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Primal Journal - Alexhj - Lets get STRICT



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  • Primal Journal - Alexhj - Lets get STRICT

    I set myself a target at the start of this year for 12-15% body fat by the end of June. Whilst my gym work has been on point, my eating, although clean, has been excessive and I haven't been seeing the fat loss I want to.

    I've discussed it a bit more in a post on my blog - The Primal Student - let's get STRICT. Basically I need the cut my food intake, give it a couple of weeks to hopefully see some changes, if not cut my intake a bit more!

    To quote the Matt, the winner of last years transformation challenge - "The single most important skill to develop is the ability to be hungry and not-eat….You have to live with a caloric deficit in order to lose fat”

    Therefore I'm starting this journal for a bit of accountability. I'll aim to update it every day, even if only short and brief, but I'm making a concerted effort between now and May-ish to really push myself to get LEAN.

    Yesterday was day 1, so here goes:

    Sunday, 8th March:

    Weight - 179.8lbs

    Workout - BP 5x5 77.5kg, Squat 5x5 117.5, Row 5x5 70, Dips 3x5 15, Planks 3x60s

    Breakfast - Some chicken, rice, broccoli
    PWO - Rest of above meal plus 75g Oats and Whey shake
    Lunch - There was an event on at the university - loads of free sandwiches! Stole a stack, discarded half the bread (I'm eating high protein, high carbs, low fat on workout days) - plus an apple
    Dinner - Chicken, rice, broccoli and sriracha. Cup of redbush tea. Early night.
    Last edited by alexhj; 03-09-2015, 02:31 AM.
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  • #2
    I have to disagree with Matt's quote....he obviously doesn't understand the role of leptin! We have over 50 trillion cells, and they WILL eat, weather u "feed" them, or not. U have to construct a diet that will leave u satisfied, and well as gives u the nutrients u need. U can create a caloric deficit without starving urself. Research continues to show that it's not really caloric restriction that leads to things such as longevity and weight loss....but it's macronutrient restrictions. The best proven diet for satiety, while keeping overall calories the lowest.......low carb, moderate protein, high fat. I eat an 85% fat diet, and I can go all day without even the thought of food......because my leptin levels stay in check.

    Sent from my iPhone
    Tim Bumper


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply Tim!

      For me, as some one who has been eating paleo for almost 5 years now - unless I get strict and real with myself, I'll never get down to the body fat percentages that I want to. It's all well and good saying 'eat high fat, enough protein and lots of green fresh veg etc' but I've been doing this for 5 years and my body fat is basically the same as when I started!

      I think the nearer you get to a low body fat, the harder it is to lose the fat. Also maintaining is easy, to actually LOSE (be in a deficit) takes some kind of sacrifice, somewhere. If I make a conscious effort now, to cut the calories, then once I've hit my target I can go back to my (5 year proven!) maintenance plan.

      IF my target date was still 6 months or a year off then obviously the deficit would much less than it is considering I want my target in 2 months time - and I could probably get away with being less strict and rigorous.

      I am in no way starving myself either, I am eating plenty of healthy, nutritious food - I'm just at a deficit enough (especially on my non-training days) that I should see the scale shifting in my favour.

      Log - Monday, 9th March:

      Weight - 178.6 lbs

      Breakfast/lunch/dinner - Roast chicken drumstick & thigh, mixed veg, drizzle olive oil.
      A couple of small, white coffees throughout the day.
      A large bag of salad with a balsamic vinaigrette with dinner.

      Food wasn't overly boring but I would normally have a bromlette in the morning with cheese, bacon and veg but I had a spare chicken thigh in the fridge that needed eating up.

      Was meant to swim with some friends for an hour but the pool was booked out. I'd been up at 5:30 that morning so got an early night and slept for a solid 8+ hours.
      Last edited by alexhj; 03-11-2015, 07:03 AM.
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      • #4
        Tuesday - 10th March

        Weight - 177.4 lbs

        Breakfast/lunch/dinner - chicken breast (195g), boiled, skin-on sweet potato (250g) and as much veg as would fit in the remaining space in my boxes! Had a 50g Oats and Whey shake (with 10g glutamine) post work out with one of the meals. Small bit of housemates flapjack (approx 60 cals... couldn't resist) and had some homemade veg soup after dinner as was still hungry (approx 180 cals) - I need to try and fight this!

