Total Loss of Progress?!?
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)
When to change fat blocks and/or total blocks (part 2)
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
I probably will be starting a strength/power mesocycle once I get back off of winter break.
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.
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.
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.
Is your sleep sound--7-9 hrs a night, usually on the longer end?
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.
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:
Barbell Thrusters 7 x 3
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.
Deadlifts 10 x 10, resting precisely 60 seconds between sets and adding weight each set [err, trying]
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).
Let's take yesterday and today as an example:
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'll eat the cheesecake.
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.
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.
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