Biotest

JT's Log


#1

First time doing the V-Diet. I generally have very good nutritional discipline about 90% of the time, but the 10% breakdown has been accumulating for a while (free food at work and nighttime snacking mostly). I’m hoping that the diet can remove the buildup and tighten things up afterwards. Also, if I can prove to myself that I can cut effectively, then I can be more aggressive when it’s time to bulk (I feel like I’m usually too timid with the calories because I don’t want to deal with the extra fat gain later). And, I’m curious just what I look like with some of the fat stripped away.

I started yesterday (3/26) and made it through okay, although I had eaten quite a lot on 3/25 (thanks to heavy deadlifting), and the likely calorie surplus might have helped me through the morning. I figure if I can make it through Tuesday (3/29), I should be clear to make it the full 4 weeks + transition (as I’d have gone through every combination of weekend/workday and workout/non-workout schedules). My main concern for now is getting through Monday, as I’m sure I’m going to catch a lot of flak from certain co-workers, and I’m not sure how the blending is going to go. I bought a mini-blender, although I’m going to have to go short on the water, as it’s only 14 oz.

I did take 1 small liberty with the workout plan. I wanted to do the lifting MWF, and the V-Burn on Saturday, but Saturday was the first day. So I started with a V-Burn, which should serve as a nice benchmark. Then the 6-week workout plan starts tomorrow, with the final V-Burn occurring the day after the transition ends.

Starting Stats:
Weight: 210.3*
Neck: 16.5
Shoulders: 51.5
Chest (Upper): 43.75
Chest (Lower): 42
Waist (Navel): 38.375
Waist (Largest): 39.25
Hips (Largest): 43.5
Upper Arms (avg): 14.8125
Upper Legs (avg): 25.875
Lower Legs (avg): 16.1875
Ankles (avg): 10.5

    • this is my 5-day average weight. Actual starting weight was 212.2, but this is most likely an overestimate of true weight, since I hadn’t topped 210.6 in the past 30 days

And, for kicks, because I’m curious whether/how much strength will suffer as a result:
Bench 1RM: 315
Overhead Press 1RM: 215
Squat 1RM: 415
Deadlift 1RM: 445
I’ll re-test at the end of the transitional period.

Starting pics coming later. I haven’t downloaded them from the camera to the computer yet.


#2

Here are the starting pics (hopefully), showcasing my mad MS Paint copy/paste skills.

3 days down so far, and feeling fine. The workday plus workout scheme was a breeze. The mini blender I picked up for my office seems to work even better than the normal sized one I have at home. At this point, I see no reason why I can’t go the full 4 weeks plus 2 transition. The only obvious obstacles are quite modest:

  1. a retirement happy hour next Friday, but I generally don’t drink anyway
  2. a play on Thursday of week 4 (HSM planned)
  3. a road trip for a different play 2 days later (which, due to good planning, also happens to be transition day 1, so I’ll have another HSM available. The road trip part could be interesting though).

The workout today was kind of rough. It’s been a while since I’ve done what amounts to a heavy metcon. I’m curious how it’s going to go in week 4 when the rest periods are cut to 15s.

Edit - it doesn’t actually amount to a heavy metcon. It just feels that way to me, since I have a tendency to not enforce short rests on most other kinds of workouts.


#3

Welcome aboard, JT!


#4

I got through the first week okay. Weight’s down about 7-8 pounds so far. I decided I’d only do pictures and measurements on the even numbered weeks.

The food aspect is going fine. I haven’t cheated at all on the diet. Nor have I been craving junk, but on reflection, I never really craved junk before. My actual meals were usually pretty good nutrition-wise, although I suppose the total calories could have been off - for the past year prior to the diet I’d have a 3-egg omelet for breakfast at least 6 days a week, lunch was typically a salad on weekdays or chicken on weekends, dinner was mostly meat and veggies. I had a morning shake first thing after waking up, and an evening shake after working out. Sandwiches or anything with bread products was at most once a month. The only potential problem with meals might have been an excess of cheese. Although I suppose there was that 8 pounds that came from a one week vacation that largely involved eating massive meals and hanging out at the pool bar.

I’m pretty sure the problem was the between meal snacking at work, and the pre-bedtime snacking at night (and occasions where nutritional vigilance is completely dropped for a week). The former was largely a matter of boredom combined with people bringing in cake and donuts, plus the ready supply of peanut M&M’s at a coworker’s desk. This seems to call for a solution to boredom rather than a food solution. With the nighttime eating, most (or at least some) of the time I actually was hungry, but there wasn’t all that much available to eat that wasn’t carby and didn’t require preparation (usually it was dried fruit, and lots of it). This probably calls for some kind of food solution, but I’m not sure what yet. At least I have 5 more weeks to figure it out.

