Struggle Bus Saturday

I don’t intend for the Struggle Bus Saturday to be a regular thing, but who knows? At some point during anyone’s journey to get in shape/learn a new skill/build stupid amounts of muscle, they will end up taking a ride on the ol’ struggle bus.

Maybe it’s the scale not moving… I’m there.

Maybe it’s not being sure if you are doing the right thing as far as a workout program.

Maybe it’s just feeling tired and wanting to rest more.

Whatever it is, everyone… and I mean EVERYONE… encounters a period where they struggle with their new endeavors for personal growth/advancement.

Struggle Number 1:

That’s a cropped screenshot from my Renpho scale app. My weight hasn’t changed much in any way that matters in about 10 days. The app also offers some other various measurements, but they haven’t changed more than a tenth of a point in any direction. These scales are rough guidelines, and all things being equal the measurements (while not perfectly accurate) will show overall changes.

I know I’ve made a difference in my body in that 10 days… I feel stronger (sets are easier at a higher weight for my lifts now) and my arm muscles are physically larger and firmer.

The saying muscle weighs more than fat comes to mind, but that saying is erroneous. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same. A pound is a pound is a pound. It is important to remember, however; a pound of fat is physically larger than a pound of muscle.\

That linky-link will take you to a Google search that shows images that give comparisons of pound for pound fat vs muscle.

Struggle Number 2:

I’m a nerd. I haven’t tried to hide or disguise that fact at all. I did some research before finding a lifting plan and specifically chose the program I did (read more about that here: Wednesday’s Workout: #2) because of this specific program’s ability to both build strength and muscle mass at the same time.

I chose the P.H.A.T. program based off of that ability to build strength and muscle knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to eat the calories that are required for it to work anywhere near what it’s fully capable of.

Here’s the nerdy part: I went and looked for studies about the ability to build muscle while in a serious calorie deficit. There simply aren’t many studies (or much evidence either way) to defend or refute the possibility of building muscle in a calorie deficit.

As it turns out, there aren’t a lot of morbidly obese folks going to the gym and doing 5 day splits while they try to cram as much protein as they can into the calories they are allowed to have after a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

This study recommends a certain amount of protein for optimal growth; but also explains the effects of various dietary regimes for conserving/building lean body mass (with a diet restricted in fats with “adequate” carbohydrate and 2.3g of protein per KG of body mass almost completely eliminating loss of lean body mass in folks doing resistance training).

That 2.3g/kg would put me at roughly 1400 calories a day if I could get plain 4 calories per gram protein with absolutely nothing else. That’s more than I’m “supposed” to have right now.

This study shows that increased protein intake while doing resistance training can limit LBM loss during a hypoenergetic (read: restricted calorie) diet.

This study gets into nutrient timing (read: when to consume what for which results) and raises the question of if the body can use it’s own fat stores as an energy surplus to for muscle growth.

So, looking at those studies and knowing that I’m seeing some progress in my build? I’ll stick with it and struggle for a bit longer. If nothing else, maintaining the muscle mass I have through the workouts will just mean more calories being burned for longer.

Struggle Number 3:

I have kids. I have a 14 hour a day job 4 days a week. My wife has work. How then, do I fit the workouts in? I’ve decided I can’t/won’t stop.. so how do I fit them in? My first week back to work, I went after work on workout days. That puts me finally getting home for the evening around 8:45-9 if everything went perfect getting out of work and getting my workout in (it often doesn’t.. lots of folks flirting in the racks on leg days when my fat ass is trying to do dead lifts and squats).

I still prefer mornings on my days off from work just because there are fewer people in the way and I have a little more freedom in the schedule then.

I could do the workouts before work on work days; that puts me in the gym by 0315 to knock out the workout, shower, change and get to work by 5. Hell, maybe that would work better. There’s no way the gym is busy at 3 am.

Then, there’s the sleep schedule. In bed by 9 and hitting the gym gets me roughly 6 hours of sleep. Doable, but not the best for an already clusterfucked program due to less than perfect intake. Or, stick with after work and be wired trying to fall asleep and only really get 5 hours of sleep if I’m lucky.

Opportunity cost is a motherfucker.

Struggle Bus Saturday

And remember kids, “Oh, they took the easy way out. Anyone can have surgery.”

I haven’t heard that one yet, but I know it’s out there. Just a friendly reminder that the surgery isn’t doing the thousand things a day trying to make everything work.

Keep working your ass off. Keep following along on the journey. I’m still here. I’m still kicking


What are you struggling with?