November Project Weekly Recap: Week 2

Hello, everyone.

Thank you for following along with my month-long November project, documenting all of my meals and workouts for anyone to read. As a reminder, this is what the November Project is all about: For the entire month of November I will be documenting all of my meals and all of my workouts to reveal how a long-time vegan athlete eats and trains to maintain muscle mass and strength. This will reflect my personal approach and will not be considered as a representation of all vegan athletes. With this month-long documentation, I plan to send a weekly recap once per week for 4 weeks, revealing all of my meals and workouts for the week. I will not be suggesting, recommending, or advising anything. I will simply be transparently sharing my daily meals and workouts that I really follow. I will be using Cronometer to track my caloric and nutrition intake as well as my caloric expenditure through tracking my basal metabolic rate combined with my activity level. The numbers will be estimations based on calculations and may not be 100% accurate, but will be as close to reality as possible, given the technology I am using, factoring lots of homemade meals which are tough to count exact calories.

My stats are the following:

Age: 36

Height: 5’11 ¾”

Weight: 202 pounds

Current exercise routine: Weight training 4-5 days per week for 60-90 minutes, occasional cardio for 30-45 minutes at a time

Vegan for 21 years


This week started off a little rough. You’ll notice from the date that day 1 in week 2 started on US Presidential election night. I stayed up until 2:30AM that night and didn’t get to bed until 3AM the following night. I know the election was rough on a lot of people for various reasons, and it started my week off with some even later nights than usual. Ultimately, that can have an impact on my energy levels, my workouts, my fasted cardio, and other aspects of training and lifestyle, and it is up to me to overcome those obstacles and challenges.

Here are a few things that I have noticed over the past two weeks:

  1. I deliberately start every day with water before consuming anything else, and I have been able to keep this up every single day thus far and plan to keep it going. This is actually something “new” for me, but something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, and the November Project inspired me to finally become accountable in this way.
  2. I continue to follow my “no processed foods before noon” approach, starting my day with fruit, tea, oats, potatoes, etc. Again, I have been able to keep this up for two consecutive weeks, and it’s part of a morning fast and part of starting my day eating lightly, while focusing on nutrient-dense whole foods.
  3. There are days when I have intentions of getting to the gym, or going out for fasted cardio in the morning and it doesn’t happen. I imagine a lot of people can relate to this. Other obligations pop up, surprise visits from friends, dinners that last longer than usual, and a gym that closes earlier than preferred, are all factors that occasionally see me missing something I had good intentions of doing.
  4. Though I got off to a late start many days due to keeping lots of late nights, I actually averaged more sleep per night during week two. Sleep and rest are important components in muscle recovery and growth, so though I spend a substantial amount of time sleeping/resting (as it is revealed even more than I thought – and perhaps more than most people get), I am okay with it, knowing the health benefits that adequate sleep and rest provide. I also get a lot of brainstorming done when I drift off to sleep, something that helps me write books and grow my business.
  5. During week 2 my water intake, as well as my total exercise, both slightly declined. No big deal, just an observation and something that stands out to me as I review my week 1 and week 2 results.

 


 

This is what week 2 looked like:

 

Tuesday November 8, 2016

Slept from 1:05AM-10:05AM = 9 hours

 

10:55AM

3 ounces of water

4 ounces of yerba mate tea

 

11:25AM

Exercise: 25-minute dog walk

16 ounces of water

 

12:24PM

Apple

2 oranges

4 mandarin oranges

 

1:14PM

Banana

Handful of almonds

Bowl of potato and kale vegetable soup

 

2:15PM

16 ounces of yerba mate tea

Handful of almonds

 

2:48PM

2 carrots

 

3:39PM

Banana

 

5:06PM

17.5 ounces of coconut water

 

