Ultimate Diet 2.0 Log
Ultimate Diet 2.0 Temporarily Postponed
I'm just too swamped with Real Life commitments right now to be able to spare the extreme amounts of time and effort this program requires. In the few weeks I followed it I achieved amazing results, losing several pounds of fat while increasing my strength substantially. I'll be giving it another shot in late April or May when school is out and summer is a little closer.
Latest Update -- Feb. 23/04
Ultimate Diet 2.0 is the brainchild of Lyle McDonald, noted authour, trainer, and dispenser of scorn. For more info, check out his site here.
In a nutshell, UD2 is an integrated diet and training plan that uses some physiological sleight-of-hand to get around the body's tendency to lose muscle while losing fat. This comes at a price; it's complicated, time-consuming, and highly regimented. It's definitely not a diet for the masses; the average person doesn't need (or want) such extreme measures. It's intended for those who are already at normal or somewhat lean bodyfat levels (15% or less for men), who want to get even leaner without losing muscle or sacrificing athletic performance. I'm actually starting out quite a bit flabbier than that, but I have my reasons for choosing UD2 over a less demanding program:
1. I'm genetically cursed with a slow metabolism and have a lot of trouble losing fat even when I'm fat to begin with.
2. I'm also genetically cursed in that I can't seem to lose fat at any appreciable rate without drastic strength and muscle losses.
3. I'm an impatient, masochistic, obsessive-compulsive kind of guy and would rather suffer mightily for excellent results, than take it easy on myself and maybe get not such great or fast results.
The basic program is a 7 or 8 day cycle as follows:
Day 1 and 2: Low cal/low carb, high-volume high-rep depletion workouts.
Day 3 and 4: Low cal/low carb, no weights, just cardio
Day 5: Heavier, high intensity weight training session, followed by the mother of all carb-loads.
Day 6: Maintenance level or somewhat restricted diet, depending on goals.
Day 7: Diet as in day 6, heavy, low-rep power workout.
Day 8: Diet as in days 6-7, prepare to start again.
The 7 day cycle combines days 3 and 4 into one; low carb in the morning and afternoon, then workout followed by start of carb load in the evening. I'll be using both cycles to schedule around my work rotation. Every few weeks I have a day when I'm at school from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM, then at work from 6:15 PM to 2:15 AM. Obviously, training isn't an option.
What's in this log:
I'll be posting my workouts and total nutrient intakes, but not a detailed breakdown of everything I eat; that's too damn boring even for me. My target intake is around 1200 kcal/day on lowcarb days, 5000 on carbup day, and 1600-2000 on the other days, depending on how I feel. I won't break down the supplements I use either. They don't vary much so I'll list them right up front:
Calcium -- 600 mg morning, 1200 mg night (helps fat metabolism)
Vitamin C -- 1000 mg once or twice a day (in the faint hope that anti-oxidants will help diminish muscle soreness)
Folic acid -- .4 mg once or twice a day, again for the anti-oxidant
Fish oil -- 6 1-gram capsules on days that I don't eat fish
mulitvitamin/mineral -- on the lowcarb days, if I remember
Creatine -- 5 grams per day, except on carb-load day when it's 20 grams
And the most important: 24 mg ephedrine with a few cups of the worst coffee I can make, taken before the weight training sessions to supplement my will to live.
On the lowcarb days all my calories come from "real" food. Liquid nutrition just isn't filling enough to get me through a depletion day. On other days I'll use some carb and protein powder in my pre-and postworkout meals. For liquid carbs I use dextrose brewing sugar -- pretty much identical to a commercial carb supplement at a fraction of the price.
I'll also measure my weight, waist and bodyfat percentage once a week, on the first day of each cycle.
Feb 05/04 -- Day 1 of carb depletion
The adventure begins. My vital statistics: 177lbs, 36" waist (measured around fattest part of love handles), 24.3% bodyfat (measured with cheapo Accu-Measure calipers, so it's not exactly, umm, exact). See, I told ya I was too fat for UD2.
