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.
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):
1 whole raw organic egg
500ml Alpro coconut milk (fresh - chilled section, not the long-life stuff)
3 scoops MyProtein unflavoured whey
1 whole pizza cooked from frozen (I'm too lazy to make my own, especially after the gym)
75g frozen berries
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.
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!
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!