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Being Consistent with Calories

One of the reasons that I’ve I championed the Cambridge Diet is that every day you know that you’re getting all the nutrients that you need and that the calorie count is also consistent. Sometimes dieting is easier when you don’t have the annoyance of having to choose what you eat – taking ages in Tesco while you read the backs of packets. With diets such as Slimming World and Weight Watchers, the premise is the same – You’re given an allowance of ‘syns’ or ‘points’, this is either a daily allowance or a weekly allowance – but the point of these diets is that you don’t count calories. Since a calorie is a unit of energy, it’s always been my personal opinion that ensuring a calorie deficit – this is something I’ve banged on about for ages now.

Personally, I describe myself has having an addictive nature when it comes to food. I go through periods when I’m restrained and then reward myself with a calorie binge. For me, these binge times are usually at the weekends – a little treat.. which turns into a.. well, you know the story.

So 7 days ago, I started badly and continued to binge on Saturday and Sunday; the problem with  weekends is that it’s hard to be consistent with calorie intake, especially when you’re not in a routine – so from Monday – Thursday this week, I was really good. I had low calorie ready meals and stuck to coffee in the day. I did get the “half spoon” sugar which adds a super sweet 8 calorie hit to my tea and coffee. I have though been skipping breakfast and lunch most days – I did manage to loose 1lb this week, which I’m not going to turn my nose up at – but I wont pretend like I’m not disappointed in myself.

So, with a 1lb loss, it seems that this week, I’ve only really working at a 3,500 calorie deficit, – I think. Actually, I’m not to sure. I’ve been thinking about the process of calories becoming that horrible wobbly mess that surrounds my mid section and I found this on Livestrong

“Once food is consumed, your body either uses calories as energy to fuel your body, or stores these calories in fat cells to be called upon at a later time. Dr. David Katz, reports in “O, the Oprah Magazine,” that the body begins to store consumed calories as fat within four to eight hours from the beginning of the meal. As you consume these calories, the body automatically stores the first 1,000 calories within the liver and muscles for immediate energy reserves. This calorie storage is known as glycogen. Once the glycogen calories are utilized for energy, the body then activates stored calories within fat cells, known as triglycerides, to replenish the depletion of glycogen calories.”

So I guess one thing to try and ensure a consistent loss while staying in control, is well.. by following the same thing that people have been telling you for ages – and this is the “little and often” Set alarms to ensure that you eat the same time each day – then try and have the same number of calories. eg.

7am – 100 calories

9.30am 200 calories

11am 30 calories

1pm 400-500 calories

3pm 30 calories

6pm 600-800 calories

total calories = 1360 to 1660

Now this is approximate, and it really doesn’t matter how these calories are made up. So instead of having a rice cake at 11am, you can have a piece of toblerone from duty free (just the 1 bit though – put the rest in the fridge!)

My point is that it doesn’t matter how the calories are made up, just know that you’re going be have a lot less if you opt for something fatty than something leafy. I’d like to follow my own advice, but be all know that aint going to happen :)

 

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Slimming Cults

I seem to be making a habit of apologising for not updating my blog at the start of each update. And this is no different. Sorry. Oops. My bad.

So a couple of weeks ago, I started to calorie count again and in my first 7 days of my new diet, I’d lost 4lbs. Loosing 4lbs is great – well no it isn’t – because I’m yo-yo-ing. Basically, and I’m going to be super honest about this – I’ve managed to get right back up to where I was (nearly) you can see from my little ticker, that my overall weight loss is 7lbs. Which isn’t bad – though it is bad for a couple of years worth of dieting. So, how am I doing it this time? Well, the girls at work are all over Slimming World, a diet which my all accounts, I simply do no understand. However, the truth is the the people who I know who have done Slimming World do actually lose weight, and they manage to keep it off. Suffice to say, I don’t like the idea of going to so silly AA style meeting and stand up in front of people and declare “Hi, I’m Ant and this week I ate two helpings of bread and butter pudding”. (I did actually eat 2 helpings – with extra cream – it made me feel a bit sick)

