Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cheating Like Raffaele de Simone

What is it going to take to make you people understand what a cheat day is?? It's now clear that I'm going to have to cheat every day until you foul, loathsome, evil little dung beetles can get it through your thick skulls what it means to have a cheat day.

This time, I didn't start with the mundane. Today was the first Farmers' Market of the year, and with that comes one thing: breakfast burritos! These burritos contain scrambled eggs, cheese, potatoes, and in this case, sausage.

And with these burritos comes another thing: the best salsa ever!

Seriously, this is the best salsa I have ever had. There's just something about it that my unrefined taste buds can't quite put words to, but it is amazing.

And that was it for a while.

A little later, I joined my parents and Scott at the newly-opened local Zaxby's. I had heard good things about this mostly southern chicken joint, so we gave it a shot.

Other than a few questionable organizational issues, the experience was good. The food was pretty tasty.

I got a combination of boneless wing with their "Original" Buffalo sauce along with some chicken tenders and fries with a slice of Texas toast and some celery. There was "Zaxby's Sauce" and ranch for dipping.

After this tasty dinner, we headed down the road to see a movie. And, being me, I have to have a bag of Sour Patch Kids during the movie. But, incredibly, this movie theater didn't carry Sour Patch Kids. I opted for a childhood favorite of mine: Sour Skittles.

Once the movie got going, I started eating the Skittles. I got about half way through when I could swear I could taste blood. So I stopped eating the Skittles.

After the movie and after I bade my parents adieu, Scott and I headed back to Lawrence. When we got there, we found that Sylas and Maddy's was still open, so we went in. I got my regular: a single waffle cone of Da Bomb and Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

This is by far the best ice cream and best waffle cone ever created by human beings. I will argue that with anyone.

Now, if you had read the title carefully, and if you have a knowledge of cars that's in the 99th percentile, you'd know that there was more to this day than previously mentioned. In case you're like the common 99% of people and aren't obsessed with cars, Raffaele de Simone is Ferrari's lead test driver.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Is There Cheating in Ball?

Alright, so apparently no one payed any attention yesterday when I showed them how to cheat when cutting. Begrudgingly, I decided that I'd show you miscreants yet another example of how to cheat so that you may finally understand the concept.

Now, pay very close attention.

This day, like so very many others, started off quite within the confines of the rules of cutting. I had a classic brotein bar for breaky-break, a couple granola bars for lunch/pre-workout, and then a Clif bar for post-workout/recovery.

I apologize for the dramatic lighting, but the sun was just in the perfect position this morning.

When I got back home, Sidney was still head-deep in baking for the first Farmers' Market of the season. That mean that the kitchen was effectively out of order. But when she finished, the kitchen was reinstated as the House of Gains. Except in this case by "gains" I really mean "food that I eat because it tastes good and that is mildly good for me even though it has no brotein or calories."

Asparagus and cauliflower. I could feel the muscle evacuating my body.

But that was to be short lived. Spoiler Alert: This is where the cheating comes in.  Up until now, this had been a perfectly fine exemplary day in the world of cutting. I had barely eaten 500 calories in the first 10 hours of the day.

But the next 4 hours of the day would rectify that deficit, and rather easily.

Sidney and I, along with her family, attended the Hearts of Gold Ball benefiting Lawrence Memorial Hospital cardiovascular services (specifically the catheterization lab). This includes live music, dancing, both a silent and live auction, and, wait for it...wait for it...FOOD!

And an abundance of food at that. Upon arriving at our table we were greeted by beautifully prepared salads.

For those of you unfamiliar with red apples, they are a vanity cultivar of the hybridization of Malus domestica × Malus sylvestris. The most common cultivar of this hybridization is known commonly as the "Granny Smith" apple, which is named after Maria Ann Smith, who first grew the cultivar. But this red cultivar is extremely rare and is only found in Lawrence, Kansas. It has a slightly sweeter taste with hints of strawberry is less sour than the more common Granny Smith.

Other obvious highlights in this salad included pineapple chunks and sunflower seeds. Spinach is always a pleasant surprise in a world drowned in lettuce. But the best part of this salad was the candied pecans on top. I saved almost all of my pecans for the end, saving the obvious best for last. Unfortunately, when I had my back turned (for no more than 5 seconds), a waiter came by and snatched up my plate, taking the pecans with it. I was heartbroken. Thankfully, not everyone finished their salads, so I was able to procure a couple more pecans before the night was through.

Then it was time for appetizers. Appetizers are always on point when at large social gatherings. Or at least it has seemed that way at every large social gathering that I've been to. Maybe I just haven't been to enough...I digress. Anyway, the appetizers were wonderful.

