#mustread: losing 18 pounds in 3 weeks with @muscleforlife's - bigger, leaner, stronger

Being an entrepreneur is putting a lot of people and things before yourself.

Deadlines, to do lists, vendors, partners, clients - at the end of the day, they're all  knocking at your door, with questions, concerns, problems: and its your job to have the answers, no matter what time of day.

  Me and Homer know a two or thing about multitasking. 

Me and Homer know a two or thing about multitasking. 

Taking care of yourself, particularly your health, can become a challenge. 

I fell a victim to the trap! I've officially been working on Food Tribe for over a year now, which seems hard to believe. 


 Hanging out with the Ruckus Projects team. Ruckus taught me a lot about testing assumptions. 

Hanging out with the Ruckus Projects team. Ruckus taught me a lot about testing assumptions. 

From getting Food Tribe's first feature, to learning alongside the Ruckus Projects team, it's been a journey.

With Hailey recently joining the team, I've been able to spend more of my free time focusing on higher level projects and programs, while also giving me some additional time to tackle some of the personal goals I set for 2016. 


I've said before that working as an entrepreneur is probably the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life, and a year later, that hold's true.

The Balance of the Grind is something I've had to learn how to develop. 


The Balance Of the Grind

Balancing the things you need versus the things you want

Being an entrepreneur requires you to focus on needs versus wants, which means that you need to know what your goals are.

Once you know what your goals are, you have the beginnings of a plan of action: "How do I get from Point A to Point B?" Most likely, you're going to have to make sacrifces and put in some hard work, and learn to get creative. 

  What the average entrepreneur looks like while seeking balance. Sh*ts not pretty. 

What the average entrepreneur looks like while seeking balance. Sh*ts not pretty. 

If you're unable to find "The Balance of the Grind," you risk burnout.

But things like meditation and keeping healthy are two things I've relied on in the past in order to help provide perspective. Oftentimes, they're one and the same. You'd be surprised to hear how closely related weightlifting is to meditation.

 

Breaking into the food business isn't easy... but it's definitely tasty. 

For those of you that don't know, Food Tribe is an in development restaurant review site. Launching a restaurant review site means lots of research; research in the food world = EATING.

Knowing that I want to work in this industry but also maintain a healthy lifestyle means that I need to be prepared!

Every year I map out my goals.

For 2016, the plan was to get back in shape.

Its easy to blame the hectic hours, limited food options, and needing personal time as reasons for packing on pounds, but ultimately, I only have myself to blame.

Plus, eating is the best!

I enjoyed every bite: seafood, hot dogs, and carnitas tacos... whatever.

Feed me. 

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Food is definitely meant to be enjoyed! Once you have an understanding of nutrition (what comes in versus what comes out), you have the roadmap of a healthy lifestyle. 

Which is why I picked up Bigger, Leaner, Stronger, by Mike Matthews( @muscleforlife). I didn't know too much about Michael Matthews when I first ordered the book, but I a chance to preview his no BS style of writing via Amazon resonated with my pretty quickly.


Back to Basics

I have a pretty solid history of lifting weights: it's a passion of mine and I've done it for years

I love the gym because its a direct reflection of the world: if you come in with an open mind, willingness to ask questions, and the ability to keep training when things get hard, there's no way you're not going to make gains. 

Weight Lifting = Meditation 

  I try to avoid bringing incense to the gym, but sometimes you gotta set the mood. 

I try to avoid bringing incense to the gym, but sometimes you gotta set the mood. 

I've been meditating for about a year now.

I got started after reading Zen, Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki.

Meditation teaches you the importance of getting Back to Basics: reminding yourself that during your darkest hours and most challenging moments, by sitting and reminding yourself who you are: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

For me, its important that I get in shape in a way that I can balance around work, friends, and personal time. 

Post college, I don't have the same type of free time to spend hours in the gym. Adulthood means I have a bunch of responsibilities, which meant balancing health and nutrition came second. 

