Anthony John Maxwell

LGBT Campaigner, Cinema Fanatic & Failed Dieter

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.

GymSelfie

 

 

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Progress Update

I haven’t written much in a while, and It’s getting to a point that that when I think about the stuff I want to write in this blog to bring everyone up to speed, I think, “Well that’ll take ages” and I shy away.

Anyway – here goes

So I’ve been really good at getting my fat arse down the gym for the last few weeks. I was away on a business trip which also was scheduled next to my partner’s birthday celebration so I did miss a few days – but this is essentially what I’ve been doing:

Mon, Wed, Fri – Strength Training

Tues, Thurs, Sat – Cardio

Sun – Rest.

And it’s not been that hard, now that it’s getting lighter in the morning, it is far easier to get up and go. Some  mornings I still have to really push myself, but I have been in the gym before 7am. I am trying to make it earlier – at first I was on the gym floor at 6.45am, but that’s slipping. I really need to pull my finger out.

And what’s the secret to these early mornings? Going to bed early! Who knew it would be that simple?!

So, when last I wrote this I’d begun the training plan that was put together by the trainer in the gym. Rather than spend each day targeting certain body part, the plan was designed to do a bit of an overall workout, concentrating on compound exercises – because, and his logic is sound here, targeting exercises are best when you’re where you want to be as an overall package.

So I’ve been plodding away at his plan, and tweeking it a bit, so it now looks like this:

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

It’s going well – after the first week, I added the triceps pulldown as I was struggling with my bench presses, so I thought it would help put some strength in my arms. I also found that doing between 16 and 18 reps was stupid. I know I not a trainer or anything, but I’ve not read anywhere that those amount of reps is good for anyone, I should aim for 8-10 and if that’s easy, increase the weight. So I did. I went to 30kg and kept the reps ‘mid range’.

The barbell Standing military press was a nightmare to get to the 16 too, the first set was fine, but after that it was just downhill all the way so rather than decrease the weight so I could meet the number of reps, I decided to decrease the reps (again to mid range) and I’m able to meet them, I hope in a few weeks I’ll be able to increase the weight.

So this is what I’ll be doing for at least the month of march.

As I mentioned earlier I’ve been also doing cardio to supplement the resistance training and to help burn fat – I only have about 40-50mins in the gym in the morning, so I’ve been doing 5km on the rowing machine and his is taking about 22-23mins and then after getting my breath back, I jump onto the treadmill and do intervals. 1m15s at 8.3kph followed by 1m15s at 14.2 – this takes 15 mins, though this week, I will up this to the next level. I also supplement this with an extra spinning class (either on a Monday or Wednesday evening) and of course, I’m still cycling everywhere – so basically – I’m working my fucking tits off and with any luck I’ll start seeing some real differences in my body over the coming months. Watch this space.

Oh, and quickly before I go – I’ve been using that silly machine in the gym that takes weight, body fat  %.. and I’ll use this every fortnight -

So as of 28.02.2014: Weight 15st 10lbs (100.2kg), Body fat – 22.9% – I’m not massively bothered about the weight, but I really would like to get my body fat down. That’s my primary goal – I don’t want to loose lean muscle though.

So, lets continue… until next time…

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The Training Plan (Part 3)

I couldn’t quite work out where I should call this latest blog the “New” training plan, because on Saturday, when I went to the gym to have a ‘fitness test’, I’d learned they didn’t have the right equipment to perform the correct tests – though they were going to do me a training plan – I was a like, “umm.. okay, well, I do have a training plan that I am working to, so it’ll be great if someone can go through it with me and give me some advice”..

So, the trainer literally gave my plan a 2 second glance and started to give me some advice that was massively contradictory to the advice that Michael Matthews puts in his book Bigger Leaner Stronger.

But I’ll get to that later.

The first thing he asked me was my goals, which had me thinking about whether or not my goals are realistic, based on my genetics, determination and lifestyle. What do I really want out of this? A 6-pack? big arms? A defined chest?

I’ve always been a dreamer - ideas above my station, but truth be told; and what experience has taught me, is that you can have an idea as to the ultimate goal, but to reach it is to set smaller interim milestones. So for me, I want to bring my body fat percentage down, and I want to have a defined body – simply put: you can’t have one without the other.

body_3

So I need to train the whole body, rather than target certain areas, and according to the trainer, targeting areas (i.e Day 1 chest, Day 2 Arms etc..) is really a regime for those who have reached the defined goal, and brought their body fat down. This does make sense. 

So, I’m still running on a calorie deficit at the moment, and this is key when “cutting”, I am training in a fasted state at 6.30 in the morning, so my insulin levels are baseline. To avoid muscle loss, which I’m working out (and building some of these areas), I am taking BCAA’s which are an Amino Acid that help to stop my body from using muscle tissue for energy (so it encourages the body to use fat stores, similar to ketosis) I also take a caffeine tablet (200mg) which helps to boost metabolism.

