Big ups to RD… lean gains is everything I had no idea it would be. I just wonder where it’s been all my life!

Today starts week number three and already, I am seeing more results that I have on zone, strict paleo, Tim Ferris’ PAGG stack, AdvoCare, and well, pretty much anything else.

This morning, my weight was 214 even. I don’t think I have been that little since about 2008. I do know that my heaviest weight since Brenna was born was about 228, so I’m down around 14 pounds.

I am, frankly, amazed at how well this is working and wanted to share some of the things that I have learned so far in an effort to maybe help anyone that might also be stuck in my position.

For the past few days, I have been using FitDay to track everything I eat. It has been eye opening for a few reasons which I will get into shortly. First, though, I wanted to say a word about “calorie counting”.

I hate calorie counting. Always have. In fact, I hate counting ANYTHING food-wise.

People pushing the paleo mentality (which I still whole heartedly agree with, by the way) usually don’t talk much about calories, nor do they encourage people to count them. Look, if you are really off the path, severely overweight, lots of health problems, etc, “going paleo” with almost literally ANY proportion of macronutrients is going to be beneficial for you. You will see results. That’s almost a guarantee. The problem comes in where you are like me. You’ve been “watching your diet” for the past 2-3 years, you work out 3-5x/week, etc and you still are flabby and fatty. WTH!

I still don’t really want to promote calories/macronutrient counting on a regular basis because I, like some others, view it as a form of neurosis if done ALL the time and in EVERY situation. Picture that guy who’s counting his almonds at dinner. Sigh. I am, however, starting to see that it IS a wonderful diagnostic tool over a short period of time for someone like me who has historically had enormous problems getting weight to come off. It’s interesting to think that I have been doing it wrong for almost my entire life. I think that I was a skinny thing up until about 1st grade and it was all downhill from there. Maybe I just never knew how much was right FOR ME! Unfortunately, tracking food is the only way to figure that out (unless you’re super rich and can just have someone tell you what to do, putting food in front of you at every meal so you don’t have to think about it).

In my last blog, I wrote about some things that I have learned over that past week. From then to now, I have been able to refine my information a bit further. It seems that my “ball parking” was slightly off and while I thought I was getting “enough” protein, I am actually NOT! I thought I ate a TON yesterday, but according FitDay, not so much:


As of this morning, my bodyweight was 214.0, so if I want 1g of protein/pound of bodyweight, I’d have to get, you guessed it, 214g! Looks yesterday, I got close to 1g, but not quite (.86g/pound). What I found really interesting here is that, in looking at my numbers above, I am starting to do this cost/benefit analysis with protein sources. For example, the beef tenderloin was 45g of protein for 321 calories. A little further down, notice that the turkey breast is about the same amount of protein for less calories. I assume this is due to that whole “calories from fat” thing. At this point, I am trying to hit my caloric markers (without being terribly neurotic about it, again, just sort of in the ballpark) while trying to get the most “bang for my buck” so to speak, protein-wise. I can say though, that when I get a high amount of protein or “enough”, I can feel it. I can feel my body cranking like a furnace. It’s a great feeling.

For all of you zone folks out there, I have basically upped my protein blocks and lowered my fat blocks, I guess.

If you are a regular reader here, you, no doubt, are sick of my bitching. It’s funny how you can be SO close to being right but not see any results whatsoever. It seems that all I needed to tweak was the AMOUNT I was eating and the macronutrient that is providing the majority of my caloric intake. Boom. Done.

One more thing, with regard to calories. Lean gains requires that you find your BMR. In true engineer style, I’ve made a spreadsheet to calculate this for me as my bodyweight and body fat percentages will change. Here’s what it looks like:

bmr calc

So, in the event that you eating an un-weighed, unmeasured paleo diet and feel that you’ve stagnated, you might want to start getting really specific about and how much of it you are eating. People have told me in the past “just do it for a week and you will be all set” and I was SO reluctant to listen. Turns out, with a food scale and FitDay, it’s not hard at all. There’s still stuff that I’m trying to figure out and things to tweak, but right now, SOMETHING appears to be working and it makes me really happy.

Good luck!

