When it comes to your aesthetics, just how far are you willing to go? When I first started out I was like anyone else. Looking to the pros and magazines for the best workouts, newest supplements, and how to be living, the fit lifestyle. I wanted the fastest approach at “getting big”. I quickly learned that was what being described in the magazines, was not only not doable for me, but would never be something I could carry on for an extended period of time. These people are extraordinary examples of human specimens, and their workouts aren’t to be taken lightly. So I started thinking for myself and began to make to better strides. I was able to get bigger and stronger, mainly through volume training, for long periods of time. But I was never in “good shape”. At that point I started experimenting with new ways to eat and diet. I tried a plethora of different nutritional philosophies, including the Ketogenic diet and the 40/40/20 diet, which I have described my experiences with in a prior blog. Both of them were beneficial in their own ways but I still wasn’t satisfied. So then recently I decided that I wanted to create my best physique, with the main concept being, being able to live the most normal, spontaneous, adventurous, lifestyle I can. That meant creating more efficiency with training and meal prep. It meant using a more instinctual approach at eating than ever before. Using foods that make me feel better, look better, and perform better. It also meant being able to fit this all around my newly heightened sense of life priorities such as my career, my website development, rest and relaxation, traveling and eating new foods, and spending as much time as I can with my favorite person, my lovely girlfriend.
Training and lifting weights has always been one my favorite things to do. Given the choice of partying on a Saturday night or going to the gym, I’ll always choose the gym. But it doesn’t always create the most favorable outcome when relationships are thrown into the mix. The world built around the gym is a selfish one. Time consumed training, meal prepping and eating, creates a strain as well as limited choices for eating out and time restraints between meals. Staying with the selfish mindset, I can say I honestly want it all. I want my results and my free time. I decided I needed to take a more direct, faster, higher intensity driven approach at training. One that would not only allow for muscle growth, but challenge my cardiovascular system, and keep tendons and joints healthy. The common idea of heavy training creates larger, denser muscle fibers has always been known, and I believe to be true. But I also know I am not nor ever will be a professional body builder and would like to avoid injuries if I can. After reading and watching others talk about this topic, I have also come to find others are starting to think more and more like myself. If you’re looking for muscle overload, which ultimately will force a muscle to grow in theory, what’s the difference between 5 reps and 20 reps? I don’t believe my body knows, it only knows, failure. To create more intensity and more strain on cardiovascular system, I have been using an EDT (escalating density training) like approach. With a three day split, day one I train chest, with biceps, posterior deltoids, and traps, the next day back, with triceps, anterior and medial deltoids, and on day three, upper and lower legs with abs. This allows me to hit the whole body in a short period of time, and allows for more frequency when I want it, or more time for other activities when I don’t. I only take breaks in between sets when I do not have enough oxygen readily available to perform the following set. This helps create intensity with not needing a lot of weight, active resting helps muscle lactic acid build up not occur (as much), and my cardiovascular system is taxed, helping aid in fat loss and more thermogenesis. I do five exercises total working back and forth between opposing muscles, and 3-4 sets of each superset. This takes me an hour, hour and fifteen at the most. As long as you’re focused and working towards an immediate goal, you’ll make progress.
I have grown to see the most important part of my daily planning and success comes from my nutrition. Not only how the food makes me look, but more importantly how it makes me feel. I always wanted to be able to eat large amounts of carbohydrates like all the pros do. But for some reason, not only did they always make me look bad, but they made me feel bad as well. I feel lethargic, bloated, and uncomfortably full afterwards. When I did the strict KETO diet I loved how I felt. My digestive system was happy, I was always hungry, and never uncomfortable. But the difficulty that came with the diet, combined with how I looked, flat and non-vascular, I shied away from the whole plan. So with bits and pieces of each philosophy working for me, I decided to take a more instinctual approach. One that would allow me to feel good, look good, and have an easier time navigating around my daily consumption when it came to eating out and traveling. So with that said this is what I came up with. My meal plan is based mainly around a high protein, high fat, and low carb diet. Now notice I say low, not, 0 carb diet. I also feel strongly about mixing my energy sources, and by that I mean not eating my fats and carbs together. Both are stored in the body for energy usage, and I feel should not be vastly overlapped. I also wanted something that was more intuitive, meaning eating when I’m hungry, not, when I’m not. My daily eating plan is between 6-9 meals. Sometimes I’m not that hungry, sometimes I’m starving and sometimes I just have too much going on to get all meals in, in a days’ time. I always start my day off with an egg meal, usually including avocado and some fish oils. Depending on what time I plan on training, I may eat anywhere from 1-4 more meals before my pre-workout meal. They consist of whether a fish and fat or a protein and vegetable. I alternate back and forth. Then for my pre-workout meal I have 40 grams of protein isolate, with 1/2 - 1 cup (30-60grams carbs) of gluten free oatmeal and a ¼ cup blueberries all blended up. I put this one carb meal in because no matter what I always get the best workout after carbs, at the same time as looking harder, fuller, and more vascular. I find blending the oats helps me break them down in my system, that much easier. After training I go back to my fats and proteins. The “intuitive” part comes more importantly when your body is telling you it needs something more than the norm. Sometimes I feel and look flat so I’ll take a fat meal out and put some carbs in. Sometimes on non-training days I don’t feel like carbs so I don’t eat them. Also sometimes on non-training days I’ll get a wild hair and do an intermittent fast, with cardio. Like I said, it’s all based on how I feel. And when I want to eat out, I DO. Life is short, I want to enjoy my time at the same time as being the best I can.
When all is said and done, we can’t all be on a national or international competitive platform athletes. But there is nothing stopping us from creating good life habits that allow us to achieve our fitness goals while still maintaining a well-balanced, home, work, and social life. I will continue to update with my changes and philosophies as they arise as well as be more involved with social media so we can all see each other’s progress. Thank you, and as always, keep working hard.