my focus has improved and my overall productivity has increased significantly.

    So I think that’s it for now. Much, much more to come.

  20. #20
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    Week 3

    So it’s been a week of ups and downs.

    Monday: Had a cool thing happen today. I put on a pair of jeans that I hadn’t worn in a couple of weeks. Upon fastening my belt, I went right past the hole where I normally cinch the belt to. I have never cinched this particular belt that far before. The jeans feel snug through the legs, but a bit loose around the waist. Pretty cool. Feeling very strong in the gym. I am noticing people noticing me. I’ve never been one to make a lot of loud grunting and growling noises during workouts. But with the intensity I am bringing to the workouts now, people notice how hard I am pushing it. Working to absolute failure, making every single rep count is not something that I really did before. Definitely out of my comfort zone here, but it’s feeling more and more natural.

    Tuesday: After sleeping just 6 hours, I was wide awake at 3:30 AM. I decided rather than to try and go back to sleep, to instead get a jump on the day. Did my morning cardio in pitch darkness- quite peaceful. It’s a good feeling knowing that most everybody else is still sleeping while I am up and “gettin’ after it”. After crushing my back and biceps, I had another consult with my nutrition person. We discussed a gradual “ramp-up” schedule of increased caloric intake. We are thinking that around 3,000 calories may be my “sweet spot” for gainer mode. She feels that it will be better for my metabolism if I ease into it instead of making the jump all at once. Given that I feel like I am starving most of the time, I was all for it. (I was so hungry at one point, I actually licked my plate after I had finished my meal.)

    Wednesday: A cold and rainy day here. After a great night’s sleep, I was up at 5:00 AM. I donned my rain gear to go knock out my first cardio session. I have a ton of projects that I am doing around my house. Being that today was a a rest day (from the gym), and it was rainy outside, I decided to paint my bathroom. My energy level has been off the charts. I have been able to attack tasks around here with great “Fierceness”. Because I will be renting my house out on Airbnb when I leave for Rockstar, I am trying to get everything just right. I have to make every day, every hour, every minute as productive as possible. So fitness and fixing up my house has definitely felt like working two full time jobs.

    Thursday: Awake again at 3:00 AM, but was able to go back to sleep until 6:00 (relief). Today was the first day that I felt a little off in my energy level since the start of the transformation. My body is definitely battling some type of infection. Taking no chances, I went to the doctor to find out what was going on. They put me on some antibiotics and told me to get some rest. I’m glad today was another no-gym day. Got in a nap, ran a few errands and later got some work done around the house. In bed at 9 PM.

    Friday: Awake again at 3:00 AM. Tried for an hour to go back to sleep. Decided to pull up a sleep hypnosis video on Youtube. managed to sleep from 4-7 AM. Feeling exhausted. Today is for sure a day when in the past I would give myself a day off from everything. Maybe binge-watch a few movies, eat some feel-good food, etc. But of course we’re not doing that now. After weigh-in, walking to the kitchen- everything hurts. My body is fighting the infection. I’m sure the antibiotics are making me feel off also. I decided to postpone my AM cardio session until after breakfast, to see if I could get a little energy going. Took my green tea extract and an extra dose of yohimbe and off I went. My legs felt like lead when I first started my jog. Not sure how I will find the strength to do my workout today, but I will somehow.

    Saturday: Got a good 8 hours sleep in last night. Still feel a bit sluggish, but much better than yesterday. Thank god, as today is leg day. My body isn’t quite sure what to do these last couple of days from taking the antibiotic. Also, when adjusting levels of macronutrient intake, it can take a while for the body to adjust. My body fat % jumped from 14.7 down to 13.8 in 1 day, then back up to 14.4 the next, then back down to 13.7 the day after that. It’s possible that it could just be variance within the handheld device. Either way, body fat is still moving down which is encouraging. Had to really dig deep today to do a respectable leg workout. Still made every rep count. I had to give myself a “Piercing” at the end of that one.



    Sunday: Got another solid 8 hours sleep last night. Still feeling a bit sluggish. But got a boost of encouragement upon testing my body fat. I started the week at 15.1 %, and finished at 13.7%. It’s good to know that all of this stuff is working. It made my morning cardio a lot easier to do today.

    I had this thought today, “If I can find a way to do the hard stuff when I absolutely have to, then why can’t I seem to do it when I don’t have to; when I just don't fucking feel like it?”
    Life feels like such a slippery slope for me sometimes. I can be on track with diet, fitness, projects I’m working on, creative musical things, etc. Then something seems to knock me off track for a few days, or a week or two. When I come back around, I can’t seem to just pick up where I left off. I can’t even seem to remember what I was working on before, or why it was important to me. It seems like if I’m not living at my absolute edge all the time, if I’m not constantly pushing, then I am much more likely to slip into complacency.

    There must be a balance for me somewhere. Life can’t just be about constantly pushing 100% of the time. Maybe I just need to plan better. For example, I am pushing as hard as I can right now, and will continue until the end of Rockstar. Maybe once I get to Taipei in October, I can take my foot off the gas for awhile. Catch my breath. Let the dust settle. Enjoy the new me for awhile. It seems like I read recently in the book The Way of The Superior Man: something like it’s important to take a break from everything for awhile. Contemplate which direction you want to take. I have certainly done lots of that in this last 1.5 years. Song lyric just popped into my head, “It just takes some time, you’re in the middle of the ride, everything will be just fine, everything everything will be alright, alright.”

    I am going to visit my Brother in Atlanta, GA and my Mom in Greenville, SC this Thursday - Monday. It will be the first time I have travelled during this program. I am doing lot’s of planning and prep to control my environment for proper eating and training. I have spoken to them about what I am working on, and that I will not be able to eat what they are eating. I explained to them that they don’t need to change anything for me. I don’t expect them to eat what I am eating. They don’t have to cook for me. Initially, I thought I would just ask my Brother to have some things in the fridge for when I arrive. I could start cooking and doing meal prep and planning when I get there. Then, I watched how Gethin travels with his meals already prepared and frozen. Since I will only be gone for 4 days, I decided this might be a more viable option for me. Also, I don’t really want to be spending valuable family time on meal prep. So, I have doubled my efforts in the meal prep and planning department. I already have everything pre-measured in zip-lock bags in my freezer. I have a cooler to take with me as carry-on for the plane. This way, I can just focus on being there with my family, instead of working on meal prep, or worried about how I am going to eat properly.

    I also have checked the workout schedule in advance. (Not sure yet what the hamstring & hip exercises are yet). I already called to find a gym (LA Fitness) I can use in Atlanta. But, I purchased a traveling resistance-band workout kit to take with me. (just in case the gym is closed, or some other unforeseen calamity- I could work out in the Airport if I had to. ) I also have a gym I can go to in Greenville where my Mom lives. I feel confident that that I have everything I need in place to not let this trip present any obstacles to my continued progress.

  21. #21
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    Week 4:

    This has been an interesting and challenging week for me in many ways.

    Monday Day 22: I finished off the previous week feeling very positive. My body fat finished the day before a 13.7%. (on day one, I was over 16%) I seemed to be losing around 1% body fat per week. Solid results by most standards I would think. On some days, my body fat would read a little higher than the day before. (on the handheld monitor) However the following day, the reading would be even lower than 2 days before. So overall, body fat was still coming down. I was feeling very good about everything: How the strength workouts had been going, my macronutrient mix, my caloric intake, my energy level, my improved mental clarity, I am weening off of an anti-depressant that I have taken on and off for years. The list goes on.

    Confidence about having the right plan in place with regard to nutrition was high. However, this began to waver during the first few days of the week 4. On Monday, my body fat % jumped up to 14.3 %. (ok, not a big deal. I have been going more on weekly results, not focussed on 1-day changes. I was pretty confident that it would be lower the next day. But on Tuesday, it was still at 14.3%. Wednesday, also 14.3%. On Thursday, body fat even went up to 14.8%. On Friday, it increased again to 15%. Fuuuuuck!. How can my body fat be increasing? My weight has been going down. This could only mean that I am losing muscle instead of fat. So now, I start thinking, “All this work I am doing is only making my body whither away.” I have to either cut back on the intensity of the workouts, or increase my calories, or adjust my macronutrient mix. Or maybe I’m not doing something properly. Maybe I need to add some more carbs or more protein to my recovery drink, etc.

    This is also the week that I am traveling. The plan was to fly into Atlanta and spend a couple of days with my Brother. He and I would then drive up to Greenville, South Carolina to see our Mom for Mother’s Day. The visit was off to a good start. He picked me up at the train station. He and I were getting along fine and enjoying our time together. I had shared bits and pieces with him about this program I was involved in. I haven’t shared with him all the aspects of it. Mostly that I was in the middle of a 12 week physical transformation that involved a very intense workout schedule and a very strict nutrition plan. I was trying to open up to him a bit more about some of what I was doing. He began asking lot’s more questions about some of the travel aspects and my career goals and so forth. I explained to him that I didn’t yet have all the answers to his questions. He began to get critical and judgmental. He then became extremely upset. Shouting at me, in fact. He went into a fit of rage and unleashed a barrage of verbal fury and abuse at me that left me shocked and confused. This attack occurred mostly in his car as we were driving to his house. (The original plan was for me to stay with him for 2 days before we went to see Mom.) As he was screaming at me in his driveway, I sat there in his car stunned. I just could not fathom why my Brother would be treating my so badly.

    I of course told him that I would not be staying with him. I didn’t say another word to him. I just called an Uber cab and went to a hotel. During the ride, I did my best to clear my head of the “why” of what had just occurred. It didn’t matter. I had to do what was necessary to take care of myself. My task was now to adapt my plan to fit my needs. I was done with my Brother- maybe for good this time.

    Fortunately, I had done a thorough job in preparing for this trip. I had prepped all my meals for 5 days. Everything was pre-cooked and bagged and in a cooler that I had with me. All I needed to do was to get checked into the hotel, eat a meal and start thinking about my cardio and workout for that day. I would worry later about getting a rental car and explaining to my Mother why I would be seeing her a day earlier than expected.

    Fortunately, I had adjusted the days around a bit so that Thursday, (the day I was flying) would be yoga day. This I could do in my hotel room. I decided to go for a run as my 1st cardio/warmup before the yoga session. I found myself running with some extra energy this day. (partly to not get run over by cars, as traffic is brutal in Atlanta) partly because I am now much closer to sea level as compared to my normal mile-high, but mostly because of my anger of how my brother treated me earlier. After a 5 minute cool-down, I geared up for the yoga. I brought with me in my suitcase my yoga matt & block which both came in handy. (I would not want to do this on the carpet of a hotel room floor) Holy shit! One hour into the session, as I am panting and sweating my balls off, I see that there is still an hour left to go! Fuck! You gotta be shittin’ me! A two hour yoga session? When I haven’t done yoga in over 2 years? I thought I had an easy workout day, but I was wrong. It pretty much kicked my ass. But, it was just what I needed to clear my body and mind of all the negative energy from earlier in the day. After another light cardio, I set about securing a rental car for tomorrow so I could drive up to see my Mother- alone.

    Of course when I awoke the following day, my body fat had increased to 15%. I was now feeling like my body was definitely losing more muscle than anything. My arms and legs are smaller. Even my ass looks like it is shrinking. “Something’s gotta give”, I’m thinking. Oh well, too much to do to worry about that now. I get my morning cardio in, and have some breakfast. I was staying at a Hampden Inn. I made sure that they had a microwave and refrigerator in the room before I checked in. I also made sure that they had a fitness center. (which was of the most basic variety, but no matter)

    After breakfast, I grabbed an Uber and went to pick up my rental car. Prior to the trip, I had called LA Fitness near my Brother’s house to secure a place to workout. I went there to do my workout which, due to the adjusted schedule, was the weighted ab workout. After crushing my abs, I booked it back to the hotel with just enough time to shower, pack and get checked out almost on time. There wasn’t enough time to do my second cardio directly after my workout, so this would have to wait until later.

    I got on the road headed from Atlanta to Greenville, SC around 12:20 PM. I had heated up a couple of meals that I could eat in the car during the trip. After I downed the first meal, I called my Mother to ask if it would be alright to come a day earlier. I was hoping I could just tell her that my Brother had to work that day (which was true), and that that was the reason I decided to rent a car and drive up early on my own. However, she asked me if I stayed with my Brother the previous night. Of course, I could not lie to my Mother, so I said, “No, I did not stay with him.” I told her we had a fight, but that it was something he and I would work out between us. I didn’t want quality time she and I could be spending together to be ruined just because my Brother decided it was ok to treat me horribly. When and I agreed that we would just focus on enjoying each other’s company, and that’s what we have done.

    Despite the altercation with my brother a couple of days ago, (or perhaps as a result of it), this has been by far the best visit I have had with my Mother in as long as I can remember. The first night I arrived, we stayed up late talking for hours. I opened up to her about this program I am participating in. (not sharing all of the aspects with her, but focussing on mostly the physical transformation part, the travel plans and the support network and overall brotherhood of the program). She, unlike my Brother, was more fascinated and curious. But rather than critical and judgmental, my Mother was being very supportive and clearly happy to see her son excited, on a great path and doing well. It has been a long time since I have been able to be so open like this with my Mother. It felt very nice for both of us. I could have stayed up all night just talking with her for hours, but she decided it would be best if we both got some sleep.

    Saturday was legs day for me. My Mother had secured a guest pass for me for the gym she goes to, courtesy of her personal trainer. (whom I had the pleasure of going on a date with nearly a year and a half ago, when I set about this fantastic journey of self discovery and adventure.)

    Of course, this was an ass-kicker of a workout. Blood, sweat and tears-intense. Everybody in that small town gym, including myself, was watching to see if I was actually going to pass out. Fortunately, I did not. I made it through, despite the nagging thought in the back of my mind that I was actually losing muscle instead of building it.

    I was not expecting to see her- Sandy, my Mom’s trainer. (Who, by the way is also named Sandy) She was, according to my Mother, not going to be at the gym that day. She was busy doing other things. Just as I am finishing up my post-workout cardio on the stationary bike, in she walks - with a huge smile on her face. The energy of this woman is fantastic! She sets the room on fire when she walks in. I was so excited to see her, that my right foot got stuck in the stirrup while I was dismounting the bike. All eyes were on us as we locked into a huge embrace with each other. You see, when we first met, it was a very interesting time for both of us. She was starting off on a journey of her own. She had just left a toxic relationship, a husband that had been sucking her soul for a very long time. She had two sons that now lived with her, and she was on her own. I was actually the first guy she had been on a date with in 20-plus years. I was of course very respectful of her vulnerable state during our date in December of 2015.

    Interesting side-note: While I was in the middle of my post workout cardio on the stationary bike, a young man came up to me and got my attention. I took out my earbuds, and he introduced himself to me. He was Nick, Sandy’s Son. He explained to me that his Mother Sandy had told him all about me, and that I had helped her through a difficult time. Going on her first date in over twenty years was a huge and liberating step for her. He thanked me for being respectful to his Mother. It was a very cool gesture. I am actually tearing up as I write this. I am humbled and grateful-to know that I am on a path that allows me to put that kind of energy out into the world. All the years of suffering I endured have forged me into a man that I not too long ago was sure that I could never become.

    Well, apparently Sandy had told her son Nick to be on the lookout for me. He was supposed to call her if he saw me. That would give her the opportunity to come and surprise me. All this plotting and scheming- how fun!

    Sandy and I agreed to go for a coffee after I finished my post-workout foam-roll and stretching. (I also brought my foam roller- I need a bigger suitcase). She and I sat outside on a sofa. She told me how my story had inspired her. She has since sold many of her possessions and freed herself up to do more travel. She traveled to France, and has since been able to put herself into the dating world-although, she says, she is extremely picky when it comes to men - (lucky me). As much as I wanted to bang her like crazy, I was there to see my Mother- who was home waiting for me to finish my workout so we could continue with our visit. Sandy and I agreed that she must come to visit me in Denver in early July, before I leave for Vegas. I am quite sure she and I will thoroughly enjoy ravaging each other!

    It seems that the more I embrace this new me, the more people I have telling me that my story inspires them. What a feeling! Knowing that just by being true to myself, I am helping people. I could do this job in my sleep!

    Saturday night I get the WhatsApp message from Ian. It reads, “Hey guys please make sure every day when you are using the Omron body fat monitor that you are inputing your most recent weight. It won't be accurate at all if you're not doing that.”

    As it turns out, I forgot this step in the process- every single day since day one! Holy shit! That’s it! That’s why I have felt like I was starving! That’s why my body fat appeared to be going up! That’s why the numbers just didn’t seem to make sense! My weight had come down by nearly 12 pounds, but I hadn’t adjusted it when I took my body fat measurements! I listened to my body which was screaming for nutrients. Ian and I have had an ongoing discussion about upping my calories as my body fat % came down to around 13% It now would appear that my body fat% was lower than I thought, and not increasing at all - but still coming down! This explains so much. I was anxious to measure my body fat the next , during my regular time which is first thing in the morning after I pee and before I eat or drink anything. Here it is, the moment of truth- 10.9 % body fat.

    Mom will be home soon from church, so I will wrap this up. I will be driving to Atlanta tonight to stay in another hotel. Because I fly out early Monday morning, I do not want to be in rush hour traffic trying to get to the airport with enough time to return a rental car and catch my flight. It’s nearly 3 hours from my Mom’s place in Greenville to the airport in Atlanta.


    Fortunately, I only have 2 cardios and an X-Stretch workout to do today. I think I will go knock out that first cardio now.

    An interesting thing happened to me the other day. So I’m buying some groceries at Costco. As I’m checking out, the guy at the counter says, “Wow, that sure is a lot of broccoli!” “Yes it is”, I said (I had about 12 pounds of it.) “What are you doin’? Building an army?”, he asked. “No, I’m building a better version of me.”, I replied. “Right on, it looks like it’s workin’ “, he said.

  22. #22
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    Week 5:

    So Iím sitting on the plane heading back to Denver after a most challenging 5 days on the road. Despite many unforeseen obstacles, I have stuck to my plan. The girl next to me is eating a bag of corn chips. (I can tell that it is one of her ďgo-toĒ snacks. I catch myself having that judgement. The judgement of, ďWhy would somebody with such an obvious weight problem continue to put that stuff in their body?Ē Iím sitting here in judgement of her. Why? Because of what I know? Because of where I currently am in my journey of personal development, especially with regard to my transformation? I say to myself, ďCheck yourself man. Who are you to judge? Why do you feel the need to? It hasnít been that long since you were stuffing your face with pizza, potato chips and cheese burgers and drinking Coke by the 2 liter. Not to mention your struggles with other substances.Ē

    Maybe Iím judging because I caught a whiff of those chips and it smelled really good to me. It actually made me hungry enough to grab another container of steak and brussell sprouts that I had in my backpack. (fortunately- for if not, I would have had to eat whatever they were handing out from the snack cart. (probably the same exact corn chips)

    I have come to recognize food as maybe the toughest addiction to deal with out of all of them. Think about it: Booze: You do have to drink (water at least), but you donít have to drink alcohol. You can just not have anymore of it and youíre sober. (unless you decide to get fucked up- get back on the merry-go-round and ingest some more) You pretty much have control over whether any of that stuff gets in your system. Cigarettes: you do have to breathe, but you donít have to smoke. Although I do still ingest some by accident from time to time, albeit just a few molecules. But enough to smell it and remember just how much I used to love it. (I was a 2 pack-a day smoker for awhile over 12 years ago) I still crave a cigarette from time to time if I catch a whiff- if Iím having a bad day.

    Itís not physically necessary to gamble or really to have sex either. (But I bet you $50 if the flight attendant was down, I would join the mile high club in a heartbeat)

    The point (and I do have one) is this: You do have to eat. And it is recommended to do it frequently every day. Triggers everywhere. Food is a drug. (it can be used to change the way you feel) It is highly addictive. And it is everywhere.

    Food is the last frontier for me with regard to my feeling truly free. I got rid of the booze, dope and cigarettes a long time ago. I never really was a gambler. (I only bet on myself). Caffeine: I do still enjoy coffee (way too much to have it on a regular basis) It is still a ďJonesĒ for me, so I mostly stay away from it. Itís crazy that as I write this, the beverage cart is literally right next to me, and there is coffee on it. I am thinking of having a cup. Fuck it! I am still on this trip for another hour or so- why not? I could just order hot water (I have decaf green tea bags in my backpack) Whatís it going to be? The pressure! I see the starbucks logo on the coffee cups. ďDo you have decafĒ?, I ask. ďWe doĒ, she replies. Well there you have it. I just gave into temptation. I would love a regular coffee though. Am I flirting with disaster? Or am I learning moderation? I canít tell these days. ďDo you want cream and sugar?Ē, she asks. ďNo, I like it blackĒ, I say with an imperceptible smile just below the surface. (she is a fine sister with big red lips that I would love to see wrapped around my now throbbing cock!) Did I just get a boner over the thought of having coffee? Or is it all this reminiscing about the crazy, hedonistic life of decadence and debauchery I used to live?
    Would I trade it? Being able to do do whatever I wanted, anytime I wanted, as much as I wanted? Would I trade the life I have now for that? Not in a second. I could never go back to the guy I used to be. I feel more free now than I ever did then. There is a big difference between self-control and self denial. I think itís all about motives these days.

    I am learning a new relationship with food now. I think of it more as fuel, than as pleasure. I think of it as a vehicle. A vehicle I use to get my body from point A (its present weight and composition) to point B (My ideal weight, body composition, shape, measurements and overall look)

    I love the way women look at me these days. I am fucking ripped! My veins are popping out of my neck and arms. Women look me in the eye much more as we are walking past each other in airports and such. I know what their eyes are saying to me. Or if they donít look me in the eye, I see them checking me out. They look me down and up, and sometimes back down. Sometimes I see them just looking at my crotch. None of it bothers me. Some of it is because of my new body. But just as much of it is my inner game. I have a mindset of confidence and masculinity that I never knew I could have until quite recently. God-damn! Itís good to be me! Iím only 4 weeks in. I canít wait to see how I will feel in another 4, 8 or 12. Holy fuck!

    With regard to this past weekís progress:

    I met with my local nutrition consultant on Tuesday. Based on his calculations, I was at 11% body fat on Tuesday. We talked about my caloric intake. I told him that I felt like I was starving, and that It didnít seem like I was making any muscle gains. Per his recommendation, I increased my caloric intake from about 2400 calories, to about 2900 calories.

    Body Fat %: At the beginning of the week I was at 11.3 % body fat (on the hand-held device). I finished the week at 10.8%.

    Weight: I started the week at 161.6 lbs, and finished the week at 160.2 lbs.

    Caloric intake: I am presently allowing myself 3020 calories. However, I do feel that if I am to make significant muscle gains moving forward, this will have to increase. This may also involve adjusting my macro-nutrient mix.

