Get Up And Code 045: John Sonmez’s Fitness Routine
In this episode I go over my own personal fitness plan and explain why I do what I do. If you've ever wondered what I eat and how I workout, this episode will reveal the mystery.
The basics of my current plan:
- Run 5k, 3x a week
- Lift, 3x a week
- Eat 1800 calories from 2-3 meals doing intermittent fasting
Check out the episode below to get all the details.
Full transcript below:
John: Hey, welcome back to Get Up and CODE podcast. I am John Sonmez and I am here alone for this episode, but that’s okay for this episode because I’m going to be talking about something that probably only I can talk about which is how my workout and how my routine works. I’ve got a lot of emails and a lot of questions about basically what do I do, what do I do as a workout, my running, my diet and nutrition. I thought I’d make an episode to answer those questions.
Now, what I do might not be exactly what’s going to work for you but you can get an idea of what type of thing that I’m doing that’s making me successful throughout the years and maybe you can adapt that to your plan. Maybe you’re just curious to find out what it is that I do as far as diet and nutrition, working out and those types of things. Before we get into that though I do want to thank our sponsor which is SignalLeaf. If you go to signalleaf.com you can check them out. They basically provide podcast hosting services and make it really easy for you to get a podcast or to create your own podcast. If you’re interested and I really encourage you to create your own podcast, I just created on my blog, if you go to simpleprogrammer.com you can find a list of all the developer podcasts that are out there. I just compiled this list because I got frustrated because every time I would search for developer podcasts there would be old stack over full of questions or or some old outdated information that would come up there.
I compiled my own list and when I got done with this I found that that list really was not that long. In fact, it’s divided up by a lot of different areas. There are basically no java podcast out there, just one I think, The Java Posse and there’s really a big hole in a lot of areas for podcast. There’s a huge opportunity here.
I don’t think I even saw an AngularJS podcast, believe it or not. There must be one out there but I could not find it. There’s a huge opportunity there to create a podcast about AgularJS or whatever technology you want. If you’re interested check out SignalLeaf and start your own podcast. If you create one and you start going with it, as long as you have some regularity with it, email me and I’ll put it on my list there and get you some publicity. Check that out.
Now let’s get into what is exactly that I do. For my workout and my diet it sort of goes back and forth between what my goal is. I’m not perfect so I don’t always do things perfectly, but I try to stick to a general routine. Sometimes I’m trying to lose fat. More often than not I’m trying to stay lean. Sometimes I am trying to gain muscle. Sometimes I’m just cruising, taking a break trying to regain my energy.
Right now I’m going to tell you what I’m doing right now because that I can probably give you the best information about. It is what I’m doing which is I’m trying to lose some weight, I’m trying to drop some pounds down. I had already gained some muscle. I’ve been lifting heavy. I’ve been eating calorie surplus. I’ve taken a little bit of a break from being on a more stricter diet and now I’m on a strict diet. The diet that I’m on right now is pretty strict. Basically I have divided my diet into 2 days, a day A and a day B. I’ll give you the details of exactly what I’m eating in a minute here. I just want to give you the overall strategy.
The idea is I’ve got this day A and day B for my diet and then that’s basically all throughout the week. On Saturday I have a cheat day if you want to call it that. Basically I’m a little bit more free with what I can eat. This is when I can go out and eat with my wife or something like that. On Sunday the dinner meal since we eat with my extended family, kind of a bigger family meal, I’m not as strict on that one either. Throughout the week I’m pretty much strict.
What I’m basically doing with this diet is I’m doing what’s called intermittent fasting. Ever since I discovered intermittent fasting and the science behind it I’ve been pretty sold on this idea because it makes a lot of sense. There’s really nothing to prove that eating multiple meals even like 6 meals a day has any kind of benefit. There was this fault belief based on some research that showed that when you eat food it increases your metabolism. If you eat more frequently then it will increase your metabolism more.
What it turns out is that the net effect of how much you eat is how much your metabolism decreases. It doesn’t matter how many times you do it throughout the day. Anyway, there’s a lot of other benefits for this intermittent fasting a lot around the insulin, about controlling your insulin sensitivity. There are some research that shows that in can increase your testosterone and your GH or growth hormone. That’s why I’m a subscriber to this. Even if it didn’t have any of those extra beneficial effects it’s just easier. I mean trying to eat 6 meals a day which I’ve done before is really difficult especially if you’re trying to cook all these food. By doing an intermittent fasting it really simplifies things. If it doesn’t harm me and I can get away with it, I’d much rather go that road.
If you’ve ever done dieting for a long time like I have you probably will find also that it’s easier to not eat than it is to eat clean and eat 6 small meals in a day. I’d rather just skip meals. Intermittent fasting sort of lets me do that. It’s the easier thing, if I only have to eat 2 or 3 meals a day that’s pretty simple for me to do.
Let’s talk about exactly what is the diet that I’m doing. I’ve got something really simple. I basically went this time with the foods that I found were the most simple to create, to cook up and eat and things that I like. I really, like I said, I went with simplicity here. My day A is non-workout day. I basically eat my first meal around 12 to 1:00. I’m fasting all that time. Then that meal is going to be 6 whole eggs and then a cup of spinach and then a cup of cheddar cheese, basically beat up the eggs with the spinach, put them in the microwave and throw in some cheese and that’s my lunch basically. That’s my first meal.
That’s very high in protein. It’s fairly high in fat and I’m getting that spinach in there for a little bit of carbs and sort of as a filler, getting some nutrients in there as well.
Now the reason why I’m keeping it so high on the protein and fat is because I want to have the extra protein but I also want to have the extra fat which is going to help boost testosterone levels and also make it a little bit easier to gain muscle with that testosterone boost. That’s my first meal.
Then my second meal on that day is basically I eat some frozen teriyaki chicken breast for dinner like 3 of those or 3 servings of those and I’ll have a cup or cup and a half of spinach or broccoli and that is basically it. That’s all I’m eating in that day and that comes to—with the dinner meal, sorry, there is one other thing about a half a cup of black beans. What that total calorie count comes to is about 1800 calories. Like I said in the previous episode when I talked about the dieting and nutrition plans that it’s a deficit that I’m trying to create of about 1000 calories. My maintenance is somewhere about 1000 calories higher, 2800 calories or maybe a little bit higher than that, but I try to be on the conservative side. I’m trying to stay around 1800 calories basically so I know that I’m going to be losing fat at the rate that I want to, about 2 pounds a week around that amount of fat. That’s where I’m at there.
The day B is actually very similar. The only difference is what I’m doing with day B is I’m going to work out first. We’ll talk about the work outs in a little bit here but basically as far the diet goes after my work out in the morning then I have a protein shake. I’ll have 3 scoops of protein powder. I’ll have a cup of milk and then basically just some ice in there, put it in the blender, maybe just a tiny bit of raspberries or some kind of fruit to give it flavor if I’m using the vanilla protein powder. That’s pretty much it.
Then the next meal for me is around lunch time or mid afternoon and I’ll eat 3 whole eggs, about a cup of spinach and then one of these Progresso Light Soups that’s like 110 calories or so which I’ll throw some vegetables in there to give it some filler or maybe a little tiny bit of cottage cheese to thicken it a little bit.
Those 2 meals basically and then I have one last meal which is around 5:00, dinner time which is 3 servings of turkey meatballs. The ones I have are small ones that 5 is a serving of about 150 calories. I’ll eat 15 of those and then a cup of broccoli or whatever other vegetable is fine at that point. Again, that comes to roughly around 1800 calories. It’s a little bit more on the work out days and it’s a little bit heavier on the carbs there. That’s the basic strategy is I want on the work out days get that shake in right after I do my lifting to get benefit of that. That’s really all that I’m doing. It’s a real simple diet. It’s pretty dang boring, but it works out for me because I don’t mind boring. I just don’t like the complexity of trying to cook all these different things and remember all this stuff and hanging out in the kitchen. I’d rather do something really quickly.
That’s my diet side and you can see also I’ve got the calorie counts there so I’m going to be steadily losing weight based on that as long as I’m keeping that deficit. The other thing that I’m doing is, and I’ve been doing this for a long time, I pretty much never really vary from this which is I will lift 3 days a week and I will run 3 days a week. The running we’ll talk about that first. I do this in the morning, pretty much on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, pretty much as soon as I wake up unless it’s cold then I might wait until the afternoon. I’ll basically just run a 5K and nothing really special about the run. I don’t do any sprints or anything. I know I should probably do some interval training, but I haven’t found a simple way to incorporate that into my work out. I definitely want to start doing that, but basically I just run a 5K. I usually listen to podcast or an audio book while I’m doing that and then come back home and that’s it.
