#OperationIdris – Month 2 – February *19

For those that read last week’s entry, welcome back. For those that are new to #OperationIdris, welcome. You can check out the previous entries here. So, after a relatively successful first month back in the Church of Gainz where I adopted the ‘Bro-split’ method to ease my way back in, I decided to change the split. I felt I could do more. Though infrequent, I have been liftin’ for a while. “Your body can handle more than this – push yourself”, I said mentally. So I did. This week, I introduce to you: #OperationIdris – Month 2

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Quick breakdown of the table:

10MR = 10 minutes rowin’ machine

30MH = 30 minutes high-intensity interval trainin’ run (outdoor)

12HS = 12 minutes high-intensity interval trainin’ run (treadmill) – 30 second sprint followed by 30 second rest

15MB = 15 minutes bike

Cardio Abs = 15 minute ab circuit taken from the Insanity workout program

We’ll get into the PHUL later on.

As you can see, In February, I adopted the PHUL method of trainin’. In actuality, I used this method for March as well until I made a realisation which was an oversight on my part (we’ll get into that next week). But like I’ve said before, you’ve gotta trial ‘n’ error to ascertain what works best for you in order to achieve your specific goals. So, though I made the aforementioned oversight, there were positives. I never missed a session, I trained hard everyday, ‘n’ more importantly, I’m rediscoverin’ the ‘faith in gainz’ that was once lost. Now before we get into the pragmatics of what each session consisted of. Let’s talk diet.

Though I was eating relatively clean in January, I wasn’t tracking anything per se. I just told my self: “get three clean meals in a day ‘n’ you’re bless”. You know how the adage goes: ‘old habits die hard’. Here’s the thing. What you consume, i.e your diet is as important, if not arguably more important than what you do in the gym. Whether the goal is to get the summer shred, winter bulk, or build endurance, if the diet isn’t conducive to the goal, you’re a hamster on a treadmill. Though sayin’ that, their endurance must be A1 still. Food for thought. In short, you can be puttin’ in hella work but you need the right fuel to yield maximum results.

Now, seein’ as I’ve never been one to track macros ‘n’ that I’ve never planned a (successful) summer shred, (I’ve always leant more to the bulkin’ side), I thought to myself, let’s try this. Let me make one thing clear. I’m good with words, numbers not so much anymore. I remember in high school English’n’ Maths were neck and neck. ‘A’ Student in both. They don’t even use the alphabet to rank the tiers anymore, it’s numbers now. Anyhow, I digress. If memory serves correct, by Year 10, English pushed to A*, Maths dropped to a B. The point I’m makin’ is when I did my online research regardin’ macros, downloaded ‘My Fitness Pal’ ‘n’ startin’ lookin’ at the labels pertainin’ to the breakdown of ingredients in my food (protein, carbs, fibre etc), I became IMMENSELY overwhelmed. I shouted the ‘lone-wolf’, Boag, (we speak on gym each week without fail) ‘n’ said: “bro, this countin’ macros is a bit of a mazza still – I can’t get my head round it”. He replied with somethin’ along the lines of “it’s easy you just enter your numbers on the app – stop bein’ a (insert expletive) old man”. Cheeky Wirral wet wipe. I admit, I can be stubborn. If I don’t understand somethin’, it frustrates me. But, instead of givin’, up I thought to myself, I can have accountability in another way. So I did.

Enter the scales. That’s right. Scales. If I wasn’t going to count the macros, I’ll weigh my food instead. Let me be absolutely clear, countin’ your macros is the more scientific (is that the term I’m after?) way to account for what you eat. I’m not sure if that’s the term. Let’s go with efficient. No. That doesn’t sound right either. Countin’ macros > weighin’ food. It’s a more accurate way to account for what you actually consume. ‘N’ I say I’m good with words. Cue eye roll. We have our moments – relax. I can sense you talkin’ a tad reckless right now. Again, how’s your calves lookin’? I thought so. So yeah, if all this countin’ macros was a tad too much, I’ll weigh the food instead, then I have some method of accountability I can use as a base to tweak the diet rather than eatin’ blindly. So with all that in mind, I made a list of what I was eatin’ and begun the process.

First, I hit up My Protein and ordered a 2.5kg bag of Impact Whey Protein (Vanilla). Call me borin’, but nothin’ beats vanilla. Yeah you might find it bland, but guess what, you can mix it with most things without a clash of flavours. ‘N’ it’s a no nonsense source of protein when you need a quick hit to keep you goin’ until the next meal. Now, I cannot stress the importance of meal preppin’. Skippin’ meals because you’re busy, tired etc doesn’t help. I get it though. We all have different jobs, responsibilities and dependents, but takin’ the time to cook in bulk will seriously help you out in the long run. I promise it’s worth it. “But Demz”, I hear you say, “you say the diet is on levs if not more important than the gym – so what did you eat though”? I was gettin’ to that.

Breakfast (pre gym) – one sachet oats (golden syrup flavoured) / one diced banana

2nd breakfast (post gym) – 3 egg omelette / one 25g scoop of protein shake mixed with water, one table spoon of smooth/crunchy peanut butter mixed in the blender. (I only have this on a ‘non-office day’ – so 4 times a week)

Lunch – 80 grams (in weight) cous cous / 100 grams of frozen veg (broccoli/cauliflower), or green peas, carrots, sweetcorn medley / 2 oven roasted chicken thighs

Dinner – Same as the above

Pre bed – one 25g scoop of protein shake mixed with water, one table spoon of smooth/crunchy peanut butter mixed in the blender

This was the skeletal diet plan I stuck to. By skeletal, I mean this was more or less what I ate everyday. There were some days I’d swap the chicken for mackerel or tuna. On other days when I felt particularly peckish in between meals, I’d have an apple (my favourite fruit), carrot sticks and hummus, or the raaare bowl of crunchy nut cereal to spike the metabolism. But all in all, this is what I stuck to. I made the conscious decision to swap rice for cous cous as I felt it was a somewhat healthier option for me. After addin’ my spices to the dry granules (paprika, chilli, all purpose, rosemary and a splash of honey), I’d literally add water and leave it for 5-10 minutes to absorb. I found it to be less bloatin’ than rice.

