Today closes my first week of my third competition prep. There was something about this week that reminded me on summer 2014 and made me smile during most of my lifts. I had the chance to revisit resources that first helped me introduce myself to lifting and bodybuilding. I found new articles and had different questions this time around too.
As my gym time continued this week, I made notes in my notebook. My notes were about how certain exercises felt, if I thought I could create a super set, maybe to more sets or change the rep range on an exercise. As I made these notes, during breakfast I would write out next week’s workouts with the changes I believed to be necessary such as making leg extensions a drop set instead of a straight rep range.
I hit deadlifts for the first time in over eight months and felt comfortable with the pyramid:
The purpose of creating pyramids through my lifts is to give me the opportunity to ultimately lift heavier, but to build to it. I did this with my back squat on Sunday and my leg press on Wednesday. My back squat was comfortably 5 pounds under my pre-surgery max, with leg presses hitting the highest they’ve also been in months.
I created a few drop sets like with cable rows to intentionally burn out at the end of the exercise, but not enough to finish my whole day.
These first weeks of prep are about building what muscle I can by focusing on lifting as heavy as possible in a lower rep range and not introducing large amounts of cardio until necessary. This week and next, I have three days of cardio: 20 minutes of steady (use high resistance), 15 minute Tabata, 15 minute intervals. Steady cardio has been changed to machines in the elliptical family so I can increase resistance and still work my legs. Tabata, similar to HIIT is designed to have bursts or hard work with short periods of rest. You can learn more about Tabata here. Since I do like running, I kept an interval day so I can keep sprints in my routine. Originally, I was going to use steady for running as well, but decided not to after reading about muscular development while incorporating cardio.
As far as nutrition, I’ve been tracking in My Fitness Pal and in my notebook. I had been reading about intermittent fasting, which is kind of what I do in the morning when I work out and don’t eat breakfast for at least the first two and a half to three hours I’m awake. I’ve been working on having more space between my meals and eating when I’m actually hungry versus on a time schedule. I’ve been writing down how I’m feeling when I do this and surprisingly, I’m enjoying it with only a few times feeling starving – I’ll get used to it as the weeks go on. This structure of eating allows me to make snacks and meals more dense, which has resulted in some excellent desserts. I still have many high volume meals and snacks planned in my day, but this helps me get the most from my food and have less of a need to eliminate things. I will also be tracking my macro changes by dating in my notebook when I decide to drop them.
Mentally, aside from seeing my therapist yesterday and bringing up some interesting things from the past, I had an amazing week. I really enjoyed creating my workouts and developing my meal plan. I’m reading everything I possibly can – even though there are some things that conflict. Lifting was so much fun this week, not that it hadn’t been fun this summer, but it’s different when you are completely in charge of your plan. It’s different when you need to hold yourself accountable to your goals by creating a plan that will push you and fuel you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve checked in with a few people. They know who they are, but aside from bouncing a few ideas off of them – this is all about me and what I want.
This was a good week.
Here are some photos from check in. Excuse the resting bitch face.
I’m pretty excited about this check in. While I was down .2 pounds from last week and I had been fluctuating between 2. and .4 pounds loss, I was down a 1/4 inch in my waist. I share the photo on Instagram, but trust me the up close photo shows a lot more crotch than anyone needs to see. This upcoming week I am making a few changes to my nutrition. I am decreasing macros slightly. My new macros will be 47F/195C/135P down from 50F/205C/135P. This drop will help me cut, while not increasing cardio immediately. At this point, increasing cardio would not only burn calories, but it could be harmful to any progress and muscle development I obtain. So while cutting nutrition isn’t the most ideal, this is a 12 week prep and I’m not concerned that I will need to cut my nutritional goals often or drastically to be successful if I am changing up my lifts and pushing myself every day when I show up to the bar.
This is still a TON of food and I eat random amounts like half servings of peanut butter and a lot of volume foods so these numbers aren’t a problem for me at all. I know I will still be full and feel fueled during my workouts. I know I won’t feel deprived.
There’s 11 more weeks and a lot more changes that will be coming. So with a mug cake in my hand, I’m closing this by saying. This week went by fast. I feel great about what happened during it. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next seven days. This is just the beginning, but I’m taking it a week at a time.
See you in the gym in the morning.