5:16PM

Exercise: Shoulder workout from 5:16-6:40PM = 1 hour, 24 minutes

Warm-up

Hip raises: 15, 20, 25

Arm and leg raises (bird dog): 15, 15, 15

Shoulder workout

Cable overhead presses: 40×30, 50×25, 60×15, 70×12, 80×8

Push-ups: 20, 20, 20, 20, 20

Machine overhead press: 70×12, 90×10, 100×8, 105×6, 110×4

Neutral grip machine press: 70×10, 80×8, 80×10, 90×10, 100×10

Dumbbell overhead press: 30sx25, 40sx15, 45sx15, 50sx10, 50sx12

Dumbbell lateral raises: 15sx15, 15sx15, 20sx12, 20sx12, 20sx12

Dumbbell front raises: 15sx15, 15sx15, 20sx12, 20sx12, 20sx12

 

7:22PM

Apple

Banana

Handful of almonds

 

8:11PM

Plate of polenta loaf (polenta, brown rice, beans, olives, avocado, tomato sauce)

 

10:00PM

Plate of polenta loaf (polenta, brown rice, beans, olives, avocado, tomato sauce)

 

1:30AM

Orange

Persimmon

 

Totals:

Calories consumed: 2,892

Carbohydrates: 515g (67%)

Protein: 80g (10%)

Fat: 81g (23%)

Water: 19 ounces (+ 20 ounces of tea and 17.5 ounces of coconut water)

Calories burned: 2,599

Net: 293-calorie surplus

Weight training: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Cardio: 25 minutes

Total combined exercise = 1 hour, 49 minutes

Notes: I started my workout at the gym on election night, just as results were starting to trickle in. I was honestly surprised by how busy the gym was given the popularity of this year’s Presidential election. I hammered through a few gym exercises and then headed home to follow along with the election results, and I used my own free weights at home to complete the workout. Whether the gym is closed, or for some other reason I prefer to be home during a certain time period, it is nice to have some (limited) gym equipment at home to train with in the living room, the backyard, or in the garage.

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Wednesday November 9, 2016

Slept from 2:30AM-9:15AM = 6 hours, 45 minutes

 

10:20AM

4 ounces of water

 

10:44AM

Exercise: 47 minutes on the Stairmaster

 

11:36AM

20 ounces of water

17.5 ounces of coconut water

5 mandarin oranges

 

12:43PM

16 ounces of yerba mate tea

 

2:06PM

10 pieces of vegetable sushi

 

2:58PM

Handful of almonds

 

4:00PM

Bowl of mango chunks

 

4:05PM

Exercise: 45-minute dog walk

 

5:32PM

2 homemade vegan burritos with avocado and salsa verde

8 ounces of sparkling water

 

7:16PM

8 ounces of water

 

7:56PM

3 servings of applesauce

Bowl of blueberries

 

8:24PM

Banana

3 ounces of sparkling water

 

9:08PM

Exercise: Chest workout from 9:08-10:24PM = 1 hour, 16 minutes

Warm-up

Hip raises: 20, 25, 30

Arm and leg lifts (bird dog): 15, 15, 15

Push-ups: 20, 20, 20, 20, 20

Chest workout

Decline barbell bench press: 45×45, 135×15, 135×15, 185×10, 205×8, 205×10, 225×6, 225×6, 225×4, 135×15

Plate-loaded incline press: 90×12, 110×18, 140×12, 160×8, 160×8

Cable flys: 45×25, 60×15, 70×12, 60×13, 60×12

 

11:38PM

2 handfuls of mixed nuts

Bowl of strawberries, cantaloupe, blueberries, pineapple, and red grapes

 

1:20AM

2 bowls of potato and kale vegetable soup

Totals:

Calories consumed: 3,250

Carbohydrates: 573g (66%)

Protein: 78g (9%)

Fat: 90g (25%)

Water: 83 ounces

Calories burned: 3,205

Net: 45-calorie surplus

Weight training: 1 hour, 16 minutes

Cardio: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Total combined exercise = 2 hours, 48 minutes

Notes: There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and hopping on the Stairmaster (or waiting an hour to check email, get dressed, and drink some water and then hop on the Stairmaster). I used to often fear the Stairmaster because it is hard. I used it a lot during my competitive bodybuilding days, but in recent years, I steered clear of it for the most part because it is quite demanding, challenging, and exhausting. I decided that the November Project would jump start new enthusiasm for this physically demanding exercise. I started my morning with 47 minutes on the stairs. Today I also made a return to training chest with free weights. I got back under the decline barbell bench press (my favorite exercise) for the first time in more than 6 months. I took it easy, pyramiding up in ways that were manageable. I didn’t go over 225 pounds because I’m just getting back into using free weights, and I don’t want to stress or injure my vulnerable lower back. (For those reading this without reading my week 1 recap, I tore a disc in my lower back in May and I am still doing rehab and recovering from it). The weights felt heavy at first (even though I have been training chest for months, using machines and cables) but then it started to feel familiar, and it became a lot of fun. I look forward to progressing in this area. Tonight was a pretty late workout, and I like to eat a fair amount after training so I could be in store for a very late night. Gulp.

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Thursday November 10, 2016

Slept from 3:00AM-10:00AM = 7 hours

 

10:52AM

8 ounces of sparking water

4 ounces of yerba mate tea

 

11:45AM

Big bowl of salad greens

Bowl of potato salad

Sweet potato

 

1:30PM

Bowl of orange slices

16 ounces of water

 

5:05PM

Handful of red grapes

 

6:10PM

Mandarin orange

2 homemade vegan burritos with guacamole and pepperoncinis

Handful of red grapes

 

10:38PM

Bowl of red grapes

 

11:42PM

Bowl of blueberries

8 ounces of sparkling water

 

Totals:

Calories consumed: 1,854

Carbohydrates: 369g (75%)

Protein: 52g (11%)

Fat: 27g (14%)

Water: 32 ounces

Calories burned: 2,229

Net: 375-calorie deficit

Weight training: 0 minutes

Cardio: 0 minutes

Total combined exercise = 0 minutes

Notes: Today I planned to exercise, but I took a nap instead – that’s where that gap is between my 6PM meal and 10PM meal. After many consecutive late nights, and a fair amount of training and general stress from being a new homeowner, trying to finish writing a book, trying to build my brand and business, launching a new clothing line, and make time for friends and family, I just decided to lie down instead. So, I took a day completely off from exercise. I met with my book editor at Sweet Tomatoes (all-you-can-eat salad bar and buffet that is quite vegan-friendly) for a few hours and made some good progress on the book, Plant-Based Muscle, which I am co-authoring with my training partner/best buddy Vanessa Espinoza. By the way, I think I will go to Sweet Tomatoes on a more regular basis. I had only been twice before this week’s 3-hour meeting, and all-I-can-eat food like potato salad, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, green salads, and fruit sure does speak to me! Today was my lowest single day of calorie intake over the past two weeks, likely due to the fact that salad was the foundation of my main meal and because I napped for a while rather than eating.

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Friday November 11, 2016

Slept from 1:15AM-10:15AM + 2-hour nap during day = 11 hours

 

11:00AM

10 ounces of water

 

11:54AM

Handful of red grapes

Bowl of applesauce

 

12:40PM

2 bowls of brown rice, refried beans, guacamole, olives, and peperoncinis

4 ounces of yerba mate tea

 

1:54PM

Exercise: Back workout from 1:54-3:18PM = 1 hour, 26 minutes

Warm-up

Hip raises: 20, 25, 30

Arm and leg lifts (bird dog): 15, 15, 15

Push-ups: 20, 20, 20, 20, 20

Back workout

Lat pull-downs: 70×25, 90×20, 100×15, 115×12, 115×12

Reverse-grip pull-downs: 115×12, 130×12, 130×12, 130×12, 130×12

Machine seated rows: 70×15, 80×15, 90×15, 100×12, 100×12

Machine rear delt rows: 90×12, 90×12, 110×15, 110×15, 130×8

High rows: 90×20, 140×12, 140×12, 160×11, 160×9

 

3:20PM

16 ounces of water

 

4:20PM

17.5 ounces of coconut water

Homemade vegan burrito

5 mandarin oranges

 

8:15PM

16 ounces of water

Plate of brown rice, tofu, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini

Bowl of potatoes

10 ounces of water

Banana peanut butter smoothie with soymilk

 