So, Chris (the trainer) took me though the following routine. Now, due to time constraints (I get onto the gym floor around 6.40-6.45am and I have to be in the shower by 7.40/5am) I have split the routine into 2 parts – On alternate days I will do a full resistance workout and on the other days I will do cardio and the abdominal exercises. This will be Monday – Friday and if I can be arsed, maybe something on Saturday.

Here’s the workout, in the order in which it should be done:

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Romanian Deadlift 45kg 12 2
Sumo Dumbbell Squat 24kg 8 2
Dumbbell Lunges 12kg 18 3
Barbell Bench Press 25kg 16-18 4
Barbell Standing Military Press 20kg 16-18 4
Barbell Reverse Grip Bent over Row 20kg 12 4

Now there were some Abdominal exercises, which I’ll add tomorrow when I talk a bit more about cardio.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, this plan, is contradictory to some advice that I was given – One of the reasons that I found that I preferred the other plan, was because even if the weight is very heavy, which is should be, I only needed to get to 4 reps, however with this, it can be a struggle making it to to 18 – so the weight is a little less, and even though the weight has been “set”, I’m still really finding my own strength levels.

The trainer also told me that to define takes lighter weights and more reps – okay, I actually don’t believe that for a second. I really don’t. Whenever I’ve looked for something to support this, all I get is dozens of sites telling me it’s bullshit. I’m no personal trainer, but still. I’m not going to waste my time.

Now this is a whole body workout, which is made up of compound exercises (for those in the cheap seats at the back, a compound exercise will work several muscle groups simultaneously) However, the problem is that it’s a routine that simply cannot be done every day – because, as I’m mentioned before, it’s the rest period where growth occurs.

Now, I was told that this routine will change my body. I should expect to start seeing some difference in a few weeks, and in four weeks i’ll stand bollock naked in front of a mirror and if I still look like a fat cunt, then I’ll change my stance, but the logic is there, my first goal is to bring my body fat percentage down, without sacrificing too much muscle, so I will do this routine Mon, Weds, Fri and on Tuesday and Thursday I will do cardio, followed by the Abdominal exercises.

Finding the Baseline

This morning I went though the the routine for the first time, and it started off well, but as I was saying about sets with a high number of reps, I struggled to make it past 10 on the second set of Barbell Bench Press lifts, so I dropped the weight by 5kg, which still didn’t help, I also struggled to make a clean 4 sets on the Standing miliary press. Now all I kept thinking was that it was the first morning, my body is still changing and the strength will come. I just need to keep working, because this routine really should be the minimum.

Tomorrow I am really going to struggle, I’m not even expecting it to be easy because my core is So weakIt also doesn’t help that I’ve got a this fucking spare tire which keeps getting in the way. For tomorrow I’ll go through some sites with arguments for and against Ab exercises when it’s quite impossible to see any gains here while they’re smothered in a years worth of McDonald’s and dirty kebabs.

Food

80% of how we train is down to how we eat.

As I mentioned before I am running a calorie deficit as I want to loose body fat, so the foods I’m eating is Porridge for breakfast, Bananas, Tuna, Chicken, Brown pasta, Brown Rice, Salad, Vegetable soup (home made) and foods that are rich in nutrients. I have literally cut out all the crap. No burgers, pizza, ready meals -I want to try and get some more nuts and seeds into my diet. I’ve also increased my intake of Green & Peppermint tea. I find that Pasta and Rice is very high in calories, which is rather annoying so I have to weigh it to make sure I don’t go over board.

This is supplemented with a Protein shake

And before you think “Like Ant can keep that up!”, At the weekend I do treat myself. It’s my time with my partner and he and I will go out for dinner or cook for one another we do like to keep an eye on what we’re eating, but I don’t calorie count. That’s a stress.

So, incase you’re wondering about today (Monday):

Post Workout (7.45am) – Protein Shake

Breakfast (10.00am) – Porridge and herbal tea

Lunch (2pm) – Yoghurt. (Can’t be arsed to go to tesco)

Evening meal – Vegetable soup with boiled chicken breast (cooked and shredded into the bowl)

I know it doesn’t seem like a lot (but I’m sort of intermittent fasting at the moment, so today was never going to be calorific)

Anyway, I’m sure I’ve bored half of my rather smaller readership to tears, so I will leave you here.  Don’t forget to like, comment and if you have any questions or advice – I’m happy to (try and ) help.

 

 

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The Training Plan (Part 2)

The first week. This is what I like about firsts… you learn so much!

308_1

So after a rocky start to the week, thanks to a bit of man-flu which I’m sure had absolutely nothing to do with the shocking amount of alcohol that I consumed at the weekend prior, I’d decided to stop talking about what I was going to do, and to just get the fuck on with it.

