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Viking Dad Bod 2023: Week 1

Greetings Vikings! It's been a week, to say the least. The new gig is going swimmingly and by swimmingly I mean I'm mostly underwater. Still breathing, though! Good thing I've got Njord on my side, no?


My numbers this week are good, though you'll notice my weight has gone up a little. There's a reason for that and I'll explain why I'm not bothered by it. It all has to do with what is called a Creatine Load.

I've been doing my own creatine load this week and I now realize that I can do a creatine load and say creatine load 1,000 times but that doesn't help people understand what the heck a creatine load actually is. Let's discuss.

What is Creatine and Why Supplement With It?

Creatine is an amino acid that's found in the muscles and the brain. The body stores creatine in the muscles where it is then used as an energy source. Creatine enters the body naturally through consumption of red meat and seafood as well as natural processes within the body involving the liver, pancreas and kidneys.

Creatine has a variety of benefits including -- but not limited to -- improving heart function, reduced skin aging, improved bone-and-brain health and injury prevention. For meatheads like yours truly, and anyone looking to change their body composition for that matter, creatine is used as a supplement because it has been proven to boost athletic performance, aid in recovery and contribute to muscle gain.

What is a Creatine Load and Why Should You Do It?

Healthline cites a peer-reviewed study that states the typical omnivorous diet results in the consumption of about 1-2g of creatine per day, leaving the muscle stores of creatine at merely 60%-80% capacity. If we want to maximize our muscle stores, we must supplement our nutrition to fully saturate our muscles with as much creatine as they're capable of holding.

In order to do this, we spend 5-7 days consuming larges amounts of creatine (20-25g per day). This is called the Creatine Loading Phase. Doing so has been proven to effectively boost creatine stores by as much as 40%. After the loading phase, the body can maintain this level with much smaller doses of creatine supplements (think 5g, or 1 scoop of what I take) daily.

When I supplement with creatine, I notice a visible difference in my muscle mass and notice improvement on my performance in the weight room. Altering body composition means burning fat while simultaneously building muscle, and if supplementing with creatine helps build muscle, it's a no-brainer that you'd want that in your life!

One caveat to loading with creatine: large amounts of creatine stores will force the body to retain quite a bit of water. With that said, studies have found that it's common for you to gain 1-2% of body mass during the loading phase (for me that's 2.4-4.7 pounds). The good news is that those studies also found that since this is merely water weight, this is a short-term effect of loading and should subside within a week or two. The better news is I didn't gain 2.4-4.7 pounds -- I only gained 0.4!


Some Things I've Learned / Observations From Week 1:

  • I think I am retiring from barbell squats. My legs are strong and my knees are fine but I just don't enjoy them. The load on my back is a bitch and I don't have anything to prove to anybody anymore.

  • It was 29 degrees out during my first run. It was 5:45am and I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and a hoodie. About 30 seconds into it I realized I had made a mistake and should probably start driving to NFC to run on the indoor track. But guess what I have to do after that? I have to cool off in some public area then hit the showers with a bunch of dude-bros who swim in their cologne and get shaving cream everywhere. Why would I do that when I could just put up with 30 minutes of discomfort then go back home to my beautiful wife, warm house, good coffee and sweet kitty? It's a no-brainer, really.

  • On Wednesday I saw a little kid barbell deadlifting 65 pounds. He looked like he didn't even weigh 90 so props to him. He was also apparently listening to some very good music because his head kept bobbing in between sets. Someone has taught him well.

  • My first interval run of the week saw me go 1.66 miles with an average pace of 17:18. My last interval run of the week hit 1.86 miles with an average pace of 16:03. The workout was the same but it improved every day this week without me even being mindful of it.

Some Things I'm Changing Moving Forward:

Hanging knee raises have turned into supine leg raises because I have a gnarly bruise on my right arm that goes from my elbow nearly to my wrist. Putting weight on it is a BITCH so I'm switching up that selection for the duration of this program.

Highlights of the Week:

Weekly Stats:

  • Weight: 235.4 Pounds (0.4 Pounds Gained -- Goal: 215 Pounds, or 20 Pounds Lost)

  • Blood Pressure as of January 13, 2023: 149/100, Stage 2 Hypertension (Down from 180/117, Stage 3 Hypertension)

I want to leave you this week with this quote from Mark Manson, author of the best-selling self-help book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck:

"There are only two possible outcomes in this life: either you choose who you are -- or it will be chosen for you."

Ever onward and see y'all next week!


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