Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Skinny Guy Diet

A few friends and neighbours have been asking me for advice on diet. Unfortunately I am not in a position to propose a diet that works for everyone. I have experimented with myself with a variety of diets during bulking and cutting phases. Some worked some failed. But in the end I am more knowledgeable than when I started, but I don't think I have the silver bullet. But more importantly I have information about diets that works for me. And may be more generally it may work for other skinny folks. So in today's post I just want to layout my eating habits in the hope that it might help other skinny guys out there.

To start off, I have most recently switched away from my 6 meals a day hogging to a more reasonable 3 meals a day with an optional snack. Gone are the days when I tried to stuff myself with food whether I was hungry or not. Those medium size meals every 3-4 hours were just not doing it for me. I always felt full and bloated. Was becoming more lethargic and was gaining a lot more fat than muscle. That was just not right. Then things changed.

The following is what I normally eat when I am trying to bulk up slowly. I will write another post on my eating habits during cutting phase. The general rule of thumb that I try to stick to is try and eat about 1 gm of protein per 1 pound of lean body mass. My weight is around 118 lbs with about 9% body fat. That means I am about 107 lbs lean mass. So I try and eat about 100 gms of protein a day. Simple.

That protein becomes 40% of my diet. Another 30-50% of carbohydrates and 10-30% of fat makes my meal complete. That is the rule of thumb I go with. Pretty much all my meals follow this ratio. And to give you an example, I eat 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites for breakfast. That covers the protein and some fat part. Then I have a muffin or a banana walnut cake. No surprise here I hope that for skinny guys, some amount of simple carbs does not cause trouble and I feel that it is actually beneficiary than eating slow digesting carbs like oatmeal. That takes care of my carbs and fat. Here is one example --

Then for lunch it is mostly chicken or mutton may be with an egg or 2, with some white rice. Yes I do eat rice and as a skinny guy, white rice does not seem to cause any unnecessary fat gain and also keeps my glucose levels up. I have some fruits and vegetables too. Here are some examples --


Dinner is similar to my lunch except the quantity is a bit less. Some times if I feel hungry, I have a snack in the evening. The snack is usually just some nuts and milk. So there you have it. Hope it helps answer some questions about the skinny guy's diet :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Squats Goal Achieved!

For the longest time I have been looking forward to the day when I will be able to squat 1.5 times my body weight for 8 reps. And that dream has been realized last week :). I am not really sure where I read this, but to be called an advanced body builder one should be able to

Squat 1.5 times body weight x 8 reps
Deadlift 2.0 times body weight x 8 reps
Bench press 1.2 times body weight x 8 reps
Shoulder press 0.9 times body weight x 8 reps

So I set those as my goals. Finally I am able to squat 1.5 times my body weight. However I still have a long way to go for the rest of the exercises. I am unable to find out where I read about those proportions, but a quick Google search provides me with this alternate proportions that I will use in the future.

My weight is 118 lbs (about 53.5 kgs) and I did a 80 kgs squat (20 kg + 10 kg plates on either side + 20 kg bar). so that comes out to be 1.5 times my weight. Here is a video of me doing the squats taken with my phone. Sorry about the quality.

Some purists may say that my squat is not low enough and I'd agree with them. But that is how low I can go because the horizontal bars in the squat cage stops me from going any lower. But in the future I plan to come out of the cage and go lower.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Story so far...

It is now 2 months into 2013 and wanted to give a little update on the fat %. Just like the weight gain phase that ended with me unable to add any more weight after touching 138 lbs, the fat cutting phase is similarly causing problems. I was able to lose a bit more fat since the end of 2012, but not by much.

The 3 site Jackson/Pollock method puts me at 7.02% about 0.5% less than my previous best at the end of 2012. Even so, I feel like I am somewhere between 9-10% by looking myself in the mirror. And here are some pictures to prove it (sorry about the grainy pictures, they were taken in low light).

Since I was stuck at 7.02% for a while now, I decided to start the bulking phase again. This time with a twist. I will try and keep my body fat to less than 10% and see how much weight I can gain and how long it is going to take. More updates towards the end of the year :).

Updates for 2012: Part III - Graphs don't lie

If you have missed my previous post, you might want to read that first.

As promised here are the graphs for 2012.

My weight stubbornly stayed at about 138 lbs for the longest time. No matter how much I tried to eat, I could not gain any more weight. Around June I decided to go for cutting phase and that worked fine except I lost a lot of lean mass too. But I was at least closing the gap between weight and lean mass, indicating a reduction of fat. The gap after end of June is when I could not go to gym or check my weight. Now for the fat % graph.

The fat came down really quickly as is normally the case with my body type. By the end of the year I was at 7.5% body fat and weighed in at 119 lbs. Although it seems like I am at 7.5% body fat using the 3 site Jackson/Pollock method, looking myself in the mirror, I would say I am at around 9-10%.

What next? I am not really sure. At the end of the year in 2012, I was thinking I should continue to cut down the fat until I am really looking like I am at 7.5% body fat, when I look myself in the mirror. What happened next is coming up in my next post.

Updates for 2012: Part II - It comes at a cost

If you missed my previous post, you might want to read that first.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, the goal for the year 2012 suddenly took a U-turn. Instead of continuing on with weight gain phase to reach 154 lbs, I decided to start a fat cutting phase, just for the simple reason that I am unable to gain any more weight no matter how much I eat.