Now, for me the difficulties in getting motivated and moving are many, the first of which is that I am simply not a morning person, I’ve never done well in the mornings and this is simply because I stay up too late, or I go to bed at a reasonable hour, then lay in bed watching Netflix or reading on my iPad… One thing I learned is that if I turn everything off and read a chapter of whatever on my kindle, it’s enough for me to want to get to sleep. – So if you’re anything like me and wondering why you can’t become a morning person, it’s because you’re simply not getting enough sleep.

Sleep is also really important for anyone who takes on a training programme – because it’s when we sleep that our bodies repair themselves. So even if you’re not doing strength training, and just increasing your activity – make sure you get your eight hours. I have a friend who dated a guy – now this is going back a few years, but his boyfriend had an amazing body, his body fat percentage must have been pretty low – anyway, he used to control his sleep, from what I hear, and he’d sleep for between 10 and 12 hours a day, if he could. Now, my friend is prone to exaggerations, but if this is true, it would explain (partly why his boyfriend always looked so youthful) … or it could be complete bullshit.

Anyway, from Wednesday to Friday this week, I followed the first three days of the Bigger Leaner Stronger training plan, (here, in case you missed it) -the first day didn’t go exactly to plan, if I’m honest I am glad I even made it to to the gym for 6.40am, but the problem really came from lack of confidence. I’d looked at my training plan for the day and knew what I to do – chest and abs, I’d done the first 2 chest exercises, but then I couldn’t find the “captains chair” of equivilent to enable me to to the other exercise, I was supposed to do abs too, but then I couldn’t find the cable crunch- I felt and looked like an utter twat. I’m glad I went, but it was a fail of a morning. Some would of given up there and then. Fuck that – bring on day 2.

The second morning was back, which was a better situation, I managed to do all my exercises and I was more confident with the heavy weight, I was able to do a circuit between the first couple of exercises, but the lat machine was being used (this is the only machine I am using – the rest is free weights) and so when was free I did 12 sets of 4.

In the evening, I also did some HIIT (High Intensity interval training) on a treadmill, as I’d heard that cardio and strength training really should be kept apart because by putting them both together, one sort of undoes the other. I can’t for the life of me give the reference atm, but I’ll certainly look it up. So I was sprinting for a minute and then running for 4, I did this until I reach 4km, which was at the point when I started to get flashbacks of the run I did earlier in the year that took me days and days to recover from, I didn’t want to be a total idiot and get back in the situation, so as I reached the edge of “I’m going to be to totally fucked in a second”, I listened to my body and I stopped.  I burned about 400 calories in about 22 mins, not bad if you ask me.

Friday was shoulders and I did it perfectly, I was proper knackered and on the last rep of the last set, I knew that I literally couldn’t move any further and as finished – it’s funny how in just a few days I’d built up my confidence, what was surprising is that I was also able to get up.

Each morning, I’d wake, brush my teeth and have 3 x BCAAs, 1 x 200mg caffeine tablet… I’ve been training in a fasted state which is supposed to be good for fat burning and the BCAAs are supposed to help this too. The Caffeine also helps to boost metabolism, which burns calories more. At work, I’ve swapped from my normal coffee to green and peppermint tea, as I don’t want to overload my body with caffeine, also the herbal teas are full of all that good hippy shit that apparently help detoxify the body and again, increase my body’s metabolism. After my workout i’d have a protein shake, which is Total Protein from MyProtein, it’s vanilla flavour, a 60g serving with water has about 200cal and 46g of protein and less than 3g of carbs, which is great for bulking. I’d then wait until I’d got to work and around 10am have my porridge (made with skimmed milk).

I’d also been better with food, making a homemade vegetable soup, having cottage cheese, Tuna with a little mayo (I was having brown pasta at the beginning of the week, but I’m a little afraid of pasta – i’ll explain why in a bit).. and whereas I’d done quite badly earlier in the week, I thought I’d gotten better – but then I got weighed and I’d put on 3lbs. Only I’m not to fussed, I’m happy where I am, what I’m doing and what I’m eating, If in a couple of weeks, I’m not actually making any real gains, of course I’ll change it, but coming of a very low calorie controlled diet take an adjustment, and I know that with this training, it’s really impossible to even keep up something like intermittent fasting, because it’s correct diet and the right foods that will minimise the pain that can come from this kind of training and also ensure that I slowly get get the body I want…

… and then today, went for a fitness test, which turned out to be an hour with a training who was putting together a training plan for me.. and everything went out the window… and confusion, indecisiveness and  conflicting information left me thinking… where do I go from here… and I was left with a choice.

It’s now twenty past midnight and I’m off to bed, so I’ll continue this tomorrow..

(my poor attempt at a cliffhanger, but I’ve rambled on for 1100 words and genuinely want some sleep.)

Goodnight – till tomorrow

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