A new workout top... I couldn't resist!
So here's a status update on me. The competiton is 3 weeks from tomorrow and I'm in extreme-diet-and-training mode. I started Monday with cutting carbs. I was eating 150-200g/day before and dropped down to >100g. It sucks. My enegy is in the toilet and I've really had to dig deep to do my training. I keep telling myself to hang in there... it's just a few more weeks. I have ordered my suit and started tanning. I will post suit pictures when I get it. My upper body is already there but I'm still holding on to some stubborn fat in my legs. I'm hoping the tanning will hide whatever dimples are there. Thanks everyone for all your support and encouragement!
I whipped up this comparison shot and I just had to share it. What a difference a year can make!
Seriously ladies (and dudes)... I know GAINING weight is a scary prospect but it's the only way to build an appreciable amount of muscle. Yes you will gain fat, but the fat comes off. I am stronger now than ever and thrilled with this progress!
I'll be bulking again in August. My goal is to gain more mass in my delts, lats, hams, and glutes. If you wanna join me in adding some mass... let me know... we should start a group! :)
So I'm on the fence about the competition. I'm not sure if I'm going to do it or not. It's 6 weeks away and I still have some thigh fat that needs to go. I recently purchased a book by Lyle McDonald called The Stubborn Fat Solution that was very eye-opening for me. It was actually pretty complicated and dug pretty deep into all the physiology of fat loss. It was written for those who are already very lean but still had that last little bit of body fat that just refuses to go away. It provided some great protocols that I've incorporated into my training. If you are interested...
So, regardless if I make it to the stage or not, I am still going to continue cutting and looking forward to a beach vacation! Comparing these to my pictures from last year, I think I made some decent gains in my quads on my bulk. I wish there would have been more improvement to my hamstrings, delts, and lats though.
Stay motivated everyone!!! xoxoxox
... and I thought I needed to make un update!!!
Here is a post-bulk picture compared to a recent one with stats included. I finally got down into the 120's again!!!
and a back picture...
I am holding steady at 1600 calories for now with refeeds on Sundays. As of Friday I was 9 weeks out from the show in June. I still have some "chub" around the upper thighs that needs to go but I'm trying to be patient. :) I am still doing IF and it's going spendidly!
Just for fun... a snap I took before our date night last week. I was stoked to wear this cute new dress!
Howdy yall! So it's been 4 weeks since I started my cut. I'm still doing IF and I've FINALLY adjusted to it. The first week was pretty bad... my strength took a dive and there were times I felt like I was going to black out. I wasn't certain if it was because of skipping breakfast, the overall calorie deficit, or something else. I mentioned it in a post on bodybuilding.com and someone suggested it could possibly be my pre-workout supplements. I quit taking the supplements for a bit and I did feel better, but then my appetite was through the roof. The pre-workout I had been taking, Jacked3d, kills my appetite so without it I was insanely hungry. After 3 weeks I still felt like I couldn't find my groove. So frustrating!!!
Fast-forward to this week.... and finally... everything went better than expected! I got back on the Jacked3d. My lifts started to strengthen again and I'm no longer quite as light-headed. I've adjusted to the morning fasting to the point where I don't really even get hungry until about noon. I finally feel like I'm trucking along and doing well on this cut. The only downside to it all is that the scale is moving veeeeeeeerrryyyyy sloooooowwwww. I am well aware that the scale isn't always the best way to measure progress. I know that it's better to have a slow loss than a quick one to preserve muscle. I realize that what matters more is body fat vs lean mass. Yes... I know all of this... however just like eveyone else I want that tangible measurable proof that the diet is accomplishing the intended task.
So, I weighed in today at 134lbs... 3lbs down from where I started 4 weeks ago. It is what it is and I am learning to just be patient. The contest I want to enter is 15 weeks from today so I still have plenty of time to get lean. I don't really have a goal weight I just know that I need to come in between 10-11% body fat. I am guessing I would need to be around 125lbs but I'm not certain.
Well, without further ado, here are a couple of snaps from this afternoon...
Oh... edited to add...
I'm now back to eating at 1800/day regardless of training. I'm actually pretty satisfied on this intake, especially since I get to consume it all within a 9-hour window. I go to bed super full and sleep like a baby ;)
So I finally got over the cold funk and got back in the gym. Last Friday was my first day back. I REALLY overdid it. I did a killer leg workout. I should have known better than to jump back in full force like that after a week off but, alas, I am hard headed. I could barely walk all weekend!!
When I started back Friday I also officially started my cut following the lean gains model for intermittent fasting. Here is how I do it. I have a cup of coffee as soon as I wake up then a bit later a pre-workout supplement while driving the kids to school. I head to the gym and do my weights/cardio. This part has taken some getting used to. I don't struggle with hunger so much as feeling a bit jittery from the caffeine and no food. My strength hasn't been great this week and my lifts have suffered a little. I'm just trying to keep weight on the bar even if I can't pull off as many reps. I break my fast around 12:30 for lunch, usually with chicken and sweet potatoes. I have a 9-hour eating window with my first meal at 12:30 and my last around 9pm. I eat a huge bowl of greek yogurt with casein protein before bed every night.
I have started my cut on 1800 calories coming from 2300-2600 calories/day on my bulk. Believe me, I'm feeling it. Hell yeah I'm hungry. No one ever said cutting was easy... if it was... everyone would do it. Today I weighed in at 135 so I'm actually already down a couple of pounds.... fluid no doubt. I am feeling a bit less bloated as well. Last time I cut I had my calories at 1600 and was doing a LOT of cardio... tracking my cardio... and eating back those calories. This time I'm not tracking cardio. I'm going to try eating 1800 calories/day regardless of activity... on training days and off days. I want this cut to be accomplished primarily by eating at a deficit without depending on cardio so much like last time... which is why I'm not bothering to track it. I feel like too much cardio caused me to lose muscle last time. I'm still doing Zumba a few times a week and on days when there is no Zumba I do the stepmill at a moderate pace. No HITT for the time being. If I see I'm not leaning out like I'd like then I'll consider adding that in the future.
