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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Diet Planner Updated - Marcella

Quick note: I added some drop-down menus to the diet planner to make it much easier to use. But...that functionality is not available in Google spreadsheets, so here's a new link to download (I updated in the earlier post also): Diet Planner

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Diet Planning Worksheet!!

Here it is: a simple, interactive diet worksheet I built in Microsoft Excel to help us reach our respective fitness goals, and that we're now sharing with you as a proven success!

How we did it:
Derek gathered info about the diets of the male and female winners of the Olympia bodybuilding contest and adjusted their calorie and nutrient intake down to our body weights. Then I put my Excel skills to work in creating a spreadsheet that was easy to update quickly and understand. Before sharing it with you, I added some formulas to make it work for everyone, like calorie calcs based on weight (averaged from values on the American Cancer Society site and checked by Derek for reasonableness) and adjustments for activity level.

How it works:
In finance, we tend to compare actual results to expected results using ratios to get a comprehensive snapshot of where we stand and I figured why not do the same here? Hence the "Actual/Ideal" ratio I've included at the bottom of the sheet: 100% across the board is perfect, while something like 150% of your ideal fat intake is clearly bad...Instructions are contained on the first page, please follow the link to download:

Diet Planning Sheet on Google Docs

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Derek's Shoot Prep, Phase 1 - Derek

At long last, the shoot is complete! Not only that, but it was a great success and a lot of fun too. Above is a sample of how the pictures came out. We are currently going through the shots and picking our favorites to be finalized, so before we have those to post I will begin the breakdown of our long preparation.

Our initial date set for the photo shoot gave us 12 weeks of preparation (it actually wound up being 15, but the extra time paid off) so I set us up with 3 four-week phases to address separate goals.

I wanted to come in a little more muscular and heavier than I was for my December shoot, so I designated my first phase a muscle gain phase. The strategies I used were:

  • A high calorie diet (4000+ calories per day) consisting of extra large servings of our typical whole food meals plus two bean shakes with added peanut butter and an almond butter sandwich on Ezekiel bread per day. I also added peanut butter to my morning oatmeal.
  • A heavy free-weight total body routine. For this I used the total body plan I designed and have previously posted on, which you can view here.

While I was successful in gaining both weight (I reached my heaviest weight yet as a vegan) and strength during this phase, I also observed my body-fat jump to its highest level since I became vegan. From this I realized on future muscle gain phases I need to be much more cautious of my fat intake to ensure that I am gaining as much muscle and as little fat as possible.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Greatest Grain - Derek

Our March photo shoot approaches this Sunday, and before I finally post the plan we have been following I wanted to share some background information on one of our current food staples. Many of you that see me regularly have heard me talk about Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) as a very healthy complex carbohydrate source. I caution everyone to limit their grain intake in general and refined grain intake in particular due to the low nutrient and high calorie source they provide, but with Quinoa this is much less the case.

Quinoa, unlike most other grains, is an excellent source of many macro and micro nutrients. For the macros: it is low in fat, rich in slow digesting carbohydrates and fiber, and is one of the few plant based complete proteins so it provides all he essential amino acids the human body needs. Its protein is even ranked as highly as soy based on its amino acid profile, making it an excellent food option. In terms of micro nutrients, quinoa also boasts high concentrations of the minerals iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese. These factors make it a much more nutrient dense food than other grains, and therefore a very healthy option. If you'd like to learn more about Quinoa, check out its background here or its nutritiondata.com analysis here.

Until next time, try some Quinoa, but don't skip the beans and greens!