What I Am Up To Now, January 2023

This post and the entire series highlight what I am doing/using/thinking as of right now in the areas of fitness & technology. If you care to compare or read the other posts in this series, refer to the category What I’m Up To Now.

Introductory Comments

Last update was in January 2021. I skipped January 2022 because nothing meaningful had changed honestly. Same job, same routine, same location all year. This year, however, I am doing a good amount of new things worth sharing after moving and changing jobs. The below reflects what I am up to right now and why.

Nutrition

I am following a 16:8 time-restricted feeding window (16 hours of fasting, 8-hour eating window) most of the time. I have been following this for about five years and find it to be very effective. I can mostly eat freely inside that windows without being too anal about food, which I abhor.

A daily eating regimen now is generally a high protein, low/moderate fat, low carb lunch and dinner (meat with some vegetables) followed by a snack around 7 pm. Looking to get in at least one gram of protein per pound (more is fine). It’s actually hard to get a lot of protein, so I need to supplement food with protein powder to do it usually.

A specific day of eating for those nerds who want more details:

1100: Greek yogurt or cottage cheese or dinner leftovers

1700: chicken/beef/pork/fish and misc vegetables/sides, maybe some fruit

1900: 2 scoops of protein powder and popcorn. Check out the macros on that popcorn by the way – all fiber and protein! You need a popper like this one to pop it in a microwave.

The goal is to get in 180 grams of protein per day (one gram per pound of bodyweight), so I try to get in 50-60 at each meal effectively.

One cup of black coffee each morning from Black Rifle Coffee Co.

On the weekends, I eat mostly the same but will do more restaurant or take-out plus real dessert usually one time.

Supplements

I endorse three brands of supplements: Ben Greenfield’s Kion, Jocko Willink’s Jocko Fuel/Origin Labs, and Joe DeFranco’s Nutritional Supplements. I trust these three gentlemen a great deal and am happy to support them, so start there if you are looking for something I didn’t list below. The following is the current list of supplements I take regularly:

  • Jocko Mölk. For protein, my favorite. I usually get chocolate, but all the flavors are excellent.
  • Jocko Discipline Go. I take this to increase fat burning before cardio or for a little pick-me-up a few times a week. Decent pre-workout without all the harmful chemicals you usually find in those silly ones with way too much caffeine.
  • For pre-workout most of the time, I have been using Theanine, Tyrosine, and caffeine. Joe DeFranco put out a supplement with these three combined, so I decided to try it by mixing it myself (much cheaper as you can imagine). The idea is the caffeine obviously is the stimulant, then the Theanine smooths out the jitters, and the Tyrosine prolongs the effects of the caffeine. I take 200mg of caffeine, 400mg of Theanine, and 1000mg of Tyrosine together.
  • Kion Creatine. 5 grams per day. A staple supplement for anyone not just those training hard. I can’t say for sure the cheapest giant bag of creatine won’t work as well as this one, but I trust Ben Greenfield to put out high quality things, and this is one way to pay him back for all the free content he gives me.
  • L-Theanine. Already mentioned in the pre-workout stack, this can be taken for other effects. Wrote an article about this supplement already, so check it out if you are interested. It’s a nootropic, sleep aid, and a good partner to caffeine even if just morning coffee.
  • DeFranco’s Vitamin D (1 tab, 5000 IU per day).
  • LMNT electrolyte drink mix. Been having an average of 3-5 packets per week to maintain electrolytes. Not 100% sure I need it all the time, but I want to support Robb Wolf and there is definitely no downside other than cost. Would be very useful for specific times in hot weather or when sweating a lot for sure.
  • For those not eating well, I’d recommend a good multi-vitamin/mineral. I have not taken one in a while personally. I have been occasionally using drink mixes such as DeFranco’s Clean Greens or Jocko’s Greens, which is the same micronutrient delivery but with much more added in, which is why it’s so much more expensive. They definitely pack a punch. If you need more nutrients, check them out.
  • Note that I am trying a few things now that I will share if they are good in a separate article or in the next update.
  • I have tried a lot of other supplements (you can see there are a lot I tried last year that didn’t make this list), so if you don’t see it, it’s just not worth the money although I am sure they do something. All three of the brands above have great supplements I have tried in the past. If any strike your fancy, give them a shot.

Sleep

Regularly getting seven to eight hours per night in a cool dark room. I protect my sleep as much as any other element of fitness. I use a good sleep mask to assist with some residual room light. Well worth the money. I have made this important for many years now. I am able to sleep at least an hour maybe two hours per day more now than the last few years since I don’t have to be at work at 0500 anymore. I can tell the difference in my training and recovery.

I have a ChiliSleep Ooler Bed Cooling System too (same company as the ChiliPad that you may have heard of), which is a force multiplier since being hot at night affects my sleep a ton. I use it every night and adjust temperature based on the time of the year. 100% recommended, without a doubt worth the money. I am using a 20lb weighted blanket as well, also highly recommended.

