Weeks five and six were pretty easy: 20 minutes of cardio in the morning and 20 grams of carbs per meal--pretty comfortable actually. Each of those weeks I had a pretty moderate cheat meal--just like I described them last time: One meal only, "big dinner" style, but not too much extra.
Week seven I started to feel like my progress was slowing. I only weigh myself once a week because I find it to be too much of a head trip otherwise--water fluctuations post cheat meal can really put you in a mental tail spin if you over-think it! Either way, the scale seemed to be agreeing with my visual assessments. In addition to these symptoms, I'd been unusually cold all the time and had a hard time getting a pump in the gym. It was time to take a mini breather and recharge. That weekend I cheated a little extra--enjoying approximately 300 grams of carbs and 40 grams of protein in my last meal (about triple the carbs and double the protein I'd done in the past). I skipped my 6th session of cardio too.
Now this kind of freaked me out. I mean, I planned it and I knew I needed it--and all week I thought about it--but when it came time to actually do it, I felt apprehensive. Was this going to set me back, like, completely? Oh my god, was I going to get fat from this?? Finally my rational side took over and I choked down some chicken pizza and a slice of carrot cake.
Monday I looked better than I've looked in weeks--more vascular, harder, fuller--maybe a little more watery, but a better overall package. This solidified some of my water, salt, and carb plans for the last week before the show, but more importantly at this stage, it showed me how to adjust my diet for the next few weeks to maximize results again. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm still 12 weeks out--I've started diets this late! But for some reason, in my head, it feels like I'm only 3 or 4 weeks out. Weird. Maybe that's what it takes to get really REALLY contest ready..
Anyway, I knew it was time to crank everything down a little bit too, but (again) I didn't want to overdo it. I decided to continue the weekly cheat meals in the slightly "harder" iteration, but also drop weekday carbs as well. I also adjusted my cardio to 5 30-minute sessions per week.
Results this past week have been spectacular--I'm seeing great improvements again. I'll hold everything here for at least 2 more weeks--I have to remember not to rush! A posing video is in the works for next week--please bear with me, the gym is still really busy :(