I recently read a great forum post by a lifter on bodybuilding.com. Check it out here. It’s called the 80/20 Rule for Lifting and calls your attention to reality: 80% of what you do doesn’t matter.
Supplements, routines, macro nutrient minutiae: all that is distraction to a degree. You should focus on the 20% that matters and I’m calling that 20% “The 3 C’s: Challenging, Consistent, Clean.”
The 3 C’s are what you must do to achieve any growth or body change result:
Lift weights that challenge your muscles to failure and keep increasing weight as you gain strength.
Keep at it. This is how results happen. It takes time, but if you keep at it you will see your body change.
What you eat matters. Lean protein, complex carbs, natural fats. Don’t eat crap or else you will never get where you want to be. Your body is made in the kitchen – no joke on this one.
Follow the 3 C’s above, see results, repeat.
I’m changing my outlook on this bulking period and sticking with it until March: Screw the details.
Lift heavy, lift often, eat enough, rest enough. Oh, and have fun.
What does your bulk look like?
So instead of celebrating my birthday on stage and then celebrating my birthday with a delicious and much awaited post-competition meal, I will continue on the straight and narrow path to competition (see previous post).
I took some serious inspiration from Abs of Steel (a fantastic and well-writtem blog if you haven’t yet subscribed) and woke up “early” this Saturday morning and was at the gym by 9AM. I kicked out a great workout:
Squats (6 sets)
Deadlifts (4 sets)
Plyo jumps super-setted with leg press (4 sets)
Glute bridge super-setted with one legged lunges (4 sets)
Leg extensions (4 sets)
Leg curls (4 sets)
All followed by a 45 minute spin class – very sweaty.
Back to the apartment for 6 egg whites, 140gm tilapia, 125 gm greenbeans (by that time it was 12:30PM and I had only eaten 1/2 a scoop of whey protein + supplements).
Onward we go today, tomorrow and the next 2 weeks, until the job is done.
Happy birthday to me!
So I was one week out… Then I was three days out… Then all of a sudden, I was 2.5 weeks out.
The Hurricane that took the East Coast by surprise caused chaos in NYC and caused my show, which was on November 3, to be pushed out to November 18. I understood. This change was all with good reason (no power, no public transportation, massive flooding), but this threw me for a loop.
Disappointment abounded. I was really looking forward to some pizza and some cake on the 3rd (my birthday) and I am admittedly tired of dieting.
So here I am, now 2.5 weeks out. I’m going to kick it back up again, re-set. I’ll be in a better state of mind this time to do the salt and water depletion that I have to do. I will get there – just a little more to go.
There will only be a more positive outcome because of it.
You know, I thought I would go into this whole prep screaming from the rooftops about my progress, telling everyone every detail of my life from how I was feeling to what I was eating to what I was working out and when.
But I didn’t.
By the time I was about 6 weeks out (my last post) I was overcome with doubt. I felt like I would never get to where I wanted or needed to be to take the stage. I wanted to give up and I wanted to convince myself that it just wasn’t worth all the trouble.
But for some reason I didn’t.
Instead of sharing my feelings with you all, I kept it inside. I kept quiet. I got frustrated, but I also got to work.
I hit the cardio hard. Hit the weights. I struggled through many fights with my boyfriend about the stupidest things because I had suddenly turned angry from all the dieting, all the exercise and none of the good stuff (sleep, sex or food).
I was allowed one cheat meal at about 5 weeks out during which I consumed lots of pizza: It was good.
I struggled with low energy at work while I transitioned to a new role within the company, which really ran me ragged. Trying to focus and learn a new area on very little food and very little energy is not an easy task. At about 4.5 weeks out I told myself, “This is just how you’re going to feel. You are going to feel shitty.”
I ate lots of chicken and lots of vegetables. I started carb cycling at 4 weeks out. I added some new supplements to my regime: a new thermo, more BCAA’s, L-Carnitine and some Glutamine.
On the weekends I worked out. During the week, I worked out. Before work I worked out. After work I worked out. And when I wasn’t working out I was at work. Or I was cooking chicken or at the grocery store.
And now here I am: 2 weeks out. I am 2 pounds away from my goal weight. I feel pretty damn good. I have been practicing posing. I have my hair and makeup appointment set. I have my bottles of tanner ready to go. I have my “tan plan” all set. I still need to get my jewelry.
The only cruddy thing is that I got my suit in the mail today and I think it’s too small…
On to the next battle, right? Let’s see if I can fix this one…
I am about 6 weeks out now. I am 147 pounds and need to be around 138 before I’m totally dried out. I have about 9 pounds to lose, about 2 pounds a week and so I’m really hunkering down to strip down.
I have been struggling lately with the amount of coaching I have been paying for and the amount of coaching I have been receiving. I can’t help but feel like I have been an afterthought throughout this whole prep and am worried that I won’t be fully prepared or prepped.
The thing that gets me is that there have been a lot of dollars involved and I feel like I haven’t really gotten what I anticipated / need.
