I am officially back in the game after being down with an utterly horrendous flu. As you may recall, I had to essentially take a break and temporarily stop the challenge as I was basically bed ridden and taking nothing but high volumes of liquid sugar calories (orange juice). I gave myself a week off, figuring it was best to let myself recover from that flu (and it was a BAD flu).
Well, I got back on the wagon last Friday (December 2). When last I weighed myself at the end of week 4 (November 22), I was 68.4 kg (150.5 pounds).
When I hopped on the scale today, I weighed in at 67.5 kg (148.5 pounds) on the dot.
I also took my waist measurement this morning, and it was just a little over 80.5 cm
Here’s the stats:
STARTING WEIGHT: 71.5 KG (157.3 Pounds)
STARTING WAIST: 85 CM (33.5 Inches)
CURRENT WEIGHT: 67.5 KG (148.5 Pounds)
CURRENT WAIST: 80.5 CM (31.7 Inches)
TOTAL WEIGHT LOST: 4 KG (8.8 Pounds)
TOTAL FAT LOST FROM WAIST: 4.5 CM (1.8 Inches)
So, my original plan was to finish up the challenge on December 22nd. With the week off I took for the flu, I’ll be officially finishing up on December 29th.
Since my goal was to take my waist down to 80cm (31.5 inches) and to lose about 4.5 kg (10 pounds), I’m essentially almost there. Basically…I got a pound left to lose. That’s it.
Just one more fucking pound to go. So whether or not you factor in that week off or not, I should (knock on wood) hit my goal by the origin weigh in day I set for myself.
Changes I Made This Week
I was fairly consistent with my diet this week. In fact, I’ve been fairly consistent with my diet every week. Eat in a very mild calorie deficit five days per week. Do two 24 hour fasts per week. Try to eat mostly healthy, but be flexible and don’t sweat the small stuff.
What has changed for me this week are my workouts. For the last 3 or so years, I’ve been following a lifting program called reverse pyramid training (or “RPT”).
RPT works like this- let’s say you’re doing deadlifts. You would do a couple of light sets to warmup, and then for your first real working set, you’d lift the heaviest weight you possibly could for a set number of reps (usually in the 4-6 rep range). This is your main set, and you’re going balls out on it.
Since you’re gonna be pretty goddamn wiped out after that, you’d take anywhere from 3-5 minutes for rest. Then you’d decrease the weight (usually 5%-10%) and do another set where you try to hit one more rep than your first set. So if you got 4 reps on your first set of deadlift, you’d now be shooting for 5 at the lower weight.
Rest again for 3-5 minutes. Drop the weight 5%-10%. Try to hit one more rep than the last set (you can find more info about RPT here).
The benefit of this style of training is you get to go for personal records every time you go to the gym. This style of training has served me well. BUT… there’s a catch to it. Due to the intense nature of RPT, it really needs to be done infrequently. 2-3 days per week in the gym max, with a small number of exercises.
And in order to be gaining maximum muscle with such a low volume, you need to be doing big, compound lifts. This means that squatting and deadlifting are a must.
Unfortunately for me, this past year has been a really shit one for my lower back. I’ve had nagging sciatica in my hips for the last few years, which means that I’ve already had to ditch the squats. But this year, I also managed to fuck up something in my lower back…which means that I now have to drop the deadlifts as well.
ANNNND, on top of that, the back pain is also preventing me from doing overhead presses at my gym (the gym I go to is fairly shit and doesn’t have a seated bench I can use, so all overhead presses need to be standing).
So, given that I currently can’t squat, deadlift or overhead press, RPT really isn’t the best approach for me. The volume simply isn’t high enough given my limited choices of exercises. So starting this week, I switched back to doing 5 sets of 5, which is a program I did for years before RPT (and one which I’ve also had a lot of success with) as well as some supporting lifts.
By doing this, I’m still keeping the intensity relatively high and the weight heavy, but I’m also increasing the volume quite a bit.
I trained 4 days this week, and will likely continue to do so. My (new) routine looks something like this:
Bench Press: 5 sets of 5
Incline Bench Press: 5 sets of 5
One Arm Pushup: 2 sets of 7-10 reps
Weighted Chin-ups: 5 sets of 5
Wide Grip Chin-ups (bodyweight, slow tempo): 5 sets of 5
Curls: 5 sets of 5
Leg Press: 5 sets of 7-8 reps
Bulgarian Split Squats: 5 sets of 5
Hanging Leg Raise (slow tempo, hold at the top): 5 sets of 5
Weighted Dips: 5 sets of 5
Front Shoulder Raise: 5 sets of 5
Lateral Side Raises: 15 reps (rest 10 second) 5-8 reps (rest 10 seconds) 5-8 reps (rest 10 seconds) 5-8 reps (rest 10 seconds).
Weighted Cable Crunch: 5 sets of 5
Here’s a few pics from this week: