A Merry Rogue

One working Dad's journey to find "healthy".

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's a Wrap! . . . for the Build Phase Anyway - Body Beast Day 25

I completed the final Build Shoulders workout this morning to close out the Build Phase of Body Beat.  Tomorrow is a rest day, then it's all Bulk for 6 weeks.

Today was the first day that I didn't break my previous weeks numbers (I keep track of everything and always look to lift more each time around).  However this was by design.  Starting with the 3rd round of Build, I really started to make sure I was focusing on form & tempo of the workouts.  I work out at the gym and don't follow the videos, so this takes a bit of extra effort and discipline on my part.  Since I began lifting weights in 9th grade, I was always focused on sports performance.  More speed, more power, more strength, more agility . . .etc.  I have never really focused on actually building size.  So while I had all the knowledge in my head about what hypertrophy (building mass) was and what it takes . . . that is entirely different than actually doing it.

Slow down, use perfect form, use those negatives (control the weight down), keep the rest periods short.

Usually someone would only go down in weight when they can't finish a rep on a single exercise.  In Body Beast, you have to worry about the next exercise too!!!  Don't be afraid to drop the weights so you can finish the workout without having to pause, stop or take extended breaks.  Keep pace with Sagi and the guys in the video.  Or if you are like me, pay attention to the rest periods in between and try to keep with it.


For those just tuning in;  I did a mish-mash schedule where I am doing the Build Phase from the Lean Beast Schedule, but have added 3 days to finish out the 4th cycle of the workouts.  The original schedule ended on Build Back & Bis, and went into Bulk.  Skipping the last Beast Cardio & Abs and Build Shoulders workouts.  I extended the phase to include these.

For the Bulk Phase, I am actually switching to the Huge Beach schedule.  So 6 weeks of Bulk workouts sans the cardio that would have been interjected in the Lean schedule.

Then, once I am done with that I will be switching back to the Lean Schedule and doing the Beast Phase from that.

There are several reason for this.  First, the decision to add the 3 missing days to the Build phase . . . well, no reason really.  I just like to complete a round of workouts.  Ending on Back & Bis felt like I was missing that one last Cardio & Abs as well as Shoulders.

Switching to the Bulk Phase from Huge Beast was because despite eating 3200 calories (I chose the Ripped Plan), I dropped about 3-4 lbs during the Build phase (official numbers tomorrow).  I have adjusted that a bit and have bumbed my calories up to the 3400 plan (half way between the Mass & Ripped diets).

Then of coarse the decision to go back to the Beast Phase from Lean is because it is made to shred even more fat than the Huge schedule.

I chose to do Body Beast knowing that I would have to have patience.  The whole point it to gain muscle mass.  This delays the weight loss until towards the end.  While losing fat and getting to about 16% body fat is my initial goal . . . I am more than happy taking a bit longer route to get there.  In doing so, I want to get the most out of it.

I see a lot of people fail or get discouraged with Body Beast (because they "get fatter" or "aren't losing weight" . . . well, you didn't really take a look at what this program is designed to do, did you?  Have patience.  Put in the work, follow the diet and you'll be amazed at what this plan can do for you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The "Slightly Belated" 2015 Recap

The year that is 2015 was an interesting year for me.  The twins went from "babies" to "toddlers", I changed jobs, our family moved to a place that better fit our family and Friends & Family got married.

It was also the first year that I have really seen significant progress in my journey to get healthy since beginning this blog.  At my heaviest this past year I was 273 . . . 273!!!  Well that is a new high for me I believe.  However I ended the year at 253 for a total loss of 20 pounds.  Nothing drastic or mind blowing, but it is the most weight I have lost since the start of all this (I began this blog at 265).

As I look back, there is a significant amount of things that got me this far.  The first of which is that I began walking on a regular basis.  I started by shooting to hit 10,000 steps each day.  Some days I do, some days I don't, but I get out and walk during some of my breaks at work, as well as to and from the bus each morning.  I believe I began doing this in January or February.

