THEMES: #1: Reflection On The Low Carb Bulk & #2: Final Cut Before Photoshoot!
It’s been a while since my last Journal. Life’s got real busy with a hard push on the business front, plus a ton of commitments for our girls sporting and school stuff. Wouldn’t have it any other way, but it does force you to drop some stuff.
I haven’t been loafing, mind you. The training and nutrition commitments have been going as planned. They NEED to be… I have the Body Goals finale with a pro photoshoot coming up just before Christmas!
Reflection on The 2 Month Low Carb Bulk
Okay, so it’s been a couple months since my last journal entry – 2019 W35, where I had wrapped up a successful Fasting Blitz Cut, losing 14lbs. Here’s what I looked like early Sept 2019. Check out that journal so see the stats, results and approach I took.
Since then, I’ve been back to the ‘perma’ Bulk. The goal weight was 201lbs, and to step up the strength performance and volume in the gym. Tick, tick, tick ✅.
What Has My Nutrition Looked Like?
Food wise, the focus has been Nutrient Density – where I get 90% of my calories from whole food animal-based nutrition, and I keep my average Carbs to 10-13%. Lot’s of Ribeye, Eggs, 20% Ground Beef, Salmon, Raw Milk, Butter, Beef Dripping and other meat and fish.
Carbs have been evening Rice or Potatoes – cooked a variety of different ways. The odd bit of chocolate, and more indulgent desserts once a week (such as Eton Mess). On average, about 100g of carbs a day.
Calories stepped up throughout the two months, starting at ~3500 kcal and ending up at ~4200 kcal on training days to maintain weight gain as my body composition and glycogen levels stabilised.
This style of eating is great for me. I love high-protein and high-fat meals, and my body just knows it’s getting a ton of health promoting, recovery supporting, and muscle building nutrition. Now I’m fully weaned off high-carb meals at every sitting, my energy levels are stable and high, and hanger is non-existent. Zero snacking.
These podcast and articles have been a strong influence on my current food choices:
- Paul Saladino, Shawn Baker and Frank Tufano Podcasts on the value of Meat-Dominant lifestyle approaches
- Sally Fallon Morell on the necessity to prioritise Nutrient Density
- Brian Sanders on the food lies of the last 50 years, and what our food priorities should be
- Sam Feltham on the crazy body composition changes when he went on a LCHF diet
- Elliot Overton on the risks of eating a plant-rich high Oxalate diet
- Christian Thibaudeau on Supplementation Strategies based on my Neurotype
What About Training Performance? Has It Tanked?
Absolutely no complaints on the training or mental performance front. Far from it. Strength has been moving up steadily, as well as my willingness to push through and get more reps out.
Given my lifestyle and training demands, I need nutrient density and sufficient calories, but I don’t need a ton of carbs as I’m not doing much in the way of highly glycolytic activity. I honestly have seen no downsides to dialling back the carbs.
In all fairness, you don’t know what you don’t know. Perhaps my performance and muscle growth could be a little high with more standard bodybuilding carbs – 400g+ per day. I’m not sure though, as my performance has been increasing beyond my high-carb bests.
Training performance is not just about nutrition. Your mental game and training design has a big part to play in your output and results. And over the last few weeks, I’ve had some really powerful conversations with guys who have made me question how much effort I am REALLY putting in.
Mike McCastle’s interview made me reflect on how much struggle am I willing to endure, and that achieving impossible things start with pushing a little harder, every day. The most recent interview with Online Bodybuilding legend Paul Carter made me realise that I need to training to true failure more often, and the strength must be re-prioritised.
What Does the Bod Look Like? Fat Already?
I’ve put on 8lbs in two months. There’s no denying the fact that was NOT all muscle – no chance! Maybe I put on 0.5lbs of muscle, a bunch of extra water and digestive weight, and some fat.
As I wrapped up my last mini cut at 193lbs, I knew I still had too much weight on my mid section. So, with this cut, that obviously hasn’t changed. But, the abs are still there, and the love handles have been kept in check…
What I’ve noticed most is the natural filling out of my muscles as I’ve sustained a calorie and nutrient surplus. I’d say though, that this time round my muscle fullness and size is different. And the stats (coming up) confirm what I am subjectively seeing in the mirror.
My arms have taken on some extra size…
Any my Chest and Shoulders continue to improve. Apparently you have the highest density on androgen receptors in your shoulders and chest, and given my high beef and generally animal-based diet, it would seem that the nutrition is supporting upper body growth without putting on too much fat.