One thing I do understand from the girls is that for some, staying on track is about having someone to answer too – and the meetings are a great idea for this – you get weighed on a calibrated scales and you get praise – and I’m sure it’s not sarcastic in the slightest “Oh Una, you’ve done SO well, half a pound – GOOD FOR YOU” or if you’re like me, every two weeks you get the tuts and the Mary Berry stare – “It was the bread and butter pudding, wasn’t it?”. “yes, miss”. When I was going to Cambridge each week, on the rare weeks I did put a few pounds on, I could feel the sheer disappointment. So I guess going to Slimming Cult works.

For me, I weigh every Friday. I started back at 16st 13 and a week later I was 16-9 and some change. I’ve been obsessively calorie counting – made some amazing carrot and cumin soup, each portion is only 140 calories (and that’s a large portion) and literally pulling packets out of the bin that I forget to scan into my fitness Pal. I’ve also been using Strava to track calorie burn from my daily bike ride to work. The next plan of action is to get back into the gym. I’ve contemplated running outside, but it’s now “pissing it down” season and I’d much rather a treadmill. No fancy getting big and bulky. Right now it’s about getting 2/3 inches off my 38″ waist and to do this through cardio and ensuring I’m at a calorie deficit. Seems easy? Well the new gym I just opened doesn’t open for a month, so until then I’m just watching what I eat. Watch this space.

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The Ark: Building my first PC – Introduction

Over the last year; I’ve been researching a PC build. Usually the story goes that I start to put money aside and then I book a holiday (Hello Mexico, Dec 2014!) so that becomes an economic priority; then something else comes along (Hello, Orlando, June 2015).. so before something ELSE comes along – like the big move – I’m making the replacement of my ageing laptop my new obsession.

So this series of blogs is going to take you through my research. Everything from CPU choice to the balance between waiting and getting it now. I’m not the richest wanker in Manchester, so it’ll take a good few months getting the parts a bit at at time. over the past year I’ve been looking at different stuff and the internet is full of information that’s frankly overwhelming, so I’m going to try and keep this simple for those who are also thinking about their first PC build and who also don’t now what a RAID configuration is. (I didn’t get it until this morning – and these are things to consider)

There are things that I need to consider:
1. Budget
2. Use
3. Lifespan

I don’t want to spend any more than about £1200-£1300 on the initial build. This doesn’t include the GPU (Graphics card) as I am waiting for the new Nvidia GTX’s to come out – and the card I’ve got my eye on at the moment should drop in price. (Currently it’s the GTX 780 Ti and it retails for about £500)

2. Gaming. I want to be able to play current games on high-ultra settings with a good frame rate (FPS) 4K screens are coming down in price and I want my build to be able handle this (this is very much a GPU issue and I’ll talk later about GPU SLI configurations, how it works putting more than 1 graphics card in a build.

3. Lifespan – 5 years. This is a significant investment, and I want it to last. it’s easy to replace the odd component as required – however the guts of the build (Motherboard/CPU/Primary SSD) need to give me 5 years without need of replacement.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. I’ll keep returned back to this (probably weekly) looking at different aspects of the build and hopefully this’ll be of some help to those who need it.

Responding to the iPhone 6 Critics.

I’m in serious danger of being labelled an “Apple fanboy” with this post – so I’m going to open with a simple truth. My current phone is the HTC One (M7), I have had the phone since the day it came out (March 2013). My previous was an iPhone 4S.

My phone has a higher resolution than the iPhone 6 sporting a full 1080p display on a 4.7 inch screen. I’ve got 2gb RAM and 32gb storage. My phone has NFC and a pretty decent camera.