Plus, I developed some really bad habits:

  • Poor Form - I used to lift really heavy weights with really bad form. This lead to some injuries that still bug me today. Getting hurt has discouraged me from getting back into the gym and challenging myself. 
  • Poor Nutrition - A California kid at heart, I could eat burritos + tacos for breakfast lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, these aren't the proper fuel for your body. 
  • Not being consistent - Not sticking to a regular gym routine
  • Not planning - I never set fitness goals. If you don't know where you want to go, you're never going to get there. 
 I didn't know too much about Mike Matthews when I first ordered the book, but a chance to preview his no bullsh*t style of writing resonated pretty quickly with me. 

I didn't know too much about Mike Matthews when I first ordered the book, but a chance to preview his no bullsh*t style of writing resonated pretty quickly with me. 

WHICH IS WHY I PICKED UP BIGGER, LEANER, STRONGER, BY MIKE MATTHEWS

(@MUSCLEFORLIFE)

 

Matthews preaches that weight loss supplements, long hours in the gym, and boring diets are a way of the past.  

Bigger, Leaner, Stronger focuses on the  in's and out's of a healthy lifestyle: everything from the importance of  macro nutrients, meal planning and prep info, to the psychology around motivation. 

The principles of Bigger, Leaner, Stronger 

  • progressively difficult compound lifting,

  • nutrition tracking, and

  • self-awareness (knowing yourself enough to know when to rest, building a menu that you can abide to, etc). 


In 3 Weeks I've lost 18 pounds and 4% body fat...

My goal is to get down to 10% body fat and to put on as much muscle as possible. 

 After putting on 20 pounds, I decided to get back into shape. Working out at the Mecca, Gold's Gym Venice Beach, has been pretty motivating. 

After putting on 20 pounds, I decided to get back into shape. Working out at the Mecca, Gold's Gym Venice Beach, has been pretty motivating. 

My progress thus far has been pretty stellar. The biggest challenge was creating the plan: figuring out what my fitness goals were, seeing exactly where I was, and then putting together a plan and a program that I could live with. 

Check out the program that's going to get me there below:


Changes I've Made

After reading the book, the real program begins: kicking my ass into shape. In order to do so, it was about having a solid program:


Meal Prep

Mike Matthews preaches a lot about the importance of meal prep: proper nutrition is the foundation of any solid health regime. Bigger, Leaner, Stronger preaches that 90% of fitness boils down to what you put into your body. 

Macronutrients are the building blocks to a proper diet. Based on your goals, we all have different Caloric, Protein, Carbohydrate, and Fat needs, so its important to make sure that you prepare food in advance in order to make sure that you're hitting your daily numbers. 

 

Download Meal Prep Tracker Here

 



Based on my fitness goals, current eating habits, and workout frequency, I target to hit daily macro goals across: 

Calories, Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. 

  I track meals daily to ensure that I'm providing my body with what it needs to keep going. Am I nerd for building out a meal tracking spreadsheet? Yes. 

I track meals daily to ensure that I'm providing my body with what it needs to keep going. Am I nerd for building out a meal tracking spreadsheet? Yes. 

As part of the Bigger, Leaner, Stronger program, you can eat whatever you want, as long as you fall within your macro goals. Remember, you can get away with eating pizza, burgers, and fries, just as long as you're hitting your daily goals across the board.

Meal prep saves a bunch of money, makes you feel good because you know exactly what you're eating, and helps you become more creative in order to avoid burnout. 

 A dish I created: Brown Rice, Collard Greens, & a Sweet Potato+Coconut Plantain Mash w/Ground Turkey:   557 Calories, 23g protein, 74g Carbs, 18g fat. 

A dish I created: Brown Rice, Collard Greens, & a Sweet Potato+Coconut Plantain Mash w/Ground Turkey: 557 Calories, 23g protein, 74g Carbs, 18g fat. 

 Meal Prep involves making meals for the week and freezing them for later for quick access. 

Meal Prep involves making meals for the week and freezing them for later for quick access. 

 This grocery list helps me keep track of all my favorite foods for easy access.

This grocery list helps me keep track of all my favorite foods for easy access.


Track Everything


You can't know where you're going until you know where you've been!

Macros

As I mentioned earlier, tracking your macros is key #1 to the foundation of a solid nutrition program. 

