PDA

View Full Version : Total Loss of Progress?!?


Ben Moskowitz
12-25-2007, 08:16 AM
I thought I would come over to the PM forums because it seems like the holy grail of all this nutrition junk. Sorry for the long post. I really appreciate any help given, and I just want to lay it all out there.

A bit about me:
I started doing scaled-down CrossFit workouts this past summer. 5'5" 140lbs. ~13% BF
At the end of the summer, I started strictly** Zoning with 16 blocks, which I later changed to 15 blocks around mid-fall.
Over the course of the fall I dropped to 130 lbs. and supposedly ~5% BF. I think I gained/kept muscle while losing fat. I did CF-like workouts, following a workout program sent to me by the Ruthless Gym in Manassas, VA. This felt like it took a step up in the last month, with workouts consisting of ME + metcon 5 days a week. This is all on top of fencing practice.

I saw performance improvements in metcon times, pullup numbers, muscle-up ability (1!). However, my CFT score on 12/14/07 was actually 10 lbs. lower than on 9/4/07.

Here are threads detailing my story, and pictures are included, so you can judge BF% for yourself (following links are W.F.S.)
Zone Strategy (part 1 of the story) (http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=24102)
When to change fat blocks and/or total blocks (part 2) (http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=25219)



Now here's where the problem is:
I went on a 10 day trip, and was so scared of "losing progress" that my plan of eating only Paleo and even IF'ing basically resulted in me not getting enough food. I now am at like 122 lbs. and supposedly 4% BF, although really I look slightly softer... so I think I've gained a tad of fat and simply lost muscle.

edit: to make it easier, compare these two photos
before trip (http://www.board.crossfit.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1096&d=1197326045)
after trip (http://www.board.crossfit.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1136&d=1198527998)

I probably will be starting a strength/power mesocycle once I get back off of winter break.

Do I:

go back to 15 blocks
15 blocks and start multiplying the fat
eat 'til I puke - a whole cheesecake, a gallon of milk, and throw the Zone out the window


Because I'm a little softer around the edges, I feel like I'm in a worse position for muscle gain than before. At the same time, I don't want to get stuck in some catabolic, downward spiral.


Thanks a ton!


**Strictly is sort of relative. I mostly eat at dining halls, but they have super-quality stuff available depending on what's open: grass-fed burgers, free-range eggs, copious salad options, etc. I have eye-balled it mostly, but I WAM'd in August at home, and WAM when I cook for myself in my dorm. I think I have a pretty good eye for proportions, except apparently when I don't have a "program" to work off of: This 10 day trip is a case in point! I gained a bunch of discipline with Zoning, but this backfired into neurotic starvation on the trip! I'd love to loosen up all the calorie-counting paranoia of the Zone, but maybe I'm not "there" yet.

I hope I can gain in 10 days what I lost in 10 days, but maybe that's way too optimistic.

Steven Low
12-25-2007, 08:54 AM
For one, you're definitely not around 4-5% BF, lol. If you were, you'd be ripped to shreds like the bodybuilders in your weight class... which obviously you're not.

The trip probaly put some fat on ya when you ate caloric excess because your body was in starvation mode. Nothing much to worry about.. it's not that bad.

In any case, yeah up the cals and start heavy lifting + metcon again. I'm curious what does your routine look like? I don't think it's healthy to try to gain back all that weight at once. I think most of it is water weight so definitely hydrate yourself, but trying to gain stuff back to fast is only going to put on fat.

Derek Simonds
12-25-2007, 09:08 AM
Steven is on the money.

The one thing I want to caution you about is neurosis in regards to diet / BF% / strength numbers. If you are a hard charger and dedicated to what you are doing you, which it seems you are, you can over think it sometimes. We all do.

You are a young guy with the rest of your life ahead of you. The key for you now is to establish healthy habits that will provide you health, athletic excellence and longevity.

I think you will find that most of us here are aware of what our BF% is but look more at our performance numbers to determine progress.

A 10 day trip with a radically different die,t probably was combined with a lack of rest and less exercise than normal if any. The majority of that spiral you talked about is probably mental.

I would get comfortable with what my short term goals are (mass gain, performance) and focus on that.

Don't worry about what you might have lost or what changes took place, they are done. Let's get a good plan going forward and kick some butt in 2008.

sarena kopciel
12-25-2007, 09:27 AM
Is your sleep sound--7-9 hrs a night, usually on the longer end?