So, why am I going back to Apple?
Simple really – because each and every bell and whistle that comes with the HTC and other Android devices needs a third party app. I’ve had conflicting software that had led to crashing on the system and I’ve even had a bloody virus. Not that Android isn’t great. It’s got far more flexibility than iOS, you can do a lot more with it – if you can take the time to find out how; and frankly I can’t be bothered. I went to Android because I wanted a bigger screen. I was bored with iOS and wanted to be able to customise my phones look and feel, though looking at sites on how to do this game me a massive headache and when I saw a lot of the customisations, I didn’t like them.
With iOS, everything is in one place. With ApplePay, NFC technology might actually become usable. UK Businesses didn’t give a shit about NFC – In fact Transport for London is implementing an NFC phone enabled solution TOMORROW! (16.09.14) (http://www.nfcworld.com/2014/07/25/330604/london-underground-accept-nfc-payments/)- So whats was the point in having NFC if it just sits there as yet another battery drainer?
Another reason why I’m going back to Apple is that basically, everything I need is in one place. I download Google Hangouts and suddenly I’m getting text messages to both hangouts and the HTC messages app. It’s the simplicity of iOS that makes it appealing to people – and that’s just part of the reason. Frankly as I’ve written this blog I’ve actually got bored. Sorry.

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The Last Excuse

So, the truth is that a few weeks before I went to America, I stopped training after a back injury. Then I was in the States and I returned nearly 6 weeks ago and I’ve still just gained weight. In fact, I’m now in that horrible position when I’m scared of getting on the scales. I haven’t exercised and I’ve discontinued my gym membership (thank got for no-contract deals)

And I fucking hate myself for it. As the weeks have gone on, my clothes hardly fit me at all, I’m down to a few tatty items that make me look like a tramp. I could squeeze into some other bits, but then I’d just look like a fat whore with no idea.

I even caught sight of myself on Saturday and I didn’t like what I saw. How can a man who’d spend months working hard, eating well and exercising, manage to undo all the good work, so spectacularly? It’s deeply depressing.

So, here goes. Again. If you’ve read any of my blogs before, you’re going to get a serious case of Deja Vous – and this is not going to be pretty.

I’ve got some cup soups (only 66 calories) and some of those be good to yourself meals to get my going. I’ve spent the last couple of months eating large portions of food loaded with fat, carbs and not much else. So the first step is training my body not to crave.

So I’m going to start on the 5-2 for a few weeks to give myself a little boost – on my non-fasting days I’ll eat things like soups and… fucking hell? I can’t even think of what I can eat. What’s wrong with me.

So I’m still to scared of finding out what the scales say. Might wait and do the weigh in tomorrow morning. Yeah. I’ll do that.

Ladies; This. is. going. to. hurt.

A long overdue Update

I don’t really know how to start this update – because so much has happened – well sort of.

I had some nasty man-flu last week and as soon as I got over it, it was my birthday, so partied HARD -and then as soon as that was over, I was back to being congested and feeling like complete bollocks. – Always good to start with the excuse, but the truth is I’ve not been to the gym in nearly 10 days – which is really shit of me, because right up until that point I have been doing so well. — It’s not to say that I’m at a standstill, I’ve not got to get back into the habit, so it becomes part of my routine again. I’ve 30 days away from flying to San Fran, so really need to kick it up a gear.

So, rather than talk about where it’s all gone to shit, I’ll turn the clock back to just before I got poorly.

The training plan that I’d uploaded on my previous blog has been working a treat – I think, It’s always hard to really see any real changes in your body when you’re training because, I’ve found them to be so slight. I keep telling myself that I need to learn to be patient and to be disciplined.. if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know that I’ll irritate myself with all that crap.

