9 Months Later and What I’ve Learned

I wanted to share some food for thought (no pun intended) regarding my transformation from Gamer to Gym Rat.  For those that don’t know, I started 9 months ago with a simple goal, to get in the best shape of my life within one year.  I had let myself go and was setting a bad example for my son and others.  Following a simple philosophy, routine and eating plan I’m down 30 lbs so far with a lot more muscle.  But enough blowing my own horn, here’s the important things I’ve learned.

I think most of us are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I made this simple image to help people understand what it takes to make massive physical changes (from my perspective and opinion).  The basic premise is the foundation (lowest item) is the one you have to have in order to work up to the top.  So in this model, belief is like oxygen to the survival of a human.  Keep in mind I’m no doctor, professional athlete etc, just a dude with a goal and the will to make it happen.

Belief

“Deltia, you really put this as the most important item?”  Yep, belief is the single most important factor for change. Reason being, there are a thousand diets and exercise programs out there.  What separates one from succeeding in whatever they choose is that fire inside that it can be done and the will to make it happen.

I’ll share a personal story to illustrate this point.  My wife and I had trouble conceiving a child.  It took us a long time before we finally managed to have our son Maximus.  Meanwhile people around us were popping out kids left and right and it was devastating for us.  However, this didn’t stop my wife from believing that it would happen, that it had to happen, it must happen.

Something happens in nature (some call it the law of attraction) that what you want most wants you.  All she did was think about it, make plans to improve our chances and worked every day at it (that was fun 🙂  But in all seriousness, I had never seen a human being so determined to make something happen, ever.  That’s the type of desire you must have in order for huge transformation.  Not motivation, not flimsy endurance but a fundamental belief that I can do this, I will do this, I must do this.

Keep believing.  Even if others doubt you, believe.  Sometimes you’ll even doubt yourself and say why am I doing this to myself?  If it’s important to you, if it has to happen it will.  Believing as weird as it sounds, is the most important part of change.

Food

Yep food, not exercise, I feel is FAR more important.  Take a look at a cup cake.  Generally one contains around 600 calories or measurements of energy.  That’s literally an hour on a treadmill running fast or a six mile walk!  What you eat has the biggest impact on what you look like.  But don’t get me wrong, exercise is tremendously important and they go hand and hand.

What should we eat?  Everyday someone is telling us something different; carbs are bad, carbs are good, fats are bad, protein is good, eggs are good now they are bad, etc.  Get down to basics, if it grows naturally its good.  If its made using chemicals in a lab, probably  not so good.  For all around purposes having a well balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies is key.

How much should we eat?  Depends, do you want to gain or lose weight?  Lose weight, move more eat less.  It’s that simple.  I highly advocate the “you only get what you measure” mentality and to use phone apps to track both food intake and exercise (MyFitnessPal and Fitbit – no I’m not paid by them currently).  Remember that a lot of our metabolism is determined by our lifestyle, genetic factors and hormones.  Some of which you can change, some you can’t.  The biggest suggestion I have is to start tracking your food. Add more to gain weight, subtract some to lose. I’m talking SMALL amounts, 200 to 300 calories a day for a week to see what happens.

Rest and Recovery

Another yep, I feel rest and recovery is actually more important than exercise and here’s why.  While listening to BBC Science Hour they had a Nobel Prize winner who’s research on sleep science made him famous.  He suggested that rest/sleep is the foundation of health and wellness even more so than food.  While I wouldn’t go that far, if you’re not rested and recovering from workouts, they will start to become counter productive.

Rest and recovery can go beyond merely sleeping.  I now incorporate yoga, stretching, chiropractic, massages, and even meditation into my routine.  Also active therapies like foam rolling and even walking after eating can help get the nutrients into your body and help the healing process.  Keep this in mind, the harder you work, the longer it’ll take to recover.  If I go in for a leg workout, the rest of the day I will feel very depleted.  My central nervous system will take a beating (fight or flight) and I won’t be able to do much but walk stiffly for a day or so.  But using the above methods of active recovery, I can get back much sooner for another progressive workout.

