Project Rockstar 2018 - Pre-Training Fitness Program Weekly Journals - Page 13

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  1. Week 9
    Saturday, June 23rd 8:55: Watching the world cup and grinning about one of the Rockstars being the Zlatan of Ab Ripper.

    Feeling of Unease
    This week I got started on the book Way of the Superior Man. The book has an early chapter that discusses living at the edge of your fear. And I noticed I was living with a constant level of anxiety that was right under the surface. It is not the adrenaline-laced fear that you feel when your life is in danger. It's just a low level of constant anxiety. I couldn't figure if this was in response to something I needed to do that day or it this is something that is always with me just lurking under the surface.
    I believe the meditation that we have been doing brought these feelings to the surface. Increased awareness of my emotions is a benefit I am feeling from the meditation. I want to get better a using that vague feeling of unease in a more productive fashion. The feeling is usually the result of something I am avoiding in my life. And situations that bring fear are the ones that I should engage in for growth.

    Weekly Results:
    I am feeling the workouts this week. I have become used to soreness at this point in the program. Most of the time, I don't notice until I start working out. I felt it this morning in my upper body when I woke up. The soreness was likely from the chest/back workout a few days ago. It is good to see the program stepping up the intensity these last few weeks.
    My weight has gotten down to the 205 lbs range the last few days. With the weight drop, I continue to see more definition in my muscles, and the abs are slowly becoming more defined. I woke up this morning noticing more ab definition. It is crazy how you can see progress from day to day on this transformation. I'm starting to wonder what the end product of this transformation will be. My only hope is that the same progress happens once we begin our work in Vegas.
    I have continued with the Intermittent Fasting in my eating schedule. So for two weeks now I have skipped breakfast and not start eating until at least 11 and sometimes later. I really can see how eating like this helps you reduce calories without counting. And I have found skipping breakfast helps me better manage the lower calorie count. It gives me more flexibility in managing how I fill my calories during the day.
    Currently, I am at 1700 calories a day. At this calorie count, I have had slight bouts of hunger. But I am still able to manage the hunger bouts without too much of an issue.

    Ab Workouts:
    While I haven't completed Ab Ripper without a break, I do see progress. I have been challenged in SF Abs to step the weight I use. Another Rockstar is doing 40kilos to my 40lbs. I at least have to have my pounds above his kilos. I am sorry abdominal muscles, but this has to be done.

    Meditation:
    The meditation has been going well. I missed one day this week, but I try to do it once a day. I went ahead purchased the year plan from Headspace so that I can continue the practice. Using this app is the best I have ever felt meditating

    PR Preparation:
    I need to pick up the pace on preparations for Vegas at this point. I made one big step this week by purchasing my plane ticket to Las Vegas. That is the first step that makes all of this real. I plan to spend today (Saturday) completing PR stuff (Journal, Blog) so that tomorrow I can get on ordering items for the trip. I see that the other guys are well into there preparations.

    What I am Reading:
    Antifragile by Naseem Talib: I finished this book during the week. I found this book profound and plan to purchase the entire Incerto series of books from this author. Talib has a unique take on philosophy and like the point that he makes that time can be the real test of the effectiveness of a technology. I think humankind naive to the effects of technology (myself included) new is always better. But people are waking up to this. You have to look at Facebook, Google. More people are growing uneasy with these tools.
    His take on Antifragility and how while science is excellent. But humans have a difficult time seeing the actual risks in thing. Talib is a big proponent of the mental model of Via Negativa, which you are likely better off taking something away or doing less in the long run. Practically I consider this with medical/treatment medications and my current goal of dropping my HBP medication. You are probably better off, losing weight eating a better diet than taking some medication.

    The Way of Superior Man:
    I started this book. Reading this book is like the greatest hits of all the things I did wrong my previous relationship. My big take away so far is that you have to learn to appreciate the challenges, irritation that can come from females in relationships. This is just their nature, and it is part of life. I would be so frustrated in the past and began blaming my partner for issues. Then I eventually shut down which was the worst thing possible. I will continue with this book this week. I am so glad it was recommended


    Homo Deus:
    This audiobook came in from the library, So I will give I will try to finish it this upcoming week.

    The Inner Game Of Tennis:
    This is still on the back burner.

    Goal For this Past Week:
    This past week I tried to focus on washing dishes more frequently. I was forced to do a better job midweek to clean up some before my cleaners came this week. It was nice not to have a pile of dishes to wash this morning. So I will focus to keep it up during this week.

    Fun Thing This Week:
    Last night I went to a comedy show. Dave Chapelle and Jon Stewart were in town doing a show. Dave Chapelle is a comic genius; I was dying the entire show.
    Today is also the PRIDE parade here. I was supposed to walk in the parade but will likely pass on it this evening. With all that is going on with the fitness transformation, I want to relax this evening.

    Not much else to say. It is week 10. And fuck I think I have a migraine starting. Oh well. Today will be a fun day. As I have to finish my workout. Till next week.



  2. Week 10

    Saturday, June 30th 9:35 AM: Watching France vs. Argentina - France should blow them out.

    I didn't go out last night, so I was able to wake up early this morning and go to the park for a run (if we pick roommates I likely will need to room with an early riser). I am good with around 6 hours of sleep every night. Been feeling a little lethargic the past week, and thought about going out last night but decided I needed rest more. Maybe tonight.

    Morning Run:
    I was trying to take too much stuff to the park with me on my run and ended up forgetting my armband for my phone. I didn't feel like carrying my phone as I jogged so just left it in the car. This ended up being a good thing. Jogging only with my thoughts in the moment was excellent. There was no music, podcasts or audiobooks. Just my thoughts. I have been listening to a lot of stuff, so it was nice to take a break.

    The lifting of Heavy Things this week:
    There wasn't much notable with the weights this week. At this point, it is just business as usual. I am surprised how much I am into the routine of going to the gym. I didn't know what to do with myself Tuesday when I finished everything in the morning before work.
    Since doing the program, it felt like the strength in my posterior chain (my butt) has gone down. I guess this should be expected, doing Crossfit I would do some squat/deadlift exercise multiple times a week which isn't the case on this program. I believe that will be something I can focus on getting back over the summer. Along with continuing to develop my core strength.

    SF Abs:
    Someone decided to be a show-off which will means I will be upping my situp weight to at least 50lbs for today!

    * Finished SF Abs with 50lbs. This Saturday workout was a beast. SF Abs is the workout that takes me the longest to finish. So it felt like I was in the gym the entire day today.

    Energy Levels:
    After the morning run and lifting, I was dead. I mostly laid on the couch and napped the rest of the evening. My body is using all of its energy to do these workouts. Cause afterward I have nothing left. Because of this, I am going to try a refeed day to see if that can help with energy levels. My weight as of Sunday was down under 203. And if I continue at this rate, I will hit my new goal of 200lbs. But I think this will likely be as slim as I should try to get.
    Because of my low energy, I passed on trying to go out Sat night. It was that and look at the workout that we will do Sunday. I figured it would be another day mostly hanging out in the gym.

    What I am reading/learning
    I have been reading multiple books at the moment. I am just following what interests me. I finished the book Homo Deus. I was surprised at how much this book touched on consciousness and the human mind. One big takeaway from the book was that human "self" is actually of two different minds. There is the experiencing self and the narrating self. The experiencing self is your experiences in the moment. And the narrating self is the part that creates the story of you are. Or the story you tell yourself.

    The Way of the Superior Man: What I am picking up from this book is to learn to appreciate feminine energy and women for what it is. As was stated in the book, I def was a man that would get frustrated by the ways of women. But I feel the author's theme can be extended to appreciate people and love people however they are and learn to recognize their gifts. I try to check myself whenever I feel myself being judgemental but seeing people (myself included) flaws and seeing those as a gift can be an empowering thought.
    Another action item from this book is the next few weeks to appreciate the feminine and the effect it has on me. So when I notice an attractive female, I am just becoming aware of the feeling this has on me at the moment. As I guy, I was already aware of the power women can have on men. I played basketball, and it could be the end of a two-hour practice everyone is dead tired. But let the cheerleaders come in the gym, uncanny how everyone would find an extra gear at that moment.

    Good Bye Things: I picked this book up free. It is by a Japanese Minimalist. I had gone through my closet and already thrown away some old clothes I hadn't worn. Reading this book is giving me the impetus to do even more decluttering. I don't consider myself a minimalist, but I do see the benefit of letting go of things. This also seems like a good time to do something in this area. It feels like I am clearing space in my life to make room for all of the new experiences that will come this summer!

    "You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis.
    - Tyler Durden, Fight Club

    "The things you own end up owning you."
    -Tyler Durden

    * I need to add Fight Club the book to my reading list.

    The author quoted this in his book, and it speaks to me.


    The Dip by Seth Godin:
    Short Audiobook I started this week. Author implores the reader not to accept being mediocre. Touches on how society is more and more becoming winner take all. With Google more and more will go to the top performers. This book has me rethinking my mental block with competing to be the best. I have been a person who would accept being mediocre. Mediocre is safe. But is it living. While it is not easy for me, I am learning that maybe life shouldn't be comfortable.