One thing that I’ve come to appreciate is that training is hard. If you see a muscle guy in his 30s and he’s not taking any anabolic steroids – then you need to respect that cunt, because believe me – it takes fucking ages and you need to be so disciplined when it comes to lifestyle outside of the gym – getting that balance between bulking and cutting right is a ballache – not drinking alcohol – calorie counting – making sure that you’re eating “the right foods”, it’s just a nightmare. Anyway – so now that I’ve got that moan out the way – before I’d had my little break from training (slap wrist), I’d made a decision, as it’s coming to the final laps before I hit the states, I really need to up the fat burn – so rather than replace some strength training, I’ve decided to add extra cardio to my plan. So this is what the latest training plan looks like:

Day AM PM
Monday Chest/Back Spinning
Tuesday Legs/Core REST
Wednesday Shoulders/Traps Spinning
Thursday Spinning Running
Friday REST REST
Saturday Arms/Core REST
Sunday REST REST

I’ve been thinking about taking up things like Yoga, or some sort of Boxercise – still it’s just an idea. Need some way to channel my stress.

 

Time to Target

It has been a good while since I’ve updated this blog, and between being extremely busy with work, and playing a lot of South Park: The Stick of Truth on my Xbox (It’s fucking amazing by the way) I’ve simply not had a moment.

Anyway, Since I last wrote this blog, I can (and yes, this is even a surprise to me) report that I’ve been keeping up with my training, and have progressed. Tomorrow morning however, I will be changing my training plan, to continue to maximise my gains. (and fat losses) – but more on that later.

So, the plan that I have been working to started out as this

Exercise Starting Current
Weight Reps Sets Weight Reps Sets
Romanian Deadlift 50kg 12 2 50kg 12 3
Sumo Dumbbell Squat 24kg 10 2 26kg 10 3
Dumbbell Lunges 14kg 18 (9 on each leg) 3 16kg 20 (10 on each leg) 3
Barbell Bench Press 30kg 8 4 30kg 8 4
Barbell Standing Military Press 20kg 12 4 25kg 12 4
Barbell Reverse Grip Bent over Row 25kg 12 4 40kg 10 3
Triceps pulldown 17.5kg 12 4 20kg 12 4
Alternating Dumbell Bicep Curls 12kg 10 each arm 4

As you can see, I’ve managed to make some progress with this and I’ve also added some alternating biceps curls, however I’ve been finding that doing this same routine every other day a bit cumbersome, and now that my body weight has come down – it was 15st 5lbs last Saturday, before G and I celebrated with Burgers and three different types of chips.. yeah yeah, I know…

Anyway, so now I’m thinking I want to really start targeting areas and building up my arms and chest and what I have been doing, whereas I’ve seen some gains, and a change in my body, I really want to start pushing myself a little further. So, I’ve got a new plan (which you can download and take a look through here.

Unlike when I stated training, I have no problem with confidence here. The only exercise I am slightly worried about is the Barbell Squat, but I’ve been looking online and have watched several videos of how to do one properly.

(for those of you who don’t know…)

As dieting goes, I don’t find myself being careful – eating healthy balanced food now just seems like second nature. I do eat a lot of protein, oats, salad, vegetables – I try to stay away from white bread (especially for lent) and also fizzy drinks. – I have treated myself to the odd glass of Prosecco though :)

On the Supplements side of things, I have read so much online and it’s quite astonishing the amount of bullshit there is online, so here’s what I’m taking at the moment

Pre-workout (6.15am): 5g BCAAs, 200mg Caffeine – the caffeine really is to wake me up, Mega Green Tea Extract 

Since taking the Green Tea Extract I have found that I sweat a lot more when I train, and sometimes I get chills, particularly in my legs towards the end of a workout, I do push through, but I’m not sure if this is a side effect, or what?! If you’re reading this and can give me a explanation, I’d appreciate it!

Post-workout (7.45am): 60g Total Protein (choc smooth is sooo lovely, my new favourite flavour), 5g BCAAs

Around Noon – 60 Total Protein (again)

30 mins before going to sleep (around 9.15pm) 60g of Bedtime Extreme - Now, I’ve only been taking this for a week, but it’s supposed to aid recovery and help muscles grow, as it contains a form of protein that is released slowly throughout the night. The reviews are good, and to be honest, I can’t complain.

So this was taken on the 22nd March, I have a very very long way to go, but I’m really pleased that I can see some difference in my body. I’ve come a long way from starving myself on the Cambridge Diet 6 months ago.

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