        SQ 5x5 120
        OHP 5x5 60 (BOOM! feels good to see the big plates on the bar)
        DL 1x5 142.5 (BOOM again, been struggling with deads for a while, have de-loaded and now making progress again)
        Chins 7/6/6 BW (struggle with chins a lot but my form is good and I'm doing full ROM)
        Hanging knee raises 2x8 BW (only just started these but really enjoying them in my routine)

        Went to bed later than I wanted to but had to do some cooking for the next day. Put a whole turkey leg into my slow cooker, should be enough meat for the next couple of days. Woke up after 2/3 hours and then couldn't sleep for a bit. Had an alarm set for 5.45am so I could get to campus and finish an assignment early but didn't get out of bed till half 6... oh well, the assignment is finished and was handed in on time, no worries!
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        • #5
          Saturday 14 March

          Went out to for breakfast with a friend at one of my favourite local restaurants and the first of it's kind - Paleo. Had an amazing meal, eggs royale (on paleo bread) - banana and blueberry paleo pancakes - 'caveman' fried breakfast - eggs, bacon, sausage meat, sweet potato hash, tomato and mushrooms. AMAZING!

          I then had a very poor day of food choices - basically eating too much, had a couple of drinks in the evening... generally no good.

          I did end the day with Spicy Thai Pork Larb. Spicy pork in lettuce leaves - they were SO tasty!

          Sunday 15 March:

          Day off to a much better start - coffee, drove to campus and went to the gym.
          Squat 5x5 122.5
          OHP 5/4/4/4/5 62.5
          DL 1x5 145 (BOOM!)
          Chins 6/6/6 - these are so poor and never seem to improve although I was doing proper chins this time rather than palms facing each other and I think chins are harder.
          Hanging knee raises 2x8

          Breakfast/PWO - chicken, turkey, boiled sweet potato and bok choi
          Last edited by alexhj; 04-24-2015, 03:46 AM. Reason: pics
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          • #6
            Woah it's been a tough 6 weeks since I last updated this...uni work has been intense but my big project for the year is finished with and I just have revision and exams left. With that in mind, it's time for a FURIOUS CUT (furious pete stylee).

            43 days till my exams are totally finished, so 43 days of cutting, revising, eating well and hitting the gym hard.

            Day 1 of cutting:
            Plenty of black coffee and water
            Beef mince, broccoli and garlic for dinner tonight
            Have a shift at my bar job later, 9-3am (wish it wasn't so late) - will need to be strong and avoid all drinks/snacks but it can be done!
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            • #7
              Work didn't finish till 3:45am and I had one (one!) shot of tequila (with salt and lemon, ofc) but otherwise it went a treat. Diet was strict, I drank lots of water and I slept well.

              - beef and spring greens (fried in olive oil) with some coleslaw on the side

              Day 2 of CUT:
              Got out of bed at 10:30 or so, cooked some chicken for the day and drove to campus for 12 noon. I don't normally eat in the mornings but seeing as the chicken was warm and the skin was crispy I had a thigh.

              Went to the gym with a buddy but didn't push myself too hard as we were working together and I didn't want to go too hard on him. We went for the machines as were were doing very different weights and swapping is so much easier. Squat machine, leg press, chest press and rows, followed by 3 sets of plank and a final drop set on the chest press (60-50-40-30-20 till exhaustion).

              I thought I had work that evening so had bought food to campus - 3 thighs, 2 drumsticks and a load of broccoli and the rest of the coleslaw. Managed to get the evening off (yay for an early night!), went home and cooked myself a tuna oat fry:

              Tuna 130g
              Sachet of Oats so Simple 27g
              Large egg

              Plus S&P, spring onion, garlic, spices etc. Easy to make and delicious with a wedge of lemon!

              Day 3 of CUT:
              Slept great - at least 8 hours. Left the house at 8am for another day on campus. Did loads of revision and felt good. Had one delicious strawberry and got a nice photo of them.

