The Cyco

Weight Lifting, Mathematics, and loads of Technobabble

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I am posting my exact routine/supplements for September 2013. Weigh-ins/progress pics will be taken every Tuesday no-pump post-fasted cardio and I'll update this post.

Start: 173.8 lbs / 12-13% BF

Goal: ??? lbs / 9-10% BF

Routine

Caloric intake will range from 2,000 - 5,000 per day averaging around 3,000. Minimum macros: 180g protein / 75g fat / 30g fiber. I listen to my body and if I feel I'm gaining fat, I'll cut back.

Wake
5x per week: 20-30 minutes fasted cardio 1 hour after taking high doses of caffeine, Yohimbine Hcl and Tyrosine.
1-2 hours after wake or 3 hours after YHcl dose - Meal 1 which will be high protein / high fat / low-no carb
2 hours later - meal 2 Mid-high protein / high carb. Supplements:

  • Multi-vitamin
  • Fish oil
  • CoQ-10
  • Fiber supp
  • B-12
  • Vitamin-C
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D-3
  • Biotin
  • APE


5-7x per week - LIFT
Immediate post workout - 5g creatine monohydrate/1 scoop whey
1 hour later - Meal 3 high protein/mid-carb/mid-fat
3 hours later - Meal 4 mid protein/high fat
Before night-night: 2 scoops whey

 

Progress pics

  • 173.8 lbsDay 0
  • 174.8 lbsDay 7

Training Schedule


My schedule for the next 4 weeks or so, then I'll begin a bulking phase

Nutrition

PSMF - 03/13, 03/14, 03/15, 04/01, 04/02, 04/03

9 AM Black Coffee, 3g creatine, 10 egg whites, 2 fish oil 270 cals
1 PM 20 egg whites, 200g broccoli 500 cals
5 PM 10 egg whites, 200g broccoli 250 cals
1020 cals

Normal

9 AM Black Coffee, 3g creatine, 2 fish oil, 4 servings oatmeal, 1 scoop of whey 740 cals
45P / 123C / 4.5F
1 PM Post workout 2 scoops of whey, 16 oz nonfat milk, 32g peanut butter, 5g creatine 620 cals
72P / 37C / 19F
3 PM 3 servings brown rice, 10 egg whites, 100g broccoli 700 cals
62P / 112C / 4F
5 PM 10 egg whites, 4 whole eggs, 3 servings oatmeal 980 cals
83P / 91C / 25F
3040 cals
262P / 363C / 52.5F

EDIT:

Upon actually calculating the macros here, protein is too high and fat is too low. I'll modify this to replace some egg whites with whole eggs. Carbs are fine. I'd like protein to be around 200g and fat around 80g

Training

Weight training: 10:30 AM - All lifts consist of 1 warmup set of 12, 3 working sets of 8, and 1 burnout set.

Cardio: 7 PM - 1 mile on treadmill, 30-45 minutes on stairmaster medium intensity

  • Monday (Back #1: Rows)
    • Bent Over rows
    • DB Rows
    • HS Shrugs
    • Seated Rows
    • Lat pull down
  • Tuesday (Arms)
    • EZ Curl
    • Reverse EZ Curl
    • Incline Skull Crusher
    • Hitlers
    • DB Curls
    • DB Hammer Curls
    • Tricep pull-down
    • Overhead tricep extension
  • Wednesday (Back #2)
    • Good mornings
    • Deadlifts
    • Rack pulls
    • Cleans
    • HS Shrugs
  • Thursday (Shoulders)
    • Front lat raises
    • Bent over side lat raises
    • Side lat raises
    • Military press (smith)
    • DB press
    • HS Shoulder press (free weight)
    • Shrugs
  • Friday
    • REST
  • Saturday (Legs)
    • ATG Squats {8 sets}
    • Leg Press {8 sets}
    • Hack Squat {8 sets}
  • Sunday (Chest)
    • Flat BB
    • Incline BB
    • Decline BB
    • Incline DB
    • Incline Chest Flies
    • HS Seated chest press (free weight)
    • HS Incline chest press (free weight)

A lot of the time people don't know where to start. So, here's an easy guide (BW = Bodyweight):

