60 Days Of Prep

Prep Life

A Day To Day Journey

This 60 day diary details everything I ate and my thoughts each day

I hope it shows how to Prep in a healthy manner

You don’t have to lock yourself in a cupboard and eat boring food the entire time

You don’t have to do fasted cardio or cut out all carbs

You don’t have to forgo your entire social life

You don’t have to develop a disordered relationship with food and body image


Day One

Day 1.JPG

I have 9 weeks to get shredded
Here’s the game plan

Starting Weight - 83.7kg

5 x Week Weight Lifting
Upper/Lower x 2
Whole Body x 1

500 Cals of Cardio x 2
(LISS cycling or rowing)

Calorie & Macro Targets
2700 Calories
200g Protein
290-340g Carbs
60-80g Fat
40g Fibre

Daily Activity Minimum
10,000 Steps per day (70,000 per week)
100 Calories of Cardio for every 1,000 steps shy of the target.

Aims
Drop 5kg in total over 9 weeks losing between 0.4-0.8kg per week (0.5-1% of bodyweight).

Refeed Strategy
Taken between 480-960g carbohydrate and will be taken according to this schedule.

80-82kg
After each full kilo of weight loss

<80kg
After each 0.5kg of weight loss

To be clear the refeed will be taken when I achieve the kg loss from the last lowest point. So if I hit 81kg then take my refeed and my weight increases to 81.7kg due to glycogen content, I will not take the next refeed until I hit 80kg.
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I’m feeling good and looking forward to getting this show on the road and walking you through the process.

I started a new training phase today. The first session was upper body. At the end of each day I will be inputting my data into my training sheet so I can make decisions and I will show you that each week. I will also be writing each evening on how the day has gone, what I did and how I’m feeling. I hope you like it, and if you have any questions fire away!


Day Two

Day 2.JPG

⚖️ 83.6kg
✅ 2707 Calories
🍗 226g Protein
🍇 333g Carbohydrate
🌰 53g Fat
🥦 38g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 12,025 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

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Energy was pretty good all day. Lots of writing. Some filming. Client video check ins. Food shop. Watched France vs Belgium. Finished the Harry Potter audiobooks.

At this stage Prep is always pretty easy, it’s just getting back in the groove of complete consistency. I’ve switched out the latte’s for Americano’s. I’ve yet to feel overly hungry though I did find I was quite tempted by junk twice. The first one was after my walk before my second meal, when I popped into Tesco because I needed to buy some salad. I had breakfast, did a couple hours of work and then went for a walk. By the time I got back from my walk it had been 3 and a half hours since my last meal, which was the protein pancakes you can see in the pictures.

That meal isn’t a particularly heavy meal and I find that the energy it provides me is a little less than some of the later meals. That hunger combined with the 5000 steps I hit on the walk made me a little faint. This resulted in the Revels by the counter calling to me like the treacherous, delightful little bastards they are.

The second one was after my workout. The workout itself took me about 90 minutes and the meal eaten before (the chicken and salad in the pictures) was consumed around 90 minutes before the workout. I then had to pop to the bigger Tesco for my bi-weekly shop, which took a little longer than expected. Let’s just say the bakery was wafting into my nostrils and I had to remind myself of the goal to abstain from coming out with a set of donuts. But that’s nothing major at this point. As I get leaner and hunger gets worse, those are going to be the types of situation I won’t be able to deal with as effectively. The solution is to plan and space meals more evenly when that happens and to make sure I food shop after I’ve eaten.


Day Three

Day 3.JPG

⚖️ 83kg
✅ 2688 Calories
🍗 224g Protein
🍇 270g Carbohydrate
🌰 76g Fat
🥦 35g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 11,965 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 500 Cals

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🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 It’s not coming home lads 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Today started so well and ended in tragedy. Prep talk doesn’t matter because football is, sadly, not coming home.

In spite of this I had a solid day on the food front and didn’t experience any hunger issues at all. Hell if anything the stress of that second half and extra time must have burnt at least 4000 calories while also completely blunting my appetite. First cardio session of this prep complete and the only thing I have to report is that my gym needs a better bike seat - I felt like George Michael after a night out in Soho by the end of it.

The day was finished off with a trip to Clapham to watch the ⚽️ 

In all honesty I really don’t mind not drinking so that part of Prep rarely feels difficult for me. The only time being out and not drinking feels difficult is after about 11:30 when everyone is pretty smashed and I’m stone cold sober. I’ve done this enough times to know that and to simply make sure I go home by that stage. It means I keep a social life, enjoy time with friends but avoid being annoyed by drunk people or staying out so late that I want a late night KFC and ruin my diet.

All in all, Prep was good but life was not. I have a genuine affection for the way Gareth Southgate conducts himself and the whole England team should be proud of themselves regardless. Of course it’s a shame but it’s a respectable, proud shame. Sometimes that’s the best you can do.


Day Four

Day 4.jpeg

⚖️ 82.6kg
✅ 2698 Calories
🍗 208g Protein
🍇 287g Carbohydrate
🌰 90g Fat
🥦 58g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 18,009 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body

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I’ve still not recovered from jet lag. My sleep pattern is a good 3 hours out of sync still so I’m getting up later than normal and going to sleep later than I’d like. I’ve got to get up silly early on Saturday morning in order to drive to Sheffield for a couple of lectures, so I think this will kick me screaming back into routine. If you’re curious the lectures are by Dr Paul Rimmer on “Metabolic Adaptation to Weight Loss: Is There a Case for Reverse Dieting?” and Joseph Agu on “Nutritional Interventions to Maximise Muscle Hypertrophy”

Back to today. Training went well, the whole body session I went through is the easiest session of the week. It’s main aim is to bump up my weekly volume on a few muscle groups and to pattern some of the main movement patterns.

I took two main takeaways from the session:

1️⃣ I need to use a stronger band on the Close Grip Bench.

2️⃣ My upper back position (thoracic extension) pissed off much faster than I thought it would on a Banded Front Squat and as a result had me squatting much less than I thought I would be.

I got a good walk in and have started Steven Pinker’s audiobook “Enlightenment Now - The Case For Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress”. I’m a fan of Steven Pinker anyway and it’s safe to say that even this far in this will be a book that adds yet more reasons to pay attention to the man. Progress is real. Life has never been better than it is right now for the vast majority of the world. That is not to say that it’s perfect and that we shouldn’t strive for more. We should. But we should also be aware that there are more ways in which we can be and do wrong than there are ways in which we can be and do right.

This he points out is a basic law of entropy, in the simplest sense that states tend toward disorder over time. If we leave a sandcastle overnight, we will probably not return to a sandcastle the next day. The various things affecting the sandcastle (wind, waves, kids etc) mean it is likely to descend into disordered sand rather than remain a sandcastle. This is because there is an almost infinite number of arrangements the sand can organise itself into but only a few of them lead to that which we call a sandcastle. When we make progress we must be very careful not to dismiss or ignore it. When we strive to make changes or critique the structures and the systems that underpin our lives we must be very careful we don’t accidentally make things worse.

I really liked his point that criticism sounds like it’s inherently for progress while optimism sounds like it’s dismissing pain and hardship. We tend to respect the critic who points out the flaws in a film or a novel more than the one who praises it. And he points out that we’re basically hardwired to behave like this. It’s a solid listen so far and I’d happily recommend it already.

🏉 Tonight then involved some Rugby pre-season work 🏉

For those of you who don’t know, I only started playing a couple of years ago because I fancied a challenge, enjoy watching the game and because I was a little scared by it. Being run into by giant dudes with cauliflower ears is after all reasonably scary. So I decided I should do it. Here’s how that went:

It took a good few months to get to know the lads and for them to get to know and accept me. They all knew each other to begin with while I was the outsider trying to take up an activity I hadn’t really played before. I only got to see them once or twice a week for 90 minutes or so, most of which was spent playing the game. Hardly an experience that lends itself to hugely quick bonding. It also took those first few months to get up to speed with playing, reading and positioning myself appropriately in practice. And so it took another few months before I started playing. I don’t regret it for a second. But I do want to point out that I experienced plenty of doubt and fear during that time. I had lots of feelings of loneliness, inadequacy and the general urge to jack it all in. I didn’t feel very good, I made mistakes and it fucking hurt getting hit every now and then. But if I’d have left I wouldn’t have respected myself. If I’d have left I would have had to face the fact that I couldn’t overcome the feelings we all must go through when starting something new. And I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to think of myself like that.

There is no way to go from shit to ok to good to great without walking the crappy path of pain and failure. You should do it anyway. You’ll often find that sharing a difficult experience is one of the best ways to bond with people and something you’ll actually cherish. There’s a reason the armed forces call it a band of brothers. Now you don’t need to join the army but you do have to share some difficulty with people. And you should. Because it’s good for you. Because it’s essential to growth. And you should grow. You shouldn’t just accept yourself perfectly as you are because you’re not perfect. If we accepted ourselves without improvement from birth we’d never learn to read, write, walk or do anything meaningful. Accepting yourself should also involve improving yourself. Growth is rewarding but it requires difficulty so you should strive to  embrace that process and all of the shit feelings it entails. You should resolve to keep going so that you can look yourself in the mirror with a pride that cannot be faked or bought, only earned.

The only downside to this rugby lark? My career as a foot model is all but shot because my new boots have blistered the crap out of them. So I guess it’s not all sunshine and glory. Day 4 has been another good one. So let’s keep this momentum going.


Day Five

Day 5.JPG

⚖️ 82.2kg
✅ 2709 Calories
🍗 201g Protein
🍇 304g Carbohydrate
🌰 72g Fat
🥦 41g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 17,460 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

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🍦 GOD I LOVE SOLERO’S

I had to adjust today’s workout slightly due to a niggling right shoulder issue. I’ve been working some basic stability and control movements at the start of my upper body sessions and the shoulder is improving but a couple of moves still aggravate it. One of which was getting the DB’s into position for a Flat DB Press. So I switched this to an Incline DB Press instead. This was for a few reasons:

1️⃣ The angle makes everyone weaker meaning I need to use less load to create a stimulus (sensible when injured).

2️⃣ Moving that lighter load into position means less injury risk.

3️⃣ Getting the DB into that position doesn’t cause me any sense of aggravation.

Other than that, the session went to plan. The first week on any new plan is all about laying down the groundwork for you to beat in the following weeks. In my day to day life, I went and climbed over the top of the 02, which was fun even if my blistered feet got WAY worse as a result. But if you haven’t done it and live in London then it’s a fun way to spend 90 minutes.

🤓 Tomorrow I’m up early to head to Sheffield to get my learn on. Another day bites the dust. Another day nailed and in the bag. Just got to keep stacking them up, one after another now.


Day Six

Day 6.JPG

⚖️ 82.1kg
✅ 3508 Calories
🍗 198g Protein
🍇 470g Carbohydrate
🌰 95g Fat
🥦 34 Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,017 Steps
🚗 Driving to Sheffield

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💩 And here we have it - the first shit day of Prep.

I went over my calories by 800 (which likely takes me just above my maintenance needs so it could have been far worse BUT GOD DAMN it was hard to not keep ploughing food into my mouth. Here’s why it happened:

1️⃣ I’ve been jet lagged since getting back from NYC and that’s resulted in  not getting to sleep till around 2-3am and not getting up until 9-11am. This meant I got all of 3 hours of sleep last night. Put simply, sleep deprivation fucks up your hunger and appetite control. Avoid that shit like the plague.

2️⃣ Being awake longer gives me many more hours to stick food into my mouth hole, or to fight the urge to do so, which as we’ve established, is harder with the sleep deprivation.

3️⃣ I’ve always liked nibbling junk food while driving - this is a difficult environment for me as I get bored and associate driving with eating ALL the food. And when I say nibble I mean nibble in the same way a T-Rex nibbles on a goat…that goat’s getting murdered.

So considering the above, managing to keep my overeat to maintenance calories isn’t the worst outcome of all time. I’ve been up since 5:00 and have been wanting to eat shit food from around 5:30 all the way to around now at 22:00. On top of that I’ve done 7 hours of driving, sat through 5-6 hours of lectures and managed to shoot the shit for an hour with some of the guys and girls in Sheffield. In spite of my attempt at consuming my bodyweight in black coffee I still felt so tired I could barely keep my eyes open and couldn’t seem to stop myself yawning for half the day. This got so bad I had to pull over at a service station in an attempt to shut my eyes for 5 minutes because I was getting dangerously close to sleeping at the wheel. Annoyingly, sleep never came and instead resulted in the Maom and protein bar you see in the picture.

So all things considered, today was ok. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t good and if I had too many days like today it would certainly be problematic. But the jet lag will go once I get to sleep tonight and reset my clock, and I’m not going to be driving for hours in a tired state. So this is one of those issues that isn’t really an issue. I won’t be doing anything differently tomorrow to compensate beyond getting back on plan. The fact my last two days step counts add up to around 15,000 more than my target means I likely have a little wiggle room as well.

On a more positive front here’s what I succeeded in doing:

Still managed to get my steps in. Still hit my protein needs. Still got this write up completed. Oh and as a side note the previous weigh in’s were taken between 10:30-11:30am whereas today’s was taken at 5:00am. That’s quite the time difference. Considering that I would expect my weight to have been in the 81’s had I weighed in at my usual time.