              Back home for 6pm, dinner was chicken breast fried in garlic and olive oil and sliced greens, followed by 3 eggs and 2 bacon, followd by a tin of salmon and more sliced greens. I really appreciate this once a day eating thing - I don't have to think about food or food prep all day long leaving me to just get on with stuff, then when I'm home in the evening I can devote an hour or two purely to cooking and eating - bliss!

              Fat loss is not going as fast as I'd like it to, going to up my protein intake a bit as I'm not always hitting the 180g a day I had planned to, sometimes only 100.

              I was in bed by 9:30 and read till I passed out.

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              • #8
                Day 4 of CUT:

                Good early start after a solid 8 hours of sleep. In the gym by 11am:

                5x5 110kg Squats
                5/4/3/5/5 57.5kg OHP
                2x 150kg DL
                9/8/6 Chins
                2x8 hanging knee raises

                Workout didn't go as well as I would have liked - the back squats felt pretty good after a few weeks of front squatting but the OHP is still stalling and the deadlift... I just want to break the 150kg barrier! I'm not sure what I need, maybe take a bit more time over the warm up (longer between each warm up set) and rest a good 5mins before trying the work set, IDK.

                I'm making good progress with the chins which I am very pleased with - was stuck doing 5/5/5 pull ups for weeks and weeks, I think I much prefer chins and would like to see an improvement in my biceps over the next few weeks.

                Food wise - litres of water/tea/black coffee all day. 10g pre-workout (<5 cal), 50g oats & whey shake with 5g L-glut and 5g BCAA post-workout. Dinner was HUGE:

                350g rump steak
                2 chicken thigh and drumsticks
                3 eggs
                and a big bag of salad with home made balsamic.

                I hadn't quite hit my calories for the day and have noticed poor energy for the last week or so (I think I'm going too low with the deficit) so had another 40g O&W, 5g L-glut, 5g BCAA just before bed.

                Total for the day: 1940 cals, 217g P, 47g C, 96g fat.

                I'm trying to be in keto at the moment but have 5kg of oats & whey to get through. I'm not sure of the exact science behind it all (although I did discover Peter Attia over at The Eating Academy and devoured everything he has to say on the subject) but if I aim to be in Keto all the time (<20g carbs most days) but have 30g of carbs in my shake post-workout (taking the days total to <=50g), I think it won't disrupt anything.

                In bed by 10pm, had a great nights sleep and woke up before my alarm, always a good sign!
                Last edited by alexhj; 04-28-2015, 12:46 AM.
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                • #9
                  Day 5 of CUT:

                  Woke up before alarm, I had a nice 10 minutes in bed reading the news before I HAD to get up.

                  Semi-productive day on campus, I'm just revising at the moment but doing a topic per day... Meaning if I have a semi-productive day that topic really suffers - need to up my game!

                  Went home early ish as was hungry, meal 1 was 350g chicken breast, cubed and marinated in soy, honey, coconut flakes, chili flakes, soy sauce etc. I fried this up with some greens and some brussel sprouts, super tasty.

                  Meal 2 was simply 600g of smoked gammon joint that I'd covered in mustard, honey, black pepper and clove and roasted for an hour, eaten with some picalilli. This was super salty and I wish I hadnt eaten the whole thing - still fit my macros but would have been nicer to trade out 1/3 of it and have a couple of fried eggs. Had 1 cheeky date just before bed to satisfy a minor sweet craving. The sooner I finish those dates the better...

                  Total for day: 74g F, 9g C (+ 1 small date), 195g P (slightly overkill maybe), approx 1500 cals.
                  Blog -


                  • #10
                    Day 6

                    Day 6 of the CUTTTT:

                    Again woke before my alarm, had a nice cup of tea and a chat with a friend before leaving at 7am.

                    Had another semi-productive day (I spend too many hours in the morning reading news etc - the elections are just too interesting!) but a good gym session.