    Macro-nutrient mix: I am currently at 40% Protein, 35% Fat, 25% carbs. Itís possible that I need to adjust this to put on more muscle. I like this mix as a long-term solution for me. I feel like I get better satiety with the fat at 35%. I also donít have to eat as often. However, it would be nice to be able to down more brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes. I presently only eat these post workout. Iím not sure if I want to carb-up to bulk-up right now. This would probably mean that I would need to cut carbs in the last 3-4 weeks. Will figure this out this week I am guessing.

    Workouts: Monday was really the first time that I went to the gym the same day I took a flight. It felt a bit strange, but no big deal. Most of the workouts felt pretty routine this week. However, today my hamstrings are quite sore from yesterdayís leg workout. I have a feeling that they will be even more sore tomorrow. I really pushed it yesterday.

    Side-Note: This past week I made the decision to sell my house and nearly all of my possessions. By late July, everything I own will be in two suitcases and a backpack. I have come to realize that having all of these things was preventing me from chasing after the life of my dreams. This house and everything in it no longer fits in the equation. It occupies too much space in my head. The only reason I had this big house in the first place was because of all the stuff I owned. So if I get rid of my stuff, I no longer need a house. Most of possessions, I only had because I owned a house in the first place. So I am taking a huge leap outside my comfort zone. I am stepping into the great unknown, and I will not give into fear. I donít know yet where I will go or what I will do post Rockstar. I only know that I wonít be returning here- to a house full of meaningless stuff. Who was it that said, ďIf you want to take the island, burn the boats.Ē ? Burn baby, burn.

  23. #23
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    Week 5

    Week 5

    I am now a month into the program and am excited at what I have been able to accomplish. On day 1 of the program, I took a caliper fat test and came in at 10.3% body fat. Using that as my benchmark, I have been pleased that although I have been steadily gaining weight(192 to 206lbs) I have not increased in fat. On day 30, I took my digital scan of my body fat and came out to about 10.6%. Hell ya. 4 Ĺ weeks in and I had gained little to no fat. I still needed to take the caliper test to get a more accurate reading, but I was supremely confident that I had sick results to show for my work. My smile disappeared when I got the results back from the test. The test put me at 13.3% body fat. Instead of a 1-2lb increase in fat I had gained 7lbs of fat. I was confused, I could understand a 1%, maybe even a 2% difference, but I couldnít wrap my head around such variation. It was then that I discovered I had been making a critical error: I had been holding the body fat scanner incorrectly since day 1: at my sides instead of straight out. All of my digital measurements the past 5 weeks were practically useless. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

    In that moment I felt I had wasted the last month and that I was basically starting from the beginning. I learned a couple years back about an exercise called the negative thought journal: writing down the negative thoughts coming to mind and replacing them by asking empowering questions. After engaging in the exerices, I was able to realize that in the last 5 weeks I had worked harder on my body and diet then I ever had in my life. I weighed the most I ever had in my life, and fat or not that was an accomplishment for me. I felt and looked better than I ever had. AND I still had 7 more weeks to kill the game. For such a long time I thought the key to success was to be perfect, if you could avoid mistakes you could achieve success. A lot of times I would end up avoiding doing anything altogether to save myself from making imagined mistakes. But you canít avoid mistakes. The only thing you can do when you fall is to get back up, dust yourself off, figure out why you messed up, and then keep on climbing.

    When I first started the program I read through my fitness transformation manual but I didnít read the directions on the body fat scanner(which I had never used before). I just assumed I could figure out how to use it by looking at it. This is not an isolated event. I frequently skip directions and/or just assume that I understand a situation, diving in headfirst only to find out later that the sky is not actually white but blue, and clouds had been covering it the whole time. The reason itís detrimental is because I have to backtrack, redoing what I had already done because I was unclear on the directions. If I want to see success in not just fitness, but in my life(girls, business, my relationships), then I need to learn how to make a mistake only once and then putting it to bed.

    In addition to discovering this error, this week was a challenge because I have been on a business trip since Monday without access to a kitchen to prep or store meals. This is the first time that everywhere I went I had to review the menu with nutrition facts before hand so that I could hit my macros for the day. I am proud of myself for staying focused on my goals and resisting the temptation to go and gorge myself while I have a company per diem. Luckily, the training facility I was at included healthy options so I was able to follow the diet almost to the tee. In addition, I used some of my down time to look up recipes like I said I was going to. Say hello to tuna salad! I know what youíre thinking, and no mayonnaise is not allowed on the diet. But avocado is. I ended up making tuna avocado salad and itís booooommb. I also got some advice on how to make chicken that canít be used as spare car tires so I am looking forward to seeing how that turns out.

    This week I learned the true meaning of the phrase ďWhen you get to the gym, leave your ego at the door.Ē Itís chest day. Hell ya. Here we go. Today I am going to crush my pecs. I started really light on dumbbell press at 30lbs each side, focusing on my mind muscle connection(MMC). There it was; I could feel the exertion in my chest even at that weight. So I cranked it up to 45s on my to what I assumed would be around 65lbs each side. 45s equated to a whole lot of nope, as my shoulders immediately took over the motion. What. The. Hell. This was bullshit why were my shoulders being such assholes and thwarting my efforts? I kicked it back down to 40s, but same result. I was defiant. It had been three weeks of unsatisfactory chest workouts and I was going to figure this out before I left. In frustration, I picked up 30s and slowly started pushing them up. And then it clicked. I couldnít lift 45lbs, let alone 65lbs, because my chest wasnít strong enough to lift it without getting some help from the homie shoulders. Pause for effect. For years I assumed that the weight I could lift on an exercise determined how strong that muscle was. 180lbs on wide grip lat pull downs? Sick back. 35lbs on bicep curls? Youíre getting tickets to the guns show. It wasnít til I started thinking about the mind muscle connection that I could step back for a second and focus on what my body was telling me: I can lift the weight but it wonít be doing the most for my target muscle. The balance I need to achieve will be to focus on my form and the contraction of my target muscle while also maximizing the weight that I am lifting. As much as I felt like a fool for only lifting 35s on chest press I just remembered that this was a proven process that would accomplish the goals I had set.

    Last week I said I was going to do three things, focus on mind muscle connection, get some new recipes, and track my weights. I achieved all three things, so this week I will add two new goals in addition to my focus on the mind muscle connection. I want to test myself and push up 5% in every exercise. Itís really exciting that I can actually take it up so incrementally. In the past I would try to increase by 15-20%, and it would be too much. Now I can focus on small improvements that are definitely up my alley. I also want to watch a recommended documentary on food and diet by the end of next week.

    PS For anyone interested in the negative thought journal, the intro to inner game interview series feat. Braddock and Mr. M goes into detail about this practice during the second half of the interview. I would highly recommend it for anyone that wants to improve their self talk.

  24. #24
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    Week 5

    21/5/2017

    Week 5 over and out. This week has been full of ups and downs.

    Lets quickly get the "downs" out of the way first before I start writing about all the positives.

    Mid week I started getting a sore throat. I've got a kinda friends with benefits that I haven't seen in quiet a while - so I paid her a quick visit this week. Not sure if I actually caught a cold / flu from her, but I'm blaming her since I don't have anyone else to blame.

    Started as a sore throat so I started to dose myself up with vitamin C, double the usual zinc and finally garlic tablets. I had a huge day at work thursday finishing @ 11pm - my brain was fried and I even forgot to take my phone home. After returning to grab my phone, I finally hit the gym @ midnight - no little sore throat was going to stop me !!

    Gym session finished around 2:30 am - totally wrecked. No way was I going to work @ 8:30am next day. I eventually rolled into work around noon - now my body was starting to feel the effects of my cold / flu. I called it a day @ 4pm and went straight home. I had absolutely no energy to hit the gym - I could hardly walk. I reluctantly decided I needed some time to recover. For the first time in 5 weeks, illness had stopped me from working out. This repeated itself sat and sunday - I was super disappointed at myself, but I knew a decent rest and load of vitamins would make it clear off in a day or 2. Sunday the symptoms started to get a little less which was a great sign. Interestingly my sick days I actually started feeling a little hungry.

    Last sunday I was 224.9 lbs and 27.0% body fat. A week later I'm 221.6 lbs and 26.5% body fat. A drop of 3.3lbs and 0.5% body fat. On a day to day basis the results can be a little unpredictable, when I'm expecting a big drop often its just the same as the day before or even a slight increase - and vise versa, when I'm not expecting a big drop I actually record one. I think a large variable is hydration and how much water I've drank and when. I always measure myself first thing in the morning after going for a pee. This would be my lowest weight for the day and the most consistent time to measure daily. I've told myself not to over analyse any single day's results but look at the bigger picture and trend over time. I love the direction my weight and body fat are going. It's just a matter of continuing doing what I'm doing.

    Well 5 weeks seems to be about the right amount of time to finally break the willpower of my friends and work colleagues. I've noticed a large reduction in the offers of sugar filled foods - it has finally sunk in that I'm just not going to cave in and eat that krispy kreme donut or drink a beer with them.

    Other people outside my close circle of friends have been commenting how good I look and asking how I'm achieving the results. Once I explain my dedication to fitness and nutrition it usually scares off the people that just want fast and easy results. Feels great that people are commenting to my face, and I'm sure its sparking the odd conversation behind my back too.

    I've introduced sweet potato to mix it up, instead of always having brown rice - its a nice change. I've tried to go as long as I can with a simple recipe of chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice. Small change with the sweet potato. Soon I'll mix in some other protein and veg's from the list of permitted foods.

    I'm on a bit of a count down till I see my 18 month old son - 2 weeks and counting. He lives with his mum in the USA and I get to see him only a couple times a year which sucks. His birthday actually falls on the vegas part of this program which I'll miss, however I'm planning on visiting him again just before the program. I'm organising gym access that has onsite childcare during my visit to Portland.

    1 more week and we will be at the halfway point of the fitness transformation. For a while I was thinking, I wish I started 1 month earlier, or 3 months earlier or what would I look like if I started 12 months ago. However I'm changing my tune a little, now I'm just so glad that on my journey. It doesn't really have an "end" date, and its a journey I want to be on for the rest of my life. The important part is I'm on the path, and the path is going in a great direction.

    Fingers crossed I'm over the worst of the illness and I get my strength and energy back asap. Early in the week energy was feeling really good.

    John P.

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    Week 5, Days 29-35

    Another great week in the bag. I was looking forward to this week; I had started to see the scales tipping to the heavier side, and I was excited for my DEXA scan on day 33.

    The results of the scan were confusing. I’m 6’1’’, and my initial scan had me at 15.35% bodyfat @ 84.5kg. My initial photos certainly didn’t look like 15% (had 8 pack and muscle striations in proper lighting), though it seemed reasonable for me because I tend to hold a bit of fat in my legs and lower back/hips and know from past experience these areas get lean at around 10%. My scan at day 33 had me at 15.2% bodyfat @ 90.628kg; which is a 6.085 kg gain. According to the scan, that’s 5.345kg of lean muscle gain, and 0.794 kg of fat gain. That is ridiculous. I was expecting 0.2 – 0.4kg lean gain, with ~4-6kg fat. 5.345 kg of lean muscle is monstrous, and I don’t believe it for a second. I would struggle to believe that result, as a natural bodybuilder, if it were a time period of 5 YEARS, let alone 5 weeks. Let me also note that no, I haven’t enhanced; my job since I left high school has regularly tested for substances. I don’t even take certain pre workouts because of work. However, I’ve been asking around my network and showed my doctor friend. There are a few possibilities:

    1. I’m part animal, part super human, as an extreme outlier 10-15 standard deviations above the average natural male and I really did gain 5.345kg of muscle (haha, no)

    2. My initial scan was coming off months/years of low carb, so potentially a low level of cellular hydration in the muscles, so going in for the second scan after 5 weeks of 8-10x the carbs, resulted in heavier muscles all over?

    3. Maybe months/years of low calories & low testosterone due to diet, when I doubled calories I had a large increase in test that fostered growth for a short period of time?
    4. The juicy steak I had the night before was still in my stomach completely undigested and contributed to lean mass (haha, sarcasm)

    5. The DEXA facility I used is completely shit and I should get my money back (probably not, my scales and another set I’ve used indicate pretty much the same results)

    Pure bro science right now but I suspect point 2, with maybe a small degree of point 3. Given the little confidence I have in this result, I’ve turned to looking at photos instead. In general, I look a lot softer than my starting weight, as expected. Overall, I look bigger, but I can see some the most noticeable gains in my back (looks wider, and back is an area I typically lag behind). My legs are bigger, which I had expected because in the past I’d trained legs with low effort (usually last session of the week when exhausted). My arms are slightly bigger, boulders are more developed, my chest, which has for a long while been ahead, is looking a little bigger too. Going forward, my next scan will be about 4-5 weeks from now, and that will be a better comparison with this one because the conditions leading up to it will be the same. Then, post that, I’ll likely start cutting and get a final scan before Rockstar starts; that final scan would be a better comparison with the initial. All in all, yes, I’m up 6.085kg with an alleged 0.15% decrease in bodyfat; no, it’s not all muscle, but yes, there’s likely to be some gains in there (to what degree I can’t be sure) – lets continue getting massive.

    In terms of how I look, some people are saying I look better now at the heavier weight (that I used to look too thin), though I’ve always felt much better when down around 82-83kg (~10-12%) bodyfat. I think I look much better at that weight; face seems a lot leaner with better defined bone structure/jaw line, and then there’s obviously the physique that comes with it. Alas, I’ve got good feedback in both conditions now. Plus, something I learned a while back is that unless they’re into bodybuilding, most people cant really tell the difference between 10% bodyfat and 15%: they just think ‘that guy is fit’. The final point on this is that I frankly could no longer care what other people think of me or my physique (see fears in week 1): I’ve got a goal and I’m confident in my resolve/ability to smash it.

    Training wise, this week was good, had a number of good sessions, continuing to work on extreme focus and pushing myself forward. A few years ago I was taught how to get the most out of lifting weights by focussing on slowing down movements, ensuring perfect form, removing parts of the lift that allow the muscle to rest (such as not locking out at the top of a bench, go to just before, and immediately start the next rep, so your chest is constantly engaged to maximise time under tension) – doing so allows lifting of 20-30% lighter weight for more benefit, and reduces the changes of injury dramatically because you’re focussing on correct form, you’re not lifting weights that are too heavy for you, and the slow controlled movement minimises chances of incident. Doing this correctly requires a lot of focus, so I noticed during my busy periods (especially week 3) that I was letting this slip a little because I had so many things on my mind. This week I worked on putting everything else out of my mind except being there at the gym, and I felt great for it.

    As my weight creeps up, the amount of protein I’ve been consuming is continuing to increase. I was creeping up over 1.5g protein/pound. There’s a lot of conflicting evidence out around optimal protein intake for protein synthesis/hypertrophy; the most frequent bodybuilding rules of thumb (that I’ve seen) are values such as 1.0-1.3g/pound, some others suggest 1.5g-2.0g, and clinical studies suggesting a lot lower (0.6-0.8g, but these are shaky conclusions at best with poor assumptions). After consulting the coaches, for two weeks I’m going to try a ratio closer to 1.2g/pound, with the extra calories going to carbs. I’ll test and adjust based on the result in terms of weight gain and strength gains, and any general digestion/energy/mood changes.

    Here’s to week 6.

  26. #26
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    Week 6:

    All in all, another fantastic week. Perhaps I will summarize it in three parts: Body, Mind and Spirit.

    Body:

    It seems strange that just two weeks ago, I was ingesting a mere 2,000 calories per day. As I write this, I have already eaten 2,800 calories, and I have two more meals to go. This will put me somewhere around 3,800-4,200 calories for the day. (depending on how hungry I feel later) I havenít been sticking to an exact number of calories per day lately. I have been experimenting. I have been listening to and testing my body to see where itís limits are. I want to find out exactly what itís capable of with regard to increased/excess caloric intake and muscle gain, with minimal fat gain. On heavy lift days (like leg days) I may need over 4,300 calories, depending on how hard I push it in the gym with weights and cardio. On rest days, (X-Stretch/light cardio), I may only eat 3,600 calories. I am keeping my macro-nutrient mix at 45% Protein, 35% Fat and 25% Carbs. This seems to be a good mix for me. I keep hearing, ďYour body will burn what you feed itĒ. So I feed it more fat than carbs, because I want my body to be an efficient fat-burning machine - and it is.

    It seems that I hit a plateau for about a week and a half. I had been increasing my caloric intake, because I reached a good body fat % for me (11%) At least, this felt like a low enough body fat percentage for me to begin making the shift from the focus of purely fat loss, to more of a focus on gaining muscle. (Hopefully without gaining much fat). My body felt like it was eating itself. I was still losing weight, but my body fat% was staying the same. This could only mean that I was losing muscle. I will have none of that! Iím not busting my ass in the gym for 2-3 hours every day to lose muscle and stay at the same body fat %. (and starve)

    So, I have increased by 200 calories per day, per day (roughly). I had to figure out how many calories I need to eat before I start putting on muscle. My weight kept dropping to 158.8 lbs on Wednesday. I bumped my calories up to 3,486 that day, determined to start gaining. Sure enough, come Thursday morning, I weighed 159.2. On Thursday, I consumed 3,490 calories. Friday morning, I weighed 160.4. I consumed 4,334 calories on Friday (intense leg day) Saturday morning, I weighed 161.6 lbs. I consumed 4,146 calories on Saturday. Sunday morning, I weighed 162 lbs. (My body fat % reads 11.4 % today) I did reach out to one of my nutrition consultants this past week. I told her that I was eating a lot, but still losing weight. She suggested that I pay closer attention to my ďNutrient timingĒ. I studied a couple of articles on the subject. I have now started concentrating more of my carb intake to much closer to my workout time. Ingesting around 25% of my daily carbs just before my workout, and 25% of my daily carb intake just after my workout. (as a combination of pre & post workout shakes). I have been using a low-glycemic index Superstarch called Ucan. (Provides long-lasting energy in the form of carbohydrate without an insulin spike) I have now made the adjustment to just using this as my pre-workout carb. I am now using Virago as my post-workout carb. (It seems that an insulin spike is beneficial close to workout time for rapid glycogen replenishment and recovery).

    I have increased the amount of protein I ingest in the form supplement powder shakes. I also bumped up my intake of BCAAís - more doses, more frequently. (4 x per day now)

    Interestingly, this weight and body fat % is the exact same as it was two weeks ago. But two weeks ago, I felt like I was shrinking (I was shrinking). Today, I can feel myself growing. I feel stronger. I feel nourished. My body feels great. Aside from my hamstrings being sore as fuck Sunday through Thursday, I have had no major issues physically. Thatís it for body.

    Mind:

    I have shared with you guys that I have been weaning myself off of antidepressants for a few weeks now. I have been studying the health benefits of a high-fat diet. Because the brain is about 60% fat, it seems that it is a good idea to eat a diet that is high in fat. (at least for me). I also read that fish oil (specifically an omega 3 oil called EPA) has an antidepressant effect if ingested in an amount between 1,000 and 2,000 mg. per day. I increased my daily EPA intake to fall within that range. It has been well-documented that exercise is the best anti-depressant on the planet. (If only Big Pharma could bottle it). I will be totally off the antidepressant in 2 weeks. So far, I can tell no difference whatsoever in my mood. I feel great. I feel sharp, clear and alert. No depression in sight. I look forward to a life free from any God-Awful antidepressant medication.


    Spirit:

    My morning ritual: Every day upon waking up, I listen to a few minutes of somebody with the ability to motivate and inspire me. (Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Jim Rohn, etc) I then get out of bed and stretch for a few minutes, just to get my blood flowing and my body activated. I then sit down and begin writing what I am most grateful for. I make sure to write at least three things. (But sometimes, I may write ten things or more if I get on a roll.)

    It seems that, at least for me, gratitude is a muscle. If I am constantly exercising it, it stays strong. When my gratitude muscle is strong, I am much less likely to feel depressed.

    I feel like I am finally learning the necessary skills and habits to operate on a much higher level on a much more consistent basis. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to be involved in such a special program, with such a special group of people.



    I shared last week that I am selling my house and nearly all of my possessions. I have begun the process of getting my house ready to list on the market. I donít know if it will have sold by the time I see you guys in Vegas or not. I have also started getting rid of quite a few things. It has been fun giving some things away to my friends. Itís amazing how much stuff I have that I just have no use for at all.

    I donít know where I will go after Rockstar, but I do know that it wonít be back here- to my old house, to my old life, to my old habits, to my old self. It sure will be interesting to see where I land, and what I will do.


    Thank you for reading.

  27. #27
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    Week 6

    So lets talk biz. Itís been 42 days. I feel good. Better than I have in a long time. I donít know if itís because my health has dramatically improved or if my new tuna recipe has literally saved my sanity(I think itís the latter), but I feel calmer and more centered than I did when I started. Seriously, if youíre getting sick of just chicken every day the best recipe is tuna avocado salad. 2 cans of tuna, 2 avocado, Persian cucumber, jalapeno, pickle and lemon all mixed together to form some healthy deliciousness Gordon Ramsey would be proud of. Try the tuna out, I can send the actual recipe if you need it. Back to topic at hand.

    This week my coach sent me an article that highlighted the need to make fitness a part of life and not THE part of my life. Funny enough this weekend I talked with my mom about the importance of being flexible, not to the point of forsaking my goals but being able to make changes when life comes at you. I feel like I have accumulated all this stress around what I needed to get done, and would put so much focus on what I was doing that over time I ruined my motivation for staying the course. The last time I dieted I went three months hardcore. That ended October 2016. That was literally the last time that I worked out prior to this program. I was so obsessed with my fitness that it was literally all I did for three months and at the end I was so burned out I couldnít take it anymore. I think this is a really serious topic because fitness is a life long pursuit for me. I am not going to achieve all of my goals in short three-month bursts. My relationship with chest is a perfect example of this.

    Chest has really become a love hate relationship. Iím not saying I donít love chest, but this week Iím in the gym pressing 30lb dumbbells and the skinny guy next to me is curling the same weight. How was I going to bench two plates on each side if I wasnít getting there now? And then it hit me. I wasnít going to be able to achieve all of my fitness goals within the next(at the time) 6 Ĺ weeks. It was going to take longer to truly be successful at the level I wanted to. I think Iíve done that in a lot of areas in my life. I want girls now, I want money now, I want my body now. And when I couldnít achieve those things in short order, I gave up.

    The last 6 weeks helped me come to a realization, which started with a question. I asked myself, ďif I work out for the next year, is it conceivable for me to increase how much I am able to lift?Ē The question literally brought a smile to my face. I couldnít imagine working at this for 365 days and not improving. If that was the case I didnít have to worry so much about todayís results. I needed to focus on todayís process. IE what I needed to do in order to get the most out of todayís lifts. If it sounds like I talk about this a lot itís because it is.

