How much does it cost to get shredded? (pt 2)
Alright so I wrote How much does it cost to get shredded? on 8/9/15 where I predicted I would be at 10% body fat later this month. Well guess what, I failed to meet that goal. First and foremost I would like to stress that the reason I didn't get there wasn't because I didn't have the willpower or drive or any of that nonsense, It was because of reasons. Tangible things. Definitely not qualifying this as a complete blowout:
- I started to lose a significant amount of power in my favorite lifts. This made me question if my strength was a sacrifice I had to make imminently (as in, why not stop the losses to recoup the important stuff and pick up the shred later?) However, I should note that the result of the deficit training wasn't all negative, I began to experience incredibly enhanced endurance near the end. I present the evidence of my completing a 100 rep cold set of burpees which I never would have considered trying prior to this attempt.
- My brain became sluggish so much so that my speech was effected. Maybe I was running too much of a defecit? Anyways I couldn't figure it out and I needed more thought power to get through my daily routines, practices, sessions, work, etc... I feel like this would be a lot easier if I could just sleep more but that option was off the table from the start and I knew it.
- I play shows, I dance, I do other things, and this diet started to impede on a lot of it. I had to practice more to compensate for the mental sluggishness and the time available started to become a huge limiting factor.
- As some of you know there are other side effects of running a calorie restriction diet. I shan't mention them here, but if you get serious for more than a month or two you can figure that out on your own. Pretty much there's almost nothing you can do about it except sleep more or eat more to set things right again.
So Instead of giving up per se I would like to say that I figured out that particular 10% goal just wasn't that important to me. But take it as you will - I failed and I don't fail often so there you go take it and run with it and don't come back. Maybe I will get some free time someday and be able to get there by sleeping more and working smarter, but I don't think it will be while I got this whole world on my shoulders here.
Now let me hit you with some truth: at 182 lbs today, I bench 300lb (yes to the chest duh,) I can breathing squat 225lb about 23 times ass to grass before I collapse, and my endurance is so high for high intensity work that I can't even quantify it with whatever workouts I have at my disposal. Maybe if I did interval sprints regularly I would have a decent metric of comparison? Who cares. I can do all of it and likely I won't even get sore. I thought I was strong before but now I'm equal or better to my old self in all respects at 14 lbs less total weight. That's way cooler than a sharp stick in the eye!
Now I absolutely have learned a TON just trying this calorie defecit for 3 months.
Here is a high level of the things that became relevant in my persuit:
- The "diet" is actually so good that I am basically sticking with it, I just eliminated the calorie deficit portion for now. I like the food, the prep is easy, and I can eat a ton of it. For reference I am talking about eating very low carbs think 20% or less of intake on any given day. Fat doesn't seem to cause problems with the balance at all so I basically just ignore my fat intake as long as it comes from meat and not fried stuff.
- Calorie spiking during workouts WORKS for me. If I have a huge protein shake, lift, then immediately eat dinner I have consumed about 70% of my daily calories within 30 minutes each direction of needing them. This has helped me sleep better, eat more, and recover better.
- BCAA's also work for me. Workouts that would have left me crippled for a week in the past can be reduced to mild second day soreness with supplementing BCAA's. Those coupled with the calorie spiking technique and my increased endurance level have in essence taken a lot of misery out of my daily routine. There's still plenty of misery left to go around though so don't worry.
- Working out 5 times a week but only ~30 minutes a day is waaaay different than one or two days at 1.5hrs a day. Without a doubt I can say the 30-minute-a-day version is much more sustainable and it feels easier when you get used to it. At first it is very difficult to make the adjustment and get results because you will be used to having more time to get the blood flowing. Essentially for those 30 mins you have to be very focused on what you are doing to get the work in.
- Working upper body/arms and accessory movements does not make you anywhere near as tired as the multi joint compound lifts that involve the legs and back. I only do 1-2 days of deadlift/squat/atlas stone variants a week and that is plenty. The rest is just "pumper stuff" where I focus on form and some CNS training and maybe some HIIT. I feel like I could go lower on my body fat knowing this structure now because the main detractor from my energy level was the multi joint stuff. And recall that the loss of energy and mental sluggishness was the main reason I hit the pause button.
A few of you must have noticed that In the first article I said I wouldn't get to 10% bf until October or November anyway, so I would still have time to finish this if I wanted to. I don't think I want to. I have learned enough in the past 3 months to know that I don't want to be lethargic for another 2, and I feel it would be prudent to stop before I procure an injury or up my inherent metabolic resistance by innefectively fighting against it.
And of course some of you are looking at the end of the graphs and noticing that I am essentially gaining weight but not fat. I believe this to be true based on my appearance, visible vascularity, and strength levels. I worked hard for this six pack so I think I would notice if it left!