Day Seven

Day 7.JPG

⚖️ 82kg
✅ 2643 Calories
🍗 213g Protein
🍇 253g Carbohydrate
🌰 90g Fat
🥦 39 Fibre
🚶‍♂️ Unknown Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

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So rather annoyingly my step counter broke today when I was on around 4,400 steps - I used my phone to roughly track the rest and it gave me about 8,000 more so I’m pretty confident I still hit my 10,000 minimum target. As a result and because I’m in Prep I thought this required a new step counter so I went and bought the Series 3 iWatch which should turn up on Tuesday. I get a little excited for shiny new toys and so I’m looking forward to its arrival. I’ve owned an iWatch before but sadly I broke it.

In a very smooth story I dropped the damn thing when I was pulling my bag out of a locker. It chipped the bottom left corner of the screen but thankfully still worked and was basically fine for another year. Then the tragedy struck and as luck would have it, another locker was involved. This time as I pulled my arm out I caught the chipped corner on the edge of something, it hooked on hard and as my arm came out the watch face stayed put. In short I ripped its face off.

As a result I went and bought a cheap easy thing (called a H-Band) and honestly that served me just fine. Until it also broke and then I thought let’s go with another iWatch.

The other noteworthy part of my day involved watching Jurassic Park 2, hence the popcorn in the picture. Here’s my no spoilers brief review. Generally an entertaining film but it has so many flaws that I can’t really recommend it. With hindsight I’m starting to think the only story worth telling with dinosaurs in it is likely to be the one of a theme park that goes wrong. As soon as you start shifting the dinosaurs out into the rest of the world and implying that they’re some threat to humanity I’m basically tagging out. They wouldn’t be. They’d be a threat to an individual for sure but humans dominate this planet for a reason. And ultimately a dinosaur is no more a threat to that domination than a bear is. The only way that dinosaurs would really be a threat is if they became hyper intelligent beings but then we’d be watching Alien, not Jurassic Park. Long and short is I’m giving it a 5/10, it’s nowhere near as good as the reboot or the original.

Training was on point today and I’m definitely enjoying the use of bands to help keep the tension on my quads while Squatting more than they would otherwise be. I’m long and gangly and thanks to the ratio of my tibia, femur and spine I’m always going to be quite Hip dominant while Squatting. This has the effect of making my Glutes pretty damn good but my Quads much less so. The gym I train at has less leg equipment and so I’m having to be a little more creative in an effort to make the Quads do the work.

Finally, let us all conclude that 🍿is life.


Day Eight

Day 8.JPG

⚖️ 82.1kg
✅ 2643 Calories
🍗 206g Protein
🍇 333g Carbohydrate
🌰 59g Fat
🥦 37g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ Unknown Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

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My ice-cream is taking too long to melt dammit. I’m sat here writing this while waiting for my delicious low calorie ice-cream to melt just enough so that I can mix it into the fruit bowl sat delicately waiting for it. But I’m annoyed because it’s not melting fast enough and I’m hungry. I’m pretty sure that’s a good metaphor for fat loss, hell it might even be a good metaphor for life. I’ll let you decide that one.

Today is the first day of week 2 and so it’s the first time in this phase of training that I got to repeat a session. It went well, I beat my performance from last week and in case you ever doubted it, progress is always the name of the game. So much so that I care about almost nothing else. In 99% of cases if “it” makes you stronger, it’s good. and if “it” makes you weaker, it’s bad. The question is then what should make up your “it”? How would you know if “it” was a good idea to include in your program?

Performance improvement. If 4 sets makes you stronger than 2 sets, then you should do it. If 4 sets makes you weaker than 2 sets, then you shouldn’t. That, in a nutshell, is the assessment of a program.

It gets more complicated because the reasons you didn’t get any stronger aren’t always straightforward and we need to evaluate those too. Perhaps you’re doing too much or too little in the gym. Perhaps you attack your training with the aggression of a tepid squirrel. Perhaps you have too many chins to do chin ups. Perhaps you don’t eat enough protein or calories to recover your muscular system properly. Perhaps your sleep sucks or your stress is off the charts. Perhaps you’re ill or distracted. There are many ways in which you must pay attention to make progress. But they all start with paying attention to progress.

I’m already noticeably leaner while feeling pretty energetic and positive, which is quite a nice feeling. I’ll enjoy this stage while it lasts because I know at some point I’m not going to feel so great for large swathes of the day. I know that’s coming no matter what but if I manage to do everything correctly it shouldn’t be too shit an experience until the last 4 weeks or so. You have to enjoy most of the journey towards any goal if you want to be successful over the long haul. You must focus on the parts of the process you like. Most of us don’t need encouragement in order to find our flaws - we do it pretty naturally. But this can lead to looking at ourselves through a rather skewed lens that only notices the shit parts of ourselves and that can be quite a dangerous path. To stay mentally strong you must also search for the parts of your physique or the parts of the process you enjoy, no matter where you are. It’s too easy to only notice the flaws, I can count lots of them if I want to.

I’m also not saying I should entirely ignore my flaws either. Flaws are important because they give you room to improve but they can far too easily become obsessive if you’re not careful. Flaws, when used correctly, outline a path to development. When used incorrectly, they outline a path to self destruction. You are in control of which one you feed. If you’re actively addressing your flaws with your actions you don’t need to spend more time dwelling on them. You’re acting appropriately and you need to demonstrate patience and perseverance if they are to change. Anxiously doubting everything and forgetting the virtue of patience will not help you. In short, don’t pretend you don’t have flaws, but don’t pretend you don’t have great bits too. To do either one alone is to be wilfully blind.

Dan Carlin released a new episode of his podcast series Hardcore History. These might be my favourite podcasts on Earth but because each one is around 3-5 hours long, we only get a few each year. This episode marks the start of a new series called Supernova in the East, which is about the rise of Imperial Japan. This one hasn’t disappointed. I’d highly recommend his work to anyone who loves history or what is probably best described as historical storytelling. If you’ve ever wondered what it would’ve been like to find yourself in some of the worst places in history, this podcast series is for you. Anyone who can manage to describe the experience of a solider in Passchendaele so viscerally that you can’t fail to imagine yourself in such a position is someone who is infinitely worth listening to. His work on the First World War in series called A Blueprint For Armageddon does just that. His other works on the Mongols in a series called The Wrath Of The Khans and on the Eastern Front during the Second World War in a series called Ghosts Of The Ostfront, are about as close to perfect as I can imagine historical storytelling to get.


Day Nine

Day 9.jpeg

⚖️ 82.9kg
✅ 2400 Calories
🍗 213g Protein
🍇 243g Carbohydrate
🌰 63g Fat
🥦 29g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ Unknown Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

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As I got to the end of the day I realised I wasn’t that hungry so I decided to keep 300 calories for use later in the week. Don’t get me wrong I could have easily eaten those calories but I felt like keeping a little in the tank for a bit more freedom later on. I’d easily hit my protein needs and as long as I’m not a million miles away from my calorie target then little strategies like this are fine. As I continue to get leaner, the hunger will get worse and I’ll find myself doing this less often.

Protein becomes more important the larger the deficit being used and the leaner you are, this is because more dietary protein ended up being used for energy rather than the repair and restoration we want it for. You will also find the size of the deficit you can sustain before you begin to lose LBM also decreases. There are some ideas regarding a maximal rate of fat oxidation per kg of fat that may explain these observations. The number I’ve seen is around 68 calories/kg/fat/day.

At 82kg with 10% body fat (8.2kg of fat mass) I would be able to sustain a deficit of 557 calories before having to mobilise energy from substances other than body fat. Whereas at 90kg with 20% (18kg of fat mass) someone could sustain a deficit of 1,224 calories. This means that as you get leaner the rate of loss necessarily becomes slower, for example at 80kg with 7% body fat (5.6kg of fat mass) I would be able to sustain a deficit of around 380 calories. This has implications for the time taken to burn off body fat.

3500/557 = 6.3 days.
3500/380 = 9.2 days.

This is overly simplistic but it’s still a good concept to understand. Further down the line I’d force myself to get those calories in regardless to make sure I wasn’t trying to sustain too great a deficit, though in all likelihood I won’t have to force myself because I’ll be pretty damn hungry.

Today was a lower body session and my main takeaway is simple; don’t underestimate the difference between 2 green bands and 2 purple bands. Look at the program in comparison with last week may suggest a lack of progress on the Back Squat but that’s actually due to a change in the stiffness of the bands, so those numbers aren’t comparable with last weeks.

⚖️ Scale Weight Annoyance 🤬 

My weight was up 0.8kg from yesterday with no good reason coming to mind. I thought perhaps I’d eaten more salt yesterday than normal (the snack a jacks) but when I went and checked I’d actually eaten quite a bit less than the day before (due to the popcorn). I thought maybe I’d had more carbohydrate than the day before and so glycogen was up, but it turns out that was only a small amount as well. I couldn’t blame poor sleep or feeling particularly stressed. And so I had annoyed, disappointed thoughts. What did I do about those thoughts?

Precisely nothing.

It’s not fat gain and scale weight has too many variables to deduce anything meaningful from one reading. That’s why we track long term trends. If you dwell too much on a reading, it can fuck with your head. So don’t dwell on it. Weigh in, record it and then let the thoughts go. Whatever the reading crack on with what you need to be doing. Only if your weight is constantly going up over an extended period of time should you address what you’re doing. For the guys that means you’ll need a good couple of weeks consistent recording before you can interpret all that much. For the girls you may need a full month of consistency before you can interpret all that effectively due to the hormonal changes of a menstrual cycle.

🚗 My car had it’s first MOT & service and then ended up costing me more money than I’d have liked for a few bits and pieces.
⌚️ Combine that with buying a new iWatch and I’m going to have a couple of quiet weeks in to offset the kick in the bank account.
💰 Classically I’m an over-spender who doesn’t save all that well. I want to improve this and so I need to continue to act accordingly.

The iWatch Series 3 looks the shit and let’s face facts Apple packaging is all kinds of sexy. Most importantly is that I can now crack on with my step counts and hitting what I need to more accurately.


Day Ten

Day 10.JPG

⚖️ 81.8kg
✅ 2697 Calories
🍗 220g Protein
🍇 308g Carbohydrate
🌰 68g Fat
🥦 36g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,801 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 500 Calories

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Today marks the first day the hunger hit me in the dick. Actually it would be more accurate to describe it as brain fog. For the record, getting dick skin shredded will cause daily transient losses in IQ. It’s not a whole day phenomena, more an effect that grows ever larger the further I get from a meal. Here’s how my thoughts look with each passing hour:

Hour 1️⃣ - Life is glorious, look at the flowers, how can pain and misery exist in such a wonderful place.
Hour 2️⃣ - Well I guess that is a little annoying, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing if that person stopped talking.
Hour 3️⃣ - Someone should kick a puppy or push an old lady into traffic maybe then they’d know my pain.
Hour 4️⃣ - I await the sweet release of death.

Now this question is why did I feel this way today? The prime suspect is the fact I got to sleep a little later than normal. Sleep needs to be of sufficient length and quality to set up an internal environment that doesn’t behave like the cookie monster in rehab. And the time you go to sleep appears to matter as well, with those hours just before midnight having a more positive effect than the hours after midnight. In other words, 8 hours is better taken from 10-6  than from 1-9. If I combine this with my lowered caloric intake from yesterday, I think I’ve got a likely explanation for why I felt worse today. If I want to make it easier for myself I need to prioritise my sleep routine a little more. This will become especially true as the weeks go on and my willpower gets further depleted. The longer I’m dieting and the leaner I get the less it will take to trigger unnecessary binge behaviour. Paying attention to sleep and stress makes sure I’m not asking too much of myself. I will also be more deliberate with my meal spacing and food selection  in order to control my hunger and energy levels to the best of my ability.

Cardio was pretty easy today, 500 calories on the elliptical - podcast on, legs and arms pumping - BOSH. Keep it simple, stupid.

I also tried Birthday Cake Halo Top for the first time and while it was ok, it’s not winning any awards. I certainly won’t be picking it over the Cinnamon Roll or Cookie Dough flavours, nor would I pick it over any of the Breyer range.

I’m now off to stroll the hallways of my apartment building in the hunt for my last 1000 steps. Needs must and all that.


Day Eleven

Day 11.JPG

⚖️ 81.6kg
✅ 3079 Calories
🍗 204g Protein
🍇 427g Carbohydrate
🌰 74g Fat
🥦 43g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 15,550 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body
🏉 90 Mins Rugby

————

I used up the 300 calories I’d saved today. My calorie needs on a Thursday are higher than normal due to rugby practice. Now when I’m not dieting, I wouldn’t normally lift on the same day but I’m in Prep so needs must. All in all today was one of those days that can be described as distinctly fine. It wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t horrible. I did everything I needed to without great enthusiasm or horrific lethargy.