On to other topics.

The workouts have been kicking my ass, which is awesome. I didn’t realize that it’s been almost 2 years since I enforced less-than-60 second rest periods, and even then, I let myself take an extra minute or two while switching between exercises. I’m going to have to keep the ultra-restricted rest in my bag of tricks post-diet. I’m still apprehensive about the 15-second rests on week 4; I’m curious whether/how quickly it’ll degenerate into singles.

Ironically, the part that I thought would be the easiest/best is what’s causing most of my problems - the walking. I started getting up an hour early to do my morning walks. The first 3 days were great; I love having an hour to just let my mind wander without anything distracting me. It’s one of the reasons why I was immediately on board with the fasted walking. On day 4, I managed to get blisters on both heels and one toe. I suspect my tennis shoes don’t fit quite right. Afterwards, I used a pair of 5-toed socks to separate the toes, and I doubled up the socks for the heel blisters, but as expected there’s still some pain from stepping down, and my pace dropped a bit as a result. Then 2 days later, by the end of the walk, I started to get a pain in my right shin just below the knee. It’s very faint during the actual walk, but it seems to manifest rather harshly when I squat down below parallel, especially if my toes are bearing some of my weight. I did eventually discover that exaggerating the external hip rotation and making very sure all of the weight is on the heels seems to help. My original plan was to walk every day, including the V-Burn days, one of which is today. Instead, I’m skipping today’s walk, and hoping the blisters and the shin thing work themselves out a bit. I might push tomorrow’s walk back until later in the day, too. I hope it gets warm enough to try walking in my vibrams instead of my tennis shoes, but since winter decided he wasn’t quite done yet, I haven’t tried. I workout in my vibrams (or barefoot if it’s warm enough), and don’t seem to notice any heel pain while stepping in them, so it might help a lot.


#5

I’m gonna rant a bit, because I feel like it.

I’m irritable all the time, which I’m sure is one part lack of solid food, one part hunger, maybe one part HOT-ROX (who knows; I’ve never used it before), and at least 3 parts other stuff. I have 4 different blisters on various parts of my feet now, and as a result the morning walks are more painful than pleasant like they were the first couple of days. My hands and lips have been dry and chapped since day 2. The shakes have been boring and a chore to get through since day 4. I’ve cut out my daily coffee, which was always one of my favorite parts of my day, to make way for the HOT-ROX.

My wife always takes at least one opportunity every day to get a jab in that she’s eating real food while I’m doing the shakes (probably because I’ve been cranky lately, and if she gets me to quit, she reasons I’ll be less cranky. She quit the V-Diet for Atkins after the first day, when she discovered that she hated the taste of the shakes. Quite honestly, putting up with the occasional jabs is far superior to the hell that was all of the whining and complaining I had to put up with that day, which would be far more demoralizing than any of the above if it were still going on).

None of this is terribly surprising. I knew going in that this would suck, and it would probably suck worse than any other diet/cut that I’ve tried. I figured, as long as it’s more effective than any other diet/cut that I’ve tried, it’s worth it. After all, suckiness is usually directly related to effectiveness in a well-structured diet.

But, but, but. I knew going in that I wasn’t going to suspend 5 years of continuous data collection on weight and sleep just for a diet (I’m kind of a data hoarder). I figured, after 5 years of tracking, I know what kind of swings you can see from day to day. The suggestion to only take weight every 7 days is a way to ensure that the weight loss trend is sufficient to overcome the potential 1-day variance, right? I know what my weight variance can look like, so why should 1-day variances cause an issue for me? And I want to fit a bunch of trend lines to the measurements to figure out what the loss rate was and how I changed (I do a lot of data modeling too, hence the data hoarding). I’m reasonably sure that I had that exact conversation in my head on day 1.

For the past 5 days, according to the scale, total movement has been a grand total of 1/2 pound. 5 days that have been way worse than any other diet I’ve ever done, yet seemingly no more effective, and possibly even less so.

Logically, I know that my scale really isn’t all that great, and it’s silly to draw conclusions from these numbers while it’s so early, or off of any 5-day period for that matter. In fact, I’ve observed a tendency over the years (possibly imagined) for the stupid thing to get stuck on a number or a region for a while, then jump after a few days (up or down). And more importantly, scale weight isn’t even the yardstick that I care about. It’s how I look in the mirror and maybe how many pullups I can do, but it’s really hard to judge increments on the mirror, and since max rep pullups aren’t part of the exercise program, I’m not even doing those. Honestly, I’ve even had this very same debate with myself before during other loss/gain phases. But when it comes down to it, the problem is that scale weight is the only inter-day measure that I take, and emotionally I tend to get caught up in it (in retrospect, I think I really should’ve taken pics and measurements every week instead of every other week). So the frustration/disappointment has been building for several days now.

