Follow me to the Stage ~ 2 months

Tomorrow marks two months down and that leaves just 4 months (16 weeks) to go. I have seen tremendous strength gains in the last 2 months!
Starting total volume for my 3 day cycle was 35,195lbs. Total volume for last full 3 day cycle 74,495lbs! That is a 53% gain in total volume! That is huge! The biggest increase is seen on the second day (split squat, OHP, chin ups, hip thrusts, calf jumps & leg extentions) which saw a 65% increase in total volume from 13,470lbs to 39,115lbs.

With summer baseball in full swing my schedule is all over the place. A lost gym key card has led to one improvised workout in my basement & the only rest day during the last two months. My life is super busy but I always find time to get to the gym whether it’s 4am or 7pm or any time between.

Weight loss isn’t happening quite as rapid as I’d like, time to really buckle down now so I can hopefully coast into my show.

Follow me to the Stage ~ week 4 & 5

So when I got the request from my coach for progress pics I was a tad nervous! ok a lot nervous! My weight has been all over the place even though my calipers readings have suggested steady fat loss. So it was great to get this reply:

A big sigh of releif!

These last two weeks have seen some great progress in the gym! I hit 170lbs on squats for 12 reps all 4 sets! 170lbs was my last tested 1RM, so I am estatic! I am up to 130lbs on bench and so close to putting on 45s and my last tested 1RM of 140lbs!

Ive started taking 3mg melatonin at night and this is really helping me to sleep better at night.

Im allowed to take 1 rest day a week if I really need it. So far I haven’t felt like I needed it, so I’m on 38 days straight in the gym and feeling great!

Im really seeing and feeling a difference in my hammies & glutes! But I wish my legs would hurry up and lean out more like my upper body!

Progress pics from begining to week 5


Follow Me to the Stage ~ Week 3

So this week saw some weight fluctuations and what I can only assume is water weight retention, as according to caliper readings Im still losing fat. This is a great reason to not use your scale as the only measure of progress. Take measurements, take pictures, take caliper readings!



I hit a great PR in wide grip bench, 120lbs x9 reps! This is so exciting for me! Im really struggling with laying leg curl in that one leg is so much weaker then the other. And its like ive hit a sticking point. Also added 20lbs to pushups! This makes me feel so strong!  It totally rocks. I tried adding 5 lbs to chin ups but that seems to have stalled out the number of reps … so going to drop that down to 2.5.

My weight belt (for weighted chin/pull ups & dips) came this week, and Ive decided to pick up a pair of straps. Feeling great about Romanian Dead Lifts, at 185lbs and my body can do more but my hands just cant hang onto it.

Overall a great week! Looking forward to week 4 and the close of month 1!

Follow Me to the Stage ~ Week 2

This week has just been about learning how to work the program. Adding weight, hitting rep targets and how to handle it when I dont make rep target with new weights. This week went a lot smoother then the first week. I made it 9 days no caffeine & was able to add Totalis 2.0 back in for PWO! Im down 10lbs since the start, but I know that part of this drop is water weight from TOM. Next week will be a continuation of the same, no changes.

Had some great strength gains in the gym over these two weeks! Beginning weights were set by taking 80% of some 3 & 5 RMs. Rep ranges were set next based on how many clean reps I could perform with starting weights. I’ve had some issue getting the hang of using the smith machine and performing calf jumps, but its starting to click. I’ve switched toe position on split squats to better be able heavier weights going forward.

Some days have been better then others, but overall things are going well.

unilateral laying leg curl
push up
bayesisan fly
overhead triceps extention

Bulgarian split squat from deficit
sumo press
chin up
hip thrust
calf jump
unilateral leg extension

Romanian DL
wide grip bench
wide grip lat pull down
cable lateral raise
bayesisan curl



Thoughts on Body Fat % & Time Line to Lose

Thoughts on Body Fat %

200lb – 45% body fat
TEE 2800
energy from food 1400 or 50%
energy from body fat 1400 or 50%

180lb – 38% body fat
TEE 2600
energy from food 1733 or 2/3
energy from body fat 865 or 1/3

160lb – 31% body fat
TEE 2400
energy from food 2160 or 90%
energy from body fat 240 or 10%

150lb – 26% body fat
TEE 2200

energy from food 2200 or 100%
energy from body fat 0 or 0%

So the less body fat you have the more energy you have to supply through food…

Time Line To Lose

First 20lbs (2.8lbs/wk) – 45%bf – 7 wks
second 20lbs (1.7lb/wk) – 38%bf – 12 wks
last 10lbs (.5lbs/wk) – 26%bf – 20 weeks

39 weeks – almost 10 months

An anology for body fat vs dietary fat:

Think of your body like a car & your stored body fat as the fuel in the gas tank…

stored body fat is the fuel ALREADY in the tank

dietary fat is NEW FUEL you are adding to the tank

So if the goal is to reduce body fat (decrease the amount of fuel in the tank) you’ll want to add less fuel then you use up driving around each day… because if you top off the fuel (fat) to full everyday you will never lower the fuel in the tank (body fat)

Getting insulin low “opens” the doors on fat cells & there is a constant flux of fat in & out of fat cells. The body does not know the difference between fatty acids freed from body fat stores or that you eat with each meal. They are mixed some stored and some used. But if you are eating MORE fat then you are using for energy; then at best you wont lose body fat, at worst you actually increase the amount of fat being stored.

Dr. Stephen Phinney – ‘Achieving and Maintaining Nutritional Ketosis’

This is mathematical expression of the pie charts ( from Dr. Phinney’s “Achieving and Maintaining Nutritiona Ketosis” lecture found here:


Phinney does not say this, but it would seem this female subject is 5’8″ based upon the final weight of 150 pounds/68 kg for goal weight maintenance.


This would be like 1.6 gm/kg ‘reference weight’ (not LBM) as per TAASOLCL


=>Phase 1 Adapt

200 lb or 90.9 kg

One half of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) calories and macros 50% fat, 40% protein, 10% carb

1400, 78 gm fat (700 cal fat), 140 gm protein (560 cal protein), 35 gm carb (140 cal carb)

1400, 50% fat, 40% protein, 10% carb

Protein is 0.7 gm per pound total weight, 1.5 gm per kg total weight


=>Phase 2 Adjust

180 lb or 81.8 kg

Two thirds of your TDEE and macros 60% fat, 30% protein, 11% carb

1733, 116 gm fat (1040 cal fat), 130 gm protein (520 cal protein), 46 gm carb (182 cal carb)

1733, 60% fat, 30% protein, 11% carb

Protein is 0.72 gm per pound total weight, 1.59 gm per kg total weight


=>Phase 3 Build

160 lb or 72.7 kg

90% of your TDEE and the macros 67% fat, 22% protein, 10% carb

2136, 160 gm fat (1440 cal fat), 120 gm protein (480 cal protein), 54 gm carb (216 cal carb)

2136, 67% fat, 22% protein, 10% carb

Protein is 0.75 gm per pound total weight, 1.65 gm per kg total weight


=>Phase 4 Maintain

150 lb or 68 kg

100% of your TDEE and the macros 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carb

2200, 171 gm fat (1540 cal fat), 110 gm protein (440 cal protein), 55 gm carb (220 cal carb)

2200, 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carb

Protein is 0.73 gm per pound total weight, 1.62 gm per kg total weight.


If we are to believe that 150 lb/68 kg is ideal weight for this individual (based upon Robinson/Miller/Hamwi/Devine formulas for IBW) and looking at estimated LBM calculations (Boer and Hume), this woman would be about 5’8″ with an LBM of about 49.83 kg.


…With an LBM of 49.83 kg, Protein would be 2.2 gm/kg LBM

Follow Me to the Stage ~ Week One

NO CAFFEINE for 9 days… This is going to be the toughest part of this first week! Training is going to be 6-7 days a week with one rest day, but only if I really need it. Diet has changed, but is pretty flexible.

It is going to be good to get in the gym & change things up. More cable work. Lots of new stuff to learn & master.

Day 1
Horrible migraine! Woke with a stiff neck that turned into a migraine, likely no caffeine had something to do with that as well. Ended up leaving work early coming home, soaking in whirlpool bath then napping until 3pm. Really hoping tomorrow is better! Headed off to the store to get groceries then meal prep! It will be great to have my meals all ready again! I took a rest day, probably the only one for a while.

Day 2
Still had a headache but not anywhere as bad. Got to the gym after a nap, and that went well. Felt good to push some heavier weight for squats & change up the routine.

Day 3

Feeling better yet, but still this headache persists!  Had a great workout in the gym today, even though I napped again for only about 1.5 hrs before I went. I have been feeling so much more energized after working out, even though I walk into the gym ready to go lay down in the corner! Been so tired. Enjoyed the sumo presses, they were different but I felt more stable then a regular military press.

Day 4

Feeling Wonderful today!! GOOD BYE headache! And not feeling any need for a nap! Finally… I think I was hanging onto some tension at the base of my skull. I did some deep message there last night and it hurt but the tension is now gone and no headache! Looking forward to the work out tonight! Got to find a 3 rep max for bench.. I am really pushing for it to be 135.. Maybe more!  After today, its starting over with workouts.  I think the rest of the week will be smooth sailing.  Meals are going well, I’m a bit hungry after 2nd & 3rd meals as they are lower in protein then I am used to.  But otherwise its going well, and my body is starting to adapt pretty well.

MPS ~ Muscle Protein Sythesis

MPS Muscle Protein Synthesis What is MPS?

—>The synthesis of muscle protein is essential to the body’s ongoing growth, repair, and maintenance of its skeletal muscle groups. MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis) can Benefit you whether you are trying to lose extra body fat or you are trying to gain muscle. Optimizing the quantity and timing of protein intake to trigger MPS and dictate what part of LMB (Lean Body Mass) the AAs (Amino Acids) are directed to can optimize body fat loss and muscle gains. Why is MPS good for fat loss?

—>The reason that whey is thermogenic is because when you trigger MPS it calls on a significant amount of energy, it is very expensive, and this increases fat burning… why higher protein diets are good for fat loss and why specifically triggering MPS is good for fat loss as well. When we are trying to lose fat we want our bodies to be as inefficient with calories as possible. The more energy or calories we burn the more fat we burn, and so long as we are not eating too much fat, this means an increase in how much fat we are losing from our body stores. How does MPS help increase muscle mass?

—> Changing protein intake does not change over all LBM increases, but does change where the AAs are put for storage. For instance Dr. Norton found that when the leucine content of a meal did not reach the threshold to trigger MPS, that those AAs then go to the liver, and the liver gets bigger. He hypothesizes that the Leucine threshold might be different in different tissues. And since the liver is like a sink for AAs that maybe the threshold in the liver is lower then the threshold in muscle so when less leucine is taken in at a meal more AAs go to the liver. So optimizing protein intake & timing to trigger MPS can direct more AAs to be stored as skeletal muscle. Optimize protein intake to trigger MPS

—-> First its important to eat enough protein (specifically getting enough leucine) at each meal to reach the threshold to trigger MPS. This will vary depending on protein source anywhere from 27g for Whey to 43g for chicken, see the chart in the pic below for minimum protein amounts per source. –

—> Secondly the timing of meals is equally important to avoid a refractory response, meaning MPS isn’t triggered after the first meal. Eating meals too close together does not let the plasma leucine levels fall between meals. MPS is not triggered again if leucine levels stay elevated. This time between meals also allows for ATP to be replenished. The optimal spacing of meals is 4-5 hrs apart. This timing not only allows plasma leucine levels to fall but also for ATP to be replenished; both of which are required to trigger MPS at later meals.

—-> Thirdly more meals are better. With optimized intake and timing MPS is triggered with each meal. More meals = more times MPS is triggered. Say for example if your protein goal is 120g: 1 meal – 120g – MPS once 2 meals – 60g each – MPS twice 3meals – 40g each – MPS three times So with three meals you are going to burn 3 times the energy (body fat) and store 3 times the amount of AAs as muscle compared to only one meal.

—->Lastly, if meals are not optimized to trigger MPS then calories are used as just energy or stored. However if MPS is triggered, calories are used and demanded. MPS is similar to vigorous exercise in this respect. As protein is metabolized and MPS is triggered (while on a low carb diet) fat is mobilized to be used as energy and liver fat gets used first! Important points

*MPS is beneficial to everyone whether your goal is to lose body fat or gain muscle.

*Optimize intake to hit leucine threshold & avoid refractory response.

–>27-43g protein per meal depending on source –>meals 4-5 hours apart

–>more meals are better Further study and sources:

Jeff Volek

Dr. Layne Norton presents on Refractory Phenomenon

The need for Protein throughout the day The Truth About Protein: How Much And How Often? Written By Dr. Layne Norton

Photo Credit

Meal Timing & Insulin sensitivity/Insulin Resistance (IR) 

IR requires two things: 
1) high elevations of insulin (what to eat)
2) persistent levels (when to eat)

When eating a low carb diet we already have the “What to Eat” down. Reducing carbs reduces the elevation of insulin. But there are two factors involved in IR. The focus of this post is the second factor “When to Eat”.


It is the time between meals when good things happen. We need to space meals far enough apart so that insulin can fall down between meals. This reset in insulin allows glycogen to be depleted from the liver and muscles which then in turn allows better uptake of glucose at the next meal. When we eat snacks between meals, insulin never is allowed to fall down and reset. This chronically raised insulin leads to IR.


Think about being in a dark room, your eyes adjust and you are able to see well enough. Then someone flips on the lights and you are temporarily blinded, but after a few minutes you are able to see just fine, you become resistant to the light and less sensitive. Now the light gets turned back off, and it is very dark and you can not see anything at all, but after a bit of time you can start to see the outline of things, you have become resistant to the dark and less sensitive. Now think about if you were in a dark room and someone turned the light on for a couple minutes and then turned it off. You would get the full affect of the light and since the exposure was brief there would not be time to become resistant to the light, you would remain sensitive to it. So the next time someone flipped the light you would be blinded again.

Hormones work in much the same way. When we eat insulin goes up, but if we allow the insulin to come all the way back down before we eat again, we stay sensitive to it. Hormones are made to work in pulses like this.

——>KEY to optimizing any fasting protocol is to still get in your protein.
What this looks like:
example 120g protein daily goal
40g meal
fast 5 hrs
40g meal
fast 5 hrs
40g meal
fast 14 hrs
Then maybe on a busier day
60g protein
fast 8 hrs
60g protein
fast 16 hrs
couple times a month
120g protein
fast 22 hrs

There are many benefits to fasting. Generally speaking, intermittent fasting is very good for human health. Humans seem to have evolved to be episodic eaters, being in the fasted state most of the time. This is perhaps why intermittent fasting significantly reduces levels of inflammation markers, promotes the recycling of “messed up” proteins (e.g., glycated proteins), and increases leptin and insulin sensitivity. It is something natural. I am talking about fasting 24 h at a time (or a bit more, but not much more than that), with plenty of water but no calories. Even skipping a meal now and then, when you are busy with other things, is a form of intermittent fasting.
**Important Points**
——>Eat all your protein
——>Allow time between meals for insulin to fall and reset
——>Do NOT stress
——>Can extend the fast as is natural and easy

Prevention of Resistance – Hormonal Obesity XII

The Perils of Snacking – Hormonal Obesity XIII

An intermittent exhaustion of the pool of glycogen in the human organism as a simple universal health promoting mechanism.

Intermittent fasting as a form of liberation

What is Snacking Anyway

So all this talk about not snacking and waiting 4-5 hrs between meals, WHAT exactly is considered snacking?

–> Not enough protein to reach leucine threshold of 3.2g-4.4g leucine. Any “meal” that does not reach this leucine threshold IS A SNACK!

Whenever protein is consumed in quantities less then needed to reach this threshold, the protein is used as simple calories.  However, by reaching this threshold you trigger Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS). Triggering MPS calls on energy similar to exercise as its a very energy demanding process in the body.

#2 How long since you last ate?
–> Time between meals is significant for many reasons & in my mind “meals” less then 4hrs (5 is better) apart is a snack, EVEN if leucine threshold is met! Why? Well if you do not allow sufficient time between meals for plasma leucine levels to fall & ATP (energy) levels to rise MPS will not be triggered & the protein will be used as simple calories same as if not enough protein was eaten in the first place!

For optimized fat burn, lbm gains & blood sugar control eat meals with no snacking, as defined above!!

Further study and sources:
Dr. Layne Norton presents on Refractory Phenomenon

The need for Protein throughout the day

The Truth About Protein: How Much And How Often?
Written By Dr. Layne Norton

Prevention of Resistance – Hormonal Obesity XII

The Perils of Snacking – Hormonal Obesity XIII