This does not do a lot for me in terms of trusting what is going to happen over the course of the next 6 weeks. Am I going to get to show day and not be ready? Will there be a show?
My cardio was increased from 2 hours a week to 6 hours last week, so I am now on the cardio train almost every day. I am riding my bike around the city, running, attending spin classes and doing the stairmill either in the mornings or after my lifting sessions.
My diet is at 1500 calories a day now (45 protein / 40 carb / 15 fat). I am taking vitamins and other supplements, along with creatine and will add in a recommended fat burner once it arrives in the mail.
Cravings are starting for food that I would never crave normally, only because I want to taste something. The foods I have been eating are bland, which I never minded before but now since there is no leeway for the off-diet food choices, I am wanting everything from hot dogs to Pop Tarts to Snickers bars.
Progress is being made, though. My trainer said that I was looking tighter when he saw me on Wednesday. I see it mostly in my upper body, but my abs are coming out and I can tell that in about 3 – 5 pounds they will be completely there.
Yesterday when I took a spin class I could see my abs in the mirror as I sweated my behind off. Good to know there is muscle underneath my skin.
In terms of mood, I am snappy like a turtle and tired. My energy is low and I’m trying my best to stay happy and positive.
The thought of having a cheeseburger with bacon and mushrooms and a cold draft beer at the end of this all is helping me get through.
I’m doing my best to keep pushing. My coach said to work on my core, my trainer said to work on my legs, I think I need to work on the whole damn package.
Today I have legs on the agenda along with sprints and steady state stairmill. I’ll post my workout later today.
Where was everyone else at 6 weeks out? What does your coaching consist of? What are you getting for your buck?
I recently read a post on someone’s blog informing readers that just because she hadn’t been posting didn’t mean that she wasn’t making progress.
And here I am, stating the same.
I have been waking up early (read 5:30AM) and riding my bike downtown with a change of clothes, makeup, meals for the day, post-lifting and post-cardio workout drinks and a change of shoes on my back. I usually get to the gym in midtown by about 6:05AM and start working out by 6:15.
After a good 45 – 60 minute lift, I down my BCAA’s and head upstairs to the cardio area where I bang out 30 minutes of either walking on an incline at 15% at about 3.3 – 3.8MPH (2 times a week) or I do 20 minutes of walking with 10 minutes of HIIT sprint intervals (only 2 times a week).
After the cardio I’m pretty sweaty, so I hit the showers, dress for the day, and walk my bike (along with all my other stuff) to work where I kick through an 8 hour day of retail new product development.
I have to say that I am really tired of feeling like a sherpa every day of the week. Toting around at least 4 Tupperware containers and a change of clothes and shoes at all times is kind of a pain in the behind. Does anyone have suggestions for how to cope with this?
There has to be a better way!
I am taking my progress pics for this week tonight; however, here are my pics from Week 2 (today starts Week 5 of cutting).
I am nervous to see what the photos from tonight look like, only because my weight has been dropping ever so slightly, although I feel like I see changes in my overall appearance. We will see what the evening brings!
I will post the photos from tonight tomorrow so you can see the difference. I’m kind of terrified but I have about 11 weeks, so if I ned to kick it up a notch again, so be it.
Get ready for more updates soon!
That is no longer the question.
Last Saturday I met with my coach for measurements and a final weigh-in. After 8 months of eating a clean, consistent diet of about 2400 calories and working out hard, my bulking phase was about to end.
I had gained 10lbs since I saw my coach the first time over 6 months ago. While my body fat had increased a few percentage points over those months, when I met her last week I was back to my original BMI.
That was good news: I had gained muscle, not fat. In order to prepare for a competition in either October or November, it was time to get started dieting right away.
To celebrate the beginning of the other half of my journey I bought my shoes: The Stiletto Heel Two-Band Mini-Platform Slide 5″ Heel LIP-102 ($38.99) from Sinful Fashions online.
Things are gettin’ real!
Monday (7/30) I started in with my new diet plan. I was directed to reduce my calories by about 800, start in with four 30-minute cardio sessions a week and am now on the path towards “the stage” (wherever that may be).
I have dropped about 4 pounds this week and feel remarkably slimmer, but for some silly reason I keep thinking I should look way different right away.
Why don’t I look cut yet?! I asked myself in the gym the other day, and then I thought: This has only just begun. It takes time, remember?
I took a minute to laugh because when I was bulking I felt the same way, asking myself why I wasn’t getting bigger faster, but I eventually got where I wanted to be.
Every part of this journey takes patience. Progress comes with time and does not happen instantly: This is important to remember in bodybuilding and in real life. If progress were so quick and easy, we would all be miles from where we are today. The key to making it through is your determination to succeed. Keep pushing and it will be progress that you make.
I can see glimmers of how this whole package is going to come together. I definitely have a long way to go, but I’m going to get there!
Here I am at one week in.
Where are you in your journey to the stage?