    Alex Strohl Adventure Photography: Picked up the idea of doing some photography over the summer. So I purchased this course. I am allowing myself to explore new hobbies. If I am interested, I am going to try it. No holding myself back anymore.

    The Alchemist:
    I have this audiobook on loan from the library so listening to it today as it is due back soon. This book was recommended a while back, and I am just getting back to it. The universe conspires to give you what you truly want if you listen and follow your legend!

    On the reading list:
    The Inner Game of Tennis
    The Obstacle is the Way


    Final Thoughts:
    I have heard the term embracing your shadow. I guess that is all of the things that you do or think that are not your best self. I found for me now that I have lost all this weight, I catch myself having judgemental thoughts. Like I will see someone that is overweight (I shop at Walmart, so there are many people) and I will look at what is in their shopping cart and think to myself yep I can see why you are that way. Or I will see someone who jogs for 15min on the treadmill then leaves and think. You should lift weights, and you can be like me.
    Anyway, I believe the mediation helps with this. From the meditation, you learn to accept your thoughts then let them go. I have started to feel some anxiety as PR approaches. Time is ticking, and we will be on planes to Vegas shortly. This anxiety is a good thing it just means I have things I need to get done before I leave. So this week has been the start of doing that preparation.

    Getting the Urge To Travel:
    I have had to save up all of my vacation days for PR this year, and I am beginning to feel it at this point. I can tell I am not the most focused these days in the office. My thoughts are starting to drift to PR and just being free from the office life. While my life is not that bad, I have begun to think about is the life I want. If this not the life that I want, then I have the power to change it. The big thing for me is just the amount of time I spend commuting to the office. Google sent my stats for the amount of time I spent in my car last week (I know this is creepy). I spent 40+ hours in my car this past month. A large part of that is my commute to the office.
    Because of travel for work last year, I was burnt out of from traveling. And I didn't want to see a plane for the first part of this year. As PR approaches, I am finding my wanderlust is returning. It is just this longing to experience something new. To get up and go. It is similar to the feeling of how I long to have (pizza) at this point.

  3. Week 11.5

    Wow! We are down to the final week of the Fitness Transformation. I don't know what to say. It is a bit surreal to look at the tracking spreadsheet and only see seven days left. When I look back on the progress that I have made I am shocked. I was 270 pounds when I began my fitness journey six years ago while I was able to get down to a weight of 218lbs at one point. I was close to 250 pounds this time last year. Without PR I would not have made it to this point. If I get nothing else from the program; I am so grateful already. We know this is just the beginning. The workouts this past week haven't been as had thought they would be looking at the workout schedule. Early on in the program, looking ahead to these weeks all of the workouts seemed unmanageable. But I guess by this time our bodies have had time to adjust. So I have enjoyed some of the ones this week (DTP Included).
    I am looking forward to the Fitness Transformation to end. Not because I am sick of working out, but because I want the freedom to keep doing this and making this a consistent routine in my life.

    *This has changed* One of my big worries is what workout program I will do in the week between the fitness transformation and Rockstar. I have been looking at other programs on Bodybuilding.com for inspiration. I will likely try out some full body workouts that I can do 2 or 3 times that week, and I will probably also still do cardio most days.
    Also, I look forward to getting my calories back up to maintenance level. I hope this will restore my energy levels. The refeed day helped fuel me this week. But it will be nice to see how my body reacts to finally getting out of a caloric deficit. These last few weeks were tough energy-wise, but the results are showing. Although my weight went up 5-6 pounds this week after the refeed, my Navy Body Fat Measurements still went down it seems.
    *Mental Note: Make Appointment for Final DEXA! - Can't believe it is already time for this. I have seen some of the guy's photos, and everybody is looking good. You can see the changes. We are going to be masculine mofo's
    I had planned to workout the week before flying to PR. But I saw that is good to take 1 to 2 weeks off from lifting every few months. We have been hitting the gym hard and consistently so I will take that week to relax and make sure I get everything done before heading to Vegas.

    Getting Ready For Vegas:
    I have continued getting ready for Vegas little by little. I have been ordering various small items getting prepared for the trip. I had to mentally adjust to my new body size while ordering some clothes. For my entire adult life, I have been an XL-2XL size. But when I wanted to order some new stuff, I was an M-L based on the measurements. To be safe, I ordered a large. In the back of my mind, I am afraid they will be too small.
    I see the point of the style transformation at this point. Pretty much all of the clothes that I own don't fit at this point. Which has given me a good reason to go through and declutter. Some of the stuff I plan to take to Vegas I will have tailored this week.