12:45AM

Bowl of potatoes

8 ounces of sparking water

 

1:28AM

Mandarin orange

Handful of red grapes

 

Totals:

Calories consumed: 3,521

Carbohydrates: 653g (72%)

Protein: 114g (12%)

Fat: 64g (16%)

Water: 60 ounces

Calories burned: 2,973

Net: 548-calorie surplus

Weight training: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Cardio: 0 minutes (aside from furniture shopping)

Total combined exercise = 1 hour, 26 minutes

Notes: As new homeowners in the Phoenix, AZ area, we were out furniture shopping for hours today, so I likely burned some calories walking through huge stores, but not enough to record as anything significant. While out and about, we got hungry, though we had plenty of fruit packed in the car. Desiring something a bit heavier, we went to the vegan-friendly restaurant, Pita Jungle. They make an awesome macro plate with organic brown rice, organic beans, organic tofu, organic broccoli, organic cauliflower, organic carrots, and organic zucchini. It really is good, and quite substantial in size, volume, and weight. I also got some garlic new potatoes with some oil and garlic, and they are pretty amazing. I’ll be back many times. Furniture shopping put a bit of a dent in my cardio plans today, but I realize that furnishing our new house is important too, and I’m not training for anything specific, so missing a hike and some sunshine to be indoors is just fine, knowing the sun will come out tomorrow.

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Saturday November 12, 2016

Slept from 2:05AM-10:35AM = 8 hours, 30 minutes

 

11:12AM

4 ounces of water

 

11:48AM

Bowl of potatoes

4 ounces of unsweetened yerba mate

 

12:24PM

3 oranges

 

3:00PM

Banana

 

3:15PM

5 mandarin oranges

4 ounces of unsweetened yerba mate

 

5:50PM

Apple

10 ounces of water

 

7:35PM

Plate of brown rice, tofu, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and zucchini

Two bowls of potatoes

Orange, passion fruit, guava, banana smoothie with soymilk

 

9:56PM

Exercise: Arms/Shoulder workout from 9:46-11:22PM = 1 hour, 36 minutes

Warm-up

Hip raises: 25, 25, 25

Arm and leg lifts (bird dog): 15, 15, 15

Push-ups: 20, 20, 20, 20, 20

Biceps, triceps, shoulder workout

Dumbbell supinated biceps curls: 25sx12, 25sx12, 25sx12, 30sx10, 30sx10

Dumbbell triceps kickbacks: 25×12, 25×10, 25×10, 25×12, 25×10

Dumbbell hammer curls: 35sx10, 35sx10, 35sx10, 35sx12, 40sx8

Dumbbell lateral raises: 15sx12, 17.5sx15, 20sx12, 22.5sx10, 22.5sx10

Dumbbell front raises: 15sx12, 17.5sx15, 20sx12, 22.5sx10, 22.5sx10

Dumbbell concentration curls: 25×10, 25×10, 25×10, 25×10, 25×10

 

10:00PM

Chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie (during workout)

 

11:40PM

Small bowl of potatoes

Orange

8 ounces of coconut water

Pear

 

Totals:

Calories consumed: 2,316

Carbohydrates: 520g (85%)

Protein: 63g (9%)

Fat: 16g (6%)

Water: 14 ounces

Calories burned: 2,573

Net: 257-calorie deficit

Weight training: 1 hour, 36 minutes

Cardio: 0 minutes

Total combined exercise = 1 hour, 36 minutes

Notes: Guess what, we were back furniture shopping all day, and back at Pita Jungle again. What a great spot for a healthy, hearty, filling vegan meal. Again, my plan was to absolutely go to the gym today, but guess what – furniture shopping took longer than planned and my new gym (LA Fitness – because they bought out all Arizona locations of 24 Hour Fitness – my preferred gym around the country) closes at 8PM on the weekends! They also close at 11PM on weekdays. The gyms I have been training at for the past 10 years (24 Hour Fitness locations in Portland, L.A., Austin, Denver, etc.) were all open 24 hours. So, I ended up using my limited equipment at home and performed a late night workout, to not be deterred from a couple of other days this week of schedule conflicts and missed workouts. I’m glad I got the workout in, but of course, it set me up for another late night, finishing the home workout just before 11:30PM.

