Monday, 20 June 2016

Weight loss made easy! The ultimate guide to losing fat for that Summer holiday.


Q: How do I get in shape for my summer holiday

A: Don't eat so much, fatty!

Simple, right? No, that's why everything has to be dressed up as 'six pack shortcuts', 'beach lean in fifteen' and so on. People want the easy route which isn't going to impact their lifestyle too much. So it's a question about how much you want it over how much do you want that burrito with all the extras for lunch today.

It doesn't matter how you achieve it reducing calories in means that your body will have to find other sources of energy, such as easily broken down carbohydrates (stuff you've just eaten) once that's all gone then your body will turn to other sources of carbs in your muscles (glycogen) then move onto your fat stores (triacylglycerols present in adipose tissue).

Only once fat stores are low does your body turn to breaking down protein (your muscles!) for energy as your body needs to keep as much lean body mass as possible. It takes around 24 hours (person dependent, natch) for you body to have used up all your glycogen stores

So if you want to burn some fat and know you're burning fat then some fasting is in order, that's right starve yourself, don't eat any food (or severely restrict your calorie intake to under 500 calories) for 24 hours. The net result of this either one or two days of fasting a week is that your total calories for the week/month/year come down.

The only thing with this sort of diet is there's nothing to sell, nothing to consume so the fitness industry has nothing to sell you and make money off of you.

This approach has served me well for a good 4-5 years now, I have had lapses and piled the weight back on after having a cheat day/week/month but am trying to get back on track with this tried and tested formula which is basically "don't eat so much fatty!"

Monday, 4 August 2014

2014 Goals revisited

Back in March I set some goals, some pretty unrealistic goals really. 

Here they are:

All in the 4-6 reps range:
Squat @ BW * 1.75 = ~165 kg
Deadlift @ BW * 1.75 = ~165 kg
Bench Press @ BW * 1.35 ~127.5

Overhead Press @ BW * 1.0 94 kg

Now on paper and to my nob of a ego this looked easy, but in reality it is hard, really hard!

I'm not making excuses for myself just facing up to facts. One of the guys on kindly pointed out that the weights in my goals are that of advanced lifters, not beginners like me. So I thought it would make sense to adjust them to something more in line with the standards set out on 

Here are the adjusted numbers:
Squat: 135 kg
Bench Press: 82.5 kg
OHP: 70 kg

Deadlift: 160 kg

Now my current stats are still a way off of these numbers, here they are:

Squat: 107.5 kg x5 reps
Bench Press: 65 kg x9 reps
OHP: 50 kg x3 reps

Deadlift: 150 kg x5 reps

So as you can see I haven't made a great deal of progress since March, which is quite depressing, but I'm not too far off on some of them theoretically, like my deadlift using the one rep max calculator or the one rep max calculator my 1RM for deadlift around 170 kg and the same with my bench press comes in around 83 kg, so not all bad, really.

My training since my last blog post has changed twice from a bastardised 5x5 routine [F'nP] to Reverse Pyramid Training, I had to stop with 5x5 as my poor widdle legs were just not recovering from squatting three time a week so I changed to two time with eh F'nP but my legs were still suffering so I switched to RPT style training which I have seen really good progress in for the short time I have been doing it, my deadlift has gone from 130 kg to 150 kg where I was stalling on it with the 5x5 routine

I'll try update more on the training side of things and other stuff I have been up to, but for now I thought I'd update on where I am with my goals so far. 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Is that abs I can see?

YES IT IS!! Don't worry I'm not posting any selfies! But I can see the faintest glimmer of abs in the mirror which is really encouraging to see and obviously I want to see them all now, but I won't be changing my food intake for a cut just yet as I have literally just adjusted my macros and there's no point in changing them for at the very least four weeks so I know that I have got my calories consistent I'm on a Leangains slow bulk +30%/-10% that's 30% more calories on top of my total daily energy expenditure [TDEE] on days I work out and 10% less on rest days.

Here is the calculator I used and for the past few weeks I have been sticking to the calories and macros, mainly concerning myself with hitting the ~200 grams of protein intake per day, I know that seems like a 50 g too much protein a day as most sources for this sort of thing will say 1-1.5 g of protein per kg where I'm doing lore like 2 g per kg. I'm sticking with what the calculator says for now, but as you can see from the first paragraph I'm seeing results!