                    115kg Squat 5x5
                    70 BB Row 5x5
                    75 Bench 5/5/4/4/4
                    15 Dips 3x5 + 2x bw max
                    Pressups 3-4xmax

                    Being on a -10% (rest) -30% (training) calorie deficit I guess I cant expect to be making massive gains on anything really but my bench is particularly annoying as it seems so far behind all my other lifts. Using strengthlevel for most lifts I'm at Intermediate/Intermediate-Advanced, my bench is only Novice-Intermediate and could really do with some work.

                    I've decided to quit weighted dips in the future (as I can imagine getting hurt) and just do more press ups - my chest is my weak point and slow to respond and I think I need more volume. This workout would then be Squats, BBRows, Bench, Dips 3xMax BW, Press ups 3xMax BW.

                    Food wise:
                    70g Oats & Whey shake, +5g BCAA +5g L-Glut. I had half of this pre-work out and half post. I do all my workouts in a fasted state and have read that pre-workout protein/bcaa stops any potential catabolism that might occur when lifting weights fasted.

                    At home: 3x cold chicken drumsticks, 2x thighs, 300g broccoli & brussel sprouts, beef stew.

                    I recently bought some more whey, omega 3s and some protein pancake mix. Had some pancakes for the first time ever - they were fucking amazing! Maple syrup flavoured but still low carb and at 70p for a plate full I can't complain. Had a 50g serving with 3 fried eggs - HEAVEN! Finally something acceptable to satisfy sweet cravings.

                    Total: 1900 cals, 63g carbs, 83g fat, 219g protein
                    Blog -


                    • #11
                      Day 7:

                      Weight - 177.8 lbs. Aim for June is approx 12% BF, 170ish lbs.

                      My scales have been annoying me recently - I've had them on the lino kitchen floor but they vary considerably depending on where they are placed - over 5/6 readings in different places they can have a range of 5+lbs! Very unhelpful for plotting real change so I've placed them in the corridor on an old cabinet door that had fallen off. With any luck I can leave it there and being in the same place will give me some repeatability. Starting from today then I will weigh myself every day, first thing in the morning when I wake up after I've been to the loo but before I have anything to drink.

                      Had my Viva today (short but stressful meeting regarding my 3rd year project and 25% of my mark for the year) which went pretty good. Treated myself to 200g of turkey ham afterwards. Got home and had a tin of sardines and put a brisket in my slow cooker:

                      1kg brisket
                      Tin of red beans
                      Tin of tomatoes
                      Cumin/Coriander/Garlic/Cinnamon sticks/Clove/S&P/Chilli flakes/Coco powder

                      Left it for 4+ hours. Not quite long enough to fall apart but still very tender if still requiring a knife and fork to eat. Had with broccoli and peas and cheese on top. I ate a bit too much really and had stomach ache in bed that night - maybe it was the 100g of cheese I had?!

                      Got to bed a bit late but still woke up before my alarm and weighed in at 177.4lbs.
                      Blog -


                      • #12
                        Day 8

                        Gym day:

                        Mixing up the order of my exercises so I've got max energy for the ones I want. Have been stuck at 150kg deads for ages now so I went for them straight away and SMASHED IT! 5 decent, clean reps, felt so good!

                        OHP - have stopped trying to progress with this for a bit and stayed at 55kg for 5x5 - but only just made the last few reps. Maybe I'm losing strength?

                        Squats - 117.5, 5x5. Form wasn't great and was bending too much.

                        Chins - 7/6/7 - not great and definitely lower than my last attempt - again, maybe I'm losing strength or the DLs took it out of me?

                        Hanging knee raises were also weak. Finished off with a drop set on the lat pull down machine - with any luck it'll help for chin progression next time.

                        pre-work out - 10g bcaa and some pulse v4
                        post - 50g oats & whey, 20g protein, 5g l-glut

                        Went to a bbq with some friends before work - 5 quarter pounder beef burgers, 2 chicken drumsticks, 3 small pork chops. Crisps and a cocktail. Had work from 8pm and had maybe 7/8 drinks there (it's that kind of place, for good or bad..) but the majority were diet pepsi + spirits and g&ts.

                        Shift didnt finish till 3.30am, went home with some friends and had 2 more drumsticks and maybe got to bed by 5am - SO LATE.