    I feel Iím realizing more and more that the inner dialogue that Iíve had with myself has sabotaged my progress towards my goals. Itís that focus on the results that have really made me stress and ultimately give up when initially reach where I set for myself. As soon as I stopped and focused on what I could accomplish after say a year, it was easier to relax and then focus on doing my best work in the moment. Itíll be interesting to see how this progresses in the coming weeks.

    To that end, being able to create a routine that doesnít become literally my life will be important for taking this journey past the end of Rockstar. Like I said when I started, if I burn out every three months I will never be able to accomplish the long term goals I set for myself.

    I am really appreciating how my body has changed. Although the fat scanner says that I am up to 13% body fat, I feel my muscle mass has increased by a fair margin as well. Most of it I see in my shoulders and upper chest. The one place I wish I could see more loss is in my abdomen. I have always been self conscious about my abs and although I am seeing more definition(especially after ab ripper X days), I can tell I carry most of my fat there, particularly when I bend over. I feel as though this will be a life long battle for me. Even when I swam in high school I still carried my fat around there. I have to be cognizant of my goals being more centered around building muscle than around losing fat. Once I build up some muscle, I feel it will be easier to lose this pesky fat and see the definition of my muscles underneath.

    Something strange has happened with my abs. So we implemented a new weighted ab routine a couple weeks ago(the hardest shit youíve ever done). Surprisingly, I feel like I am weaker in my core now than when I started. I am able to make it through the ab ripper x all the way through without stopping(huge milestone), but when I do the weighted abs I am failing much quicker than when I started. I am wondering if it is because my abs are tired and havenít had time to recover.

    I donít know if you would call this a milestone but I feel stronger. This week on legs, the first set was a superset of leg press 25 reps followed by barbell squats. A couple weeks ago during a similar exercise I was barely able to lift 35lbs on each side on barbell squats, my form went to shit by the second exercise. Call it energy or whatever, but this week when I started to squat, I tightened my core and really pushed through and I really felt that the weight was easier. It wasnít that the weight was lighter per say, it was just I felt stronger when I pushed through. This is the first time I have had the sensation where I remember struggling with a weight and now 3 weeks later I can really feel it getting easier somehow. I must have looked like a retard clapping my hands but it blew me away. I canít wait to feel something similar in the other areas of my body(looking at you chest).

    Ill keep it short, next week I want to get a DEXA scan. I was going to do it this week but I put it off because I didnít want to commit. It will be an important tool to help me see my progress and make changes as needed. I will continue to focus on that mind muscle connection.

  28. #28
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    Week 6, Days 36-42

    This week has been relatively routine, but I don’t mean it’s been easy or I’ve had a lot of (any) free time, I just mean planning/meal prepping and training is taking a lot less mental brain space. I’m also coming into an extremely busy period with other commitments for the next 3 or so weeks, so even more so now I’m doing most things as efficiently as possible - I’m currently drafting this post on my phone on the train.

    In terms of training, it’s been another solid week. I’m still slowly progressing on all of my lifts, making sure I use heavier weights each week. Notable session this week was legs; partly due to it being a good set, but also because I did it on Saturday night at 8-10pm.. after a 12 hour day coming off days of little sleep. Back was also good, used straps most of the session because my wrists were tender (maybe slept on my hand wrong), and these helped to push some big weight with good form.

    I do need to get more rest, I know I’d be far more effective if I did. While I’ve been trying to fit in an extra hour or two of sleep on the weekend, and it helps, I feel like this is a band aid fix, and I’m constantly playing catch up. Unfortunately the next few weeks aren’t looking too easy either.

    I’m glad to see all the guys making great progress in their blogs; not always physical – some of the mental shifts are exciting to see. Go team.

    My numbers for this week, coming in at an average of 88.67kg and 15.21% bf (compared with 88.6 & 15.24% last week), so a potential small increase in lean muscle and some fat loss. I’m happy with this level of increase (assuming accuracy!), it’s much closer to real possibilities (~50g-80g lean a week).

    For my experiment with increased carbs, I’ve noticed I’m feeling far more bloated than previously, even though I’ve only increased them by around 10% and weight hasn’t really increased. I ran out of vitargo, another 5kg arrives tomorrow (maybe… Australian postal system is laughable, ordered Monday last week FROM MY CITY with same day dispatch). This week I’m going to try placing the extra carbs pre and post workout in the form of vitargo, and remove carbs from the evening meals (right now I’m getting home ~ 10pm and have to smash 1-2 cups of brown rice and a bunch of eggs, sometimes also some oats/protein oat-pancakes). I’m feeling fairly ‘soft’, likely related to the bloated feeling/is the same thing, and about now is where I’d start to worry/pump the brakes and start cutting. I definitely want to cut before Vegas, but I feel like I should keep pushing through for at least 2-4 more weeks to break new ground. People think I look good now, but I FEEL a lot better when leaner, so I’d like to somewhat move back to that eventually. If I start cutting in week 10 or 11, that’ll give me 2 weeks on this transformation and then another couple of weeks before heading off. Time will tell, I’ll monitor this carefully.

    I’ve been playing with the intensity of cardio, to control the weight gain. At the start of the program I hit it pretty hard for both sessions each day, but over time I’ve stripped it back to be intense for the first session, then mostly walking / general activity for the other. It’s essentially carefully taking the foot off the pedal to allow the weight to slowly creep up, then put my foot back down slightly if weight increases too quickly. I think I’ve calibrated it well now. My running speed and cardiovascular fitness has improved a lot, for running I’m smashing out 4x(4min @ 16km/hr, 1min walking) and feeling pretty good. Next step will be to drop back the speed to 15 and increase the duration of the interval, with the goal to be running 20min @ 15km/hr by the end of the program (4min per km, or a 20 minute 5km).

    A purchase I’m enjoying is some new long warm stretchy comfy af training pants. A big shift from my usual short shorts, but also required during winter (why didn’t I get these earlier). I’ve also been wearing mostly t-shirts and jumpers, a few people around work have been joking/making passing remarks that I’m on gear – I know they probably don’t believe it because they know I’ve always been pretty fanatical about fitness, but it’s a dangerous perception, one that I don’t want to grow/create rumours. In my line of work, your value is in your character, and perceptions play a huge part in this (not that I have anything against people who enhance, quite the opposite really, but in this environment because it’s banned & we get tested, being ‘on’ would be a failing of integrity, you’d be seen as a liar, and leadership without the trust of your team, peers and superiors is near impossible).

    On the topic of enhancing, it is a great compliment when you’re doing so well that people assume you’re taking something special. But there’s two key issues at play: (1) people think steroids are a wonder drug quick fix, when in reality, getting results using them requires just as much or more hard work than being natural. I’ve got a friend who has used for years purely for mental benefits, hardly works out, and doesn’t look any different. I’ve got another friend who busts his ass in the gym daily, as has done for years, and is only now achieving a high level natural looking physique. The more worrying issue is (2) when they think ‘yeah I’d be like you too if I was taking that stuff’, usually thought while they’re eating hotdogs and chocolate muffins and making appointments with their diabetes specialist. They refuse to see the process that leads to the result. This is why the ‘quick fixes’ sell so well, people don’t want to put in the hard fucking work to get to the results, so they live in fantasy land and naivety that people around them doing well probably ‘cheated’ = used quick fix. They make themselves feel better by refusing to see the process, so that they can believe there’s nothing about the successful person’s drive or character that is better than theirs (then they take another bite of their cupcake and head home to play xbox). It’s made worse in a society where a common term is the ‘tall poppy syndrome’, basically that people here are more inclined to cut down those acting differently (read: implementing process to get to success) than they are to support or consider adopting. End rant. The point of this discussion is to ponder where this idea applies more broadly to my life – what areas am I letting other people’s mediocrity affect me, where I might be unconsciously living in naivety, where I can get curious and adopt process of those that have achieved the success I want, and how I’ll use that knowledge come Rockstar.

    Enough for today, off to eat some calories and slow cook these shoulders & calves off the bone, week 7 let’s do it.

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    Week 5

    So I did fracture my thumb after all. Luckily it’s a small chip and a splint for ~ 4 weeks is all I need. Certainly will affect the workouts to some degree, but hasn't been a serious issue this week. In fact all I had to do was switch a couple of dumbbell exercises to machines to accommodate for a wider grip. I have been loving the lifting straps since I started using them with this program and they have been of even more help with the broken thumb! I’m really able to eliminate grip strength from limiting things like single hand row and deadlifts.

    I’m wondering if the diet and exercise regimen I’m on would facilitate something like bone healing? I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed (but not the thumb) that it does and get another x-ray next week to see how it’s doing.

    I haven't been able to go up on the weights this week as I have been trying to employ MI 40 and its six principles in my lifting. Not only does the focus on fulfilling the technique limit the ability to lift, but also the technique itself decreases the amount of weight you can move (by design, obviously). Pre-tensing and post-tensing the muscle while keeping a steady tempo through every stage of the lift is much more challenging, so the weight amount goes down. Can’t say that I felt significant gains from this technique, but I’m not expecting to see much, as it’s only the first week and it will take time to incorporate this stuff.

    What I have felt this week, was a whole new type of fatigue. Before starting the program and even for the first 4 weeks, I would feel slightly winded to mildly energized when leaving the gym. Not so this week. I have been coming out of the gym basically WASTED all of this week. Eventually, I do recover but I really have never felt this kind of fatigue before. While I can't really attribute it to MI40, I have been pushing myself much more this week and I am down ~150 calories a day as recommended by my advisor. I definitely never lifted this hard.

    I have had a lot of down time at work, so I brought a bunch of equipment to work and have been supplementing my gym time with some ab-wheel and home-pull up bar.

    I was late for work and missed my second cardio session on day 34, for the first time since starting the program and felt remarkably shitty about it. Reflecting on this, I really do feel extremely absorbed by the program and the and self reinforcing nature of this process. I’m actually paranoid that small deviations from the tour de force may compromise the whole thing. I guess I’ll take consolation in the fact that I’m doing closer to 50 minutes of cardio on the daily basis vs 40 prescribed.

    The number are: Weight 147.8, down from 150.2 and Fat is 12.8 from 13.8. The six pack is slowly turning to an 8 (if I really flex those guys), though I’m not seeing much muscle gains in other areas. I think it’s almost time to start gaining some muscle.

    Finally getting the right rhythm of the diet! I’m eating more or less the same combo every day and getting pretty close on the macros. Protein is a mix of homemade chicken, canned tuna and clams/oysters from the can (yes I’m eating chinese exported shellfish in a can, and they are actually not bad). Veggies are tomatoes/peppers/avocados and a lot of spinach. A couple of eggs, almonds and coconut butter/fish oil round out the rest. That’s all I eat and I honestly can’t complain. I just miss fruit a little but aside from that, I have no problems with the taste/variety etc.

    It has now been 5 weeks since I had any alcohol. I think this is the longest since I was 18!!! Holly crap!! I’m trying to reflect on what this kind of sobriety has done for me, (except eliminating hangovers, which get to be pretty bad as I have gotten older). It’s kind of hard to tease out specific changes from cutting out the juice in the present situation. I have been basically a hermit, working nights, working out and focusing on a couple of other non-social pursuits (which definitely benefit from a sober head). I have the next week off, so I may let myself back out into the world and see if I have become a social mutant or if some rudimentary social intelligence survived without human contact or EtOH.

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    Week 6:

    Week 6 has had a number of interesting developments, aside from reaching the halfway point of physical transformation.

    Most importantly, I have switched to a gainer,with a goal of 2900 cal/day. While I was looking forward to the switch, I was rightfully concerned about getting to the calorie and macro goals. In fact I certainly felt the psychological inertia of coming off a 1850 cal regimen; i.e. spacing out meals, controlling portions etc. I think that there was also a considerable amount of physiological inertia of the green tea extract/uncover. However, it is now sunday and I’m finally reaching goals and macros.

    It was a very remarkable week at the gym! There has not been a day where I was able to get everything done in under 3 hours! I’m not gonna claim that I spend all this time pumping. There are plenty of instances where I had to take small breaks to re-compose myself and direct mental energy to lifting in earnest as opposed to just going through the motions. Definitely felt the benefits of those breaks in the burn. Days 38 and 40 I spent 4 and 4.5 hours at the gym!!! Holly crap! I mean that’s 15% of the day! Again, I wasnt doing it to make personal records… That’s just how long it took me to get the shit done and done well (and I do throw in some of my own biomechanics and daily stretches that help a ton). Doubt any of this would be possible without Vitargo. This is stuff is basically like viagra for the gym. I walk around humping and pumping every machine in the gym and covering them in my body fluids! And just I keep wanting more. I know that proscription is to take it after the workout, but I was really running out of steam one day and tried it halfway through and got this sick boost! I now take a portion midway and another at the wrap. Huge change from last week, when I was leaving the gym wasted. I now leave wanting more.

    Prior two weeks the rage was all about the lifting straps. This week however, I was blown away by a new acquisition: lifting hooks! These bad boys strap tightly to my wrists and engage whatever monstrous chunk of metal I want to lug around and eliminate a lot of grip strength from limiting the exercise. Farmers walks, Lateral raises, rows, hammer pulldowns… ~10% boost to weight, and 15-20 % boost to reps, especially since my thumb is still splinted. I could probably lift even more, but I’m trying to iterate MI40/Ben Pakulsi into my lifting and that requires dialing the weights down a bit. I’m finding it hard to mesh Gethin and Mi40/Ben Pakulski as Gethin is all about moving massive amounts of weight (more or less at all cost) and Pakulski has a much more refined narrative.

    On to the numbers: Weight is 148 and Body fat % is 12.2. These are down from 156.4 and 16.2 at the start of the program. Aesthetically, the most noticeable transformation is in the abs 2pack->6pack. While other muscle groups look a bit tighter, there is a lot of room for improvement and I hope the gainer diet will help the bulk up.

    Sleep has again been an issue this week and I’m not getting enough,even though I try. Sometimes it’s the rush from the gym that lasts with me late into the night and sometimes it;s just the nature of working night shifts. I've always been good in dealing with sleep deprivation, but I really no longer feel any effect of sleep deprivation on my workout (I would guess vitargo helps with that), though intellectually I realize that it does dent my performance;

    Reflecting on the last six weeks: While I expected things to be hard, the process has been manageable and the rewards definitely worth it, and we haven't even gotten to the good part. There are several reasons why (I think) I’ve been able to do reasonably well in terms fulfilling the goals . Commitment is obviously the most important. I have basically eliminated all social life aside from contact with the family (who really want to know what exactly is it that I’m gonna do and where I’m gonna go come July). I’ve gone out to a total of 2 bars, for a total of 1.5 hours. I think it's gonna be nice to start the going out with a clean slate when PR starts, as my social life was obviously not working out to my liking and at my age it takes more than a few day to drop old and crappy habits. I structure each day around my training and have even altered my weekly flying routes to minimize risks to training and diet. I have pulled through 3 or 4 30 hour days each of which included two full training sessions. In fact, there have been no days where I did not train and only 3 days where i did not make it to the gym (i.e did stretch, ripper or yoga at home). There were plenty of days where I went to two separate gyms in different time zones.

    I will admit that working 7 on-7off can also be very helpful in this endeavour at times.

    Complete elimination of alcohol has endowed me with a considerable capacity to achieve more. In fact, at this point, I’m not sure how alcohol will come back into the picture….. Can I just be that guy who doesn't drink!??!!? No!!!!!!.... Or… We’ll see.

    A very bland palate allows me to minimize cooking time: I eat spinach out of the bag, tuna out of the can and I don't care if my chicken tastes like cardboard (though surprisingly it’s been reasonably edible).

    I have always been very successful in following a set regimen and I think it also helps me in the fitness transformation, especially since I put a near blind faith into everything that I’m guided to do.

    Excited to start week 7!

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    20 pounds. Yep 20 pounds is what I've lost since the start of the program. To say I'm fucking happy is an understatement. I'm amazed that I've been able to achieve such a good result is 6 short weeks. Amazing when I consider I'm losing weight the correct way - eg trying to maintain or build muscle and focusing on losing body fat. I've learnt muscle weighs more than fat, so losing muscle looks great on the scales but is horrible for your metabolism - and in fact makes it harder for you to keep the weight off long term. This partially explains the yoyo weight fluctuations i've had in my past.

    Conveniently it is the halfway part of the program so hitting a great milestone this week very satisfying and leaves me wondering my potential for the rest of the program.

    The week finished @ 215.0 lbs and 25.2% body fat. This is a 22lbs drop and body fat loss 4.4% since the start of the program. On a week basis it is 6.6lbs loss and 1.3% body fat drop.

    I was ill for the last part of the week and start of this week which made it hard. Project Rockstar is about challenges and how you stand up and take them head on - no excuses. The days I missed at the gym I'm working hard to make back up. Energy levels returned to 100% over the course of the

    Another challenge is I have 2 weeks of international travel after week 7. I found out just before I was accepted into rockstar that travel is discouraged during the fitness program. Cooking and workouts become extremely challenging to complete and schedule during travel days. This trip was organised a long while ago, and I'm determined to stick to the program the best I can. I'll attend a local gym in my destinations and stay in airbnbs with kitchens to allow cooking.

    See you next week !!

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    Week 7:

    I write today feeling some very powerful emotions. Excitement and Gratitude.

    I feel myself getting a bit more excited every day I wake up. This is different from a few weeks ago.

    A few weeks ago, I was feeling a sense of anxiety building each day. The anxiety of what to do with my house for starters: (Keep my roommate/tenant here and change nothing? Rent it on Airbnb? Rent it long term to somebody? Sell it? The anxiety of what to do with my stuff: (If I keep my roommate here, he can watch over all of my house, and I donít really need to do anything with my stuff. If I rent my entire house out long term, I need to clear out all my stuff and put everything into a storage unit. If I rent my house out on Airbnb, I could keep most everything in the garage. If I sell my house, what do I do with my stuff? )

    There is very big difference for me between the emotions of anxiety and excitement. Anxiety feels very vague, dark, swirling and paralyzing. Itís a feeling of uncertainty. Not sure what to do next. What is right? What if this? What if that? Etc. For me, anxiety creeps in when I am letting fear decide what is best for me. Anxiety is a close cousin of depression for me. As soon as one creeps in, the other is not too far away. I must be very vigilant to ensure neither one gets a foothold.

    Excitement is the juice. I have come to learn with certainty about myself a simple notion: When I am excited about my life, I am virtually unstoppable. Excitement trumps everything. It keeps me focussed on solutions and opportunities, instead of problems and obstacles. It keeps me focussed on what is possible for me to achieve, instead of what is more likely to happen due to unforeseen circumstances. It keeps me moving toward my fear, instead of being paralyzed by it. It keeps me moving confidently in the direction of my dreams.

    My anxiety has shifted to excitement lately because my plans are all coming together day by day. I shared last week about the decision I made recently to sell my house and nearly all of my possessions. I was a bit anxious at first, due in part to some initial overwhelm of how to go about all of this in a relatively short amount of time. Initially, time felt like it was slipping away from me. Each day, I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish. Things to sell on Craigís List, things to do around the house in preparation to sell, etc. But somehow at the end of the day, I still had things that didnít get completed. I feel like I have had to ďfind another gearĒ with regard to getting tasks completed. I feel like I had to flex my ďGet Ďer DoneĒ Muscle lately. (please pardon the ďLarry the Cable GuyĒ reference)

    It feels like I rounded the corner this past week with a lot of this stuff. I have interviewed three realtors, and finally chosen one. I have met with four different people to help fix the necessary things prior to the sale of the house. (locksmith, drywall, paint, simple repairs, etc) I have made progress and, as I have learned recently, progress is happiness.

    I still am not quite sure how to best get rid of all my stuff. Craigís List can be tedious, and sometimes you get some flakey people that donít seem to mind wasting your time. I have sold a few items to interested friends, and also given a few things away. I have spoken with a company that does online estate auctions. They come in, photograph and catalogue everything in one day. Then, they open up the auction for two weeks to people within a three hour driving radius. Then, after the auction closes, the buyers come and pick up their purchased items all within a four hour window. Poof! Everything is gone! I still have a couple of weeks to decide what do do. I also started using an app called ďLetgoĒ I listed a few items on there yesterday. So far, it seems like everybody is just as flakey as Craigís List, but it might be interesting.

    When I feel a bit of anxiety creeping in about this part (how to get rid of all my stuff) I just think to myself, ďJust fill up a suitcase and go man!Ē Ultimately, this is exactly what I will do come late July. So really, itís just details. ďWho winds up with all of this stuff that used to be mine. How much money do I get for all this stuff that I spent way too much money on? Why the fuck did I buy all of this shit? Why did I ever think I needed this or that?Ē

    The other emotion I am filled with lately is gratitude. I heard a notion this morning as I was listening to a Tony Robbins recording. He talked of the ďRocking Chair TestĒ This is where you visualize yourself, at 85 years old, sitting in a rocking chair on your front porch. What will you regret not doing? If you know you will regret not doing something, do it! I just knew I would have regretted not selling my house and all my stuff and traveling the world for a few years. Donít ask me how I know this. Is it simply ďThe Call of the wild?Ē Maybe. I do have the benefit of experience here though. I have travelled to a few far-away places in the last year and a half. Each time, I have returned to Denver after one or more months of travel. (from South America twice and once from Asia) When I get back to my big house, surrounded by all my stuff, I feel stuck. Bound. Chained. Wishing I could muster up the courage to just leave it all behind. I know that my decision will pass the ďRocking Chair TestĒ.

    I am very grateful to have stepped into my fear. My fear of losing all my stuff, my comfortable house, my comfortable life, my comfortable existence, my comfort zone. I have come to believe that my comfort zone is where my dreams go to die. If I stay here in this house with all my stuff, my dreams die. If my dreams die, I die. So, simply put, making this big change in my life is a matter of life or death for me. If I canít be the man I want to be, the man I know I can be, I would rather be dead. If I canít achieve what is possible for me, if I canít find a way to live to my fullest potential, I would rather be dead. It makes the decision process very simple. Itís the same with me and my sobriety. For me, to drink and use drugs is to die. It keeps temptation and mere will-power out of the equation. Itís just a simple choice: Do I choose life? Or do I choose death?

    I am grateful to be on this path. I am grateful to have this opportunity that very few people get. I am grateful to be off anti-depressants. I am grateful to have some very healthy daily rituals. I am grateful to be on this journey with an amazing group of individuals. I am grateful to be feeling fantastic physically, mentally and emotionally. I am grateful to feel like I am beginning my life for the very first time.

    A bit about the physical part: Another great week. I averaged about 4,000 calories per day with the macronutrient mix of 40% protein, 35% fat and 25% carbs. I ate a bit less on light workout/rest days, a bit more on heavy workout days. I never thought it would be this hard to put on weight. I started the week at 162.4 lbs., and finished at 162.8 lbs. I was as low as 160.2 lbs on Thursday. I was as high as 164.2 lbs on Friday.

    Body fat %: Not much change here. Started the week at 11% (handheld monitor) finished week at 11.2%. I was as high as 12% on Tuesday, as low as 10.9% on Wednesday.

