\ Every week gets better and has its high points and setbacks. Week 2 went just like that. Sunday through Thursday were amazing. I followed the diet plan well, I came much closer to hitting my calories and macronutrients like I am supposed to. I got back into the swimming pool for laps. This is my steady state cardio much like what many of my 8 Week Get Lean Challengers are required to do for their cardio. It used to be really hard to step back from my running to swim or jump rope or cycle instead, but now I enjoy the rest I give my knees by switching gears in the cardio department.
I dropped down to 130 pounds but then came Friday and my husband's charity golf tournament and I blew it on the diet end. I'm pretty mad at myself for not having more self control, But as with all fitness journeys, it takes time to get to your goals. Thank goodness I have 16 more weeks to go. (But when you are on an 8 week challenge, it doesn't give you much leeway for slip ups.)
Anyway, I'm back on track, I am expecting to drop my calories again this week. Not sure by how much yet. But I have been having trouble eating all those calories on most days anyway (except the weekend when I blew it!)
So, new week, slightly adjusted nutrition goals, positive attitude and, boom, let's get it done!
Week one was tough. I got all the workouts done, and actually Monday through Wednesday were great. I even lost a pound in those 3 days, and hidden ab muscles were beginning to make a reappearance.
The hard part is that I am planning my food a little differently this year since I don't have to be at an "office" for eight to nine hours a day, so it's not necessary to pack my food for the day. I can prepare it with a little more flexibility and creativity. However, as a result, I haven't gotten into a groove for when to eat my food, when to have a snack versus a regular meal. I'm basically all over the place as a mom who works from home now scheduling my day around the kids and the hubby.
That's where having a set routine, where you do work and have to be somewhere from a certain time to a certain time helps if you are meal prepping or trying to stay on an eating schedule. It gives you that routine and stability of knowing where you are going to be at some hour of the day. Even if you travel in a car for your workday, at least you know where you will be and how to plan your food.
My calories are down to 1883 for a few days a week and 1663 for the rest of the time. So I have been logging my food meticulously and looking at the grams of protein, carbs, and fats that I am eating.
My biggest challenge has actually been getting all my protein in and sometimes the carbs, too. What happens is by 8:30 or 9 I am still supposed to eat more, but I just can't handle eating anymore chicken, beef or fish! I haven't wanted a protein shake, either. I am going to have to change my routine somehow. I bought some bone broth recently. Maybe I'll have to force myself to drink my protein in a broth that's not so heavy for late in the evening. I need to try a few recipes with it. I might just add some lo carb toast to it or add the broth to another dish. One cup has 50 calories and 10 grams of protein. (<-insert creativity here)
So where am I starting in this competition prep process ? I managed to keep my body fat between 12-15% during marathon training, but in the last 4 weeks of training and in the 2 weeks post-marathon, I popped up to 19% body fat. Not good. But that's what's been happening during the longest portions of my endurance training. (That's why I got into bodybuilding!) I think my body goes into "reserve" mode or "safety" mode and starts hoarding calories because it thinks I'm going to die running all those miles! Lol But, seriously, I think that's what's happening. It's like a self preservation mechanism. But the good news is I didn't get up to 23% body fat which is what happened last year. And I attribute that to following a macros plan all year.
One documented theory for why this happens to endurance athletes is explained in an article by Gale Bernhardt, an Olympic triathlete and cycling coach, on TrainingPeaks.com, According to the piece, nearly 25% of American adults have Metabolic Syndrome, a disorder that "causes calories to be stored instead of burned. If you have Metabolic Syndrome you’re not good at using calories from sugar for energy....You can’t get sugar into the muscle. Sugar gets moved to the liver and converted to stored fat." So how the body uses sugar, or carbs, is affected. Your body is processing the carbs you eat for energy and instead is just hoarding them on your body. You can read more about this here www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/metabolic-syndrome-gaining-weight-during-endurance-sports-training/
But now for the positives of the week! I recently discovered a new breakfast item/snack I love thanks to my coach! Mashed sweet potatoes and a scoop of any favorite protein powder. I like to add fruit on top! I keep the sweet potatoes to 100-120 grams. So it comes out to about 270-280 calories per serving and at least 20 grams of that is protein. Win!!
Seventeen more weeks to get this new round of prep done right! The Texas Shredder is September 8th! Not letting one set back knock me off track. Just gotta focus on starting the week fresh and doing the best I can. That's what I hope my Get Lean Challengers take from this, too! One bad day or week isn't the end of the world.
Party's over, or you could say the party’s just about to begin. Depends on how you look at it. From here on out, every gram of protein, carbohydrate and fat I eat will determine how my body develops over the next 18 weeks. Even how I burn calories will help or hurt my development.
Sounds extreme, right? I wouldn’t care so much about these tiny details except I have seen the huge difference it makes in transforming my body from average to shredded and toned simply by following the nutrition plan to a T.
As a short term goal, it’s a fun challenge to see how much I can transform my body. In two years of living the fitness competition lifestyle, I have learned a lot about eating clean, how much to eat, and how many times a day. My body now also craves a different kind of nourishment that includes lots of fresh vegetables and water in my diet that I didn’t always incorporate before.
It’s definitely not a plan for anyone to follow for the rest of their life. But in the two years I have followed it, I have adopted many good eating habits that I practice every day now, even when I am not in prep. It’s funny, I can’t believe I deprived my body of so much great food, that’s healthy, too, for so many years! And my family enjoys a lot of it, too!
Even so, I realize fitness competitions are absolutely not for everyone, however, there are so many things about them that all people can benefit from. That’s what I want to share with others. If you are committed to getting healthier and stronger, there will be things in the fitness competitor’s lifestyle you can incorporate in your own lives that will help you reach your fitness goals.
I am excited! From now until October, I will be blogging and vlogging in detail on my website about my own fitness competition prep. I just started my prep for the NPC Texas Shredder in early September and another two competitions I have yet to nail down.
What I do know is that I will be making my “pro debut” in the Naturally Fit Federation, which, by the way, is an all-natural bodybuilding federation. They test for substances like steroids. And, for the record, I would never do that to my body. It goes against every reason why I started lifting weights and competing in the first place.
I hope you continue to follow my journey and are motivated by my experiences as you make your way to a stronger, healthier you!