Less Peasant, More Bodybuilder

In previous posts, I’ve discussed my version of the Peasant Diet. Check out How I Used the Peasant Diet to Lean Out which was posted a year ago. In that post, I covered how I used a diet of high-volume unprocessed food – mostly carbs – to drop from 222 to 200 pounds without feeling hunger.

I strongly believe that if you design a diet that minimizes hunger, you will minimize the risk of regaining the weight.

After an inactive winter due to an injury, it would have been normal for me to gain some weight back. But I didn’t. By April, I was down to 197. That is when I declared victory.

I had lost weight without experiencing hunger and I was able to maintain that loss for a year even during a period where I was sidelined with an injury. I consider 197 to be the upper bound of my ideal weight.

The Peasant Diet was a great tool to get to that point, but as I recovered from my injury, I knew my activity would increase. I’d likely regain some muscle and get leaner. As you get leaner, you need higher levels of protein to preserve lean muscle mass. This was discussed in my P-Ratio post.

So starting in July, I began increasing protein and scaling back on potatoes. It is working. I’m down to 192 and look great. I know winter is coming, but I think I’m ready for it, just like I was last year. The skills I learned from the Peasant Diet easily apply to the higher-protein version (Bodybuilder).

Seattle fall

Seattle fall photo I took years ago.

My Wrong Advice For the Big Guys

For almost 20 years, I’ve advised my heavy friends to lift weights instead of doing cardio as they lean out. The logic of my case went something like this:

  1. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so increasing muscle on someone that is already consuming a high number of calories, seemed like a great idea.
  2. Big guys, by which I mean thick-wristed endomorphs, have the greatest muscular potential. Watch any strongman competition to see what I mean.
  3. Take advantage of those beginner gains ASAP to see a shift in lean mass. Here I was thinking they could gain the most muscle as they dropped weight.

To me, being a big guy without weight training experience, seemed like a gift. I viewed it as a gift because from the outside looking in, it seemed like they had the shortest path to a radical body transformation.

But, I’m not a big guy. I’m an ectomorph. And I recently learned, my observation and the advice I’ve been repeating for two decades is wrong.

Unknown to me, the bodybuilding trainers discovered through observation and experimentation that it was actually much harder to build muscle on a body with extra weight. When given the task of training a big guy, they would direct them to cardio and fixing their diet until enough progress was made before hitting the iron.

Anyway, this was all old-school theory until recently. A recent study that was discussed on Super Human Radio confirmed that heavy people are resistant to gaining muscle. They need to lose the fat first before adding the muscle later.

Listen to the discussion on the study and what classic bodybuilders have known for years:  2236: Super Human Radio (3:15 – 14:30 and 19:00 – 23:00)

So to my big guy friends, sorry about that. I still think it is 80-90% diet. That view has not changed. And I still like walking close to 10,000 steps a day if you can get them in. As for the remainder, hold off on using weights as your primary exercise for now. Do some cycling, swimming or hiking and after you’ve made some progress, stop by the weight room and gradually start lifting.

Wrong Way

Photo by NeONBRAND

I’m Glad I Didn’t Move this Blog to Medium

In May when I sold the domain that used to house this blog, I considered moving everything over to Medium.com. It would have been a lot of work. I decided against the move.

I got some good comments here plus I had this nagging concern that no matter how much I liked Medium as a user, they could always change the rules and screw me over at their whim.

Here we are 4 months later and as a user, I no longer like Medium nearly as much as I once did. In their effort to make money, the algorithm is filling my feed with paid article recommendations. These recommendations no longer match the types of articles that I was reading in the first half of the year.

I used to open the app and read articles about Javascript, new technologies, and a few Spanish-language articles. Whenever I completed an article that I felt to be well-written and informative, I would follow the author.

Today, my feed is full of click-bait titles on topics I have zero interest in reading. These are all articles for those that have paid memberships.

Writers that I follow often do not show up in my feed and I need to perform multiple clicks to discover if any new articles have been written by them. Usually, I forget to look. So the cool writer I found in January or February is now a faded memory, even though I follow them. For business reasons, Medium chooses to hide them from my feed.

Pay to Play?

I’m not opposed to paying for a service that improves upon the free model. For Medium, I was in a wait-and-see mode. What I saw was a lot of writers made their content pay-only to earn revenue. Good writers and a lot of mediocre writers looking to get paid.

Medium had a moment. They were a format that signaled quality. If they still have it, it is fading. Medium continues to experiment and try different things, so maybe my concerns will be addressed over time. Or maybe they won’t.

I’ll Still Be Blogging Old-School

Even though I followed the proper procedures on Google Webmaster for transferring a domain, I lost a tremendous amount of traffic to this blog when I moved from the “.com” to the “.org”.

The 3-month page view average prior to the move was 33,000 a month. The 3-months since the move, that has dropped to just 6,000 a month. If you see an article written by some SEO hack saying you won’t lose traffic if you use the transfer procedure on Google Webmaster, they are wrong.

Even though my audience has dropped by 80%, it is still better for me to run a blog than trust that Medium will show my content on their feed to people that choose to follow me.