So... that's where things stand for me. I'm going to wait a few weeks and then take some pictures to see if there is any difference.
Hope you all are doing well!!!! xoxoxox
Update: So I've decided that I am going to add a couple hundred calories more on training days. I'm feeling too depleted and starved those days on 1800. I'll give that a few weeks and see if I lose on that amount :)
As promised... official end-of-bulk pictures...
These are all, of course, relaxed poses... no flexing. ;) I entered a transformation challenge over at bodybuilding.com so that is the reason for the newspaper... proof of the start date. I have 12 weeks for this challenge. I was planning to lean out around this time anyway so why not give myself a little extra incentive! I did it before... I will do it again... and this time it will actually be much easier because I'm starting out in much better shape!
As I've stated before... I was supposed to start my cut tomorrow on February 1st. I'm delaying it for a bit. Unfortunately, I was struck with strep throat last week which then eroded into something more sinister... a nasty sinus infection that has moved to my bronchial tubes. I've been out of the gym since last thursday. I usually work out even when I'm not feeling great but this wasn't the type of infection I could push through. I'm currently on 2 antibiotics and some steriods. Today was the first day I've breathed through my nose more than my mouth since last Thursday.
Now...... here is what I think happened (get ready for the public service announcement).....
Last Monday I was feeling overtrained... like fatigue and lack-of-motivation were setting in. I couldn't even remember the last time I took a real break from working out. I may have skipped "a workout" here and there but it had been ages since I took a whole week off. I hadn't even done a deload week of lighter weights in forever. I've been hitting it hard for a long long time now and I think my body was starting to feel overwhelmed. I knew I needed a break but was too stubborn to take one. I kept training against my own better judgement and then my body revolted and my immune system took a nosedive. Now I'm on a FORCED break. So... let this be a lesson to you all. If your body is telling you "take a break" ... LISTEN!!! Do not be stubborn like me!!!
So... I'll start the diet once I'm well. I feel like I need to eat at least maintenance calories while sick. Depleting your body of calories while it's trying to fight an infection is not wise!
Ok... so I have a question for YOU now... anyone here doing IF (intermittent fasting)??? ... If you are not aware visit: http://www.leangains.com/
If so I'd love to hear your thoughts/experiences. I'm considering trying this during my cut.
ETA: Just found this: http://aptphysicaltraining.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/strength-is-built-in-gym-size-at-dinner.html ... a very good read!
ETA (again)... 1-year comparison pictures. From 140lbs (Jan 2011) --> 120lbs --> 137lbs (Jan 2012).
I wanted to get a post-bulk number to see where things stand. I started at 122lbs and 12% back in August. Today I was 137lbs and 16.2%. I was shocked it wasn't higher as I expected it to be closer to 20%. I know the calipers test isn't the most accurate but really I just wanted it more for the comparison. I had the same trainer do it with the same device (digital machine) at the same time of day as last time. I sent my husband a text with the results and he said, "You probably gained 5lbs fat, 3-4lbs of muscle, and 6-7lbs of glycogen/water. So... there you have it! If I did manage to gain 4lbs of muscle while only accumulating 5lbs of fat then I would say that this clean bulk was pretty successful and worth it!
This was taken last week after 23 weeks at a dietary surplus. I've now completed 24 weeks of bulking!!! Just a little over a week more (February 1st) then it will be cutting time. I was up 15lbs at my last weigh-in... 137lbs total. I will start logging food again when my cut begins. I have enjoyed not worrying about it for a while. I still pretty much eat the same stuff now as when I was logging so I know I'm around my calorie goal.
So at this point my size 4's are getting a bit too snug. My 6's are fitting comfortable-to-loose so I've been wearing them instead. My "fat clothes" I wore when I weighed 140lbs last January are still too big.
So... as much as I'm looking forward to cutting down again and seeing the results of all the hard work I've invested... there are a few things I will miss about bulking. It goes without saying that the extra food has been the best part... the part I will miss the most. :( I will also miss feeling so much stronger in the gym. The extra food has really helped me to progress in my lifts. Last but not least... I'm going to miss some of my curves. What can I say... I like being able to fill up my bra... and I like the extra junk-in-my-trunk. If only spot reduction were possible... I'd keep a little extra padding in those places... but we all know it don't work that way :(
okie doke yall... stick with your goals!!
So I'm now into week 21 of my bulk. I'm up about 14lbs and getting curvier by the day. I now weight 136lbs. Remember I started this journey almost a year ago at 140lbs and looked like the picture on the left...
Below is a shot of today... not the best shot and you can't really see my lower body but you get the idea. I'm only 4lbs away from my "chubby weight" yet I still have visible definition in my arms. There is definately a change in body composition there so mission accomplished!
Gosh I just noticed how much bigger my arms look in the above picture than the "skinny" one in the blue swimsuit! Woot woot...
Here is another comparion from about 6 weeks ago after only 15 weeks of surplus. As you can see I'm carrying a bit more body fat, especially in the thighs... and my tummy isn't as defined.
So I've decided I'm going to continue my surplus for another 4 weeks or so. My cut will officially start on February 1st. I predict by that time I will be up about 15-16lbs. When I lean out again I'm thinking my goal weight will be around 125lbs however it's hard to tell... it will depend on how I look. I don't want to lose any of this hard-earned muscle so I'll be taking it slow. In the end I should only have to lose about 10-13lbs. Considering I lost 20lbs in just about 4 months last year... this should be a piece of cake! ;)