Workout (format is exercise -- weight in pounds x sets, everything is 15 reps unless otherwise specified)
Squat -- 100 x 6
Dumbell Bench Press -- 40's x 6
Lateral raise -- 12.5's x 6
T-bar rows -- 60 x 6
1-leg dumbell calf raise -- 20 x 6
Barbell curls -- 40 x 4
1-arm triceps extension -- 10 x 4
Total workout time was 1 hour, 40 minutes. It should have been an hour or less. Also, Lyle recommends using weights that are about 60% of your 1-rep max (1RM) for this workout. Since I've been doing low-rep training for the past several months, this high-rep high-volume workout damn near killed me. I was using 50% 1RM or less and still spent most of the time sitting with my head between my knees, trying not to puke. As the book says, a depletion workout while low-carbing is among the most miserable things you'll ever do. As I drop a bit of fat and get used to the high reps I should be able to push these weights up quite a bit.
Just to punish myself for being in such bad shape I did 6 intervals of jumping rope later in the evening, 30 seconds skipping then 30 seconds rest. Not much, but it sure seemed like it.
Diet -- I won't be keeping track of fat except possibly on carbup day. Meeting my calorie, carb and protein targets pretty much guarantee there isn't much room to maneuver where fat is concerned.
Feb 06/04 -- Day 2 of carb depletion
Every single muscle in my body is sore. On the plus side, I know what to expect from the workout. The downside is that I'm that much more depleted than I was yesterday.
Deadlift -- 170 x 6
Incline Bench Press -- 90 x 6
Lateral raise -- 12.5's x 6
T-bar rows -- 60 x 6
1-leg dumbell calf raise -- 20 x 6
Barbell curls -- 40 x 4
1-arm triceps extension -- 11 x 4 Yes, I went up a whole pound on these. I'd like to thank metric weights for making such a puny increase possible.
Total workout time was 1 hour, 27 minutes. Not bad, all things considered. Nausea and light-headedness was just as strong today, but I didn't grunt and curse quite as much.
Feb 07/04 -- Day 3 of carb depletion
Did I say every single muscle in my body was sore? Ahhh, to be so innocent again. I have delayed-onset muscle soreness in the soles of my freaking feet today. If I bend my arms more than 90 degrees they'll go into spasms. I'm so glad the high-rep workouts are done for the week. Every second of pain I endure brings me that much closer to the glorious gluttony of the carbo-load.
No weights today. 60 minutes on the stationary bike.
Feb 08/04 -- 4th and last day of carb depletion
Soreness is under control and so is hunger, more or less. I had to stay an extra hour at work this afternoon and it got pretty tough, especially with a table of free donuts in the staff room. My depleted state is having an interesting effect on my caffeine tolerance -- being a hardcore computer geek I'm usually immune to coffee and only notice its absence. Today was like being a coffee virgin again. <APU> By the fourth cup, I believed I was a hummingbird of some sort. </APU>
Same as yesterday, 60 minutes on the bike. Legs felt distant and weak, which is perfect. By this time tomorrow they'll be crammed so full of glycogen they'll be threatening to split open like overcooked Oscar Meyers.
Feb 09/04 -- All hail the glories of the carb load!
Woke up dreading the last depletion/intensity workout, but eager to get it over with so I could stuff my face. I was hyper-sensitive to coffee again today -- a cup of instant and I was revved right up. No coffee or stimulants after breakfast today; they increase insulin resistance which interferes with the carb load.
Today's workout wouldn't be bad at all if I wasn't doing it in a carb-depleted state -- lower reps, lower volume. Not quite what I'm used to -- low rep workouts while in a well-fed state -- but not bad.
Note: Reps vary in this workout, so format is weight x reps (x sets if appropriate). The "everything is 15 reps" convention only holds during the 2 carb depletion workouts at the beginning of the week.
