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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Finding the perfect diet and thoughts on magic bullets...



I've found the perfect diet.

It's perfect because:


  • I enjoy it.
  • It's now effortless.
  • I can do it forever.
  • It fits around my lifestyle.
  • I'm never hungry.
It's perfect for me. It might not be perfect for you, but you can find something that works.

The magic ingredients for me have been:

1) Removing my sweet tooth by cutting out sugar (exceptions detailed further down). 
2) Eating less often (once a day actually!)
3) less on some days and more on others (when I go to the gym for example).
4) much less carbohydrate.
5) more fat.
6) simpler food choices

Here's where I get my calories from:


The following links have been influential on my gradual migration away from carbs and towards fats:


Here's an example of what I eat on a lower calorie / no exercise day:

Dinner (since I don't eat breakfast or lunch)

125g mixed vegetables
125g cherry tomatoes

Simmered / reduced down with a little butter, soy sauce, cider vinegar.

250g fillet steak
50g roquefort cheese 

Oven-cooked at 170'C with a little butter for about 15 minutes (rare). The cheese is added to the top in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Dessert

225g Clandeboye greek style vanilla yoghurt
25g chopped macadamia nuts
1 scoop of vanilla casein (Milk Protein Smooth from MyProtein)
25g single cream 
1 tablespoon of mascarpone

Total carbs = ~35g
Total fat = ~100g
Total protein = ~110g
Total calories = ~1300

And when I go to the gym (usually every other day, but no less than twice per week):

Post-Gym Shake

1 whole raw organic egg
500ml Alpro coconut milk (fresh - chilled section, not the long-life stuff)
3 scoops MyProtein unflavoured whey

Dinner

1 whole pizza cooked from frozen (I'm too lazy to make my own, especially after the gym)

Dessert

200g mascarpone
75g frozen berries
15g honey
25g chopped macadamia nuts
25g single cream

Total carbs = ~ 130g
Total fat = ~ 160g
Total protein = ~85g
Total calories = ~2300

I no longer count calories. I just eat more like the first setup, rather than the second, to lose fat without even trying. If I want to gain muscle, I'll just eat more like the second setup and make sure I'm not gaining more than about 1 lb per month.

I've settled at a bodyweight of 9st 4lb / 130lb / 59kg. At a height of 5' 4", this equates to a BMI of 22.3 and has me looking like this:


The flat(ish) stomach is from 90% diet, 10% gym and 0% cardio.
The increased muscle mass is 100% gym and 0% cardio.

My gym routine is the following (based on Starting Strength and LeanGains):

Workout A = Leg Press; Weighted Chinups; Dumbbell rows.

Workout B = Dumbbell benchpress; Deadlift; Weighted Dips

I'll go to the gym no more than every other day and alternate each workout so that it looks something like this:

Monday = A
Wednesday = B
Friday = A
Sunday = B
Tuesday = A
Thursday = B
Saturday = A

I've split it like this and chosen these exercises because I enjoy them; muscle groups get worked every fourth day; there's an equal amount of push and pull (too much of one can lead to imbalances and injuries); compound lifts; enough variety while maintaining simplicity.

Each exercise, other than deadlifts, looks something like this:

Warm-up set (25% weight) x 10 reps
Warm-up set (50% weight) x 10 reps
Working Set (100% weight) x 5 reps
Working Set (~85% weight) x 10 reps
Working Set (~65% weight) x 15 reps

Deadlifts use the same warm-up sets, but only one working set of 10.

Rest periods are 3 - 5 minutes.

I've settled on this rep/set routine mostly for enjoyment and psychological reasons. It's important for me to feel like I am making progress and succeeding. Progress happens over the years, so having lots of small successes along the way is important in the long run. [Insert cliche about it being a marathon, not a sprint here]. Each working set is a completely different weight and rep range. I get three opportunities to beat my previous weight for each exercise. I'm also getting plenty of variety - the first set is HARD. It's all I can do to move the weight. The third set BURNS - it's all I can do to move the weight - not because of the weight itself - because of the lactic acid in my muscles and lack of air in my lungs!

:-D

Notebook + pen are essential. I keep a note of exactly how many reps and how much weight I achieved for the working sets and will increase it next time if I'm able to get the minimum number of reps.

At a bodyweight of 9st 4lb / 130lb / 59kg my lifts are currently:

Leg Press = 375 kg x 5 (or squats of 110 kg x 5)
Weighted Chinups = +35 kg x 5
Dumbbell Rows = 41 kg x 5

Dumbbell Bench = 42 kg x 5 (or 46 kg for 2, achieving Beast Mode bench on Fitocracy)
Deadlift = 129 kg x 5 (or 155 kg for 1)
Weighted Dips = +46 kg x 5 

This is after 5 years of consistent training without too much deviation from the routine. I'm pretty happy with this and about where I should be:

Strength targets for men:

2 years training

Deadlift = 2 x bodyweight
Squat = 1.6 x bodyweight
Bench = 1.2 x bodyweight
Chinups = 1.2 x bodyweight

5 years training

Deadlift = 2.5 x bodyweight
Squat = 2 x bodyweight
Bench = 1.5 x bodyweight
Chinups = 1.5 x bodyweight

10 years training / elite level

Deadlift = 3 x bodyweight
Squat = 2.4 x bodyweight
Bench = 1.8 x bodyweight
Chinups = 1.8 x bodyweight

I hope some of this information-overload benefits others in their quest for some sort of diet / exercise routine that's workable and enjoyable!