    Overall body composition: I am about as lean as I feel I need to be. It would be nice to gain some muscle. Iím not quite sure what has to change for me to make more muscle gains. I donít really want to go high carb low fat at this stage in the game. Big changes in carb intake could be trouble for me with my history of depression. A higher-fat, lower-carb diet seems to agree with me. I have made some adjustments to help: I added Virago to my pre and post workout shakes. I also started concentrating more of my carbs much closer to my workout times. (most coming right after my workout)

    Overall, I feel fantastic. My abs are the most sore body part right now, due to the punishment I gave them two days ago. I am less concerned with the physical aspect of this transformation. For me, I think the most important part is the mental and emotional aspect. As long as I continue to feel strong mentally & emotionally, the physical is no problem for me. I am still taking a mood-stabilizing medication called Lamotrigine. My plan (of course under my Drís supervision) is to begin weaning off of this medication next week. Hopefully, my daily rituals will continue to keep me strong mentally & emotionally. If not, Iím sure you will be able to tell when I write in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned.

  33. #33
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    Week 7, Days 43 – 49

    Another week down. This week has flown by, given how busy I’ve been with various projects and professional commitments. Key numbers are still trending up slowly, coming in at 89.1kg @ 15.43% bf (compared to 88.67kg & 15.21% last week). I’ll seek to maintain this weight this week, or at least this bf%, and to do so I’ll increase cardio intensity. I want to extend this period of increased calories for a bit longer, to gain maximum benefit over time, but I also need to be careful of getting too bloated.

    Training has been going relatively well, though it can be fairly disruptive to break flow in knowledge based work to go and do cardio, or keeping up with the food intake while trying to remain focussed. At least twice this week I’d had meetings or collaborative work back to back, meaning I’d work over a number of meal periods and then have to eat 1500-2000 calories in one sitting, which sounds easy but when those calories consist of rice/chicken/broccoli/oats/eggs, it quickly becomes a feat of strength.

    By Friday afternoon, the whole hermit/no life, mounting workload and sleep debt caught up with me a bit and I was feeling pretty low. I had work to do, but got enough done and went to bed early which helped. By Sunday, though I worked a lot, I had started to feel better and got some decent sleep.

    My experiment with vitargo pre, during, and post gym is going well. I’m experiencing slightly tighter pumps, though I have felt a bit off in the stomach. I don’t think this is entirely related to drinking vitargo while training, as I’ve been feeling average in the stomach for the past week or so. Something I’ve learned over the years is to really listen to your body; if something doesn’t feel right for a number of days it’s your body telling you something. I’ve gotten relatively good at determining the difference between varying levels of energy and motivation (in these circumstances you just need to head down and push on), and when there is a real issue to attend to. Coupled with the exhaustion on Friday night and off stomach feeling, I reduced calories by ~700 on Friday evening knowing I wouldn’t have an intense training day the following day (Yoga only). This seemed to work as I was feeling better over the weekend, so hopefully that small reprieve was enough.

    Over the past few weeks my skin (face mostly) has deteriorated through an increase in acne and dryness. In the past, my skin typically gets worse in the colder months, but seems to improve rapidly when I cut carbs/increase fats. I’m also likely not consuming enough vegetables (broccoli and spinach mostly), so going forward I will be sure to include a greater amount of plant matter in my meal prep, and look to reduce the number of WPC shake serves (currently about 3 a day). It’s tough to even contemplate, but I’ll replace peanut butter in my smoothie with olive oil, or additional avocado.

    Looking forward, I’m happy to keep going with the current plan, though I had originally envisaged I’d start cutting around week 8. I’ll push this decision out until week 9 or 10, and just focus on progressing in strength and size until then. For me, cutting is easy – it requires so much less meal prep and so much less brain space occupied by constantly eating, so I’m not worried about switching closer to Rockstar. Now that we’re well over the mid way point, I’m starting to see the finish line of the fitness program and getting restless to get to Vegas and start the main part of this journey.

    On to week 8!

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    Week 7, Days 43 – 49

    Wow - another fantastic week. The huge highlight was getting my 2nd dexa body scan and comparing the "before" and “after” results. Before I get into the results let me explain what the hell a “dexa” bodyscan is.

    A dexa bodyscan is a medical imaging machine, kinda like a MRI machine that can scan your whole body whilst you lay down. It takes about 5 or 6 mins to fully scan your body from head to toe. The machine has the capability to measure body fat, lean tissue and bone. Ever heard the saying “I’m not fat – I’ve just got big bones” ?. Well turns out my bones are actually above average in weight ! I’m still fat though !!

    Overall the dexa reports says I’ve got 29% fat – a drop of 6% over the last 6 weeks – a result I’m really proud of. Critically important, my muscle has actually increased. Science shows the weights program is working really well.

    The machine can tell exactly where the fat is located. According to the doco the really bad fat is around your organs. This really bad fat actually dropped 40% which is a great result.

    The report is quiet detailed and can show which areas of the body the muscle is – and also compares left to right side of the body.

    I was a little embarrassed to share my first dexa scan result of 35% fat. I wasn’t even sure it was accurate. Both the navy method and my scales showed my bodyfat was 6% lower than dexa. Navy method and my scales are always the same within 1% or less. I was a little deflated after the first dexa scan in the first week – 35% is a big number. Whatever method you use to measure your progress, I’d suggest keep using the same method all the way through so you are comparing apples to apples. Also this shows the difficulty in comparing your body fat measurements with someone elses. Dexa scans are around $80 aussie dollars, and sometimes cheaper if you pay for 2 or more scans upfront. Really happy I got the first scan when I first started so I could measure my progress.

    As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, bodyfat % and muscle mass are way more important metrics for me than just my raw bodyweight. It would be easy to loss some muscle and make the bodyweight figure look better. Fat is fuel for muscle, so it makes sense the more muscle, the more fat is burnt at part of your base metabolism.

    The dexa report also provides a nice picture of me – kinda looks like bionic man !! Red highlights the bad bits – eg heavy fat areas. Now I can clearly see the visual difference between the before and after pictures of my body. Nice reduction of the red areas and a heap more green. Can’t wait to see the results at the end of the program. I’ll get a final dexa scan in the last week of the fitness program. I’ll continue to use the same machine to get the most accurate apples for apples comparison.
    Weight wise this week I’ve hit a bit of a plateau, which Kris mentions happened to him as well. I’ll follow his tips on making small tweaks to my program to push through and make sure my progress continues.

    I’m continuing to ensure I get as much rest as possible. In fact most days I don’t get to the office until 9:30am or 10am. Sleep and rest is one of the key aspects of the fitness program, and often is underrated. Lack of sleep can have such a negative impact on your progress.

    As I type this, I’m actually at 40,000 feet above Australia, on my way to USA. As I mentioned last week travel is far from ideal in the middle of such an intense program. I’m determined to keep to my routine as much as possible. I think USA customs are going to get a shock at how much powder I’m smuggling into the country. I have 1 bag that is 100% full just with all my protein powder, vitamins and supplements – all in their original packing. It will keep them busy if they want to swab test everything lol. My other bag just has clothes, my smaller George foreman grill and scales. I brought both my kitchen scales (hello mr drug dealer) and also my large full body scales. I’m sure USA has plenty of places I can weigh myself but I want to use the same scales all through the program. Diet on the plane is super challenging – I’ve even taken my own cooked brown rice on the plane. I have airline lounge access but couldn’t find anything to eat this morning. I’ll make sure I eat my brown rice before I arrive in USA.

    Body wise I’m still getting compliments on how I’m looking, especially those people I haven’t seen for a while. Every time this happens it’s a nice little boost to my ego. I’m probably the last to notice some of the big changes as I see myself each day. This week I could clearly see great progress with my arms – and even some small guns starting to pop out. One day they just suddenly seemed to appear. Having never done weights before I’ve never had noticeable toned biceps. My arms are one of the first places to loose fat, and combined with the weights program to build muscles – both of these have resulted in being memorized by these guns that just appeared overnight. My flatmate has commented how arm’ie I am now.

    To me my waist still looks similar in size, however the tape measure doesn’t lie – I’ve definitely lost 4 inches in that area alone. I’m using the Kris Gethins method of doing twists twice a day to help shrink my skin at the same time that my fat burns away. No one likes a fatty that has lost lots of weight and has all this loose skin.

    I started the week with 215.0 lbs and 25.2% body fat. Finished the week with 213.6 lbs and 24.9% - a small loss of 1.4lbs and 0.3%. A plateau week but still a great week nonetheless.

  35. #35
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    Week 7

    So Iím working out chest; yes I know itís always chest. So Iím working out chest and Iím feeling good. I implemented some knew techniques that I got from Ben Pakulski on how to properly control form during my exercises. To make it short and sweet I was imagining the pec muscle getting shorter and contracting by bringing the elbows together on the press through. As Iím working on my form, Iím having to use lighter weight in order to maintain control. You know the story. So Iím thinking to myself, ďFuck. How long am I going to have to keep doing this before I get big?Ē Here I have been busting my ass for 7 weeks and I am still just trying to figure out how to do the most damage to my muscles. And then it hit me. Getting big and mean and shredded is not something that can be accomplished over night.

    I donít know why but I think from the beginning I felt like I knew how to lift and because of that Iíd be able to achieve my end goals if I put in 110% for these 3 months. The end goals I had in my head that day were being a lean 210lbs while being able to bench 70lbs on each side(so a plate and a 25). What this program is helping me realize is that I donít actually know how to lift. Ya, I can push a weight up and down 8-10 times but as far as really getting the most out of every lift, I am a novice. And thatís the point. This isnít something that I am going to be able to master in 3 months. Hell I reckon Iíd barely reach a level of real competence after a full year. Think about it, here I am thinking to myself I got it and this whole time Iíve had my caloric intake regulated, macros adjusted, workouts prepped, improvements made, and weight monitored by a coach. I know I have put in the work but the instruction has been practically spoon fed to me. And thatís why this realization is so important. Because anything of value in life cannot be achieved through short bursts of effort. It takes focused and sustained effort over long periods of time to make real gains in any area of my life, not just lifting.

    This may be because I am incredibly hard on myself, but I can remember so many times where I set goals for myself and wasnít able to make good on them for a myriad of reasons. I set my goals too high, I didnít have a proven plan to follow, I didnít follow that proven plan. If I want to achieve my goals, high as they are, I need to set a realistic goal(so lifting 185 on bench press using correct form is not realistic in 3 months), have a game plan to follow, and then execute daily. That is what will help me achieve the success that I so desperately want. Itís going to take hard work, discipline, and real courage to keep stepping up to the plate even when I donít feel like it and I want to quit. This fitness program is the first step on that path. And I took my own small step to that end this week.

    Itís 8pm. Iíve just spent the entire day out with a friend for his birthday. I have been perfect with my diet(all hail tupperware and ice chests), no alcohol, cardio is done; all I have left is to get into the gym and rip it up and once I do I will be free to go out with my friend to the club for the celebratory finale. So as my friend heads to dinner, I run down the street to the gym, only to find it closed two hours ago. Fuck. But itís ok thereís a gym across the street I can use. Except when I get there that gym is closed to. Itís 8:45p and Iím thinking Iím going to miss the gym or Iím going to miss my friendís birthday night at the club. Iím walking over to the restaurant where my friend is having dinner and my soul is crushed. On one hand, I would hate to, in my mind, disappoint my friend by missing the night out, but on the other hand if I miss my gym session I will have consciously made the decision to not give everything I have during this program. I know what the right decision is, so I call my buddy who I know will help get me to the gym. No answer. And I am alone. Youíre probably reading this and thinking this is a really easy decision, but(and as I write this it is very clear to me how ridiculous this sounds) in my mind if I cancel my plans with my friend I feel like he wonít like me and somehow I would lose him as a friend(which is illogical we have been friends for years). As I deliberate on which is the lesser of two evils, I realize that I am on potentially if not the most important journey of my life. For me to take an L like this when it is within my power to be successful is exactly what would lead to me being disappointed not just now, but at the end of Project Rockstar too. So when I got to the restaurant I told my buddy what happened and that I was going to find a gym and Iíd text him after. He gave me some crazy eyes but said ok and thatís exactly what I did. I found a gym, raged on my back, showered, and made it in time to make it to the club(sober duh). I hate telling these kinds of stories cause I feel like I am bragging but I am honestly so proud of my decision in that moment to go to the gym and make good on my promise to all of you and most importantly to myself to do everything in my power to get the most out of these 6 months.

    I know that was a long story but I feel like itís the biggest move for me forward. In other news I touched my toes WHILE keeping my legs straight. Like holy shit I am 6í6Ē. Iím like a white Kobe Bryant do you know how hard it is to touch your toes as a white Kobe Bryant? Ok, so it was barely a grab but way better than when I started when I was limited to my shins. Iíve got 4 weeks left between the stretching and the yoga I really feel like Iíll be able to hold it by the end.

    Never felt like throwing up after a 17 minute ab workout. Last week I complained that I felt weaker in my abs, but was excited that I had completed the entire ab ripper x session no stopping. Turns out I had been cheating. Today I contracted my abs through the entire(ok I lost concentration on the heels to the heavens but it felt like the whole thing the way they were burning) workout and I couldnít even make it past the crunchy frogs before I broke for a rest. DAMN. My abs were screaming, SCREEAMING. If my abs could sing theyíd be able to star in the Italian opera after Tony Horton was done with them.

    The biggest change for me body wise: I look bigger. That is the only way to describe it. I am more cut than before, but I physically look more massive. Which is so tight because I have always been the skinny guy. And olí coach added 400 more calories to my diet(200 away from being a hard gainer). Thatís 4,400 calories a day. Food coma is now my daily norm. My clients now sign up for our managed products regularly just to get out of my office and away from my tuna belches and chicken farts. Ok that last part is a joke but seriously I may be able to feed half of Somalia if I eat only half of my food every day.

    Funny how I sat for two days with writerís block and now I canít stop. I have more to say but itíll have to wait til next week. Cheerio.

  36. #36
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    Week 7:

    Second week as a gainer has been a bit of a plateau. I was able to iron out my diet and more or less hit all the diet goals: 2900 cal 40/20/20 for the week. However, the numbers look fairly flat from last week Body fat% 12.6->12.9 and weight 148->149.4. Aesthetics look fairly stable as well, aside from improved fullness in the biceps, which is something I have been trying to work on. A stable performance at the gym as well: no profound changes in lifts or weights, though I kinda felt that the assigned lifts were wimpier this week compared with prior. I think week 8 will call for a serious calorie and protein bump along with workout intensity of week 6.

    Notable developments:
    I really was dreading Yoga as it’s annoyingly uncomfortable and there is a small stretch where I just tumble over continuously. But I actually enjoyed it this week. I think it is because I RESOLVED to enjoy it before I started. I decided to embrace the discomfort, compensate for the wobbliness, focus on getting the poses right and enjoy the burn. If I am going to make huge leaps out of my comfort zone and enjoy the experience, this in fact is not that big a deal and I should embrace the discomfort. Halfway through, I actually felt engaged in the exercises and connected with my breath and was able to ignore phone calls and thoughts of the busy day that was upcoming. It was really a great feeling and I started to understand why yoga is so crucial. Damn...I really look forward to it this week.

    The importance of making noise. I’m appreciating more and more the importance of loud exhalation/grunting/yelling and whatever noise I gotta do to move the weight. Before, I mainly did it when on super intense cardio stretches. With starting this program I employed it in heavy lifts and now I do it all the freaking time. I find it that it helps me eek out a few reps during Ab Ripper and even hold some poses during yoga (so much for calm-namaste). I’ve had numerous complaints filed against me at my Nebraska gym (apparently they want the noise level of the library) before even starting PR and now those complaints are really starting to pile up. It’s a fun game…. Lets see how far I can push it till they try and kick me out.

    I also ended up reflecting quite a bit on the prior 7 weeks and came to a conclusion that I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience! I’ll write it again: This has been AWESOME! While I have gone through major shifts every several months for the last 20 years: changing jobs, schools, degress, cities, professions, drinking habits, exercise habits, smoking habits, going out habits, girlfriends etc ALL THE FREAKING time, I have never undertaken such a deep, structured, self-directed and sustained effort at self improvement. Not only am I seeing rapidly developing physical results, but I am also feeling the benefits (likely driven by established sobriety and sustained focus) in other concurrent life efforts that I am undertaking. I’m wrapping up my flight training and will be getting (hopefully) my pilot’s license before Vegas and also I’m working to gut-remodel and rebuild my apt, while trying to rent it out for the summer. Throw in work, and I have virtually no time for social life.

    So I decided to completely give up on social life ( I dont even hit on nurses anymore,) and focus on all of the above. The good news is that I have been very successful at doing it. The bad news is that I have been very successful at doing it AND I don't miss it a bit (at least in the current state of things)...I mean am I really a complete hermit without any need for social contact? That’s a disturbing thought, but I dont have time to dwell on it right now. We’ll cross that bridge and MANY more in Vegas.

  37. #37
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    Week 8:

    I wake each day lately with just a little bit more excitement. Itís a combination of many things. The fact that I am one day closer to my dream life. The fact that I have one less day to complete everything before I leave. The pressure feels like itís building. So many things to do:

    Sell my house: There are lotís of things that need to be worked on around here such as light repairs, drywall, paint, general cleaning, etc. This upcoming week, I have lawn maintenance workers coming to help make the grounds look presentable. I have drywall and painting workers coming to take care of all of the interior stuff. (I am doing the exterior painting myself- mostly trim, nothing major.)
    Sell, Donate, Trash or pack all of my possessions: I think I may have a buyer for my musical instruments. Hopefully, I will have these items out of my house within a week. As for the rest, I think Iím going to hire an estate auction company to get rid of it all.
    Choose a forwarding address. (I have no idea where I will be in 6 months)
    I also decided to get my Scuba certification before I leave Denver. This will require a few hours of study, some pool time and 4 open water dives. I will do this the weekend of July 14, just after the physical transformation portion is finished. Hopefully, I will have most everything else completed by that time, and it will not add additional stress.


    Lately, I find that doing certain things in and around my house has a different feel to it. The realization that I will not be doing these things for much longer. Little things. Simple things. Like using all the things in my kitchen that I have grown accustomed to. The comfort and convenience of having the things that you need to make life a little easier. Knowing exactly where everything is. Reading next to my fireplace. Writing at my kitchen table. Watching the sun dip behind the Rocky Mountains from my front porch. Being able to sit down at my piano and play when the mood strikes. To grab a guitar down from the wall and strum for awhile.

    All of these things are merely comforts. They are not necessities. Essentially, I have built around me a fortress of comfort. I have everything exactly how I want it, and I am getting rid of all of it. Itís a bit scary.

    I have to keep telling myself that by giving up all of these things, I am gaining so much more. There are beautiful sunsets all over the world that I have been missing because I have barricaded myself in my own comfort-zone prison.

    Itís hard to know how I will feel about not having any of these things that seemed so important to me until quite recently. What will I miss the most? Will it be sleeping in my own bed? Being able to jump in my car, thatís parked 10 feet away in my garage, thatís attached to my house? Iíve had my own car since I was 15 years old. However, my plan is to live in places where having a car is not necessary. Most of the world takes trains, buses, taxis and walks to wherever they are going. It shouldnít take long to adapt. I didnít have a car when I was in Asia for 5 weeks, or South America for 4 months. Uber is a beautiful thing.

    Lately, if I catch myself worrying about this stuff, I just do a little visualization exercise. I picture myself at the Denver International Airport with everything I own in my suitcase and backpack, stepping into my dreamlife. Iím quite sure I wonít be thinking of all that stuff I no longer have or need. I will have everything I need, right there with me, wherever I go. I seem to only spend time thinking about all my stuff when I am here in my house, looking at all my stuff. Well, not for much longer.

    Well, enough talk about ďstuffĒ.

    About the physical transformation:

    I ended the previous week at 162.8 lbs. Today, my weight is 165 lbs. Thatís over 2 lbs. of gain in 1 week. Not too shabby.

    I ended the previous week at 11.2 % body fat. Today, my body fat is 11.2 %. This means that I am putting on mostly muscle, and not much fat. If I can continue gaining 2 lbs per week, and maintaining my current body fat %, this will be solid progress.

    Food intake: Monday 4,773 calories with a macro mix of 37% protein, 39% fat and 24% carbs. Tuesday 3,947 calories: 45% protein, 29% fat 26% carbs. Wed. 4,139 calories: 46 % protein, 30% fat 24% carbs. Thurs. 3,913 calories: 45% protein, 30% fat, 25% carbs. Fri. 4,925 calories: 40% protein, 31% fat, 29% carbs. Saturday 3,904 calories: 45 % protein, 31% fat, 24% carbs.

    I spoke with one of my training/nutrition advisors this past week. I explained to her that I was having trouble gaining weight. She suggested that I decrease my fat intake from 35% to 30%, and increase my protein intake from 40% to 45%. This seems to be making a difference in my gains. I will stick with this macro-mix unless my gains stop, or somebody can convince me to do something different.

    I would not have predicted that I need to eat between 4,000-5,000 calories per day to gain weight. It seems like all I do is eat, all day long, every 2 hours. I am shitting like crazy. I think itís better than being hungry all the time though. At least I know that my body has the nutrition it needs to build muscle.

    I feel stronger, and look bigger in the mirror. My clothes are beginning to feel more snug in the right places. (the sleeves of my shirts, the legs of my jeans)

    The workouts have been going very well. My body is just the right amount of sore each day- nothing debilitating.

    On a personal note, this transformation has brought me closer to my Mother. She is one of the few people in my family that I can share my plans with. I have chosen not to share any more details with my brother. I have not shared with my father that I am selling my house and possessions. It has been quite liberating- (not seeking his approval). Iím sure he will wonder why I did not seek his consult (as he is quite the business man). Iíll burn that bridge when I come to it.

    It has been a full week off of the anti-depressant. I can tell no noticeable difference. Today will be my last full dose of the mood-stabilizer medication that I have taken for years. Starting tomorrow, Monday June 12, I will cut the dosage in half for 1 week. Then, the following week, I will stop taking the medication altogether. (per my Drís instructions). It will be nice to break free from these medications for good. I now have healthy, healing rituals firmly in place that make these drugs unnecessary for me. It is quite empowering, knowing that I am in charge of my own happiness. I am responsible for the quality of my life- not Big Pharma.

  38. #38
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    Week 8, days 50-56

    I thoroughly enjoyed this week. I felt a lot more physically ‘well’ – over the past 3-4 weeks I had felt a bit off in the stomach and suspected I’d been on the edge of getting sick for a while. My weight was remarkably consistent this week, nearly the same every day with a slight downward trend over the week (but still up from last week). I’m weighing in at 89.5kg @ 15.5% bf (up from 89.1kg & 15.43%). A number of mornings this week I was looking quite lean for ~90kg, which was great to see given the goal in this program was to get bigger without a large increase in bodyfat. Those mornings I was looking lean, I looked a lot better/more healthy with fuller muscles than I do looking back at my week 1 photos (though I was leaner then, I also looked tiny/deflated in comparison). Looks like the increased carbs have stabilised and I’m not so bloated. I had thought by this week I’d want to start cutting, but these results reassure me that I can continue with the current plan for longer, and a short cut will drop enough water weight to give a decent 6-8 pack WITH some decent size. Exciting!

