Shortcut to Shred – Week 5 Review. Exercise is the saviour

“You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet” – Mark Hyman M.D.

Sometimes, despite all of the best intentions in the world, there are times where sticking to a specific plan is not feasible.  There are other times where weaknesses will surface.  This past week of the Shortcut to Shred program saw both of those situations arise for me.

Starting the week in the UK and finishing it in the US, I had 2 and a half days of ridiculous travel, including 10 trains, 3 planes, 3 bus rides and a Lyft (I refuse to use Uber anymore).  I also had a 4 hour layover at Lisbon airport and an 11 hour layover at JFK.  Sticking to 85 grams of carbs and 85 grams of fat a day was a challenge that I did not do to well with over those days of  travel.  Pleasingly, the training did not suffer, otherwise my Ethopian-like physique of years gone by would likely be surfacing again.

Training – Muscle Building

Despite my challenges of travel this week, the first 3 days (when I was based in the UK) were very good from a training standpoint.  The rep range had dropped from 9-11 to 6-8, meaning heavier weights for the compound movements.  Though I had some days where drop sets were needed, for the most part I was lifting heavier than week 2.  My shoulders especially, saw big improvements (aesthetically as well – happy days).

Due to my change in location, I had to accept the change in weight measurement, with the UK using the metric system (kg) and the US using Imperial (pounds).  Though I know that 4.5kg is 10lbs give or take, the weight plates and dumbbells don’t add up as an exact replacement.  I made sure that I was using  a weight that allowed me to reach failure and achieving the pump that 16-20 reps should bring.  I anticipate my change in gyms having an impact in week 6 also.  The gym at Forest Green Rovers has a barbell.  Planet Fitness in Chapel Hill, NC doesn’t.  I’m debating whether to use dumbbells or the smith machine for the best effect – thoughts are very welcome.

Training – Fat Burning

Compared to the previous week, for the first day or 2 at least, my cardio levels felt back to where they should be.  I was able to power through the movements, even incorporating some new activties to keep my body guessing (see above).  It had been years since I had used a rowing machine and I remember struggling through 5 minutes back then.  Even though each set was only 60 seconds, I felt that I breezed through it.

Unfortunately, the discomfort in my knee came back, meaning I had to adapt my exercises.  This seemed to coincide with the day I performed squats and deadlifts.  Goblet squats, kettelbell swings and dumbbell step-ups all felt very uncomfortable.  This has me nervous for leg day in week 6.

Still, there is no doubt in my mind that I am far ‘fitter’ than I was before I started this program.  I’m breathing easier, finding arduous tasks a breeze and my energy levels seem a lot higher throughout the day.

Diet & Supplements

Yeah…this has not been good.

I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to fly both Business and First Class and even then, getting a meal that suited my needs regarding a training plan was difficult.  Flying economy this time, I had no chance.

From London to Lisbon I was given a sandwich (carbs).  From Lisbon to JFK was Chicken and Potatoes (literally) a bread roll and pudding.  Then a sandwich (carbs).  Upon arriving in JFK, the only 2 places that were open were McDonalds and Wok & Roll.  Trans Fat and carbs unite!  For those keeping track, I went for a Chicken McNugget meal.  Then from JFK to Raleigh – Cheeze Its.  Added to my initial rushing around, taking care of things I had not had chance to do for 3 months, getting to the gym and seeing my girlfriend, my diet took a bit of a hit.  I could feel it on my mid-section too.

Supplement wise, it was amazing how wired I felt after upon a week of taking caffeine tablets.  Even this morning, I was wizzing my tits off, unable to keep still.  This most likely helped the positive impact on my cardio acceleration intensity.

Results

Current Weight – 166lbs (down 2ilbs)

Current Bodyfat – 17.5% (up 0.5%)

The increase in bodyfat has bummed me out.  I was expecting it, but it still wasn’t pleasant reading.  It leaves me with 1 week to drop 2.5% to reach my target, which is going to be challenging to say the least.  I plan on adding cayenne pepper to every meal (study) to assist the burn.  I’m also hoping that being back on the soccer field everyday will keep the metabolism high.

I’m happy with the muscular increase.  My shoulders definitely appear bigger, as do my traps.  Hopefully this final week with 30 reps per set on isolation days will give everything else the impetus to grow and chisel that little bit more.

Recommendations
  • Consider how any travel plans may effect your diet and plan accordingly.
  • Use Cardio Acceleration to vary the workouts and don’t be afraid to incorporate new movements into the program
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