Earlier this year I also started to focus on eating even healthier on a regular basis.  Which started when I read an article over at The Art of Manliness on How to Increase Your Testosterone Naturally.  In this article, the writer talks about how he was over-worked, under slept, stressed, not eating right, not exercising regularly and gaining weight around his mid-section as a result.
. . . sound familiar?  I started following the diet and started walking a little bit more (walking with correct posture and muscle firing, and at a faster pace) and in short order was losing weight.

The biggest problem?  Well neither of these stuck for very long . . . or I should say that I wasn't consistent with them.  I kept it up for a while, then would drop off due to life getting busy, and then jump back on after a month or two off.

The biggest change thus far is that in November my wife and I started a program together from BeachBody called 21 Day Fix.  Doing a program together was one of the biggest pushes we needed to get on track to really getting ourselves healthy again.

So What's Next - 2016?

We have since finished 21 Day Fix (see my results here) and I am now onto Body Beast, and the wife is starting another round of 21 Day Fix and will then be doing a round of The Master's Hammer & Chisel (the newest program from BeachBody).  Which is what I will start once I finish Body Beast.

Between now and August we plan to do 3-4 different programs to eventually get to our end goals.

What I have really like about the programs is that it comes with everything you need to succeed.  Tells you what & how much to eat, and the workouts are pretty intense.  Follow it and you will see results.  While my wife has become a BeachBody Coach, we are not "all about BeachBody".  We have other things we do and love that help keep us fit.  But for right now, BeachBody is what is helping us get there.  If you think you might want to do a BeachBody program, drop me a line and I will be happy to answer any questions (or point you in the right direction).  I mean . . . my wife is a BeachBody Coach . . . yeeeaaahhhh . . .

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Finding What Works For You & 21 Day Fix Results

So let's start with the "Finding What Works For You" portion of the post.  Body Beast is definitely a change in gears from what I was doing with 21 Day Fix.  21DF is 30 minutes of cardio per day and eating at a deficit.  Body Beast is 4 Days of lifting on a split schedule (Chest & Tris one day, Legs the next . . .etc) with one day of cardio, a rest day, then repeat.  It is also eating at a surplus so that you gain muscle (and probably some fat) and then work your butt off at the end for the "big reveal" at the end after you burned off some excess fat.

One thing to remember is that your body is great at adapting and that it will adapt differently to different stresses.  When you are doing cardio and eating at a deficit, it will start to burn excess fat for energy to make up the difference . . . and therefore help you towards your weight loss goals.  Now shift gears and start lifting weights to gain muscle or strength and things change.  One thing is that your body will work to retain more water (Oh that scary thing called water weight!) in order to help your body heal after you caused all the micro-tears in your muscles to get stronger/bigger.  When you body is inflamed like that, it likes to retain stuff to help in the healing process . . . which means you'll be weighing a bit more at times when you body doing whatever it needs to be doing during your path to a healthier you.

The other aspect to keep in mind is your diet, especially when you are following a set "diet" or meal plan provided with a home workout.  Your body is going to react differently to different foods than my body is.  Getting and staying healthy is a learning process where you have to pay attention to yourself and how it adapts or reacts to things.  Seek out information, advice (professional or otherwise) and always see how your body does in reaction to that advice.  There is no master cookie cutter to getting health that will ever fit everyone.

This of coarse is all in light of me having to change up the diet for Body Beast a little.  I was eating breads and legumes that I normally don't eat very often and it was causing bloating and slow digestion.  To the point of not really being able to finish all of my food during the day.  Eating as many calories as this program has you eating is a lot to try and swallow with having digestive issues slowing up the process.  So I opted to change it to where I am only in-taking one of those per day and using more of the options that agree with me better.  I'll take a few days to see how my body reacts to that and make any adjustments needed.

