Yeah… it’s that time of year for looking back and looking ahead. While I don’t really put much stock in things like “new year resolutions” (because why base things around a particular rolling over of the calendar? make resolutions all the time!), it’s still a convenient time to look at things.
The big goal of 2014 was to be less fat. At the end of 2013 I had satisfied some lifting goals, so it was onto the fat-loss. However, various things cropped up and I didn’t start out on the right foot… to speak.
A big problem for me was a respraining of an old ankle injury, which put me on the shelf for a while.
In dealing with that injury, I opted to change my programming. I had spent over 2 years following Jim Wendler’s excellent 5/3/1 program, and figured it was time for a change. I had given heavy consideration to The Cube Method, but as that’s very much a serious powerlifting program and I couldn’t do that while down with the injury, I looked elsewhere.
I settled on Paul Carter (of Lift-Run-Bang fame) and his programming. I figured that would give me more flexibility to cope with the injury, it would allow me to deal with the fat loss, and hey… Paul’s a pretty solid guy and why not explore his work.
Long story short, I did his stuff for a while, focusing on his “mass building” type approaches, and eventually finishing with a Strong-15 cycle. At the end of that cycle (in August) I actually set my all-time best PR’s:
- Squat – 325 lb.
- Bench – 250 lb.
- Deadlift – 445 lb.
It’s not a huge improvement over the prior PR’s set at the end of 2013, but given the injury, the long rehab, and my constant struggle with mixed goals well… it was still pretty cool.
Alas, in all of this I had failed at my primary goal: fat-loss.
In fact, I became the heaviest I had ever become: 265 lb.
The Road to Loserville
The whole fat-loss thing just fell by the wayside for whatever reason. Honestly I don’t recall all the reasons why, but it did.
Then one day I stepped on the scale. I was floored to see 265 lb.. I knew my clothes were getting tighter and other things weren’t feeling right, but I was kinda ignoring or denying or something.
But either way, that happened, and I was pretty appalled with myself.
I wanted to finish out the Strong-15 cycle, but I even cut it short because well… yeah, it was bad. I then got on the ball and contacted the guys from Renaissance Periodization. I had heard nothing but high praise and tons of success stories about RP. They understand lifting, they understand diet, there’s science, there’s simplicity, there’s reality. Really, there was no reason to not give this a try. I had tried diet on my own numerous times, achieved some sort of success, but just too much fail. So, it was time to ask for help.
I’m glad I did.
As I write this, I weighed in at 237 lb., and I figure by the end of 2014 I’ll be at least 235. Whatever the number winds up being, it’s good enough to say “lost about 30 pounds over the course of about 5 months”. That’s pretty good.
Yeah, I have eaten more chicken in the past 5 months that I ever cared to. But that’s how it goes. I’m willing to put in the work, because I really want to shed this flab. So far I’m happy with my progress. Oh sure it’s a little slower than I want, but anything less than “instantaneously at 5-10% body fat” is too slow. ;-)
The focus is of course the fat loss. Still, I lift because some sort of exercise is needed. I’ve been following Paul Carter’s Base Building program since I started on the diet. I think it’s the right program for me to follow right now because I can put a lot of regulation into it, I can formulate it as needed. It seems to be helping me maintain my muscle mass and my strength, maybe even increasing strength slightly. It also provides a lot of work, which is helpful in the simple need to burn calories. All in all, I’m happy with the program.
The primary focus going into 2015 remains fat loss.
Where do I want to end up? It’s hard to quantify, but I’ll know it when I get there.
For calculation purposes, I’ve been using 215 lb.. When I started, I estimated my body fat and then what it would mean to get to a leanness I desired. 215 seemed to be the right place. It may not wind up there: it may be 225, it may be 205, who knows. Really, the number isn’t important, it’s merely a guidepost. I know how I want things to look and fit: I don’t want to see the flab around the middle, the muffin-top. It’d be nice to see more muscle definition, which doesn’t just mean “abz”, but things like that separation between the bottom of the deltoid and top of the biceps/triceps when the arm hangs — so it looks like muscles, not just a smooth arm with perhaps some gentle curves in it. Yes, the stomach should be flat — when the shirt hangs down over the torso, it should be pressed out from pecs, not gut. That sort of thing.
I’ll know it when I get there, and then probably have to go a little further.
Or another way to put it. If you go to Renaissance Periodization’s website and look at their results/testimonials, heck… I’d be happy to look like many of the people in the “Before” pictures! But I’m expecting that when I get to that point, I’m probably going to want to continue on to join the ranks of the “After” pictures.
If I’ve got about 20 lbs to go towards my guidepost at the rate I’ve been going, I expect at least another 4 months of work. But honestly, I expect it’ll be even more than 4 months to get me where I want to go. We’ll see tho… one step, one pound at a time.
Once I get down to where I want to be, I expect I’ll want to start back on the “embiggening” process. I do think there’s a fair lifestyle change that came with the diet here, and I just don’t want to throw it all away. But I will be able to live a little more (meaning: less chicken, more steak!). I expect as I ramp back up to a bulking-style diet that I’ll stay with Base Building and allow myself to naturally progress on that for a bit while my body readjusts. Then, I’ll probably start hitting something like a Strong-15 cycle and work on getting my strength back.
But really, I’m not 100% sure where I will go after the fat loss happens. Generally yeah, return to “getting bigger, getting stronger”, but exactly how I’ll figure that out as I get closer to that point.
We’ll see how the year goes. Hopefully I’ll be a big loser. :-)