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The Good Boyfriend

As Wile E. Coyote would say if he ever finally caught the Roadrunner, “Okay, now what?” The Terrorist and I are cheerfully and enjoyably dating, meeting one another’s friends, sharing in one another’s passions (I doubt she’ll ever sit through an entire ballgame with me, but if she sees “Moneyball” with me at the theater, that’s good enough), having deeply emotional drunken conversations in my car, and doing all the things a new couple should ostensibly be doing.

Of course, me being me, worry slips into the folds of my brain – not as intensely as it used to when I was single, but I guess my stupid overactive subconscious has to occupy itself with *something*. So the question is posed: what does it mean to be a good boyfriend? Or a good girlfriend, for that matter? I asked myself that question. What do I want the Terrorist to do for me? And my instinctive answers were a bit surprising.

1. Share her interests and emotions with me.
2. Support my ambitions and my interests.
3. Be honest and open.
4. Be playful and sexy.

And they came out in that order. The truth is probably a hell of a lot simpler than I’m making it out to be. As long as I act like myself and don’t stress about being boring, or doing too much too fast, or doing too little and falling into a rut of the same activities every weekend, I should be fine. I’m an interesting person. I have tons of hobbies.

So how about it, dear readers? What does it mean to be a “good boyfriend”? Or a good girlfriend, for that matter?

Our next date, this weekend, is a combo “Iron Chef” cooking challenge (make an exciting or edible meal with a $20 budget at ALDI, or maybe some other variation, like only using foods beginning with the letter “A”) and dessert tasting at Dodiyos. And then, cheesecake for breakfast. I, of course, plan to sneak a workout in Friday afternoon before all of this craziness begins.

(Baklava cheesecake? Yes, please.)

Speaking of which, it’ll probably be my last workout with the Body-by-Science experiment. Yeah, I guess I put on a few pounds, and some of it is probably muscle, but the idea of working out once a week and simply resting six days a week just made me uncomfortable. I want more of a training volume, I guess, no more than three days a week, but enough effort that I don’t feel too guilty about that extra 10 grams of carbs in the pasta sauce or the bottle of beer, or sneaking that bite of brownie from the morning conference at the hospital.

To that end, I’m putting my workouts in the capable hands of Martin Berkhan and his Leangains protocol for the rest of the year. Unless I get tired of it before then. Also possible. I’ve tried this once before, but not with the goal of bulking up and eating a lot of calories, which may have sabotaged the plan because of all the extra physiologic stress. This time, compressing all my meals/calories into 8 hours/day, I’m shooting for about 2400 calories on rest days (150g fat, 150g protein, 100g carbs, rough estimate) and a bunch more on weight-training days.

The simple theory behind Leangains is that of the micro-cycle, basically spending part of each day in an anabolic/bulking-up state, and part of each day in a leaning-out/fat-burning state. The presumption is that 8 hours of high calorie intake will provide the hormonal balance needed to feed muscle before it boils over into excessive insulin production and fat-storage. Also, 16 hours of fasting may give you a little push toward ketosis and fat mobilization for energy, without forcing your body to slow its metabolic rate to catch up.

In practical terms, you either have to skip breakfast everyday or skip dinner everyday. My plan is, I’ll fast until noon, grab a big salad or fajita bowl for lunch, snack on one my Thai curry stews in the afternoon, and seeing as how I’m a fan of breakfast-for-dinner (nothing better than coming home from work to a big cheddar bacon omelet), cook up some eggs for dinner, unless I’m going out. Much more socially manageable than the alternative.

There are several options out there for weightlifting regimens, all of which *probably* work, but seeing as how I’m going all in with Leangains for everything else, I’m interested in the Reverse Pyramid routine, basically that the first set should be the heaviest set, when you’re at your freshest. For example:

Squats 3 sets, goal 3-5 reps
Set 1: 225 lb x 6 reps
Set 2: drop weight 10% = 205 lb x 7 reps
Set 3: drop weight 10% = 185 lb x 7 reps
Next week: go up to 235 lb/215 lb/195 lb, since I hit the goal.

Doing this for one major exercise (squat, deadlift, bench, weighted pull) a day, with a follow-up of 3 sets of 5 reps of an “accessory lift”, which I’m sort-of confused about. I’m thinking a breakdown like:

1 – Legs: Squat and Hang Power Clean
2 – Chest/Shoulder: Bench and Shoulder Press
3 – Legs: Deadlift and… nothing else?
4 – Back: Weighted Pullup and Dumbbell Row

…so I can go through each 4-lift cycle about every 9-10 days. Eh, it’s still a work in progress. Just like everything else in life.

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “The Good Boyfriend

  1. Quick comments on the workout and diet plan. On your leg days you are missing out on hitting the posterior chain (hamstrings, glute tie-in) equally with the quads. I’m assuming when you say “dead-lift” you mean traditional deads not romanian or stiff leg dead-lifts. If you want to keep to the four day split you have designed you could do squats and stiff leg dead-lifts your first leg day and just the traditional deads on your second leg day since they are more of a total body exercise than just a leg exercise. Another option is to pair your Shoulder and Hamstring days- quite a few options there and it would leave your chest day on it’s own so you could hit it from a couple of angles, flat/incline, incline/decline, etc.

    1.Shoulders/Hamstrings
    2. Quads/Glutes
    3. Chest
    4. Back

    Love the idea of using the reverse pyramid (drop-set) routine but your body will adapt to it if you use it every time. Try mixing it up, one cycle through your 4 lift cycle using reverse pyramid, next cycle regular pyramid, next cycle 5-5 cadence lift.

    I have q question about your diet plan. What is the purpose of having such a high percentage of your calories come from fat on your non-lifting days?

    150 grams fat = 1350 calories
    150 grams protein = 600 calories
    100 grams carbs = 400 calories

    That’s well over 60% of your calories from fat. It doesn’t seem conducive to either the goal of muscle building or fat loss. I’m familiar with ketosis diets but even they don’t require that much fat. Not saying it’s wrong, just curious. What is the break-down on your lifting days? Educate me if you have time.

    Posted by Debbie | October 4, 2011, 8:04 pm
  2. Interesting! You might be right about the nutrient breakdown. What if I have carb-phobia? My body doesn’t handle them particularly well, but being on the Paleo diet for so long has made me a bit wary of high-carb foods in general. What’s a good number of carbs per day to try and put on muscle without putting on that much fat? 150g? 200g? My weight training days, I want to go lower on the fat (maybe 50% carb, 30% protein, 20% fat), just so all the starch I eat gets absorbed into the muscle faster.

    I’ll tinker with the actual exercises every couple weeks, but obviously I’m centering around the major complex lifts (deads, squats, bench, weighted pullups); I could really do anything with the secondary lift, right?

    Posted by cortisolfiles | October 5, 2011, 4:49 pm

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