The day started with a thorough 2 hour ☕️ date with Mr Gordon Greenhorn at a place called Fuckoffee. All things considered, they were surprisingly pleasant. If you’ve not been it’s in a part of Bermondsey that has a pretty cool, slightly Shoreditch vibe going on and I’d happily recommend a little visit. Oh and I got 🛥 my way into town so that made me happy too.

Outside of fitness I’m reading The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, which is nothing short of an eye opener. If you’ve ever been curious about life in the Soviet Union (or really any communist country) consider this mandatory reading. It will frighten, disgust and intrigue you in equal measure and that is quite the statement. But it’s one I’ll stand by. See if you don’t agree given just two examples from the book itself:

“You could learn from those who had suffered…that they might scrape the skin off a man’s back with a grater till it bled and then oil it with terpentine….they pushed needles under his nails, and poured water into him to the bursting point…”

“What kind of evildoers were these condemned men? Where did so many plotters and troublemakers come from? Among them, for example, were six collective farmers from nearby Tsarskoye Selo who were guilty of the following crime: After they had finished mowing the collective farm with their own hands, they had gone back and moved a second time along the hummocks to get a little hay for their own cows. The All-Russian Central Executive Committee refused to pardon all six of these peasants, and the sentence of execution was carried out.”

The first quote describes a tiny fraction of the interrogation techniques used in order to get confessions. These confessions, often to entirely made up crimes, were due to the need to fill quotas required for labour camps. The second is an example of the kinds of “crime” you could be executed for. Though perhaps murdered is a better way of describing it.

If I believe anything in this life it’s that I think we’d have a better world if we all strived to improve both mentally and physically. I never want to be called a dumb jock or a cowardly smart ass. Aim higher and everyone wins.


Day Twelve

Day 12.JPG

⚖️ 81.5kg
✅ 2684 Calories
🍗 232g Protein
🍇 301g Carbohydrate
🌰 65g Fat
🥦 58g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,381 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

Today was a taxing one, mentally more than physically. Working for yourself offers many freedoms and joys but it also offers difficulties. Doesn’t everything, after all? This was just one of those days that drained me. The only reason I write this is because I don’t want you to have the unrealistic idea that getting in shape requires the continuous existence of sunshines and lollipops. I know what it’s like to have a head full of worries and a drained heart. I know how hard it is to get shit done when all you want to do is cry, lay down and hide from the world. And perhaps on occasion things do get to a point where they’re too much to bear. But the only way you can ever answer that is by first answering how much you’re capable of bearing, if you were everything that you could be. What would the very best version of you be able to handle, and how can you find out?


If you’re not sure where to start, look at who you admire. Or ask what action, if you took it, would make you proud of yourself. Then, of course, you must act accordingly. I don’t just want to be strong in calm times. I want to be an anchor in a storm. I’ve seen some of the worst of myself, I know the blackness that is capable of consuming my being so completely that I can’t get out of bed for days on end. And more importantly, I know how my actions made it worse for myself. I believe in the words of William Ernst Henley:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

It’s easy to get shit right when you’re feeling wonderful and glorious, just like it’s easy to workout when you’re feeling stoked and motivated. But that state won’t last forever and it matters how you respond when it’s gone.

I ended up having to work out at 9pm and then walking at 10:30pm in order to get my steps in. I didn’t want to. I’m glad I did. You’ll never regret doing what you know you should.

Here’s another fact I learned today - it takes around 3000 years to eat a bag of raw carrots. That’s not an exaggeration. Good luck overeating on them. I say this because I had some popcorn to eat after I’d finished said carrots. I was looking forward to them. But by the time I got through the damn carrots winter had come to Westeros, Yellowstone’s Mega Volcano  had exploded and caused a global mass extinction and Prince Phillip had finally succumbed at the ripe old age of 7004. In other words, if you want to increase your food bulk and time spent eating without smashing extra calories into your face, I’m happy to recommend carrots.


Day Thirteen

Day 13.JPG

⚖️ 82kg
✅ 2928 Calories
🍗 215g Protein
🍇 287g Carbohydrate
🌰 83g Fat
🥦 58g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,784 Steps + Estimated 3000 more
🚴‍♂️ 500 Calories

————

Due to extra activity I chose to eat an extra 200 calories more than scheduled. Performing around 7000 steps above normal with 500 calories of cardio meant I was pretty spent. The addition of 200 extra calories may have helped keep away the addition of an 2000. It was certainly nice to eat those extra Fibre One bars put it that way.

The lesson from today is that I was out too late. I find when I’m at this stage of dieting I can stay out until around 11pm without any issue. In fact I like being out until then, my friends aren’t usually drunk yet and I’m not in a club. After 11 is when things get shitty. And today was no different. I didn’t get into bed until 2am; broken, grumpy and just wanted to be lay down. While I was out I kept reminding myself to enjoy the moment. I tried hard and so I managed to have a little fun but there was no kidding myself here. It had been a long, active day. I was hungry, tired and surrounded by drunk people in a loud setting. I had become 87 years old. Had I carried on much longer I would found myself collecting a state pension, boarding a bus and taking out my dentures.

The lesson is clear - for the rest of this prep I will leave social occasions at 10:30pm. Note that I’m not saying I won’t go to any just yet - I find that only needs to happen towards the last 4 weeks or so. Even when dieting it’s important to keep up with a social life. It’ll make you happier and a better person. The people you care about aren’t choosing to diet so they shouldn’t have to suffer (more than necessary) because of your choices - remember to be a good friend and family member too.


Day Fourteen

Day 14.JPG

⚖️ 81.5kg
✅ 2706 Calories
🍗 213g Protein
🍇 343g Carbohydrate
🌰 62g Fat
🥦 43g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,619 Steps
⛔️ Rest Day

————

I was bloody knackered as a result of the late night yesterday and as such spent most of the day in an unproductive coma. I have nothing much to offer you today. I still got my steps in, hit my targets and really that’s about it. It can be really easy to let these days become a complete write off where you justify the consumption of all the sweets and none of the responsibility.

But you’ll regret that.

Learn to allow yourself a few hours to switch off if you need it, even if you take most of the day to do so. But don’t fall into the trap of undoing all your hard work because you haven’t learnt to manage the inevitable shitty, tired days that plague us all.


Day Fifteen

Day 15.JPG

⚖️ 81.6kg
✅ 2732 Calories
🍗 199g Protein
🍇 272g Carbohydrate
🌰 75g Fat
🥦 60g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,622 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

Today went well all round really.

The ☀️ was shining.

I wasn’t that hungry.

My gym session went well.

I got my work done.

And I found a new place to move to that’s bigger and closer to my in person work, which should save me 90 minutes of travel time per day.

The main thing to note was the difference a good nights sleep had on my energy and hunger levels.

Lesson - sleep well, it helps everything you do.


Day Sixteen

Day 16.JPG

⚖️ 80.9kg
✅ 3777 Calories
🍗 201g Protein
🍇 506g Carbohydrate
🌰 96g Fat
🥦 56g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 17,987 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

❇️ REFEED ALERT

As some of you may remember from post numero uno, my plan is to refeed at particular weight related milestones. The first one of which was scheduled to take place once my weight hit 81kg. Today was that glorious day. The scale God’s smiled upon me with an unexpectedly low reading of 80.9kg and so I got to eat 500g of carbohydrate. Schwing.

Ideally my fat would have stayed around the 60-70g mark during this refeed but as you can see I ended up 26g higher than I’d have liked. This was down to me making an assumption. The bag of Maom you can see in the pictures had 130g of carbohydrate in it, which was pretty much bang on what I had left to complete my refeed. I didn’t even check the fat content as these were sweets. I simply, and wrongly, assumed that the fat content would be minimal. It wasn’t and I whacked in around 20g of bonus fat. Had I eaten skittles instead this would only have been 6g.

Lesson learnt - double check your assumptions and don’t use Maom as a staple refeed choice! That said it was pretty damn nice to be able to eat a little more today.

But I would have happily ploughed another couple of thousand calories into my mouth if I’d have just listened to my body. When getting shredded, your body should not be listened to. Listening to your body sounds like good advice, much like using the terms healthy, balanced and fit. But more often than not, it’s not all that useful for those who need it most. If you’re overweight, for example, you probably shouldn’t be listening to your body - you’ve been doing that already and how’s that gone? One of the reasons you shouldn’t listen to yourself is that part of you is a moron. If you were to face facts, you’d realise that on a upsettingly frequent basis your body would like you to do nothing more than:

  1. Watch Netflix in your pants atop a mountain of Doritos.

  2. Quit your job by spraying the phrase “Carol is a shitebag on the wall”.

  3. Push slow walkers in to traffic in order to watch a passing lorry mangle their annoyingly deserving corpse.

In short, part of you is a terrifyingly lazy monster of human being who should never be allowed to make decisions. Listening to your body must be tempered with the knowledge that you must first discern which parts of you are actually worth listening to and which parts are simply behaving like a spoilt toddler.

My next refeed will be taken when my weight drops to 80kg. After that each one will be taken with every 0.5kg drop in weight. The size of the refeed may increase from 6g/kg all the way up to 12g/kg depending on visual feedback.


Day Seventeen

Day 17.JPG

⚖️ 82.5kg
✅ 2731 Calories
🍗 224g Protein
🍇 268g Carbohydrate
🌰 75g Fat
🥦 48g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,021 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 500 Calories

————

Today involved 🚗

And not just a small amount of driving but 5 hours of it with an airport run. This meant really cramming in the activity in order to hit my step targets and cardio, which then meant I didn’t get as much writing done as I’d have liked.

Welcome to life. You have a finite amount of time and the way in which you spend it reflects your priorities. Right now my priorities are Prep, my social circle and my clients. It’s not that other things aren’t important but they are LESS important. And when something has to give, those are the things that give. You know what this is like. It happens to people dieting all the time. They want to lose weight, they really do. But they also want to have a good time and one of their favourite ways to do that is to get fucked up and eat all the food. Those two things are difficult to balance. But not impossible. It’s a matter of paying attention, careful consideration and frequency of activity. Lost of dieters fail to take care of their needs for fun and social interaction. After a week or two of miserable, hungry isolation, their other needs will manifest and begin to conflict with their weight loss goal. The neglect of their human drives for fun, socialising and enjoyable food will result in the motivation for those things rising to a point that overwhelms their desire to lose weight. In that moment, weight loss is no longer worth the unnecessary suffering they’ve inflicted upon themselves.

The shame is that it didn’t have to be that way. The drive to have fun shouldn’t always be in conflict with the drive to be in shape. But you may need to address how you have fun. You can’t get fucked up every night, pay no attention to food and get all sexy shredded. But you know that. However just because you can’t do it every day doesn’t mean you can’t do it sometimes. Frequency matters. And the frequency you’re able to engage in without ruining everything will vary based on your genetics, goal, personality and environment. If the only way you know how to have fun, with or without friends is by getting fucked up and eating purely for pleasure, you’re going to be in trouble. You should discover things you enjoy doing outside of those activities, if you want to succeed over the long haul. You need to balance joy with purpose. Giving in to every pleasurable thing you can do is hedonism; that won’t work so well over the long haul. You’ll cheat on partners, only eat doughnuts and never go to work. In short, you’ll be a selfish, narcissistic shite-bag.

Working towards something meaningful to you involves controlling your impulses to fuck off and do other things. But we’re motivated by achievement and you shouldn’t forget that. Look back at the parts of you’re life you’re proud of and you’ll see a direct relationship between the effort and sacrifices you made and the sense of pride and achievement you feel. Learning to balance joy, purpose, effort, reward, social interaction and fun requires constant vigilance. It is never complete. If you really pay attention you may learn how to best engage with, reward and encourage yourself to succeed in a way you find meaningful. But if you neglect this, you’ll just find yourself repeating the same annoying stop and start process.

In Cardio news I’ve taken to using the X-Trainer for the most part. This is mainly due to preference, though it does burn more calories than cycling (per unit of time) without the impact of running (which may interfere with strength adaptations). You can see my weight is up from the day before, which is to be expected after the refeed yesterday - nothing to worry about chaps.


Day Eighteen

Day 18.JPG

⚖️ 81.6kg
✅ 2830 Calories
🍗 205g Protein
🍇 361g Carbohydrate
🌰 59g Fat
🥦 51g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 16,617 Steps
🏋️‍♀️ Lower Body Workout
🏉 Rugby Practice

————

Today was hotter than a Sumo wrestlers crack. As a result rugby, much like milk, was a bad choice. The pitch looked like the Serengeti - I was half expecting lions and giraffes to stroll over. But other than that, it was a solid day all round.

I had a great chat with my man Sharif Lawton about the problem of anxiety and dieting. Why it arises, how it manifests and most importantly, what you can do about it. Those of you who know me know I’m more than capable of waffling off on tangents, and I’m sure this interview had more than its fair share of those. But I also hope it helps flesh out some frequently ignored yet important topics.

My lower body workout was challenging but doable, right on that limit of what I could handle. You’ll usually find the more you train the more you’re able to judge what you can handle on any particular day. When you first start out it’s harder to tell whether you’re just feeling lazy or you’re genuinely buggered. Today was also the first day I had to go to bed a little hungry. During these moments I remind myself that breakfast exists the other side of sleep. Much like runners chunk down their distances - don’t think about the vast marathon ahead just make it to that lamppost - dieters can learn from this approach and simply focus on making it to the next milestone - aka roll on breakfast!