Work & Strength: Some Thoughts

First, last night’s workout…

  • 50 GHDs
  • 50 GHBE (35#)
  • 50 Russian KBS (1.5 pood)
  • 3 minute KB complex (1.5 pood)
  • 4×3 3-position snatch (75#, 95#, 105#, 115#)
  • 4×3 3-position clean (115#, 135#, 145#, 155#)
  • 5×5 Romanian Dead Lift (225#, 295#, 315#, 325#, 335#)
  • 3×5 Back Squat @ 85% of 1RM (310# x 3)
  • Negatives @ 50% of 1RM
    • Dead Lifts – 8 @ 225# (grip gave out)
    • Back Squats – 12 @ 185#
    • Presses – 12 @ 95#
    • Dips – 10 @ Bryan
    • Pull Ups – 10 @ Bryan
  • 1 minute of 90% effort on the AirDyne – 29 cals

This was a ton of work and I was exhausted when it was over. I came home and ate a ton. I would have liked to have gotten a bit more sleep, but I ‘m not going to complain. What I got was good sleep.

Goldberg and I had an interesting little conversation last night. I can say, without tooting my own horn, really, that I put up some good numbers. I am strong. I am not really fast or, anything else for that matter, but I am say I am pretty strong. Still though, strength is relative.

I can say with a fairly high level of certainty that someone who is dead lifting for a 1RM @ 100# is working JUST as hard (and in some cases, maybe even HARDER) that someone going for a 1RM @ 400#.

Don’t sell yourself short and think that just because you are lifting less weight than someone else that you aren’t as strong or working as hard. It’s all relative. Work hard.

My Thumb Hurts

I couldn’t think of a better title. Sorry. I think it hurts because I was really forcing the hook grip last night and I think I might have mashed it a little too hard. Anyway… it was another long night with some awesome programming, great PR’s, and lot’s of hard work by some good friends. Here’s mine:

  • 50 GHDs
  • 50 GHBEs (35#)
  • 3 minute KB complex (1.5 pood)

Then, we did the the following protocol for dead lift, clean & jerk, and front squats:

  • 5 @ 60%
  • 3 @ 70%
  • 2 @ 80%
  • 1 @ 90%
  • 1 @ Current 1RM
  • 1 @ Current 1RM + 2-5%
5@60% 3@70% 2@80% 1@90% 1@RM 1@RM+





















A few notes on the fails… my grip totally went away on my dead lift. I think it was actually due to the again faster grip things. I was able to hold on to 465# just fine with just chalk. For the C & J, my hook grip psyches me out. It still feels really weak, so I’ll start to pull, then just drop it because it feel like the barbell is going to fly out of my hands. For the front squat, I really just don’t know my 1RM, so after doing 265#, which felt easy, I decided to jump up. A little too much, I think.


  • 1 set of max reps dips: 16 reps

In other news, little Miss Brenna has actually slept really well during the past 2 nights which has been absolutely phenomenal. The different in how I feel when I get sleep is completely night and day and affects almost everything about my daily life. I can handle things so much better. I am sure that this is true for everyone to some degree, but I do know some people that can operate just fine on 4-5 hours. I am not one of those people. Never have been.

At the suggestion of my good friend Ryon, I am experimenting with the lean gains protocol ( and actually seeing some results. This is very exciting and after the first week of following it, I am compelled to continue on to see what it does for me. I can see (again, in just 1 week) difference both in the mirror and on the scale, which has not really budged for quite a while.

There are some things about this that are not “paleo”, like the use of supplemental protein, but I have always been OK with self experimentation as long as I see good results from it. Hell, I was skeptical about “the paleo diet” a few years ago and decided to give it a shot. If I were stubborn about trying that, I don’t know where I’d be right now.

At any rate, I have learned a few things about my particular eating situation over the past week that I think are really simple tweaks that might work for other people that aren’t seeing results on “paleo” aside from the 16 hour fast/8 hour eat window:

  1. I am eating just too much from a caloric standpoint. Robb Wolf talks about “not being a hoover”. As in, it doesn’t matter what eating diet/protocol you follow, if you are a normal size person that has a normal level of activity (i.e. NOT Michael Phelps @ 12,000 cals/day), eating 5000 cals/day of all paleo foods isn’t going to help you drop LBs. Lean gains requires that you count calories to some degree. While I am not neurotic about it, looking at how many calories are in certain things, especially fats/oils has been eye opening. I still use the same cooking oils, I’m just not as liberal with them. Which leads me to point #2.
  2. I was not getting nearly enough protein. Both Robb Wolf and Martin from lean gains talk about getting 1-2g/# of bodyweight of protein per day. For dude like, me, that’s A LOT. While I typically don’t like to supplement with whey and things like that, getting at least 200g of protein per day results in A LOT of meat and eggs, so I’ve started adding some whey in on workout days. The right tool for the right job, right?
  3. Timing of meals totally matters (for me, anyway). Lean gains is a protocol of timing your eating, not so much WHAT you eat. I suppose it’s not technically “paleo” although it can totally be. It sounds really complicated at first but after a week of working on it, it’s really not that bad. It’s really split in 2 columns:
Workout Days Non-workout Days
  • Eat a bit more from a caloric standpoint*.
  • Eat a bit higher carb.
  • Eat your largest meal of the day AFTER your workout.
  • Eat a bit less from a caloric standpoint*.
  • Keep the carbohydrate intake low.
  • Eat your largest meal as your breakfast.