I also cut out trying to get a meal in before my workout.  I have never been the type in the past to eat or drink (aside from water) before my workouts.  Yet with BeachBody, they usually recommend it (as do some other health professionals).  Again, I decided to listen to my body and do what I feel works best for me.  I wake up at 5AM, put on my workout clothes, grab my gear and walk to 5 blocks to the gym.  Then it's warmup, workout, stretch, shower & grab the bus to work across the street . . . and shove food in my mouth on the way to work.  No more trying to cram something in my belly when I'm not really awake.  I find that I am much more alert, ready and have more energy for my workouts on an empty belly.

It's just what works for me.  Now go find out what works for you.

Now for the 21 Day Fix results!

I started 21 Day Fix the Monday November 30th and finished the program on Sunday, December 20th.  Due to illness, I did miss the final two workouts of the program.  That being said, I had some pretty great results.  As a note, if you haven't been following up to this point, I did modify the workout schedule and did weight lifting three times a week for the first two weeks instead of the Cardio workouts on those day.  Then finished the final week as prescribed in the workout plan (ie: two cardio workouts / day).

Height: 6'2"
Starting Weight:  259 lbs
Starting Body Fat Percentage:  31%
Ending Weight:  253 lbs
Ending Body Fat Percentage:  27%

Total Fat Loss:  11 lbs
Total Muscle Gain:  7lbs
Total Inches Lost:  4.25"

It's not the most astronomical achievement known to man . . . but dammit I think I did all right for just 3 weeks.  Better posture, tighter in quite a few areas, as well as better definition in some.  Can't wait to see where Body Beast brings me.  

Monday, December 28, 2015

Not Really A Blog Post

Well I just don't have the time and energy to put into a fully fledged blog post today, so all you get is this right here. 

Completed the Day 8 workout, Build Legs, this morning.  Increased weights from last week and pushed myself a little harder.  It was a bit easier this time around, yet a bit harder all at the same time.  Still struggling with some of the core strength & balance during the single leg exercises.  Really have to slow down the pace and focus on my form.  I am a bit stronger and it is a bit less of a struggle to keep the core solid during the workouts . . . but still more to do.

Got a little bit of a bonus workout this weekend with shoveling the snow we got.  A good 45 minutes right there.  Going to be getting another 6-10 inches in the next day or two, so another "bonus workout" this week.

Back & Bis tomorrow, followed by Cardio & Abs on Wednesday, Shoulders on Thursday & a rest day that falls on a Friday.  Gotta love that!

Should have a post or two up later this week on playing the numbers game and my results from the 21 Day Fix program. . . . so that's exciting!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Food For The Beast & One of "Those Days"

Today I wanted to go over my approach to the nutrition portion of the Body Beast program.  First however I thought I would share what my Christmas Eve is shaping up to be.

Slowly it is becoming what I call "One of Those Days", and by that I mean one of those days that just doesn't go the way you want it to.  Schedules conflict, there are to many things you have to do, you need to workout AND you don't feel well.  

Today would be Day 4 of Body Beast for me.  On the schedule today is Beast Cardio and Beast Abs.  I have been dealing with a head cold/sinus thing for about 4-5 days now.  On top of it, rather than be responsible and go to bed at a decent time, I decided I didn't want to be an adult and stayed up late to watch a movie.  . . . On top of that, I am a contractor in Software Development and do not get paid holidays, so am working extra this week (including today) to get in my 40 hrs . . . and of coarse it is Christmas Eve.

Which we forgot to take out the turkey from the freezer to thaw . . . so now I have to find the time and store open to get a thawed turkey or heck even a chicken will do at this point.  

Luckily I have an awesome wife who is cleaning the house from top to bottom all while taking care of the twins (who are now 22 months old by the way).

But I still have to wrap gifts, work 9 hours, make dinner & find time to workout . . . when all I want to do is not work and spend Christmas Eve with the family.  Oh, did I mention I will be working Saturday as well . . . then repeating this whole thing next week . . . seriously, I just want a warm mug of bourbon & cider, my pajamas and to cuddle up on the couch with my family and watch every Christmas movie known to man.