Day Nineteen

Day 19.JPG

⚖️ 81.5kg
✅ 2728 Calories
🍗 200g Protein
🍇 321g Carbohydrate
🌰 68g Fat
🥦 52g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,152 Steps
🏋️‍♀️ Whole Body

————

Today was a day of bits and pieces, in that I felt like I did more than I did. I ended up working until 12:30am to get everything finished and this wasn’t because I had that much to do. I just ended up talking to people a bit too much and traveling for longer than I’d like because of crap traffic.

But hey ho. It meant I had to perform my workout at 9pm  - and so I did. Large parts of me didn’t want to. It meant I had to get another 2000 steps in at 10pm - which I did. Large parts of me didn’t want to. It meant I had to write a few programs and edit some work until 12:30 - which I did. Large parts of me didn’t want to.

I know I want to go to bed or put things off until tomorrow. Almost all of us do. But losing weight, saving money, running a business or learning a new skill will involve the same lesson. Because any transformative process requires you to act in a manner that you recognise will improve your future, and often that will come into conflict with your present desire.

That’s why this will never be easy. But it’s also why it will be worth it.

Pro Tip - Remind yourself what you’re doing and why, and make sure you include things you actually like in your day to day life.


Day Twenty

Day 20.JPG

⚖️ 81.6kg
✅ 2743 Calories
🍗 201g Protein
🍇 325g Carbohydrate
🌰 62g Fat
🥦 44g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,059 Steps
🏋️‍♀️ Upper Body

————

I overslept, ran late and had to skip breakfast. My first client was at 9am and so I had my alarm set for 7am. I woke up at 8:05am. I’m pretty sure I must have turned my alarm off in a half conscious daze. Anyway, I showered and dove out the house within 10 minutes. This meant I skipped breakfast, which had both upside and downside.

The upside was I got to eat my entire calorie allotment in a smaller window. The downside was I got be hungry and shitty until I did so. By the time I got to eat my pancakes I was fuzzy, foggy and pretty close to wiped out from dragging myself through the last two hours without food.

Until about 10am I didn’t feel too bad. But then it began. During times like these the best advice I can offer you is this:

1️⃣ Remind yourself why you’re doing this.
2️⃣ Focus on simply getting to the next meal.
3️⃣ Try not to end up in the same position in the future.

I took about 3 hours to get up afterwards and start to be productive with my day. I felt spent. But I dragged my ass to the gym, forced myself through my walk and bit by bit got through the parts of the day that I needed to. I then rewatched several episodes of the last season of GOT while eating Halo Top and Mars Ice-Cream.

For the record, Mars Ice-Cream is so damn good it’s dangerous. And as a bonus it’s about 100 calories less than the actual Mars bar, while being 3000 x better.


Day Twenty One

Day 21.JPG

⚖️ 81.2kg
✅ 2682 Calories
🍗 195g Protein
🍇 280g Carbohydrate
🌰 80g Fat
🥦 39g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,519 Steps
🏋️‍♀️ Lower Body

————

Today was mainly a recharge day. I made my to do list intentionally short and just got the bare essentials done - steps, workout and the like. Then I relaxed. I’m really enjoying the Vietnam documentary series on Netflix by Ken Burns. I’ve watched both his American Civil War and American West series, which were superbly detailed explorations of those events.

I can’t stand the kind of glossy documentary that now plagues the once great History & Discovery Channels; all style with precious little substance.

Ken Burns is not that - he manages to maintain the humanity of the experiences those people went through without any attempt to dumb it down or present it simplistically as a good guy versus bad guy narrative.

All round, not a bad day at all.


Day Twenty Two

Day 22.JPG

⚖️ 81.2kg
✅ 2662 Calories
🍗 209g Protein
🍇 237g Carbohydrate
🌰 89g Fat
🥦 54g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 11,307 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 500 Calories

————

Today involved some gentle cardio, the standard client check ins and a whole bunch of hunger.

I have no great wisdom for you today.


Day Twenty Three

Day 23.JPG

⚖️ 81.5kg
✅ 3046 Calories
🍗 230g Protein
🍇 373g Carbohydrate
🌰 87g Fat
🥦 59g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 21,186 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

The day started well, I got up and had the pleasure of catching the boat into town. You might think I’d be over this by now but you’d be wrong, it turns out I really enjoy boating places. And yes, boating is a verb now. 

Caught up with a guy I’ve not seen for a good couple of years, Mr Lee Stephens. I’ve known him since he was but a youthful, wide eyed 18 year old. It’s great to see that time has ruined him and he’s now a bitter, cynical 23 year old…ok he’s not - he’s still great but I refuse to be seen giving him praise, he’s an uber friendly, good looking, in shape dude with a hot girlfriend and I refuse to add to his wonderful life 😂

Got a lot of walking in today as you’ll see, strolling from Westminster to Victoria and then back to London Bridge before catching the train back home.

After that it was off to the gym. Upper body which I have to say was a solid session. Nothing magisterial or tragic about it - just all round solid.

Finally I went and watched some gentleman’s 🏏 at the Oval with an old friend. I use that term because she’s been a friend since high school and because we are now kind of old.

Oh and you’ll notice that I ate a few more calories today, this is based on the fact I doubled my step target.


Day Twenty Four

Day 24.JPG

⚖️ 80.8kg
✅ 2730 Calories
🍗 214g Protein
🍇 297g Carbohydrate
🌰 76g Fat
🥦 60g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,203 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 500 Calories

————

Ok so another day in the can and another solid showing. It’s safe to say that my cardio was comfortably boring - I got through it with the use of Stephen Pinker on Audiobook and by setting mini markers along the way - 100 calories, 200, 300, 400 etc.

I should say that I used to do quite a bit of running when I first started working out in my late teens. And so I don’t fully hate cardio but my main grumble with it is that it doesn’t provide me the same kind of return that weight lifting does. If I’m going to suffer I want something that physically changes me. Cardio doesn’t really do this.

It might help we lose weight depending on how much food I happen to stick in my face hole but it doesn’t really build muscle or provide my body with any real sexy looking shape. Of course it has plenty of other benefits such as not dying but my main outcome goal isn’t just to avoid death. I want to look good as a result of the effort I put into the gym. And weight lifting does that far better than cardio does. Provided you also pay attention to what you put in your mouth. It’s not 80% diet, 20% gym or any ratio anyone cares to name.

It’s both.

If you only nailed the diet you’d be a healthier weight  but you wouldn’t grow any muscle or shape beyond what you’re already carrying (and that leaves over time if you don’t demand its use). If you only nailed the gym you’d get stronger but you may well resemble an elephant seal while doing so (assuming you indulged every impulse for donuts that occurred to you). You have to pay attention to both. At all times. Till you die.

That said you may need to focus on one more than the other depending on your goal and current behaviours. If you’re not in great shape but you’re already in the gym 5 x week, can hit some reasonable numbers on the main lifts and hit more than 10,000 steps a day you probably need to pay attention to your mouth hole. If you’re not in great shape but eat salad and protein for most meals then you may actually need to break a sweat and focus on doing something in the gym.


Day Twenty Five

Day 25.JPG

⚖️ 81.3kg
✅ 2694 Calories
🍗 213g Protein
🍇 328g Carbohydrate
🌰 48g Fat
🥦 50g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 17,193 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body
🏉 90 Mins Practice

————

I can feel the hunger creeping its way into my life now. Don’t get me wrong it’s not horrendous but it’s there whispering in the background. It’s made worse by the fact I know it will get worse over the next 6 weeks. But it’s also made better by the knowledge of its finality. In other words, I accept it’s coming and I won’t try to fight it.

Hunger is one of the realities of low body fat.

I also got to see an old friend for a catch up which was great. Except for the fact she ate midget gems and chocolate. But it was ok because I got to eat air and sadness while sipping on black tea. I’d run out of calories. Despite the joke about it I don’t begrudge these issues. She’s not dieting and this is my choice, why should she have to modify her behaviour just to suit me?

Apart from pushing into the last month where hunger can get so bad it’s often necessary to avoid exposure lest I stuff my face. But here’s the tip - never see yourself as a victim of your diet. You’re not. You don’t get to bemoan your state while choosing a path you’ve decided to walk. You’re choosing to get a different outcome and that means you recognise your need to behave differently. Your focus should be on that positive part of your choice not the negative part. If you only want to focus on the negatives of your chosen diet then you should also only focus on the negatives of fat gain when you’re eating “normally”.

Clearly that’s dumb.

Choosing to be in shape means forgoing some indulgences, not all of them but certainly some of them. That’s not a bad thing. You’re an adult not a toddler who needs to sulk when they don’t get everything they want. Focus on the benefits of your choices and you’ll find it much easier to stick to.


Day Twenty Six

Day 26.JPG

⚖️ 80.3kg
✅ 2686 Calories
🍗 191g Protein
🍇 278g Carbohydrate
🌰 82g Fat
🥦 52g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 16,306 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body

————

I didn’t get to sleep till 2am last night and I’m pretty sure that’s played the main role in my hunger and lethargy today. I’ve been monitoring my HRV score on my iWatch and my recovery was down to half of it’s normal reading.

Heart Rate Variability measures nervous system tone by measuring the variability between heart beats. Two people with a resting heart rate of 70 may have differences within that average. A metronomic 70 is indicative of a nervous system that is slightly more stressed and is working hard. A more varied read out is indicative of a reactive chilled out system that is only responding as needed. You can use that information to check out how much recovery capacity you have.

Mine was low, which I’ve noticed is almost always affected by shitty sleep more than anything else I do with my nutrition or training. To reflect my lowered capacity I lowered my workout volume by half. And it was definitely the right call as I I was empty in the gym come 9pm.

Earlier in the day I got to meet up with Mr Harry Ranson and Lottie Lifts for a spiffing coffee date. I then walked them to It’s Donut Time (the best doughnut joint in London) and simply pointed at things before I had to run away. The main reason I had to run was that there was around a 97% chance of me vaulting the counter, assaulting the guy serving them and running away having committed the greatest donut heist of all time.

I can feel myself steadily thinking of food more and more. As a result it’s really important to keep reminding myself of the benefits of the choice I’m making. It’s also important to keep myself busy and do things I like. I just need to make sure I pay attention to my hunger and appetite while doing so.

If I don’t it can end up so out of control that I’ll make terrible choices that compromise my efforts. If I’m meeting up with friends I have to make a plan for what to eat while I’m there with them, or what I can pick up while I’m out or perhaps even to take something with me. I don’t have to miss out entirely just to get in great shape but I do have to be much more strategic. In the last push I will forgo more social activity as it becomes a bigger risk.

Instead I’ll invite people to come see me where I can control the outcome and environment. Or if I do go out to socialise I need to make sure I’m not out for too long as the food cues start beating down my door! I find that once I’ve eaten I’ve got around 3 hours of ok time before it gets risky in this state.


Day Twenty Seven

Day 27.JPG

⚖️ 80.7kg
✅ 2727 Calories
🍗 190g Protein
🍇 318g Carbohydrate
🌰 69g Fat
🥦 49g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,466 Steps
😴 Rest Day

————

My parents were down last night to watch the Book Of Mormon and so I got to spend the morning with them today. We were going to breakfast but there was nothing I could track effectively so I decided to eat beforehand and simply have a coffee while they ate instead. Sometimes that’s what you have to do if you’ve prioritised weight loss. It doesn’t mean avoiding a situation necessarily but it does mean appraising it appropriately and then acting in manner that will not scupper your efforts.

In other words, it was nice and I didn’t feel like I was missing out.

Although my Mum did keep saying she felt bad that I wasn’t eating with them. I simply repeated the point that I’d just eaten and was perfectly happy. It’s also my choice to be dieting and they shouldn’t have to adjust their behaviour just cause I do. The conversation then spanned almost every topic under the Sun, as is often the case when I see my Dad. I genuinely enjoy debate and critical thought, and I would argue one of the mistakes we almost all make is in vilifying the people we disagree with. This is hard to do when you love the people you’re debating with.

It teaches you to somewhat separate out the person from the argument, a skill most of us would do well to remember. As for the rest of the day, I chilled, watched some TV, napped, got my steps in and ate food.

Happy days.


Day Twenty Eight

Day 28.JPG

⚖️ 80.6kg
✅ 2701 Calories
🍗 228g Protein
🍇 294g Carbohydrate
🌰 60g Fat
🥦 53g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,065 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

My bones are beginning to ache a little more than I’d like. One of the realities of getting leaner is that you generally get weaker. The aim, for someone who’s been lifting for a while, is in some senses to get weaker as slowly as possible. My recovery capacity decreases as I go through Prep and I generally lower my workout volume slightly as a result. The aim is still to keep it as high as possible but not so much it crushes me.

One of the benefits of getting shredded is you keep quite a lot of things consistent in order to get anywhere. Keeping sleep, diet and life stress as constant as possible allows you a peek into the effect of losing body fat on performance.

Cliff notes - it doesn’t help it.