Kevin Perry
12-25-2007, 10:48 AM
I think you need to start back form square 1 and rethink everything slowly and don't over think it all and over "detail" it. Diet and exercise are actually very simple. You should probably just stick to realistic goals and attack those each one at a time until you start finding where you want to be . For example, on diet. It seems like to me your are overly concerned with staying within zone proportions that you are willing to skip foods if they are not zone foods. This is why I tend to stay away from the zone. Some people strive for too much perfection and it can lead to unhealthy habits.

Like Derek Said, stick to short term realistic goals first and build up from there. Don't try to rush things.

For the record, we are the same height. I fell to 123 lbs in the summer because I didn't get enough food in and was CF'ng like crazy and working 10's and 12's at the plant 6 days a week. To fix that I had to find my priorities: weight gain and strength. Dropped CF for a while, upped calories to 3000ish and lifted and rested. You have to not worry about BF and fat gain because it's necessary for going up in weight. After around 3 months or so I hit 143 and jumped back to CF for a while, now im at 135 and back to mass gain ready to hit round to to eventually get up to 155 - 165.

Ben Moskowitz
12-25-2007, 01:31 PM
For one, you're definitely not around 4-5% BF, lol. If you were, you'd be ripped to shreds like the bodybuilders in your weight class... which obviously you're not.

The trip probaly put some fat on ya when you ate caloric excess because your body was in starvation mode. Nothing much to worry about.. it's not that bad.

In any case, yeah up the cals and start heavy lifting + metcon again. I'm curious what does your routine look like? I don't think it's healthy to try to gain back all that weight at once. I think most of it is water weight so definitely hydrate yourself, but trying to gain stuff back to fast is only going to put on fat.

Yeah, I have a feeling the Barry Sears BF% Calculator doesn't work too well, but whatever.
I dunno what I was thinking, I basically starved myself to lose muscle and then ate to get fat. Oh well, you guys are right, I just need to relax about it and get back on the horse.

Here's a couple of randomly selected days on the Ruthless Regimen when I was lifting + metcon:
11/13/07
Barbell Thrusters 7 x 3
and then
5 rounds, resting only to add weight:
5 manmakers - 25 lbs.
10 floor presses - 135 lbs. (I used 75 lbs.)
15 Neider presses - 45 lbs.

12/4/07
Deadlifts 10 x 10, resting precisely 60 seconds between sets and adding weight each set [err, trying]
and then
Intervals of 500 meter row sprint, 30 seconds rest until you break



Derek, thanks for putting it in perspective.

Sarena, I was getting 8+ hours of sleep for the majority of fall term, and almost never dipped below 7 hours, aside from an all-nighter or two (it's college). This was definitely not the case on the trip: long days, late nights. Right now, my sleep isn't as solid, but I'm chalking it up to jet-lag (I went to Israel).

seems like to me your are overly concerned with staying within zone proportions that you are willing to skip foods if they are not zone foods. This is why I tend to stay away from the zone. Some people strive for too much perfection and it can lead to unhealthy habits.

OK, I recognize that the Zone kind of takes up a big mental footprint for me, but I knew what to at school and I felt "dialed-in." It feels good to eat a bunch of veggies, fruit, protein, fat, and avoid the bread. Of course, you take away 100% control over what I eat, and I'm clueless. Right now I have no idea if I should be bulking up, cutting down, upping fat intake, anything.

Let's take yesterday and today as an example:
Yesterday
4 block breakfast, 2x fat
4 block lunch, 2x fat
did "Joshie" off the CF WOD
2 block snack, 2x fat
went out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant: ate ~4oz seafood and a few cups of eggplant dripping in some kind of garlic sauce, no rice, ~1 oz pork, ~2 oz sole fish, half of a scallion bready pancake, and a scant amount of cabbage.

Today
Rest day
2 block breakfast
Brunch at grandma's: 2 egg omelette with feta cheese, 2 or 3 pieces of french toast (I forget), ~2 oz of bacon, 1/2 a grapefruit
Snack: 1 cup milk, 2 stalks celery, 1 oz brisket, 1/2 oz deli turkey, 8 pecan halves


The question for Christmas dinner is whether to eat the whole cheesecake, or avoid it like the plague. I would be happy to do either, but I don't know what to do!