Lastly a touchy subject from old man Deltia and that’s alcohol and drugs.  Look, I’ve struggled with this my whole life and some of you know I’m a recovering alcoholic and just recently stopped a 10 year pain pill addiction.  I can’t tell you what to do or how to live your life, that’s up to you.  But when I quit both of those, my body transformed within a month.  I lost 1 inch on my waist and gained 5 lbs of muscle in one month.  I truly feel it was because I was finally resting and recovering that this took place.

Exercise

I absolutely love to exercise.  What I enjoy  most is bodybuilding and walking.  When lifting weights with the purpose of gaining muscle (not power lifting), I feel totally connected with my body and somewhat of a spiritual moment happens, total alertness.  This is why I love it, but you have to find something you like.  I’ve tried pretty much everything, boxing, judo, marathon running, power lifting, etc.  Don’t stop trying until you find something and realize no matter what you pick, you aren’t going to feel comfortable at first.

In fact, getting out of your comfort zone is one of the main purposes of exercising.  When you are out of breath, sweating, in pain (not injury pain) this is when your body is forced to adapt.  A 15 minute walk for a morbidly obese person isn’t going to have the same effect on a world class sprinter.  So pace yourself and continue to stay uncomfortable or you will stop making progress.

Example, the gym I go has the exact same people in 9 months later, and you know what?  They look the exact same.  They lift the exact same amount of weights.  Most of them don’t even sweat after a 60+ minute workout.  I on the other hand have the death face after a workout.  You know, that beat red face where you look like you are about to vomit or die?  Now that’s a bit extreme, but I constantly ask myself, how bad do you want it?  You gotta keep pushing your body (slowly) and make it uncomfortable to respond. If you’re brand new to this, seriously just start walking.  I’m amazed at how lean and ripped I’ve gotten not running or doing any aerobics, just walking.

Forgiveness

This seems like another odd choice, but really it’s important.  Look, we are all human meaning we will screw up and you have to be okay with that.  There was one time I seriously just lost my mind and ate an entire box of animal crackers, a box of Oreo’s, and a couple of donuts.  My animal instincts took over and I couldn’t control it like a ravenous dog.  Whoops.  It’s okay.

You’ll also have to forgive others for not understanding what’s important to you and your goals.  My mother and father are very food “driven.”  Meaning, their lives were lived with scarcity, they didn’t have unlimited food.  So naturally they wanted to provide me with something they didn’t have and enjoy it together.  I love them for that and what they gave me, but me bringing over a 8oz chicken breast and salad with my own seasoning to Sunday night dinner seemed to offend them.  It’s okay, some people aren’t going to get it, but if it’s important to you, keep going.

Summary

A lot of things have happened to me in the last 9 months.  As soon as I started, I pushed too hard and got a hernia.  A month later, I ruptured my ear drum.  My son started day care and the entire family was sick for 6 months.  I went through a massive change with my YouTube channel that wasn’t popular and cost me a lot of money.  I even got my personal training license and flirted with committing to that as a full time job.  But I didn’t quit, ever.  See, the reason I’m writing this is to share with you this fact, there is literally nothing special about me.  If you follow these steps, if you find what works for you and stick with it everyday the world/universe/God/whatever you believe, will find a way to give you what you want.

I appreciate you reading and hopefully this helped you out, below you can find specific workout/diets that I follow 16 weeks out from the one-year mark.