Alright, on to the Food portion of the post.  So in Body Beast, the whole point of the program is to add muscle.  There are two workout plans you can follow.  Lean Beast and Huge Beast.  The Lean Beast has more cardio in the schedule and is meant to keep you lean and still gain some muscle.  Huge Beast has barely any cardio and is designed to just add a ton of muscle.  

Now there are also two food plans to choose.  Ripped and Mass.  Which are pretty much the same.  One is going to give you less calories to keep you leaner and build some muscle.  The other is a HUGE amount of calories to just pack on the muscle (and probably some fat).  Now you are eating healthy foods during this whole thing, so its not like you are eating chips, cookies and fast food.  And the program is designed in 3 phases with the last fast designed to demolish any fat that you did gain during the program.  

Some of the not so minor details that I am glossing over:  You have to recalculate your calories for each of the phases.  Phase 1 (Build) and Phase 2 (Bulk) use the same calculation.  Phase 3 (Beast) uses a different calculation that puts you at a lower caloric rate that the first two phases in order to build some lean muscle and blast away fat.  Phase 3 also has a much higher percentage of protein and lower percentage of starches/carbs/fruit.  

I chose to do the Lean Beast program with the Ripped Beast food plan.  Now the one big difference is that I didn't use my current weight for the calculations.  *GASP*  I actually decided to use my goal weight for the calculations.  Which ironically enough, still has me at a slight surplus.  The whole idea is to keep losing the fat and gain some muscle in the process.

Now before you decide to berate me and drop some of your knowledge/experience as to why I should do this, know that I've done this in the past.  Also know that I am going to be doing weekly checks on my progress to make sure what I am doing is working.  Also note that I gain muscle easily, Knowing your body type and how it responds to different workouts is important to know when considering what your goals are and how you will go about achieving them.

As for the actual details of how I went about this, I used my current Lean Body Mass (LBM) of 187 and added 10lbs (then rounded up), then calculated what my weight would be if my LBM was 200 and my body fat percentage was 17% .  And bing-bang-boom, we have 235lbs.  Which is what I used for the calculations.

If you are one of those "skeptics" that just has to say something, please do . . . then follow along as I continue . . . it's more of an experiment anyway.  Worst case scenario is that I have to adjust and increase my calories.  Best case scenario is that I lose fat and gain muscle and prove people wrong.

Either way, no hair of my butt.  I've been wrong before and I have no problem being wrong again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fixing Your Food & Body Beast Day 3

First up I just want to do a little promoting of some fellow Minnesotans who threw together some pretty awesome workout tracks.  The "disc" is InspiMotiDgaf Vol. 1 by Larrañaga & Legless.

Half of the tracks are some pretty sick metal with spoken word style inspirational/motivational talk by Derek Weida.  The other half are the instrumental version sans the talking.  Or as Derek says in the Intro "It's a little Inspiration, a little Motivation and a little bit of not giving a fuck".

Larrañaga & Legless is made up of the Larrañaga Brothers and Derek Weida.  Go check it out on Google Play, Amazon & iTunes.  Or feel free to check your favorite site for music and see if it is available there as well.

So on to the post.  I had originally planned to discus how I approached the nutrition part of the Body Beast program from BeachBody, but I decided to take a step back and post something I had written up (with some edits of coarse) for some friends who are working on getting healthy as well.

I will also take this moment to stop and mention that I am NOT a BeachBody Coach.  I am posting about it because it is what I (and my wife) am using to get healthy.

Now back to the beginning, which was about three and a half weeks ago.  My wife and I purchased a program called 21 Day Fix from BeachBody to do together to jump start us getting back into shape.  We chose 21 Day fix because the workouts were only 30 minutes and it came with a simplified meal plan.  The meal plan contains portion containers and instructions on how to calculate how many calories that you should be consumer per day.  According to how many calories you should consume in a day, it then tells you how many of each container you should have per day.  The containers are separated into several categories.  Protein, Carbs, Veggies, Fruit, Healthy Fats, & Oils/Seeds.