  • Determine your target macros. If you're moderately active, set your caloric intake at 15xBW. Set protein at 1g per lb of BW, Set fat at 0.5g per lb of BW and fill in the rest with carbs. So, if you were 200 lbs, set caloric intake at 3000 cals, protein at 200g (800 cals), and fat at 100g (900 cals). You have 1300 cals left which is 1300/4 = 325g carbs. That's just a start, you can up the protein/fat and drop the carbs if you wish.
  • Create a table with the following headlines: Carb, Fat, Protein. In each column add food items which are primarily that macro. So, oatmeal is primarily a carb so it goes there. Eggs are primarily fat so they go under Fat. Chicken breast is primarily protein so it goes under protein.
  • Have a lookup table of the nutritional information/serving size for each item in your Macro table above
  • Pick and choose from the table to meet your macros set in the first step.

It's really that easy. You can go as diverse or as simple as you want with it but at the end of the day it's all about hitting target macros and caloric intake. Once you have an idea of what your needs are, just create meal plans which fit that model.


Keep a Food Log


Keeping a food log is the first step in getting serious about your nutrition. Whether you're looking to cut, bulk or maintain, a food log is going to help you stay honest with your diet and your results. If you're looking to cut fat, keeping a food log is mandatory. If you're not keeping a log of everything you eat, you're almost certainly eating more than you think.

Simple rules:

  • Buy a gram scale
  • Weigh everything you eat
  • If you can't count it, don't eat it

What to include in your food log:

  • The item
  • The quantity (weight usually in grams)
  • Macros (grams protein, carb, fat)
  • Total calories

Seems pretty simple, right? Only after keeping a detailed and honest food log for a solid couple of weeks should you expect any results. Make it part of your routine before you eat. Don't guess, you suck at guessing. That's why you're fat, faggot. Pay attention to what you eat and it'll make your food decisions a hell of a lot easier. Just ask this guy...

Down with the Syndrome

STEP IT UP


This is where I'm starting. Probably around 14% or 15% body fat at 175 lbs. I'm looking to cut to 160-165 lbs and then reassess from there. This will be the routine over the next 5 weeks or so. Cardio involves running/jogging/walking, basketball, skating, and siqq brootuhl mosh bro.

Current Progress, Still cutting
Training Days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)
Wake - Half pot of black coffee
-WORK-
10 AM - 3 servings oatmeal + 5 eggs + Multi
-WORK-
11:40 AM - Leave for gym
12:00 - 1:40 PM - { Gym }
3:00 PM - ~1 lb of chicken + veggies
-WORK-
5:00 PM - 5 eggs
6:00 PM - 3 servings of oatmeal
-WORK-
Calories: 2,325
Macros: 196g protein / 194g carb / 85g fat
Off Days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
Wake - Half pot of black coffee
-WORK-
10 AM - 3 servings oatmeal + 3 eggs + Multi
-WORK-
2:00 PM - ~1 lb of chicken + veggies
-WORK-
5:00 PM - 6 eggs
 
Calories:  1,775
Macros: 175g protein / 113g carb / 69g fat
Training Routine
Monday - Shoulders / Lite legs / Traps 
- Delt Raises HS Machine (3x8)
- DB side lat raise (4x8)
- DB front lat raise (4x8)
- BB delt raise (4x8)
- DB Shoulder Press (2x12, 2x10, 2x8, 2x5)
- Seated Military press (2x8, 2x5, 4x3)
- Standing OH Press (2x8, 4x5, 2x3)
- BB Shrugs (4x8, 2x5, 2x3)
- Back Squats (4x8, 2x5) 
- Front Squats (4x8, 2x5)
55 Sets 
Wednesday - Back / Lats / Traps
- Good Mornings (2x8)
- Bent over BB rows (3x8)
- Deadlift (2x8, 2x5, 2x3, 2x1)
- Stiff leg Deadlift (2x8, 2x5, 2x3, 2x1)
- Barbell Shrugs (2x8, 2x5)
- Seated Machine Shrugs (2x8, 2x5)
- Ez curl bar upright rows (3x8)
- Lat pull down (3x6 - 3 of standard and reverse)
- DB Rows (3x8)
41 Sets + Mild cardio for a warm down if time permits
Friday - Chest / Tris
- Flat bench (2x8, 2x5, 2x3, 2x1)
- Incline Bench (2x8, 2x5, 2x3)
- Decline Bench (4x8)
- Closegrip Bench (1x12, 3x8)
- Incline skull crusher (3x12)
- Hammer Curls (3x8)
- Tricep Machines/Pulleys (8x8 combined)
- Incline DB Press (3x12)
- Incline Chest flies (4x8)
43 sets + Mild cardio
Sunday - Arms (Biceps, Forearms, Triceps)
- Standard ez curl (2x12, 2x8, 2x5, 2x3)
- Reverse ez curl (2x12, 2x8, 2x5, 2x3)
- Incline skull crushers (4x8)
- Preacher Curls (4x8)
- Flat skull crushers (4x8)
- DB concentrated/Arnold curls (4x8)
- Bicep/Tricep Machines (12x8 combined)
- Dips (3xFailure)
47 sets + moderate cardio