Interesting huh? Time to bring on more animal-based nutrition I say!
The Body Composition Data
If you’ve been following my journals, you’ll know I like my data. I’ve been tracking meticulously for a couple years. The value in this process is all the takeaways for everyone else… it’s pretty much been a scientifically controlled two year study on building muscle!
Here’s my latest body composition table:
- ARMS – Boom! Finally, starting to move the needle
- CHEST & SHOULDERS – All time highs. I’m shocked in the growth to be honest
- WAIST & HIPS – Kept the midsection in check, whilst developing the glutes
- BODY FAT – Hit my goal weight and body fat percentage exactly as planned
- LEGS – WTF! Continue to be stubborn as hell, even with tons of volume…
All in, that’s a successful bulk so far. I’d carry on for longer, but there’s a photoshoot that need the blubber gone…
It’s Time! The Final Cut Before The Photoshoot!
Simon from SNH Foto is coming over to the AdapNation Gym on 12th December, to document my journey and memorialise my success (or failure) in pursuit of my two year body goal.
There’s nothing like making a goal public, being transparent throughout, and then making the final milestone real with a paid-for appointment.
Honestly, I’m a little nervous. Not in losing the weight I have planned, but whether it will be enough. And… if I can pose appropriately. I am rubbish in photos!
The Gap In Body Composition & Measurement Targets
Ultimately, the true test is how close do I look in the mirror to goal physiques I picked. Let’s see. But, being a numbers guy and deeply driven by targets, I set some physique measurements in Jan 2018 to give me something to measure against throughout.
Given my progress, I marginally increased some of the goals to make the target number more closer match what I need to see in the mirror. I have not made any of the goals easier, even though I am woefully behind on the leg department. I think it’s because the physique pics I chose don’t have legs in the shot… 🤣
As you can see, I’ve got an impossible mountain to climb on the Quads, Calves and Biceps front. I’ve made some good progress, but I’ve clearly set my goals a little too high… or didn’t set a good enough plan.
One important thing to note is that in cutting for 5.5 weeks, I will drop some size. It’s inevitable. I’ll do my best to keep my measurements up, but some drop is normal and consistent with my experience.
Another Fasting Blitz Cut – 5.5 Weeks
Given the success from my last Fasting Blitz Cut, I am going to replicate the experience and extend it by a couple weeks.
Read 2019 W35 for the details of this approach. I’m changing very little. The only change being my daily calorie budgets, as below:
Changes to note:
- Dropped Weekly Calorie Budget to 15,200kcal. That’s 900kcal down from last time
- Built in a Buffer of calories I can choose to eat if I need to, whilst still hitting target weight
- Introduced a Calorie Taper towards the end of the 5.5 weeks, to account for a Lowe metabolic rate and slowing of weight loss
This approach will have me lose about 14lbs (a stone) of bodyweight in five and a half weeks. I suspect 10lbs will be fat, 3lbs will be water weight, and they will be negligible temporary muscle loss – probably 0.5lbs max.
My Training Approach Whilst Cutting
I’m in the last week of the OCT-19 #HyperWorkouts Gym Workout Plan. It’s been a good plan, blending back in some strength work and really focusing in on maximising mechanical tension and mind muscle connection.
I’ve not decided on what the next #HyperWorkouts Workout Plan will look like yet, but it will include more Strength Work, more Training To Failure, Heavier Weight... and generally looking to push my limits mentally and physically.
Yes I am cutting, and my energy levels will be lower, but I will time my meals and focus on nutrient density to help me maintain motivation and performance in the gym. This has been consistent with every other cut I’ve completed – you need to work hard to keep your muscle when your body wants to get rid of metabolically expensive tissue.
Now is not the time to take it easy! Expect a full on Workout Plan to be shared as part of the DEC-19 #HyperWorkouts. You can follow along. 😉
Coming Up In Next Few Weeks
Here’s my focus for the next few weeks:
- Final Push to Release the #BeYourBest Self-Optimisation Journey – Looking soo good! Game changing product… to change your life.
- Digging Deeper into Digital Traction Channels – i.e. How to make the above get sufficient momentum and feeling the AdapNation movement.
- Fitness Posing and Peak Week Research – Whilst I have no desire to compete, understanding how to be ready for a photoshoot is probably worth it.
P.S. I’ll let you know how I get on with an update every few weeks… 🙂
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