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Sunday November 13, 2016

Slept from 1:05AM-10:05AM = 9 hours

 

10:30AM

6 ounces of water

 

10:48AM

Exercise: 90-minute hike

 

12:30PM

10 ounces of water

17.5 ounces of coconut water

5 mandarin oranges

 

1:15PM

4 boiled potatoes with mustard and ketchup

 

4:00PM

2 apples

10 ounces of unsweetened yerba mate

 

5:12PM

Exercise: Chest workout from 5:12-6:44PM = 1 hour, 32 minutes

Warm-up

Hip raises: 25, 30, 30

Arm and leg lifts (bird dog): 15, 15, 15

Push-ups: 20, 20, 20

Chest workout

Decline barbell bench press: 45×60, 135×15, 135×17, 185×12, 225×6, 245×4, 255×3, 260×2, 225×12, 225×10, 225×8, 135×16

Plate-loaded incline press: 110×12, 130×10, 150×10, 170×8

Plate-loaded decline press: 140×12, 180×10, 200×6, 220×4

Machine incline press: 120×12, 140×12, 160×6, 120×12

Pec deck flys: 85×12, 100×10, 115×10, 130×10

Exercise: 30 minutes on the Stairmaster

 

7:30PM

46 ounces of water

 

8:05PM

Apple

 

8:40PM

10 pieces of vegetable sushi

 

9:10PM

Bowl of brown rice, refried beans, guacamole, salsa

 

10:30PM

17 ounces of water

 

10:42PM

Bowl of blueberries

 

11:22PM

2 pickles

Small bowl of potatoes

 

Totals:

Calories consumed: 2,519

Carbohydrates: 550g (85%)

Protein: 63g (9%)

Fat: 19g (7%)

Water: 79 ounces

Calories burned: 3,507

Net: 988-calorie deficit

Weight training: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Cardio: 2 hours

Total combined exercise = 3 hours, 32 minutes

Notes: Today was kind of a make-up day from a strange week. I was a bit thrown off by the US Presidential election, had some higher than usual stress partially related to all the furniture expenses and awaiting the launch of our new clothing, and today I decided to just get out there and exercise. I got back out in the sun for a hike, was in the gym training chest with free weights for only the second time in more than six months, and I tacked on another 30 minutes of cardio in the form of the Stairmaster after my weight training workout. I managed about 3.5 hours of total exercise today. I was pleased to get back under the decline barbell bench press bar and press 260 pounds for a couple of reps without a spotter. I trained on my own and felt pretty strong repping out 225 for a dozen reps, and lifting 245 pounds or more for 3 of my sets. I was pressing 330 pounds before I tore a disc in my lower back on May 2, 2016, but I am confident I will be pressing over 300 pounds again soon, likely within the next few weeks, possibly before the end of November. If I have my friends Will Tucker or Vanessa Espinoza spotting me, I’ll surely press over 300 pounds unassisted, knowing they are there just in case I need help. Bring it on. I’m really focusing a lot on my lower back rehab and it has felt good for nearly 6 weeks now without any issues, so I’ll keep up the long warm-ups, the rehab exercises, and will continue to take it easy on back exercises (only using machines and cables).

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Monday November 14, 2016

Slept from 12:15AM-10:30AM = 10 hours, 15 minutes

 

11:00AM

17 ounces of water

 

11:20AM

Exercise: 90-minute hike

 

12:30PM

16 ounces of water

 

1:25PM

4 ounces of coconut water

3 mandarin oranges

2 oranges

Banana

 

2:20PM

Small bowl of potatoes

Bowl of brown rice, tofu, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and zucchini

 

3:08PM

4 ounces of coconut water

Banana

 

3:40PM

Banana

4 ounces of water

 

4:10PM

Handful of mixed nuts

Mandarin orange

 

4:28PM

Exercise: 45-minute hike

 

