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.
I had been following a 16:8 time-restricted feeding window (16 hours of fasting, 8-hour eating window) since 2018, usually eating my first meal at 11 AM or later. It proved effective in managing fat gain and seemed to not affect performance. However, this year I decided that in face of more compelling evidence, that I should try to consume protein immediately upon waking instead of try to get all my nutrition into a smaller window.
The biggest thing skipping breakfast did for me probably was just drop total calories and let me eat freely without gaining fat. The science shows consuming at least 40 grams of protein within an hour of waking is optimal for performance and muscle mass. I decided to shift from a fat maintenance eating schedule to a performance eating schedule effectively. Not to say you can’t follow a 16:8 schedule and perform at a high level, it is probably more effective to eat a healthy meal early in the day to break your fast and ramp up protein metabolism, especially when on a rigorous physical training program. If I wanted to train a lot, I needed to eat for performance more. So that’s what I did.
A daily eating regimen now is generally a high protein, moderate fat, moderate carbs. I try to get 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (at least 180 grams) then eat 2500-3000 calories. In order to maximize my intake, I generally eat the same thing every day with the exception of dinner, which is usually just meat plus fruit, vegetables, rice, or potatoes.
A specific weekday of eating for those nerds who want more details:
0630: Protein drink containing two scoops of protein power, one scoop of greens mix, 10 grams of collagen, five grams of creatine, and some salt in 20 ounces of water. I drink a cup of coffee immediately after I drink this. Note, that if I am particularly hungry or choose to eat more of a meal, I will eat 5 eggs or oatmeal with this drink.
1000: Cottage cheese & an apple
1200: Protein ice cream
1800: Chicken/beef/pork/fish and misc vegetables/sides, maybe some fruit
A typical day would be around 2700 calories, 60 grams of fat (30%), 200 grams of carbohydrates (35%), 200 grams of protein (35%), and 35 grams of fiber (all from the popcorn).
On the weekends, I eat with a similar mindset but not as structured, i.e. protein upon waking, at least three large protein-containing meals, less than 3000 calories. We usually eat dinner out a few times each weekend, but I almost always choose a “healthy” option. I just don’t like how I feel after pizza or a large ice cream these days. So I eat interesting things but still care about what goes into my mouth, even on so-called “treat meals”.
My weekend workouts are by far the hardest, so I need to care more about pre- and post-workout nutrition also.
I endorse three brands of supplements: Jocko Willink’s Jocko Fuel, Joe DeFranco’s Nutritional Supplements, and Ben Greenfield’s Kion. 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.
- For pre-workout most of the time, I had been using Theanine, Tyrosine, and caffeine. I take 200mg of caffeine, 400mg of Theanine, and 1000mg of Tyrosine together. I have been using Jocko’s pre-workout that came out this year. Both good. The caffeine/tyrosine/theanine is simple energy whereas the Jocko pre-workout (and most others) have more supplements in them and can enhance a pump. I only use this on the weekends before long workouts, not more than twice a week total. Most weekdays I train after dinner so definitely no pre-workout for me.
- Kion Creatine. Five 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.
- LMNT electrolyte drink mix. Been having an average of 3-5 packets per week to maintain electrolytes in the hotter months. 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. I just re-ordered some more and will try it in the colder months at night in hot cup of water to see if it enhances sleep and recovery.
- I have been using greens mixes such as Jocko’s Greens every morning for the majority of the year as part of my morning meal. I eat clean but not a lot of fruits and vegetables honestly because I choose to get my micronutrients through supplements. Will continue to use it each morning.
- 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.
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 when it’s warm (about nine months out of the year). 100% recommended, without a doubt worth the money. I have been using a 20lb weighted blanket as well, also highly recommended. I have been using a lighter blanket and no water cooling in the winter actually because my room is cold enough for good sleep.
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 or walk during work more. I wear a GoRuck Rucker occasionally 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.
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. Here is the overview and then a detailed breakdown:
- Monday: Strength and hypertrophy (push movements)
- Tuesday: Strength and hypertrophy (pull movements)
- Wednesday: Cardiovascular Endurnace and stamina (alactic and aerobic)
- Thursday: Strength and hypertrophy (lower body, shoulders, arms)
- Friday: Stamina (anaerobic)
- Saturday: Cardiovascular endurance (Hyrox event prep)
- Sunday: Sled drags and carries (hard to categorize, but effectively some strength, stamina, and cardio endurance)
- Monday: Push strength & hypertrophy
- Single arm KB Floor Press 2 x 8-13, 1 x 8-13+ / Floor band pull-aparts 3 x 8-13
- Slight incline BB Press 4 x 3-5+, 1 x3-5+ / Palms-up band pull-aparts 5 x 8
- Single arm band fly 3 x 8-13
- Single arm OH cable triceps extension 2 x 8-13, 1 x 8-13+
- Tuesday: Pull strength & hypertrophy
- Single Arm band pulldown, 3 x 8-13
- Band straight bar row, 3 x 8-13
- Chin-up (weighted/banded), 3 x 3-5
- One arm band curls, 2 x 8-13, 1 x 8-13+
- Wednesday: CVE, Stamina (alactic and aerobic)
- 21 minutes incline treadmill walking with weight vest
- EMOM 3-5 KB Snatch
- Thursday: Lower body & chassis strength & shoulder & arms hypertrophy
- Band TKE / Bulgarian split squat 3 x 8-13
- Heels elevated goblet squat 3 x 8
- BB Back Squat, 5 x 3-5 / KB swing 5 x 3
- Seated banded rotation, 3 x 8-13
- Lateral raise 2 x 8-13, 1 x 8-13+ / Straight bar pressdown 2 x 8-13, 1 x 8-13+ / Straight bar curl, 2 x 8-13, 1 x 8-13+
- Friday: Stamina (anaerobic)
- TGU 5 x 53lb
- One arm KB swing 5 x 8 x 53lb
- TGU 5 x 70lb
- One arm KB swing 5 x 8 x 70lb
- TGU 3 x 88lb
- Two hand KB swing 3 x 8 x 88lb
- Misc strongman (KB windmills, mace swings,
- Saturday: Cardiovascular endurance (Hyrox prep)
- 4-5 rounds of 1000m run + Hyrox Event
- Example 1000m run, 1000m ski, 1000m run, 80m burpee broad jump, 1000m run, 1000m row, 1000m run, 1000 wall ball shots (20lb)
- 4-5 rounds of 1000m run + Hyrox Event
- Sunday: Sled drags & carries (CVE, stamina, strength)
- Unstructured sled drags & carries for 55 minutes
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, I make an appropriate adjustment to get the primary sessions in. 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 while maintaining my cardio and stamina capacity.
You will note my Saturday workouts are targeted to preparing for a Hyrox event. If you don’t know what this is, read this overview. If I weren’t prepping for the Hyrox, I would be doing just a long cardio session, some steady state, some intervals, trying to keep heart rate high for 30+ minutes.
I am in my garage gym every day except for Saturday and Sunday when I go to an Army gym because they have the various equipment I need for Hyrox prep and the space to do sled drags and carries.
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 had 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 7. 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. 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. I use it regularly after my Sunday morning workout 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. If you have the extra cash this is interesting to try. Definite health benefits of heat exposure. I do notice quicker recovery from the weekend if I use this right when I get home each Sunday.
Hope you got some insight into what I am doing that may be beneficial to you. Post thoughts/questions to the comments below.