    Listening to The Life Stylist Podcasts:
    This podcast episode was recommended by a fellow PR member. The host mentions that he is taking a 6-month break from dating relationships. This fitness transformation has primarily been a 3-month break from the worries of relationships and women. While some part of me has felt like I should be out there trying to date and be more active, It has felt right to focus on myself these past few months. Starting out on the fitness transformation I can remember having resistance to not being able to go out every weekend. But by the end, I am relishing this time. I am still also working my way through The Way of the Superior man. Reading this book and listening to the John Wineland podcasts has opened my eyes to the concept of the masculine and feminine essence. I realize now I didn’t fully understand what genuinely being masculine entailed. But I am glad to be learning about this and want to incorporate into my life. When I got on this journey for self-improvement an area I wanted to improve on was in relationships. And I feel like Deida and Wineland give guys a roadmap to healthier more fulfilling relationships. Anyway, I thought back on me ten years ago, and I probably would have thought the shit they are talking about is weird. But now I read it, and to me it makes total sense. Funny how you grow and change if you keep your mind open.

    Side Thoughts
    Whenever I do go out, I find myself falling back into familiar patterns. Standing around not approaching. Not having fun. Nights are so much more interesting when you approach. That is why I can't wait until we get to PR and Vegas. I am ready to complete this transformation.

    What I am continually getting from PR is that there are so many different levels of things I wasn't aware. Fitness is just the beginning. I achieved one level of fitness. But in 3 months, I’ve accomplished an entirely different level. And once you get there, you never want to go back. While I want to have a cake or a treat. I would rather have my current physique.

  4. Week 12 is done! I don’t know where to begin. This was probably one of the toughest weeks for me. It was that weird place of almost being done but not quite there yet. Probably the first time the whole program I had a workout I wanted to skip (SF Abs - who I am kidding I have wanted to skip it many times). I had to make myself start. After I started, it was okay from there. This was a bittersweet week; I am sad that the transformation program is ending. But another part of me is ready not to spend 2-3 hours a day in the gym and get back to maintenance calories. But I can’t argue with the results. This 12-week transformation has broken through some limited beliefs I didn’t realize I had in this area of my life. I figured I just wasn’t an abs person. And now I have abs. In the back of my mind, I have the thoughts of not messing this up. Those thoughts will keep me motivated to move forward.
    For this upcoming week, I plan to “rest” from the gym for a bit. A part of me wants to push through and keep lifting. But I think it will be good to give my body a chance to rest a bit before Vegas. I was running on fumes the end of this week. I felt like I had just enough energy to do my workouts. After that my body would shut it down. I pretty much went to sleep at 8:30 pm on a Friday night. So I don’t entirely switch it off I will do the YogaX, Stretch (maybe abs) and cardio before starting back next weekend with weights. I figure we will get advice on what program to do during PR as I plan to lift while in Vegas consistently.
    One of the other Rockstars is already on to the next goal of getting ready for the beach. I hadn’t thought that far ahead. But that sounds like something that can motivate me. Fitness goal is to be Mediterranean beach ready! Shit, I got chills typing that. It is interesting seeing the different approaches everyone is taking on the time in between. Some will have a cheat meal, some not. Some are pushing straight through others will take a break. Although approaches are different, I can tell everyone is aiming for the same goal of improving.

    Results from the program:
    I got my final DEXA scan this Saturday, and the results put a smile on my face. I could see the difference in the mirror, but the actual results were better than I expected. I was able to get down to 11.5% and also put on 4 lbs of muscle from the time of my last scan. I had the person giving me the DEXA inquire about the program I am doing to get the result. Results, like we are achieving, are outside the norm. This has pretty much happened every time I go in at the moment.

    Taking Clothes To Tailor
    Most of my clothes don’t fit at the moment. So I decided to take a few things I wanted to bring to Vegas to the tailor. My tailor was forthright and pretty much let me know the things that were worth getting done and the things I should buy new. For my blazers, she pretty much told me to buy new ones. I had lost enough weight that I had probably gone down a few sizes. I didn’t realize this was possible. All the more reason for the fashion makeover in Vegas.