This afternoon, while contemplating whether it’d be a good idea to respond in a ridiculously out-of-proportion manner, I may have hit on a way to re-frame the whole thing. (I think this is a very good thing, as I don’t really have many cards to play that would accelerate the diet, so any overblown response would likely be some kind of massive eating binge.)

Mentally, I still trust the program. To quote Chris in some other post of his (I think in the Ask Chris forum), I’m not some unique and beautiful snowflake. Barring some bizarre hormonal or genetic difference from the norm, it’s chemically impossible for the program to not work. If I follow the diet, workouts, and NEPA, the fat loss and all of the other benefits will occur. It’s impossible for them to do otherwise. So I’m not going to worry about them anymore. And even if by some bizarrely slim possibly I am a beautiful and unique snowflake and they magically don’t happen, at least I learned that in the future I should try something different (not to mention I should probably get some kind of medical exam).

So, for the remaining 18 days, forget the stated goals. Who cares why I started anymore. Screw the number on the scale. The results will either take care of themselves, or they won’t. Either way, I get my final data point for program evaluation. I am going to finish, because I started, and because I can. This is a contest of will now. Am I seriously going to let a little hunger, pain, and moodiness stop me? Absolutely not. It’s me against myself, and the victory condition is nothing more complicated than to follow the same directions that I’ve followed for the last 10 days. With the exception of the 15-second rest periods, there’s nothing left here there that I haven’t seen before and gotten through. Bring it on.


#6

I like your last paragraph! Great attitude and mental discipline.


#7

2-week update

Stats (obviously, there’s some measurement error in both weeks):
Weight: 200.2* (-10.1; approx -2.5 since last week)
Neck: 15.75 (-0.75)
Shoulders: 52 (+0.5)
Chest (Upper): 43 (-0.75)
Chest (Lower): 42 (0)
Waist (Navel): 36.25 (-2.125)
Waist (Largest): 37 (-2.25)
Hips (Largest): 41 (-2.5)
Upper Arms (avg): 14.5625 (-0.25)
Upper Legs (avg): 24.9375 (-0.9375)
Lower Legs (avg): 16 (-0.1875)
Ankles (avg): 10.7125 (+0.2125)

    • Fitted based on prior 7 day trend; actual weigh in = 199.4

The bizarre stagnation seems to have worked itself loose, and scale progress continues. The start point of the stagnation corresponds to a switch from almond to peanut butter, and the end point corresponds to a switch back. I’m reasonably certain that this is just a data anomaly (if you mine data enough, you eventually find trends that correspond to randomness), but I’m going to play to my superstitious side and stick with the almond butter from here on out.

A few days ago, I cut the flax servings in half, which has done wonders for stomach issues.

The shakes are still really, really boring, but I’m not spending all day long wishing I had some real food. Combined with the improved stomach issues and measurable progress, things are feeling pretty easy overall. Next week’s 20 second rest periods for the heavy workouts are probably the hardest of the 4 weeks. I say this because, as intimidating as the 15s rests are, once you’ve started the exercise, you know that it’s not going to get any worse, and once you’re finished the exercise, you don’t have to do it again with 15s rests unless you choose to in a later program. When the rests are still 20s, it sucks, and you know it’s going to be even worse next week.

The only actual setback since the rant (and it’s a pretty important setback) is an issue with my right foot. Weather got warm enough to switch to the Vibrams for my morning walk (although on the first day, I did manage to walk through a puddle that had somehow accumulated on the concrete sidewalk going DOWN THE HILL, so my feet did end up numb anwyay). The blisters stopped being an issue pretty much immediately. However, I mostly use the Vibrams for working out and sprinting, but not for walking around for large periods of time. I got some kind of injury on my ball of my right foot, and it hurts to push off of it when I take a step. This was actually accumulating a bit in the tennis shoes, but I think the Vibrams sped things up due to the total lack of padding. Anyways, I ended up limping back home yesterday morning about 1/3 of the way through the walk. The symptoms seem to match sesamoiditis; I can walk off the heel or the outside of the foot with no problems. I think I can even walk backwards okay. If I’m walking around the house barefoot on carpet I can take a normal stride, if I’m not trying to walk fast, so I don’t think the injury has progressed to a “very bad” level yet. Walking with shoes on is rather painful though. So in the interest of not making things worse, I’m going to have to suspend the morning walks. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do to replace them. I think bike riding would work, but I don’t have a bike (and I’d probably end up with hand blisters then).