There was shrimp for cocktails.

There were cheese cubes, because who doesn't need cheese cubes?!

There were also some grapes, hard chip thingies, hummus, bread, and assorted veggies. I straight skipped over all the veggies except for a solitary piece of celery. This was my nod to a healthier time.

As you can see, I got a plate consisting of mostly intestinal blockage with a side of insulin. I regret nothing.

Then it was time for dinner. Sweet dinner. Magical dinner. How I've missed thee so. It had been over 24 hours since I had eaten dinner, and I was starting to get worried that it would never come again. But it did.

I went through the buffet-style dinner and loaded up on green beans with almonds, roasted squash, roasted potatoes, some incredibly delicious chicken, some fresh carved prime rib, and a light and fluffy roll with plenty of butter.

After taking a leisurely pace on dinner and conversing gleefully with other ballers, I became aware of the presence of the desserts. I headed over to check them out when I discovered a line that was probably 100 people long. Oh well, I joined the line and waited my turn.

Eventually, I made my way up to the business end and made my selections. Sidney had instructed me to get her a cupcake. Seeing no real cupcakes, I called an audible and just got two of everything.

The only difference between the two plates is the gelato. The top plate features lemon gelato, while the bottom plate bears hazelnut gelato.

Sidney ate her chocolatey cupcake thingy, ate the lemon gelato, and finished the cookie with red frosting. After this, she proclaimed her satiety. Not being one to condone the wasting of food, I reluctantly agreed to finish all the remaining desserts.

When in doubt, simply eat everything. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Speed Kills and Ghosts Burn

Remember that thing about cheating? Well, just to really drive the point home, I decided that I would provided another example of what a cheat day might look like.

At first glance, it started off like any other non-cheat day. I started out with an OG brotein bar. I downed a couple granola bars for lunch. This picture, though, is deceiving. I actually skipped the Luna bar today, in light of what was to come. I'll just eat it tomorrow.

But what was to come? It isn't necessarily the meal itself that was so outlandish, but the situation in general. Let me begin by providing a little background. Quinn, whom we've all come to know and love as the man who eats all the food, decided he wanted to attempt a challenge today. Granted this wasn't a quantity challenge per say, but still. The challenge in question is a spicy challenge. The challenge is to eat a double portion of ghost ramen at Ramen Bowls in Lawrence. Two more of our friends quickly jumped in on this challenge. Not being one for overly spicy foods, I decided to sit this one out. Andrew, also known to eat everything (mostly desserts), also decided to sit this one out due to fears of potential life-threatening anaphylaxis. We still wanted to support our friends in the challenge, however. Upon arriving at the restaurant, there was about a 20 minute wait for the food. Andrew and I decided to run up the street to Chipotle. We were challenged to get there, eat, and get back to Ramen Bowls in 20 minutes. It was on.

When we got to Chipotle, Andrew and I decided to make it a little interesting. We agreed to double pretty much everything. We got our burritos double wrapped and filled with double rice, double beans, double chicken, and then I got the medium green tomatillo salsa with sour cream, cheese, and lettuce.

This thing was as big as my head. The foil didn't even come close to wrapping all the way around it.

I don't know how much this thing weighed, but it was reasonably hefty. The interesting part is yet to come, however. Andrew and I decided to eat these things as fast as possible a la food challenge style. So it was on.

Sadly, I didn't have my video camera there to capture the two of us primally stuffing our faces, but since we were sitting in the window all the passers by of Lawrence got an extremely entertaining and at times disturbing free show. Nonetheless, we pushed on. About 3/4 of the way through I got some moderate indigestion. It soon passed, and I pushed on through to the end. Andrew had finished his about 30 seconds or so before me at a blazing 5 minutes 45 seconds or so. I came in at a respectable 6 minutes 15 seconds thereabouts.

The wildest thing about this experience is that neither one of us felt as though we had eaten a thing. We could've easily gone back for a second one. But we had a schedule to keep. We headed back to Ramen Bowls and rejoined our friends. We missed our 20 minute goal, but only by 3 minutes.

It was now time for their challenge. The bowls of stupidly spicy ramen were brought to the table, the rules were layed down, and it was on. These guys had 30 minutes to finish, they weren't allowed to throw up, and they couldn't share.

And though I didn't eat any of this ramen, I could smell it. And though it smelled incredibly spicy, it smelled even more incredibly delicious. I made a pact with myself that I would be returning to sample a selection of their non-death spiced food.

But the challenge was on.