Auto-regulation is a practice that allows you to monitor and adjust your training demands based on subjective and objective feedback. I use Heart Rate Variability, body weight, energy levels and my gym performance as markers to adjust my workouts. As my HRV and/or energy levels come down I reduce gym stress by 25-50%. This is primarily done with a reduction in the total number of sets, though occasionally I will reduce the weight itself if I feel it’s risky to do so.


Day Twenty Nine

Day 29.JPG

⚖️ 80.9kg
✅ 2783 Calories
🍗 206g Protein
🍇 292g Carbohydrate
🌰 77g Fat
🥦 48g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 13,380 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

Monday is always a busy day for me. Getting my steps in, seeing in person clients, going through my online check ins, working out and writing means it’s a pretty full on day. One thing you may not know about me is that I have a loud internal lazy voice that constantly wants to chill out and slack off. One of the most important lessons I learned during my mental health treatment might sound counterintuitive, but it’s not.

You don’t have to listen to your internal voices, they’re just suggestions. Your internal voice doesn’t always have your best interests at heart, contrary to popular belief. It gets bitter and jealous, paranoid and insecure, hungry and horny, angry and scared, amongst others. It’s almost like you’re an animal with animal biology after all. You’re not an entirely rational creature and you must not underestimate your biology.

Learning that your inner voice doesn’t represent one coherent person but a plethora of different motivations is an important step. If you don’t learn to discern between those voices you will always struggle to act in a manner that improves your future. My internal lazy voice is not someone who will help my future.

Nor will yours.

You can’t make yourself do everything but you can make yourself do something. In order to do so you may need to reward yourself with something fun (ideally not just cheesecake and wine). The more you can associate a good feeling with positive life choices the more likely you are to repeat them. Make a plan, stick to it in the face of your shit internal voices and make sure you reward yourself positively (not food and drink related) when you do something you’re proud of having done.

Final caveat - that positive step might need to be small. Don’t let your pride tell you that step is too small. If it’s the biggest one you can manage to take, it’s the one you should take. Other people aren’t the barometer for progress, you are. If you manage to do something better than you did yesterday, and you can stack those days on top of each other, you’ll eventually get to a point where you don’t feel it’s a small meaningless change.

And that’s why you should do it.


Day Thirty

Day 30.JPG

⚖️ 81kg
✅ 2799 Calories
🍗 227g Protein
🍇 277g Carbohydrate
🌰 80g Fat
🥦 34g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 20,363 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

Today I managed to double my step target and thus decided this had earned me an extra 100 calories.

I had to fight the urge to eat more than that of course but after some internal conflict I settled on 100 calories as an acceptable allowance. Eating more than this wouldn’t necessarily make me feel any better or fuller than the 500 calories this extra 100 gave me for my final meal of the day.

I had coffee with an old friend and client of mine I hadn’t seen for a while, which was great. Except for the fact he had wine and food and I had coffee and tap water. Although Jimmy Carr was in the restaurant/coffee shop too so that was quite cool. Although I couldn’t quite make out what he was discussing, in spite of my best efforts to crane an ear in his direction.

Today can be surmised as a shit tonne of walking and a boat load of food temptation. It’s almost time to start being quieter with my social life.


Day Thirty One

Day 31.JPG

⚖️ 80.2kg
✅ 2712 Calories
🍗 213g Protein
🍇 254g Carbohydrate
🌰 86g Fat
🥦 37g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 12,553 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 500 Calories

————
God I can’t wait to be under 80kg. I want a refeed dammit. The food focus is real now folks.

And we have 4 and a half weeks to go.

Although quite happily I’ve not had one binge yet. Rest assured if I do I will be open and honest about it and I will take pictures so you can see!

In all my previous Prep’s I’ve had at least 2 but because this is a quick prep, 9 weeks in total, I think it’s helped keep me focused when, in the words of Paul McCartney I’ve found myself in times of trouble.

That’s about it for today people, I have less brain power so I wouldn’t be be surprised if these get shorter!


Day Thirty Two

Day 32.JPG

⚖️ 81kg
✅ 2714 Calories
🍗 221g Protein
🍇 325g Carbohydrate
🌰 74g Fat
🥦 65g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,802 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

I have an urgent news announcement…

SALTED CARAMEL CAKE BREYER’S ICE-CREAM.

In case the caps lock didn’t get the point across, let me spell it out clearly. This might be the most important addition to human life since the lightbulb. It’s that important.

In other news, my Box Squat felt strong, and that’s not a euphemism. Having run a Banded Box Squat for the last month, I can feel a real difference in my speed off the Box.

I also bought a game called Nordgard, which is a bit like the old Settlers or Age Of Empires games. I’ve been quite social over the last few months which has provided most of my fun time. But as I need to be a bit more reclusive, it’s important that I meet my need for fun in different ways. My go to solo choices are almost always video games and playing guitar.

I limit my game time by only playing once I’ve ticked off a certain number of tasks in a row. So I may set myself 2-3 hours of work, take a little break to eat and play for 30-60 mins and then repeat that little cycle.

I find that keeps me happy, focused and productive without being miserable and shitty.


Day Thirty Three

Day 33.JPG

⚖️ 80.4kg
✅ 2661 Calories
🍗 208g Protein
🍇 326g Carbohydrate
🌰 65g Fat
🥦 53g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 11,107 Steps
⛔️ Rest Day

————

Today we rested.

It turns out God was wrong, Friday is just as good as Sunday. That’s all the new news I have for you as far as training and diet go.

In other news I think I just read the best chapter of any book I’ve ever read. I’m coming towards the end of The Gulag Archipelago, and there’s a chapter titled The Ascent, which is I suppose a reflection on that concept. Now you have to have read the experiences of the Gulag in order to fully appreciate, if I can even use such a phrase, the power and honesty of this chapter.

It’s breathtakingly, brutally honest and I can’t see how you could read it and not consider yourself differently. It’s truly a humbling read and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. I couldn’t read it without feeling far less proud of myself and far more aware of the potential for justifiable evil inside every human being. And yet it is at the same time a moral call to arms, and a  demonstration of such strength of character that you cannot fail to tremble before it.

“Let us admit the truth: At that great fork in the camp road, at that great divider of souls, it was not the majority of the prisoners that turned right. Alas, not the majority. But fortunately neither was it just a few. There are many of them - human beings - who made this choice. Bu they did not shout about themselves. You had to look closely to see them…”

Solzhenitsyn walks you through the psychological struggle that justifies survival at any cost and how hard wired it is into your very being. And then how that very thought process leads you to mistreat others, to steal their food, to abuse and debase them in an effort to survive. In other words, how survival at any cost may cost your your conscience, or to use another term, your soul. Starving to death, freezing cold, physically tortured and run into the Siberian ground for years on end, how strong are your principles?

Do they have a price?

The chapter asks you deeply how you might ascend to something more than just survival. And it does so in a way that means this book might be one of the best things I’ve ever read for that chapter alone. But I will say that you have to have read the previous few hundred pages in order to actually appreciate it.


Day Thirty Four

Day 34.JPG

⚖️ 79.9kg
✅ 3827 Calories
🍗 226g Protein
🍇 584g Carbohydrate
🌰 61g Fat
🥦 53g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 17,081 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body

————

It’s finally happened - I’m below 80kg. And that means only one thing - REFEED TIME.

Whoop - I can’t pretend I was anything other than über happy to read the 79.9kg on the scale because it meant it was time to stick more food in my mouth than normal. 600g of Carbohydrate, 60g of Fat and 200g of Protein was going in my belly and I was stoked about it.

I used plain old bagels as my main refeed source - 5 of them if you’re curious. But I also used mini banana malt loaves, oats, fruit, ice-cream and strawberry laces. And you might think I’d be full after all that? But you’d be wrong. Even with a stretched stomach, the hormones that govern hunger won’t be fully reset until I regain a certain amount of body fat.

As a result chasing the sensation of fullness in the latter stages of Prep is pretty futile. In fact if you try to achieve it you’ll just end up gaining body fat. That is why the hunger is there in this situation - it’s your body trying to make you fatter. This is one of the many examples you could use to refute the claim that you should listen to your body.

No, you shouldn’t always listen to your body. Sometimes achievement requires you to push past what your body is comfortable with. Hell that might be fundamentally required. I don’t know if I can name anything I’m proud of that didn’t require overcoming something difficult. Part of me always wants to shy away from or ignore problems. Part of me always wants to lay down, eat food and do nothing. That’s quite comfortable, until it’s not. 

Your body wants conflicting things if you listen to it. And you know this because everyone one of you has wanted to eat doughnuts and get leaner at the same time. How should you listen to your body then? The implication is that you’re one coherent, rational person and that’s simply not true. When people say listen to your body everyone tends to nod sagely, much like the advice to be healthy or balanced, but non-specific vague advice is mostly unusable. If the devil is in the detail and assumption is the mother of all fuck ups, then vagueness is not good. It’s easy and lazy and wrong. Clarity is much more difficult because it requires scrutiny. And scrutiny cannot be done lazily, it demands effort and attention. Which means your ideas need to be challenged, thought about, and amended when they can’t explain reality. And that might mean you need to examine what you mean by reality too. Perhaps it means scrutinising the idea that you need scrutiny, though I think that actually proves the point.

Todays thought is that your ideas should stand up to rigorous critique if you want to continue holding them.


Day Thirty Five

Day 35.JPG

⚖️ 80.5kg
✅ 2722 Calories
🍗 227g Protein
🍇 333g Carbohydrate
🌰 66g Fat
🥦 72g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,010 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

My right shoulder’s been giving me a little bit of gip the last couple of weeks so I lowered the load on the Incline Bench as a result. There’s no sense in pushing past pain at the best of times, let alone when dieting hard. The lighter you get the more fragile you tend to become and you push past pain at your peril.

I’m moving house this weekend and so I’ve had to find a new gym to train at (sadly this will involve less shirtless training), as I don’t think Virgin Active take too kindly to such practices.

Either way I’ve joined up and I’ll be checking it out properly tomorrow.

As for the rest of the day, I caught up with an old friend and talked shit for about 6 hours.

Plus Liverpool won comprehensibly.

All in all, a good day.


Day Thirty Six

Day 36.JPG

⚖️ 80.1kg
✅ 2688 Calories
🍗 233g Protein
🍇 287g Carbohydrate
🌰 64g Fat
🥦 35g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 11,404 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

I had my first session at Virgin Active in Bromley so I had a little play with my lower body workout. Whenever I move to a new gym the first session is really a chance to explore the kit in an effort to inform my future programming choices. I can say I’m happy to have a Leg Press back in my exercise toolbox though I will miss the Prone Leg Curl.

It’s also great to have a bunch of Machines back in the programming arsenal. Free Weights are great, don’t get me wrong. But so are machines -  and thankfully it’s not an either/or choice.

Picking the best tool for the task is a good rule of life. With training we must start with what the task is. For me, trying to look good is about two things; muscle and body fat. In some sense body fat levels are the sum total of your life choices and influences. And they will mostly be addressed outside of the gym.

The gym is the fundamental domain of muscle. And if our aim is to build some, we want our limiting factor to be how much force a target muscle can produce. The amount of force a muscle can produce can be subdivided into two main factors (which could be further subdivided):

1️⃣ Neural changes - think of this as how well your brain co-ordinates everything. A joint has to be stabilised by a bunch of muscles co-contracting to hold it still while the target muscle can do it’s work.
2️⃣ Tissue changes - once a muscle is maximally stimulated by the nervous system, it can only produce as much force as the total capacity of the contractile elements within it. By adding in more actin & myosin, the contractile proteins we can achieve greater levels of force and increase the size of the muscle as a result.

Free Weights require more stabilisation than machines, which is one of their benefits. But for the same reason it’s also one of their cons. Machines require less (but not none) stabilisation which means the limiting factor can be the contractile force of the targeted muscle fibres much faster than with the use of Free Weights. This is arguably why Machines are better for hypertrophy while Free Weights are better for athletic performance. Thankfully it’s not an either/or situation and most of us would do well to utilise both.


Day Thirty Seven

Day 37.JPG

⚖️ 80.1kg
✅ 2705 Calories
🍗 235g Protein
🍇 303g Carbohydrate
🌰 64g Fat
🥦 53g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,807 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

I have nothing much to tell you about my very standard day.

I lifted, worked, ate well and hit my targets for the day.

Oh actually I ate asparagus for the first time in a while.

My pee then smelt.

That is all.


Day Thirty Eight

Day 38.JPG

⚖️ 80.2kg
✅ 2697 Calories
🍗 231g Protein
🍇 319g Carbohydrate
🌰 50g Fat
🥦 53g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,100 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 500 Calories

————

Posing practice has begun and there’s no two ways around it - it’s a hilarious way to spend your time.

*Adopts shouting voice*

“Hey everyone come see how good I look”

*Is orange, baby oiled and tensing in tiny pants*

Ironically this is performed mostly by straight males who think this will attract females. Moving on.

In other news Breyer’s Salted Caramel Cake flavour ice-cream should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

It can turn a hangry individual into a very content tabby cat in approximately 0.3 seconds, and that finding has been verified by all the appropriate science.


