Occam’s Protocol Workout Evaluation After One Week

I started the Occam’s protocol workout on one week ago. This is my one week into the new program evaluation post. I’ll evaluate body changes, the exercises, food and supplements.

Body changes

So far it’s hard to evaluate any proper changes in body composition. On Monday I got a scale to my home for the first time in my life. I bought a ~$30 scale that allegedly can measure body fat %. Since I got it on Monday and today is Wednesday I don’t have a lot of data yet. Usually what I do is measure my weight at the gym. There I saw a body weight increase from 86.3 kg to 89 kg in just 6 days since starting the program. How much of that is muscle? How much of that is fat? So far I don’t know. This is what hopefully the new scale can help with. Having more data is helpful to evaluate what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to all the details of my workout protocol.

The exercises

The Occam’s protocol exercises have been quite interesting to do. There are two factors that are posing challenges to be solved; familiarity with the exercise and daring to fail.

The overhead press and the incline bench press don’t suffer from these complicating factors. I can complete them both with good form and I can fail at them both confidently. The overhead press is quite straightforward to fail at. At the incline bench press, I just let the bar rest on my chest and then let the weights fall off by tilting the bar first to one side and then the other.

The two exercises where I need to do adjustments are the yates row and the squat. The yates row I’ve done so far with just about 25 degrees angle between my legs and back. This makes the movement shorter, as my hands in a rested position are about 15 cm (5.9 inches) above my knees. I suspect it also hits the back muscles differently. I plan on changing this to do a proper ~45 degrees angle between the back and hip and also by having the bar by the knees in the starting position. This might require a recalibration of the starting weight of the exercise. I will need to evaluate if I can do 55 kg which is the next target weight with this new form. If I cannot, I will have to recalibrate.

The second exercise that is not straightforward is the squat. I know how to do the squat with good form. But I’ve never truly done squats to failure before because it seems quite uncomfortable. I need to find a way to do this, with e.g. power racks, which I will try next time. If that doesn’t help me I might try something else to fix it, or just change to the leg press machine which is the machine version of the squat in this program. I am quite reluctant to change to the machine version though, as part of why I like to go to the gym is learning the exercises and finding a good form. I think you get more utility from the workout by the free weight exercises than the machines. However I don’t have any data to back this belief up yet.

Workout results so far:

Iteration 1Iteration 2
Workout A
Yates row (grip with palms facing away)45 kg x 750 kg x 8
Overhead press (shoulder width grip)20 kg x 1025 kg x 8
Workout B
Incline shoulder width bench press40 kg x 7Not done yet
Squat50 kg x 5 (FAIL, miscalibrated the weight)Not done yet
Workout data

All in all I think the exercises have gone well and I know what I want to improve next. I need to be a little bit flexible and dare to adjust slightly as I go and learn more.

Food

I’ve been eating a lot of food. I’ve met the targets of ~3500 kcal and over 215g protein (2.5g per kg bodyweight) per day. It’s not been very difficult to be honest. I think this is because I’ve planned what I want to eat every day and it’s just a question of following that plan. On Saturday I had a “cheat” day where I ate a bit more carbs and probably were closer to ~5000 kcal. I had three dinners that day, started with an early 4.30pm hamburger menu, then had a chicken pad thai from my neighborhood Thai restaurant at 7pm, and closer to midnight I almost finished a full lunch box (~1kg) of minced pork meat with broccoli and spinach. On top of that I ate some chocolate and cheese.

In general I’ve been feeling quite energetic on this diet and I really like the high protein smoothie that I make for lunch every day. It is filling, super easy to make, tasty and I can drink it while doing something else like working. It’s perfect.

Supplements

I’ve finished the l-glutamine loading program which was 5 days of taking 10g of it every 2 hours for a total of 400g. I didn’t follow it 100% but let’s say 80% or something, which I think should be fit for purpose. I paused omega-3 and ashwagandha for now, so that I can better evaluate the effects of them at a later point.

Currently all I take is creatine, magnesium, zink, l-glutamine and l-theanine. It’s hard to evaluate the effects so far, a week into the protocol. I don’t expect any changes except more muscle growth and higher performance from creatine, magnesium, zinc and l-glutamine. These are the same effects I expect from eating more and training with this program. So it will be hard to isolate how much each of these factors contribute to the result. The l-theanine I take for better sleep, which I’ve been able to evaluate in isolation and it did give me a perceived better quality of sleep.

Conclusion

Unfortunately for this experiment with the occam’s protocol workout, I’m going on vacation next week. This means I’ll do some traveling and will not have access to gym equipment for at least two weeks. I plan on keeping up the diet somewhat, and do some maintenance body weight exercises like pushups, crunches, and I need to find something for the legs and back. The flip side of this is that I get to reboot the experiment when I come back and I can take the time to adjust the yates row and squat exercises better.

I look forward to gathering more data on body weight, lifts and body fat %. It will be really interesting to try to isolate different factors and find their impact on the outcomes.

Are you currently following any workout program or protocol? Are there any changes you are thinking about making?

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