    Meal Prepping for the week:
    I will continue with what I have been doing for the eating this week. It works, and I don’t mind eating the same stuff every day. It will take a bit of effort readjusting calories, so I spent part of the day planning my new portion sizes. After three months of eating reduced calories, you get used to not eating much. I was going to try doing my meal prep different this week. Try to bake my chicken instead of using the crockpot. Before I could get started, I asked myself “What the hell are you doing!?”. After that, I went back to my old method. Still surprised at how comfortable I am eating chicken every day. I would throw in some variants, but Chicken/carb/veggie was my main go-to. And after you realize how easy it is to cook that basic meal, there is not a reason to go crazy eating other stuff.

    Day 85!
    This day after was surreal. It was the feeling of I’m done, but I'm not done. After three months things just become a habit. I woke up and weighed myself out of habit. It was nice not having to put in the tracker. Then I did my morning routine. I simplified my morning routine no supplements, pills or morning cardio today. So I was able to get to work earlier. Also no coffee. I switched to the middle of last week to try for a week. Shortly after that, we got the mandate to cut our intake to one cup a day. So I am practicing with 1 cup of decaf a day at the moment. I think I made it through the withdrawals as I had a lingering headache for a day and a half that I am sure was from no caffeine. The one cup a day is going to be tough. Sometimes I can drink up to 3-4 cups a day when in the office. Mostly out of habit and not needing the caffeine to pick me up. Speaking of coffee, I will keep my new way of drinking my coffee for the foreseeable future. My coffees used to be milk and sugar with some coffee in it. But it isn’t too lousy black and at the most a dash of almond milk.
    Also decided I am going to give myself a no “snack” at work rule. There is always going to be someone bringing donuts, cake, etc. to the office. Having the I can't have it rule worked during this program, and I should keep it for the future.

    To conclude, it still shocks me the progress that can be made in 12 weeks. Like many of the other Rockstars starting at week one and looking at what lay ahead, it seemed daunting. And this wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible either. And that is a big lesson from this fitness transformation. Once you have the reference experience of getting in shape like this. There isn’t an excuse. I know I have it in me. It's just whether I choose to do it or not.

  5. #125

    Once again I'm late with my blog post, this time more than ever and once again I'm sorry. Its been a super busy week and that two week period between finishing the fitness leg and the start of Rockstar has basically only been a few days for me due to other obligations like the wedding I'm attending today and roughly 5 days of traveling back and forth the country. Anyway, I have a few hours now before I actually have to get ready for the wedding and thought I might take this time to write about my fitness journey and reflect back on the whole thing and what I've learned. let me start by saying it been a hell of a journey and I've accomplished more than I ever thought possible, even If I didn't necessarily get as far as I hoped for. But I'm confident I have the knowledge and the ability to get to whatever fitness level I ever decide to pursue in the future.

    Fitness is an interesting topic. In a way its both more complex and more simple than most people believe it is. As a person that been struggling with my body image since I finished high school, I've tried a lot of different approaches before and everything has provided some results in some form but nothing really stuck with me and I would quickly gain back the weight I lost. Because of this, I must say I started out thinking this fitness program would be tougher on me than it actually ended up being. Yes, I've spent a LOT of time in the gym, sometimes up to 3 hours a day but once you're there, once you have your daily plan in front of you, you just do it. Its uncomfortable but every workout it in some way. It doesn't really get much more uncomfortable in week 12 than it is in week 1. And for some reason, I don't think its more or less uncomfortable for someone who's been at the grind for 10 years than it is for someone just starting out. You just get mentally comfortable with it being uncomfortable, every day every workout. And when that clicks you just get through it really. I can honestly say I miss the gym a lot since I haven't really had the time to go this week thanks to all the preparations.

    But I've been working out in some form more or less my entire life, whether it be weightlifting, CrossFit, martial arts or some other form of training. The big challenge for me was the nutrition part. I don't want to call it dieting because its not really a diet. There was a handful of things we weren't/aren't allowed to eat like dairy and sugar or anything processed or half processed, but other than that it all came down to nutritional values and macros. Counting calories. It's funny because deep down somewhere I think we all kind of know this. But were primitive beings, we always want to find an easier way to do things. We don't want to weigh everything and calculate the calories and the macros, its a hassle! We want our lives to be easy, and we want to be able to eat whatever we want. We want to enjoy the good things in life without consequences. Sadly life isn't that simple, and deep down we all know it isn't. I mean why would it be, nothing else is... Sure, every person doesn't have the exact same problems, some can eat a shit ton of junk and not gain a gram, but the same person can work out for weeks without seeing any results either. While others, like me, can't even look at pizza without gaining a bit of weight from pure guilt, but building muscles comes just as naturally.

