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Mr. Clean

So it’s been three weeks with Carb Backloading, and it’s time to take stock of my results. I have another two solid weeks before I head to my ancestral home in New Jersey for Thanksgiving Piemageddon, after which I’m going to reload and attempt a full 7-10 day no-carb buy-in period. But anyway:

1. Body Composition and Aesthetics

Before: 191 lb, 17.5% body fat – 157.6 lb muscle, 33.4 lb fat.

Now: 196.5 lb, 16.5% body fat – 164.1 lb muscle (up 6.5 lb), 32.4 lb fat (down 1 lb)

I should say that these are rough estimates based on a combo of 1) neck and waist measurements, 2) hip bone calipering, and 3) looking in the mirror. Mostly #3. The obvious differences are some quickly-added thick muscle on my shoulders and chest. My calves also look a tiny bit bigger. Not close to seeing my abs or anything like that yet, but if I’m putting on good slabs of muscle and gaining only a bit of weight, my fat gain is obviously at a minimum, if I’m not burning altogether. I look thicker in a good way.

2. Strength and Performance

My weightlifting program is the basic Jim Wendler 5-3-1 program with squats, bench, deadlift, and press done every 8-11 days. Accessory exercises are whatever I feel like. 3 sets of chins or dips to failure, heavy cleans (more on this in a bit), or sprints/rows. My results from this week have been decent, if not earth-shattering, except for one. Squats at 235 lb, I got 4 good reps before quitting. Yes, I’ve hit 250-255 at 5 reps before, but I’m focusing more on form. Bench and shoulder press, I’ve been a monster. 195lb bench x6 and 130lb press x6. Deadlifts are tomorrow, and if I get 4 reps at 395, that would be epic.

And then came the 1RM power cleans, on a whim, really. 145 went up easy, and then 155 (my personal record). 165 got a little tough, the extra weight pounding down on my knees as I jumped down into position, my elbow surprisingly high and horizontal out of necessity as opposed to any skill of my own. The last rep I had time for was 170, and friends, it was *easy*. I wanted to try 175, but maybe next time. A 15-pound jump in my PR in a few months? Unheard of! Thank you, random combo of CBL and CrossFit Football!

3. Nutrition and Sustainability

I won’t lie. My diet has been comparatively terrible. I’ve wolfed down every piece of non-Butterfinger Halloween candy in my house of the past couple back-loading sessions, not to mention pizza, cupcakes, and quiche. My rest days and pre-workout meals have been low-carb Primal aside from a mouthful of rice or potato with dinner, but my backloading has taken every opportunity to sneak in the junk food.

Has it been worth it? Of course! My girlfriend no longer has to carry a box of crackers with her when she comes over for dinner. I can eat ice cream! Actually, I haven’t eaten ice cream in a while. The post-deadlift Election Day menu is going to be pizza, ice cream, and some sort of champagne cocktail. My advice, as you’re staring at the TV and biting your nails over election results:

Later this week: Lancashire Hot Pot. It’s Paleo, it’s delicious, and yes, it’s British.

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