Day Thirty Nine

Day 39.JPG

⚖️ 79.8kg
✅ 2723 Calories
🍗 223g Protein
🍇 323g Carbohydrate
🌰 52g Fat
🥦 40g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 16,794 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

God I want my next refeed to arrive. Come on lucky number 79.5kg…

The weather today was delightfully shite which can make getting your steps in less than appealing. You have a few options:

1️⃣ Suck it up, it’s only rain.
2️⃣ Get them in on the treadmill (what I did today).
3️⃣ Do more on other days to average the week out.

If I’m honest I’m less of a fan of the last tactic. It’s not that it’s an inherently bad physical tactic, I just don’t think it’s a great psychological tactic. If we have a principle that every action you take reinforces something. Then putting off work you said you were going to do increases the likelihood of putting it off in the future. If you put off enough of your problems to tomorrow you fail to strengthen that part of yourself that gets things done when another part of you doesn’t want to. And if there’s one thing we can say about almost everyone, it’s that they feel that way more often than not.

Now if you’re very rarely this kind of person then occasionally delaying your steps is more than fine.

But if you’re not this person and you frequently put off your goals to tomorrow then this tactic is not fine.


Day Forty

Day 40.JPG

⚖️ 79.4kg
✅ 4012 Calories
🍗 238g Protein
🍇 623g Carbohydrate
🌰 57g Fat
🥦 61g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,494 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body

————

IT IS HERE

THE REFEED IS COMING, THE REFEED IS COMING.

The scales were my very own Paul Revere and I shall worship them as such. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that Jelly Tots are the most underrated of all the sweets. And as you can see I’ve taken to using plain bagels as forming the standard refeed food of choice.

What a wonderful day.


Day Forty One

Day 41.JPG

⚖️ 80.1kg
✅ 2720 Calories
🍗 223g Protein
🍇 305g Carbohydrate
🌰 68g Fat
🥦 49g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,362 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

I moved house today!

I’m sharing with a few people but as a result the house is about 800 times larger than my last abode. It’s safe to say it’s beautiful and I’m pretty happy with the change. My parents came down to help as I have a tiny sports car that’s not useful for moving anything larger than my dwindling libido.

While waiting for the keys we popped over to Nando’s; the fit pros eatery of choice. Half a chicken, a corn on the cob and some macho peas later we moved in. Of course once settled in I realised I’d left some things back at the damn flat so there’s that.

The first night in a new place is always a slightly different experience and I think it takes me a couple of weeks to fully settle into a new home. I’ve also changed gyms which means I’m still settling there too.

Those things can make you feel a little uncomfortable as an unfamiliar environment should make you feel something or you’re actually a psychopath. Accept that feeling as an inherent part of the process of growth, knowing that eventually you will feel comfortable in that new environment, having also developed your capacity to tolerate the unknown.

Finally I hit an upper body session, some posing practice and a little writing before calling it a night.


Day Forty Two

Day 42.JPG

⚖️ 80.2kg
✅ 2511 Calories
🍗 193g Protein
🍇 287g Carbohydrate
🌰 64g Fat
🥦 38g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,773 Steps
⛔️ Rest Day

————

I’ve lowered my calories from 2700 to 2500, which is a reduction of 1400 calories per week and will come from my carbohydrate and fat intake. A refeed affects the size of your weekly deficit which can be countered by lowering your calories on the other days of the week. My maintenance calories are around 3,200 per day, which is then 22,400 calories per week.

My current plan (2,700 x 7) totals 18,900 calories per week, which then creates a deficit of 3,500 calories.

My refeed of 4,000 calories affects my weekly total; (2,700 x 6 = 16,200) + 4,000 = 20,200.

That more than halves my weekly deficit to only 1,300 calories. By lowering my calories by 200 per day I can restore the weekly deficit and maintain my prior rate of fat loss.

(2,500 x 6 = 15,000) + 4,000 = 19,000
2,700 x 7 = 18,900

Whether you use a linear or non-linear diet, you must maintain a weekly deficit if you’re to lose weight.

Now the above is a slightly simplistic view of this process as your caloric needs aren’t static. However the principle of lowering weekly calories when including refeeds works well, especially when time restricted.

In other news I also had a great catch up with Mike Samuels and his lovely girlfriend Carly, who I got to meet for the first time. It’s always great to hang out with people in the fitness industry who are first and foremost decent folk. Combine that with the work ethic they have and you’re on to a couple of winners. To celebrate we went to Fuckoffee, this of course was my thinly veiled, middle class attempt at showing contempt for their happiness and success.

I think it worked well.


Day Forty Three

Day 43.JPG

⚖️ 79.8kg
✅ 2492 Calories
🍗 216g Protein
🍇 287g Carbohydrate
🌰 59g Fat
🥦 65g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,430 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Day

————

Late night strolling after late night posing.

I’ll be honest with you guys I didn’t really want to do either but feelings aren’t infallible commands, they’re suggestions. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong but you need more than a feeling to know either way. Being hungry, tired and run down will make you want to sleep, eat and hibernate.

In Prep you can’t listen to those signals because you’d never get lean enough. Now that’s not to say that you can or should ignore all negative signals because you shouldn’t. You may need to make sure your sleep routine is solid, your training is reasonable and you have some fun in your days.

But you still need to balance that with the actions required to achieve your goal. And that means steps, calories, macros, workouts and posing. Oh and you’re an adult so of course you still have to work, socialise, play, learn and rest.

That’s quite the balancing act. It’s not an impossible one but the odds of it happening by happy accident are almost zero. Decide what you want, flesh out the details, note where you might go wrong, plan for those issues and get to work. Reflect as you go, adjust as you need to and keep moving forwards.

That’s it.


Day Forty Four

Day 44.JPG

⚖️ 79.7kg
✅ 2509 Calories
🍗 227g Protein
🍇 282g Carbohydrate
🌰 55g Fat
🥦 69g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 12,118 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Day

————

Today marked the start of a new program for me. I’m using a slightly lower volume (and arguably more straight forward) approach in this next 6 week block. I’ll be using fewer exercises with slightly higher rep ranges in order to accumulate the necessary volume. I won’t need to use as many sets as if I was using higher intensities as heavier work really beats me up as I continue to get leaner.

Todays Upper Body session included two large push movements paired with two large pull movements and then a trio of shoulder, biceps and triceps work. That’s it. 3 sets of 10 reps on all of them. Simple but effective over time.

I also had a lovely confrontation with a lady on a machine. I was performing a tri-set and had jumped onto a different machine in between. No drama there. Common courtesy and gym etiquette is to share equipment where possible. I say where possible because if you’re about to lift 20kg and someone else needs 160kg, it may be impractical to keep loading and unloading that weight between sets.

But on machines where all you have to do is move a pin, or where the weight being used is very similar, you share the kit.

This is standard gym practice.

It also doesn’t negatively affect your workout as you’ll be resting for at least 60 seconds between most sets anyway. With that said, I popped back over and asked if she’d mind if I worked in with her while she took her rest period. She told me, rather bluntly, that she did mind. I then asked why. She told me she was still using it. I clarified I wasn’t asking her to get off the kit just to share it while she was resting in between sets. She asked why I should have precedent over her use of the kit. I further clarified that that was not what I was asking. I was asking to work in between your rest periods and that I only had one set to go. She then point blank refused. I told her that this was standard gym etiquette everywhere in the world and that she should learn to share. She mumbled something. I told her not to mumble.

If you want to say something, do so.

Now I’ve thought about this since and perhaps she felt intimidated by a young male coming over and asking to use the kit she was on. I get that. I’m a PT (not that she knew that) and I’m quite used to it. I’m also empathetic to the point which is why I make a habit of asking as nicely and politely as I can. The standard phrasing I’ll use when asking to work in with someone, whether with a client or myself goes something like this:

“Hi. Sorry, but would you mind if I/we jumped in between your sets, just while you’re resting?”

I can’t really think of a way of asking in a clearer and more friendly manner than that. Even if this person did feel a little intimidated by that, their reaction is still inappropriate. It speaks to a lack of confidence in either themselves or their environment, assuming that any request to share kit is an attempt to belittle them somehow. This creates the kind of reaction seen from her, which is essentially a defiant stand against perceived oppression. But their perception of the issue is fundamentally wrong, and it’s not the best way to resolve that internal voice anyway. All it does is create resentment within them and the other person. It’s why we teach kids to share and it’s why that lady was wrong. Now you could say that you don’t need to react to someone behaving in such a manner but I think that’s wrong too. If someone continues to get away with their behaviour, it reinforces it as the correct approach.

Your silence does not help that. If someone behaves unfairly towards you, speak out.


Day Forty Five

Day 45.JPG

⚖️ 79.7kg
✅ 2592 Calories
🍗 241g Protein
🍇 297g Carbohydrate
🌰 48g Fat
🥦 59g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,1434 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Day

————

I went 92 calories over today. And I’m telling you for a reason.

See, I’d planned on using half a bag of chocolate protein balls (72 calories) and ended up using the whole bag, as  they all fell out stuck together. As they went straight into my hot oats, I took this as sign to finish the bag and accept the overeat.

However I need to stop this reoccurring, and the lesson is simple - poor the bag into a bowl first, weigh it and take half out. The reason I’m telling you is this:

If you make a little mistake (and 92 calories is a little mistake) you should acknowledge it and then learn from it. You should not justify it as nothing. Slippery slopes may be a fallacy but they’re also the way we tend to progress, especially in bodyweight. Weight gain happens bit by bit as a consequence of the choices you make. Mindlessly allowing little errors and then justifying them adds bricks to the wrong building. When you do make a mistake, however small, don’t shy away from it.

It’s a form of lying. And every lie you tell makes it easier to tell the next one, often a bigger one.

That is the wrong path.

Own your mistakes, however small.


Day Forty Six

Day 46.JPG

⚖️ 79.5kg
✅ 2454 Calories
🍗 204g Protein
🍇 303g Carbohydrate
🌰 54g Fat
🥦 64g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 17,233 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body Day

————

A solid day of training, walking and working means I don’t have a huge amount to fill you in on.

We got new rugby kit and I’m pretty sure the shorts were designed with hot pants in mind.

Today’s thought comes from the book I’m reading and is attributed to Chester Barnhard:

“To try and fail is at least to learn; to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what might have been”

Go try.


Day Forty Seven

Day 47.JPG

⚖️ 79.5kg
✅ 2525 Calories
🍗 209g Protein
🍇 255g Carbohydrate
🌰 76g Fat
🥦 59g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,628 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 250 Calories

————

Steaky steak steak steak.

It’s safe to say I like steak.

Having ordered a whole bunch of meat from MuscleFood I got to eat steak for the first time this prep.

In short, it was great but if you don’t eat your steak rare, don’t talk to me.

I also tried Oppo’s Cookie Dough ice-cream (400 cals for the tub) and while it was good, it ’s still not knocking Breyer’s off the top spot.

I’ve also just ordered my posing trunks, so they should be arriving next week.

I’m confident when I say you guys are in for a treat, strictly depending on your definition of treat.


Day Forty Eight

Day 48.JPG

⚖️ 78.4kg
✅ 4896 Calories
🍗 231g Protein
🍇 830g Carbohydrate
🌰 66g Fat
🥦 62g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,628 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

A sudden and large drop of 1.1kg meant it was refeed time.

I was due to take the next refeed the moment I went under 79kg and the one after that once I reached 78.5kg. This large drop meant I jumped straight past the first refeed post and into the next. That was surprising and not something I’d imagined happening. I think this happened, in part, due to the higher fat and lower carb content of yesterday’s meals. Less glycogen replenishment (along with the water that must be stored with it) alongside less fibrous food bulk (and therefore faster food transit time) could have caused a larger drop in weight than normal.

I didn’t lose 1.1kg of fat overnight, that’s for sure.

Either way - Refeed time.

I realise I’ve been too vague with my refeed strategy. Not with when I’ll take them, that’s gone well, but with the size of the planned refeed. In part that’s because there is no clear data on a refeed for bodybuilding. Most glycogen replenishment data is on endurance athletes and is then adapted/adopted by the bodybuilding community later. I use 6-12g/kg of bodyweight as my refeed target.

The problem with a ranged target is that needs clearer structure sometimes. Especially when the individual undertaking it shouldn’t trust their internal judgement. This range allows for 470-940g of carbohydrate. My habitual intake during the diet so far has been between 250-350g per day (depending on fat intake). 100g above my normal level wouldn’t really add up to much in the way of a refeed, which is why I’ve used 600g as the refeed target so far.

I’d finished my planned food which took me to 600g of carbohydrate and then, mainly due to hunger, justified the pack of rice cakes you can see, which took me to 800g. The lack of clarity I had when laying out the refeed rules meant I could negotiate them slightly. At this point in the diet, I’d rather have a smaller refeed and continue to push the diet that bit further than prioritise full glycogen replenishment.

Now in Peak Week that will change slightly and ensuring those muscle stores are as full as possible to maximise the size of them will be important. But when a couple of weeks out, airing on the side of caution seems a more sensible strategy as it reduces the risk of fat gain during the refeed.