    In the end, it all comes down to giving the body the right building materials for the right job and if you don't your results won't match the blueprint you started out with. It does take dedication and hard work. You DO need to know what you put in your body, and it's not really that complicated when you get into it. Some people have been thinking that I've been insane, some even said I've been manic, and ironically none of these people have ever achieved any of the fitness goals I've been aiming for. Still, they think they can come with "right advice" and wisdom to get to where I want to be. It reminds me of when I asked a lady for directions in Thailand. I could clearly see that she didn't know where I wanted to go but she didn't want to be rude so she just gave me the wrong direction. People do this all the time with pretty much everything, and of course, it's easier to give advice on something that you never even tried than it is to actually go out and try it out for yourself.

    Learning this has been an incredibly important takeaway. A lot of people want to help with good intention without really knowing that what they say doesn't really help, and sometimes people even get offended when you don't take their advice. Some people even get offended by seeing you get the results you work for and often these people don't see the hard work, they just see the results and start nagging. It's not always easy to keep your eyes on the goal and keep pushing, it's not always easy to ignore bad advice and comments and keep on pushing. But at some point, things switch. at some point, people start asking you for advice instead. People start complimenting you and want to know your secret. Sometimes the same people who a couple of weeks earlier said you don't have to work out every day, you can have a cheat meal now and then start saying things like "wow you really got ripped, what program are you on? what diet?"

    I don't know how many times I had to say "I'm not precisely on a diet." and then continued to explain the values of calorie intake and macros. You know what usually happens? Nothing really. A lot of people like planning things because you get to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment without actually doing anything. A lot of people have said "That's cool, I'll look more into that. I'll take a look at bodybuilding.com." and then keep on going with their day to day life and junk food. Hey, I get it it's not easy. I don't want to sound like some perfect hero that does everything right because I'm not. I know exactly how easy it is to get that burger or pizza instead of buying clean food and spend a couple of hours in the kitchen. I get it! Here is the thing though; all I did was make a decision and stick to it and a big thing I believe was having a fitness mentor or coach to check in with on a weekly basis. Someone that keeps you on track when you start doubting and have an answer to the questions that frequently comes up. Someone who done the work and got the results. It makes a huge difference. This isn't really hard to come by, I know of plenty of personal trainers that do online coaching and I believe its worth every penny. I even plan to hire one after I'm done with rockstar, someone that has the physic I want that have walked the walk and no can guide me through the challenge.

    Another weird realization is how much we build up the foods we crave in our head. I was literally having nightmares about eating pizza and sweets and woke up in a panic all sweaty before realizing it was just a dream. I planned out my first cheat meal weeks and weeks before actually having it. I knew where I wanted to go, what I wanted to get, what to drink, with whom I wanted to do it with. everything was planned. and when the day finally came and my friends and I sat there waiting for the food, a premium cheese and bacon burger in this little restaurant not far from my apartment in Stockholm it was like every fiber in my body was dancing. I was so excited! When the burger came in I pretty much inhaled it. It was gone faster than I could say Cheese my bacon. And for a moment I was absolutely euphoric. I'm not going to lie it was probably one of the best burgers in my life.

    Then it took maybe ten minutes and my mind went blank again. Euphoria gone. All I could think was "is this it?". I had been building up this huge feast dinner in my head for weeks and weeks that was gone in minutes and I got, what? Ten minutes of happiness? I'm not gonna lie, I've had two more cheat meals since then, one farewell & good luck dinner with my family at my favorite tapas place and this wedding. The food has been delicious but my guilt has been worse. I've worked too fucking hard to ruin this and I can't wait to get to Vegas and back to good clean food that I don't even have to cook for myself. I once read a quote somewhere on some wannabe influencers Instagram that said: "Nothing taste as good as being fit feels". At the time of reading this, I laughed. Partly because of it being such a cheesy quote, partly because of this "influencer". But for some reason, it stuck with me. For some reason, I've had it in the back of my mind for a long long time and I guess you could say its become somewhat of a mantra for me.

    I really can't wait to get back to my chicken and my salads. My vegetables and my fruits and berries. Something just happens down the line, I guess you could call that a mental switch too, where your taste buds and your brain just goes "Well I guess I'm not getting any junk, might as well start enjoying this". All of a sudden you start thinking "I can't wait to have the same meal I've had for the past weeks. Whats for dinner? No way, chicken salad again! My lucky day!" and suddenly nothing tastes as good as a fresh apple does.