I track macros daily, weekly, and monthly in order to ensure I'm coming in where I'm supposed to.

Remember: Targets change as your body changes. Make sure to listen to how your body is responding based on the direction you're looking to go. 

 This is my monthly macro tracker; I track percent achieved of my monthly goal. Hitting proteins and calories have been tough for me, not surprisingly, fats and carbs are easiest. 

This is my monthly macro tracker; I track percent achieved of my monthly goal. Hitting proteins and calories have been tough for me, not surprisingly, fats and carbs are easiest. 

Weight + Lean Body Mass

The goal is to lose body fat while maintaining muscle, or lean body mass.

Tracking Weight Loss + Lean Body Mass (LBM) allows you to measure how much fat your losing and the amount of muscle you're building. 

You can learn how to to measure your body fat percentage here. 


Because I'm in a cutting cycle, the goal is to lose fat while maintaining (ideally growing) my muscle mass. 

Cycling between Cutting, Bulking, and Maintenance phases allows you to see how your body responds to different macros and levels of workout intensity. 


Here I'm mostly concerned about body fat percentage. The video above shows how Body Mass Index might not be too accurate in terms of telling how healthy you are. 

Body Fat % + BMI

Body Fat % is a greater indicator of overall health than the outdated BMI system.

Basal Metabolic Rate and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) are stats that vary depending on YOU!

Basal Metabolic Rate: The amount of energy your body burns while at rest. 

Total Daily Energy Expenditure: The amount of energy your body burns based on your activity level.

All of us are unique: different tastes in food, activity levels, amount of energy our bodies require, etc. Tracking your BMR and your TDEE is a great way to ensure that you're keeping your health plan on track based on your activity level.

BMR + Total Daily Energy Expenditure

Over the past month, I've been trying to keep my BMR and TDEE as high as possible.

Supplement Stack

I'm not too big on supplements, but I decided to include both fish oil and protein supplements into my regime. 

 Protein Supplements are a good way to ensure that you hit your daily protein goals. I take Whey Isolate throughout the day and Casein post workout right before bed. 

Protein Supplements are a good way to ensure that you hit your daily protein goals. I take Whey Isolate throughout the day and Casein post workout right before bed. 

Fish oil is supposed to have a bunch of health benefits, and I've found that trying to hit my protein goals everyday is too difficult based on meat and vegetable proteins alone. 


 Measuring your food and drinking plenty of water are necessary evils

Measuring your food and drinking plenty of water are necessary evils


Consistently Difficult Workouts

Bigger, Leaner, Stronger gives you everything you need in order to make sure that outside of nutrition, you're taking care of things in the gym as well.

Mike spends a few chapters discussing the importance of compound lifting, proper form, and consistently challenging yourself by increasing weight. 

 I created this spreadsheet to track my workouts. Here I'm able to track strength gains, my favorite exercises, and how often I'm exercising. 

I created this spreadsheet to track my workouts. Here I'm able to track strength gains, my favorite exercises, and how often I'm exercising. 

I'm working out anywhere from 4 - 6 days a week, with floating rest days... I'm trying to listen to my body this time around, so when I feel tired, I make sure to skip the gym. 

In addition, I've included yoga once per week and make sure to get my High Intensity, High Interval (HIIT) cardio training by playing basketball for 1.5 hours/week.



Get Plenty of Rest


Getting plenty of rest is important, from both a mental perspective and a physical one: without rest, the body isn't able to recover.

I try to get at least 6 hours of sleep per night, and will usually take it easy on the weekends in terms of exercise.  Other than that, meditating, playing basketball, and hanging out with friends are all good ways I blow off steam and try to clear my head. 

In addition, there are weeks I'll completely take off from the gym. This current cycle has me hitting it pretty hard for 8 weeks, and then the plan is to lay off the gym completely for a week to allow my body to recover. 

 


The journey continues...

I've only just begun my Bigger, Leaner, Stronger journey, but I'm looking forward to keeping it going. I know it's going to be tough, but like all things, I know once I've reached my goals, the journey will have been worth it. 

If you decide to pick up the book, let me know your thoughts! I Want to know how the program is Going for you.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment in the comments section below. 

-TL