I apologize for the gay ass new TD background, the song is TD with Keith


Cyco PSMF 30 Day Diet


My 30 day PSMF diet plan consists of 6 days VLC/High Protein and 1 day of a slight deficit eating at least 50% carbohydrates. It's as follows:

Monday - Friday

Meal Cals Pro(g) Carb(g)
500g Egg Whites 240 48 x
360g Chicken Breast / 3 Cups Veggies 500 75 x
360g Chicken Breast / 3 Cups Veggies 500 75 x
2 servings Metamucil 80 0 x
TOTAL 1,320 200 x

Saturday (Carb Refeed)

Meal Cals Pro(g) Carb(g)
In a 5 hour window
3 cups oatmeal + honey + flaxseed 1,000 30 162
Protein Bar 280 30 23
2 Turkey Sandwiches 500 60 40
3 servings Metamucil 120 0 33
Outside a 5 hour window
300g Chicken / 3 Cups Veggies 420 70 24
TOTAL 2,320 190 290

Sunday

Meal Cals Pro(g) Carb(g)
4 Scoops Whey 520 108 x
500g egg whites 240 48 x
200g Chicken 200 42 x
4 servings Metamucil 160 0 x
TOTAL 1,140 208 x

Note: a diet like this is not really sustainable for more than a few weeks and is used more for a kickstart or a homestretch. Read Lyle McDonald's "Rapid Fat Loss Handbook" for more information on a PSMF diet.


Are Carbs Bad?


Facts about Carbohydrates

There's a lot of misconceptions about carbohydrates so let's take a brief look at their role in the body. First off, any carbohydrate you consume will be broken down and converted to glycogen. Glycogen is the first and quickest source of fuel for the body to use to perform work....which is a good thing! This quick fuel source allows our body to function fairly efficiently and with minimal effort. As a side note, when people "start dieting" they notice a rapid weight loss almost immediately. This is due to glycogen stores emptying and at this point, not a lot of fact is actually lost. In fact, though this depends on the person/weight, the first 10 or so pounds lost is mainly water weight and depleted glycogen stores.

Types of Carbohydrates

Basically, there's two types of carbohydrates--simple and complex, named for the chemical bond and hence the types of energy release it's best for. Simple carbohydrates are found in foods such as sugar, candy, fruit, etc. and complex carbs are things like potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, oats, etc. Simple carbs are great for short term energy release (this is known as a "sugar high") and complex carbs are vital for sustained energy.

Roles of Carbohydrates

When we consume a carb-heavy meal, blood sugar levels increase as the carbohydrates are broken down into sugar (their base molecule). Our body's natural response to blood-sugar level increase is to release Insulin. Insulin is a primary hormone in the human body which moves glucose (sugar) from the blood into the muscles and fat cells for storage/later use.

Armed with the knowledge of how your body uses carbohydrates, it's important to use carbohydrates effectively. Consume plenty of protein and/or fats along with your carbohydrates. This will slow down the release of insulin and hence slow down blood-sugar spikes. Lastly, carbohydrates high in fiber cause less of a spike in blood-sugar levels than carbs like candy, sugary drinks, etc. so make sure to eat plenty of vegetables.

Conclusion on Carbohydrates

It is my personal opinion that we, as a nation, eat entirely too many carbs. I prefer to limit carbohydrates to 100-150g per day but this is not to say that carbs are bad. As the case with most things, moderation is key to success. Find what works for you but use the information contained in this article as a starting point to finding your carb macro sweet spot.