    Notable sessions this week: 1. Shoulders/calves, and 2. Biceps/triceps. Firstly, the DTP shoulder set (a 10 set pyramid drop set of side lateral raises, 5x50/4x40/3x30/2x20/1x10 increasing weight, then back up 1x10/2x20 etc decreasing weight) was unreal – my shoulders were well and truly slow cooked and I felt that for a few days. I love when I have shoulder DOMS, I find it helps with posture because sitting correctly with shoulders back engages a glorious stretch. Plus you just feel generally huge. The arms session was similar to the shoulders, a pyramid of pain/pleasure, and with all those carbs placed around training time, the pump was unreal.

    I was in a much better headspace than I have been in previous weeks. I started the week with a resolve to really focus on changing my attitude and internal dialogue around everything that’s been building lately. I had been feeling so constantly behind, with an ever growing to do list. This week though, I accepted the fact I’ve got too many things to do, and it’s OK if I don’t get them all done. I took stock and looked at which of the tasks are important and I can action now, and focussed on those. They were my fitness, my postgrad studies, and putting new effort into relationships that were slowly fading the past few months. I accepted the annoyances in each of these areas, especially the studies, and went about doing the best I could do with what I have, for the things I could influence. I completed a project I’d been working on for a while at work, and was OK with not getting much done on the next one I wanted to have nearly finished by last Friday. I’ve found I feel good and happy when I feel productive, working toward something, so I’ve felt a bit shitty lately while I’ve felt like I wasn’t being effective/productive. That’s something I need to work on though; drawing boundaries so that I don’t overload myself, and being happy with a little progress in areas that matter.

    I had an extremely busy weekend with major assessments due for my studies, so I’ve spent the majority of the weekend at the computer or doing group work and didn’t get a chance to shop and meal prep. I’ve got about 2 days of food (main meals) prepped in the freezer, and I’ve got enough staples at work (oats, almonds) to get me through till I can meal prep (though I know I’ll be doing it at midnight…). I managed to take an hour out of study though to go indoor rock climbing around the corner, for a bit of fun. I could still feel my shoulders from Tuesday, and legs and back were still tender – suffice to say I had a great training week to still be sore on Sunday.

    Looking into Week 9, I’m going to continue with the higher carb split, and Vitargo around workout time seems to be going well so I’ll continue with that too. Looks like we’ve got a DTP set for shoulders again (cannot wait), a bit of abs, chest/back, arms, and more shoulders! One sec, ordering larger doorframes.

  39. #39
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    Week8

    My first week as a hard gainer: Calorie goal 3400 with a 40/40/20 split. This stuff aint easy to put away, but I think that I’m starting to eek out some muscle gains: Weight 151.5 from 149.6 and fat 13.3% up from 13.2.%. These are just numbers however, and while they reflect some reality of my body’s transformation, human anatomy and physiology are way too complex and multidimensional to be described by a few digits (not to mention the limitations of measurement technology used). In fact, while the fat % hasn't changed too much, I definitely feel that a small layer of fat has formed over my abs compared with a couple of weeks back, which is not unexpected. I may need to shred it off, once I get closer to pool time.

    I haven't been terribly hung up on numbers and have been taking stock of how I look, how I feel and how I perform at the gym as well as outside to really judge my overall improvement. My feeling is that while I’m still doing better (in terms of quality of workout and gains) I’m still plateaued from last week. The lifts are still solid (though the weight uptick is decelerating) and overall I feel great but i just feel like I was gaining more of an overall empowerment earlier in the transformation.

    I will note, however that I really enjoyed the Bicep-Tricep DTP super-duper 20 set workout and I feel like I really nailed down the weight sequence for the best pump, while still completing the entire workout (and a couple extracurricular exercises that I throw in. ) I’m really looking forward to DTP in other muscle groups. I hope that adding the extra calories will give me the boost that I’m looking for.

    I also really enjoyed yoga this week. I was looking forward to it and was really able to engage with the movements, the breath and definitely felt that my balance and flexibility have improved. I was able to complete more challenging poses stay longer in the ones I could handle before. I really felt the 7-ab segment at the end as well and decided to integrate some of the movements into my “extracurricular”. And I will admit the UUUHmmms feel great at the end.

    I rarely used to eat at the airport before starting this program. Never felt the need to. At this point however, it is a necessity and I bring my meal bag on every flight. As I sat in in O’hare and enjoyed my chicken rice and cucumbers, I noticed that everyone around me was eating as well. They were eating in the restaurants, at the bars, they were eating while in the waiting areas. They snack on the plane and and shovel away pretzels and popcorn as they are running to the gates. Almost everyone around me is eating at all times at the airport. What is it about sitting in a chair at 32,000 feet for 4 hours that makes everyone expand so much energy that they are compelled to eat at all times?! Just a thought.

    Social life is still on hold this week and probably will stay so till Vegas. While it’s certainly opened up a lot of time for the physical transformation and a couple of other concurrent efforts, all work (exclusively the night shift too) and no play is kind of starting to wear on me. Especially since it’s summer and people are having fun out in the open In trying to be constructive, I end up having to utilize the stress and frustration of social isolation as fuel for mental machine that keeps me focused and engaged with my initiatives to drastically improve my life. As PR draws closer, those goals appear more and lucid and motivation and effort are strong.

    On to week 9 and the 24,000 awesome calories that I will consume and turn into pure muscle, entropy and….some other things!!!!

  40. #40
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    Week 8

    I made a mistake. A now ex(youíll see why) friend recommended that I start using Old Bay seasoning when I do my cooking. I love a good spice so I proceeded to cook all 15lbs of my chicken for the week using Old Bay seasoning. I canít describe how nasty it was to eat fish flavored chicken. The damn can said poultry but they obviously no one in the marketing department spent any amount of time actually using the product. By Wednesday I was prewashing my chicken like a vegetable to get the seasoning off. Still toying with the idea of dumping the seasoning into the sewers where it was obviously crafted up.

    I bumped up my calories to 4,400 a day. In total Iím eating 4 cans of tuna, 1.3lbs of chicken, 3 eggs, 3 cups of rice, 1 cup of pasta, 3 tbsp of coco oil, 4 tbsp of peanut butter, and then the protein shake. And a banana. And two avocados. I spend most of my day feeling either full or having an upset stomach, which has made it difficult to work out. The increased calories have paid off: I weighed in at my heaviest weight(ever) at a whopping 209lbs. Some of this has for sure been muscle as I like what Iím seeing in the mirror but I know I have gained some fat with it to. I have come to accept that if I really want to gain strength I will need to put on some fat as I put on weight. I got a DEXA scan last week and that put me at 18% body fat which made me almost shit my pants was disheartening but I felt it was a good barometer for what I needed to do to achieve my goals. Coach says that number is BS but the way Iím looking at it I can gain another 20lbs of muscle and lose another 20lbs of fat before I am at my targets in weight and body fat.

    My motivation has started to wane over the last 3 weeks. Iíve been missing some of the supplements and flying by the seat of my pants rather than being in a regular routine. I donít know if this is the cause but Iíve been in a cold streak for about the last month and a half with girls, which has been a blow to my confidence. I actually think it is definitely the cause because Iíve noticed myself more and more having pervasive negative thoughts and adding pressure onto myself in social situations. Iíve also felt a lot more tired throughout the day, which I think has something to do with the increased calories. Itís hard to not wish you could stop eating when you canít decide whether to go lie down or just throw up half of the day. I feel like I shouldnít be thinking this stuff because if I acknowledge it it becomes real. I donít know what else to do though, itís not like ignoring it is going to make it go away.

    On a bright note I am exceptionally excited for the beginning of Rockstar. It honestly feels surreal to be taking this step in my life. The last three years I have worked as a cog in the corporate wheel without a true direction for what I wanted to do in my life. To be real, Iíve felt for most of my life I have been on a ship without a rudder, just floating along some river I happened to come across when I was a kid. In the next two weeks I am going to be asking for a leave of absence from my job. I doubt that I will get approval, it would make a big financial difference if I did. Worst case scenario though I have to leave my company and thatís it. I probably will have just enough money to pay for Rockstar and get back from Europe. I have no idea what I am going to do if I leave my job. I feel like Iím jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. I donít like saying it but Iím a little scared. This will be the first time I have exactly 0 plan for the future. Part of me wants to get stuck in Europe and have to figure it out. I canít fathom how I would live but it would lead to some incredible growth as a person. Worst case scenario I could be like one of those guys that sells bacon wrapped hotdogs outside of clubs. I took 3 years of French class in high school, so Iíd switch it up by selling crepes with nutella outside of night clubs in Paris. Talk about a backup plan.

    This week on, ďWhat I learned while doing Chest,Ē Was unable to get a bench for dumbbell press so I settled for the bench press machine. For whatever reason, I felt the pump in my chest from bench over 9000 times more than on dumbbell press. I always have assumed that bench press is worse than dumbbell press, which leads me to believe I am either doing dumbbell press wrong or am not lifting enough weight. Could also be a form issue, it has really helped my lifts if I watch a video showing proper form prior to putting up the weight.

    Yoga. My mind races at a thousand miles a minute at most times through the day especially at night before I go to bed. Today was no different, I started my yoga and all I could think about how I wished I could be watching the NBA finals. It happened seemingly out of the blue, I was no longer thinking. Of course this brought in a flurry of new thought but as the exercise continued, I had less and less space for the days events to flow on by. As I write this now, I am relaxed and at peace. I always looked at yoga for the flexibility benefits but I see now that it goes so much deeper than that. Iím starting to think meditation may be something I want to add to my nightly routine to help me get better rest.

  41. #41
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    Week 8

    Super busy week this week due to me travelling to USA from Australia. With stopovers Iíll be travelling for 24 hours plus. The trip was important to me. I have a 21 month old son that lives in the USA with his mum and I only get to see him a few times a year. Iíll be doing Rockstar in vegas when its his 2nd birthday so Iíll miss that. Its not ideal but I need to make sacrifices to be on the program. The 2nd half of this trip is a few days for a work conference in Canada.

    Monday morning I had to be at the airport @ 8am. Work gym opens @ 6am and my housemate starts work early so could drop me to work around 5am. I killed some time in the office printing off a hard copy of all my travel documents and tidying up other loose ends. Then I hit the gym for a solid workout and then got an uber to the airport.

    This week Iíve soon realised travelling while doing a strict fitness/ nutrition plan sucks. I tried to be as organised as possible but I have underestimated how difficult it would be. 2 to 3 hours workout and prepping my usual meals is very challenging. I took some food on the plane which helped the first part of the trip. I had a special meal ordered for the 2nd half of the 14hr continuous leg over the pacific ocean.

    Im staying in airbnbís with kitchens, however Iím still finding it difficult to get my usual meal prep in. My son is staying with me full time so my free time is very limited. Kids club in the gym is working well though. Havenít got questioned flying with 1 sports bag full of my protein powder and all other supplements. I found out the hard way that dragging my 240v George foreman grill wonít work on a 110v USA power circuit Ė even with an adaptor Ė oops.

    Vital stats for the end of the week are 209.9 lbs and 24.5% body fat. 3.7lbs loss and 0.4% fat loss for the week. Again the numbers heading in the right direction which Iím proud of.

    Iím my own hardest critic, I know I can work harder in the gym Ė and some days Iím just taking it too easy in the gym. For the final month of the program I really want to push hard. I havenít booked any personal training yet, although I did contact someone about it. When I get home this will be a priority. I feel with sickness and other missed days I really need to extend my program schedule right up until I jump on the plane to Vegas Ė infact I really need to make the time to keep up the workouts as much as possible during Rockstar itself.

    During my trip I received some bad news about 2 of my family and will need to make a detour on my return for 2 funerals. 2017 has been super hard personally, and things have happened that I never thought could happen to my family. Iím staying strong and reminding myself that life is short and you only live once and need to maximise it. Reminds me of the importance to make the most of my Rockstar experience.

    Next week here we come !!

    John

  42. #42
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    Week 9, days 57-63

    Wow, another week down and only three to go. Despite having gone hard basically the whole program, I’m feeling like I should really push even more for the last 3 weeks. This week was fairly good, though I was a little unwell earlier in the week; I’ve been feeling on the verge of getting sick for a long while. I think that was the end of it though, the last 3-4 days I’ve felt in great health, but have felt a little drop in focus on training (more on this soon). Key stats averaged for the week are 89.35kg @ 15.4% bf (though the last 2 days I just pipped 90kg), so supposedly down 150g from last week. I’m happy with this kind of result, because at this stage I’m looking to slow the weight gain.

    *Rant incoming* I watched Hungry for Change the other day. It was a good documentary, with solid points; nearly all of which I’d known before/agree with, but it further hammered home my thoughts around mainstream society and their perception around food; people just really don’t have a clue what is healthy, what is not, how their body works, and it’s all a function of marketing. Couple this with the documentary Fed Up, which I watched recently, it’s had me thinking a lot about the ethics of the food industry, and was especially relevant to me while I study marketing in my postgraduate. For a long time I’d just thought most people were lazy/ignorant/didn’t want to know how to be healthy, it was just much easier giving in to their desires. While I still think this is part of the issue, the other part of the issue is that they’re set up for failure: they’ve been told their whole lives that low fat and the food pyramid is the way to eat, that things like white bread is healthy. Low fat, no fat, sugary crap is in their face 24/7, and the amount of advertising for unhealthy food is mind boggling.

    I strongly believe nutrition and something like ‘personal biology/physiology’ should be taught in schools. When I’m ultimate ruler of the world, it’ll be mandatory, and this is what we’ll do. In Australia, our cooking class is called Home Economics, where generally the kids bake cakes and muffins, and learn to sew. How simple would it be to instead teach how to plan a meal to hit certain micro and macronutrient targets, then cook that meal. Then the next project is to plan a whole day’s food, fitting within macros/calories and maximising micronutrients. Then, the final project is to plan a meal plan for a whole family for a week. It could even be done as part of math and biology classes. It scares me how fundamental this knowledge is, yet there’s literally no effort in teaching it. Instead, we teach how to make cupcakes, the food pyramid, and say horrible foods are ‘sometimes’ foods… define ‘sometimes’ for me.

    What I came to learn/understand about a year ago is that these desires for shitty food are basically manufactured by the food industry; since childhood you’ve been marketed to and eaten in a certain way, which teaches your body (and grows certain gut bacteria) to crave the sugar and the junk foods because it knows it can get the energy hit and some of the nutrients it needs from those foods; but they’re high calorie/high sugar. It’s not until you start eating healthy (say 6 days a week) for moths/years at a time, that these bacteria are replaced and you start craving the good foods, and junk food repulses you. *End rant* (haha). When I first started eating better and weight training as an adult, I found it really hard after 5 or so days and I would basically have to have a massive binge cheat day/weekend, nearly every weekend, then back to nearly starving myself. Over those 5 years, each year I noticed I ate less and less cheat meals, and craved junk food less and less, until this year where I was having a cheat meal maybe once every 2 months (then this program started and it easily went to 0). I haven’t eaten fast food like McDonalds or KFC in years, and the thought of it just sickens me.

    After I upped my vegetables 2 or so weeks ago, I started to feel a lot better. I’ve always tried to eat some veggies, but haven’t really prioritised them; I’d always focussed on hitting macronutrient targets with clean foods, but saw lots of veggies as just extra expense for negligible calories/macros. I’ve really shifted my thinking on this. I was eating more veggies than the average person (because the average person eats like crap), but now I’ve upped it even more. I bought a bunch of random veggies, such as coriander, parsley, kale, lemon, cucumber, ginger, radish, baby broccoli, beetroot, celery, and just blended them all and drank it. Actually tasted pretty good, was surprised. I’m a real ‘anything worth doing is worth overdoing’ kind of person, and after I did this the first time I realised how much I epitomised that tendency; go overboard and do it as efficiently as possible. I’m going to keep doing it every day, and am taking note on how I feel and how my skin looks (refer a few weeks ago, it was really bad, got a bit better since, and now looking to make it perfecto).

    I think I’ll start cutting at the end of week 10; go hard for 1 more week and then cut it back, having a few weeks before Vegas to strip weight (and that’s something I can do pretty effectively). Watch out, shredreham Lincoln incoming.

    This coming week is my last extremely busy week, after which I’ll gain back about 25-30 hours per week; perfect to catch up on accumulated fatigue before heading off. Week 10, come at me bro.

  43. #43
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    Week 9:

    Itís getting real now. The ďN.F.A. Rule ď is squarely in effect. (No Fucking Around).

    The stress of the deadline approaching is palpable. So many things to do with only 5 weeks left now.

    In the past, so many things on my plate would often lead to a state of overwhelm for me. I would sometimes just say, ďFuck it.Ē Check out for awhile. Skip a few workouts, eat a bunch of ďcomfortĒ food, veg-out in front of the tv for a good long stretch of binge-watching. Just shut everything off for awhile. Wallow in the funk.

    Then, after a couple days of this, I would wake up, look around and try to remember where I left off. What was I working on? I would then have to start over, seemingly from zero again.

    I have made a promise to myself that this type of behavior is no longer ok. I have set a new standard for myself that I absolutely will not compromise. When I feel stress building, I find a way to work harder at my daily rituals to combat it. When I notice tasks not being completed in a timely manner, I find a ďnew gearĒ to shift into. My worst day today is now better than my best day as ďthe old meĒ.

    There have been quite a few times recently when I just could not see how I could possibly get everything done in time to be fully prepared for Rockstar by July 25 - the day I am leaving for Las Vegas.

    Getting rid of nearly all my possessions is proving to be quite tedious. I listed a few things on Craigís List, hoping to get maximum value for at least a few of my higher ticket items. (musical instruments primarily).
    After over a week of dealing with the inherent flakey nature of such a platform, I finally let go. I have signed on with an estate auction company. They are coming in to photograph and catalogue everything July 6th. A few days later, they open up an online auction which lasts for 10 days. A few days after that, all my stuff is gone. Simple and clean. No more hassle.

    I think some of my stress a couple of weeks ago was coming from the fact that I didnít have cold hard dates in place for a logistical timeline. I now have the date my house will be listed for sale, and the date by which I need to have organized all the items I am selling at auction.

    I have a competent realtor to handle the sale of my house. I have a competent auction company to handle the sale of my possessions. What I mainly have to do is focus on my nutrition, exercise/training and my rituals to keep me mentally strong every day. Ultimately, all I really have to do is pack a suitcase and get on a plane. Everything else is just details. Whatever doesnít fit in the suitcase, I donít need.

    A few notes on the physical transformation side:

    I met with my local nutrition advisor this past week. We compared my current physical appearance with some photos that were taken a few months ago. The difference is quite dramatic. I have lost over 12 lbs. of fat, and gained 5 lbs. of muscle. The individual strands of muscle are quite visible in the current photos. (not so in previous photos). My nutritionist told me (in bodybuilding terminology) that I looked ďgrainyĒ and ďdryĒ. (Ripped, Lean)

    Stats:

    One week ago my weight was 165 lbs. Today I am 168 lbs. Thatís 3 lbs gained this past week.

    One week ago my body fat % was 11.2 %. Today I am 12% body fat. Thatís a .8% gain in body fat%. So, I gained mostly muscle, but did gain some fat. My trainer assures me that I am engaged in ďLean BulkingĒ.

    I do feel a bit bigger around my waist than I did a few weeks ago. However, I am still using the same loop in my belt. I am feeling strong and lean. Caloric intake has lessened a bit. Last week I averaged about 4,671 calories per day. This week, I averaged about 4,038 calories per day. I think this upcoming week, I will reduce a bit more to around 3,900 calories per day. My macro-mix is at 45% protein, 30% fat and 25% carbs. I am now experimenting with reducing my carb intake pre-workout, saving most of my carbs for post workout and early evening.

    This past week I have been battling a sore ankle. Iím not sure what happened, but it has been nagging me for a few days now. I am using R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) as much as I can. (not as much time for the rest component) I have been doing less jogging for my cardio, opting instead for activities that are a bit easier on my ankle such as rowing, stationary bike, mountain bike, stair climber, elliptical etc.

    So overall, another solid week of progress and growth. Thatís it for now.

  44. #44
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    Week 9

    Coach recommended I start taking probiotics and extra glutamine to help with my digestion from the increased calories. As if my ass needed more firepower. Since I started the fitness transformation the energy produced from wind turbine power plants has doubled across the United States. I did feel better this week while I was eating so Iím going to permanently add it to my morning vitamin stack. My next challenge to conquer is some heartburn that Iíll get at random times throughout the day, mostly from the tuna dish. Part of me wonders if it is because I havenít been getting greens. I cut them out because the portions would have to be enormous for it to calorically make sense and Iíve been eating so much food already I just decided it would be easier without them.

    I looked in the mirror and saw my abs today. My reaction was similar to having Santa Claus come down the chimney and put down presents in front of me. Iíve never had a six pack let alone abs! I figure I shouldnít be trying to see my six pack being on the gainer program but hey, Iíll take what I can get.

    It seems silly but I was reminded how important proper communication is. This weekend I was at a bar for a friendís birthday party and while I was talking to some girls the question of why I was not drinking and why I was eating out of Tupperware eventually came up. The answer I typically give is, ďwell Iím on a 3 month diet and fitness program and so Iím eating 4400 calories a day and cutting out alcohol.Ē Something along those lines. The response typically is ďwell I know people that drink and workout,Ē or ďcanít you have one drink it wonít kill you.Ē Itís always been frustrating for me because I have poured my blood sweat and tears into this effort and for them to write it off is just ridiculous. Even close friends will say well I respect what youíre doing but it seems over the top. Itís 11pm and Iím now eating calories 3600-4400 and then it clicked. They didnít get it. They didnít understand that this was literally my number 1 priority in life. They didnít understand that I was sick of feeling embarrassed when Iíd take off my shirt. That I desperately craved being able to look in the mirror and feeling proud of what I was looking at. That I want to be able to put girls on my shoulders without straining underneath the weight. ďI have decided to make getting the body I want while being in great physical shape my number one priority, and to ensure I get the best results I meal prep so I eat specific foods in specific portions throughout the day and have cut alcohol to both keep me focused and improve recovery time.Ē THAT is what people need to hear when Iím explaining what Iím doing. And it applies to other areas of life to. My family looks at me as a 25 yr old financial advisor and thinks Iíve got it figured out, but really I have no passion for what Iím doing and the best part about it is the paycheck. But if I just say I am going on a 3 month program to better myself how can they understand that Iím doing it because I determined that I wanted to change the trajectory of my life so that I could accomplish things that are important to me. Iím obviously paraphrasing but I spend far too much time on the what and not enough time on the why. The why is what matters.

    Iíve started to notice Iím no longer fighting my body throughout the day as I eat and workout. It was a real shock to me when the program started to have to start eating such a strict diet. Not so much logistically because I knew what actually needed to be done to be successful but mentally it was tough going from desserts and McDonalds four times a week to none at all. Seriously, every time Iíd walk past the frozen section the fat kid that lives inside me would be on the floor kicking and screaming. About a week or two ago those cravings for me have seriously subsided. I even went so far as to enjoy my tuna avocado salad while inside a McDonaldís(friend was eating there, the smell alone could have killed me). I still know inside that an ice cream sandwich would taste amazing but I donít have to use as much will power to keep myself from eating it. In addition, I feel like I am more in touch with my body. The only way I can describe it is I feel like I understand what my body telling me day to day. For example, today was shoulders and while I was doing shoulders I could feel the back of my shoulder tighten up, and not in a good way. Similar feeling to what I was feeling when I would do chest wrong. When I started I would feel this too but I would power through and keep lifting but now knowing what I should feel while I was working out I was able to change my form up which helped tremendously. Once I get back from Europe Iím really looking forward to starting clean with this new found knowledge and experience and tearing it up, but doing it the most efficiently the whole time.

    Most days, Iím not a huge fan of sweat. I was at a sunny bar on Saturday and it was so hot I could feel the sweat dropping down my back. It made me uncomfortable that people might look at me and think it was gross. That is completely different than how I feel at the gym. If it doesnít look like Iím starring in a Gatorade commercial at the end of my workout then I havenít done my job. I pretty much use it as a measure of how much effort I have given, the more sweat the harder I have been working. I feel there has been a direct correlation with how focused I am on the contraction of the muscles and how hard I am working. Prime example of this was on Friday when I was working bis and tris. Typically my entire back is drenched and sweat is dripping down my nose onto my already wet chest. After the bi/tri workout, I was sweaty, but not drenched. And if I reflect back on the workout itself it makes sense. I had been feeling lethargic all day and hadnít given my best effort while I was in there. Just goes to show when you have your mind on other things(being late for birthday parties) it will take away from your workout.

  45. #45
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    Week 9

    I’m up to 3800 calories/day, but the muscle is still slow to come on. Weight up to 153 from 150 , though body fat % is creeping up as well 13.8->13.3 I’m sort of starting to understand the frustration of some of the other guys who are doing the program when it comes to slow gains. We really are putting in a monstrous amount of effort, which has a tendency to boost one’s expectations. However, at the same time I completely understand that putting on meaningful amount of muscle in 2 months maybe somewhat unrealistic. At the end, this is still a run-up to a different lifestyle which is bound to deliver and sustain gains in the longer run.

    I’m wondering if my age may have something to do with this as well. I just turned 39 even though I feel more energized and athletic than I have in a long time, raw muscle gain may be harder. Though I’m still fully motivated and I’m continuing to manage the process tooptimize gains. In fact, a couple of times this week I was short on time at the gym (though I do still get a solid 2 hours at the very least) and had to sacrifice my second cardio (would have been a heresy early on in the program) for some lifting time. I try to soothe my guilty cardio conscience by using stairs everywhere instead of elevators.

    I must admit that I’m enjoying the 3800 cal. I’ve hit my stride in terms of food prep, shopping, sleep schedule and work. Gone are the early constipation worries of the first three weeks and somehow I keep fairly regular food consumption and excretion with no bloating or other issues. All of this on 14-16 total ingredients (not counting spices). Who would have thought….. If only a couple of these calories would turn into muscle….pleeeeease.

    As far as muscle gains go, I had and still maintain a personal theory that people with naturally more efficient/effective muscles would have a harder time gaining muscle with the same intensity/load workouts compared to people with less effective muscle. I speculate that this is because guys with less effective muscle would sustain more muscle damage for the same load and muscle damage is what ultimately leads to hypertrophy. While this is purely conjecture that has spawned in my head (though I am sure this has been thoroughly studied by professionals), I’ve always considered myself to be in the earlier arbitrary category as gaining muscle was always very hard for me. In the past I used to speculate that maybe I just wasn't exercising/eating appropriately, though putting in my best effort over the course of the last 2 month, quality muscle gain is still hard to achieve and I’m wondering if there some truth to my theory.

    Since I’ve deviated to personal theories, I’ll lay out another one quite pertinent to current pursuits: Since I’ve alway had difficulty with women especially in college, I was blown away by how easy some guys had it. In my perception, certain guys would just appear to do absolutely nothing to attract women. Bewildered, I decided that it has to do with the strength of their pheromones, that just happened to have supernatural and irresistible powers. This was back in college and I lacked the breadth of experience and observational acuity needed to understand the complex intricacies of solid game. While I still think that non-perceived neurochemical factors play some very marginal role in attraction, I see how silly the whole thing was. Even still, this theory had some positive reception in my circle of (mostly guy) friends in college, who were also not getting any. It was a topic of many late night philosophical debates while we smoked weed and drank beers in our house, afraid of going out and getting rejected by women…. because we in fact lacked strong pheromones…. So why bother.

    In fact I now realize that this silly theory was a prime example of an Attribution Bias, one of many cognitive biases human beings make in their daily interaction with both the inside and outside world and which lead us off a rational behavioral and cognitive path. Attribution bias places other people’s successes on some internal factors that are beyond their control (pheromones, good looks, family money etc), where as own successes are attributed to more controllable variables such as effort, intelligence, perseverance etc. Awareness of this bias is very instructive when it comes to achieving our personal goals: Focusing on others’ successes can be very useful, but only if we strip our focus of this bias and attune ourselves to actual methods and knowledge that they use to achieve their goals. No need to theorize on why they are better than us or vise versa. It's counter productive.

    Anyways… this digression is a courtesy of “The Believing Brain”, my current non-fiction book, by the great American Philosopher, Psychologist and Athlete, Michael Schermer.

    Back on topic: As I was prepping for PR and getting my schedule lined up I see, that we have two weeks in between the end of the fitness transformation and Vegas time. I don't see why this transformation can’t be 14 weeks and I decided that I’m gonna go just as hard for those two weeks. There, I now have two more weeks to achieve my goals.

    Bring on week 10...

  46. #46
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    Week 9

    This week is the final week of my overseas trip and Iíve ended the week grumpy !! Iím grumpy that I have missed a few gym sessions and had to compromise a few times for meal options Ė add to that a dose of jet lag. Iíll get over it quickly. On the upside my body clock is still in USA time and waking up at 4am means I can now move the main gym workout from evening to morning. This is something Iíve wanted to do for a while.

    During 15hr non stop international flights - food options are limited. Every time I choose the most healthy option available, however I soon realise all the extra sauces and dressings are full of fat and sugar. Infact when I got home I was feeling hungry and craving food. Its amazing what a small amount of not so good food does to my body. I hadnít been hungry or had a craving since day 2 of the program. The amount of bad food that is freely available to me was at an all time high this week. I have airline lounge access which provides free food and free alcohol. I was at a technology conference, again non stop access to food Ė and during the evening Ė events where free alcohol is the norm. Also on the international flights, alcohol and a constant stream of food. Its no wonder that the old me would just graciously accept the offers of free food or booze.

    Iím happy to be home Ė or what I call home for now. In a few short weeks Iím packing all my stuff up and putting it in storage Ė ending my consulting role with my main client. Iíll be homeless and unemployed and Iím super excited to the endless possibilities post PR2017.

    Iíve finished the week @ 93kg and 22.6% body fat. Its funny how each week I see the number and itís a smaller loss than Iíd hoped for Ė however now that I look at my cumulative loss Ė its really amazing that Iíve lost 14.5 kg in a relatively short period Ė and the best thing I still have 5 or 6 weeks to work on my ďpool bodĒ. This week Iíve noticed a lot more interest in my fitness and nutrition from coworkers. Infact the guy that sits next to me has decided to copy my meal plan and start hitting the gym more. Although much of this knowledge is new to me Ė my peers see me as a subject matter expert.

    Iíve been watching a few snap chat videos from wet republic Ė the pool parties look as epic as usual. Snap chat is one app that Iíve got little idea on how to work the interface. I guess its just not designed for my generation lol. Regarding the pool parties, I canít wait until me and the rest of the PR2017 boys are absolutely slaying the pool parties and nightclubs. Reading the previous years diary and blogs, many of the storyís read like they are straight out of a dream !!

    Another thing I noticed this week Ė my bum hurts. Yep not even joking. After sitting for 3 days through conference sessions and then 24hr + worth of flights Ė my tail bone hurts. Iíve not noticed this before on similar trips. Iím guessing Iíve lost my old cushion of fat and my tail bone isnít used to it. Wouldnít it be great if we could target areas to loose fat and not so much other areas. Iím kinda used to my cushioned arse. I would choose my tummy to lose the fat if I could. Either way Iíll lose the tummy fat Ė It just takes a while to transform my entire body. My waist is now 39inches and I keep needing to find skinnier clothes to wear. No use buying too much at the moment until my body size stabilises. Infact I donít mind if it doesnít stablise, it just gradually keeps improving over time till I hit a happy body fat % and lean muscle %

    Its been interesting reading some of the other blogs from the other PR2017. Many of us share similar emotions of not being 100% satisfied in areas of our life. I canít wait to look back after PR2017 and see the amazing progress physically and life in general for all of us. Good things are happening right now and even better things are on the near horizon.

  47. #47
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    Week 10:

    The physical stuff: 1 week ago, I weighed 168 lbs. Today, I weigh 167.2. 1 week ago my body fat percentage was 12%. Today, my body fat percentage is 12.4%.

    Essentially what this means is that there is not much discernible change for this week, at least on paper.

    Caloric Intake: This past week, I have pretty much been at 4,000 calories per day. If you had told me going in to this program that I would be eating 4,000 calories per day and not gaining weight, I would have found it hard to believe.

    I always did have a pretty high metabolism. I am beginning to think that some of the supplements I have been taking might be interfering with my ability to gain weight. One supplement (Uncover) has Caffeine, Green Tea Extract and Yohimbe. Another supplement is pure Green Tea Extract. Another is Yohimbine HCL. Maybe my metabolism is revved up so high, that I am also burning nutrients that would otherwise be used to build muscle.

    I think that I will stop taking these ďFat-BurningĒ supplements. My energy levels have been a bit lower this past week. I think that these supplements may also be stressing my adrenal glands a bit. I have felt like I need a nap mid-afternoon a few days this past week. That is really a new development since the start of this transformation.

    Several months ago (back in November) I cut out all caffeine from my diet. This was going great, and I felt really good about it. However, in March of this year, I traveled to Brazil for 1 month. I did indulge in the coffee while I was there. (I also indulged in lots of unhealthy food) Then 11 weeks ago, I cut out nearly all caffeine from my diet again when I returned to the U.S. from Brazil. (There is a small amount in the pre-workout supplement that I use.) I have had problems with caffeine addiction in the past. A few months ago, I drank 4 cups of coffee in the morning, needed a nap almost every afternoon, then needed 2 cups of coffee after my nap to get going again. It is really an issue for me. 2 or 3 weeks ago, I began having 1 cup of black coffee in the morning while I listen to my motivational message. It has been a real treat, and feels like it helps to get me going for the day. However, I am now drinking 2 cups in the morning instead of 1. How long will it be before I start having 3 cups? How long before I feel like I need coffee to keep me going in the afternoon? Is everything a fucking addiction with me? Am I really wired that way? That pretty much any and all addictive substances are really dangerous for me?

    I am concerned that if I continue to drink coffee, my energy levels will be affected when I get to Las Vegas for the official start of Rockstar. I will begin to taper off with the caffeine use. I will switch to decaf in a couple of weeks. Then I will just not drink it when I get to Vegas. I donít want to have to rely on coffee, 5-hour energy, Red Bull, etc. I am all about getting my energy from more natural sources like proper nutrition.

    This past week, I watched the movie Hungry For Change. It really got me thinking about the overall picture of my health with regard to my diet. Since then, I have watched several other documentaries about nutrition: Food Inc., Food Matters, Sugar-Coated, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead (Parts 1 & 2). I am actually pissed off about what has happened to the food supply in the United States. 80% of all processed foods have added sugar. Virtually all the produce has been sprayed with some type of potentially harmful chemical pesticide or herbicide. Virtually all beef and chicken is fed corn, and therefore must be treated with antibiotics. Virtually everything is genetically modified, altered, ďenhancedĒ. Essentially, the nutrients have been taken out, and a whole bunch of bad shit has been added back in. No wonder this entire country is fat and sick!

    I have learned that sugar is in fact a toxic, addictive substance. No wonder I crave unhealthy foods when I eat in an unhealthy way. Scientists have engineered the food to be highly addictive. The food industry is, and has been doing for a while exactly what the tobacco industry did. Getting us hooked on their product.

    Even though I am pissed at our government for allowing this to happen, I am at the same time a bit relieved. I thought it was just me, and how I was wired- craving the wrong foods, and making poor, unhealthy food choices. It turns out, the deck has been stacked against us by the food industry. Any time I eat something from a box, bag or can, I am taking a real risk with my health. I am a little bit sad that I can no longer ďuseĒ some of these things that I used to enjoy so much. (burgers, pizza, coke, milk-chocolate, desserts, etc.) In a way, I feel like I am losing a friend. It actually feels a bit like it did when I got sober from drugs and alcohol. The daunting notion that I will never again be able to enjoy these things that I used to love so much.

    I have been sober for over 12 years. During this entire time, I have not craved drugs and alcohol, precisely because I have not had any. (Itís not because I havenít craved any that I havenít had any, it has simply been a choice- a choice I was able to make freely because I was free from the addiction). Presently, I am food sober. What this means is that I do not crave any foods that are unhealthy for me. This allows me to make good choices, and maintain my food-sobriety. But, the minute I eat some bread, have a soda, eat a sugary dessert, or otherwise slip just a little bit, I will be putting my food sobriety (and my health) at risk. What a fucking bummer!

    I donít have any thoughts of ever being able to drink or use drugs recreationally in moderation like a normal person. Even if I could, Iím not sure if I would. My life is much better without these things. However, I still hold out hope that I can eat certain things occasionally in moderation like a normal person without completely going off the rails with my diet and nutrition program. Maybe this is not realistic. Maybe I need to look at food sobriety with the same Life-and-Death importance that I do with regard to drugs and alcohol. My life is better when I am eating healthy. As soon as I start to eat unhealthy, I risk getting fat, feeling depressed, having low-energy, missing workouts, losing motivation, giving up on my dreamsÖ the list goes on.

    All this is some pretty heavy shit to be thinking about on a beautiful Sunday morning. Iím going to take a page from my sobriety playbook and not think about the rest of my life with regard to food. Iím going to eat a healthy diet today. (one day at a time).

    Fuck it - Iím going for a bike ride.

  48. #48
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    Week 10

    Two weeks left until the finish of the fitness transformation and Iím really pumped about how Iím looking. Iím feeling more and more grateful for the body that I have as I go through this program. Iím not going to lie, eating 4400 calories has been really tough but my body hasnít reacted by getting fatter, itís remained fairly constant since the second week. Itís funny, when I started my end goal was to put on 20 lbs. I hit 212lbs this week(I started at 192) and if Iím being honest Iím stoked on what Iím seeing. And Iíd be lying if I told you I didnít immediately imagine aiming for 220, 230, or even 240. But it reminds me of something Ian told me during my interview, if you canít appreciate what you have, youíll never be satisfied or truly happy even when you do achieve your goals. And thatís part of what Iím feeling now. It was honestly a little deflating to get to 212lbs and not be the sexy hulk monster that I thought Iíd be. I am very excited to be where I am, and the last 10 weeks have been awesome, but Iíve gotten to see first hand the danger of being focused on just the goals. Thatís how Iíve been my whole life. I have always looked at my achievements as what would make me happy. And this has been a really healthy glimpse into what achieving real goals looks like, and ultimately where my focus needs to be when I think about my long term happiness. The gratitude exercises have helped a ton reframe my perspective but it just goes to show that this stuff takes work and there is always room to get better.

    Speaking of which, one of my big life goals is to figure out how to turn this from a full focused transformation into something I can maintain. I know that I canít expect to hit goals like 240lbs without being fully focused but thatís not what I mean. Iím having trouble seeing how exactly I am going to maintain this new body that I have developed without giving 100% effort. The way it works now, just to keep up with the eating it takes all day preparation and focus and itís really difficult to get other stuff done for more than two hours before I have to shelf it to go eat or workout. So just day to day figuring out how I am going to keep up with the meals is going to be a challenge. Maybe it wonít be so bad if I cut back by 1000 cals but I am struggling to see it now.

    I did something to my shoulder late last week that I felt strained in a bad way while I was working out my chest and shoulders. In spite of that frustrating challenge I am aware of just how much I have learned over the last 10 weeks. For the first six weeks I literally could not figure out how to work out my chest. If I had succumbed to my frustration and just given up or accepted that I was in some way deficient Iíd still be at ground zero. Instead I spent what has felt like hours searching the web for chest problems, proper form, shoulder pain, and was able to identify my problem and determine a solution with my coach. I canít speak to how helpful it has been to have my coach who has helped push me through this. In addition, having my fellow Rockstars with me has been fantastic. It would be amazing if there was an app that could connect people together as gym partners, not necessarily physically but to be starting at the same place, and be available for each other in the same setting that we have been. I have worked with a gym partner before but I think the emotional support and encouragement has been so valuable and is often times one of the things missing from even just friendships in general. You know there are thousands of people out there that desperately want to get in shape but donít get that support from anyone around them. An app that connected people with similar goals in a similar format to this could have a huge impact on how successful people are.

    Quick update, no one challenges my not drinking anymore. And the honest truth is instead of feeling like what Iím doing is a little dumb or unnecessary I feel like a fucking badass telling people my number one priority is working out. Instead people are asking me if it is for my career which I think is just laughable. Apparently the only reason people make big sacrifices is if there is money on the line. There are so few people that make sacrifices to dedicate themselves to something in their life that I am met with genuine shock and admiration when I tell them Iím doing it for me. Crazy to me.

    Anyone struggle with trying to hard? Literally my life story. Most recently, playing pickle ball(tennis with a whiffle ball and wooden paddles) and getting my ass handed to me by 70 year olds has been a humbling and frustrating experience. So many times Iíd be a point away from winning and by a series of self induced mistakes would end up losing. I donít play them anymore but if you had known me when I was in my teens youíd have known how much I loved video games and how ďinvestedĒ Iíd become in the outcome. Iím sure youíve seen guys scream and yell at the tv while watching a sporting event. That was me playing video games by myself. Iíd literally be screaming at the tv about how the game cheats and the coders are stupid and put myself in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Enter The Inner Game of Tennis. By viewing the world around me by what is happening and just letting my body react instead of trying to will everything into existence, Iíve been so much more fluid and successful with what Iíve tried to do. In pickle ball Iíve actually started closing out games, but itís so much farther reaching in my life. I canít tell you how much better conversations go when Iím not trying to ascertain the next great point I should be making in the conversation. It just feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. In the past Iíd put a lot of pressure on myself to do things correct or perfect and when I didnít Iíd question myself on why I couldnít figure it out and would judge myself incompetent.

    I canít put my finger on what it is but the growth Iíve seen the last 10 weeks but really since I applied to Rockstar has just been phenomenal. It could be the journaling, the focus on working out, I donít know what, but I feel in every area of my life Iíve just been leveling up at a frenetic pace. Itís so cool.

  49. #49
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    Week 10

    The stats are creeping up in tandem: Weight 154.6 from 153.8 Fat% 14.2 up from 13.8. However, I’ll throw another stat in there that I haven't thought about till now: 70 days into the program: 0 workouts missed. I will salivate on that one along with the sustained improvement in the mirror aesthetics….(I’d definitely do me, they way I’m looking these days)

    I haven't felt dumpy in several weeks (which is certainly a good thing) until the legs day this week. Those 50/40/30…. ect pyramids look cute and innocent on paper and I tend to forget what a monster they are till I start pumping them out. Not sure why I was feeling sluggish, but I expected this to be a subpar workout. Unfortunately, these “predictions” become self fulfilling prophecies, UNLESS we use goal directed and deeply focused psychological interventions to abort this process. Fortunately I was able to realize that feeling dumpy and dragging through the lifts was in no way in my benefit and really started to push through all the discomfort, fatigue, psychological and physical resistance to maximize the burn. The more I pushed, the better I felt and by the end I had another great lift, with energy to spare for some extracurricular exercises. In fact I was once again asked to keep my voice down by the Library gym staff. While it does mean that I’m probably getting my Library Gym membership cancelled pretty soon (good thing I only need em for 3 more weeks here), it also is indicative of the superb effort and concentration on the exercise. You GOTTA grunt when you’re pushing those legs.

    While we’ve all probably hear of the 80/20 principle, there is another paradigm called the 40% principle, utilized by the Navy Seals. My (slightly stylized) interpretation of it is that our bodies start to broadcast pain and discomfort at about 40% of the max load…. I.e. Once you feel discomfort, you can probably do 2.5 times of what you are doing now. This is elaborated more in “Living with a Seal” a book by Jesse Itzler, a billionaire (and an inspiring entrepreneur) who hired a Navy Seal to live and train with him for a month.

    In my interpretation this is an evolutionary defense mechanism that our bodies have evolved to conserve energy and avoid injury. I.e. The body CAN put out those 100%, but it reserves that level of output for times of extreme stress and survival necessity (which our ancestors encountered on the daily baisi). Not encountering such situations in our everyday lives, it is therefore up to our minds to overcome this barrier and push the body to it’s limits. The way to pushing our physiology however, is through mastering our psychology, as things like “pain”,”tightness”, “fatigue” “sleep deprivation”, (and especially) ”hunger” etc are psychological phenomena delivered by a human body that is programmed to idle with a huge amount of functional capacity to spare. Recognizing this psychological resistance and plowing through it, is a mental capacity that is incumbent on us to develop and sustain to achieve our goals . That’s why when anyone says “it’s all in your head”, “it’s all mental”, “Mind over body etc”,…. I believe it 100%. Rant complete……Wait...not yet. I will have to add that ignoring all pain and discomfort is not a good idea either, as I have learned from ignoring my broken thumb for the last 6 weeks. Looks like the fracture was worse than I thought and I will need to see a hand surgeon some time soon.

    This week I felt (and the numbers sorta corroborate) like the 3800 cals are finally starting to turn into muscle. However, the fat is starting to creep in as well. The 8 pack (obtained from initial shred) is back to 4 and a half pack, though I know that the lower abs are in superb shape underneath there. One of the many things that I have learned in the past 10 weeks is how to make the lower abs work: Instead of moving your legs (whatever the exercise) you gotta MOVE YOUR PELViS and get your lower back off the floor/wall/rack etc. You may feel like your range of motion is miniscule or that you can do half the reps. However, the more you make the motion about your pelvis, the more you will involve your lower abs vs iliopsoas (hip flexors), which are so much stronger and bigger than lower abs, that they will totally take over the exercise. All those guys swinging fifty leg raises in captain’s chair look impressive, but their mechanics are not optimized to build that conspicuous lower ab V, which will hypnotically capture everyone’s gaze and lead it down into my pants…. Where it belongs.

