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    Primal Journal (Seth "BONZ" Williams)

    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Well here it is, my testament to a lifestyle choice that has proven itself in vainglorious fashion. Really, who can blame it for being a little on the boastful side? HAVE YOU SEEN SOME OF THE PEOPLE FREQUENTING THIS SITE!? See the sticky for "before and after" photos if you still have any doubts.

    I'm Seth, a 33 year old former Marine and current mercenary for hire (maybe a slight exaggeration) who's spent the better part of the last decade living in the Middle East supporting USCENTCOM. I work in telecommunications generally, plus whatever other non-sense the US military happens to come up with month to month. I love what I do, if not necessarily the location I do it in but you can't win'em all.

    The nickname BONZ (pronounced bones), a moniker coined by my uncle "Rabbit" (I know what you're thinking, yes I have a colorful family, you really have no idea!) came from my body type as a kid. All of my male cousins, with little exception, were built like football players. Me? More of a small forward/ 2 gaurd. I graduated high school at over 6 feet tall weighing in at about 135 lbs. Graduated Marine Corps boot camp at a grand total of 154 lbs and no discernible body fat. All down hill from there!

    I stayed in relatively good shape, despite being a heavy smoker and by any stretch of the medical definition, an alcoholic. Even later toward the end of my time on active duty, when my cardio fitness was at it's worst, my build was vertical. I could still run 3 miles, do pull ups and crunches. Must be in shape right! After I left active duty, I had a nice thin layer of adipose tissue around my waistline, and if I bent over in just the right fashion you could make out the beginnings of man-boobs. In short, I hid my weight well. If I was standing up you'd hardly know I was a fat kid. I kept a fairly muscular build in the arms and shoulders, but my mid-section was mush and my high weight reached about 205 lbs.

    Several years back, in an effort to preserve my sanity and because I had finally shamed myself into admitting that I wasn't in shape at all, I became a gym rat. The first time I had ever really stuck to a weight training program with any consistency. Six days a week, shy of an hour at a time. Of course, I didn't bother to change what I ate. I took this as license to simply eat more garbage and would routinely put down a whole pizza. Of course, I was supplementing protein and a laundry list of other things that were completely unecessary. This lasted for a year, right up until the first vacation I took back to the US. I had improved, adding muscle mass and improving personal bests in the gym. I was as strong as I'd ever been. Anybody want to guess what happened when I got back from that vacation? That's right, never went back to that routine. I was stronger, and that was good, but I didn't feel better. It was unsustainable. This is also about the time I met my wife, so you can imagine where my attention was focused. Isn't that typical male false advertising, ladies? I bust my rear to get her, but once I've got her, all that extra effort just isn't necessary anymore! But seriously, it was completely unsustainable.

    The image stuff is important, sure, and I can say that now that I'm somewhat pleased with mine, but here's what really mattered to me and the reason I tried PB in the first place. My entire life I've suffered blood sugar swings. The first time this came out, I was a child. I jumped up one morning, popped in the bathroom to brush my teeth for school..... and BAM! Passed out standing up and snapped my head on the floor. I woke up with my mother standing over me and had no idea what happened. This would be a common recurrence throughout my life, and I adjusted to it. I knew at any given time if I stood up quickly after sleeping, I may very well have to brace myself. If I didn't eat on a regular basis, I'd become confused and weak. Several times I'd grab candy or some other sweet and start eating it right there in the isle of a grocery store for fear of a blackout. This wasn't all the time, which made it very difficult to predict, but when it happened it was severe. After I got married, I realized that I had swelling in my hands but the lack of a ring previously meant I'd never noticed it. I'd had pain and weakness there for years leading up to this, to the point I was starting to worry about atrophy. I wasn't weight training, and when I did have to lift heavy items at work it was so painful that I would avoid it if possible. This was a stark contrast to earlier in my life. I'd always been relatively strong in certain respects, and weakness in my hands was becoming a big concern. I've been an insomniac since my teens, and I don't think you could ever call what I felt like when I woke up "refreshed". Even with all that, and still being a smoker, my wife and I signed up for a life insurance policy.... and I got a preferred rate! MY NUMBERS WERE ALL WITHIN NORMS, WTH?!?!? If that's the case, and I'm so "healthy", why do I always feel like garbage?

