Monday, March 04, 2013

First Four: Recap

It goes without saying that the beginning of a diet is always going to be the easiest: you're not super hungry yet, results come faster since your metabolism is high, and your deficit is probably pretty mild.  The first four weeks of this prep were no exception.  I skated through them with a carb decrease of a mere few grams, no cardio, and yet still managed to make significant improvements.  Here's the recap!

The first week of the diet went relatively well.  Adjusting to contest prep mode can be a bit tough at first though, and I fell victim to a few of the usual pitfalls.  After a week I had a cheat period that was probably ok at the time but would be a little over the top later in the diet--if I remember correctly I had some potato chips, some chocolate cake, and other various junk.  And to be completely honest, when I say "some," I mean that I ate most of the bag and at least half the cake ;)

My second week took a turn for the worse and I came down with what I think was bronchitis or possibly the flu.  You can see my post in response to this calamity here.  I had a mid-grade fever for three days (up to 102F at one point), and almost no appetite.  I tried to eat on my regular schedule but ended up doing about 4 meals per day at best, with most of them failing to meet my normal meal composition criteria--we're talking lots of soup, half a chicken pot pie here or there (weird I know, but it was one of the only foods that sounded appetizing), and maybe a protein drink if I got really shaky.  This lasted a full week, but the fever seemed to burn some fat off me so I'm not counting this as a setback per se.  I skipped a full week and a half of training, and when I did return to the gym, I did an easy full-body workout followed by another day off before jumping back into my regular split.  I didn't really have a cheat meal that week since I felt the odd nutrition while sick was enough of an excuse to skip one.

The third and fourth weeks went extremely well.  I adjusted my macros to roughly 18/25/10 (protein, carbohydrates, and fat, respectively--a decrease of 2-5 grams of carbs per meal), and I had zero problems getting back into prep mode after not eating for a week--in fact I think it may have helped a little.  At 17 weeks out I had a Dorian Yates style cheat meal.  Yates would go out to a nice restaurant once a week, up until about 3 weeks out (from the Olympia no less), and have a nice big steak dinner complete with baked potato, veggies, and dessert.  I made homemade noodles and beef stroganoff (just because it's what sounded good at the time), salad, and a nice big slice of chocolate cake.

At 16 weeks out I debated as to how to proceed.  Results thus far have been much improved relative to previous preps, so I was hesitant to mess with something that's obviously working--but is it working fast enough?  The "time-crunch" feeling is setting in, and I was extremely tempted to skip this week's cheat meal in addition to adding cardio.  After consulting with a veteran or two (thanks, Yogi!), I opted not to over-do it--for both mass retention and metabolic reasons--and added the cardio but kept the cheat meal in.  As, expected, I loved the results from this week's re-feed as well.  Sometimes you have to take your brain out of the equation and just trust the science!

I wish I could post a video as well, but the gym has been insanely busy--no matter what time I train.  I hope to have a little sumthin' sumthin' up for you all sometime this week.     

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