On those days I am fasting doing the fasting until noon. That works also to help burn a little bit of extra calories, burn extra fat, utilize those—you’re in a state there of depleted glycogen stores because you’ve been exercising. That’s a good way to accelerate the fat loss in that case.
On the other days on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday what I’ll do is I’ll go to the gym and I have a gym that’s pretty close by here. I’ll work out first thing in the morning. I’m actually working out with my wife now. I got her on a program and I basically have a pretty simple 3-day split program. Now in the past, I have done 5-day splits or I’ve worked out 6 days a week, but I found that lifting 3 days a week seems to work pretty good, about an hour workout. You don’t really need more than that. What I do is I basically split it up into a push, pull and legs day. My routine sort of changes. I vary it every so often, but it basically goes something like this.
Here’s my current routine. For my push routine that will be day 1. I am going to do bench press. I will start off with some bench press and I’ll just do 3 sets of around 8 to 10 reps. Sometimes I’ll go a little bit lower to do a little bit of strength train down to 6 reps but somewhere in that range, 6 to 10 reps. I don’t really go above 10. I don’t go below 6. I adjust the weight to make sure I’m in that range and just 3 sets. I don’t really do a warm-up set. My first set might be lighter on an exercise where I feel like it could be a little bit more dangerous like a bench press I will start with a little bit lighter weight, but I basically make them all working sets.
Then I’ll go in and do an inclined bench press, same thing doing 3 sets there, same type of philosophy on the lifting. Then I’ll go do a fly machine or a pec deck basically the machines where you’re grabbing the 2 bars and you’re bringing it in towards your chest like a fly. You could also do a flat fly but I do it on the machine there. Then I will go over and do triceps at that point. That’s all I’m really hitting for chest.
Then I’ll do an overhead triceps extension where you take the big dumbbell, put it behind your head and lift it up. I find that the best tricep exercise. It really gets your triceps sore. That one is kind of hard to do when you get up there in the weight but it definitely seems to be the best one that I’ve found.
After that I’ll go up and I’ll do dips. I just do as many reps as I can for 3 sets. Then I will do a tricep extension like a pull down. I’ll just grab a rope if I can get one at the gym and just do the push downs there and extend all the way at the end. That’s pretty much it for chest and triceps. I’ll finish up by doing a couple of sets of rows, upright rows just to make sure I get the traps in there. I don’t focus too heavily on the traps on this particular routine. That’s day one.
Then if we go into day 2 what I’m trying to do there is a pull routine. So this is mostly going to be back and then it’s going to be a little bit of biceps. I’ll start off when I get to the gym and I’ll do one arm dumbbell rows. That’s where you’re leaning over the bench and you’re grabbing one weight and you’re pulling it back up towards your chest. That’s a pulling exercise. Again, 3 sets, rep range between usually 8 to 10 for this one. Then I’ll move on and I will do pull ups or chin ups as much as I can for 3 sets. Then after that I’ll move on to a machine, basically an upright row machine. I’m just trying to hit this center back there. I’ll just do my 3 sets there. Then I’ll go on to a sort of T bar machine. I’ll either use a T bar basically this little machine that we have that simulates if you were just to take a bar and do the T bar exercise. I’ll do that. There’s one more thing I do for back which is I’ll go down to the pec deck again and sit backwards on it and then you can work your rear delts and I’ll do that, do those rear delt flies.
That pretty much hits my back. Then I’m going to move on biceps. For biceps what I do is basically just 2 exercises because you’re hitting biceps already when you’re doing a lot of the back stuff. I’ll do standing barbell curl, a close grip. I’ll do 3 sets of around 8 to 10 reps. Then after that I’ll go and do a seated preacher curl. I use this preacher curl machine and I’ll just load that up and do 3 sets there. Then that’s pretty much it for that exercise.
Actually I’ve got to go back here for a second. The day one I just realized that at the end of this day 2, at the end of the pull I’m actually doing the upright rows. On day 1 I’m actually combining shoulders right now. It doesn’t really fit in to the push. If we go back to day 1 when I was doing the chest and triceps, I just realized what I’m actually doing is shoulders as well. I’ll do dumbbell, shoulder presses like military presses with dumbbells and then I’ll do delt raises, just side raises, side lateral raises with dumbbells.
