Why I Need to Make a Change — The Plan

TAGS: chaos theory, Why I Need to Make a Change, drop body fat, general strength, blood work, depression, muscle gain, program design, chad aichs, central nervous system, weight loss, fat loss

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In part one of this series, I wrote about why I need to make some major changes in my life and training. The majority of the changes are with my training, which has a major effect on my life. I also wrote about my theory that my central nervous system is just majorly overworked and is the biggest trigger for flaring up my issues — those issues being sleep problems, which trigger depression, and on and on. In part two I want to talk about my plan and my goals for the next six months of this little experiment.

This whole experiment is based on a theory and I suspect, like most theories, it will change based on how the experiment goes. So I am looking at the biggest change, my training, in the same light. I am not going to make or follow a really strict training program because I know it will have to change and evolve depending on if I am going in the direction to meet my goal. It is more important to make sure I am getting closer to my goal than to meet a strict program. Basically, if I have a strict program set out in front of me I will get it done no matter what, but I need to be able to adapt. Having that loose program will make it easier for me mentally to focus more on how I am doing and feeling. What I am looking for is a general strength crossed with a bodybuilding type of program. I have not really found one I totally agree with, so as usual, I will make up my own. The word "chaos" keeps popping into my mind, and I like the idea of chaos when it comes to training: Keep the body guessing and always throw new things at it. Force it to grow and learn to adapt.


Part 1: Why I Need to Make a Change


To start my training I am going to do a three-day split. I will train Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. Monday will be my leg and low back day. This will be the day I can squat or deadlift. These are main exercises to me that should always be done, but I will be doing them with much lighter weight for much higher reps. After that, I will move onto more specific leg and low back exercises for one or two exercises per body part. Thursday will be my chest, shoulder, and triceps day. This will be the day I bench, followed by more specific exercises for the chest, shoulders, and triceps for one or two exercises per body part. Saturday will be biceps and upper back day. Again, one or two exercise per body part.

 

I have thought a lot about this split and, honestly, I can find no split I really think is awesome. I do not want to do really specific movements like a bodybuilder, so I do not want to try to do just one or two body parts a session. I still want to bench and squat like a powerlifter. You hit the whole body with these lifts, so it changes up the muscle recovery. For example, I can’t do just thighs thinking I am not going to work my low back because I am going to squat like a powerlifter. I cannot do bench press thinking I will only work my chest because I am going to bench like a powerlifter.

Even this split is not ideal, but I think it is a good place to start. I will decide the exercises I do on each day of training. I see no need to plan this out any further. I will also use some HIT training principles, and ones similar to those used by Dorian Yates. I did these way back in the day in my twenties and they served me well. I will do one or two warm-up sets followed by one full intensity set, going to failure and then taking a five to 10-second pause, followed by as many more reps as possible.

I am sure I will end up doing drop sets and all kinds of other things too. I am not going to spend a lot of time worrying about reps either. I plan to do some days hitting one set of around 10 reps and other days one set of around 20. Again, that will all be decided on that training day. The one thing I am not going to do is max effort for one-rep work. I will not do any dynamic work either. It will be a long six months! I am sure some people reading this are scratching their heads, and maybe they were looking for something more complicated. You have to remember my goals here (keep reading on). I also want to keep these training sessions under one hour because I want to maintain a decent pace to increase endurance and stamina. I will call it "general strength chaos theory."

With a training plan that is so vague, you should not expect my nutrition plan to be much more specific. For starters, when I actually began to look at my current nutrition I realized I am not consuming nearly enough calories. I guess so many years of forcing down food has made eating so hard for me that if I do not watch it, I end up tailing off my consumption. Again, with my goals, I am not going to get too crazy with this.

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So what I have done is come up with a standard day of nutrition that would be pretty easy for me to stick to during the week. In fact, I did this by writing it all up on a folded-in-half piece of paper one day at work. Basically, I decided what I would eat at what time, what the calories would be, and how much would be protein. I'm not even too worried about carbs right now. I dropped from 385 down to my 305 starting weight of this experiment by simply not eating carbs before 4 or 5 PM. I tried the whole full keto stuff for a long time and, for some strange reason, it seriously screwed up my sleep even worse that it already is. So I started doing this and the same plan helped my training partner drop from 320 is to 265. I am such a simple guy I can eat the same stuff every day for a seriously long time. Over time I will come up with more variety of meals and adjust everything based on the results I am seeing. I am sure as things change my nutrition will have to change. Again, I am not a bodybuilder, so I am not going to freak out about a meal out.

I am and have always been a goal-orientated person, but this situation is a bit strange for me. I always have a fixed or set goal — something tangible. In training, it has always been a specific weight or maybe even specific reps with a specific weight. In powerlifting, it was a weight, total, record, or a championship. In life, it has always been to save a set amount of money, to obtain a certain motorcycle, to buy a house, to pay off a bill, etc. My goal this time is so different.

It is difficult for me to even put it in words. It's to be happy, to feel good. To be the person I know I can be. To not have to go through so many depression episodes or change my personality so much. To be able to maintain a relationship without putting someone through those ups and downs. Maybe to have highs and middles with very few lows. For the lows to be within a more normal range and to be brief. I have always said that what I go through, everyone goes through; I just do it at a very intense and extreme level.

How do I quantify this so I can know for sure I have achieved my goal? I really have no idea. Maybe my heart will just know if I have. The best idea I have found is to keep a diary, which I have started doing. I need to put this goal above all any others but I still feel it would be interesting to keep track of some more tangible things. I am not concerned with my health, per se, because I am healthy. I have regular check ups and blood work done. There are some small concerns, but nothing any other 300-pound guy that trains wouldn't have, such as elevated creatinine levels. My blood pressure and cholesterol are fine. I am sure there are some areas where I could improve but none that are a big deal.


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I am also okay with how I look. Yes, I carry more fat than I should, but I am not a big slob. The idea of leaning out and being in better shape is appealing to me, though. I have always said I wanted to have noticeable abs at some point in my life. I am also okay with my body weight, but I know dropping will assist with my real goal here because it will automatically increase stamina and endurance by having less weight to move around. How physically big I am is also not a concern at this point. People laugh, but for me, my current weight is skinny and small. At one time in my life, I was huge and I let go of that a long time ago. So even though these things are not any real concern for me, they all will play some role in this experiment. It makes sense to me to keep track of them.

I have plenty of copies of blood work and I did have a partial blood test done just a few weeks ago. I always get regular blood work done, so I will have something to compare with. I can also keep track of blood pressure with those checkups and the information from when I regularly give blood. For the first time in my life, I actually did a body fat analysis at the start of this process. I was at 23.8-percent, which I was okay with. I think it will be interesting to see where that percentage goes. I decided to take body measurements, too. These are already much smaller than in my prime of competing but will probably morph a bit during this experiment. At my highest I was 397 and starting this I was 305. With all of these things I do not really have any set goals, but more or less just want to see how they change. As for measurement, I would like to see my midsection decrease and maybe increase arms and chest some. It really doesn’t matter so much to me. As for body weight, I really do not have a set goal either. If I got down to 275 or so I would still be okay with this. Again, the goal is to feel better and not have to keep dealing with my issues.

I said in the beginning of this process I would probably end up changing and morphing as it goes along. I am quickly finding out I need to work on some mental issues and change some traits in my personality. I will go into more detail about those and give some updates in my next article of this series. So far, there have been way more changes than I expected. I have also noticed some things I did not realize needed work. It has been very strange and interesting and I can’t wait to see what else it brings.

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