    Here comes Mark Sisson to the rescue! I heard this guy giving an interview and thought "what's this hippie talking about?" I KID, I KID!!! No, he was interviewing with a guy I listen to often.... and at the end of the interview I checked out MDA. Signed up for the newsletter and started reading the definitive guides. Holy hell, are you serious?!?!? It made so much sense and all I could think was why didn't I know this before. The weight loss was a complete surprise, and wasn't my prime concern. It was more of an adventure just to see where it took me. If good, great.... if not, no loss on my part. Good doesn't begin to explain the benefits I've seen over the last four months. First off, the raw numbers: I started on 20 December 2011 at 220 lbs. Currently 4 months later at 178 lbs and I haven't' felt this good since I was a 20 year old Marine. Swelling in my hands is GONE, my wedding ring is loose now. Pain is gone from my joints, my hands are strong again. I started weight training again a little over a month ago, and I'm already approaching those personal bests I hit back in my carb-loading, supplement-loading gym rat days. The difference is that took a year and then I was 210 lbs and looked like I was in good shape. Now, I'm 178 lbs approaching the ability to lift the same weight as then.... but I ACTUALLY FEEL like I'm in good shape. What does that tell you? Yeah, me too. No more weakness or confusion, I can fast all day with no issues. I sleep like a baby! If I lay down at 8 p.m., I'm out. I wake up at 4 a.m. daily, make coffee and feel like a champ. I feel like a completely different person, like a "who I always thought I should've been" kind of dude! That's it for the who, when, and why. I'll do separate posts with the how and the what for simplicity's sake.
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    MONTH 1: December 20th, 2011 to January 20th, 2012

    Two problems....

    1. I'm on vacation in the US for the holidays
    2. I really have no idea what I'm doing regarding this new "diet"

    At this point I'm just getting my feet wet. My extensive knowledge of what is actually a grain pretty much stops at bread. The rest of it.... vegetables? No idea! I've heard the term "whole grain oats" so oatmeal must be out right. I've "grazed" through the newsletters and some of the definitive guides trying to soak it in, but I'm going on vacation and have better things to think about. I need general guidelines.... like "Eat Mor Chicken".... I've got it, steak for dinner every night. That I can do! I may be exaggerating slightly, but my thinking at the time really was elementary. Keep it simple, stoooopid! A week or two into this vacation I stepped on the scale, for no other reason than it being there. Didn't expect anything, but got a surprise and a half. I had lost 5 pounds. Why? I didn't feel any different so why in the hell would I be losing weight? This is about the time I noticed that waking up was easier and I felt better in the mornings. Steak diet it is! I started doing planks and pushups during this month, every third day or every other day at most. On the 10th of January, I was 210 lbs on the scale. 10 lbs down.... here we go. I got back to the Middle East around the 20th of January, hopped on the scale and viola!! (<---- yes that's on purpose, pronounced vi-o-la ).... 200 lbs. Now we're talkin'!
    Last edited by BONZ; 04-22-2012 at 04:01 AM.
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    MONTH 2: January 20th, 2012 to February 20th, 2012

    Back from vaction... and right back to a 6 day work week! I need to get a life.... At least it's structured, so this should be a benefit to somebody implementing life changes. It is! Keep in mind, I'm at the mercy of military chowhalls so actually "going Primal" is an impossibility. I can do the no grains, no legumes and put myself in the right area of the carbohydrate curve, but I'm not even sure this food is real, much less "whole". One thing is very predictable.... breakfast! Daily, I was eating 5 eggs and a stack of bacon. Lunch was less predictable, but theres always meat and salad so I'm good. Same with dinner. During this time, I started doing the full "lift heavy things" bodyweight routine Mark outlined in in the PB workout guide 2 or 3 times a week. 30 January I hit 195 lbs. 20 February I was at 190 lbs. 30 lbs. total in 2 months, are you serious!?!?!?

    18 FEB 8 Weeks
    Last edited by BONZ; 04-23-2012 at 06:36 PM.
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    MONTH 3: 20 February 2012 to 20 March 2012

    Now I'm feeling great, looking better....

    25 FEB 9 Weeks


    things are on the up and up. Sometime in March I got back in the gym for actual weight training for the first time in years. I got some good info from one of Marks posts regarding adding lean mass. I went with a 3 day a week, 30 minute routine. All three days are squats, dips, and pull ups. I alternate supersets of dumbell bench press/one arm rows or dumbell shoulder press/shrugs depending on the day. All the weighted exercises are 5 sets of 5 reps and heavy.

    2 MAR 10 Weeks


    By March 8th I had come down to 187 lbs. Unfortunately, I didn't record my weight again until April. I had leveled out at that point, and really didn't care what my weight was. I had leaned out significantly and that's what was important.

    12 MAR 11.5 Weeks
    Last edited by BONZ; 04-23-2012 at 06:41 PM.
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    MONTH 4: 20 March 2012 to 20 April 2012

    This has been one of the most rewarding months yet. Mark did a series on intermittent fasting (IF), and I decided to incorporate it into my schedule. Turns out, what I decided to do ended up being a variation of LeanGains without realizing it. I eat breakfast and lunch, with the gym coming just before lunch. All my caloric intake within a four hour window of the day. This has been surprisingly easy to stick to. I started tracking my food intake on FitDay.com so I can monitor protein intake. While doing IF, it took a little more attention to food than I had been doing previously but it was a simple adjustment. I've also embraced a ketogenic diet for a few days at a time, usually through the week, with a higher carb intake on the weekends. I'd commonly take in less than 15 grams of carbs on average for three or four days at a time. At this point, I'm playing around with diet and having fun with it. More recently, I've sworn off sucralose (only took it before because I couldn't get a whey supplement that didn't have it) and started taking Marks Primal Fuel in addition to meals to supplement protein, so that has raised my average daily carb intake back up to around 40 grams. I try to average 150 to 200 grams of protein daily, with the rest of my calories coming from fat. Fat intake is anywhere from 50 to 100 grams, depending on how hungry I am or what's available on the menu that day. My total caloric intake varies widely anywhere from 1300 to 2200 in a day. Keep in mind, my choice of diet and workouts is based on a specific purpose.... reducing body fat while still gaining stregth and it has done that extremely well. I'm not recommending anybody go ketogenic, or fast on a regular basis just to do it. I have certain goals in mind. If you just stumbled in here wondering if "Primal" works, beleive me it does and if you read through the rest of this journal you know that it worked for me at nowhere near 100 % compliance. I'm choosing a more structured path now for a reason, and when I think I've come far enough with body fat I'll go back to eating when I'm hungy instead of at fixed times. On the 10th of April I hit 179 lbs. More recently I hit a low of 178 lbs. That's 42 lbs lost in 4 months and I've never felt this good. This is a journey, and I'm very excited to take it!

    20 APR 16 Weeks
    Last edited by BONZ; 04-23-2012 at 06:45 PM.
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    ANECDOTAL UPDATE: My weight training routine....

    This is Monday, Wednesday, Friday V. (whatever number I'm up to now...)

    SQUATS (X) 5 sets (X) minimum 5 reps:
    I'm sticking to the Smith machine to focus on form and hopfully avoid injury, since my point here is to lift REALLY (relative to me that is) HEAVY. Come on growth hormone! I will adjust weight as I go through 5 sets. For example, today... my first set was 270 lbs for 8 reps. I do these fast up, slow down, but not too fast as this is the first set and also my warmup. Sets 2 through 4 was 340 lbs for 6 reps. These are slower up, slow down as they're toward the high end of my ability. The last set was back to 270 lbs for 10 reps. One small twist here, I'm basically trying to jump for 10 reps then let down slow, much easier at the end when I'm loose. I'm pretty consistent with this format, but if I'm really feeling on I'll add an extra heavy set in the middle.

