Big Eats, Big Gains, and the Big Lift Plan

Here we are, healthily and happily delving into mid-Phase-3. Phase 3 began with the title “Big And Strong”, and we’re still living up to the goals: eating big, and getting strong. Remember my targets: 4100 cals per day, 400g protein per day, and less than 100g carbs per day.

What’s odd is that I’m not getting all that tubby. I had expected something a little more drastic, but after the early weight gain I’ve somewhat plateaued. If anything, I’m staying about the same weight it seems… despite my apparent intention to eat every dairy product in Suffolk County.

I am certainly getting stronger. I’ve been sticking to the CrossFit Fenway WODs 3 days per week, but also added in 3 days per week of heavy squats. To be exact, that’s 1 set of 20 heavy, breathing, high bar back squats. I chose high-bar because of its transferability to the Olympic lifts, and took the protocol from Strossen’s “Super Squats” – an excellent (if brief) book. Most of its knowledge is stuff you, as CrossFitters, already know: compound lifts are good, lifting heavy is good, training hard produces results, et cetera.

That said, it’s a comically simple approach with an alarmingly bold claim for success. It also doesn’t take a whole lot of time out of my day. Combining astonishing effectiveness with astounding efficiency? Sounds pretty CrossFitty to me. I’m giving it a shot.

How’s it going? Well, my squats started at an incomplete set of 65kg – only got 16 reps before I gave up. I got mentally tougher in the 10 days since, and have bumped it up to a total of 85kg so far. That’s a 44 pound increase in just 7 sessions, which is a nice pace of progress. It’s also just above my bodyweight, which is a little amazing to me.

The rule of thumb is that these sets of 20 constitute about 65% of a personal 1 Rep Max…. so if I can increase my back squats 20RM by 66 pounds during this experiment, I will theoretically increase my 1 Rep Max by an amazing 100 pounds! Can that possibly be true? Can it really be this simple? I’ve got my hunches. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, enjoy these food logs, and a few more stories embedded below.

Friday, July 9th

1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
Chicken and Strawberry Salad @ Longhorn Steakhouse (950/58/60/45)
Almonds (190/2/16/5)
Sunflower Seeds (170/2/15/6)
2 whey shakes (320/4/6/60)
2 pounds Shrimp (770/0/0/119)
Sauce (40/8/0/0)
2 burgers (400/0/10/30)
1 oz Cheese (110/1/9/6)
Whey Shake (160/2/3/30)
Totals: 3730 calories. 103g carbs, 125g fat, 403g protein.
– Not a bad attempt! Got the calories close (within 10% of my goal), and all the macronutrients are on target. Good work, me! Not even any alcohol today, which is a pretty soft and unhelpful calorie padder.

Note: you all know by know my brand of Kefir (Lifeway) and Greek Yogurt (Fage or Chobani, 0%). Whenever I mention a generic “whey shake”, I am referring to a batch of shakes I got at Costco, made by Premier Nutrition. They’re not all that tasty, but they’re edible when not refrigerated and they don’t have awful ingredients, so I’m using them as stopgap crutches when I can’t get other (real) food.

Saturday, July 10th

6 eggs (420/6/27/36)
Cheese (110/1/9/6)
2 chicken sausages (300/2/18/30)
Fage greek yogurt + 2 scoops whey protein (270/11/0/55)
Fage greek yogurt + 2 scoops whey protein (270/11/0/55)
2 whey shakes (320/4/6/60)
Larabar (210/13/25/3)
1 pound buffalo meat (760/0/44/92)
2 scotches (200/0/0/0)
1 glass red wine (125/0/0/0)
Tapas (1400/82/82/82)
Totals: 4385 calories. 130g carbs, 211g fat, 419g protein
– This was my partner’s birthday and birthday party night. I’m taking a wild-ass guess on the Tapas being about 1400 calories, and dividing up the macronutrients equally. I could be way off here, but they were all pretty basic “meat in broth/sauce” style dishes.

Yes, that’s a lot of booze. We were at Whiskey Priest down on the waterfront, so I was going to try some new whiskeys. Glen Garioch and Glen Farclas are excellent, by the way – subtle and fairly smooth with sweet and savory notes (respectively) and little of the harsh peat/smoke that I usually prefer (e.g. Talisker, Laphroaig).

Honestly, if I had made it to Sam and Nate’s BBQ, I might have had scotch there, too. Glad you guys got a bit of a fire show from some friends of mine, even thought I couldn’t make it out there!

Sunday, July 11th

6 eggs (420/6/27/36)
Cheese (110/1/9/6)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
Larabar (210/13/25/3)
Whey Shake (160/2/3/30)
2 Buffalo Steaks (360/0/5/74)
2 chicken breasts (400/0/4/96)
2 cups whole milk (300/24/16/16)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
Fage greek yogurt + 2 scoops whey protein (270/11/0/55)
Totals: 3180 calories. 102g carbs, 108g fat, 463g protein
– I almost want to call this “gluttony month”. I seem to be eating everything within reach… and it’s still not enough. Today I’m way underneath my calorie count, and I can tell you that it was a struggle to choke down those chicken breasts and buffalo steaks. At least I managed to get enough protein. I think it’s the hot days that slows me down… that, and sleeping until 10am doesn’t help.

Monday, July 12th

6 eggs (420/6/27/36)
Cheese (110/1/9/6)
Whey Shake (160/2/3/30)
Almonds (190/2/16/5)
Pistachios (170/2/15/6)
Salad (100/20/5/2)
Cheese + Sausage (300/8/25/8)
1 pound chicken breasts (400/0/4/96)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
Fage greek yogurt + 2 scoops whey protein (270/11/0/55)
Whey Shake (160/2/3/30)
Almonds (380/4/32/10)
Totals: 2990 calories. 74g carbs, 147g fat, 332g protein.
– Up and at’em early today, which means good eggs as a great start to the day. Costco sells eggs in a 90 pack (that’s 7.5 dozens), and at this rate I’ll be through them in just 2 weeks. By myself. That’s a little crazy. Still, even with that start, I didn’t make it to my targets. The reason:

No lunch. I had a business meeting, and they catered it with pizza. No luck. So I made do on sausages, and figured out what I could do as the day progressed. Too many nuts trying to make up the gap, but at least I didn’t run a calorie deficit.

Tomorrow, I am going to do my best. (That’s always the plan.)

3 thoughts on “Big Eats, Big Gains, and the Big Lift Plan”

  1. “…despite my apparent intention to eat every dairy product in Suffolk County.”

    LOL. Let me know if you need any help with that. -Les

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