It is now June 2012 and I have decided to lose fat. I cut down on my forceful over feeding and went back to good old 3 square meals a day with a snack in the evening. All the meals were regular sized ones, i.e. when I felt full, I stopped. Unlike before when I had to force feed. I felt way better with the normal diet. No more feeling of full all the time. My stomach was also feeling great. No more ahem, flatulence. I was gradually losing weight and fat. As is always the case with cutting down phase for me, I was losing a healthy dose of muscle as well.

Come July, I had to do another US trip for 4 weeks this time. And again I took a break from gym. During the trip I continued to eat normally and when I returned I checked that my weight and fat indeed have continued to drop. I decided to try and get to that elusive 7% body fat. I also decided to change my workout to the THT (targeted hypertrophy training). It was all going well and I continued to lose fat quickly until I reached about 9% body fat. This has always been my sticky point. I find it hard to go below 9%. It has happened several times before and it happened again this time too.

To speed up the process, I decided to try something new. I threw in a diet change into the mix. I never let myself starve since I started working out. But this time it is different. The diet I chose was a modification to the "eat stop eat" diet. Basically I would eat a light breakfast at around 9.00 am, then skip lunch. Go to gym around 2.30 pm, come back and have lunch at around 4.30 or 5.00. Eat stop eat tells you to pretty much skip all meals and eat a huge 4 hour long meal in the evening. I did not go to such extreme. Instead I delayed my lunch and ate dinner at normal time. This means the only meal I am really skipping is the snack that I used to have in the evening and a few less calories at the breakfast.

It did wonders and I continued to lose fat (also muscle sadly). While I was getting weaker, I was also nearing my fat % goal! By the end of the year with my THT and modified diet, I was at 7.5% body fat as measured by the 3 pinch Jackson/Pollock method. Although the numbers say I am at 7.5% fat, I think it is more closer to 9-10%, from what I can tell from seeing myself in the mirror. So how do the graphs look for the year 2012 and how do I look in the mirror? Those updates and more coming in my next post.

Updates for 2012: Part I - How the year started

It seems like I am only finding enough time to post updates every year now :). So what happened over the last 1 year since my previous update.Well lets see, last year when I wrote my earlier post, I was at 138.6 lbs and I voiced my intents on gaining more weight until I reach 154 lbs. How did that go? Not so well actually and I ended up losing 20 lbs instead. Whoa! Yeah I know.

What happened was, I was a bit busy (moved to a new house) most of January, 2012 and then in February I had to travel to the US for a couple of weeks and then the jet lag and everything put together, I could not workout for the first 2 months in 2012. The good news is, I did not lose any of my weight. I still weighed in at about 138 lbs through out that period. How did I do it? Just ate a lot of food although I was not working out. I was happy to see how I could keep my weight. The hope was that I am keeping all my muscle during that time. Little did I know, how wrong I was.

I started working out again in March, but as luck would have it, my strength was nearly not as good as it was before the break. Then I thought, well may be it is just a passing phase, I will go back to my peak strength in a few weeks if my muscle memory serves me well. Then when it came time to check my weight and fat numbers that weekend, I was in for a surprise. I have been checking my weight which has been more or less at about 138 lbs. What I did not check until that fateful day in early March is my fat %. And it stood at 14.5%. I was at 13.5% in December of 2011. It just means that while I was able to maintain my weight, it only came at the cost of fat gain and muscle loss.

I am as heavy, except I was fatter and weaker than before. Disappointing. But I still decided to chug along and continue through the gaining phase until I was 154 lbs. And only then did I come to realize that the worse is not yet behind me. No matter how much I tried, I could not gain any more weight! Since I started working out, I was losing some fat, but there was absolutely no change in weight. It hovered at around 138 lbs for 14 weeks. At which point I gave up gaining weight and decided to reverse gears and go back to losing fat phase. How did that work out? Check out my next post.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Updates for 2011

It has been more than a year since I updated this blog. But the good news is, I am not as irregular with my gym though. Having moved to India early last year, I had a lot of catching up to do, not to mention all the re-learning that I had to do since it has been almost 9 years in the US.

Anyway back to the topic of weight training, I have switched to a new program and this time it is called the Scrawny to Brawny program. Another program for the skinny folks and another attempt to become huge in no time. Meh, it does not work that way. Boring stuff aside, I did really like the organization of the book and the exercise program as well.

Basically you start off with a form and body posture correction in Phase I, then move on to some heavy lifting to build up some of those primary muscles in Phase II, and concentrate on lifting very heavy with high intensity low reps in Phase III and finally in Phase IV an attempt to get rid of the huge amount of fat you might have gained in the previous two phases.

Ideally by the end of the four phases (which should last 4 months, but lasted 6 months for me), you should have gained a lot of muscle. But like with all programs, I just made the usual amount of progress. Nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary. However, I loved this program the best, because it concentrates on all muscles (small and big). For example there is a lot of incline bench press exercises than flat bench. It means your auxiliary chest muscles develop well to support the heavy flat bench that you do in Phase III.

As I said, the progress has been pretty ordinary, and so here are the results




The last recorded weight is 138.6 lbs. So making slow progress, but getting there. I am aiming for 154 lbs. So lets see how that goes. The fat is a bit out of control for now, but hope to work on it after reaching the weight goal.