Squats -- 150 x 6, 155 x 6, 160 x 6
1-leg calf raise -- 40 x 8 x 3
Deadlift -- 255 x 6 x 3
Bench Press -- 155 x 6 x 3
Pullup -- 8, 6, 6
Lateral Raise -- 20's x 8 x 3
Close-grip bench press -- 110 x 8 x 2
T-bar row -- 100 x 6 x 2
Can you tell I've been doing my pullup training with 3 reps or less recently? I must be the only guy on the planet who can do a pullup with a 50-lb plate hanging from my weight belt and yet can only do 8 regular pullups.
5000 calories isn't as much as I'd hoped it would be; also, the need to keep fat intake low takes some of the fun out of it. I used up my day's fat budget by midafternoon (a bit of ice cream and some dim sum took care of that). It's still a helluva lot of fun. I won't go into the gory details but here's the gist of it: pre- and post-workout shakes, rice, dim sum, ice cream, protein bar, bagels, beans, ground beef (elk actually) -- and lots of it. My post-workout shake contained as much carb as the previous 4 days intake put together.
Calories Around 6000
Feb 10/04 -- 2nd day of carb loading. I didn't bother counting calories, just ate whatever I felt like but didn't make a concerted effort to stuff my face like yesterday.
No workout today.
Feb 11/04 -- The power workout day. Of course, "power" is relative . . . and when you're in the kind of shape I'm in, it's very relative. Soreness from previous days has pretty much abated, replaced by a weird tight feeling from the carb load. My forearms feel like they'd explode if I did a few high-rep sets.
Squats -- 200 x 3 x 3
1-leg calf raise -- 60 x 6 x 3
Deadlift -- 306 x 3 x 2 . . . metric weights make for strange numbers
Bench Press -- 170 x 3 x 3
Pullup -- 25lbs x 3 x 3
Incline Dumbell Press -- 60's x 6 x 3
T-bar Row -- 130 x 5 x 3
Close-grip bench press -- 130 x 6 x 3
It's been a long time since I worked squats and deadlifts hard in the same workout. After the second set of deadlifts I could tell my back had had enough. A third set would have been well within my strength capabilities, but my back was saying "hey buddy, take it easy or yer spine's gonna shoot straight out yer ass!" Now it's a few hours later and my back muscles are getting really sore, but not, as far as I can tell, in a way that means injury. Just soreness, only more so.
Diet today is a bit different -- lots of carbs during and after the workout, but with a bit of calorie restriction so that I don't get to eat much the rest of the day. If I was using UD2 as a bulking program, I'd be eating quite a bit on the power workout day. As it is, I'm carbed up already so as long as I get enough protein I'll be able to recover from the workout. After all, I'm trying to drop flab here; as long as I don't lose muscle I'll be happy. (pets belly . . . "my Precious" . . . )
Carbs don't matter today
Feb 12/04 -- This was one of those evil days that leave for school around 8 AM, go straight to work after school, and get home around 2:20 AM the next day. I packed enough food to last the day, took some to school and had my girlfriend drop the rest off at work.
Nothing today (obviously). Cardio is optional today but simply not possible.
Today is the transition back to low-carb, so calories are moderately restricted and carbs are cut back during the day, reaching full restriction by evening. I don't really have to count carbs on these days because once my protein requirements are met, I can't overconsume carbs without exceeding my limit means anyway.
Carbs Not counting today.
Feb 13/04 -- Ooooooh, Friday the 13th. I'm scared. My back feels much better, but I'll give it another day of rest just to be safe. Today will be like day 3 or 4 of the last cycle: lowcarb, low cal, with cardio. Today is the first day of a new cycle so it's time for measurements:
175lbs, 35 1/4" waist , 24.4% bodyfat
This might seem really strange at first -- I've lost 2 pounds since last week, my waist is 3/4" smaller, but my bodyfat is up 0.1% What the heck?
Actually, this is exactly what I exepected. Men store a fair amount of visceral fat (internal abdominal fat), which tends to be the first fat lost when dieting. Losing internal fat will make the waist a bit smaller but won't affect skinfold measurements. So why did my measured bodyfat actually increase? Because it's not a very precise measurement, smartypants -- calipering myself is probably self-consistent to within a few percent at best. Still, it's nice to see my predictions borne out by observation. Viva science!
