The Great ReSergence

Hey all…I’ve been poking around here for about a week and I figured it was finally time to start my own little post in this section.

I’ve been a T-Mag guy since the very beginning in 1998 (I posted as “rosheem” back then, for anyone who might have been around). I’ve done the original Velocity Diet a few times, and now I’m doing it again.

I’ve had to make a few slight variations to the training program, because I’m rehabbing a pretty bad lower abdominal strain. I’m also making a serious attempt to improve my posture by getting my shoulders to move from their Neanderthal-like forward position to something much better.

I’m just getting back into lifting after taking three years off. During that time, I discovered the game of tennis, went absolutely nuts with it and got as good as I could, and then pretty much wore out what was left of my knees. I reached a point where I couldn’t play often enough to out-exercise my shitty diet, and here I am.

Since I didn’t let myself slide TOO far while playing tennis, I don’t really have that far to go until I am at least beach-ready. But since I don’t do anything halfway, my goal is to get leaner than I ever have been in my life.

The more immediate goal is to use the velocity diet to fix my food problem. I like to eat. And drink. It’s time that I redefined my relationship with food. At 36, I simply cannot sustain the levels of activity that would be necessary to stay lean while eating anything and everything I want. In my first week on V 3.0, I feel like I’ve already made huge improvements in that area. Reading “The End of Overeating” also helped.

I might use this log a bit differently, since measurements and training details are something I feel like I’ve done enough of at this point in my life. I took measurements before I started, but unfortunately no pre-photos. Although I do have some on file where I looked exactly the same as this time around, so I can use those at the end to show my progress.

Started at 196 lbs. Already down to 190 after 1 week. Feeling great and haven’t been hungry at all. Most of my hurdles are related to social bullshit because all of my friends are big drinkers, my work life revolves around business lunches and dinners, and I’m already leaner than 90% of the people I’m around. People just can’t understand why I would be doing something like this. Well…it’s time for me to be totally selfish for at least the next month. Time to not care about what anyone else thinks. Small investment, really.

On vacation this week, and today it’s raining out so I had some time to pop into a bunch of Training Log threads to spread around some encouragement. I’ve been through all of this before, so I have a little extra perspective on what it takes to make these types of commitments and transformations.

As for my own progress…

Feeling absolutely great! For three years, I was so obsessed with tennis that I was literally destroying my body. I’m just realizing that now. Finally, the pain in my joints is being replaced by muscle soreness from lifting, which feels GREAT.

The great thing about my transition from tennis to lifting is that my metabolism was already stoked. I was probably consuming at least 3,000 to 3,500 calories/day, but I was also playing tennis for about 6-8 hours/week. I think that set me up nicely for this transition.

I am also enjoying the transition from a sport that requires partners, scheduling, etc., to something that is completely under MY control. I can go to the gym whenever I want and I don’t need to deal with people I really don’t like that much anyway (sorry tennis community, but that’s just the way it is).

There are two big challenges that I am facing right now, and I hope that I can build the tools to deal with them successfully. First, I am faced with the reality that just about everyone I hang out with is really big into drinking. I need to figure out which of my friends were only “drinking buddies” and which ones can be REAL friends who will figure out a way to move on with the new me and not the old “drinking buddy” me. It would be great to find some friends who share the same “Velocity Life” vision, but it’s not going to be easy.

The next big challenge will be coming next week. I’ll be in Boston for a training meeting for 4 days. I’m already thinking of the good things about it; the early-morning walks will be great! Our office is right in the heart of Cambridge, so I can walk across the bridge into downtown Boston and NEPA the shit out of that place.

The tough part will be the dinners. Every night, we’ll have dinner at a different restaurant. It’s not even the unlimited free food and drinks that I’m worried about…it’s managing the reactions of my peers to my avoidance of it all. I’ve been down this road before, and it’s never easy. This time around, I’ve decided to use my communication skills and my powers of persuasion to win these people over instead of turning them off. I’ll view it as a challenge instead of a roadblock. My goal is to get them all thinking, “Damn…that guy is really onto something…I wish I had that much strength”

Part of the problem is that I have been in these kinds of meetings with the same people before. I was the life of the party…the leader of the party pack. I’ve been getting text messages all week…“Dude…can’t wait until Boston…we’re gonna rock out.” “Hey…where are you staying for the meeting…I want to make sure I’m in your hotel” “Looking forward to Boston…hope it’s as crazy as Vegas was.”

So…I’m spending the next four days trying to bolster my strength and prepare for what’s coming. I’m also absolutely busting my ass in the gym and sticking to my diet like glue…the more reinforcement I can get from my results, the stronger I will be!

If you have the time, I’d love to hear what you come up with to elicit the “Damn…that guy is really onto something…I wish I had that much strength”

There is a lot of power in just not caring what other people think of you but i would much rather feel less friction if at all possible. turning a few people on to discipline and a healthy lifestyle would be extremely fulfilling as well.

I agree there is a lot of power in not caring what other people think, but I also think that you’re either born that way or you’re not.

(Of course it’s not totally black and white, but I’m sure you get my point)

Personally, I DO care what people think of me. Throughout my life, whenever I’ve tried not to, it hasn’t worked. My daughter is three, and she’s the same way…I think that particular quality, while surely a bit of a combination of nature and nurture, is much more of a nature thing.

So this time around, instead of fighting it, I’m going to play on my strengths and use communication and persuasion.

The first thing I have going for me is that I’m already in better shape than everyone I work with. The second thing is that they, like almost everyone I know, would love to be in better shape than they are. So those two things will help from the second I walk in the door.

Another thing that will help is the fact that I am not really doing the V-Diet while I’m there. From an eating standpoint, it will probably just seem like I’m eating extremely healthy…it won’t really raise any flags.

The drinking thing is where it will get a little hairy. Do I try to tell people that I’m on a lifelong journey and trying to make permanent changes…possibly ditching the booze forever? Nahhhh…not unless it’s someone who really cares enough to want to hear about it. Instead, I’ll just say that in the current phase of my current program, booze is not allowed, and no…I’m not going to just “live a little” because we are all out here together at this training meeting and I might not see these guys for another six months. The fact is, the situation will almost ALWAYS be like that. One weekend, I’ve got a buddy in from Hawaii who I haven’t seen in a year. The next weekend, a bachelor party. The next weekend, the annual golf outing. It goes on and on and on. There will never be a GOOD weekend, so, sorry everyone if your favorite party president isn’t drinking this week. Deal with it.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out if there is a version of me who can still be that party president without drinking. Now THAT, my friend, is a challenge that probably goes way beyond this post.

No lifting today…I think I’ve lifted five days in a row.

Instead, I did 15 sprints of 15-seconds each on the elliptical. Each one was followed by 45 seconds at a very light pace. Max HR 170…Average HR 165 or so. Total time including five minute warm-up was 20 minutes.

Today is my last day of vacation, so I’m on a bit of a NEPA marathon. Those of you sticking to the V-Diet, don’t try this at home. I have an extremely high base level of conditioning coming into this whole thing, having played tennis for 6-10 hours/week over the past three years.

Five mile bike ride at a super-easy pace.

Hit two giant buckets of golf balls.

Played with my daughter all day, did some light yard work.

Now I’m about to play a round of golf (riding).

I feel absolutely awesome.

Perfect day with the diet yesterday.

189lbs this morning. That’s probably the first time I’ve gotten under 190 in a year or so. My plan is to NEVER go above 190 again. I figure that when I reach the level of leanness I’m going for, the scale will probably read something like 180. From there, I’ll be happy to slowly add muscle, but I want to stay at around 10% body fat. If I get back up to 190, but stay at 10% body fat, I’ll look absolutely jacked. And that will be about as big as I’ll ever need or want to get. So goodbye 190’s…hope to never see you again.

Did chest today. Great workout.

Dinner with my wife last night.

First course…we split an appetizer of jerk chicken fondue. Dipped some chicken, apple slices, and grapes into the best-tasting pot of gruyere goodness that I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Then we went to a different restaurant and split another appetizer…chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates. Holy shit.

And that was it! Just two appetizers between the two of us!

The hard part was, of course, avoiding the booze. We were sitting outside, in perfect weather, surrounded by people enjoying ice-cold beers, wine, cocktails, etc. My wife had a key-lime martini. Everything looked so good. This was one of those rare times when it was the booze itself that was tempting (rather than feeling the need to drink just because everyone else was doing it). It wasn’t that I wanted to get drunk…I just wanted to enjoy a tasty, cold beverage.

But I prevailed. I figured that if I couldn’t make it through last night, where there was no peer influence at all, then I stood no chance of making it through my training trip to Boston this week.

Three different bars/restaurants, surrounded by cold beverages being enjoyed by good-looking people under a clear summer sky…and I made it through.

Driving home at 10:00, clear-eyed and full of energy, was a strange feeling. Usually my wife is the one doing the post-dinner driving. It felt good.

Foods today included:

3 whole eggs
1 slice cheese
2 large chicken breasts
1 whole avocado
2 figs
1 small handful of blueberries
2 shots espresso
1 tomato
2 green onions

Measurements today were all down about an inch from last week. More importantly, pants are much, much looser.

Strength in gym is increasing. Muscle memory is my friend.

Went on a 5-mile easy bike ride. Was gonna go further, until I came upon a bikini car wash. I returned home immediately to get my car.

Leaving tomorrow for the big training meeting. I think I’m ready.

Day 1 of 4 in Boston is complete.

Lifted, stuck to my diet plan. No booze.

There was quite a range of reactions on my abstinence from alcohol.

One of my closest friends of the group was kind of put off by it. I just don’t think he gets it.

Another friend was inspired and wants to quit drinking and start her own plan now.

Everyone else seemed to fall somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum. The most effective method of communication seemed to be to kind of downplay the entire thing. People don’t want to be forced to examine their own bad habits.

After dinner, everyone ordered dessert except for me and a guy who is also in excellent shape. One of the girls commented that the only two guys who could get away with eating dessert were not.

I wanted to say…“Well how the fuck do you think we got this way, dumbass?”

But that would be mean. But really…how do you think we got this way, dumbass? Probably by NOT ordering dessert after every meal.

Dinner, by the way, was excellent. Salad for starters with a nice grass-fed steak. The steak came with a pile of “pom frites”. I love how fancy restaurants like to rename their french fries pom frites. Anyway, I would have destroyed those frites about two weeks ago. I didn’t even give them a second thought this time around.

I have this new slogan running through my head lately when it comes to stuff like that. It came to me when I was reading the transcript of the judge’s sentencing of shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Not to make light of that particular situation, but the judge said, “We do not negotiate with terrorists.”

And lately, I’ve been thinking, “I do not negotiate with food”

So if I hear an echo of that old voice saying something like, “just one bite would be fine,” or “carbs would be okay right now since you did have an intense workout today”…I just think: “I do not negotiate with food”

Done with Boston.

Glad to have some time away from the unrelenting scrutiny of peers who feel the need to constantly comment on what I am eating or not eating.

The more I deal with these people, the better I will be at it, but it’s just time for a little break from it all.

Today, they ordered pizza for lunch and had birthday cake. Of course, I took a pass. Of course, everyone had to comment on it. The interesting thing was that after four long days of training class, everyone was just mentally and physically exhausted. I felt no worse on Thursday than I did on Monday.

We have a pool party coming up in about 10 days. Just for fun, I’m gonna do the “Shredded in Six Days” program. My friends will already be blown away by how I look, but I figured I might as well take it to the next level and REALLY blow them away.

To prepare, I’m doing a test run of “Shredded” right now. The first 4 days are easy, as my diet and water consumption already look pretty much exactly like what the program calls for. Tomorrow, I’ll do a glycogen-depleting workout for my arms, chest, and shoulders, and then I’ll start the carb-up and cut the water. I’ll get my wife to take some pictures so I can post 'em up here and show you all the results I’ve achieved in just over two weeks of living the Velocity Life. I’m not gonna do the salt bath, though… it’s just a pool party, not a magazine photo shoot or a competition or anything. I’m doing it more out of curiosity than anything else. I just want to see what will happen. Right now, I’m dry and flat as a pancake. But even the other night after my fondue and bacon-wrapped dates, i could see my veins starting to pop and feel my arms starting to swell up. I’m quite sure my muscles are gonna suck up the carbs like a Sham-Wow.

Keep up the good work Serge and thanks for the quote…Hadn’t heard that one before. I’ll keep checking your progress.

“I do not negotiate with food”

I love this - will have to remember it!

Glycogen-depleting workout completed. Some of the meat heads at my gym were looking at me funny while I was lifting. I’m pretty sure they were thinking, “You’re not gonna get big if you keep doing 10 sets of 12 with light weights.” These are the fat guys in tank-tops who do the same bullshit workouts with the same bullshit weights every time I see them.

Had to go to three different places before I found the Vegetable Glycerine for my shred-up. This is really going to be interesting. Can’t wait to see how this water-down/carb up thing ends up working for me.

I’ve been on the very low end with my carbs for the last few weeks, so even though I know there is plenty of muscle there, it’s been pretty flat for a while. It sure will be nice to see my arms and chest inflate again.

I realized on the plane yesterday that I really need to better define my ultimate goal here. My original goal was to get into better shape than I ever have been. My lowest measured body fat percentage was about 7.5% back in 2000 or so…but back then I didn’t really have much of a transition plan or any kind of high-level vision. I guess I’m actually getting a little bit scared of reaching my goal, if that makes any sense. What will I strive for then?

I’ve been combing the articles today for some ideas. Read a good one by C Thib, “The Truth About Bulking”, which pretty much supports my general idea of getting down to around 7-8% body fat and then very, very slowly and cleanly adding muscle from there.

Regardless of specific weight or body fat targets, I at least know that part of my goal is to simply maintain and continue to strengthen my attitude in general about eating and exercise. That’s why I’m hanging around the V-Life section. Being the extremist that I am, though…it seems like I do better if I always have a goal in mind. It helps me to NOT negotiate with myself when it comes to certain decisions. Hell, if there was some kind “fitness athlete” type of thing for guys…one that didn’t involve getting dressed up in super gay man-leotards and doing impossible gymnastics and acrobatics moves, I might just have something to get involved in. We’ll see what I come up with.

“Hell, if there was some kind “fitness athlete” type of thing for guys”

warrior dash?

Hey Serge! I finally got myself over to read through your thread and love it! I will lock your mantra away, “I do not negotiate with food” - that’s a good one!

Another thing that hit home for me on your log was the bit about the two fittest guys not ordering dessert at dinner. As a former fat person, I used to feel hard done by because I thought the fit people could eat whatever they wanted. Over the years as I’ve become fitter and hang out with like-minded people, I have realised that the fit people actually are very careful about what goes into their mouths, and when they do have a treat, they just have a little bit and don’t binge… shock horror… so you don’t get the body of your dreams by eating crap??? :wink:

Thank you for reminding me of this… :slight_smile:

Trying to put up an updated avatar and maybe some before and after pics.

Completed the “Shredded in Six Days” thing today and realized that it’s probably too soon for it. Although it did at least get me to finally take some pictures so I could get a better sense of where I am and where I want to go from here.

By the way, cutting water intake and THEN eating something like waffles and syrup is no picnic. I had to suck on ice cubes all night because it felt like my mouth was full of molasses. Carbs make me thirsty.

I finally got around to taking some decent pictures. I’ve posted a few in the Before and After section. I also updated my avatar with a current one. Here’s another:

This was taken as I was standing under and a few feet behind a compact fluorescent light bulb. I’ve noticed that in the gym locker room, I look about a hundred times better than under any other lighting. They have fluorescent bulbs in there, so I kind of did my best to set up something similar. There are a few more photos in my Hub if anyone wants to check them out.

I’ve been lifting and dieting for three weeks. The transformation has been dramatic. I lost ten pounds and a bunch of inches, but more importantly, I feel great about myself again. I’ve broken some extremely bad dietary habits and I feel like I’ve set myself up for some great progress.

I lost two inches off my waist, two inches around my stomach, and gained about a half-inch around my arm (bicep). I have been slightly leaner and quite a bit stronger/more muscular in the past, and I think the muscle-memory and fat-loss memory played a pretty big role in the transformation.

This is just the beginning for me.


My Goals - Physique

Add a significant amount of muscle to my neck. I’ve always had a pencil-neck. Always blamed genetics, but never did any kind of neck-specialization program. While I’ve probably done tens of thousands of shrugs, I never seem to be able to get any development in my upper traps, and my neck is just hideously skinny. So I’m gonna do something about it. And the people in the gym are going to think I’m nuts, because you never see anyone doing neck work. Ever.

I’ve done some research on how to build a bigger neck, so I’ll be putting it all into practice in the next few months. Starting measurement is about 14 3/4 inches.

I’ve read that the neck muscles respond quite well to training, so I’ll put that to the test. I wonder which movements will contribute most to overall neck development and aesthetics…flexion/extension in the up/down or forward/backward plane, or if it will be more of the side-to-side plane. I’ll be doing it all, but I have a theory as I get started that the muscles on the SIDES of the neck would contribute more quickly to improving how my neck looks.

In my job, I’m usually wearing a suit or a dress shirt. Because I’m fairly lean and my frame probably borders on ecto/meso, it doesn’t really look like I lift weights when I have a suit on. It just looks like I’m lean and in good shape. I think that will change if I can manage to build up my neck. The question is…is my neck going to be like my calves and forearms? My calves have always been tiny, even when I had a 39" vertical leap in college. Now THAT is genetic. The amount of work I would have to put in to building up my calves just isn’t worth it for me. I spend 9 months out of the year in pants anyway, so I’m happy that my calves are at least athletic-looking, but I don’t care how big they ever get.

I don’t know how much frequency and intensity my neck will be able to handle, so I’ve started out going pretty easy to avoid injury. I’ll ramp it up from here and see just how much training my neck will be able to handle.

I’m going to pair this neck-specialization with a big emphasis on biceps and triceps. Ron Burgundy said it best: “You see, you have your ubulus muscle that connects to the upper dorsinus. I have little time to get to the gym, so I have to sculpt my guns at the office. Just watch out for the guns…they’ll get you.”

So…neck and arms will be my focus. In the past, I’ve tried 5/3/1 or 5x5 approaches with a focus on compound movements, and I tend to build front-to-back thickness quite easily with that approach. I just don’t really like how it looks on me. I’m not trying to be a strongman, or a power lifter, or a bodybuilder. I just want to look damn good. And at 36, I really need to avoid injury. Last time I got all hung up on strength and compound movements, I nearly tore the tendon off my AC joint. Never even fully recovered from that one.

Forgot to mention that my blood pressure also dropped from about 132/82 to 118/78. Those are average readings taken over the course of a few days.

Could be some of the supplements (Flameout), higher intake of healthy fats, elimination of booze, or simply just ten pounds lost. Either way…a drop in BP from “borderline high” to “optimal” is enough reason by itself to make these changes!

Fat loss, muscle gains, better blood pressure, increased health, more confidence… I love these “side effects” Keep up the work Serge. I’m stayin up to date.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Disclaimer: Individual results may vary.