🆗 Here’s a clearer strategy I can implement next time for my bodyweight, these numbers are not suitable for everyone:

❇️ Above 80kg Refeed Strategy.
Refeeds taken with every kilo loss.
Refeed 1 - 6g/kg (1st kilo loss)
Refeed 2 - 7g/kg (2nd kilo loss)

❇️ Below 80kg Refeed Strategy
Refeed taken with every half kilo loss.
Refeed 3 - 8g/kg (1st 1/2 kilo loss)
Refeed 4 - 9g/kg (2nd 1/2 kilo loss)
Refeed 5 - 10g/kg (3rd 1/2 kilo loss)
Etc

I may adjust the size of the refeed and discover that say 9g/kg is around the upper limit for me. In which case, the refeeds would continue at that level.


Day Forty Nine

Day 49.JPG

⚖️ 80.1kg
✅ 2499 Calories
🍗 204g Protein
🍇 285g Carbohydrate
🌰 57g Fat
🥦 44g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 13,351 Steps
🧘‍♂️ 75 Minutes

————

I went and got my Yoga on.

It’s been a good couple of years since I did a Yoga class, and it’s safe to say it’s not my forte. It’s also easy to only do those things you’re already good at but that’s not necessarily something to be proud of. If you want to know more about yourself, you need to experience things you are unfamiliar with.

Who you are includes a person you don’t know yet. It’s one thing to be kind, considerate and hard working when you feel safe and in control but who you are is far more than that. And the only way to find out is to go there. Perhaps you’re not as kind, patient and thoughtful as you’d like to think. Perhaps you’re not just the good guy in the movie. Perhaps you have some darkness you should be aware of lest it unconsciously manifest in you. Jung once said that:

'Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.'

The idea that you should accept yourself as you are falls apart. It assumes that all you are is one coherent person who is fundamentally wonderful and that is not true.

While the Yoga class itself held no great revelation, I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxed I felt afterwards. I had a genuine sense of calm and ease that I’d forgotten existed. It’s not that the poses and practice weren’t difficult, of course they were but I knew that going in. Whereas the depth of physical relaxation at the end felt very different to anything I frequently put myself through. In short, I’ll be going back next week.

I then got to hang out with a few friends for the rest of the day. I was expecting to feel terribly hungry but interestingly I didn’t feel that bad, despite the fact I didn’t eat between 10:00am and 6:00pm. I expect to have to leave at a certain point because I know when I’m pushing myself to a level that risks a binge, and yet that point never came.

So on I continued.

Finally leaving around 9:30pm.

We ran the gamut of conversation from some difficult personal, psychological and political ideas to the fact that echidnas have a four headed penis and penguins stand no chance against big cats. One of the great gifts of good friends and family is that it affords you the possibility of difficult conversations, which are often, sadly the only way we grow. Silencing yourself you wish to speak often creates resentment and that is not something you want to cultivate inside yourself.

So speak. Speak kindly where you can but firmly. Seek to understand the position being put forth. Do not make a straw man of their point. Doubt your own conviction. And continue to talk. Even at the risk of hurt feelings because difficult conversation cannot be had without the risk of hurt feelings and if you cannot have those conversations with those you know and love, who can you have them with?


Day Fifty

Day 50.JPG

⚖️ 79.3kg
✅ 2500 Calories
🍗 225g Protein
🍇 245g Carbohydrate
🌰 73g Fat
🥦 62g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 12,964 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

The Big 5️⃣0️⃣

If you’ve been following along, you should have a good idea of what it means to be consistent for weight loss. It doesn’t mean most days or some days. It means every day. Calories don’t forget or disappear just because you’d rather they did. Own your consistency and you’ll go a long way to owning your outcome.

And for the first time in this whole prep I hit my calories bang on. Now this brings up two points;

1️⃣ You don’t need to be precise in order to get in shape.

Provided you’re within +/- 100 calories of your target, you’re fine.
Don’t take this as licence to be 99 calories over every day though.

2️⃣ Chances are I didn’t hit this number exactly even though MFP says I did.

The food record on labels isn’t precisely accurate because the energy contained within food isn’t perfectly distributed throughout the item. 100g from two different apples may have slight variances, there may be a little more fructose tucked into one corner of the apple than the other. This will average out over time but it does mean you can’t be truly precise even when you’re being precise. Which lends further credence to the idea of being consistently damn close and not worrying about perfection. Because you can’t be even if you think you can.

In other news my trunks appear to be ready and on their way. I’m more excited by this than I probably should be and actually can’t wait for them to rock up. Safe to say, you’re in for a surprise and Liberace would be proud.


Day Fifty One

Day 51.JPG

⚖️ 79.7kg
✅ 2541 Calories
🍗 209g Protein
🍇 274g Carbohydrate
🌰 64g Fat
🥦 51g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 10,406 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

My friends Danny and Lucy, who are both rather wonderful themselves, managed to make an even more wonderful little human - Elsie.

I can’t wait to see you guys as parents, and who this tiny bundle of joy grows into.

Sharing in your friends lives is one of the great joys of being - and these moments really remind you of that.


Day Fifty Two

Day 52.JPG

⚖️ 79.2kg
✅ 2508 Calories
🍗 231g Protein
🍇 269g Carbohydrate
🌰 55g Fat
🥦 55g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 15,377 Steps
🚴‍♂️ 250 Calories

————

Today was tiring.

I have no great reason for this.

But it’s likely because of the whole starving myself thing.

I actually lay down for an hour today which is something I’ve not done during this whole Prep.

In other great news my posing trunks have arrived and I’m really happy with them.

That might be indicative of my life right now but I care not, I’m genuinely happy about it.


Day Fifty Three

Day 53.JPG

⚖️ 79kg
✅ 2586 Calories
🍗 222g Protein
🍇 281g Carbohydrate
🌰 59g Fat
🥦 52g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 18,778 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

I watched a play called The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at the Noel Coward Theatre with my old friend Vincent.

He works for the BBC and as such gets free tickets to great shows, which he kindly brings me along to every now and then. It’s written by Martin McDonagh, who also wrote In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It’s a hilariously dark comedy with little moments of terror and suspense. The cast kick ass, the show is slick, and judging from the audience reaction as well as my own, it’s a great fun piece of theatre.

After 7pm I started to feel a bit ropey and was debating how I was going to get through the next few hours. And for the first act of the play I was definitely a bit spacey. However for some reason or another it cleared and I actually felt ok after 8:30.

Don’t get me wrong, I was hungry the whole time but the mental fog lifted, which was a God send because I wasn’t going to be able to eat again until I got back at 11:30pm. I’ve found that if I can get through the space fog without caving in to my cravings, it then passes. That’s a good thing to note when I find myself in similar positions in the future.


Day Fifty Four

Day 54.JPG

⚖️ 79.3kg
✅ 2462 Calories
🍗 238g Protein
🍇 259g Carbohydrate
🌰 53g Fat
🥦 45g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 14,228 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body

————

I adjusted my workout as frankly I lacked the mental fortitude to complete the entire session as written. I removed the Walking Lunge and one set of Front Squats. I didn’t feel proud of myself for doing so and this isn’t a habit I wish to repeat often.

But there’s also data showing that people who are allowed to adjust their workouts based on their subjective feeling make faster progress than those who don’t. Your recovery capacity moves day to day, week to week and year to year responding to your stress levels, sleep quantity and quality, dietary choices, training age and genetic makeup.

Rather than give nothing, sometimes you have to give a bit less. And it turns out that can be beneficial; it allows you to adjust your workload to your recovery capacity. Just be wary of not giving anything at all.

Now to carry on plodding my way through the next week and getting things done.


Day Fifty Five

Day 55.JPG

⚖️ 79kg
✅ 2543 Calories
🍗 224g Protein
🍇 296g Carbohydrate
🌰 53g Fat
🥦 58g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 12,928 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

I planned out my Peak Week strategy which starts tomorrow. I don’t do anything overly complicated for a Peak. A slight manipulation of carbohydrate, salt and water and that’s literally it. I carb load earlier in the week and leave two days to gauge whether I need a little more or a little less. The glycogen load is one of the few things in a Peak that genuinely stands up to scrutiny.

The water and sodium manipulations are more questionable practices. They have some theoretical basis, but it’s far from a certainty. After all, water is in lots of cells, so how would you ensure that you pissed away the extracellular fluid, not the intracellular stuff? The idea is based on the fact that sodium pulls water with/to it (osmosis).

Can you then create a situation where that sodium is in muscle tissue and pulls water to it there rather than floating around in extracellular space?

If we train and raise Insulin, we help drive nutrients (including sodium) into muscle tissue. So we need to train and consume carbs (generally speaking). If we do this while increasing our water intake and then suddenly terminate it (or at least lower it substantially) the water turnover continues at the higher rate and may cause the sodium within the cells to draw water out of the extracellular space, which serves to “tighten the skin”.

This is a temporary change and isn’t a guaranteed outcome. Plenty of people make themselves look worse rather than better with their peak week strategies.

My advice is to keep it sensible with a front loaded carb load, be lean enough already and only then possibly play with water and salt a little.

If you can, it’s worth trying out these strategies ahead of time.


Day Fifty Six

Day 56.JPG

⚖️ 78.6kg
✅ 2599 Calories
🍗 221g Protein
🍇 319g Carbohydrate
🌰 57g Fat
🥦 61g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 17,834 Steps
🧘‍♂️ 75 Minutes

————

Another Sunday Yoga class and hang out with friends.

This Sunday routine is swiftly becoming one of my favourite parts of the week. The Yoga is challenging but as with all challenges the pride that comes with improvement is inherently motivating. That is something people often fail to recognise about being bad at something.

The potential of the beginner is huge which is great because there are loads of little wins you get to experience that cease to happen anywhere near as frequently as you become more advanced.

Combined with getting to hang out with friends afterwards, talk, watch sport, make jokes and be filled with the inspiration of good people, and I’ve a good recipe for enjoying what I have in life.

Takeaway Tips

1️⃣ Join groups you respect
2️⃣ Find things to improve at
3️⃣ Celebrate the benefit of the beginner status rather than bemoaning the woes of it
4️⃣ Know how to spend time with friends that doesn’t involve eating and drinking the whole time


Day Fifty Seven

Day 57.JPG

⚖️ 78.3kg
✅ 2524 Calories
🍗 240g Protein
🍇 271g Carbohydrate
🌰 52g Fat
🥦 44g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 15,449 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

I can’t lie, a part of my brain wants to see that scale hit somewhere in the 77kgs before the carb load begins and my weight increases before the weekend.

When you engage in a process of getting leaner, you will be assessing the scale, the mirror, your clothes or whatever you’re looking at through a lens of judgement. You can’t not. If your aim is to get shredded you must lose fat. And that means you will lose weight. And because the goal is to lose fat, and you will be using an overall reduction in weight as a proxy for that, then down on the scale equals better than up. The same principle is true for the way clothes fit, the way you look in the mirror or any other metric you use.

People often say we shouldn’t judge things but that’s not right. Every decision you ever make requires judgement, which means ranking something as better than something else. Picking this chocolate bar over that one is to decide that one is better than the other, at least in this moment. Making a decision requires a value judgement.

Where most people go wrong is that they extrapolate from a singular value judgement to an overall one. My weight is down on the scale (a singular positive judgement) therefore I AM AWESOME (an overall positive judgement. Or my weight is up on the scale (the singular) therefore I SUCK BALLS (the overall).

Forgetting the fact that measurement errors cloud any judgement process, the judgement itself is not about everything, it’s about something. And you are far more than one thing.

It’s not right to say that all you are is your weight. But it’s also not right to say that it isn’t part of you. Because if we took enough of your traits away, would you still be you? If your friend changed in one regard, you would still see them as your friend. But if they ceased to be ALL of the things they are, would they still be your friend?

One of the reasons we continue to struggle between the well meant “never judge” movement and the reality that life involves judgement is because we fail to separate out the judgement of one thing from the judgement of the whole. You are not a good or bad person simply because you’re overweight or lean. That isn’t the total definition of a good person. But we do clearly value one of those traits as being more admirable than the other. And everyone does. Gluttony is not considered a virtue for a reason. If you asked yourself whether you’d rather have a morbidly obese child or a lean one (assuming all other qualities were identical) you’d have a hard time arguing for the obese choice. It simply doesn’t present any meaningful benefit over the lean condition. This doesn’t mean that an obese person is a bad person. But it does mean that their weight isn’t a positive.

And this isn’t binary - it isn’t good or bad. It’s a sliding scale that has problems at either end with a range of healthy and positive in the middle. And the reality of this value judgement means that when you or I step on the scale we do, and always will, judge what comes back to us.

If it comes back “worse” we experience negative emotion because that emotion moves us to change (that is the point of negative emotion).
And if it comes back “better” we experience positive emotion because that reinforces what we’re doing (the point of positive emotion).

This is inescapable because you have to measure your progress if you’re to ensure you’re not wasting your effort on the wrong actions. And that means you have to judge the outcome of those actions. And that means you have to have a value system. And that means when you move towards the “better value” you experience positive emotion and when you move away from it you experience negative emotion. And because there is no perfect measurement device you will need to manage your emotions.