STOP THE PRESSES! I just did some research to clear up some nagging doubts, and confirmed my suspicion that my skinfold measurement technique was incorrect. Re-measuring with correct technique yields 21.6%. Not a huge difference and doesn't change the fact that my skinfolds haven't really changed since last week. It does mean that my calculations of my lean body mass, which determines my calorie and protein requirements, have been inaccurate, but again not by enough to matter.
An hour on the stationary bike.
Feb 14/04 -- Happy Valentines Day! Since it's a depletion day I vetoed a night out on the town. Instead I cooked my girlfriend a romantic dinner: foccacia bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to start, then mushroom caps stuffed with scallops and baked with cheese and tomato sauce. Main course was chicken breast served over rotini in a garlicky pasta sauce. Cooking this and not being able to partake was definitely cruel and unusual punishment for me. It wasn't a total loss as I treated myself to almost a pound of scallops.
The first depletion workout of week 2. It was every bit as painful as I remembered, but I was able to stretch my equipment and space to the limit and set up the first five excercises as a circuit, so I could give each muscle group a bit more rest without increasing overall resting time. In fact, I finished in 1 hour 19 minutes, compared to 1:40 last week.
Squat-- 100 x 15 x 6
1-leg Calf Raise-- 20 x 15 x 6
Incline DB Press -- 40s x 15 x 3, 40s x 12 x 3
Lateral Raises -- 13.5s x 15 x 6
T-Bar Row -- 60 x 15 x 6
DB Triceps Extension -- 11 x 15 x 4
Curl -- 40 x 15 x 4
This is weird . . . It looks like I forgot to write down my last meal because my calorie total is too low for today. Oh well, as long as I didn't go into a fugue state and demolish a Dairy Queen cake or something . . .
Feb 15/04 -- I wasn't feeling well at all today, so I didn't work out. Maybe I'm coming down with something.
Feb 16/04 -- Still feeling like hell. Didn't work out, and brought my calories up to about maintenance (2500 or so) while staying lowcarb.
Didn't keep a detailed log, just a running total in my head. Calories about 2500
Feb 17/04 -- Still not feeling great but tried to do another depletion workout. Not a great idea.
Conventional Deadlift -- 170 x 15 x 6
1-leg Calf Raise-- 20 x 15 x 5
Bench Press -- 100 x 15 x 5
T-Bar Row -- 65 x 15 x 1
This is where the last few days caught up with me and called it quits. The guilt I felt at not finishing the workout was second only to how physically miserable I was feeling.
50 minutes on the bike.
Feb 19/04 -- Carb-load day again. I started the day in a state of starvation; I had to get bloodwork done for my annual physical so I had to fast overnight and skip breakfast. By the time I was home from the lab I hadn't eaten in over 15 hours, so I went into my workout with nothing in my system except my small pre-workout shake, 21 grams protein and 30 grams of carbs. Under those conditions, I was very pleasantly surprised to find my strength was up in every exercise except squats. I deliberately kept the squats light due to my back trouble last week -- I blame poor squat form. I'll keep the squats sub-maximal until I've got more confidence in my form.
Squat -- 140 x 8 x 3
Bench Press -- 160 x 6 x 3
Sumo Deadlift -- 260 x 6 x 3
1-leg Calf Raise -- 45 x 8 x 3
Chins (unweighted) -- 8, 8, 6
Lateral Raises -- 20s x 9 x 3
T-Bar Row -- 105 x 6 x 2
Close-Grip Bench Press -- 115 x 8 x 3
Kept it pretty clean this time -- only about 12% calories from fat.
Carbs 819g Fat 63g
Feb 20/04 -- The day after the carb load. There's quite a bit of variation in the program for this day; it could be a second carb load day, a maintenance day, or even a diet day. I've been using it as a free eating day where I don't make a concerted effort to stuff my face but don't worry too much about what I eat either.
Didn't keep track, probably around 4000 cal.
Power workout day. A bittersweet adventure -- my deadlift sucked, strength was way down. On the other hand, my triceps strength is the best it's ever been. Even after doing bench press and incline press, my close-grip bench is nearly as much as my regular bench. Weird, but I won't complain. Again, I'm keeping my squats light and working up slowly to maintain form.