Quinn pulled out to a slight lead, and after 5 minutes in he was picking up steam.

By 10 minutes and 44 seconds, he was done. He had just won the right to a free meal. Spicy as it was, a free meal is a free meal. Over the course of the next 10 minutes or so, the other two finished as well. Gastrointestinal burning, hallucinations, numbness in the extremities, and profuse perspiration were all symptoms observed during the challenge, but all were overcome.

It was a successful day for food challenges. They stayed for mochi and then went to Sylas and Maddy's afterward. I had a physics lab to go to, but at least I didn't blow my cut too badly!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cheating is Part of Cutting

When one is on a cut, a cheat day every now and then isn't a bad thing. It satisfies cravings, maintains your sanity, and keeps you on track. So, even though I've only been cutting for a few short days, I present to you my first cheat day.

It started off quite fair, actually. No cheating to be found in the fist 10 hours of the day.

I had a classic brotein bar for breakfast, two granola bars for lunch/pre-workout, and a Luna bar for post-workout recovery.

This time the Luna bar was of the Chocolate Peanut Butter variety.

It was really good as well. After his Royal Broness left the gym, his Royal Broness went up to the library to help Sidney on with her seminar. Really, this simply consisted of attempting to coerce her to eat something. She can't eat when she's nervous, and, alas, there was more food for me. Not wanting to completely blow the day's calories, I restricted myself to only one more granola bar.

A little while later, I met my parents at Danny's Bar and Grill. For starters, we had some fried mushrooms and ranch. Not generally liking fried mushrooms too much, I gathered up enough intrigue to try one. I ferociously dunked it in ranch, because everything tastes good with ranch. Well, apparently that's true, because I ended up eating a third of this surprisingly large plate of fungus.

For my actual dinner, I got a burger. It was half a pound of meat, a fried egg, some cheese, some bacon, and some Texas toast. There were some fries, and I got some ranch and buffalo sauce on the side.

This burger was actually really good. I'm sure it had more calories than I needed, but like I said, it's nice to have a cheat day every so often.

Watch as I cheat my way down to under 10% body fat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Day 2 of Cutting

Did I make it?

A classic brotein bar for breakfast and I was off and flying.

For lunch and snacks (in order from top down): another classic brotein bar, two oatmeal raising granola bars, and a Luna Protein bar.

The Luna bar was chocolate chip cookie dough. It was amazing.

Later on for dinner, I had 4 chicken thighs, a couple pieces of cauliflower, and some asparagus.

Leanness is calling my name.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The First Full Day of Cutting

So it's now really hitting me. I'll no longer be eating with reckless abandon. Quite the contrary; I'll be eating with surgical precision. I broke out my trusty nutrition tracking app (MyFitnessPal) and updated my information to account for the hugeness I acquired over the past few months.

My breakfast and lunch looked almost identical to before. I had a classic brotein bar for breakfast, another for lunch/pre-workout, and 2 granola bars for post-workout recovery. I entered them in to MyFitnessPal and went on my way.

When I got home, I had a quarter cup of almond M&Ms. I entered them into my app as well. I probably shouldn't eat candy so often anymore since it puts me so far behind on my daily brotein goals.

But then it was time for dinner. I had just picked up some boneless skinless chicken thighs, so I cooked them on a George Foreman grill.

I broke out my trusty food scale. Literally, I ate 1 pound of just plain chicken thighs. No frills, only brotein. Luckily, thighs taste better than breasts, but this is party due to the higher fat content. Fat isn't necessarily bad, but, again, it puts me behind on my brotein goals.

After this chicken, I only had about 450 calories left. I was still 90 grams of brotein short of my goal, but being momentarily out of brotein powder and knowing that hardly no food has a 5 to 1 kcal to brotein ratio, I decided to cut my losses and just satisfy my calorie requirement.

To do this, I found 2 slices of super soft sourdough bread. I slathered cream cheese on one slice. On the other, I smeared butter.  

It was so glorious. Both tasted so good. On the right, you're looking at 47 grams of sourdough bread with exactly 28 grams of cream cheese. On the left, that's 46 grams of bread with exactly 14 grams of butter. All of this food combined came out to be 1,850 calories, just 2 calories over my daily goal. This was a success, even if brotein fell a little short. But a good first day of cutting if you ask me!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I'm Done Getting Huge, So It's Time To Get Huge!

Well, it's time. It's that time we all knew was coming sooner or later. My get huge quest couldn't've lasted forever, but it sure would be nice if I could eat forever the way I ate the past six or so months. But that just can't happen. It can't happen because it's not healthy. It can't happen because it's expensive. It can't happen because eventually I'd become the wrong kind of huge.

