Personally and professionally there were an awful lot of firsts this week. Let’s start at the beginning.
This past week kicked off the new block in prep: the volume block. Just like it sounds, the focus is on lifting more volume in reps. For me, this meant adding more super sets where necessary and focusing on form with lower weight. The art is picking a weight that will be comfortable in the beginning, but will gradually feel tougher as you continue through your sets. There are a few exercises that I kept heavy with a different variation to repetitions such as back squat. In my strength block, I had an ascending weight/descending rep pyramid with an option 2×3 if I felt good. This allowed me to lift heavier and I actually got back to my old max. It was pretty exciting.
This block, I have my squats in a triangle pyramid, so they ascend in weight/descend in reps and then descend in weight/ascend in reps, I kept the 2×3 optional if I feel good, but since my leg day volume is between 340 reps and 415 reps, I did the optional sets once this week. I’ve also added back squats to my second leg day as well. If you want to get better, you need to practice more often – so triangle pyramid back squats twice a week this block. I also kept deadlifts and bench press with lower reps and a little bit heavier weight because those are exercises that I really enjoy doing heavier – so both are in a 5×5 structure.
I added front squats to my first leg day and rack pulls to my second back day – both of these exercises are completely new to me. I’ve seen both of them done online and did some research on their benefits and form, and now they’ve been added to the line up. Definitely things to get used to, but I think that’s why I’m loving this prep – the ability to add new things and change up what isn’t working. Which leads me to my next change – my Friday back day.
It’s no surprise to anyone that by the end of the week you’re exhausted, it also shouldn’t be a shock that as you lower carbohydrates you also become fatigued. This past week, I traveled the longest car ride I’ve had since my surgery and I think that triggered the start of my exhaustion, however, lower macros and the end of the work week didn’t help. That being said, depending on how I feel Thursday nights, I’m going to move my lifting to Friday night and let myself sleep in Friday morning. This first high volume back day was terrible when I made my attempt in the morning. I felt tired all over, I could feel it in my face and I could feel it in my lifts. I decided to stop in the middle to stop my lift and come back that night because it wasn’t worth a shitty session to hurt myself. So I did and it was a million times better.
Now back to the car ride – professionally, there were some firsts this week too. I’m a fundraiser for a University and it takes between 8 months to a year to develop a relationship and solicit for a contribution. Wednesday, I had an amazing lunch, which lead to a conversation and will be resulting in a proposal asking for my largest ask in my career. Thursday, over lunch, my first endowment proposal was accepted and an agreement will be sent out. Wednesday’s visit is the one that is linked to the VERY LONG car ride. It took almost 4 hours to go from Fairfield, NJ to southern Connecticut – that should be an hour, maybe an hour and a half drive. I sat for 4 hours, which is tough for anyone, but it’s the longest time that I have ever sat in the car since my surgery. I can’t even begin to explain how wiped out I was when I did finally get home. But the trip was completely worth it and I left the office a little early on Thursday after lunch.
Lunches – travel and prep. It’s harder, that’s for sure, but it’s not impossible.I packed my meals and planned accordingly. If you saw Instagram, then you saw the Qdoba post. Maybe I’m ballsy or just #thatpreplife, but I brought the mixing bowl and scale into the food court and just measured out what I needed. It was a pretty damn taco salad if you ask me.
Sadly, on my way out the mall, I passed by this:
One day my love, we will reunite. Just kidding. Cinnabon is good, but I mean cupcakes and doughnuts have my heart.
I also had dessert waiting for me back at the hotel and somehow managed to cap off my macros with half a Lenny and Larry cookie with cashew butter. It was a glorious cap indeed.
I brought waffles with me, along with my toppings and had my own Waffle Wednesday in the hotel dining area.
Even on travel, I got my workout in at Gold’s. It was a nice gym and I do love seeing other facilities, but damn, I just wanted a standard leg press.
I successfully hit my macros on Tuesday and estimated to the best of my ability on Wednesday, which I will gladly take. This week was my first week trying out Avatar Nutrition. I had been talking with a friend about it because I have been struggling to get into a deficit, but after my last experience, I wasn’t 100% sure about how I felt trusting someone else.
Avatar Nutrition is essentially an algorithm that learns your body as you put information into your profile such age, height, weight, gender and activity levels. It adjusts your nutritional goals as you input progress. Last Saturday I weighed in at 128.0 – .8 pounds higher than the start of prep. Sunday I weighed 129.0 according to the scale at the body fat testing center – I believe we can attribute this to the salt in the Mexican I had for dinner the night before. I weighed 129.0 on Monday and that’s when I signed up with Avatar. Immediately, my carbohydrates were cut by 40 grams, which means I was put at 140 grams of carbs daily down from 210 grams when I was in maintenance. Trust me, I didn’t I would need to drop that much, but it made sense. My macros overall were: 52F/140C/136P, so fat was up a little and protein was down little, and carbs – well, goodbye carbs. So I figured I would give it a try and see how I felt and see if any changes happened. I like checking in on Saturday’s because it’s the end of the week for me – it’s a rest day. Well, I was 127.2. I stepped on the scale a few times to make sure it was right and it was. I was also down .5″ in my waist, which means I’ve lost 3/4″ in my waist in 4 weeks and I do believe we have hit a deficit.
Even after 2 full days on these macros I felt tighter and Wednesday morning at the hotel I could see some definition going on.
Someone questioned me about doing “this” on my own. I am still prepping myself on my own. I am still designing my workouts on my own. Avatar is assisting me in the nutrition portion and a lot of competitors who prep themselves have used it. It’s no different than me using any other online calculator, except it auto-updates your nutritional goals based on the progress that you input into your profile. Tomorrow is my check-in to see if there’s any changes to my nutritional goals. I’m hoping for no change, or a very minimal change since this week’s progress was amazing.
A few of you have asked me to review Avatar Nutrition, but guys, it’s only been a week. I figure I’ll debrief when the season is over, do you think you can wait another 9 weeks? I think if things go as well as they did this week, then I don’t think I’ll have an issue working on a review on how I felt about using the site and how they adjusted.
Overall, I’m happy with how this week went. I travel for my job and that’s nothing new, it’s not hard to plan around my trips and bring things to supplement what I can’t get from restaurants. I’m happy with my workouts, even though I had to do a round 2 of back day. I’m happy with my progress, even though it took a few weeks to get here. That’s part of this whole process – learning my body, what’s working and what’s not working. If I stepped on stage today, I would still feel successful because I know where I was before, I know what this sport means to me. I also know that I’m one of those people that will say “watch me next time, I’ll be better.” I like what I’m learning and this week was a lot of that. Here is some other photos from the week. I can’t wait to really dive into week 5 this week.