Activity

I try to keep up with 10,000 steps per day of walking. My minimum is really 8,000 steps. If I get that I am happy. It is harder in the winter so I have to hit the treadmill in the garage more. I wear a GoRuck Rucker a few times per week to spice it up. Also check out my Mission Capable Approved Footwear post to see what makes good shoes, which brands I recommend, and which shoes I am wearing. TL;DR is I wear Xeros and Altras for activity and Lems for just about everything else.

I have used a standing desk since 2014 both at home and at work. At home I have a FlexiSpot standing desk and use the Topo mat with it as well. This is the preferred way to do the standing desk. It can be easily lowered if you want to sit (I don’t even have a chair anymore but one could), and it’s much easier to stand at a stable platform like this as well.

My exercise routine has changed a good amount. I no longer have to go to a unit physical training session each morning so I don’t ever exercise in the morning on weekdays unless it’s a day off.

My weekly battle rhythm has evolved to this generally under normal conditions:

  • Monday: Strength and hypertrophy (push movements)
  • Tuesday: Strength and hypertrophy (lower body, squat and hinge movements)
  • Wednesday: Stamina (alactic and aerobic)
  • Thursday: Strength and hypertrophy (pull movements)
  • Friday: Stamina (lactic)
  • Saturday: Cardiovascular endurance
  • Sunday: Sled drags and carries (hard to categorize, but effectively some strength, stamina, and cardio endurance)

I have been able to train nearly every day per week due to purposeful training, good food, and good sleep. If I can’t for some reason (busy, recovery, etc.) I make an appropriate adjustment. My goal with this routine is to be all-around physically fit in general, but you can see a specific focus on strength and hypertrophy. I have upped my calories, protein and sleep which allowed me to try to gain more size and strength, so of everything I am doing, I am most interested in improving muscular size and strength, maintaining my cardio and stamina capacity.

I am in my garage gym every day except for Sunday when I go to an Army gym because they have the space to do sled drags and carries.

I am going to leave this section as just an outline vs getting into the specifics of each workout. Will elaborate in another post. If you care, ask in comments too.

Tech

Watch = Garmin Fenix 7 Solar. $800 and worth every penny. I use it to track steps, sleep, recovery (they have a “body battery” metric that is very good) and it does a ton of outdoor things that are useful for hunting and survival. Upgraded from the Fenix 6x. Chose to go with the smaller 7 vs the larger 7x as the larger watch face actually got annoying in daily activity and when doing activity. The 47mm Fenix 7 is a good size for an average male wrist but large enough to have a readable screen and excellent battery life.

I have an Oura Ring and I am a believer in the tech, but I found it wasn’t giving my any more data than my watch. I also much prefer a silicone wedding band so I can just never take it off. I still had to take off the Oura when lifting weights or carries.

Phone = Google Pixel 6. Very happy with the Pixel line for many years.

Red Light Therapy = Mito Red Light MitoMax 2.0. This has red light (660nm) and near infrared light (850nm). I got this last year and used it regularly initially (few times per week). Then I got lazy and stopped using it often. I reinvigorated the practice recently, relocating it from the garage gym to my office so I can use it while at my desk. I was trying to get some red light in before or after workouts, but I found I just wasn’t doing it. I am a believer in the technology, so I will keep at it. It takes about 40 minutes to do the whole body with the light I have (10 mins upper body facing front, 10 upper facing back, 10 lower body facing forward, and 10 lower body facing back). I don’t do the whole body most of the time though. Upper front and lower front is what gets hit most. If you have the money and believe the science, it’s worth a try.

Heat Therapy = HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket. Also got it last year and also used it regularly but tapered off. I use it occasionally now to replicate somewhat the conditions of a sauna (lots of health benefits here). I would sit in a sauna every day probably if I had one. This gets hot, but it’s not the same as a sauna although it’s as close as I can get at home. Same way here – if you have the extra cash this is interesting to try. Definite health benefits of heat exposure.

Muscle Stimulation/TENS = Compex Sport Elite 3.0. Again, got it last year, used it fairly often, don’t use it as much now. This post has really reminded me to use these damn things more. This is useful for injury rehab (TENS), but also various programs to elicit performance improvements. You can actually get good results here (not to replace a traditional strength routine but augment it) by putting these electrodes on and running through a program or two while sitting on your couch. I destroyed my quads quite a few times putting the intensity up on this thing to the point where it hurt a lot (use at your own discretion, I wanted to make it challenging). It has a lot of modes from low level muscle stimulation to relax a muscle (neck, lower back) to a “strength” program, which pulses a short interval of high intensity contraction and relaxes over and over. You can also watch some videos they have on YouTube where they are wearing it during sets of actual exercise, so it’s sending contractile impulses into the muscle as you are doing something like squatting. It’s intense. I have done it. I also wore them on my legs while walking on a treadmill, so it hits you with a hard pulse for, say, 10 seconds, then relaxes for 50 seconds. For those ten seconds, it’s like walking in deep mud with a ruck on. Not a requirement but interesting to experiment with if you have the extra funds.

Hope you got some insight into what I am doing that may be beneficial to you. Post thoughts/questions to the comments below.