You need to stick to a plan in the face of negative emotion without having it change you from the plan. Unless of course your plan sucks. But that’s a topic for another day.

For now let us understand that we human beings are rather complicated and that it takes time to understand all of the nuance that makes us tick.

Emotions relate to motivations which relate to value judgements which relate to an overriding goal. Know this and it can inform your expectation of reality and stop you from feeling like such a victim to it.


Day Fifty Eight

Day 58.JPG

⚖️ 78.1kg
✅ 2519 Calories
🍗 246g Protein
🍇 251g Carbohydrate
🌰 55g Fat
🥦 51g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 13,567 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Upper Body

————

The storm gathers apace.

I veeted, got a haircut, booked a hotel and had my final lower calorie day before the show. Refeeding begins tomorrow and there’s a good chance I’m as excited for bagels as I am for the show itself.

I’m also really pleased that, for the first time ever, I’ve had ZERO binges during a Prep. I think that’s happened for a few important reasons:

1️⃣ It’s been a shorter than any other at 9 weeks.

2️⃣ I’ve documented everything about it - having to take a picture of each meal, and then report on the day has kept me on the straight and narrow.

3️⃣ A fear of lying had I binged and not been honest about it, and the dangers of that path.

4️⃣ The fact I genuinely like every meal I eat. This has been the best tasting prep I’ve ever engaged in.

5️⃣ All the lessons of my previous preps.


Day Fifty Nine

Day 59.JPG

⚖️ 78.2kg
✅ 3466 Calories
🍗 231g Protein
🍇 500g Carbohydrate
🌰 55g Fat
🥦 56g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 11,634 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Lower Body

————

I was hungry, hungry today.

It didn’t matter that I got to eat quite a bit more; the lethargy and drive to eat was real. I also decreased my workout volume by a few sets as I didn’t have much in the tank; every rep felt like a concerted effort.

Basically, I’m looking forward to Sunday night at this point. Bring on the 🍕 and 🍷 my friends.

There’s a reason you can’t stay shredded year round as a natural lifter. Hell even Mr Olympia isn’t shredded, shredded year round. Now I’m not saying you can’t stay pretty damn lean compared to most of the population. So part of this depends on your view of shredded. But let it be known that athletic lean and ripped are not the same thing. One you can sustain without feeling like complete garbage, and the other you can’t.

One of the downsides is that once you’ve been ripped, everything else is actually fatter than you’ve been before. And basically no-one likes that.

Even those people who deal with it well have a part of their brain that whispers to them in a dark voice. Dealing with that internal voice is super important if you want to get ripped without it ruining your life. And to do so you must focus on the positives when gaining body fat, for example:

1️⃣ Improved gym performance leads to muscle growth.
2️⃣ Improved social life because you’re no longer a miserable, selfishly shit friend.
3️⃣ Improved energy levels.
4️⃣ Decreased hunger.
5️⃣ Better job performance.
6️⃣ Etc.

Now there’s an important lesson here; you should always do this. Which means you should do it when getting ripped too. It’s too easy to only notice the negatives and talk about food the whole time. Learning to notice and celebrate the positives in any situation you find yourself in will make you a far better person. And it’s worth remembering that none of these things are just happening to you. You are choosing to engage in them. So act accordingly.

Own your responsibilities, always.


Day Sixty

Day 60.JPG

⚖️ 78.9kg
✅ 3452 Calories
🍗 284g Protein
🍇 434g Carbohydrate
🌰 62 Fat
🥦 46g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 15,018 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body

————

In the spirit of noticing the better parts of my suffering, one of the things I’m most grateful for is the rise of flexible dieting, and as a result, the increase in great tasting, lower calorie, macro friendly foods.

These didn’t exist when I first got into training. When I started out I generally disliked most of my meals, I certainly didn’t look forward to them. And I thought that’s what it took. I remember my first attempt at getting lean after a year or so:

🍳 🥣 Breakfast was hard boiled eggs alongside some plain porridge.

🥗🍤 Lunch was plain meat and veggies - I once had cold prawns and sprouts as a stand alone meal.

🥗🍗 Dinner was something like lunch.

🍼 Post workout shake, which was the best part of my day as it was chocolate flavoured.

🧀 🧀 Finally, before bed I ate cottage cheese (which I hate) because of its casein content.

I ate this every day for 4 months, and unsurprisingly, I couldn’t wait for it to end. Now in fairness I’d be bored of almost anything I had to eat for 4 months straight, but add in the fact I didn’t even like the food I was eating and you have a recipe for a whole heap of shit. If I compare that to now, it’s hard to imagine going back to it. You guys see what I eat now, and I mean it when I say I look forward to every meal I eat.

Not just because I’m hungry, though that is there, but because they taste great. I don’t eat meals I enjoy less than a 7/10. Compare that to the 2/10 cottage cheese, or the 3/10 cold prawns and sprouts and you’d better believe it makes a difference. And it’s not like this change has hindered my physique. I’m in much better shape than when I ate the above. In part this is because I’ve 10 years of training under my belt. But it’s also because I learnt that dogma, not fact, underpins most of the nutrition and training advice you hear. The basic principles of nutrition are really simple and therefore unsexy. It means you’ve likely already heard the answers you need to apply. And that you’re either failing to apply them correctly or you’ve become confused about which voice to listen to.

Remove the dogma and you’ll find that calories account for 90% of everything. It’s like having a budget to spend each day. Ideally you’d spend some of it sensibly. You know buy food that helps control hunger, provides adequate protein and involves some fruits and veggies. But everyone wants to spend some of their budget on fun and enjoyment, not just paying the bills. If all you do is pay the bills (eat boring shit food), you’ll quickly find yourself day dreaming about enjoyment (quit the diet). But if all you do is spunk your cash on the fun stuff (eat without regard for health or appearance), the debt collectors will soon be round (in other words it comes at a cost).

Now the more you move and the bigger you are, the larger your budget becomes. This bigger bank balance allows you to spend more without incurring the wrath of the debt collector. And as most people don’t want to be 30kg heavier, it’s in your interest to move as much as you can. That means paying attention to your step count and daily activity. By getting that in place you can spend more of your budget on pure enjoyment without compromising your progress.

And with the rise of great tasting lower calorie foods like Breyer’s ice-cream, MyProtein pancakes, Grenade Carb Killa bars, and the like, you now have to spend far less of your budget in order to create dietary enjoyment. That means it’s easier than ever to enjoy food AND make progress at the same time with the same meal. Flexible dieting helped change the way we judge a successful diet by bringing it back to the overarching concept of calories. Great tasting, macro friendly foods then changed how pleasurable it was to stick to this lower calorie diet. And so I’m grateful, because I no longer find myself longing for the end because I hate what I’m eating. I’m still looking forward to the end, but it’s for these inescapable reasons, rather than any unnecessarily restrictive ones:

1️⃣ Eating enough to feel full, which has more to do with regaining body fat than anything else.
2️⃣ Having a larger balance to spend.
3️⃣ Not caring as much if I go over my calorie allotment, which isn’t to say I won’t care at all. It also doesn’t mean it’s without cost, the cost is regaining body fat.


Day Sixty One

Day 61.JPG

⚖️ 79kg
✅ 3304 Calories
🍗 218g Protein
🍇 466g Carbohydrate
🌰 58g Fat
🥦 53g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 12,466 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body

————

Eating up into a show is enjoyable, that’s just a fact.

However if I went hog wild I could easily smash around 6000 calories, and that won’t help. The aim is to fill muscle glycogen without consuming so much that I overspill and gain body fat. That means more carbs and slightly lower fat than normal but not quite enough food to make me happy. I also tend to alter my training slightly in the final week, as my workouts change to a whole body approach.

I like a couple of depletion style workouts (high reps) on the days preceding my carb load. And then training geared towards improving glucose transport rather than depletion or growth. A couple of sets per body part does the trick nicely. There’s always a temptation to do something drastic as a last gasp push. My advice is simple enough - don’t. If you’re not lean enough now, you’re probably not going to get there in a few days either.

Continuing with the positive, yet realistic regard I’ve attempted to demonstrate throughout this Prep, there is one other thing I’m grateful for.

I don’t have to be quite as lean for a physique show as I would have to be for a bodybuilding show, which would require me to lose another 2-3kg. When you’ve deliberately chosen to put yourself through something, don’t be the person who complains about it the whole time.

Look for the positives, learn from any unnecessary negatives and accept the left over necessary suffering with grace.

Or as the old saying goes:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept those things I cannot change,
The courage to change those things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.


Day Sixty Two

Day 62.JPG

⚖️ 79.8kg
✅ 3219 Calories
🍗 202g Protein
🍇 424g Carbohydrate
🌰 68g Fat
🥦 45g Fibre
🚶‍♂️ 13,805 Steps
🏋️‍♂️ Whole Body

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The last day and we are there.

A day spent with on a workout, a focus on walking, keeping myself busy and getting ready for tomorrow. I booked an apartment style hotel so I could make my own breakfast in the morning. And partially so strangers wouldn’t wonder why I was wearing Ronseal.

Well, sixty two days have now been and gone. In that time I hope you’ve been able to see what my process looks like. And more than anything I hope you’ve seen what real consistency looks like.

I’ve now done all I can in the pursuit of looking my best. The rest, as they say, is out of my hands. My plan for tomorrow is simple; enjoy the day and eat enough carbs to resemble a racehorse.

Breathe.

And go.


🏆 Reflections On A Prep 🥇

I have a hard time with pride. It’s not something that sits easily with me. Regardless of the work I put in, I feel quite uneasy with anything that approximates pride in my subjective achievements. It’s not like passing an exam after all. It’s not black or white. It’s in large part an opinion. And so I can’t say I deserved it because I’m not sure how you’d go about quantifying and qualifying that in the first place. I’m distinctly aware of my own shortcomings and I could easily sit here pointing out where and what I lack in comparison to others, and in comparison to myself.

But I would be lying if I told you I didn’t feel happy with what happened yesterday. I would be lying if I pretended my small inner voice wasn’t grinning his face off. And that inner voice of optimism and joy should be allowed to grin sometimes, even if it’s afraid that someone will chop it down. The reality is I didn’t expect to place or win, that’s not why I did this. And I realise those words can seem like an attempt at  false humility.

But I mean them. I didn’t think about it. I’m not particularly well built for this kind of thing.

To those of you not in the industry that might seem like an odd thing to say because I’m probably in better shape than anyone you know. But you don’t compete against normal people, you compete against a bunch of weirdos who happen to share this interest. You compete against other people with great physiques. And while I have a pretty good physique, I’m also long and gangly, I don’t build muscle easily and I’d be far better suited to middle distance running than anything resembling bodybuilding.

I’m also a natural, meaning I’ve never taken steroids of any kind at any point in my life. Now that doesn’t mean I never would or that I have any issue with their use. I don’t. I have friends and have had clients who take gear. But for me the juice hasn’t yet seemed worth the squeeze on that particular kettle of fish. And if I ever did start I would tell you because openness and honesty are two of the most important things to me as a coach and a person.

But taking these points together means that in some of the non-tested shows I can be 15-20kg lighter than someone else my height. Frankly it doesn’t matter how conditioned you are, when you’re that much smaller.

The reason I’ve only ever previously competed in the UKDFBA (UK Drug Free Bodybuilding Association) was because it was a tested show and because up until recently most physique shows made you wear board shorts.I’m better suited to physique but board shorts make it look like I don’t train legs! But having seen some of my friends do well with both Pure Elite and Miami Pro, I thought I wouldn’t look out of place next to them and should give it a shot. This might not be the case in say the UKBFF or the WBFF, as I’m about 10kg lighter than the Fitness Models around my height in those shows.

Which brings me to my next point, this was the quietest show I’ve been a part of.

There were only 5 of us in my category.

In reality this is likely to be one of the main reasons I managed to take first place. Against a bigger field, I doubt whether I’d have “done as well”. Which brings me back to my original point - I have a hard time with pride. Because I’m aware that winning had as much to do with  good luck as hard work. In all likelihood everyone there worked just as hard as me. The difference between us was not hard work. And so success isn’t just the trophy or the Pro Card, it’s something deeper than that. It’s something Vince Lombardi described as thus:

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

As a result I sit here proud not because I have a trophy, but because the reward is worth far more than the enjoyable momentary validation of others, it’s my own self respect.

I also have to say that blogging about this process every day absolutely helped me. It kept me on the straight and narrow when I felt like caving. And so this is the first prep I’ve ever had without a binge.

Not one. In part that’s because it was only 60 days long. But it was also because I’d resolved to take pictures of everything. If I’d fallen off the proverbial wagon, I would have had to document it or I’d have had to lie to you guys, and I wouldn’t have been happy with either. It also helped to have strategically planned refeeds at set drops in bodyweight. This is definitely a strategy I will be using again in the future.

And finally, I want to say a big thank you to every one of you for reading this, for wishing me well, and for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings with you on a regular basis. Lots of people like to bash social media because it has its imperfections, but I’d like you to know how wrong they are.

Keep improving yourself, keep your word and keep looking for the reasons to be grateful in life.

Paul x

Paul StandellComment