All in all it makes it pretty simple.  Now, as I said before, I am not a BeachBody Coach.  I also know that many of us cannot always afford or justify the expense of purchasing a home workout DVD program (but seriously, if you can, do it!!), so I provide for you the following:

You can get the Portion Control Containers on Amazon.com for $24.80

Then there is this site that will show you how to calculate what your calorie range is.

 A little tip here, replace the calories burned (I think it is 400 in the example) with how many calories you will burn during your workout.  Also note that this calculation is for weight loss (hence the deficit).  It is very important to include the calories burned in your calculations.  This is one thing I failed to learn for a long time, and that is if you aren't eating enough calories, you will burn out and not have enough energy to get up, do your workouts and go through your day.  Your body is capable of some pretty amazing things . . . but only if you put fuel in the tank.

. . . and here is a little cheat sheet that will show you what foods fall into what calories: 

So that is where I started.  During the 21 Day Fix I did modify the workout schedule and on Monday Wednesday and Friday I lifted weights for 40 minutes (about 400 calories burned) for the first two weeks of the program.  Then finished the last week as it was.  Even though I missed the last two workouts due to being sick, I still managed to lose 14lbs of fat and gain 7lbs of muscle.  
Another little tip, if you can invest in a body weight scale that will calculate your body fat %.  It will help you get a better picture of your actual progress.  The scale only changed 6lbs during my 3 weeks, but as you can see above, the fat loss was much higher than you would have thought.  It is also a good check to see how you are doing and if you need to adjust anything.  Maybe you need less calories that you thought.  Or maybe you needed more.  Don't obsess about your weight, be smart about it.

Now in regards to Food and Body Beast . . . well that's another post.

Body Beast Day 3 Completed.  Build: Back & Bis!  Tomorrow is Beast Cardio & Abs!

*The portion control container system also comes with a few other BeachBody programs such as Piyo & The Masters Hammer & Chisel.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Importance of Form, Your Core & Your Legs (Body Beast - Day 2)

*Shovels the several feet of dust off the old blog*

A new journey has begun.  My wife and I both started (and since finished) 21 Day Fix from BeachBody.  I am currently on Day 2 of Body Beast from BeachBody.  Below is from the "blog" portion of my TeamBeachBody.com page.  If you have a profile on TeamBeachBody.com, click here to add me as a Buddy.

If not, well feel free to follow along here!  These "blog" posts that I put on the TeamBeachBody site are a bit short and don't have a lot of content compared to what I used to put up.  I will work on that.  I mean . . . I have to catch you all up to where I am at in my fitness journey.

Day 2 of Body Beast is underway and the workout is completed.  Build Legs today . . . so much for wanting to walk anywhere for the next few days.

This workout was especially challenging for me as I have a low back injury (herniated disc).  While this injury hasn't given me major issues in a while, it has it's ways of rearing it's ugly head.  One of the biggest things I have neglected in the past year or so is my exercises and stretches to keep my core strong and balanced.

If you were to take a peek at my before & after photos from 21 Day Fix, you'll notice on the front facing pics that I lean slightly to one side.  This is my body's way of compensating for my lack of commitment to keeping my core strong.

In the Build: Legs workout there are a lot of one-legged exercises that require you to hold your core and keep your pelvis under you (lunges, reverse lunges, bulgarian squats . . .etc).  Due to this I did the workout without the video and focused on form (it also saved me from having to listen to Sagi & the Boys).  The best part is that I know that next time around I will be that much stronger.
Despite taking my time on form, I am pretty sure I still left about 5lbs of sweat on the floor at the gym.

Final note on Legs:  One of the first things I was taught by my Weights class teacher in high school is the your legs are your foundation.  Along with your core, it is the most important aspect of your body.  In order to be able to become strong, faster, bigger . . . you have to have a good foundation.  Never skip legs.

Tomorrow I'll talk a little bit about how I am approaching the meal plan and the alterations I did.


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