    Anyways…. Now that I’m finished with that rant: In order to put on a bit more muscle and then have time to shred down the jiggly, I have resolved to make the transformation a full 14, weeks especially as my schedule should totally accommodate it. I’ll talk to the coach and get some suggestions as how to best utilize that time. SO 4 more weeks to go!

  50. #50
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    Week 10, Days 64 – 70
    This week was really good in some ways and average in others. Key numbers are 89.7kg @ 15.8% bf, slowly trending up.

    I managed to train really hard while also having to focus on the culmination of a few commitments, which now that they’re done, I’ve regained about 25-30h per week. The downside was that after coming off a ridiculous work rate for a few months with no rest, my body crashed and I got sick, and mental and physical exhaustion took over. Having learned to really listen to my body, I knew this was a point I had to take my foot off the pedal, and take some time. I was sick and exhausted all weekend, but resolved to utilise the time in the most effective way possible; that is, spend the time looking after my mental health, taking the time to do some deep thinking and reflection, meditation, and connecting with myself and the people close to me. The benefit was that I emerged with a level of clarity on life I’ve never reached before, and such a strong feeling of connectedness to other people and the world around me. I’m more mindful, and gratitude for the simple things is coming a lot easier. I feel like I feel like I peeled back layers of ego & personal issues that had prevented me from being completely genuine on a deep level with people in the past. I also reached a level of acceptance of the situation I’m in, and that I’m in complete power to change it. The downside was missing 3 days of weights, which I will be catching up this week on days without weights, such as Yoga and the two ab days this week. Over the weekend I lowered calories, as I wasn’t expending the energy and I was having trouble keeping the normal amount down, and I wasn’t too worried about doing so given I decided to start cutting in Week 11.

    Highlight of the sessions this week for me was the chest / back DTP pyramid set; that was some intense training. I wasn’t expecting to, but I trained at a university gym with some friends – lately I’ve been training at a pretty old school hardcore gym with some total freakbeasts that make me look like a midget, but training at the uni gym was the opposite end of the spectrum, and it made me realise how far I’ve come in the last 5 years. It wasn’t really an ego pump, but more of a moment to sit back and appreciate the hard work and effort that’s lead me to where I am today, and be grateful.

    A moment of horror occurred this week; my hack to easily eating ridiculous amounts of clean calories and vegetables was no more – my blender broke… (well, I filled it with too much goodness and it leaked and sucked up some smoothie into the electrics). Figured I’d rinse it and dry it out, it’d be fine. It wasn’t. So making my protein pancakes was tough just using a fork to mash it all, ended up with the lumpiest oat/banana/egg omelette thing. I lasted 1 day before I went out and bought another one; not cheap but well worth it.
    I’ve been enjoying blending up every random vegetable and herb I can think of and smashing it before I start my day. My skin is improving rapidly, and I’m feeling good overall. Not sure if it’s purely related to this, or to getting more rest, probably a combination of factors.

    I’m going to start cutting from week 11. I’m not all that excited to, as I thought I would have been. I’ve been enjoying feeling and being bigger, and it was a great experiment these last 10 weeks to see what it’s like to be bigger but still kind of lean. Some morning’s I’d get up and be exceptionally lean, with a better physique than I started with. I am amazed at how little fat I’ve put on, by simply committing and focussing to eating a purely clean diet, with minimal artificial sweeteners, minimal processed foods, no sugar at all, and no cheat meals. I had sort of wanted to bulk right through to the end of the program, and since my stomach would still be huge and ready for lots of food, I was going to go and blitz an eating challenge (1 meter pizza or a 3kg burger). Alas, I’ll cut, but I’ll look to not be too dramatic at least starting out. Normally I’d drop calories a lot and up cardio, then slowly drop calories and up cardio progressively each week. This time, I’ll only moderately drop calories (from 4000 to say 2500 initially), and keep cardio the same (though I may jog where I have been walking for some sessions). Each week until Vegas I’ll assess the rate of loss and adjust as required, but the aim will be to get shredded with calories high enough to enjoy a normal diet, so I can just maintain and focus on other things.

    Off to eat some chicken, and pepper my angus for calorie deficit.

  51. #51
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    Week 10

    Wow Ėtime has flown. Canít believe its only 2 weeks left in the 12 week fitness program. Iíve already decided that I wonít simply end the program in 2 weeks. Iíll keep the effort up until the minute I jump on the plane to vegas. I need to make up some lost time Ė Iíve now missed quiet a few workouts which Iím not proud of Ė infact it makes me feel shit.
    Life has been busy and Iíve had some heavy stuff on my plate Ė and Iíve simply let my busy schedule get in the way of my workouts. Every single person on this program has a busy life Ė and its easy to come up with an excuse why you should skip a workout. Iím making sure from this day forward Ė the amount of skipped workouts will be ďZEROĒ. I need to have the same attitude when its 1am and Iím tired and Iíve been out 6 nights in a row Ė you just push through the discomfort Ė and thatís when the results begin to grow.
    Talking about results, this week 92.5kg and 22.5% body fat. Small loss this week Ė likely due to the half hearted workout efforts. With my big overall weight loss in 10 weeks, Iím probably resting on my laurels and taking it easier than I should. Note to self - harden the fuck up and get busy in the gym !!!
    Its just over 4 weeks till I jump on the plane to Vegas. Iíve already booked the 3 flights I need from my city to Vegas. From Australia to USA itís a long 14hr flight, but with timezone differences you actually arrive earlier than you took off Ė weird. Total travel time is around 24hrs for me. Iím arriving on the 25th July which will give me a small window before the program officially kicks into gear.
    Work wise Iíve got 1 more week and then Iím unemployed. Iím busy trying to finish a couple pieces of work and hand things over in an orderly fashion. This will be the first time Iíve finished a job and not had something else lined up. Iíll have around 3 Ĺ weeks to tidy up my affairs and visit some relatives which is about the perfect amount of time for me to get all that done. One thing I canít wait to do is shark diving. I did it earlier in the year but we didnít see any white pointers. Next week Iím going to do it again Ė fingers crossed this time there is some massive white pointer sharks circling the cage.
    Some of the exercises and notes from the other Rockstars have reminded me to be grateful for what I already have or have done. Last couple years Iíve been so fortunate to tick off quiet a few bucket list items Ė many things that people just dream about Ė Iíve just gone and done them. It makes sense to sit back a little and reflect on what awesome things Iíve already achieved Ė instead of looking for the next bigger and better thing to do.
    Until next week Ė bye !

  52. #52
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    Week 11:

    I wish I was writing to say I am on top of the world. I wish I was writing to say that I am feeling strong, powerful, excited and full of energy. However, if I am being honest, I am feeling down. I am feeling flat. I am feeling lethargic. I have low energy. My thoughts and words donít seem to come to me as quickly as they did a few weeks ago. I donít feel as smart. I donít really feel like doing the things that I need to do to be ready for my departure. I hate to even use this word, but here it is: I feel depressed.

    I am feeling some fear around this. It has been a full week since I have been completely off the mood-stabilizer I was taking. I hear this voice in my head. This voice is my fear saying, ďDid I make a mistake?Ē (stopping the medication). My fear says, ďYouíve tried to stop taking this medication before, you felt bad for a long enough time and then you needed to start taking the medication again.Ē My fear says, ďWhat were you thinking? Itís not too late to start taking the medication again. It would start to kick in in about 3-4 weeks.Ē

    What if I feel like this during Rockstar? Thatís a big concern for me. Each one of us has his thing that is his biggest challenge. Itís quite possible that this is mine. How do I stay in a resourceful state on a consistent basis? It is literally of life and death importance to me. My life (the quality of life that I am striving for) depends on it. For honestly, if I knew that I would have to go through the rest of my life feeling the way that I do right now, Iím not sure if I would be up for it. The bright side is that I have felt this way thousands of times. History has taught me that this feeling always passes. But, whenever I feel this way, it always feels like itís going to last forever.

    Looking back over the last 25 years, itís hard to calculate the cost of feeling like this. There is no fucking way that I am going to let the next 25 years of my life be dictated by the whims of my feelings. I will learn how to master my emotions, or I will die trying.

    In the past, when I felt depressed I would routinely ask myself the question, ďWhat the fuck is wrong with me?Ē I recently learned that this is not an empowering question. This question causes my brain to search for all the things that are ďwrongĒ with me. In this mode, there is rarely a shortage of problems.

    I recently learned that there are much more empowering questions to ask myself. One such question is, ďHow can I bring the very best of me, right here, right now?Ē Another empowering question is, ďHow can I appreciate and enjoy even more the passionate, caring and playful man that I have become today?Ē

    This question is called my ďPrimary QuestionĒ. In fact, as I write this, my brain is trying to come up with answers right now. For example: Just the fact that I am writing this and sharing it with such an amazing group of guys says a lot about the progress I have made in the last year. For a year ago, I would not have been considered a good choice for this program in the eyes of some.

    I have to constantly remind myself that even though Iím not where I want to be right now, Iím damn sure not where I used to be. Progress can be a tricky thing. Itís all too easy to focus so hard on the fact that we are not where we want to be in a given area, that we lose sight of the fact that we are light years beyond where we started. Progress is happinessÖ only if we acknowledge, appreciate and enjoy the progress we have made.

    I went out with some friends last night. (even though I really didnít feel like it) At least I forced myself to go out and enjoy the night. I even managed some nice interactions with a couple of girls. My game is quite rusty. (I havenít been going out much at all for a few months now) I could easily ask, ďWhat the fuck is wrong with me?Ē Or instead, I could recognize that my ďrustyĒ game today is ten times better than my ďAĒ game a year ago.

    I think that part of my journey is just being a good friend to myself, and loving me no matter if I feel ďFierceĒ or a little down.

    Iím quite sure that once I am in the super-charged environment of Vegas, surrounded by super-positive, loving, supportive and encouraging friends, that this feeling, if it comes around at all, wonít last for long.

    Nobody said any of this was going to be easy. Itís no small task. Itís unrealistic to think that I should feel on top of the world 100% of the time. Iím guessing that this entry is a stark contrast to the ones I was writing a few weeks ago. It would be all to easy to just gloss over this stuff, and let you believe that it was just pure smooth-sailing for me. Well, Iím not going to do that. I will be honest with you (and me) throughout this entire journey. If there is no struggle, then what is it really worth?

    I do hope that my next entry is more inspiring.

  53. #53
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    Week 11:

    Bad…bad….bad….bad...bad week. In the whirlwind of moving, traveling, broken appliances, broken pipes, broken bones, broken airline schedules and doctors appointments, my fitness transformation took a hit. I did not work out at all on Thursday and lost track of my calorie/macro counts midweek. I actually had to utilize 5 different gyms across NE, NYC and Chicago to get most of my workouts done this week. The good news is that I still stuck to the diet but loser me not fulfill my calorie/macro goals. I’m also making up some exercise over the weekend, but still...I was hoping to keep my streak going through the whole 12 weeks.

    Unfortunately, issues will persist into next week, as I will need a surgery to repair my broken (for 8 weeks now) thumb. The procedure itself is not a big deal, but I do have to travel to NYC to get it done and then have to get back to work midwest the following day, 8-10 hours each way. Plus I will need a splint for at least a part of PR.

    Good thing, one of my classmates mentioned “The obstacle is the way” . This book is a must for anyone wanting to accomplish anything. It has been a huge motivator in getting me through this week and is bound to support everything I do from now on.

    I also have been doing the gratitude exercise to the best of my ability. While I’m generally very appreciative of my luck/fortune (growing up in a poor country and then moving to the US will do that to people), I became very appreciative and proud of where I my body is now compared with where I was a year ago:

    Back then, I was going through the worst injury of my life. I do not write about that a lot because it was an extremely difficult time for me. I had a pinched nerve in my neck which kept me in a perpetual state of pain and weakness and made sleep virtually impossible without the aid of unhealthy amounts of alcohol. I saw 4 neurosurgeons and tried a huge numbers of various meds, though fortunately I knew better than to even think about any opioids or benzos as they are a sure gateway to addiction in this particular scenario. Any attempts at exercise failed immediately and at my nadir, I could not squeeze out more than 5 push ups. 5! This was down from an easy 80 that I could do right before this happened. This thing waxed and waned for 6-8 months during which I stopped thinking about any physical fitness (it really wasn't feasible) and had some serious fuck-it-itis about everything other than not screwing up at work and getting through the day. Eventually, my decision to put off surgery (which was a personal one and may not be necessarily right for others with similar condition) paid off and the pain went away. How do these things go away? Still very controversial in the medical community, but this is one of the many things that I am grateful about when I do the gratitude exercise (which I should be doing more)

    While the pain went away, my body was WASTED. And it only took 6 months to get that way. Getting back into shape seemed insurmountable. Every trip to the gym, every attempt to strain myself or to even break a sweat was a disappointment. All I could think about was how much I have decayed and how fast. Even thinking about the PR transformation program seemed just dumb. Maintain a reasonable diet? What's the point… can’t get into shape anyways.

    Not wanting to give up, however I decided to implement a simple plan: All I had to do today, was just a little more than yesterday. Just a bit… 5 push ups yesterday? Just do 6 today. One pull up yesterday? Do one and one assisted today….. Two assists tomorrow. Rowed for 800M yesterday? Do 850 today. 10 sit ups yesterday…? Do 11 today and I’m champ. 12 tomorrow and I’m THE champ again. That was it. It started out slowly and the goals were not exorbitant, but I stuck to the plan and it became self sustaining and accelerating. There were definitely difficult stretches and there was pain. As the book says: “it was simple, but it wasn't easy”. Sticking to the plan however, made each new the day THE best day since I started working out again. Once the time came to apply for PR, I was actually excited to take on the transformation and supersede my prior shape.

    When I took my pics today, i actually was in the best shape of my life and all of this less than a year after the worst. Human body has an amazing capacity for recovery but we must realise it and push it to do it. I’m thankful and proud of being at the near end of this transformation.

    While I’m apprehensive about the challenges of week 12 (and 13&14) I’m concurrently intrigued and excited by how I will be able to face them and overcome them….

  54. #54
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    Week 11, Days 71-77

    First week at a caloric deficit. To be honest, I’ve been enjoying being slightly larger and haven’t really had the drive or the want to get lean, which has affected my focus this week. That’s probably also related to being a bit tired from lower calories. I’ve dropped around 1.5-2k on the scales, typical of the first week shedding water weight. I’ve stayed relatively high carb (~200P/~250C/ rest fat) to hit 2500 calories, and next week I’ll drop to 2200 with the calories coming out of carbs. In fact, I’ll roughly halve the carbs and add some more fat. I know and am more than capable of making very rapid changes in the cutting phase, but I’m really not going to. Id rather keep my calories as high as possible to maintain a higher metabolism, and more sustainably/slowly get lean. Plus, my goal for the week going forward is to kick my diet and training into more of a maintenance mode, so over the next few weeks before I head off, I can settle into a more moderate training routine and start focussing on my life more broadly (as well as getting everything sorted before going away for a few months).

    Whether I go into RS with the best body of my life is kind of irrelevant to me (and it’s also a highly subjective point – if you asked me before the program what my ideal would be going in, and ask me now, would be two very different answers); I started with a decent muscular and lean physique, and over the last 11 weeks I’ve packed on some size and look and feel amazing. Way more energy, feel healthier, feel stronger, feel more motivated and stable. Sure, I’m looking softer and I don’t have an 8 pack from any angle and my triceps no longer always look like I’ve been kicked by a small horse, but I no longer care. I’ve reached the point of having a much healthier mindset about my body (in the past I would have called this a cop out, and sat in my ivory tower of ignorance and continued starving myself). Having a personality like mine drives me to optimise and do the best I personally can with everything I set my mind to, but my view of what this optimisation in terms of fitness was all wrong. Previously I’d ended up with a body that actually wasn’t all that attractive to anyone but other bodybuilders; I looked/felt frail, all muscle and bone, and the issue was that I was never happy with myself no matter how lean I got (not to mention how hungry and susceptible to binge dieting I was, with poor energy levels). Now I’m a lot happier in my skin, and I think that’s an amazing takeaway for the whole program.

    I’ve really appreciated seeing the journey the other guys have gone through for their fitness transformations, their mental shifts, the highs and lows and their physical overhaul. It’s going to be awesome to be in a room with all of these guns ready to hit it.

    I spent the weekend doing a bit of exploring, keeping my phone and other electronics as out of sight and out of mind as possible, and just enjoying great company. I’m constantly seeing how important it is to surround yourself with the right people, and investing in those friendships and relationships that are right for you in that time. Since finishing up with my hectic period last week, I’ve been careful to take the time to let my brain somewhat ‘idle’, which has been incredibly hard to do coming off months of high level activity. But just a few days of this, and reducing phone time to allow my brain to wander, I’ve regained some of the motivation and drive I had been missing, and I’ve been able to somewhat disconnect my logic mind and go back to just ‘being’; being in the moment and enjoying being alive. Enjoying the feeling of the warm winter sun on my face, sitting on the grass, feeling the cool breeze, seeing everyday beauty in the world like the glistening of the sun on the water, and the joy in a laugh. If you’d told me a year ago I’d be thinking like this, I’d have laughed and tried to logic my way to happiness (if I could even realise that’s what’s really important).

    Looking into the final week, I’m going to focus my clarity and stillness of mind on really smashing each session in the gym, squeezing every last bit of energy out of each muscle. And I’ll of course use the focus to drop some more weight. Week 12, final week, lets finish the official program with a bang.

  55. #55
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    Week 11

    Week 11 is finished !! Wow the 2nd half of this transformation has really flown past quickly. 1 more week to go officially. However as Iíve mentioned previously Iíll continue the program for now and reassess once Iím in Vegas.

    Itís ironic how at the start of the program I was looking forward to completing the program in 12 weeks. Now I realise Iím nowhere near ready to finish the program and there is no reason I canít continue. I want the result to keep coming, a gradual improvement each week. This journey has been eye opening and the best thing Iíve ever done for my health.

    When youíre young you easily forget how important health really is. Iíd hate to be rich and have failing health. Before my travels I went to the doctor to get some blood tests, solely to see how Iím travelling health wise and if there was any biochemistry imbalance issues with my strict diet. I finally made some time this week to go and grab the results.
    The results were fantastic Ė especially my cholesterol. My doctor thinks Iím in the 10% of best cholesterol levels. Previous years I had reasonably high cholesterol levels so itís great to see such good results on paper. My doctor was definitely impressed. He also wanted to record my current weight, and then said donít worry Iíve got your weight from 4 weeks ago. I said 4 week weight records are way obsolete for me, and gave him the latest figures.

    As of Friday this week Iím officially unemployed. This is the first time ever Iíve not had a job lined up. A lot of things have lined up this year to ensure itís my perfect time to do PR. My contract with my main client was naturally drawing to a close and June30 is perfect timing to end it. This gives me 3 Ĺ weeks to visit some relatives and tidy up my affairs before I leave OS. At this stage I donít have a return ticket to Australia and Iím just going to play it by ear on my exact schedule post PR2017. I had planned on moving to Sweden but a solid job offer has been elusive thus far Ė despite many good indications. Iím going into this with an open mind on what might happen after.

    As Iím not planning on returning to Australia, Iím pretty much selling most of my possessions so I can live out of a suitcase. 2 exceptions are 2 classic cars that Iím keeping. One has been in my family since new in 1959. The 2nd one is one Iíve had for 20 years. Storage is expensive and its not ideal paying $$ to keep them. When Iím away Iíll have a think about what Iíll do with them longer term.

    I got the traditional big ďgoodbyeĒ card from my workmates and a $100 gift voucher at an electronics chain. My first day of ďfunemployementĒ I went and purchased a Fitbit using the voucher and some cash. I had one previously but it died ages ago and I never replaced it. I regret not having one at the start of the transformation program. One of my nerd passions is playing with data and telemetry. I soon hacked my Fitbit so I got second by second granular charts for my heart rate Ė way more information than the fitbit app gives you.

    I look forward to writing the week 12 report this time next week. Until then Ė bye.
    PS I didnít forget to put this weeks weight and body fat figures. Iíll keep the suspense going until next week.

  56. #56
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    Week 11

    Numb. The feeling perpetuated my being as I sat in my office on Friday afternoon. On Monday I had asked my manager for a leave of absence to pursue this program. He was understandably frustrated, I had been promoted two months prior and was now leaving him out to dry. But he made the case on my behalf to HR and asked for the leave. Only when they came back I was not going to be offered a leave. Effective July 21, Iíd no longer be with the firm. So there I was in my office, not feeling much of anything, yet totally overwhelmed to the point where I couldnít get my work done. I didnít understand. I had just been given some life changing news, why didnít I feel anything? When I got home I journaled to help me try to process what had happened and thatís when my emotions started to unravel. It started slow but after 30 minutes I was literally crushed under the weight of the dark terrible thoughts that floated inside my head. ďGreat now you are unemployed, what is your plan if you fail? How do you know you wonít regret this? What happens if you canít make money and pay your bills? What makes you so sure that this is the right decision?Ē I have craved financial liberation my entire life and my promotion got me a hell of a lot closer to giving me that. And I had just given that up without a real plan for how I was going to live once I finished the program. For how shitty that evening was I think it was really important to come to grips with the crippling feelings of self doubt. For all the work I have put into cleaning out the garbage that is in my mind, I still have a lot more to do. And itís funny, but I actually feel grateful for the opportunity to see all this negative shit that hides in my psyche bubble to the surface. Itís in these rare life-changing moments that you get to see who you really are when you look in the mirror. In journaling, I was able to confront my fears head on. Once I had established what I was feeling, I could then change my focus to where it needed to be: what changes this program will bring to my life, how will this benefit me in the long run, what do I need to do to make sure I get the most out of this opportunity. Quitting my job was hard. But the outcome couldnít put me in a better position for moving forward into the next chapter of my life.

    I love how I am looking in the mirror. When I tell people I have gained 20 lbs they look at me like Iím crazy. The last 11 weeks have just really opened up my eyes to what is possible for me as far as reshaping my body. I literally canít wait til I get back and can dive head first into putting on some serious muscle. Back to present, for the last three weeks before the program starts I am joining the shreddy boys and going on a cut. Iím a little nervous. I did a cut back in August of last year(granted, I started at 195lbs) and no matter what I could do I could not get rid of the fat on my belly. I sort of feel like I wonít see any results even with three weeks but I want to try. Partially I am also relieved to reduce my daily regimen by at 1500 calories. My body has adjusted to the point that I get viciously hungry after 3 or 4 hours so Iím expecting and dreading hunger pangs throughout the day.