So my quest to get huge is officially over. But that's not a bad thing, because there's more to getting huge than simply (over)eating. No, the kind of huge I'm talking about has many facets, only one of which is now over. In not so many words, my quest to get huge is over, and my quest to get huge has just begun.

Let me explain. Getting huge (read: jacked) involves, in one stage, eating big to get big. This only works, though, if you put in some hard work in the gym. If you simply eat big and don't work out, all your effort in the dining room will leave you with little more muscle than you started with. So working out is another facet of getting huge.

Furthermore, being 5'9" and (spoiler alert) 185 pounds at (more spoilers) 14% body fat is nice, but it's not what I consider being jacked. I consider being 5'9" and 171 pounds at 7% body fat more jacked than the former. Being huge/jacked/ripped/cut/shredded includes both substantial muscle mass and relatively extreme leanness. I'm only half way through those criteria.

I went to Complete Nutrition and got my body composition analysis. I know it may not be that accurate, but I'll still use it as a tool to gauge my progress in the next few months. To make the data as useful as possible, I'll get every test at the same time of day, wearing nearly the same clothes, and having consumed nearly the same amount of food and water prior to the test.

The results of my most recent vitals test are as follows:

Total body weight:............185.9 lbs
Lean body mass:...............159.2 lbs
Skeletal muscle mass:.........91.3 lbs
Body fat mass:....................26.7 lbs
Body fat %............................14.3 %

What do these numbers mean? Well, back at the start of the year (3 months ago), these were my vitals:

Total body weight:............178.7 lbs
Lean body mass:...............150.4 lbs
Skeletal muscle mass:.........86.6 lbs
Body fat mass:....................28.4 lbs
Body fat %............................15.9 %

So, in the past 3 months, most importantly, I've gained close to 5 pounds of muscle. That's actually pretty decent. Of course, that's just what this bioelectrical impedence machine is telling me. So I will use the second, more important method of determining change: the Mirror Test.

The first picture is 3 months ago, and the second picture is current.

The most drastic change in my life that is associated with this transition from one stage of getting huge to the next is the amount of food I eat and how I eat it. In these last 6 months, 3 of which have been the subject of this blog, I have simply eaten the amount of food on any given day that I "felt" was necessary, given that day's activities. But occasionally, and some might even say often, I lived up to my prediction that I would be eating with "reckless abandon" as I consumed excessive amounts of sweets and other carbs, or even food in general. I had one very ironclad goal each day: no matter what I ate, I would never eat too little. So at the end of the day, if I could be certain I was not in a calorie deficit I was happy. I didn't precisely (or at all) track my calories or macros, so I'm sure I always went over. But when trying to gain muscle, going over is better than being under. 

But now, it's a whole different ball game. I will be tracking my calories and macronutrients with everything that I eat. This means that I will weigh my food, count specific numbers of things, measure things that probably don't need to be measured, all in the name of BroScience! 

The BroScientific method I will use to lose fat is actually quite simple. I used an online calculator to determine my basal metabolic rate (BMR) to be 1,925 kilocalories (kcal). Building on that, I accounted for my triweekly gym bro sessions and other general activities with a factor of 1.2. This gives me an average daily energy expenditure of 2,310 kcal. I'll then take 80% of this as my deficit, so I'll be eating about 1,848 kcal every day.

But here's where it gets more interesting. I can't just eat anything. If I eat 1,848 kcal of pure sugar, you better believe that I'll be losing a lot of muscle. So I'll be shooting for about 1.2 grams of brotein per pound of lean body mass, or around 191 grams of brotein every day. I don't know what everyone else eats, but 191 grams of brotein is a lot for one day. But I want to maintain my muscle mass as best as I can. This may (will) occasionally mean resorting to brotein shakes to hit that amount without going over on calories, but that's an easy sacrifice to make to get huge!

This is going to be fun.

Moving on to the food of today, it was admittedly pretty carby. But, like I said, most of my meals will be brotein heavy from here on out.

There was left over Chinese takeout from nights previous, so it was combined into a bunch of fried rice. 

I had a bowl.

Then I had a splash more.

Still feeling the effects of last night's brownie bashing, this was the first thing I had eaten today. By now, all of yesternight's sugar was pretty well absorbed and gone, so I was decently hungry. I warmed up a bowl of lentil soup to feed this hunger.

I wasn't full after this, but, you know, it was actually really nice not to be full for once in what seems like an incredibly long time. I think this cut is just going to be alright!