Friday, September 6, 2013

My Lose 5kg In Time For Summer Plan

I'm not really a "real" body builder like some of the boys & girls I know who take it very seriously and do whatever it takes to get into elite level shape, ready to take the stage and hopefully come home with a trophy. That sort of thing... well I've never done it and it's not what I coach people to do, but I can only imagine it takes some quite specific nutrition planning, hard and constructive training, and a lot of dedication and will power.

My own goals are a lot more modest. I want to gain some size every year, still be relatively lean in the summer, and I guess it's important to look the part as a trainer - especially at the gym in Brunswick where I work, with so many top level elite athletes present. Also though, I want to eat a fucktonne of pizza.

I think for all of us, our approach should be a nice balance between the result that we want, and what we're prepared to do to get it. For most of us who's goal falls somewhere short of "elite level competition shape"... well as I've said many times; you can get into better shape than 95% of the population with a flexible approach to dieting, so long as you are also training strategically.

What I do... I'd like to use a fancy term like "periodisation" but really what I do is more like your traditional, old style "bulk and cut". Gain in the winter, trim up again in the spring. Here's how I do it.

Winter / Bulking Period:

Always starts out with a plan to gain slowly without much chance of fat gain. So, dial in calories & macros for an expected increase of 3 - 5kg. Then get frustrated that it's taking too long to see any gains, so increase calories again to an amount expected to gain 10kg.

Now for me... it always takes a LOT more calories than expected to gain any weight, and then it's HARD to actually consume that amount of calories anyway. So I have to start looking for ways to add more calories, like adding some coconut to my protein shakes, and maybe grabbing a handful of nuts every time I walk into the kitchen for some reason. That stuff adds up.

When that still doesn't see me gain much weight though, replace the nuts with "a packet of crumpets" and no matter what I have for dinner, it needs to be served on a bed of potato wedges. With cheese.

So what starts out as a calculated and balanced plan to slowly gain muscle without gaining fat ends up more like eating as much as possible as often as possible, with total disregard for macro ratios. And the result goes through a few stages as follows:

  1. Starting to gain a little bit of weight, but still quite lean. Good.
  2. Have put on a little around the waist, but it's all good that's to be expected.
  3. Starting to get a bit fat, but no problem it is all strategic.
  4. Actually quite fat now, lol that's funny.
  5. OK this isn't funny anymore.
Aaaaand one I hit stage 5 that's time to trim up again. Usually this is about the end of Winter anyway and right on schedule. This year total weight gain was 8kg.

Training in this winter period is all strength / resistance training with a near perfect balance of movements... as follows:
  • Balance between upper and lower body exercises.
  • Balance between pushing and pulling exercises.
  • Balance between horizontal and vertical movements.
  • Balance between incline and decline movements.
  • Balance between compound and isolation exercises too.

Spring Cutting / Trim Up In Time For Summer Period:

My idea of a cutting or "trim up in time for summer" plan involves drawing up a meal plan with perfectly balanced macros at a total intake expected to maintain 5kg below my highest weight during the winter. And then exercising the slightest amount of restraint in not completely abandoning the plan as soon as I get the urge to sneak in something different and/or extra due to boredom or whatever other reason. 

If that wasn't clear what I'm saying is the plan is near perfect but the adherence is not so strict. It still works beautifully but by Thursday literally every 3rd thought that enters my head is about pizza... which I don't actually eat until official pizza night aka Saturday.

I was thinking though, if that's what happens to me after 4 days of not very strict adherence to a flexible plan at a slight deficit, imagine what it's like to be on a strict, ultra low calorie diet with a limited choice of bland and boring "clean" foods that you're NEVER allowed to cheat on. 

Screw that. It's no wonder the trainers who think such extreme and drastic measures are necessary all tend to go bat shit insane.