So, I have decided to do a “cut” and shed some fat. One of the drivers behind this is that Vanessa is preparing for the Ms. Wings of Strength International/Chicago Pro Bodybuilding Shows at the end of June, and I wanted to “sympathy diet” with her.
But let me be real: Another reason for this is that my body composition had just gotten out of hand. Putting on excess weight for the sake of moving a bit more weight on the bar is cool, until it isn’t anymore. I’m 35 now, and I have to admit that being healthy is starting to take a priority over everything else (it SHOULD have been a priority from the beginning…but that’s a whole other can of worms).
Body composition can be a tough nut to crack, and I think it is beneficial for everyone to see that even coaches can neglect this in the name of strength, and even coaches can have struggles with this. In this spirit, I will be posting progress pictures here, as well as giving some insight as to how I go about the process of contest/photo shoot dieting, both for myself and for my clients.
So lets get to it! Here are side by side pictures from the end of February to March 11th (Forgive the sloppy posing, as it needs work):
NOTE: Please be aware the diet parameters differ from individual to individual. I will outline many aspects of what I am doing, but it is always advisable to seek out a coach for this kind of stuff. Do not simply try to copy what I am doing.
In no particular order, here are some thoughts thus far.
- I don’t have a “set” starting point for people when it comes to fat loss. This can vary. For myself, however, starting at bodyweight x 13 seems to always be a good point. This put me at 2,900 Calories to start. With clients, I either go by history (if we have worked together before) or a trial and error. This in one of the reasons that I like preps of longer than 16 weeks – it gives time to experiment and dial things in.
- I prefer keeping carbohydrates high and fat low. You are going to need to power through workouts, and lower carbohydrate plans with high fat aren’t going to give you the workout “Oomph”. I am speaking in general, here, and there are always exceptions to this rule.
- Some people like to have “High/Medium/Low Days”, where the carbohydrate content of the diet is undulated and protein and fat are adjusted accordingly. I prefer to keep the Caloric load steady at the start of the prep. This really simplifies things, so currently I am taking in 300g Protein, 250g Carbs, 60g Fat after my last small adjustment. In later parts of the series I will talk about when (if) strategies such as “carb cycling” should be employed. For now, however, I am keeping it simple.
- Cardio is something I don’t go nuts with. In general, I like to keep the cardio short and of LOW intensity at the start and add more volume later on, if necessary.
- YOU MUST TRUST THE PROCESS. If the weight/inches are dropping, CHANGE NOTHING! I have made one small fat adjustment, this far (I have been dieting for 5 weeks total) and the inches are still coming off of my waist…so I haven’t tweaked anything. Even when I do stall – and it WILL happen – I will remain calm and not panic unless two weeks passes with no change. (Once again, this is a general statement. Depending on timing, this may need to change to hit the stage/shoot on time).
- PRECISION and PREPARATION is key. I have a few days of meals made in advance, plenty of portable options, and I try to hit all my macros +/- 5%. Having control over food preparation and food portion will allow you to have accurate data in case changes need to be made.
This will be a series that will follow me through June. I am sure that there are things I have missed, so if you have any questions about the process, or my philosophies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to answer any questions in subsequent posts!