#8

Week 3 went fine, aside from the fact that I can’t seem to do more than 30 minutes of walking without foot pain. Down another 3 pounds or so. I’m still somewhat intimidated by the 15 second rest periods coming up this week, especially on the overhead squats, but I’m sure once I’m in the thick of Monday’s workout I’ll have more pressing concerns.

I did feel much hungrier yesterday than I have in a while. It didn’t help that the house smelled like chicken all day long. Then this morning my wife made bacon for herself, so today’s not off to such a great start either. And I’m pretty sure I dreamed about food last night. I’m quite looking forward to the transition phase starting soon.


#9

Dear Overhead Squats with 15s rest periods,

Was that really the best you can do? I was expecting something harder. I think I even spent less time dead on the ground at the end of the workout this week than I did last week (although to be fair, I’m not very good at measuring time in that state). Just so you know, I’ll be coming after you again when the transition period is over, and this time I won’t be dealing with either an oxygen deficit from the prior exercise or a calorie deficit. I’ll even bump you up to bodyweight to even the odds a bit, but lets face it, that’s probably only going to be around a 5 pound increase by that point. Now I just have to find the bodyweight overhead squat rep benchmark. I seem to recall seeing it somewhere around here recently.

That is all.

See you in 3 weeks,
JT


#10

End of Main 4-week phase

Stats (cumulative changes since start in parentheses):
Weight: 194.8 (cumulative -15.2)
Neck: 15.375 (-1.125)
Shoulders: 50.25 (-1.25)
Chest (Upper): 41 (-2.75)
Chest (Lower): 40.25 (-1.75)
Waist (Navel): 34.75 (-3.625)
Waist (Largest): 35 (-4.25)
Hips (Largest): 36 (-7.5 *pretty sure this was measured in different places)
Upper Arms (avg): 14.3125 (-0.5)
Upper Legs (avg): 23.9375 (-1.9375)
Lower Legs (avg): 15.625 (-0.5675)
Ankles (avg): 10 (-0.5)

I was really hoping to land at 194, for nice round number comparisons. Last time I actually tried cutting, I got 8 pounds in 4 weeks, so 16 pounds in 4 weeks would have been twice as effective. I kind of stalled out this week, with virtually no movement in weight over the last 6 days. Of course, the last time that happened during this diet, I went on to drop 4 pounds in 5 days right afterwards. We’ll see if the first transition week brings something similar.

Last week was pretty tough starting around Tuesday. I think the carry-over hunger from Monday’s workout, combined with very poor quality sleep all week long, made me extra irritable not to mention exhausted. I got through Friday’s workout, but it was a real slog, and honestly, if I weren’t in the middle of a program that I was hell-bent on finishing as written, I probably would’ve substituted an easier workout.

So, onto the transition period! And in a totally unplanned coincidence, 3 days after the 6-week mark also happens to be the 5-year anniversary of when I finally got back on the lifting bandwagon for good, after having fallen off several times previously.


#11

Finished at last! Closing stats after the transition period (measurements seem somewhat goofy relative to the 4-week mark, possibly due to water/glycogen levels increasing? The pics actually look slightly better to me, although it might be the weird lighting):

Weight: 193 (cumulative -17)
Neck: 15.75 (-1.125)
Shoulders: 49.5 (-2)
Chest (Upper): 42.5 (-1.25)
Chest (Lower): 41.25 (-0.75)
Waist (Navel): 34.5 (-3.875)
Waist (Largest): 35.5 (-3.75)
Hips (Largest): 34.5 (*probably never measured the same way twice)
Upper Arms (avg): 14 (-0.6875)
Upper Legs (avg): 24.25 (-1.75)
Lower Legs (avg): 15.625 (-0.5675)
Ankles (avg): 10 (-0.5)

The transition phase was far, far easier than the main phase. The intestinal issues virtually disappeared with the addition of real food and the complete removal of the flax seed, and I stopped being irritable all the time. Plus my foot finally got better, so I could do the full walk every day again. I even decided when the HOT-ROX ran out that, what the heck, I’ll detox on caffeine this week (it’s been 7 years since I did that). So actually, this week did suck a whole lot, but not due to the diet, and now I can make it all day without caffeine and not get a headache.

All that remains now is to re-test my maxes. I’ll wait until Monday or Tuesday to start, so that I have a few days under normal calorie levels first.


#12

Awesome results. Thanks for posting your log throughout…very motivating and informative!