**Disclaimer, this is not what I started with but what I will use until my one year point.  This is also hardcore and not easy to do.  You will feel tired, crabby and irritable.  Just honestly ask yourself if it’s worth it first.  Secondly, it took me 9 months of working out to hit these totals so please don’t start with this much exercise as it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Diet (16 weeks out)

16 to 8 weeks, I follow a 3-1 plan.  I have three consecutive low carbohydrate days with one high day.  This keeps my body from adapting to a low calorie diet.  Once every 2-4 weeks I have a cheat day where I eat as much as I want (typically 6,000 calories) to further prevent this.  I only get a cheat day once I’ve reach a specific weight/bodyfat goal as a celebration.

Once the 3 to 1 plan stops working, I will go to 4 to 1 then 5 to 1 then 2-4 weeks with 50 carbs a day over the next 3 months.  Only change ONCE you stop getting results.

Low Carb Diet

Meal 1 – Post Cardio

  • 1 packet Instant Oatmeal
  • 2oz Blue Berries
  • 1 and 1/2 Scoops of Whey protein (or 9 egg whites)

Meal 2 – Pre-Workout Food

  • 2 Whole Extra-Large Eggs
  • 7 Egg Whites

Meal 3 – Pre- Shake

  • BCAAs + Pre-Workout
  • Intra drink

Meal 4 – Post Workout

  • 20oz Gatorade
  • 1 and 1/2 Scoops of Whey Protein

Meal 5 – Lunch

  • 7oz of Chicken
  • 2 cups of lettuce
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil (with red wine vinegar)

Meal 6 – Afternoon Snack

  • .7oz of Almonds
  • 1 and 1/2 Scoops of Whey Protein (or 9 egg whites)

Meal 7 – Dinner

  • 7oz of Tilapia
  • 1 cup of green beans

Meal 8 – Before Bed

  • 1 Scoop of Casein Protein Shake + Water

Totals

1800 calories, 240g Protein, 110 Carbs (90 net), 60 Fats

High Carb Diet

Meal 1 – Post Cardio

  • 1 packet Instant Oatmeal
  • 2oz Blue Berries
  • 1 and 1/2 Scoops of Whey protein (or 9 egg whites)
  • + 1 Bananas

Meal 2 – Pre-Workout Food

  • 2 Whole Extra-Large Eggs
  • 7 Egg Whites
  • + 1 Apple

Meal 3 – Pre- Shake

  • BCAAs + Pre-Workout
  • Intra drink

Meal 4 – Post Workout

  • 20oz Gatorade
  • 1 and 1/2 Scoops of Whey Protein
  • + 1 Bananas

Meal 5 – Lunch

  • 7oz of Chicken
  • 2 cups of lettuce
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil (with red wine vinegar)
  • + 1 Cup of Brown Rice

Meal 6 – Afternoon Snack

  • .7oz of Almonds
  • 5 Scoops of Whey Protein (or 9 egg whites)
  • + 1 Apple

Meal 7 – Dinner

  • 7oz of Tilapia
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • + 1 Cup of Brown Rice

Meal 8- (8pm)

  • 1 Scoop of Casein Protein Shake + Water

Totals — 2600 calories, 240g Protein, 300 Carbs (250 net), 60 Fats

Exercise Plan (16 weeks out)

This is not easy to do, start or maintain when eating very low calories.  Please do not start doing this and work your way up.  I’m going to be doing the same principle with exercise as diet, do the least possible to get the most results. Slowly adding time, intensity and work as my body adapts.

Training Splits

Sunday

  • Fasted Cardio (before you eat anything upon waking) – (30-60 mins)
  • Chest and Triceps
  • Walk Afternoon – (30-60 mins) 4.0 speed 5.0 incline on treadmill

Monday

  • Fasted Cardio – (30-60 mins)
  • Calves/Quads/Hamstrings/Glutes
  • Walk – (30-60 mins)

Tuesday

  • Fasted Cardio – (30-60 mins)
  • Back and Biceps
  • Walk – (30-60 mins)

Wednesday

  • Fasted Cardio – (30-60 mins)
  • Calves/Abs/30-minutes Interval Cardio (90 minutes) 9am
  • Walk – (30-60 mins)

Thursday

  • Fasted Cardio – (30-60 mins)
  • Shoulders and Traps
  • Walk – (30-60 mins)

Friday

  • Biceps and Triceps
  • Walk – (30-60 mins)

Saturday

FULL OFF

 

Thanks for reading this and I hope it helps you as this transformation has been great for me.  Now to balance gaming and being a gym rat!

