THEME OF THE WEEK: #1- Body Measurements & Progress Against Goal, #2 – Struggling with Training Energy & #3 – Forearm Pain
I’m three weeks into the AUG-18 #HyperWorkouts training block, the cut and the Anti-Inflammatory Diet (See 2018 W30 of 52 – Steve’s Body & Mind Progress Journal)
We’re overhauling three rooms in the house which is intense, the kids are off on summer holidays and I’ve finally finished reading the great autobiography of Nelson Mandela. highly recommended and very inspiring.
All in, things are good. Busy, but good 👍. Here’s a little further insight into my body stats and training dramas.
#1 – Body Measurements & Progress Against Goal
Check out the table below. I track my weight every day, and my body measurements such as body fat muscle thickness every few months. Makes for some interesting reading.
As a reminder of my 2019 body goals, you can check out An Intro; Steve’s Body Journey and 2018 Goals, which lays out the physique I’m after and my best judgement on associated body metrics.
Here are my thoughts on 2018 Progress:
- Weight & Body Fat – not concerned with those metrics, as losing body fat is simple (see this article). Being in a deficit is not great, but 100% achievable. by the end of this current cut I will have lower body fat than Jan 2018, but do undulate between 10-12% whilst on a muscle building MO.
- My Arms are SO STUBBORN! – I do a fair amount of arm isolation work plus a ton of compound lifting. They just grow so slowly. In part this is due to my short bicep muscle bellies. Meh. Will need to double down on arm work.
- Chest, Shoulders & Back are doing GREAT – I’m surprised by the response, both in the measurements and how I look. Happy with the progress both from a strength and growth perspective. My back is looking strong.
- OK Upper Legs development – I think I need to commit to more calories and much more leg volume in my next #HyperWorkouts training block. Strength has improved a fair amount, so now need to get more hypertrophy work.
- Bonus on Glute growth! – I’ve been focussing a lot of attention on hip strength to support my squat and deadlift, plus develop my glutes. Whilst I’ll trim a little off as I continue to cut, I’m chuffed with the progress made
- Getting wider Waist than expected – Now, I’ll trim a couple of cm’s off in this current cut, but my waist is expanding. I’m developing a very strong core due to all the bracing as part of the heavy compound movements, but hadn’t anticipated the growth. Will need to be conscious to not let this get carried away, as it compromises the tapered look..
- Lean Mass growth is on point – With 5.5lbs of extra lean mass in 2018, it works out to be just over 0.7lbs per month. An intermediate lifter can expect to gain up to 1lb/month, so I’m in the expected range. A little lower, but I put that down to my lower than expected testosterone levels. D’oh.
All in, pretty satisfied with the process and progress made. Got a few tweaks in mind for the next few months, but we’re talking about the 1 percent’ers.
#2 – Struggling With Training Energy & Fatigue
Whilst I know to expect it, it’s so frustrating when you’re in a cut (calorie deficit) and your training energy tanks.
Surprisingly, my strength across almost all lifts continues to improve, and I’m still able to progressively overload with greater volume from week to week (the odd extra rep or extra weight). It’s not uncommon to see your strength drop when on a cut, but for the most part this hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps due to my commitment to optimal training nutrition. 👍
However, whilst strength mostly is still good, I’m struggling in two areas:
Exercise fatigue is kicking in very quickly per set
Deadlift / Deficit Deadlift performance is tanking
These issues are likely related. When in a calorie deficit, you will not have general energy levels to maximally support performance. The calories you do consume go to more important matters – those to do with sustaining life.
Furthermore, the place you likely pull back on to save on calories is carbohydrates. For optimal training performance, a guy should look to take in 300-500 grams of carbs a day, whilst being in a calorie surplus of maintenance. This helps ensure that you replenish and maximally store muscle glycogen, which combined with phosphocreatine make up the energy systems needed for immediate contractile force in muscles (i.e. when strength training).
On average, I’m consuming 200-250g of carbs daily whilst on 20% calorie deficit, with the odd daily creeping closer to 300g. This will mean when combined with hard training and keeping busy physically, my muscle glycogen stores are depleted.
This kinda makes sense based on my performance. Due to my creatine supplementation, I have the immediate energy and power to get started on a given set, but I run out of gas quicker than normal, due to phosphocreatine being spent and insufficient glycogen to keep me going as normal.
When it comes to the Deadlift, I’m 15kg off my best 185kg for the 4-6 rep range! That’s a massive drop. I’m struggling with summoning my whole body to engage and rep it out. Form is breaking down when I go higher, and I am grinding the reps out too slowly. I can only put this down to the above and perhaps getting in my head and messing with my technique. Grrrr. Lets see if I can course correct whilst in a deficit.
BACK IN MAY: 175KG for 4. Have since moved up to 180KG for 4 & 187.5KG for 2.
#3 – Forearm Pain
Over the last few weeks, I’ve managed to cause some tear or inflammation of my left forearm, specifically the Brachioradialis and the Extensor Digitorum. See below.
It’s not terrible pain, and I can train through it for most of my workouts. I’ve actually had this before in both arms, and had chiropractic work to try and remediate. Turns out that nothing really worked, other than time (8+ weeks) and ongoing deep tissue rolling.
Where it is making things difficult is in the curls, wide grip pull ups and barbell rolls. Again, keeping up with my current weights and form, but think I could be making more progress if this niggle wasn’t consuming so much of my mind whilst training through the feedback.
Probably need to completely rest my grip and curl movements, but that is not going to happen…😬
Coming Up In Next Few Weeks
In terms of Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness and Body Goals, here’s my focus for the next few weeks:
- Slowly reintroduce Dairy and Refined Sugar and monitor subjective and gut response. Anti-Inflammatory diet experiment coming to an end
- Continue the Cut and AUG-18 #HyperWorkouts
- Continue to have higher NEAT whilst the kids are on summer holidays
I’ll let you know how I get on with an update every 2-3 weeks… 🙂
Follow Steve’s Body & Mind Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.