Bike 10 min.
Squat -- 170 x 3 x 3
Bench Press -- 175 x 3 x 3
Sumo Deadlift -- 310 x 3, 2, 2
Incline Dumbell Press -- 62.5s x 6 x 3
1-leg Calf Raise -- 62.5 x 6 x 3
Chins -- 25 lbs. x 4, 3, 3
T-Bar Row -- 135 x 6 x 3
Close-Grip Bench Press -- 135 x 6 x 3
Transition day -- moderate carbs in the morning and afternoon, tapering off to low-carb at night.
Day 1 of the 3rd week. Time for the progress report:
Waist: 34 7/8
Still going as I expected. The first week showed a drop in weight and waist measurement with no change in skinfolds, indicating a loss of visceral fat. This week waist and weight went down again and there was a slight improvement in skinfolds, hopefully meaning I'm burning off the last of the visceral fat. So to date I've lost 5 lbs, 1 1/8" from my waist, and decreased my bodyfat percentage by 0.7 -- not bad for 2 weeks.
Tomorrow is one of those straight-from-school-to-work days, which means I can't work out tomorrow . . . which therefore means I have to do two days' depletion workouts in one day. I dropped the weights a bit so I'd have some chance of functioning tomorrow:
Bike 10 min.
Squat-- 70 x 15 x 12
1-leg Calf Raise-- 20 x 15 x 10
Incline DB Press -- 35s x 15 x 10
Lateral Raises -- 11s x 15 x 8
T-Bar Row -- 60 x 15 x 10
DB Triceps Extension -- 11 x 15 x 6
Curl -- 40 x 15 x 6
Not quite 2 full workouts, but still the most miserable thing I've ever done of my own free will. By the end I was tottering around with all the grace and vigour of an elderly man who'd just endured a beating with a length of garden hose filled with lead shot.
Low carb, low cal.
Feb 24-March 2/04 -- Gone Fishin
Followed the low-carb, low-cal phase of the diet as planned. Things went awry on the 6th when my workout was pre-empted by unexpected company. Things went downhill from there; I had schoolwork piled up and the workout got pushed further and further back. I ended up staying up all night working on a project, and that plus my job was the final straw. My body just shut down and I did nothing but sleep and feel crappy for several days. I finally got back into it March 3, but surprisingly I don't think I lost much ground during my impromptu holiday.
I'll be modifying the program somewhat for the next several weeks. At around 20% bodyfat, I just don't need a weekly refeed (carb-up). I plan on doing a depletion workout, then sticking to the low-calorie phase for 2 full weeks. I'll hit the weights every 2-3 days, alternating powerlifting style volume/technique work with bodybuilding style tension work. On the tension days, I'll use what's called a Targeted Ketogenic Diet, in which carbs are consumed immediately before and after the workout to increase performance and recovery. After a 2-week dieting cycle I'll do a carb load and power workout. I'll continue this until I get down to about 15%, which is the recommended starting point for the UD2.
Starting over at the depletion workout. I knew this was going to be extra-painful. I kept the squatting weights down and tried to see if I could finish in an hour. The first 1/3 of the workout was great; I was on pace to finish in 40 minutes. I was pushing much too hard though, I got a stitch in my side that wouldn't go away and had to abort the workout. Next time I'll try ultra-light weights and see if there's any amount of weight that will allow me to finish in an hour or less. Since none of the weights I'm currently using feel at all heavy, even when I'm gasping for air, I'm guessing it's more of a fundamental conditioning problem that further fat loss and cardio will correct.
Squat-- 70 x 15 x 5
Incline DB Press -- 40ss x 15, 15, 13, 12
1-leg Calf Raise-- 20 x 15 x 5
T-Bar Row -- 65 x 15 x 3
Lateral Raises -- 11s x 15 x 3
Tricep Bar Extension -- 11 x 15 x 2
Curl -- 40 x 15 x 2
Bike -- 20 minutes