Hopefully I didn’t confuse you too much there. Day 1 I said I do chest, tricep and shoulders. Day 2 I am doing back and biceps and then the upright rows to hit the traps a little bit there. Those are those first 2 days.
Then day 3 is leg day. On leg day what I used to do dead lifts. I’m not doing dead lifts anymore because I tweaked my back. I’m not sure what exactly the issue was but it seems like the dead lifts are just not good for my back. I’m pretty tall. I’m 6’3” so I have a little bit of a problem with flexibility with getting down all the way. I think that’s what ends up causing me problems with dead lifts. It also caused me some problems with squats as well so I have to be real careful with those. I’m avoiding dead lifts now just because it’s not working out for me. I don’t want to risk anymore injury. I do think they’re a really good exercise. I’m really sad to not be able to do them, but hey, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
Let’s see. Leg day what am I doing? I’m starting off of course with squats. I want to hit the hardest exercise first. The way I’m doing the squats right now is I’m actually stepping away from the rack completely and doing what’s called ATG or butt to ground squats. I’m basically going all the way down to the ground and I’m putting fairly light weights on there to do this. I’m putting some 10-pound plates underneath my heels so that I can go down all the way, but I’m working on flexibility. I’m working on some stretches to try and give myself the flexibility so I won’t need to do that. I’m also wondering if that might be injuring my back just because I don’t have the flexibility I need to properly do the all the way down to the ground squat. But I do find that by doing the all the way to the ground squats that I get a better work out. It seems to activate much more muscle groups and there’s less chance of injury if you can do it all the way to the ground because there’s no where you’re going to fall back. You’re not going to go too low and you know that you’re getting the maximum range of motion there.
That’s just my thinking of that. Again, 3 sets. I’m usually aiming for right about 8 reps there. I don’t like to push it with squats. I don’t like to go into the low 6 rep ranges or anything lower than that because just a lot of bad things can happen. Maybe I’m just a little over cautious but I’d rather keep it at the higher rep ranges for the squats especially if you don’t have a good spot.
After squats then I usually move on to the glutes. I’ll basically do standing lunges. I’ll take dumbbells and I’ll do lunges. I’ll do walk across the room, do three sets of those. Then I will move on to the leg extension machine. This is going to hit the quads. You just extend your legs. There are a couple of different machines that you can choose from there. I’ll usually pick one and I try to do them single leg at a time. There’s a machine that we have at our gym that does that which is pretty nice.
Then after that I will go and do hamstring curls on the machine, same type of basic things so if you’re doing the opposite direction there’s a laying down machine that will do and then I’ll go over and hit up the calves. I’ll do two exercises for calves. I’ll start off with this calf machine where you basically put your knees into the machine and lift. I'm not sure what they call that machine. I guess it’s probably seated calf raise and then I will go over to basically a leg press machine, and I will do calf presses there. I’ll basically just use that to do the calves.
I finish out. I'm not doing dead lifts. I want to hit the lower back so I do what’s called … I call them cobras. I don’t know what the actual name is. I guess it’s probably hyperextensions, back hyperextension or something like that. Basically, go over to the machine. It’s like doing a reverse sit-up and I’ll do those back hyperextensions or the cobras and do 3 sets of those.
That’s my basic routine that I follow and I pretty much do that every week, week in and week out. If I'm traveling or something I have to make some adjustments with diet or I'm not able to hit the gym. I can almost always run so I almost always try to keep up on the running and if I know I'm going to be out and I might adjust the days. I pretty much do that and then I will vary the routine. I'm actually, just at this point, where I'm about to vary the routine and do something a little bit different routine wise. Just change it up.
For example, when you think about the routine that I'm doing it’s pretty light on shoulders. I'm doing 2 shoulder exercises and I'm doing them after I'm already exhausted from triceps because triceps—you use the same type of muscle group when you do shoulders. It’s triceps. Exhausting your triceps is going to make it harder for you to do shoulder exercises.
You can see there that what I’ll want to do if I want to emphasize on shoulder is I might move that to a different day. In the past, what I’ve done is I’ve made leg day a little bit less and I’ve put shoulders in there, so I'm totally fresh for shoulders. I might actually do that, again, as I switch up the routine. I adjust the routine and adapt it based on what I see. Where are my weak points that I look at in my physique and then can I adjust the routine to adapt those?