I want strength and power, I want to get my muscle mass back and then some. I want to keep some conditioning up, because ultimately I need to fence well. Big and bulky + fencing = not good. With that in mind, I feel like it's crappy that I gained a little fat from where I was. So... more muscle, less fat, more strength + power, more metcon... My priorities are a little conflicting, so I'm a little confused.

Kevin Perry
12-25-2007, 01:52 PM
But while it's possible to focus on mass gain and lowering body fat, you will probably just get frustrated with yourself. Thats why you pick small achievable goals first.

Example:

You want to gain strength and power and mass but keep conditioning high.

Focus first on a mass gain:

8 weeks of strength training and caloric excess to build muscle mass + 1 day or a tiny focus of metcon to keep conditioning slightly up.

Finish Mass Gain jump on your Metcon/Fencing bandwagon.

Cycle through as needed.

Of Course the CA WOD are a perfect blend of strength/power and conditioning.

What im getting from your posts are garbled-up priorities: I think your looking to gain too much in too little time.

BTW: Eat the Cheesecake. It's Christmas.

Ben Moskowitz
12-25-2007, 02:24 PM
You want to gain strength and power and mass but keep conditioning high.

8 weeks of strength training and caloric excess to build muscle mass + 1 day or a tiny focus of metcon to keep conditioning slightly up.
...
BTW: Eat the Cheesecake. It's Christmas.

I agree, the whole beauty of PMenu and Crossfit is you focus on performance and the rest follows. I'm just curious what is the caloric excess supposed to look like. Zone with fat multiplier? Paleo food, but just eating til I'm stuffed? Gallons of milk? Metabolic Diet or intermittant fasting? If I get off the Zone, I don't know what's "normal," please fill me in.

I'll eat the cheesecake.

Derek Simonds
12-25-2007, 05:02 PM
I think normal is highly overrated around here. I think that if you polled all the regulars around here you would find that we all use a mishmash of what you said for diet.

I have never been able to do the zone because of travel and lack of a desire to measure every morsel of food I put in my mouth.

Paleo is my gig. I am not militant but stick to it mostly. I will throw IF in for a day here and there.

When I was on the mass gain plan I was eating my brains out. I never really had a huge increase in mass but over the last 9 months I ended up losing BF and putting on muscle. Who can complain with that.

I also think Paleo is much easier to eat in an environment where you are eating foods being served to you instead of cooking / measuring everything.

If you truly are going to have a go at mass gain be aware that you are going to have to quit basically all your metcon. Heavy Weights, Rest, Eat, Eat, Eat and more Eating are the only way to put on mass.

Kevin Perry
12-25-2007, 05:15 PM
I agree, the whole beauty of PMenu and Crossfit is you focus on performance and the rest follows. I'm just curious what is the caloric excess supposed to look like. Zone with fat multiplier? Paleo food, but just eating til I'm stuffed? Gallons of milk? Metabolic Diet or intermittant fasting? If I get off the Zone, I don't know what's "normal," please fill me in.

I'll eat the cheesecake.

Caloric excess is just taking in more calories than your body burns per day. As long as you eat more than normal you'll start to gain... If you follow the Zone then all you would need to do is up your fat blocks and probably protein blocks until you notice weight gain. Paleo is the same,IF in my opinion is not desirable for mass gain but is possible.

Probably the simplist method is drinking a gallon of milk a day if you can handle it, mass gainer shakes, coconut milk, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches etc. Not the cleanest way but it works. Lots of people here can give you the best ideas for your goals. From what I can gather you probably want to eat as clean as possible during your gain. Thats why I think it will be difficult and may frustrate you.

Take a journal and log what you already eat and then go from there. Add more food and weigh yourself after a week and see if there is a difference in weight.

Kevin Perry
12-25-2007, 05:17 PM
I think normal is highly overrated around here. I think that if you polled all the regulars around here you would find that we all use a mishmash of what you said for diet.

I have never been able to do the zone because of travel and lack of a desire to measure every morsel of food I put in my mouth.

Paleo is my gig. I am not militant but stick to it mostly. I will throw IF in for a day here and there.

When I was on the mass gain plan I was eating my brains out. I never really had a huge increase in mass but over the last 9 months I ended up losing BF and putting on muscle. Who can complain with that.

I also think Paleo is much easier to eat in an environment where you are eating foods being served to you instead of cooking / measuring everything.