*This requires finding your BMR and knowing approx. how many calories are in what you eat. I have pretty much ball parked it up until this point, but am slowly figuring stuff out.

Holy volume…

Bigg Dave had a ton of stuff for us to do last night. Honestly, I am surprised that we were able to leave when we did:

  • Stretches
  • 50 GHBE (25#)
  • 50 GHD Sit Ups (Full range)
  • 3 minute KB AMRAP (5 snatches R/L, 5 Cleans R/L, 5 Swings R/L) – got 2 rounds + 2 swings with RT with 1 Pood.
  • 3×3 Hang Squat Snatch (95#, 115#, 125# (2))
  • 3×3 Clean Pulls (185#, 225#, 275#)
  • 3×3 Rack Jerks (185#, 205#, 215#)
  • 1 StoF of Strict Press (up any way needed) – 10 reps @ 135#
  • 3×5 Seated (on the floor, legs out) Dumbbell Press (50#, 60#, 60#)
  • 3×5 Strict Pull Ups @ Bodyweight
  • 4x {5 Bulgarian Split Squat (each leg), 10 Renegade Rows, 10 burpees} Record splits, rest in between – 1:50, 1:50, 2:33, 2:27

Getting Strong

Lots of hard work again at CFCP last night. It’s amazing to see some of the advances that people are making. Here’s last night’s madness.

  • Stretches
  • 50 GHDs/GHBE (25#)
  • 50 Heavy Russian KB Swings (2.5 Pood)
  • 3 mins of KB Complex (1.5 Pood)
  • Deadlift Protocol (415#/24″)
  • 3×3 Hang Squat Cleans (135#, 155#, 175#)
  • 4×3 Back Squat (305#, 315#, 325#, 335#)
  • 4×3 Weighted Dips (20#, 35#, 40#, 55#)
  • 1 StoF of Dips (9)
  • Hang on rope as long as possible (not long, didn’t time)

In other news, things have been good at the Goldstein house. Little miss Brenna did her first coloring last week. I am super proud and think it’s awesome =)

Brenna’s First Coloring first coloring .pdf

Work Capacity

Do you haz it?

  • Stretches
  • 50 GHD sit ups (1/2sies)
  • 50 GHBE weighted
  • 50 Heavy Russian KB Swings (40k)
  • 5x(2 Hang Squat Snatch + 1 Power Snatch with OH) – 75#, 95#, 115#, 125#, 135#(F @ 2)
  • 3×5 Back Squat – 285#, 295#, 315# (PR)
  • 1 set to failure of 4s down back squats – 12 reps @ 195#
  • 3×5 Barbell Row – 135#, 135#, 155#
  • 1 set to failure of 4s down negative pull ups – 9
  • 3x(20 DB lunges (30#), 10 Knees to Elbows)


Paleo BBQ Chicken Legs

Mmmm chicken legs. On the paleo diet, we typically don’t have BBQ sauce because there’s usually lots of sugar and other undesirables. Thank goodness for the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook as they’ve got a paleo BBQ sauce recipe that seems to work. I had to modify it a bit for my taste, but overall, it was a really good paleo alternative.

What you need:

  • Chicken legs
  • Paleo BBQ Sauce
  • Oven
  • Baking Sheet
  • Foil

What you do:

Make sure you have some BBQ sauce made. I used the paleo recipe from the Paleo Comfort Foods cook book:


1) Pre-heat your oven to 335 degrees F.

2) Open your chicken packages and get 1/2c of your BBQ sauce ready.


3) Get a baking sheet and coat it with foil. I hate to clean, so I do this. If you don’t care about cleaning, just use the pan as is.


