Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Time Training

Well, the stats are in. Although I haven't gained significant muscle mass (by measure), my weight has come down to 180 lbs., and my waist down to 35 inches (that's a loss of 12 lbs. and 2 inches). If we're using the Golden Ratio, I do need to cut 2-3 more inches from my waist, but so far I'm liking the results.

That was on the first 12-week AGR program, geared only towards losing fat. What didn't work was the diet plan. It was totally confusing, and even the "done-for-you" meal plans were strange. There was a lot of calculation left to do, and the complexity of it was a real nightmare, especially when following the weekly shopping list.

As you may know, I always try to follow a program to the letter as provided in order to give an honest review. In this case, it was impossible. The shopping list was literally compiled from the weekly servings, which meant (and I'm not joking) buying 1/6 of a grapefruit, and 5/6 of an apple. Not exactly strong planning. The argument in the forum was that it's "only a guideline." For twenty bucks, I don't expect a guideline, and I don't expect to spend time calculating substitutions on a list that was supposed to be done already.

Anyway, to make up for it, I switched to an eating plan that's sort of a cross between the Man 2.0 plan by Romaniello and Bornstein, and the 1-Day Diet by Josh Bezoni (via BioTrust). Bezoni suggests cutting calories by focusing on two liquid meals a day (read "protein shakes"), followed by a sensible dinner. This is similar to other programs, including the Visalus and Isagenix programs, as well as the Slim-Fast Plan. The major difference here is you're in control of what goes in the shakes.

In the Man 2.0 plan, the rules are straightforward as well: eat what you want (if it fits your macros), but do it within eight hours. This enables you to implement intermittent fasting by extending your overnight fast. It also does various hormonal things that amplify fat burning while controlling that dreaded insulin response. Adding to this, there's a day where I eat what I want, and one where I eat nothing.

Not sure about your macros? We took the Man 2.0 diet numbers and created a spreadsheet that does the math for you. ==>Here it is.<==

So, in the most general possible sense, my diet looks like this:

  • Lunch: Smoothie + Apple (noon)
  • Snack: Smoothie + Apple (mid-afternoonish)
  • Supper: Meat + Veggies (suppertime-ish)
  • Snack: maybe

Total daily cals = about 1200-1500 (where my maintenance is about 1800). Sounds weak, right? But I'm not lacking energy, my sugar and cholesterol numbers are awesome, and I'm losing fat and gaining muscle. Not huge muscle...that's still to come. But the muscle is building for sure (I even bought a barbell).

Now, that's for Monday through Saturday. Sunday is usually cheat day, where I eat whatever I want (including breakfast). Good news for festival and carnival season! (mmmm...Ribfest) Monday, then, is a fast day, which resets Leptin levels and burns fat. Tuesday is a regular day on the above plan, but I don't have my first meal until noon, so it's really like a 36-hour fast. It sounds awful, but it's totally doable.

So, now we're onto the next 12 weeks, and I was struggling with what to do for workouts. The solution was to just keep doing what I was doing, and move on to the next part of the same program. So for the next three months, I'm on the "Build & Burn" cycle of the Adonis Golden Ratio. Why not? The Burn program worked, so I'll just move forward with this.

I have an older copy which does recommend using some HIIT workouts. It just happens that I've found my muscles and joints have been getting stiff, so to increase mobility I'm also applying the no-intensity and low-intensity workouts from TACFIT (sort of a calisthenics and light stretching program for recovery and mobility). I'm also using Craig's 4-minute metabolic miracles to amp up the metabolism on off days, and supplementing with the Maybe Mudder workouts on Saturdays (this is right from the Tough Mudder website).

So, if you want to know, the whole plan looks like this:

  • Monday: (fast day; regular day if Sunday is a fast day instead)
    • Morning: Adonis Golden Ratio
    • Evening: TACFIT Day 1 (low intensity, mostly joint mobility)
  • Tuesday: (regular day)
    • Morning: TACFIT Day 2 (low intensity, mostly stretching), 4 Minute Miracle
  • Wednesday: (regular day)
    • Morning: AGR
    • Evening: TACFIT Day 1
  • Thursday: (regular day, sometimes extra fast day)
    • Morning: TACFIT Day 2, 4 Minute Miracle
  • Friday: (regular day)
    • Morning: AGR
  • Saturday: (regular day; cheat day if something's going on)
    • Morning: Maybe Mudder (do this outside!!)
    • Afternoon: AGR
  • Sunday: (cheat day; fast day if I decide to cheat on Saturday instead)
    • Rest

Got it? Good...now go break a sweat.

Here's a great smoothie, to give you an idea:

1 cup (8 oz) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3/4 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
2 scoops vanilla BioTrust LowCarb protein powder (or whey protein of your choice)

Mix. Drink.

Cal: 383.5. P: 40.75. C: 15.75. F: 16.6

You can add a handful of baby spinach if you need an extra veggie boost to your day. This stuff is low enough that I don't count it in my calorie numbers in this quantity.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rackin' frackin' hackin'...

So, regular readers may have noticed there's been a definite slow down in the posting routine at The Man Sphere in the last couple of months.

It turns out the template we were using on the site had actually suffered from a fairly intrusive hack. Now, what happened was the hackers somehow got into the template files and added a whole bunch of invisible URLs to the home page. These URLs would turn up on search engines, allowing the hacker to claim them as backlinks to their websites.

Their many, many websites.

Well, Google caught hold of this, and apparently having dozens of hidden links with invisible text on your website is a violation of their advertising policy. To this end, they shut down our entire account (as a publisher, that is). This is the only explanation we can think of, because Google has the ability to cancel your advertising account without warning, and without having to actually provide an explanation as to why they're doing it. It means I'm never allowed to participate in their ad programs again for as long as I live (nice, eh?)

Anyway, in addition to this, we also found an extra web page that was added to an inactive Wordpress theme that was apparently redirecting people to a fake Citibank phishing site. Derp! This page went entirely unnoticed by us or the hosting company. The net result was we got spanked way down the search engine rankings, and as a result we've been playing catch up like mad just getting the housekeeping done.

New passwords, new databases, new template, and new ad platforms. And no new articles. In short, it's been a bit of a nightmare.

But all that's about to change. As you know, we've put out a stack of new products, and will be rolling out more in short order. In addition, we've just launched the Man Under Construction Project, which is the most exciting development.

The Man Under Construction Project is designed to be a six-month e-course for men recovering from divorce, or who are just trying to get their lives back in order. The trial run is happening right now on The Man Sphere, and will be free for the remainder of 2013. Just swing over there, get signed up, and you'll be in the loop.

That's exciting stuff, because it's the project I've been working on for the better part of the last four years...and it's finally coming to life! So if you're a regular reader, and a regular dude, I encourage you to have a look at the course, and come along for the ride. You'll be glad you did!