How much are you eating... Really?


You eat too much

[TODO]


The Cyco Meal Plan


Eating for Fat Loss

First, let me preface this post by saying I love to eat. I mean, you don't get to 260+ lbs by hating food. Also, I'm not a nutrition Saint, either. Yes, it's true I busted my ass to go from obese to relatively fit in 6 months but once I got there I learned to indulge but in moderation. If there's one thing you need to learn in your weight loss journey it's that it is a lifestyle change and with any lifestyle change it's a balancing act of pros and cons. And this, my friends, is where moderation becomes your key to success. So, yes there'll be days you'll see me with two huge breakfast burritos but most days you're going to see me with oatmeal, veggies, and chicken. Which brings me to the main point of this article:

(High) Protein Meals

If you read any of my previous posts or talked with me before, you know I (and many others) advocate high protein meals for both fat loss and muscle gain. However, the question I get most from those beginning their fat loss journey is: "What should I eat?" Well, here's a typical meal plan for me when I am being good and eating like I should:

Maintenance Calories: ~2600
Sample Day
Macros: 46.18% Protein / 37.18% Carb / 16.64% Fat
Target Calorie Intake: 2000
Item Protein (g) Carbs (g) Fats (g) Calories
1 cup plain oats + 1 packet instant oatmeal 14 81 7.5 448
Turkey Sandwich on whole wheat (w/ mustard) 36 17 4 248
14 oz grilled chicken breast 91 0 7 427
2 cups organic green beans 3 18 0 84
1.5 cups egg whites w/ salsa 37 8 0 180
1/2 can Bush's Baked Beans 10 51 1.5 258
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey / 3 TBSP Peanut Butter 40 11 17 357
TOTAL 231 186 37 2001
High Protein Day
Macros: 64.10% Protein / 21.21% Carb / 14.69% Fat
Target Calorie Intake: 1700
Item Protein (g) Carbs (g) Fats (g) Calories
3 cups Egg Whites 72 12 0 336
Turkey Sandwich on whole wheat (w/ mustard) 36 17 4 248
4 Morning Star Veggie Sausage Patties 40 12 12 316
2 cups organic green beans 3 18 0 84
12 oz grilled chicken breast 78 0 6 366
1 Can of Turkey Chili (no beans) 46 32 6 366
TOTAL 275 91 28 1716

Above you'll find two sample days with quite a change in macros and target calorie intake. My high protein days are typically done after several of my "naughty" days where I consume around 3500 calories. On my lower calorie/very high protein days, I'll also increase my water intake because my 3500 calorie meals usually consist of lots of carbohydrates, fats, and sodium. Increasing water intake the days following that helps relieve bloating and water retention.

These sample food plans can be modified and should be modified. For instance, neither days really incorporate a significant amount of fiber. More greens/leafy lettuces should be added. We could drop the turkey chili and replace it with a ton of baby spinach and a large apple. However, when you do add salads, make sure you're aware of how much dressing you're using. I prefer the little "spritzer" bottles. Yeah, it's not the manliest thing in my refrigerator but it's low calorie and it's easy to restrict yourself to sensible portions.


Thermogenic Effects of Food (TEF)

So, a calorie is a calorie, right?! Yes, well sort of. While it is true that if your net caloric intake results in a deficit you will burn fat without regards to how that deficit was achieved, there's a little more to the story which I'll cover shortly. First and foremost, read this article of a nutrition professor and his "junk food diet" where he ate primarily junk food and still managed to lose 27 pounds in 2 months.

The above article drives home the point--consume less than you burn and you will burn fat, guaranteed! There's a little bit more to it than that, though. For example, satiety is a huge concern. I mean, what will fill you up more? A twinkie or 5 oz of skinless chicken breast? The chicken, right? And that's because of the macro-composition of each food. Both foods clock in at around 150 calories but the twinkie consists of 1g of protein, 27g carbohydrates (19g of sugar) and 4.5g of fat while the chicken consists of about 32g of protein, 0g carbohydrates and 2g of fat.