                        Woke up this morning at 10am and had to move my car - suitably tired and hungover but had a good night so probably worth it.
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                        • #13
                          Day 9

                          Woke up late and hungover.. not a good start!

                          Got to campus half 10, had a strong coffee and tried to get some work done for the day.

                          I use Headspace to meditate, I'd finished one package the day before and have now moved on to the anxiety package. It's a great app and it makes meditation simple and convenient. The more convenient an action is the easier it is for me to stick with it:

                          Workouts - stronglift app - tells me exactly what to do, has all the timers, makes the gym effortless (apart from the lifting of course!).
                          Meditation - Headspace - easy, sit down, plug in head phones, listen!
                          Diet - MyFitnessPal - easy to log food and track calories/macros.
                          Eating once per day - Don't have to think/stress about food till I'm home in the evening - then I can cook whatever I like in the house (I only buy meat/eggs/frozen veg/etc so food choices are always good).

                          If only there was an app to make relationships easier!

                          I had a mystery shopping assignment at a small but busy pub out in the country. Had a pint of beer, a burger and extra onion rings - not the best choices (I should have gone for the steak and no chips). Got home and had a bowl of frozen fruit, creme fraiche, protein powder and coco powder - yum!

                          Probably overdid the calories today and way too many carbs but still <2000 cals for total day and hopefully an adequate amount of protein - with any luck it'll be one of those days where I dont make any progress but I don't go backwards either!
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                          • #14
                            Day 10 - Gym &amp; Steak

                            Weight: 177.6lbs


                            Managed to smash through my 75kg BP stall, hit 5x5 no worries.
                            Row 72.5kg 5x5
                            The squat racks were busy and I was in a rush so went to the leg press - maxed out the machine for 3x10 (I think it's like "140" kg).
                            Did 3x max BW dips and 3x max press ups - it's nice to get some volume for a change!
                            Planks - 3x60s (left leg/right leg/both legs), 90s rest.

                            Afterwards I did a few brief rowing sprints - maybe 5x30s with 30-45s rest in between.

                            10g BCAA and 12g pre-workout
                            35g O&W + 40g W + 5g L-glut

                            Continued with my 20min meditation program - gives everything a subtle positivity.

                            I went out for a steak (had a free meal available to me) - went for the 14oz aberdeen angus rump steak. No chips but onion rings. Also had to drink 2 drinks - can of Vedett beer and a double gin & slim tonic.

                            At home I had the rest of the pot of creme fraiche with frozen berries, whey and coco powder. Had another drink with a friend - sailor jerrys rum and tonic with lime juice - and got to bed a bit late. Had a terrible nights sleep - was really hot all night and couldn't sleep but after a relatively poor day of food choices I woke up the next day having not gained any weight - silver lining!

                            Gonna have to get a bit more strict (as is usual with me) - 4.5 weeks left till my cut is officially over - I can cheat and have drinks then but for now I need to tighten it up a bit.
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                            • #15
                              Day 11 - CHICKEN

                              Had a good day of working today and got a fair bit done.

                              Meditation is going well and I'm finding it easier and easier to keep my mind focused on my breath and not letting it wander.

                              I had a few mouthfuls of a friends lemon drizzle cake - it's in my top 3 cakes along with coffee and walnut and carrot (with a cream cheese icing - YES!).

                              Dinner was...

                              I had a whole chicken that I first jointed. The breast went back into the fridge, I then covered the rest in lemon and thyme flavouring, olive oil and pepper and roasted it for 30 minutes or so.

                              Whilst this was cooking I toasted some cumin and salt, poured in olive oil and fried off some garlic and ginger. I then tossed in some defrosted brussel sprouts and spinach.

                              I picked the cooked chicken carcass clean with my fingers, ate all the crispy chicken skin, pulled the meat off the bones and cleaned the bones with my teeth. The chicken and half the veg were then put back into a pan with 4 whisked eggs and I made an omelette... delicious!

                              I had a couple of vodka tonics with my meal as well.

                              Total for day: approx 1600 calories, 8g carbs, 93g fat and 122g protein.
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