4) Put chicken on baking sheet.


5) Dilute your BBQ sauce with water. Use equal parts. I ended up with a little more than a cup. No biggie.


6) Pour it all over the chicken.


7) MORE FOIL!! Seal that chicken in there. We want to steam the meat for this first cooking leg (no pun intended).


8) Bake for about 60-90 minutes on 335 degrees. The chicken should be fall off the bone.


9) Uncover and cook for about 10-15 minutes to start caramelizing the outside.


10) Turn your broiler on and place the chicken in there for 1-3 minutes, but keep a close eye on it, checking every 10-20 seconds.


11) YUM!


No Magic <Anything>

… only, I DO eat healthy and work out! Sigh. I really should have known better.

About a month ago, a good friend of mine who is a distributor of AdvoCare products talked me into doing their 24 day challenge. He made a really good case for it and I have absolutely no doubt that his intentions were 100% honest and genuine. I honestly do think that he did think that these products would help me to shed some weight. I just want to get that out of the way, so there’s no confusion there. I don’t feel as though I was swindled or duped in any way.

I am not going to rehash my feelings about my weight/physical appearance as I have done so many times on here. I am sure you don’t want to read more whining. (If you do, for some strange reason, see Exhibit A)

I really tried to not put any hope in the fact that this set of supplements would work for me, but sadly, there was a small part of me that did. I had heard so many stories about people that had used them and had fantastic results. One of the coaches at our gym is a distributor and posts pictures sometimes of people’s results, so naturally, I thought “why not me”? Yeah. Not me. Never me.

I did it for 24 days and there was VERY little difference in weight, body fat percentage, physical appearance, or how my clothes fit.

From what I hear, usually, people start to see some changes during the initial 10 day “cleanse” (read: “bullshit”) phase. I saw nothing. Concerned, I called my friend who sold me these products and he connected me with whomever is above him in the pyramid. The person I spoke to is a sports nutritionist and was very nice. We talked for a bit, and to be perfectly honest, he told me to “get more protein” and pretty much to zone. I attribute my whopping 2lb weight loss to the fact that I started eating more protein and trying to zone my meals more. He also told me to drink A LOT of water, which I did.

It should be noted that the only part of the challenge where I wasn’t really in compliance was when my parents were here (2 days, but not really bad cheating). It was the last 2 days of the challenge and when I looked at my weight and how my clothes felt on day 21/22, before I ate ANYTHING that I wasn’t supposed to eat, there was little/no difference.

Spark made me REALLY jittery at first. I thought it was b/c of the caffeine, but it was explained that it was because of the high number of B vitamins. Ok, whatever, it still made me jittery. By the end of the 24 days, I guess I was used to it.

I felt little to no difference in my workouts doing the Spark + Catalyst combo right before. In fact, for some workouts, I felt downright horrible. Maybe that’s the lack of sleep from having an infant, but since I’ve been off of them, I haven’t felt that bad again.

The MNS phase was weird as well. I don’t know what was going on, but whatever was in these pills made me feel hyper and made me sweat a TON. It was ridiculous.

I guess, really the only thing that I enjoyed about these products was the breakfast shakes simply due to their convenience. It’s a pain in the ass to cook/prepare breakfast every morning and they did taste pretty good.

Overall, I can’t say that I am satisfied with these products or the claims that they make nor would I recommend them to anyone based on my experience. They have quite a bit of ingredients that I would consider to be questionable (like Splenda a.k.a Sucralose). There are also ingredients that are derived from soy and diary, which, if you are trying to be a Paleo purist (some are, some aren’t), are questionable.

While, I am sure that they work wonders for some people, I sure as hell was not one of them.

Thank God for money back guarantees, eh?

“Air Force Karen”

I wanted to get another workout in last week, so I had planned on doing something on Friday night (9/30/2011) when V taught elements. Suzanne had texted me earlier in the day asking if we’d want to do a WOD with her that night, so of course, I said sure. When we got to the box, someone who shall remain nameless bullied us into doing the posted workout. OUCH.

Air Force Karen: 150 wall balls for time, but with 4 burpies every minute.

Time: 10:53 (Rx’d with 20# med ball)

After that, I saw a little supplemental WOD that could have only been written by Trevor up on the board. It was:


  • 5 hang cleans @ 75#
  • 5 pull ups
  • 300m row

Suzanne and I did this one but didn’t time it. I did my hang cleans sort of slow and tried to work on my technique.