7:20PM

Bowl of salad greens with tofu and light vegan dressing

Bowl of brown rice, tofu, broccoli, carrots, vegan sauce

Handful of French fries

24 ounces of water

 

11:20PM

Small bowl of potato and kale vegetable soup

 

11:50PM

Persimmon

2 mandarin oranges

 

Totals:

Calories consumed: 2,726

Carbohydrates: 480g (68%)

Protein: 93g (12%)

Fat: 66g (20%)

Water: 61 ounces

Calories burned: 2,905

Net: 179-calorie deficit

Weight training: 0 minutes

Cardio: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total combined exercise = 2 hours, 15 minutes

Notes: My goal was to finish out week 2 with a back workout, but that’s not what happened. I learned that my friend from Canada was in town for a sporting event and we invited him and his dad over to our house. They were our first official house guests. We’ve had some local friends drop in for a few minutes to see our house, but we haven’t had anyone stay long. My friend Sean from Kelowna, BC, Canada and his dad were our official first visitors. I took them out hiking to see the wild horses, river, mountains, and cactus behind our house. They absolutely loved it. Then I decided rather than going to the gym I would take them out to one of our favorite vegan restaurants in town, so we headed over to Green New American Vegetarian Cuisine. Though we went out for a fairly late dinner (we closed the place down, well after 9PM when they closed and hung out in the parking lot chatting for a while), I had intentions of training since my gym is open until 11PM. We didn’t get home until after 10PM and it wasn’t worth going to the gym for a short workout, my stomach was still full, and I thought about doing some weight lifting at home, even just push-ups. Once I got online and started to catch up on work, that idea faded and I decided I would just take it easy and accept that I wasn’t going to get one final solid workout in for week 2 of the November Project. It doesn’t really matter though. I’m just showing what I do on a daily basis and some days I train more than others, some days I eat healthier than others, and some days I’m thrown for a loop for one reason or another. Ultimately, I didn’t train as much as I would have liked this week, but I got a lot of other stuff done, including furnishing our new house, spending quality time with friends, worked on new business projects, and had fun.

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Here is a summary of week 2 of the November Project:

Week 2 Totals: (Note: Some totals might be off by a tiny bit due to some estimations using my Cronometer system, and due to some slight rounding throughout the 7 days, but this is as accurate as I can make it):

Total calories consumed = 19,078

Average calories per day = 2,725

Total from carbohydrates = 14,640 calories (3,660g)

Average grams of carbohydrates per day = 523g (2,092 calories)

Average percentage of calories from carbohydrates = 74%

Total from protein = 2,172 calories (543g)

Average grams of protein per day = 77.6g (310 calories)

Average percentage of calories from protein = 10%

Total from fat = 3,267 calories (363g)

Average grams of fat per day = 52g (468 calories)

Average percentage of calories from fat = 16%

Total water intake = 348 ounces

Average water per day = 50 ounces

Total calories expended = 19,991

Average calories expended per day = 2,855

Net caloric intake/expenditure = 913-calorie deficit

Average net calorie intake/expenditure = 130-calorie deficit per day

Total time spent weight training (5 out of 7 days) = 7 hours, 14 minutes

Total time spent on cardio (4 out of 7 days) = 6 hours, 12 minutes

Total time spent exercising = 13 hours, 26 minutes

Average time spent weight training per day over 7 days = 1 hour, 2 minutes

Average time spent on cardio per day over 7 days = 53 minutes

Average time spent exercising per day over 7 days = 1 hour, 55 minutes

Total amount of sleep = 61 hours, 30 minutes

Average sleep per night = 8 hours, 45 minutes

3 thoughts on “November Project Weekly Recap: Week 2

  1. brad maloney

    Robert,
    This is so great! I’m really getting a lot of enjoyment, insparation and of course, tips out of this project. Pleased to hear your back is improving and thanks again!
    P.S. Have you checked into Anytime Fitness?

    Like

  2. simon whateley

    Hay Robert this is really insightful, thanks for sharing, I to am re focusing on my training and trying to prove that at my age (53) you can make a massive difference in your fitness and muscle mass when your vegan. I,ll let you know how it all goes
    Regards Simon

    Like

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