    To this point I had been perfect with the diet but I did miss a meal yesterday. Though disappointing, I am using it as the gateway to my cut. My weight has been erratic at times so I was shocked to get onto the scale and find that I hadnít lost a couple lbs overnight.

    Cravings are back. I went to a sushi restaurant and had chicken and rice but was drooling over the rolls. I plan on continuing the diet up until Rockstar starts but I will indulge myself one time for my own sanity. I feel like I have been sentenced to the electric chair and I have to decide my last meal. So much pressure to choose the right food!

    I finally am starting to feel the gym habit starting to form. Never is it easier to go to the gym when all you can think about is how you want to go to the gym. Itís almost like how I used to be with playing video games, except I like that I want to go to the gym. The trick will be continuing to develop this habit until it becomes impossible to fall out of. I did an experiment where I read 15 minutes every day for 18 weeks to see if I could build the habit. I thought I had built the habit, I loved reading by the end of it and it pretty routine by the end. Problem was, once I stopped keeping track I stopped reading entirely. I have a buddy, Trevor. He has literally been going to the gym 4 days a week since I met him 7 years ago. Thatís a gym habit I want in my life. I bet he couldnít even stop going if he wanted to, it has literally just become a part of who he is. Iím next; I want that to be me. Next stop, 240lbs lets go.

    Still one of the hardest challenges has been pushing past the burn through the sets. Abs are the best example: Ab Ripper X and the Sports Food Abs I take breaks because the pain and discomfort get to a point where I just stop and rest before picking it back up. Iíd be more understanding if it was because I physically canít do it. I just get to a point where it can be hard to dig deep and push through that last rep. Short of blasting myself with preworkout every day, I havenít been able to get a consistent motivation for pushing past. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I donít.

  57. #57
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    Week 12:

    Itís hard to say if I am where I thought I would be physically or not as the result of all the time and effort I have put in these last twelve weeks. Looking in the mirror, I am pleased with what I see. Do I wish my muscles were bigger than they are? Sure. Do I want more definition in my abs? Yes. No matter how much progress I make in anything, I can still want more.

    Bottom line, I am happy with my progress. If I could have the body I have right now for the next 10 years, I would probably take it. About two weeks ago, it seems like I reached the point of homeostasis with my body. It didnít seem to matter how much I was eating, I was not putting on any more weight. The ratio of fat, protein and carbs didnít seem to matter much anymore either. I am not losing any more fat, and I am not gaining any more muscle. It could be that I reached the limit of what can be accomplished within the parameters of this 12 week transformation for a man of 48 years. Without the aid of anabolic steroids, I think the muscle I can expect to gain from here on out is minimal. I had hoped to be about ten pounds heavier at this point. Oh, well. It seems that not everything is within my control.

    I canít help but wonder if it would have made a difference if I had started off as gainer instead of loser. I lost 4 percent body fat in 4 weeks while in caloric deficit. Then it took several weeks for my body to get the message that it was in caloric surplus mode and could begin to grow. I suppose that there are lots of ways to get to the same destination.

    I am grateful for many things about this transformation. (besides that it is over) I learned quite a bit about my body. I tested its limits. I pushed past what I thought were its limits. I learned quite a bit about strength training. I had quite a few habits in my workouts that were not productive. I learned a considerable amount about nutrition, cooking, meal prep and controlling my environment with regard to my food intake.

    In the past, I didnít give much thought to what I would eat if I went out somewhere. I would often find myself in situations where I would have to eat what was available, whether it was a healthy option or not. I now donít leave the house without having something with me to tide me through nutrition-wise.

    Because the physical results I have achieved have been so hard-fought, Iím sure that I will think long and hard before making food choices that I know could set me back, or even worse, de-rail me altogether. It is difficult to train the body to crave only healthy foods. It is very easy to eat ice cream, pizza and cheese burgers. I donít yet know if I will be able to have certain things in my diet in moderation, or if I just need to keep them out altogether. Only time will tell.

    Twelve weeks ago, I was 16% body fat and medicated on an anti-depressant and a mood-stabilizer. Today I am free from those medications. I am strong, lean, flexible and healthy. Thatís a beautiful thing. Itís all too easy for me to forget where I was a few years ago. (In a wheelchair after a motorcycle crash, not sure if I wanted to live anymore)

    What I hope to achieve moving forward is balance. Keeping the focus on my gratitude for the progress I have made in several areas of my life. While also striving to achieve all that is possible for me to achieve.

    I must say, my emotions have run the gamut in these last 12 weeks. I have felt on top of the world and unstoppable at times. I have also felt drained, vulnerable and sad. Itís hard to know how much of any of these feelings is linked to being on medication, or weening off of it.

    That is one of the main reasons I want to be done with this type of medication once and for all. The whole question of, ďIs this me feeling this way? Or is this the medication talking?Ē I used drugs and alcohol for years to numb how I was feeling. Once I got sober, I started taking anti-depressants and mood-stabilizers. Itís quite possible that I have never known what itís like to just feel regular emotions, the way a regular, normal human being feels them, until now. Itís certainly possible that I donít yet have all the tools necessary to deal with every emotion I may experience in the coming weeks, months and years. I am confident however, that what I donít know - I can learn.

  58. #58
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    Week 12

    I canít believe 12 weeks is already over. Goes to show you how time flies. I am still apart of the shreddy boys and will be on a cut diet for the next two weeks until Rockstar starts(come on abs I know youíre there). I am really excited to start loosening up. If Iím being honest, I was militant in regards to the diet up until about week 11 when I ate out twice. Iíd like to figure out how to use the myfitness pal app but to this point I have struggled with using it correctly so Iíll need to stick with a preplanned diet.

    Now that I ďcanĒ eat whatever I want, Iím really hesitant to just go ham. I wouldnít say Iíve been planning, but I may or may not have been dreaming about eating an entire Dominoís Pineapple and Bacon deep dish pizza, a supreme lemon meringue pie, an In N Out Double Double Animal Style combo and Dennyís pancake breakfast. This morning I was coming back from a trip and my food had gone bad so I got a whole wheat steak and egg burrito with guacamole which I would consider to be a cheat meal. Funny enough, it has helped me sharpen my focus. Itís not about having some blown out cheat day where I eat 6,000 calories worth of carbs and sugar. Even a small variety was enough to help me manage the cravings and keep working at my goal. And that is what will make the difference for me turning this from a 3 month diet plan into a life long habit. In the past when I would go through these programs, the week I would finish I would binge really hard on the things that I had cut out from my life and would find it near impossible to get back to the discipline I had kept throughout the program. In order to maintain this, I think that I need to slowly ease back into eating out and make it once in a blue moon rather than I either live my life as a serial Tupperware maniac or Wilber from Charlotteís Web.

    ďJust push em out. Youíre almost done. Fuck it just keep going.Ē Ė my thoughts during every DTP set. 50 reps feels like too many. Not only is it mind numbing but I lose all my form on the way down. For the past 3 ish weeks I have not felt like I have gotten the most out of my workouts. I realized this week that I stopped focusing on the mind muscle connection. Iíll have to go back and look through my notes, but I think it was around week 7 that I stopped writing about it, and since then I have not been as sore as I was during the first weeks. Iím sure part of it is because my muscles are now used to the routine of breaking down after lifting weight, but I think it has more to do with my focus and effort in the workouts themselves than just my body adapting. My coach told me to take some notes from the mind muscle research I had done and review them at each workout. Well as soon as I stopped I went back to my old habits of throwing the weight up, which really was exasperated when I started DTP, because the high rep ranges require good form or I might injure myself.

    This has also led me to believe that there is a huge disconnect between what people actually do and what they can do. Case and point are these DTP sets. Either because I was too exhausted or I was lifting too heavy I would just be throwing the weight up. Now most people, including myself, stop here and do the minimum effort to push out the weight. But then there are people who do not stop, who continue striving for their perfect form, even when their arms are screaming and their body shakes, and those are the people that get the results that they are looking for. Itís fucking hard! It seems like a monstrous task but the only thing that separates what people achieve is the amount of effort and duration they can sustain it for.

    Lets recap the last 12 weeks. I started out at 192 lbs with about 10.3% body fat, and ended this morning at 207.6lbs and 12.7% body fat. I hit my heaviest ever at 212.4lbs and 13.3% bodyfat the beginning of week 11. I was working out with my buddy the other day, and we both have our shirts off and when I looked in the mirror I laughed because I looked like a serious gym bro. I am so much bigger than I was when I came into the program and it is exceptionally badass to see how my body has changed over the last couple months. As someone that has always been tall and skinny it was a huge wake up call for me to see that if I ate enough food I could indeed grow larger. I have shrank the cooking time to about 3 hours each week. Like I mentioned earlier, I only have missed two meals(where I went out to eat instead of eating my Tupperware) and a single workout through the entire 84 days. I feel great, people have given me compliments about my body, and the best part is I still have a ways to go before I get to where I want to be. For the next two weeks I am shredding at about 3k cal a day, so Iím hoping that my tummy starts to go away. My belly fat is the piece of my body I am most insecure about, so if I can remove some fat and see some of the abs I have been slaving away at would be a huge accomplishment for me.

  59. #59
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    Week 12

    199.3 lbs a loss of 37.7 lbs in 12 weeks. 17.1kg loss if youíre from the metric part of the world. Whatever part of the world youíre from, these big figures speak for themselves. Iím super proud of the achievement in a relatively small amount of time. By now, there isnít a single person in my personal or work life that hasnít commented on how good Iím looking.

    The Rockstar fitness program has empowered me to improve myself. The program provides the knowledge, but its up to the individual to actually complete the work. Iím not alone, the fellow Rockstars and coaches are super supportive. I expect this bond will grow even closer during the summer.

    Iíve made a lot of sacrifices over the last 3 months but it is 200% worth it and Iíd do it all again in a heartbeat. In fact my body fat numbers are still a fair way off where I want to be, so doing another round of the program would be worthwhile. My fat numbers are 21.6% body fat, a loss of a full 8% for the 12 weeks. Ideally Iíd be down around 10-12%. Fortunately there is a couple weeks before Rockstar kicks off, so it will give me an opportunity to reduce those fat numbers even more.

    Iíd like to think I already have a great 6 pack abs, however they are just covered in a layer of fat and we canít see them yet. The layer is way thinner than 12 weeks ago but its still hiding those little muscles. In time they will reveal themselves !! Iím kinda a little jelly of the amazing abs that the other Rockstars have developed. It is confirmation that this fitness program works well.

    My waist size has dropped 5 Ĺ inches as measured around the belly button. Its been a challenge finding old clothes that actually fit me !! Itís a great problem to have, and its nothing some shopping in Vegas wonít fix. No use buying too much now whilst my body is still transforming.

    Its been a bit over a week since I became unemployed and I donít remember the last time Iíve been this busy. There is a lot to do when youíre packing up your old life, and not expecting to come back to it. I donít have a return ticket to Australia, and to be honest Iím not sure Iíll need it Ė no idea on what Iím doing post Rockstar.

    Work is something Iíve always be good at. Itís the rudder in my life that keeps everything stable. Iíve never been unemployed. Its kinda crazy that Iíve given all that up, and Iím jumping head first into the unknown.

    Fortunately Rockstar is pretty well documented Ė so the ďunknownĒ isnít too unknown. In fact the previous years diaries and reviews are one of the biggest reasons I knew Rockstar was for me Ė and I just had to do everything in my power to make it happen. So many things have just fallen into place this year to make it happen. Largely thatís because Iíve put Rockstar first, and the rest of my life second.

    Iíve been feeling great health wise, plenty of energy. Who would have thought half way through a cardio session on the treadmill Iíd be jogging with a massive smile on my face ? Iím actually really enjoying having the endurance to do 25 mins of continuous jogging. Before the fitness transformation Iíd struggle to do 2 mins jogging before Iíd need to slow the machine down to a walk.

  60. #60
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    Week 12, Days 78 – 84

    What a journey. As I finish up the official leg of the fitness program, I’m feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to try a new approach to my training and fitness, to do it alongside a bunch of likeminded inspiring guys, overhaul my mental thinking toward life, health and fitness, and to do 180’s on many of my thoughts and assumptions. It has been awesome to be alongside the rest of the guys while they dig into and commit to their health & fitness, and seeing their approach and understanding develop and change over the period was inspiring. For me, while I’ve made some good progress physically, all the work and effort is showing more in better mental approaches (see the annex to this post for a summary of a few lessons learned).

    I started the program with a fairly lean physique, but I look back at those photos and just see a small frail bony body. It’s most stark in the comparison between the photos of my back (perhaps at week 0 my pose wasn’t as good, but even comparing the week 1 and week 12, it’s a massive difference for only 3 months). I’m looking more masculine, healthier, fuller, powerful. I’m finishing the official program at 88.0kg, and 15.0% bodyfat (though both of these numbers are rapidly decreasing). I’ll continue to cut until RS, maybe for the first few weeks of the program too. As a rough ballpark I’ll aim to reduce weight to around 86kg, and seek to enter maintenance mode for the foreseeable future (especially considering I’m going to do a wardrobe overhaul on RS and when I get back). As always, I’ll continue to train and progress slowly – fitness has been non-negotiable in my life for around 5 years now, and I’ll continue this until I die. When I’m old and frail and can’t move anything but my wrists, you’ll still see me sitting there with a dumbbell making them the strongest wrists in the 100year+ category, racing the lads and taking ladies for rides on my pimped out walking frame/wheelchair.

    There’s so many takeaways from the program (I’ve quickly summarised a number in the annex), from the high level meta framework/concepts, down to the micro tactics and the lessons can be applied across any topic/skill/area. It’s about experiencing the intangible and ‘cant quite put my finger on it’ aspects of implementing process; something you cant just teach to people, you can only show them the way, they need to experience it. Which gets me thinking more about the role of the logic mind vs the subconscious, but that’s another post/book on its own. This is the whole point of the program; to start installing a framework for lifelong growth, achieved through the vehicle of fitness. I didn’t need most of the tactical level information in the learning about working out and diet, but having the architecture of the program was huge in aligning my focus, allowing me to illuminate and experience the lessons (blogging was huge for this). Aside from a few words of encouragement, I had almost no input from coaches and was left to my own devices. At first I was fine with this, then started to question whether I should be getting input and got a bit annoyed that I wasn’t. But by the end, I’m actually really glad I didn’t have much guidance; because it’s shown me the macro level process for being able to control, direct, question and correct my own process and ambitions without the need for someone telling me what to do or where to go (side note, I realise that while it seemed like I had no input, I was given the environment to learn how to direct and control my success, like a little incubator). To me, this is hugely important because I’m on a path to ‘walk to the beat of my own drum’; break away from the norms of society and normal expectations, be happy, be a ‘creator’ (I mean entrepreneur but that word has lost all meaning in society right now). Being an entrepreneur is simply being a producer and adding real value to the world, and being happy is about letting yourself define what’s important to you PERSONALLY (ignoring influence from social media / other people); neither of these things can be achieved if my main source of guidance is by looking around, instead of inside.

    Now I’m mostly getting ready to go away for a while. I’m finishing up things at work, saying goodbye to friends (just spent a weekend at the beach in my hometown with family), and sorting my affairs. Unfortunately I have to come back as soon as PR finishes, but I know I’ll only be coming back so I can make all the changes in my life that I need to, so I’m starting to arrange that now (work, living situations, getting rid of shit I don’t need, nurturing the friendships I want to keep). I’ll wait until next week to have an actual ‘cheat meal’, probably a burger or pizza. I’ll do one quick post before I leave too, to update the bodyweight stats with my final dexa scan. All the best!

    Thanks for reading each week, I look forward to sharing the rest of our growth through PR17.

    Annex: Summary of learning’s
    - Fear of loss will ruin your potential to grow, improve and become more. Especially dangerous when ego is attached, and the loss threatens your identity (week 1)
    - Don’t go cheap on shady mince in bulk, saving a few bucks at the expense of gagging every meal isn’t worth it (week 3)
    - When I increase calories markedly, I won’t get excessively fat, so long as I eat cleanly and consistently. I’ll actually perform better mentally, in the gym, and my physique will still be great (week 1-12)
    - The power of micronutrients (eat your veggies!) (week 9-11)
    - Refined sugar is fucking criminal, and in western society we’re basically all addicts since kids; any addict will tell you having even one drink/hit/whatever is a path straight back to addiction, and this is something I’ve seen over the years with sugar. When I eat clean, I feel great and for the last year or so haven’t really had cravings; but as soon as I have a bit of sugar, the craving and mental temptations all come flying back in the following days. Learning and understanding this, I’ve now got a new approach to what I put in my body, and I am a lot more resolute in refusing cheat meals because I know if I do, I’ll have to deal with the days/weeks of cravings and temptations for more bad food, until the withdrawals stop. And while this is happening, it’s mental resources I could be dedicating to other areas of my life/business. The meal had better be worth the pain & mental effort afterwards! (week 9-12)
    - You can always make time for what you prioritise something for real / are ‘all in’ (rather than half assing shit) (week 4)
    - Proper prioritisation will eliminate any excuse to why you can’t achieve what you set out to, and proper prioritisation will get your goals in sync / stop them competing (week 4)
    - It’s OK to not be working on everything all the time at the same time. Easiest example of this is a friend of mind killing it in her business and professional career, and it’s her one focus. But she says ‘I should get more serious about my training’; but in reality this isn’t a priority. She knows deep down she won’t, but beats herself up for not doing it. She’s in great shape, but her mind and focus is on other areas, WHICH IS OK. I do this all the time; beat myself up over not progressing in various areas while I’m actually focussing on something else; I need to prioritise the few major things I’m working on, and be happy and accept the fact that I’m not going to work on other things as seriously. A big part of this is resisting outside pressures of things ‘you must do’ etc; we are constantly bombarded with crap through social media and marketing that makes our priorities scattered and flailing, doing everything and effectively doing nothing. (week 4, week 8, and right now)
    - Dexa scans, while accurate, are highly susceptible to diet & nutrition; make sure for the 2 weeks (at least) before each scan your diet, hydration and supplementation is the exact same otherwise the results aren’t comparable! (Week 5)
    - Singled mindedness, mindfulness, being in the moment, is amazing for performance
    - Success is a PROCESS, not an event, it’s thousands of miniscule decisions over time, 99.99% of which no one else will ever see
    - My internal dialogue around my body /body image issues completely changed; I no longer see my physique and instantly pick out all the areas I can improve and feel bad about where I’m at and then feel massive compulsion to be the most shredded human alive; I appreciate the body in front of me for the good points, and note non-judgementally the points I’ll slowly work on in the future. I don’t need the validation from other people, I’m resolute in the way my body is at that certain time because I know it aligns with my goals (i.e. if I’m a little softer than what other people expect of me, I don’t give a fuck what you think because it’s part of my process to better). (weeks 1-12, notably 11)
    - Being stupidly busy for too long is counter productive; I get less effective, achieve less, am less happy, and relationships suffer (which are most important to me). Taking time out and listening to your body is key. (multiple weeks, 8, 10)
    - Dismissing new ideas or staying ignorant as a defence to something that confronts your identity, your values / beliefs, is the fastest way to a shitty existence and killing of the growth mindset (week 6)
    - When in a rut with anything in life, set it as a focus for a period of time, start blogging about it each week, and vow to learn something new each week and question an assumption /belief about that thing each week; this will illuminate the path (week 12).

  61. #61
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    Week 12:

    Procedurally, the last week was anticlimactic. I had to have surgery on Wednesday, which required a trip from central Nebraska to NYC on Tuesday and then a trip back on Thursday. Knowing that I will be in a cast and limited in my upper body exercises (as well as not being able to work out for two days), I got as much upper body stuff done early. I was done with all painkillers and back in the gym Friday. It actually felt good to have that kind of rebound capacity and sustained commitment to the self improvement effort. Even the workouts have been enjoyable last couple of days, though I was limited to legs and abs.

    Kind of shocking how my weight is back down to 151 (from 155 last week) even though I have been trying to keep with the diet and exercise, though it was damn near impossible before and after surgery. I started the program at 154.6. The fat % is hard to get an accurate reading on, due to the bandages. Somewhere in 13.4% down from 16.4% at the start.

    While the official 12 weeks of the program are over, I find myself in a good position to tack on a couple more weeks of modified exercise, while maintaining the same diet. I have even worked out some upper body exercises that can be done without the use of a grip: Nevertheless, reflecting back on the last 12 weeks is in order here, though I’m on week 13 and don't have too many “final reflections” :

    Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. It has been the most concerted and distinct effort on self improvement (or rather the first part of such effort) that I have undertaken in decades…. Maybe ever. While I expected the numbers to be more pronounced, I definitely look much better than I expected. I was surprised by how easy the fat came off with the right diet/training and how hard muscle was to gain despite 3800 calories and 3 hours of lifting a day! I expected the opposite.

    Complete cessation of alcohol has stirred mixed emotions. One one hand, my head has been remarkably clear and I have been extremely productive in all pursuits. Total abstinence has also had a tremendous effect on the quality of the workouts. On the other hand, alcohol has been a social crutch since college and not being able to drink became another excuse for me to abandon all social activities in favor of exercise, diet and focus on work. I finally went out to a couple of bars this week and after 5 club sodas and limes I found my game to be exceptionally retarded. I must admit that I have a bit of anxiety about the low start I will have in PR. At the same time, I’m extremely excited about an entire new dimension of game that I will discover at PR and have sufficient confidence that trusting the process and my overall abilities will yield the results that I want.

    I also want to reflect on newly acquired rejection of all excuses not to exercise. Prior to starting the program I would have a bunch…. “Not in the mindset”, “feeling kinda bloated”, “Constipated for two days”, “Traveling and the hotel gym is crappy”... blah..blah... blah… None of these would hold up in the last twelve weeks and I felt internal pressure to get the best workout despite any adversity. This mind set started to permeate into other aspects of my life as well. I wind myself more driven to work through excuses to achieve my goals, no matter what I’m doing. I think this will be especially useful when conquering approach anxiety, as it is fraught with a myriad of BS excuses none of which hold any legitimacy.

    People noticed how quickly I lost weight and complimented me on it. Muscle gain however, has gone virtually unnoticed, probably because it was less pronounced. I found this to be a point of inner frustration, as while I’m typically neutral to compliments or criticism,this pattern emphasized my difficulty in putting on muscle. Yet, when I look in the mirror I got a six pack and the best definition of my life elsewhere. I really need to learn to appreciate that and this is something that I’m working on.

    Going into PR, I’m a little bit concerned about sustainability of this shape. This was after all a transformation and maintenance will require some middle ground between the transformation and the…. whatever I was doing before. Middle ground is hard to achieve especially when there is so much else that will be going on. Middle ground will require surrendering some of the hard earned gains in favor of excelling in other ways. Middle ground will require monster effort. All things worthwhile require effort however and I’m very excited about putting in the effort and the amazing two months that are coming.

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