    At the time of writing this, I'm kind of in an emotional limbo. I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life and I'm super happy about it. But I'm scared, actually I'm panicking that I won't be able to keep this up. This week has been busy and I've been stressed out of my mind with cleaning out my apartment, packing everything for Vegas, going to this wedding and so on and so forth. I haven't had the time for working out as much as I wanted and I had more cheat meals than I feel comfortable with, two so far and one today. It's always easy to blame the lack of time, it's always easy to say that next week and forward I'll be eating healthy again, but it just doesn't feel right. I'm scared that all my hard work will be for nothing and my results will slowly disappear. I almost feel like an institutionalized prisoner, like the old man in Shawshank Redemption. I just want to start over on the Gethin program and get back into the routine again. Get back into the grind at the gym where I just had to follow my program and eat my veggies. What so many sees as hard work I now see as a familiar and comfortable routine and its weird not being in it at the moment.

    At the same time, I've made some absolutely mad results in the past 12 weeks. I've gone from 89,6kg to 78.3kg. My muscle mass has gone from 63.3kg to 68.7kg and my fat mass has gone from 25.9kg to 9.6kg. From 29.0% body fat to 12.3% in 12 weeks. No magic, no gadgets no diets or tricks. Just clean food and hard work at the gym. I've done it once and I know I can do it again, and again If I ever need to. Just as my emotional lows right now is panic, my emotional high right now is euphoric for what I have accomplished in such a short time frame. It's been an emotional journey and on it, I've had a group of amazing men who side by side with me went through the entire thing. They've all been there for each other and for me, and I can only hope that they feel the same way. They have pushed me to do better, to be better and strive for better and I really can't wait to finally meet up with these heroes in Vegas in a couple of days.

    As this first chapter of this fucked up journey we're on comes to an end, its still only the beginning and we have so much to look forward to. I believe without a doubt that this will be the best, craziest summer of all our lives. We will laugh together, cry together, face challenges and our all our inner demons together, and we will all come out on the other side not only as better friends but as better men. I salute you all brothers in the trenches.

    Until we meet,

    Signing off.

  6. General

    This week, the week before the start of Rockstar, was over-shadowed by the “break week” theme. Although, unlike other Rockstars who had hit their 12 week transformation end date, and were able to have their “cheat meals”, I was only in the midst of week 11. However, unlike many of the Rockstars, I began my fitness and nutrition transformation many months before the beginning of this 12 week transformation - almost more than 7.5 months before, to be exact.

    When I began my semi-retirement in December 2017, I weighed 227 lbs and was arguably in the worst shape of my life. I had spent the majority of the previous 10+ years working a mostly sedentary lifestyle: desk job, little to no physical activity, little to no social life (workaholic), eating a calorie-rich but nutrient-poor North American diet, and being a general abuser of alcohol. I couldn’t imagine a social outing where copious amounts of alcohol and/or other substances were not consumed.

    Since then, I have achieved many milestones:

    1. I have quit
    2. I gradually increased my activity level from completely sedentary, to those comparable of an athlete (2+ hours at the gym, 5x per week)
    3. I have lost 50+ lbs in body weight (at an average rate of ~2lbs per week)
    4. I reduced my body fat % from 25+% (as recent as May 6th, 6 months into my journey) to an athletic <15% (hopefully next week’s DEXA scan confirms this)
    5. I managed to regulate my diet to a calorie-restricted (2000 cals/day) and macro-managed (30/30/40 carb/fat/protein) state
    6. I cut down on drinking, and ultimately, was able to stop altogether for a continuous 60 day period (to be repeated during Rockstar)
    7. Was able to improve my social life from near 0-nights per week (except hanging out with friends from work), to 1-2 nights per week spent in hip Toronto social venues, meeting and hanging with like minded pretty cool individuals.
    8. Learning that you can have fun without the use of alcohol and/or other substances and regularly practicing this approach to social situations (at the least using them in significant moderation to the past)
    9. Learning that a life transformation like this, although grueling and extremely hard, is possible in a relatively short period of time (6 months seems like a long time at the on-set though), but with small yet disciplined incremental steps every single day/week/month, the cascade effect of the results begins to show in ever-grander ways

    Fitness

    My general “get 1 day ahead of schedule” scheme from week 10 has been a success. In fact, being ahead only motivated me to stay ahead, so much so that even the night before my departure from Poland I walked to the gym in the rain, did a 75 minute DTP Chest/Back workout, and walked back home in the rain.

    This scheme, however, came at the cost of having to re-arrange the workout routine quite a bit - week 10 and 11 had a lot of muscle groups such as legs and abs, fairly close to each other (ie. Within 2-3 days). When I accelerated by a day and did slight re-arrangements, it cascaded the need for further changes due to reduced duration between the same muscle group being worked. With intense DTP “Dynamic Transformation Principle” workouts being the norm, it is more important than ever to ensure that all muscle groups get the rest they desperately need.