If you truly are going to have a go at mass gain be aware that you are going to have to quit basically all your metcon. Heavy Weights, Rest, Eat, Eat, Eat and more Eating are the only way to put on mass.


On another plus side, it is said that after a stunt at mass gain you will get your conditioning back rather quickly when jumping back to Metcon....

Derek Simonds
12-25-2007, 05:19 PM
I totally agree with Kevin getting your metcon back is a lot easier after mass gain then you would think.

Here is a link to Robb's new DVD about shopping and cooking for a paleo lifestyle.

http://robbwolf.com/?p=51

Steven Low
12-25-2007, 08:03 PM
Heavy lifting + sprints + good food + sleep = strength + mass

Starting Strength would probably be good for you.

Mike ODonnell
12-25-2007, 08:34 PM
All good advice so far...first ask yourself...which do I want to do? Gain muscle? Better Metcon?

If you want muscle: Dump the metcons, lift heavy, recover more, eat more

As mentioned before you can easier get endurance back after the weight gain. Eat as much healthy fats, protein and paleo carbs as you can. Forget IF for now until you really learn how to eat alot in a smaller period of time. Then add in just 1-2 days of IF. IF in the wrong hands or wrong eating will just lead to weight/muscle loss.

Make it a lifestyle program, eat healthy, recover and the body will respond in kind.

Ben Moskowitz
12-25-2007, 11:53 PM
OK, my most pressing goals are to gain the muscle I lost and maybe then some, and to gain strength and power. It would be nice to learn/improve skills like muscle ups, handstands, and HSPUs. Eventually, I would like to be as lean or leaner than I was before, because I'm shallow.

Fat gain is mostly spillover effect from additional carbs that are not replenishing muscle glycogen, so those will have to be monitored and changed. Have your higher carbs on when your muscles are the most sensitive on workout days pwo window 1-2 hours, and keep lower carbs/higher fat and protein on the others. Remember that muscles grow when you are not working them out...so don't try and do too much unless you know how to vary the intensity properly. That and plenty of protein of course.

Is this a gem of information I should be following? So maybe a breakfast of eggs, olive oil, and an apple on workout day tomorrow, and follow the workout with a bunch of sweet potatoes and some turkey? On rest days I just eat meat, almonds, and lettuce?

I was thinking ME + metcon for this week along the lines of the CA WOD, until I resume the Ruthless Gym program (which will be strength/power oriented coming up). Only problem is I don't have any semblance of Oly technique, percentages, or perhaps bumper plates, so it might just be Front Squat 5x5 or something.

Thanks again guys!

John Alston
12-26-2007, 01:46 PM
Holy crap slow down. This thread gives me a headache. Every answer is met with more questions, the goals stated keep changing...
What do you want to do? Skills? Fence? Power and size?
If it's fence, talk to your coach. Power and size? Don't fear the fat - on your body, or in the food. Lean mass gain? It's tough, but Steve's idea of:
Heavy lifting + sprints + good food + sleep = strength + mass
is very good. Add a random IF day for extra leanness.
But trying to do all of those will pull you all over, man.

The question for Christmas dinner is whether to eat the whole cheesecake, or avoid it like the plague. I would be happy to do either, but I don't know what to do!

I have to assume this is a joke, right? Otherwise you're bonkers. Both responses are nuts. A whole cheesecake? If an upset stomach is your goal. Avoid like the plague? Treating minor issues, like a slice of CAKE, like a disease, is just as foolish.

Ben Moskowitz
12-26-2007, 03:00 PM
Holy crap slow down. This thread gives me a headache. Every answer is met with more questions, the goals stated keep changing...
What do you want to do? Skills? Fence? Power and size?
If it's fence, talk to your coach. Power and size? Don't fear the fat - on your body, or in the food. Lean mass gain? It's tough, but Steve's idea of:
Heavy lifting + sprints + good food + sleep = strength + mass
is very good. Add a random IF day for extra leanness.
But trying to do all of those will pull you all over, man.



I have to assume this is a joke, right? Otherwise you're bonkers. Both responses are nuts. A whole cheesecake? If an upset stomach is your goal. Avoid like the plague? Treating minor issues, like a slice of CAKE, like a disease, is just as foolish.

OK I talked it over with the coach. The next month is going to be size, strength, and power with a few select days of metcon to keep up the anaerobic conditioning. Ex: Today was DL 10x10 in, out, done. He wants me to eat 3-4000 cals/day, with a boatload of protein, and solid, stick-to-the-ribs food.