As per the table provided, you can see that I started the PHUL method in my 5th consecutive week of trainin’. By now, gettin’ up at 6am to ensure I start trainin’ by 7am, so I’m out the gym and in the office by 10am was patterned. The body is ingenious. By now, I was gettin’ to sleep between 10pm to midnight instead of midnight to 2 bells. By now, there were some mornin’s I was actually gettin’ up before the alarm clock. It’s a beautiful thing when a routine starts to become intuitive. What I realised in month 1 was on the days I was doin’ ‘office’, I’d have to tailor the workout to ensure maximum output in a limited time frame. I’d give myself 1hr ‘n’ half to train. That was sufficient I thought. ‘N’ truth be told, though I enjoy the Church of Gainz, I’m not tryna be at the sermon for hours on end. Just hit me with the prayer of the day ‘n’ we’re good. I’m gettin’ older. ‘N’ by this stage (well even as I type this in April ’19), the knee is still not 100%. So I’m trainin’ smarter.

Now for the exercises.

Upper Power: Flat bench press / Incline dumbbell press / Single arm dumbbell row / Military press / Seated dumbbell press / Standing E-Z bar curl / Individual dumbbell tricep extension / Seated calf raise / Standing calf raise / Pull ups / Ropes – Obliques / Straight / Kettlebell obliques

Lower Power: Squats / Bent over barbell row / T bar row / Deadlift / Leg Press / Hammer curls w Skull-crusher / Leg extension / Seated calf raise / Standing calf raise / Pull ups / Ropes – Obliques / Straight / Kettlebell obliques

Upper Hypertophy: Incline dumbbell press w Around the world / Straight arm pullover w Dumbbell fly / Single arm dumbell row / Pull ups / Upright rows w Dumbbell lateral raises / Dumbbell shrugs / Preacher curls w ndividual dumbbell tricep extension / Seated calf raise / Standing calf raise / Ropes – Obliques / Straight / Kettlebell obliques

Lower Hypertrophy: Front squat / Leg Press / Leg extension / Prone leg curls / Seated calf raise / Standing calf raise / Pull ups / Standin’/Seated individual curls w Close grip press  / Ropes – Obliques / Straight / Kettlebell obliques /

Now I know what you’re thinkin’. You’ve looked at the table ‘n’ you’ve looked at the above ‘n’ you can see a recurrin’ similarity. Did he really do abs, calves and pull ups everyday. Yes. Yes I did. I’ll explain my reasonin’. Regardin’ abs, my main aim when returnin’ to trainin’ was to get a year round lean aesthetic. I think I’ve said that already. So my thinkin’ was I’ll do a circuit each day to train them. It shouldn’t be too taxin’. I made up my own circuit usin’ the ropes wherein I did 20 straight crunches followed by 20 oblique (side to side) crunches, then 20 obliques with the kettle bell. That’s one set. I did this 3 times each day. The more I train abs, the more they will come through. That was the reasonin’. As for Pull Ups, admittedly, it isn’t somethin’ I have ever mastered. I started literally doin’ 4 sets by 3 and upped it by one rep each week. For example, first week was 4×3 (all week), then 4×4 and so on. The wider the lats, it gives the illusion of a narrower waist. As for calves, well, when god made the absolute specimen that is the black man, he held back on the calves. I hit them in my rests between sets everyday. 5×20 seated. 5×20 standin’.

In reality, everyone has abs. You can train them as much as you want, but if you’re not eatin’ clean (in a calorie deficit), and addin’ cardio to your weight trainin’ routine, they won’t come through how you want them to. Now I’ve never been a fan of runnin’, but when it comes to losin’ the excess, I find it has always been the best method for me. However, by week 7, I realised somethin’ wasn’t right. Whilst out runnin’, 15 mins in I couldn’t put weight on my knee. It was excruciatin’. I had to stop ‘n’ return home defeated. The followin’ day, I tried to do my 12HS on the treadmill as per. I managed a few before my knee said no. The day after, I thought, let’s do the bike – it’s low impact in comparison’. I worked up a sweat. Followin’ week, I stuck to the bike on Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, I thought, the knee’s rested, let’s test it. Went out, I didn’t last 5 minutes. It was at this point I realised if I continued without medical assistance, I’d be doin’ some long term damage. If memory serves correct, I think it was also by week 7 I had to say no to squats as the motion was no longer fluid. I had to switch it up to the Leg Press.

A bitter pill to swallow, I had to say goodbye to conventional squats and runnin’. I didn’t want any injuries which would mean I’d have to start at square one again. In terms of rep ranges, on the Power sessions, I stuck to 5×5 on the flat bench and on the deadlift. For hypertrophy, I worked at 4×10. I’m not gonna tell you the numbers this week. You’ll have to come back next week for that. Before I deuce, you know what one of my main achievements of month 2 was? Addin’ that Saturday to the mix. Anyhow I’ve rambled long enough. You’re gonna have to take another scoop of pre before you smash that session.

Thanks for readin’.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”