But why does this matter? If calories are our body's source of fuel, why does it matter what they consist of when it comes time to utilizing that fuel and keeping our stomach's satisfied? That's where the thermogenic effect of food comes in. Protein keeps us full longer because it takes more work from our bodies to digest it. In fact about 25% of the calories consumed from protein are burned through digestion. For comparison, about 7% of Carbohydrates are burned and a negligible amount (2-3%) is burned from Fats. This means that from the time you eat the twinkie until you digest it, you're netting approximately 145 calories but with the chicken you're netting closer to 125 calories, a 20 calorie difference, which can add up over time especially if you change your macros up.

This is the primary reason why high protein diets are optimal for those trying to burn body fat. You stay fuller for longer and can eat more while still netting the same calorie deficit. Sounds like a pretty good deal, huh? [TODO]


Calculating your Macros


What are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients, put simply, are what make up the food we eat: Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Each gram of Protein and Carbohydrate consists of 4 calories and each gram of Fat consists of 9 calories. This is why foods high in fat content contain considerably more calories, there's more than twice as many calories contained in each gram! However, this does not mean that you should remove fats from your diet. Actually, doing so can be detrimental to hormone levels, energy, mood and so on. Eat healthy fats found in nuts, avocados and the like. Carbs also get a terrible name from [Insert your favorite fad diet here] and that couldn't be further from the truth. You need carbs so eat them, damn it! However, you should include complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, green veggies, fruits etc. over simple carbohydrates such as sugars, candy, syrups/sauces.

Macro Ratios

So, we know what macros are but how much of each should we consume and why? No matter what your goal, your primary macro concern should be Protein and here's a couple of reasons why:

  • Protein is the building blocks of lean muscle and lean muscle increases your metabolic rate
  • Protein is slower digesting (higher thermogenic effect) so you stay full longer and burn more calories digesting the food.

When cutting, I often recommend the following macros: 1g of protein per pound of Body Weight and 0.4g of fat per pound of Body Weight. Fill in what ever's left over in your caloric allowance with carbs. So, for instance, consider a 180 pound man cutting on 2,000 calories / day. He would consume 180g of protein, 72g of fat and roughly 158g of carbohydrates. To see this, note that since each gram of protein and carbohydrate contains 4 calories and each gram of fat contains 9 calories, we have: 4*180 + 9*72 + 4*158 = 720 (from protein) + 648 (from fat) + 632 (from carbohydrate) = 2000 (total calories).

This comes out to 36% Protein, 32.4% fat, and 31.6% carbohydrates. So, about 1/3 of our calories from each macro. I personally prefer a macro split closer to: 45% protein / 20% carb / 35% fat, so on a 2000 calorie diet this would come out to 225g protein / 100g carb / 78g fat. I prefer protein and fat to carbs. Here's the kicker though, you need to eat the right kinds of fats and the right kind of carbs. Stay away from Trans fat and choose "natural" fats such as those found in nuts/peanut butter, avocados, omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish/seafood (or capsule supplements which The Cyco takes), and good old fashioned animal fat. Your body and brain need fats to function, don't restrict your fat intake because you "heard it's bad".

As far as carbohydrates go, choose carbohydrates low on the Glycemic Index. A rule of thumb I go by is to limit or stay away from foods with a GI (Glycemic Index) of 64 or higher. Table sugar has a GI of 64 and that's basically the cut off for me, however foods like wheat bread which have a GI higher than 64 are still in my diet though I eat them in moderation. Virtually any fresh fruit is fine (there's a few exceptions, do a little research), old fashioned oatmeal, most cold cereals, and the like are usually fine as well and are a good choice when considering carbohydrates to introduce into your diet.


Losing Body Fat

This article is aimed towards a specific audience--the overweight and obese (e.g. those with body fat percentages in the mid 20s and higher). First off, let's be honest with yourself and each other. You are fat because you eat too much. You don't have a slow metabolism, you're just eating too much, plain and simple. Now, you're reading this because you're at least toying with the idea of doing something about it. Congratulations! Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. The reason(s) for obesity is no different than most addictions. Get that through your head and get it through now. Your cravings for a double cheeseburger and fries are a lot like a smack head dreaming of that next hit.

Is my goal it put you down or make fun of you? No and far from it. My goal throughout this post and many posts to come is to help you lose body fat by providing you with fitness calculators and solid advice from someone who has done it first hand. Moreover, you're going to take it off, keep it off, and become stronger in the process. And guess what? You don't have to shell out your hard earned bucks to do it, you're going to get some free non-sense education from someone with first hand experience. In my opinion, the main culprit for widespread obesity is ignorance. Many people think they'll have to run their asses off in the gym for hours or eat nothing but salads to lose fat and that's just plain wrong.

The Secret to Losing Body Fat

Eat less and move more! Is that not what you wanted to find? Well, that's what it's going to take to lose that excess fat. However, the secret is how much less and how much more. To uncover this secret we have to look at how the body works. I think many people take this for granted and don't stop to think about what happens when you move, eat, etc. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person but somehow I still managed to get up to ~40% body fat by age 24. This must be due to losing sight (for one reason or another) of what was really going on with my body. Put simply, your body is an engine. You give it fuel (food) and it performs some tasks (moving, thinking, sleeping, etc.). So, that's how your body works in a very easy to swallow way. But what's fat? Why and how is it stored? Put this in your mind and keep it there: fat is stored excess energy. Years of evolution (or a very intelligent creator, whatever you believe, I don't care) has caused our bodies to adapt. Our bodies need fuel but its fuel source (food) may not always be around so our body essentially says "Hey, I don't know if I am going to have access to food the next time I need, I only need *this* much for now, I'll store the rest for later!" Now say hello to your love handles. There'll be (very near) future articles that talk about how the body utilizes and stores fat and why some macronutrients (protein, protein, protein) should be heavily favored during fat loss efforts but for now all you need to know is fat is stored energy. Also, a quick distinction here: the macronutrient Fat IS NOT the fat in your body. Fat is stored excess energy and it doesn't matter if your excess comes from protein, carbohydrates or fats, you will still gain fat in your body. Each macronutrient is important (as I will write about later) and shouldn't be skipped.

So, now you know that fat is stored energy for your body and it was created because you were in a calorie surplus. Let's apply some logic here: I ate more than my body required so I put on fat. If I eat less than my body requires, will I lose fat? You bet your fat ass you will! When you consume fewer calories than your body requires you are in a calorie deficit and your body looks to fat stores as an energy source. Now to the ever important question: "How much?" Lots of people say there's no magic formula but there actually is, sort of. There was a very interesting study done which shows that your maximum calorie deficit with minimal muscle loss is approximately 30 calories/pound of body fat. I'm going to spare you the scientific research and study data (if you care that much, you'll find it on your own) but that's the answer to "how much?". Just apply some simple arithmetic to your stats and you'll have your target calorie deficit. But this isn't the end of it. To get this number and for it to be useful, you have to be able to accurately estimate your calorie needs as well as your body fat percentage. Take a look at the fitness calculators I have written to get a good idea of some of your stats.

Diet is key, Cardio is Optional

Finally some good news from The Cyco! And despite what anyone else tells you, it's very true. You do not need to do insane amounts of cardio to burn fat when you're significantly overweight. Let's apply some deductive reasoning here. Let's assume Joe Fatbody is 30% body fat. He looks pretty bad but honestly is probably smaller than 1 out of 4 at any diner in America. Think about what "30% body fat" means. It means that when you take Joe's total weight including water, organs, and complete skeleton, 30% of that weight is nothing but fat (stored energy). How does the body look at this when it's in a calorie deficit? It sees free fuel! This is why it's very easy to burn fat the higher your body fat percentage. As your body fat percentage decreases, you burn less fat in comparison but about the same relative to body fat content. As you get leaner, your calorie requirements decrease and therefore you then have to supplement fat burning efforts with some cardio. But, you can go from looking like total crap to looking pretty decent by doing nothing but eating less. A small caveat, though. Cardio is optional for fat loss while you're significantly overweight, true. However, it does promote an overall healthy and fit lifestyle and that's what is important here--a lifestyle change. What you read from me will not be a quick fix, it will not be a fad diet, it will however be a roadmap to success.

You know how the body works and why you're storing fat. You know what you need to do and you have a good idea how to do it. Next, I'll be writing about diet/fat burning specifics and some sample meal plans I use myself as well as some ideas of small things you can cut from or replace in your every day diet that add up to some large results.