It's confusing though as my weight seems pretty static I have lost around my waist; my work trousers are bunched around my waist with my belt on the last notch, I had my first "wow, you've lost weight" comment yesterday, which I was quite confused by because I have been around the same weight now for months, averaging around 94 kg from December 2013 to now, it may be the body re-composition as my legs are noticeably bigger now.

I measured my body fat percentage this morning too I have used a four skin fold measurement system where you have fat callipers and measure several different parts of your body; my measurements > Tricep 2 mm, Thigh 15 mm, Abdomen [two inches to the side of belleh button] 18 mm and Suprailiac [just above your hip bone on your side] 4 mm add the four measurements together and divide that by four = 9.75 then compare it against a chart

Depending on what chart you look at determines your body fat percentage, I looked at a few on line with varying results so just used the chart I got with the callipers, it shows me at 14.8 body fat, I have an android app that shows me @ 10.76% I have entered the same measurements in there several times with the same result, if I were at 10% BF I'd be expecting to see a little more than an outline of some abs! Every time I have had to guess my BF percentage I'd say ~20% so I'm pretty happy with 15% and can set goals from that, I suppose the next milestone for me would be 10% from what I hear though getting to that level is pretty difficult.

One thing I haven't done yet is use a tape measure, I should really start logging that information to help gauge progress because I'm sure you can tell using scales isn't the best indication, I have now decided to take the average of my three weigh ins on workout days to get a better indication of weight as water retention and dehydration can cause quite a swing on the scales

Thank you squats thank you deadlifts that you benchpress' thank you bent over barbell rows thank you overhead press, I will continue my worship to Brodin on the Iron Path, wheymen!

Friday, 14 March 2014

My Goals 2014

Something I haven't really thought too much about since I started lifting in September last year is goals, now I know it’s a bit late to be setting goals a quarter into the year but better late than never I suppose. 

There’s probably a ton of people looking at this thinking well how do you expect to achieve anything if you don't set any goals??!! Well I didn't or haven't, until now, I think when I first started out I just wanted to get stronger, that is still my main focus now [with an unbelievable amount of fussing over the most minute things in the process] but now that I'm part way through my strength training I'm thinking about what to do 'after' I grow up to be big and strong.

Next week I'll be commencing week eight of my StrongLifts 5x5 programme my current stats are:

Squat 100 kg
Bench Press 60 kg
Overhead Press 40 kg
Barbell Row 72.5 kg
Deadlift 120 kg

Reverse Pyramid Training is what I want to be doing eventually, mainly because it's a lot less sets than what I'm currently doing with a lot higher intensity, I don't want to be spending hours in the gym doing a ton of routines. But I do want to make sure that I have made suitable progress with the StrongLifts 5x5 protocol before to progress strength wise and build muscle. But to do RPT this I need to have a solid strength foundation before I can start with this style of training, so with a bit of guidance from the awesome +Mike Matthews I've come up with this:

All in the 4-6 reps range:
Squat @ BW * 1.75 = ~165 kg
Deadlift @ BW * 1.75 = ~165 kg
Bench Press @ BW * 1.35 ~127.5
Overhead Press @ BW * 1.0 94 kg

If I keep progressing at the same rate I should be up to these numbers toward the end of May 2014 It's only my pushes that are falling behind and this is also assuming that I don't put on any weight!

Here’s the posts relating to RPT from the man himself Martin Berkhan and also from Andy Morgan of the awesome

Thursday, 13 March 2014

I was doing it wrong!

For the last four weeks I have been doing Leangains wrong!!

As I thought it was you worked out your total calories you needed then cycled carbs and fat depending if you were training or resting, my caloric intake is meant to be 20% lower on rest days!! I should have RTFM a little better!!

I stumbled across my error quite by accident when I was messing around on my android phone and discovered there was a Leancalc app for calculating your Leangains macros and calories, imagine my surprise when I saw there were two amounts for calories; workout days and rest days. is a great resource with a ton of information I have found really useful and also theres a great FAQ on if you are interested in losing viceral and stubborn fat then take a look at these and learn.

Off of the back of discovering that I was basically on a bulk for the last four weeks I decided to read up a bit more on Leangains again this time from both and ripped body have some great articles on LG nutrition I'll link at the bottom here.

