Note: I do not currently log exercise calories because there's no accurate way of determining how much I've burnt. 50% of my time is spent strength training in one way or another so the estimates would be way off.
Having an ectomorph body, I've luckily(?) been generally slim with occasional bouts of unsightly fat that I've dealt with quickly. I've always been into fitness to varying degrees which helps.
Since the end of 2011 I have been trying to develop my physique so I look more athletic. It's the first time that I've lifted weights properly (ie low reps, big volume rather than high reps, pointless volume).
When joining this site, my aim was to get the Brad Pitt/Fight Club look. Now I'm trying to go for the Brad Pitt/Troy look. The only "rule" is that I have to get my protein from food as I want to maintain a good physique for life and don't want to be drinking manufactured products for the rest of my life. Something I've noticed over the last year is that whilst I wasn't worried about eating healthily/clean, I've slowly changed my diet towards healthier choices not because I thought I should but just felt it was right! Strange, eh.
My experiences with dieting:
15th February 2012: Started a low carb diet - 70-120g of carbs a day. After the initial dodgy breath and lethargy, I found it to be a sustainable and easy to maintain diet. Whenever I was hungry, I ate meat or vegetables. It was very easy to follow.
I initially lost some weight on the obliques (I wasn't overweight as such but was attempting to get ripped) and abs but then it just stopped. I also started doing cardio (same as currently) at the same time as I started the low carb diet. At the end of March I had a think and realised I needed to record my intake. I thought that perhaps I was eating too much.
4th April 2012: Upon signing up to MFP and using the food and exercise diary, I found out that I was eating about 1200 calories a day. Decided it was too little and my metabolism had done what people say happens.
Have since increased to 1800 (after exercise) and not worried too much about carb intake.
I notice I'm getting leaner again.
Conclusion? Calorie deficit helps; not sure if low carb really makes a difference because I was eating too few calories anyway. So... eat less, move more... but all in moderation?
26th June 2012: After 3 weeks of noticing a plateau, I realised I had stopped doing HIIT with my cycling (it was too hot). Re-incorporated it from 26th June. Fat seems to be shifting again.
4th September 2012: Well, my latest photo has me losing most of my abdominal fat. I notice I can see the very define shapes of my muscle when I tense them eg calves. Bit gross, really!
15th December 2012: For the 3 months preceding December, I was experimenting with Intermittent Fasting. Seems like a useful tool for effortlessly losing weight. I then decided that the Christmas period was a good time for a diet break. During this period, I decided that I wanted to bulk up again so will start eating between 2300 and 2900 a day (2300 on days off and 2900 when lifting), keeping a close eye on protein intake levels.
15th March 2013: I'm regrowing muscle that I lost last year and continuing to get stronger. Amusingly, I haven't got noticeably fatter than I was around December 2012 so I've decided that maintain my 2300-2900 kcals a day intake and on rest days do light cardio (either tai chi or gentle cycling) to get rid of some calories I don't need that had to be eaten to keep my protein levels up. I will continue this for the next few months as I don't think I need to do any calorie reduction for the summer months if I manage the calories well - my plan was to eat around 1700 again but that'd result in a lower protein intake so I figured I'm better off burning away the calories via CV work. My résumé looks amazing now. :o)
11th July 2014: Frustratingly, perhaps, 5 days out of 7 due to current work/life, I am unable to eat planned meals so I will guestimate 3000 cals a day. I'll mainly stick to eating clean with the following format:
2 main meals comprising 2-3 palm-sized portions of meat, 1 palm of veg and 1 palm of carbs (crackers, couscous etc),
breakfast will be half a bowl of porridge with honey
another lighter meal of 2 palms of meat and a portion of fruit
one packet of crisps or a few biscuits.
This should be under 3000 cals but I'm logging 3000. If I start getting bigger then I'll know I really am closer to the 3000 cal mark.
Exercise will consist of multiple dodgeball, tennis and tai chi sessions every week plus lifting 3 times a week. As a general rule, I will lift 3 times a week even if I can't do the cardio work/sport with a view to at least maintaining muscle mass if not growing it. Then if I increase fat stores, I can reduce them later with the bonus of having bigger muscle mass.
Let's see if I can continue to improve my physique.
14th October 2014: My weight is still 70kg so everything appears to be going according to plan. I certainly don't look fatter (my main measure for that is looking at the lower abdominal area).
June 2015: Am doing some kind of weight work 6-7 times a week.
September 2015: Still weigh about 70kg and my abdominals are still showing. I guess I've nailed it for maintaining.
Over summer, I did a bit more cardio and a bit less weight work as we've been lucky with the weather ie played more tennis than I had expected to.
November 2015: Rain's back so more focus on weights. Back to lifting 7 days a week now. My only concern is that my CV fitness may drop so I will start hitting the gym bike again for quick bouts. This isn't so much about physique but about enabling me to keep up with longer rallies etc.
Why I want to get in shape
To look good. It's all very shallow... which is different for me.
I haven't filled this out yet.
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