Can anyone recommend a more dialed-in, maybe Paleo-inspired meal plan? Meal timing, etc? Meat and potatoes sounds good, but I feel like I have the discipline to do better.


and yeah... I feel like when in neurotic Zone land, the cheesecake seems scary. I have come to grips with the fact that
a) I haven't gained that much fat
b) I haven't lost that much muscle
c) Bulking up doesn't require asinine decisions about food
d) neurotic behavior = bad.

p.s.
I started a fitday log FWIW:
http://fitday.com/WebFit/PublicJournals.html?Owner=iMagnusX

Steven Low
12-26-2007, 05:26 PM
Why would you DL 10x10?.. What kind of coach is this guy? That's a pretty retarded rep scheme.

Again, you should probably do something like Starting Strength.. hint hint.

Ben Moskowitz
12-26-2007, 05:36 PM
I've got SS 2nd Edition, which I love to read.

I dunno, I think he knows his stuff. I think this starts Russian volume training, and then we do 5x5, 5x3, 3x3... that's my guess.

10x10 resting 60-90 seconds made me suck wind and not think clearly, haha.

Kevin Perry
12-26-2007, 07:53 PM
The thing about DL are that they are extremely demanding on the body...

Mark Riptoe states that the maximum on your work set should be no more than 5 reps x 1 set....

I think you should just stick to SS for a while...and go from there.

Russian Volume training from what I understand is very demanding on the body unless your an experienced lifter.

Ben Moskowitz
12-26-2007, 08:42 PM
The thing about DL are that they are extremely demanding on the body...

Mark Riptoe states that the maximum on your work set should be no more than 5 reps x 1 set....

I think you should just stick to SS for a while...and go from there.

Russian Volume training from what I understand is very demanding on the body unless your an experienced lifter.

Agreed, my technique was getting bad towards the end.
Nutrition advice? How does my first fitday look? Not to demand anything; I really appreciate it.

Steven Low
12-26-2007, 08:55 PM
If it's traditional periodization it's probably not that great anyway.. and yes, it's for advanced/elite lifters. So unless your strength numbers are like 2.5-3x+ for your bodyweight you probably shouldn't be doing that.

If you're looking for a program 99.99% of the time you need a linearized one either beginner like Starting Strength or intermediate like Bill Starr's 5x5. The experienced lifters generally tend to know what they are doing so they don't need to look for one as they are getting coached or they know enough to make their own.

Ben Moskowitz
12-27-2007, 09:14 AM
I kind of agree, at my level I bet SS or Bill Starr would work the best. I'll talk it over.

OK, I have a new, more specific question. I feel like carbs are potentially the enemy for a clean bulk. As I understand it, I only want enough to fill my muscle and liver glycogen stores, but not enough to start storing fat. How do I know about how much to eat (in grams)? Should I carb-load only PWO, but reduce carbs on rest days and before working out?

Right now I'm thinking
Training Day
breakfast
30g protein
lotsa fat
small amount of fruit, like one apple

lunch
same as breakfast, substitute veggies for fruit

PWO
lotsa yams or something
20-30g protein

Dinner
30g protein
low GI veggies
fat

probably snacks of fat+protein in there somewhere

Rest Day
No yams, more low GI veggies, replace carbs with more fat


E.G.
yesterday = training day
2772 cals
209g C
183g P
139g F

weight is 125, LBM probably like.. 112?
supposed caloric expenditure was 2365 cals. Too little excess cals? Too much?

THANKS!

John Alston
12-27-2007, 10:22 AM
TRY IT, SEE HOW IT WORKS.

Seriously, you need to try one thing for a bit to get anything out of it. Program looks fine. You're young, you're adaptable. You won't know how good it is without a some weeks of trying.

Ben Moskowitz
12-27-2007, 03:39 PM
TRY IT, SEE HOW IT WORKS.

Yeah Absolutely, I tend to go on internet rants. The main thing is lifting some darn weight and eating a bunch of food. 10x10 squats today, and that was easier said than done.

Kevin Perry
12-27-2007, 06:26 PM
I think your still missing the point....10x10 I doubt is going to cut it for mass...

...this is why you need to read SS and I mean Read it... Riptoe explains why high reps are not ideal for mass and strength on a beginner platform.