I'm always adjusting it so that I'm hitting whatever the current weak point is. With the three-day routine, you have to do that because you’re not going to be able to pack that much into just three days, especially if you’re only lifting for about an hour. Again, with my workout, I keep it to about an hour because I find that it’s really difficult to keep the intensity for more than an hour, plus I don’t want to be spending all day in the gym. Either you just want to get in there, do what’s needed, and get out. I can usually get all of this workout done in about an hour because I don’t goof around, and there I just get the workouts done.
Okay and let’s talk about supplement. I just thought about that. What am I taking supplement wise? Well, you already know that I'm taking protein powder. That’s the key thing to take to add extra protein. The other thing that I'm taking is fish oils. Fish oils are proven to be effective. They’re a non-supplement because they’re basically just fish oil that you could get from fish. I do take those. I'm not as regular on that as I should be. I haven't been taking a multivitamin. Sometimes I do take on if I'm pretty high on the vegetables and my diet is not too crazy. I really don’t see the need for a multivitamin. It’s up to you.
I’ve read a lot that says that multivitamins really don’t do much because you’re already getting most of the nutrition. Your body isn't going to absorb most of it in that form. That’s one thing I generally try to avoid. I usually take it maybe once a week just to make sure that I don’t have any kind of deficiency. It’s probably not even necessary.
The other thing that I’ll do is I do take creatine. I put it in my shake and I will cycle off and on for that. I have found creatine to be effective is one supplement that is effective. It’s also extremely cheap in the powder form. Just drop it in a shake. That’s what I do and that does work. I do notice the difference when I am on creatine versus when I'm not.
I'm trying to think if there’s anything else that I take supplement wise. Oh, there is one other thing. When I'm doing this intermittent fasting when I'm not eating but I'm going to work out, what I do is I take BCAAs before my workout. Studies have shown that BCAAs can basically keep you from cannibalizing your muscle. They can help you to get more gains from the actual workout if you’re eating on an empty stomach. If you think of protein powder, it contains probably BCAAs. The reason why I take it before the workout is because I'm fasting. I'm in this fasting state. I'm on an empty stomach. That’s pretty important to do.
That’s basically it. I don’t really take any other supplements. I'm off of caffeine right now. At times I’ve taken like one of those pre-workout powders. I definitely know the difference because it’s just full of caffeine, but I’d rather not be on caffeine. I like to be more level with that. There is one other thing that I will take which is melatonin. I’ll take that at night. If I feel like I'm not getting good enough sleep, it’s really important to get good sleep. That can help you especially if you’re staring at monitor screens and you’re getting that daytime light that can mess up your sleeping schedule. It’s a good idea perhaps to take melatonin.
I found that the lowest dosage, if you could find the lowest dosage, the studies that I have read show that that’s actually the most effective. I found that if I take too high a dosage, I'm drowsy and just don’t feel right the very next day. Well, I just do that.
That’s my basic routine. If you have any questions for me about my routine, my diet, why I'm making these kinds of decisions in what I'm doing, feel free to shoot me an e-mail and let me know. I’d like to talk to you on the show. If you have an idea about your diet and you’d like to help me set up a program for you, or just discuss what you’re doing, I'm thinking about doing an episode where I basically just take someone that’s wanting to get in shape and is listening to the show, and just give them some pointers, answering the questions so they can form.
E-mail me. Show at getupandcode.com if you’d be interested in that. All right. Well, that’s the show for this week. I’ve got some excellent guests lined up coming up here in the next couple of weeks. We’ll be doing a bunch of interviews and getting some really good guests on the show here. It won’t always just be me talking to you, but I did think that it would be nice to go over my diet and my routine. I know a lot of people have been asking about that.
Like I said, I’m not perfect that this is what seems to work for me and I’m able to stick to this. That’s one reason why I do it. It might not be the most optimal diet. It might not be the most optimal routine, but it’s something that I can live it and that I’ve learned to adapt to. That’s why I do what I do. All right. If you like this episode, don’t forget to check us out in iTunes. You can subscribe to the show there. If you’d leave a review or comment, I’d really, really appreciate it because that would help other people find this show. Like i said, you can check out my podcast or my directory of podcast I created. If you have anything to add to there, go to simpleprogrammer.com and check it out there. Otherwise, I will talk to you next week. Have a good week and have good workouts. Take care.