    SUPERSET - DUMBELL BENCH PRESS/ONE ARM ROWS (X) 5 sets (X) 5/10 reps:
    Pretty self explanatory, 5 reps on bench press and transition directly into 10 rows. I keep the same weights for simplicity's sake, so if I do bench with 85 lbs dumbells I roll them right into rows.

    OR (Alternate day second exercise)

    SUPERSET - DUMBELL SHOULDER PRESS/SHRUGS (X) 5 sets (X) 5/10 reps:
    Same song here, shoulder press transitioning directly into shrugs. I do keep the same weight, even though shrugs with the much smaller amount of weight that I can actually press almost feels like not doing anything it still gets a nice burn when done one right after the other.

    PULL-UPS/DIPS CRAM SESSION (X) 5 sets (X) failure/20:
    Also self explanatory, pull-ups to failure and transition directly into 20 dips. Usually by the 5th set I can't do 20 anymore...

    I'm really enjoying this routine so far, it's simple and quick. If I keep rest time between sets down I can be in and out in 35 to 40 minutes.
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    ANECDOTAL UPDATE: My weight as a timeline....

    I thought I'd include my weight at dates as recorded; ....might give you an idea of the rate I acheived, including plateaus, for your own comparison. I know those "flat" stretches can be frustrating.

    20 DEC: 220 lbs (starting) (Began eating "more primal")
    10 JAN: 210 lbs
    20 JAN: 200 lbs (one month, -20 lbs)
    (Started the full "Lift Heavy Things" bodyweight routine)
    30 JAN: 195 lbs
    21 FEB: 190 lbs (two months, -30 lbs)
    (Started back in the gym around this time)
    22 FEB: 189 lbs
    29 FEB: 190 lbs
    07 MAR: 186 lbs
    08 MAR: 187 lbs
    (At some point in this window I started IF)
    10 APR: 179 lbs
    16 APR: 181 lbs
    24 APR: 176 lbs (four months, -44 lbs)

    Plateaus happen to all of us, but you always bust through it. Depending on which calculation method I use, I down to somewhere between 10% and 13% body fat. I'd hate to think of what I was back in December....
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    OOOOPS:

    So, looks like I caught my first injury today. Left back/rib, upper lombar area. Last week I hit 360 lbs for 6 on squats, and I got late notice today that I had a lunch meeting so I thought I'd just "knock out this workout quick". STOOOOPID! Started with my usual first set, 270 lbs and then threw 340 lbs on and stood up..... CRUNCH! I don't think its bad, I finished the set, dropped the weight a bit and did two more sets on squats and the rest of my workout. I guess we'll see in the morning if I can still walk straight. Moral to the story, don't get cute and whatever you do, don't rush a workout....
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    I'M BACK!:

    Well, here we are..... Three full days since the screw up. I've ditched fasting hoping to speed recovery, I've taken my 3 squares and then some heavy on protein. Nothing but rest, and when I did walk it was slow if not for the pain alone. Interesting note, I've gained 4 pounds in 4 days. Upside, my back feels great. There's some stiffness which I assume is from my constant shifting in the chair over the last few days. Back in the gym tomorrow, although I'll be staying sub-300 lbs on squats for a bit so we'll see how it goes.
    Went Primal: 20 DEC 2011
    Starting: 6'1" 220 lbs
    Starting Energy: "bleh...."
    Current: 183 lbs @ 8.33% BF (Jackson/Pollock 4 caliper method)
    Current Energy: "WOOHOO!" See my journal HERE.

    "Paleo? Try it, but be wary of the cult mentality that comes with it. Paleovangelists are everywhere and a bit scary."

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    Careful when injuring yourself even if it feels slight, especially your back. It will seem like nothing then within a day the inflammation can get really bad and the injury could be severe. Just stop next time instead of continuing. I'm a hardheaded one myself and learned this the hard way.

    Nice to see your progress and hope to see you continue and maintain. Whats your daily diet looking like nowadays?

    Im starting a 5x5 workout myself. Trying to figure out how to incorporate conditioning into the 3x a week workouts. Sometimes 4.

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