One thing to note however is that my weight has remained pretty static at around 93 kg over the last four weeks so I'm not entirely sure if the additional calories has had any real detrimental effect so far.

From Wednesday 5th March I have been eating the right amount of calories and macros, my weight then 94.3 kg which is irrelevant really and the only indication will be my body fat percentage which I did with a four site skin fold test the other day, which I'm also pretty unsure about to be honest as my BF % come out at 13%, at lease I have something to measure against now in a months time after some 'ahem' correct leangains style fasting.

Here's the posts I had a good read through of and would recommend anyone else interesting in Leangains does so too

The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #1 Calories
The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #2 Macros, Fibre & Alcohol
The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #3 Micronutrients & Water
The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #4 Meal Timing & Frequency, Calorie & Macro Cycling
The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #5 Supplements

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


I learned about Leangains from another IronStrong forum member when I was bitching about having to eat all the time.

I moved onto the see food diet when I started the StrongLifts protocol as I was always hungry with the training but wasn't really that pleased with the prospect of eating six times a day. Being someone that has fasted previously I knew the health benefits of the intermittent fasting lifestyle but wasn't sure how I could fit it into my strength training schedule.

With the 5:2 diet you fasted for two days out of the week where you have 600 calories [for men, 500 for women] for the fast days and eat normally on 'off' days and with the StrongLifts 5x5 protocol you train three days out of the week, so no matter how I managed to space out the fast days I'd either be fasting on a rest day which just didn't seem very logical to me, you're restricting your caloric intake when you are tying to have your body recover from the stresses of the previous day. Or I'd be fasting on a weekend or a training day, there's no way I was going to be able to fast on the weekend and fasting on a training day wasn't going to fly with 600 calories psh!

So discovering was very a refreshing change from all the other sites I visited about nutrition.

I'll summarise the leangains protocol with the greatest respect to Martin Berkhan and his work, please refer to his site for detailed information on the leangains protocol.

Leangains is basically fasting, fasting on a daily basis but not to restrict your caloric intake like the 5:2 diet. 16hrs for men 14hrs for women to go without eating any food.

So with my example I fast from 20:00 in the evening through to 12:00 the next day, on training days I train fasted and eat at 13:00 on rest days I eat at 12:00 first meal is always intended to be the biggest meal of the day with calories tapered down toward the end of the day.

To work out my macros I used the If It Fits Your Macros calculator and I have been doing this since I returned to work after my tonsillectomy on 27th January 2014 all I can say for my progress is that I feel a lot stronger and I have made great progress on my squat, bench press and overhead press

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Lean Lifting

lean lifting, just something I thought I'd start on here where I can keep a log of what I'm learning whilst trying to live longer and get stronger.

What I'm putting in here are my findings and what I have learned I have no educational or professional background in any of this so this is basically just another guy talking crap on the internet as there's no scientific research to back up my claims.

I'm experimenting with myself. What I'm doing here is just for me, I'm sharing it with you so you have a little bit more information to go with the information already out there

I'm aiming for a body re-composition after being a skinny fat guy for the last ten years or so, just skinny before then. The main focus is lifting heavy weights to gain lean muscle mass

A little more on my background, I'm a 37 year old male 193 cm tall and weigh 94 kg [at the time of writing this] and up until recently I was happily living my life carefree but recently started getting concerned for my health and the possible onset of type ii diabetes.

So last year I decided to start a fasting diet, now I love my food and the concept of not eating was entirely alien but I tried the 5:2 diet back in April 2013 at that time I was 105 kg toward the end of September of that year I weighed 96 kg by the beginning of November I was down to 92.4 kg and getting concerned about it so thought about adding muscle instead of fat.

So after an email exchange with an old colleague he introduces me to the StrongLifts 5x5 program a strength building program for beginners, this is what I have been doing now since November last year and I learned a great deal from Medhi's site, just enough for me to decide that I didn't need to pay ~£15 a month to join his gated community :)

Since then my weight has stayed pretty much static but I have gained a lot of strength

Now I know just changing my diet isn't going to guarantee I won't get type ii diabetes but it is on step toward helping my overall health.

Another thing I have found recently is more muscle helps improve blood sugar control, maybe I'll leave this to another post like most of the stuff I have covered in this initial post which may seem like a bit of a ramble but you have to start somewhere, right

Great resources that have helped me no end: