Experiment Fatso

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Day 12

Productive day.

I wasn't in the mood to go the gym, at all. I've been quite depressed lately; my life's upside down right now and i'm feeling like shit. That's another reason to why i skipped yesterday's workout.

Nonetheless, i pushed myself to go and i went. Today i stacked two workouts in one: yesterday's back and triceps and today's shoulders and abs. Later on: 50 mins of cardio. It was hard as hell, but i pulled it off and i'm damn proud.

Now, what i'm not that happy with is the quality of the workout. First of all, i'm still in a phase in which i'm getting acquainted with the machines, the times, the weights and the exercises. So given that all exercises from any routine suffer certain changes just by swapping gyms, machines and even the type of dumbbells, this routine i'm familiar with needs to be optimized to this gym. The place is kinda old (Muhammad Alí trained there!), there's a sad mixture of prehistoric equipment with second hand 1980's "new" stuff and bunch of foreigners speaking turkish 24/7. So what happens is: the Smith bar, for example, is now very well oiled and the resistance is much higher, so weights need to be readjusted. 90 degree benches don't really go beyond 82 degrees, and after a couple of sets, your back will whine you outta the gym. There is no freaking simple Scott bench to train biceps; they all have some kind of old "component", so the bench comes incorporated with a rusty W bar, wich in turn is connected to a simple poley so kranky, that not even Arnold could work beyond two 5 kgs bricks.

So my routine was like that: clumsy, but educational.

The cardio wasn't much better. I just didn't sweat like the other day. I'd say temperature was about the same, i used the same speed on the treadmill and i jogged some 35 mins. I guess my metabolism is slowly getting on par with what i'm doing so next week may be time to start pumping up the speed on the treadmill or the resistance on the stepper.

I've noticed that i'm still sore in my pecs and biceps from wednesday's workout. Perhaps a tad too sore. That ain't good. I believe the reason for this is: i am, ultimately, following a somehow hypocaloric diet, so my body's not remotely getting enough protein and carbs. I'm eating healthy and enough, but i'm probably having no more than 1800 calories a day. Of which 15-20 is fat. For the output i'm putting lately, i'd need about 2500 - 3000 calories. So i am getting thinner, but my muscles are recovering very, very slowly and and in the end: they won't grow as expected.

It's because of that that i did some reading concerning what would be the necessary "dopey" stack to aid muscle growth and recovery. I believe i need some quality protein (either Whey or a protein blend with whey, casein, egg, etc), creatine (specially because i'm vegetarian) and L-Glutamine (to protect the muscles from being "eaten up" instead of the fat).

Now, without the proper information, someone could read all this and say i'm halfway there from being a crack-head. Well, no. I won't rant about any of this, i'd just simply encourage you to check out the links and find out. Whey is a type of protein that everyone, EVERYONE, should include in their diet. Creatine has almost no side effects and is a clear no-brainer for anyone interested in gaining some muscle. And L-Glutamine had had some controversy, but it's also a must, specially to protect your muscles if your intake is not high enough.

So, i'm gonna buy all this next month, together with some Flax Oil or Udo's Oil to finally get some omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Next month i was also thinking of getting an mp3 flash player for myself, to join me in my cardios, but with all this spending, i see it rather unlikely.

Focker ... OUT!

Oh yeah: 8 % completed!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Day 11

I didn't do anything today. I really had a busy, fucked up day. Had some paperwork to take care of, some arrons ... anyway.

Today was very unproductive, concerning my weight-loss program.

Crap.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Day 10

I've got the camera last night. So here goes the weekly update.

Week One

Weight: I just woke up, so i'll check later on.
Height: 180 cms
Chest: 103 cms (+2 since week zero / + 2 since last week)
Belly: 98 cms (-2 since week zero / - 2 since last week)
Waist: 95 cms (-1 since week zero / -1 since last week)
Butt: 108 cms (-3.5 since week zero / -3.5 since last week)
Thighs: 62 (-3 since week zero / -3 since last week)

Let's take a look at this. All measures are very, very home made: i take an usb wire, put it around the area and then measure it against a wooden measuring thingy used for painting. Not NASA style, clearly, so you can obviously expect a + 2, - 2 cms of error in most measures.

So the chest seems to be 2 cms broader. Good, but bleh. Could be an error could be a slight increase in lean tissue.
The belly turned out a little disappointing. I would have expected over 3 cms less, but 2 is still good. I want to emphasize that i DO feel much thinner already. And although the measures don't fully agree with how i feel, this goes a long way motivation-wise.
The waist ... well, to be perfectly honest i'm not quite sure where exactly it is that i measured my waist. 1 cm less means nothing. That goes up or down easy, thanks to fluids alone, so nothing to be particularly happy about.
The butt, my fattest area. God, that's a NO FUN LINE for me to write. 3.5 cms less. Now that's progress! Although i know cardio exercise burns fat homogeneously all over the body, all the training i do involves a lot of leg effort, so i can't stop thinking that this is, somehow, understandable.
Thighs, another big progress. 3 cms less is a LOT in 65 (the first measure). Good for me.



Front




Side




Seated - Front




Seated - Side




What I see


Quite hard leaving suggestion aside, but i do believe i see minor improvements. Specially in the Front pic.

Day 10

Ok, i'd like to talk about a bunch of things today. Training and supplement related.

Let's start with training. First, i ran into an ebook, titled Smart Training, by a quite respected yank trainer named Pete Sisco. Sisco claims that the main problem with nowadays training is the lack of resting time. People don't understand that muscle doesn't grow until fully rested, and thus continue training, never allowing the muscle to fully develope its potential. Here comes the crazy. This guy's program suggests, in a tiny, tiny nutshell, that training should occur twice a week for the first month, then once every 10 days, then once every two weeks, later once a month and SO ON! It's nuts, you say, but the man has tested his method with people very, very reluctant to agree on such crazy, bummy method and the results, he claims, were simply awesome.

Now, this guy earned his reputation with methods that involve minimum to no motion (static contraction) at all during repetitions and hughe weights. The results seem to have been really good. So far, a massive and conclusive study is yet to be conducted, but Sisco claims that in his studies the results were short of incredible. He conducted a minor study on some skinny golfers, putting them to train something like 2 mins per week (isomeric training: no motion, just holding the bar with maximum weight) for some eight weeks and the before and after speak for themselves. The golfers were stronger, could lift much heavier weights, could shoot much longer and the muscle improvment was obvious on their bodies. With less than 10 minutes of workout, for fuck's sake!

I want to be like Mulder, i want to believe, but it's hard for me to go to the gym for 66 seconds a week and expect realistic results. Many people in the "muscle world" are, although skeptic, keeping an eye on this program cause if some big, bad-ass study really proves what Sisco claims, this method will force the re-writing of all books on training.

I don't want to waste a minute, much less months in trying something that normally i would look down to as "bullshit", knowing that i could have trained hard and i could have achieved realistic results ... but, oh, if this is true! So, the bottom-line is: i will try it. Not right now, no, because it's a very, very intensive type of training and i've not developed enough muscle for this method to be safe for me, at the time being. So i'll work out one or two months and then i'll switch. Still, i've decided to train my resistance routine. Here goes why:

After a lot of reading, i realized my routine was very crappy. Perhaps alright for one or two weeks, just to accostum the body to the physical effort, but afterwards it adds nothing. Nothing. And what i read that was a real eye-opener was: resistance training (weight-lifting) has a much higher Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) than aerobic training. Meaning: your metabolism remains accelerated (thus, burning more fat) for a longer and more intense period of time. So the creation of new lean tissue goes hand in hand with the loss of weight. Not only because you can transform fat into muscle, but because you continue to burn more calories while watching tv, in your couch, than you would with only aerobic exercise.

I didn't know this and it is pretty fucking important! I doubt that most people know this. So, i decided to switch to my old routine, a variation of the austrian method, which focuses on a low number of reps but with maximum weight. This routine, that paid-off BIG for me, some 3 years ago (i wish i had a picture of back then, to put it next to the more recent fatso ones ... although i might wanna shoot myself afterwards), is time-efficient and exhausts each set of muscles only once a week. You work one large muscle set with one small one, starting always with the larger cause you have more energy at first; monday, tuesday and wednesday. Thursdays is for legs only, but at the current time, with the monstrous effort i'm making on the treadmill, is pointless for me.

So it goes like this:

Monday: pectorals (3 sets with low reps of bench-press; then same but on inclined bench and last curls with dumbbells) and biceps (3 sets of curls with straight bar, standing; then 3 sets with lower poley and finally 3 sets in the scott-bench).

Tuesday: back (3 sets of pulls behind the neck on machine; then 3 sets of pull-over on bench and last 3 sets of pulls on rowing machine, for the lower lats) and triceps (3 sets of pulls in upper poley; then 3 behind the neck with dumbbell and last 3 sets of pushes, laying on bench, with dumbbells, alternating one arm each).

Wednesday: shoulders (3 sets of lateral flies with dumbbells, 3 sets on "shoulder machine" and 3 sets, seated, with straight bar) and abdominals (9 sets, not quite determined, but starting always from the weaker parts: the lower and lat abs).

Now, if you're a gym rat, you'll notice that i may have pulled-off some fictitious names for these exercises ... sorry about that! I've no idea what the real names of these exercises are. If anyone really wants to get a hold of this routine, properly explained and with pics, don't hesitate to mail me. I can guarantee you this works out great. No more than 40 mins a day. Absolute exhaustion of the muscle, great resting time.

Enough with the training. Let's talk about the second thing that called my attention: drugs.

I always believed that engaging in a weight-loss program without the aid of a fat-burner was plain a simply dumb. It's a no brainer. They help accelerate your metabolism, your recovery times and increase your thermogenesis. Boy was i wrong.

After a little reading, i realized my Ripped Max, by Gaspari "Shitty Products" Nutrition, was 100 % crap. Useless to the very last pop. I got it cause it was cheap, ephedra free and had L-carnitine. Well some myths have gone down the drain in the past couple of years and with it, L-Carnitine. A healthy drug, that helps prevent heart diseases and has a number of positive effects on general health, but absolutely no proven relation to fat-burning whatsoever. They sell L-Carnitine products at my gym as if it was the messiah of fat-burning. Researchers laugh at it and sigh, seeing how the multimedia and the big companies fill their pockets.

Let's understand this: yanks are horribly, horribly fat. And the fat-burners biz moves some 2 billion dollars a year in that country. It's a niche begging for more and more "miracle" products. And so the bullshit starts to flow. Oceans of it.

After reading Diet Supplements Revealed, by William D. Brink (a guy that's been on the subject of many years), i came to the conclusion that most (MOST) of the products out there are crap. And allow me to give you an ultra-compact summary on the conclusions in that book:

What works:

* Ephedra/Caffein formulas
* Oils: Fish, Flax, Udo's
* Green Tea extracts
* Guggle/Phosphate (Tyrolean)
* Tyrosine

What's bullshit or remains not quite conclusive

* The rest
* The rest
* The rest
* The rest
* The rest

Categoric, huh. I felt pretty dumb after reading that book. So i decided, despite it's bad reputation, to go with some ephedra/caffein cocktail for one or two months and then switch to a more natural ephedra-free product and/or oils. The oils are a must for me, since i'm vegetarian and the lack of omega-3 and omega-6 is blatant in me.

Alright, before i take-off to the gym, i'd like to refer you to some sort of "sibling" blog: Slaying the Fat Monster, a pretty complete blog about anti-fatsoism, packed with info and nice posts. So go!

----------------------------------


Alright, i just got back from the gym. I've had my best performane so far. I trained pectorals and biceps till failure (they almost fell off) and then i did my cardio for 65 minutes. 35 of them in the treadmill !

I sweated my ass off. Excuse my french, but my t-shirt was outrageously soaked and smelling like rotten camels. Beautiful ! :)

Now, why such a good performance? This may be due to any, or both, of these factors: long sleep (i really needed it) and the different fat-burner i started using just today: Lean System 7.

I won't discover anything new but mentioning the importance of good sleep, so this clearly must have added to the equation. Even more if we take into account yesterday's day off.

But i'm curious as to whether my first sitting of LS7 could have caused such a positive impact. The recommended dose is 3 capsules, twice a day: 3 before meals and/or training. I had 3 before eating and only about an hour later i took-off to the gym and had the other 3. Maybe it's because i had the whole 6 in such a short period of time, maybe they just work very well, maybe this has nothing or not much to do with today's performance. Go wonder. I'll stick to them (i had an almost full bottle from last year) until i run out. If i perceive any more positive effects, i'll stick to them, otherwise i'll buy some ephedra/caffein product, which is the most reliable of all out there.

Tomorrow i'll keep ranting about the two most overlooked and underestimated allies in the fatso war: stretching and water.

7 % completed!

Day 9

I didn't go to the gym today. Truth is: i was very, very tired. After yesterdays workout, my whole body was screaming for a break. I've done a shitload of research (i'll share it with you soon) and one of the most repeated lines i've encountered was: don't overtrain. Overtraining leeds, eventually, to the abandoning of the program. So i thought i should listen to my body, despite the fact that skipping a day already makes me feel like a bum fatso, and i stayed at home resting.

I have to say, i don't know if it was because i skipped training or what, but i do feel like i didn't loose an oz. I followed my diet by the book and had almost zero fat and zero sugar, but i have to admit i also did have a very sedentary, so calorie consumption was minimal.

I've been thinking that i shouldn't just think my % of completion goes up by not having pizza. To earn each and every point i have to be sure that the caloric output was higher that the intake for that day. Much like working days: no work, no progress. So i'm gonna re-assing points now: days 6, 7 and 9, although didn't contribute in a negative way, they didn't quite add in a positive either, so i'll call it a draw. I'm deducting those days from my %.

So 6 % completed it is.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Day 8

I having tweaking my diet, but for the best, i guess. Some of the recipees are ... well, too yank for me. So i've mostly tweaked them towards a less calorie, more veggie-based diet.

Today i kicked ass at the gym. The first 30 minutes in the steppers were at full, full throttle. I sweated like a pig and in each of those tiny drops i could see myself getting thinner, and thinner. I know, i'm starting to sound mystic-fatso like.

I wonder if it happens to others, but i fight some mean mind-battles when in the middle of my cardio. Sometimes, time passes by like a breeze, and sometimes it looks so still it seems like a curse. It is in those times that i create these sci-fi mind-battles where, basically, the world's future depends on my non-quitting of the exercise. So i'm, for example, jogging and my goal is 35 minutes and i'm 20 minutes away for that mark and ready to collapse ... what do i do? I start day-dreaming these life-death situations in which, let's say, if i don't complete 5 more minutes of cycling ... my best friend's daughter gets horribly sick. (?) That's me, by the way ... these sort of thingies are a constant in my life ... nice to meet you, by the way. So, i save people, win a lot of money for my friends, make it to the 9 pm news thx to yet another heroic display of sacrifice, etc. And that's how i get things done when i'm very, very tired. And no matter how twisted, it works.

My digital camera is sort of broken, so i took it to the repair shop. I'll owe you the pics this time but i'll take some and post them, together with the measures, as soon as i get it back.

After one week, i have to say, things are great. Great! I feel lighter, free from guilt, i could swear i'm thinner already (my wife says so), although i haven't checked my weight yet. I'm not a freak for scales, so i don't quite mind the weight so much, it's the measures what count.

Anyway, 8 % completed!

Day 7

Much like day 6 ... ho-hum.

Diet: pretty yummy, as a matter of fact.

Exercise: not when't god's resting, no ... he.

All cool.

7 % completed!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Day 6

Day 6 went like a breeze. Why? Cause i didn't go to the gym. I believe i reached my limit here, so i thought pushing it would have ended in exhaustion or an injury. Everything hurts and i really needed the break. So it's ok, i'll retake it on monday.

Concerning the diet, everything alright. I did change dinner's pasta for salad, cause i didn't have the necessary ingredients. I don't think it matters a bit. I'm as well indulging in some fruit with a little yogurt as a treat. It keeps the fatso inside on a leash, so although not 100% diety, it seems like the smart thing to do.

I guess i can say, despite not having exercised today: 6 % completed!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Day 5

Last night i only slept a few hours, so today i woke up destroyed. Yesterday's rowing decided to pass the bill today, so if a fly sits on my back ... i whine.

And so, i couldn't complete my 60 mins of cardio. 45, full throttle was all i could give. Feels good though.

The diet still goes super fine.

No major comments beyond the fact that the fat burners are making me gassy. "Unfortunately" gassy, if you know what i'm saying. Fuck it.

5 % completed!

Day 4

Things are going right.

Another solid 60 minutes of mucho, mucho sweating. Plus some strength workout.

I didn't feel weak or anything today, just tired. To cope with that i nailed another hughe glass of veggie juice before and after the gym. Plus, today i indulged in my first little sin: a protein-bar. Pukka! I believe i should have one as a reward every three or four days.

4 % completed!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Day 3

Another damn, damn hard day. Workout-wise, of course ... the diet remains pretty simple to follow.

Today i finally completed those freaking 60 minutes of cardio i'm supposed to cover every day. Rowing, cycling and stepping. Rowing is much more simple than anything else, and clearly burns much less calories, but since i've just started, it seems to be perfect for building up both resistance and morale.

Nonetheless, on my way back from the gym i sarted feeling horribly bad. I was sweating like a pig, i was extremely weak and quite dizzy. It all passed after i had a big glass of mixed veggie juice (believe it or not, under those circumstances, it tasted like fine french champagne) and some food.

My wife reminded me that no long ago i was anemic. I thought that'd be over by now, with the vitamins ím taking and the healthy life, but no. It seems i'm gonna need some supplementation here, some folate or folic acid. Anyhow, i'm proud i cope with the exercise even being a tad weaky.

3 % completed!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Day 2

Today was hard. Not the eating thingy, no, but the exercise.

The diet is just fine. It does have very little calories, but you can tweak it with a number of options to set a larger calorie intake. Of course, having some sorry ass cucumber instad of pizza is hardly as much fun, but i'm doing it gladly.

The problem today was the exercise. I woke up to happily realize that i was in no pain after yesterday's first day of physical effort. So i went to the gym pretty confident.

Today i had both strength workout and cardio. After finishing with a rather light weight-lifting (if you can call it that ... i was THE wuss with the gay 2 kgs dumbbells), i was already fucked up. And i mean fucked up. Nonetheless, I went for my hour of aerobic exercise after that. What the hell for? After 10 mins in the stepper i felt like i was passing out. I realized i must be eating too little or the shock of all this exercise has been too much. So i manouvered myself into 4, 10 minute series in 4 different machines, with 4 minute intervals. Again, i haven't been able to complete the expected 60 minutes, but i know i went as far as i could. In the end i was falling asleep on the byke. Falling asleep! What the hell?

After having a plate of salad with some kidney beans, life automatically came back to me. So it was the food. I've been having some 10, 11 hundred calories so far and that's just too little if i want to work out so hard.

Lesson learned. Moving on.

And i'm happy. I already feel proud of myself. I've noticed i no longer feel that embarrassing blame after having some candy or some pizza with my most obvious 12 extra kilos. I also remembered, while on the byke, that the last time i was in great shape (about 3 years ago), i was very, very proud of myself. Mostly for having been able to achieve my goal, which was to Gain 10 kilos. As well for the self-control. Anyway, remembering this encourages me.

I was also thinking that if i expect to loose these 12 kgs in 3 or 4 months, then day 2 equals 2 % completed. I like that!

2 % completed! This number will keep growing.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Week Zero

Every seven days i'll update my weight, measures and pictures (of my big, fat belly, yes!), and since this one's week 0, i shall provide my initial data.

Weight: 185 lbs (84 kgs)
Height: 180 cms
Chest: 101
Belly: 100
Waist: 96
Butt: 111.5
Thighs: 65 (on its thickest part)



Front




Side




Seated - Front




Seated - Side




What I see



There you have it. God, take me now.

Day One

So far no problem with the food. I'm not particularly hungry and i'm not craving any chocolate. Good fatso start. Anne Collin's veggie diet is quite low calorie, so i am feeling very tired nonetheless. It could also very well be that i'm horribly unfit and my first routine left me pretty messed up.

Today i had only cardio exercise. 20 minutes on the stepper, 20 on the bike and 20 on the treadmill. I couldn't complete the 1 hour, though. With 10 minutes to go my lower legs and my foot-soles were really fucked up. I chose not to shatter myself in the first day.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Fatso Manifesto

And so I woke up fat. Funny like that.

And that given morning, a morning like any other, i just couldn’t believe my eyes: the mirror had to be broken. Or demonically possessed. I was fat. The line had been crossed.

After 7 million chips and 967 pizzas, my body finally decided to react in accordance. I was freaking fat! Fat. Fat. But how? How on Earth? I’m not even American, for crying out loud. I thought these things only happened to “oh, those poor others”, but never me. Never.

I guess I was wrong.

To honour the truth, it wasn’t Such a surprise. It was gradual, yes. I slowly gained more and more weight, mistakenly relying on my love for jogging, which I was about to retake “any minute”, to loose those pesky extra pounds.

But time passed by and my beautiful jogging routines were replaced by cake and ice-cream, by chocolate and frozen meals. And so came that morning. Me, a 28 year old male, displaying a sad spectacle by turning the closet upside down, much like a teenage girl, in search for a pair of trousers that would fit. Sad, indeed. I couldn’t find any. And it all started to dawn on me hard:

  • I could no longer see my pipi when taking a pee;
  • the love-handles made every single piece of clothing that I wore seem desperate for an exorcism;
  • the belly bugged me crazy and literally “got in my way” even for the most basic things, like putting on my shoes;
  • my thighs rubbed against each other in the most uncomfortable manner, peeling and plucking hairs from each other;
  • and my hips and ass, just like a mother of six, were victim of the most abominable cellulitis. Not quite an agreeable picture.

I won’t rant on how on Earth was it that I got so low, for I believe is somehow pointless. All that matters in such a circumstance is the here and now. I’m disrespecting my body, putting myself in a position prone for shitty diseases and causing myself quite some social distress.

Concerning this last point, I have to say I haven’t been able to make my peace with the fact that I’m fat. Not remotely. I’ve been thinking extensively of those fatsos, specially the Yanks, who learn how to “accept themselves as they are”, and to be perfectly honest: I’m repelled and disgusted by the idea. If the choice is putting some led in your head, then accepting yourself as you are sounds rather agreeable. But that is not the only choice. Us fatsos seem to forget the most obvious one: reclaim our natural bodies.

It should not be such a horrid task, should it?. I mean, if you want a car, you have to work for it. If you want to earn someone’s trust, you have to work for it, as well, This is how the world works, right? Effort and a little sacrifice is, in most cases, the only way to achive your goals. No rocket science here.

A very simple metaphor would be getting a loan to buy a house and once deep in debt, choose to accpet the fact that you owe money instad of paying it back. What the hell is that? You overspent and now you have to pay for it, period. No other way around. Be that in Euros or calories. Yet, fat people tend an awful lot to “accept themselves” rather than accepting this very basic, unavoidable law of nature and nowaday’s society. I refuse to surrender to this general confusion of taking something that’s wrong for right. I won’t put denial on a pedestal. Being fat is not natural, it’s quite harmful in both physical and psychological ways and it is self-destructive.

Now, many believe that this is boloney, that we are all beautiful and that we should not cave to the idiotic dogmas of beauty that society imposes on us. While that’s a lovely philosophy and I very much like it, it sounds more of an excuse not to get on a freaking diet than anything else. I’m a guy and I don’t intend to become an anorectic model or a cover magazine bodybuilder, but the fact remains that there is absolutely nothing good or positive about being fat. Except maybe for the fact that you can eat pretty much whatever you want … but at what price?

I won’t go deeper into this subject either because it’s not the purpose of this experiment and because I’m aware that I am, yes, oversimplyfing the subject a lot. Instead, I will focus on me, and the truth is: I suffer horribly being fat. I hate belonging to this segment and having to cope with a number of infuriating tribulations I never even thought fatsos would go through:

  • I realized girls no longer look at me. While I’m not an adonis, they used to do so when I was thin;
  • sex is not remotely as good as it used to be. The lack of oxigen, elasticity and endurance do represent a clear set-back in the quality of sex;
  • I feel much more tired and depleted than when I was thin and in shape. While exercising can get you tired at first, the benefits of an accelerate