8 Comments

  1. Alternative Chat on October 22, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Your blog was posted into my feed and I wanted to stop by and congratulate you on what is some very impressive progress. I’m on my own fitness journey and am close to one of my own personal goals (unassisted pull-ups) having been like you, in a position where I knew I needed to do the work and game less.

    Trying to convince people they are capable of changes like this is often a tough ask. It is a really brave person who’s willing to put themselves in the public eye as you have. I hope that you gain a great deal of satisfaction in your transformation. You deserve praise and appreciation for the hard work put in and the obvious results you have managed.

    😀

  2. kiwigamer on October 23, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Awesome work man your transformation is incredibly inspiring too a fellow gamer keep up the great work!

  3. Chris W. Vasques on October 24, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Deltia, man, I support you. I have hige respect for you and everything you have done. I have been a fan of your ESO channel for over a year now, and what you have done to bring health into the awareness of so many gamers is absolutely legendary. If they are rejecting it in anyway it is because they unfortunatrly do not understand the balance of life. The body is sacred. I have experienced a similar revelation in my life, even to the extent of ditching the drugs and alcohol. Your mind and commitment has always inspired me, and I just want to say Thank You. Lookin ripped dude! Keep it up!

  4. Jason on October 24, 2017 at 3:22 am

    Ive been really impressed with this series. I have 4 questions. Amazing and inspiring transformation.

    1) can you give advice on the rationale for how many reps &sets to do with how much weight, and how/when to change it? I know you started your routine with very high reps/low weight. What should trigger you to add weight and lower reps, or drop weight and raise reps?

    2) your routine is one of the only ones I’ve seen that combines cardio sessions with strength sessions on the same day. Where did you get that from?

    3) can you give advice on how to tell if your overdoing it? I’ve sometimes started a workout routine and after a few days of high intensity exercise I feel spent and soar for 4-5 days, which seems like too much but I’m not sure.

    4) I know you left eso cuz you found it addicting. Why do you think destiny isn’t addicting and what do you like more/less about it?

    • Deltia on October 24, 2017 at 11:19 am

      1) Basically I started high reps, low weight to focus more on the mind muscle connection and neuro transmitter adaptation. Your initial increase in strength comes from adaptations not muscle growth. After that then I focused on heavier weight 8-12 reps total muscle failure to stimulate growth. Now I go back to for final step, high reps, low weight and very low rest period to really pump the muscle.

      2) The cardio/walking is basically to keep body fat off. Once I get super lean, I’ll stop with all the cardio and which is why most can get away without it. But as long as you separate them, a simple walk can help circulate blood and BCAAs to repairing muscle and actually aid in the muscle building process. That’s why I don’t do high intensity aerobics, just walking.

      3) Overtraining is something I really suck at. Basically its, are you getting sick? Not enjoying it? And are the muscles not responding (pump feeling)? That’s when you need time off even a week or so.

      4) I’m going to play ESO again, the thing about Destiny is there are weekly caps so there’s literally no reason to continue to grind after you reach end game, but I miss ESO.

      Hope that helps you.

      • Jason on October 24, 2017 at 3:24 pm

        Thanks! Gonna try and get me some deltia delts!

  5. zach on October 29, 2017 at 3:31 am

    alright you lost me with that law of attraction bs…. thats not real man haha, you gotta work your ass off to get things done, they don’t come to you at all

    • Deltia on October 30, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to take hard work. I work out 2-3 hours 5 days a week. The point I was trying to make is, you can work hard initially but if you don’t believe you’ll end up quitting before you see results.

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