    The re-arrangements I orchestrated led to only 1-2 days rest intervals between the same muscle group being worked, which I felt were not enough rest (especially for legs and abs, which typically experience “Delayed Onset Pain” (ie. The height of muscle recovery pain is felt 48 hours or 2 days after the workout)), so I took the whole list of workouts and tinkered with it to a point that satisfied all the rest and frequency requirements, without sacrificing almost any workout (I think I lost out on 1 ab workout which I combined on day 74 and made sure I added extra intensity to compensate).

    Nutrition

    I generally underestimated how carb-deprived my body has been over the last 10 weeks, and the current “break week”, although in line with expectations (target of no more than 25% over the 2000 calories target), my body has just absorbed every excess calorie it could get its hands on. In total, over the 2 weeks I have been home and unable to completely keep my macros (more carbs than desired + excess calories this week) my body has gained 10lbs in weight, off of a low of ~170lbs back up to ~180lbs. Let’s say that the 170 low was an “all time minimum” (so not something I could keep), in which case, this break week, at its worst, saw a retraction of progress from a weight of 172-174 (173), which means I have arguably put back on about 7 lbs (OUCH!!).

    I have, however, been keeping a close eye on my body fat and navy method measurements and it is very hard to say exactly where this excess weight has been stored by my body. My waist has not really increased significantly (about 2-3 cm at its narrowest, but no growth in waist size in my navel or hips, so within intra-day normal swing tolerances) and my neck and thighs have gained about 1 cm, but in general that is not so drastic. Update: my abs did have noticeable size changes.

    I have implemented a change in mind frame: this week has been a "bulking week" - in the past few days and the week to come, I will return to the "loser" diet track, calorie restrict to 2000/day, and have already seen my weight drop and stabilize to 173.1 lbs.

  7. Fitness Reflection

    I’m really happy with the results I’ve achieved, especially given the limitations I’ve had to deal with.

    Between October and when Rockstar started, I lost 15 pounds. Over the course of the fitness program, I lost another 30. Early in the program, I was losing mostly subcutaneous fat, but now my visceral fat has started to come down. Because I started late, I kept at the fitness program during the 2 week break and now I’ve probably got another 10 pounds to go before my 6-pack starts showing. I’m hoping to achieve that over Rockstar so that when I get back I can increase my calorie intake and start adding back some of that weight as muscle.

    And while I haven’t been adding any muscle mass, I barely lost any over the course of the training and given that I was already a competitive athlete and what I’d already lost going into it, my trainer and dietician have said that my results are extremely impressive. (And it’s even more impressive given that we actually *increased* my calorie intake while making my weight go down faster.) In retrospect, I should have taken a photo of how absurdly loose fitting my shirts were before taking them a tailor to get them adjusted. I think that makes the point *better* than the other photos I’ve been taking to track progress.

    Once I’d lost most of the fat in my face, my mentor encouraged me to get some headshots taken and use them on dating apps. That was great advice and since I did that, I’ve had dates literally every night I’ve been free. This is mostly a carry-over from the 10-day, but I feel like doing that has helped prepared me for Rockstar.

    I’m excited about getting to meet everyone in person. But I’m stressed that I’m not going to be able to get packed and ready on time and may end up forgetting to take care of something or wrap something up, but I’ve been working hard at freeing everything up so that I won’t be distracted during Rockstar. And I generally stress about stuff like this, so I’m probably fine. I’ll be packed tomorrow so I can fly to Vegas the following day.

    I’m also a little worried about taking so much time off from training for my sport since the US may be sending me to some international tournaments right after Rockstar (assuming I still want to go to them) and since I’ve been invited to stay in Europe and do preseason training with some Olympic teams there before coming home. They advised us to plan on taking some time after Rockstar to reflect and integrate before going back to work. So I’m trying to decide if spending another 3-4 weeks in Europe doing my sport is a good way to do that or not.

    Since this is life altering, I’m wondering how I’m going to be at the end of things. The 10-day was amazing, so 9 weeks is probably going to be more intense and have a bigger impact. I’ve got a lot of things I want to work on in light of the 10-day and given how much the 10-day uncovered for me, I’m sure a lot more stuff is going to come to light that I haven’t thought of. So I wonder how much of my current life is going to still be intact once I’m done with things. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. I don’t really feel ready for this, but my mentor has told me that I am. So I’m taking a leap of faith on trust and we’ll see where this goes.

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