Note: please post in this journal to share knowledge (avoid good luck reaching your goals/keep it up/i love you type of posts).
I do not intend to use this web space to log all my lifts of every workout or write down my diet to the last celery I've eaten. Instead, I will write down my analysis from my experiences so that perhaps some may also learn from them, and because I think it is important to keep track of what works and what doesn't so it can be refered to in the future. I am working on improving my english grammar too, so if you spot mistakes you can PM me if you want.
Bodybuilding is about making wrong and right turns, making notes, so that later you always take the right turns. I've already made several of those turns and there are many left to take.
I am 23 as of now and I've been training since I was 15 on and off. During the past few years I had to put my bodybuilding ambitions on hold because of school. Some people are able to do the two at the same time, but I am the perfectionist type and getting A's and looking good was an either/or choice. The good news is that I am now done with school, and working out has once again become a priority in my life.
I started off being small, 130-140 as a teenager, and worked my way up to 210-215 in my last bulk cycle. I competed once as a lightweight and I won my division. That was a few years ago and I'm sure some veterans remember the great days (search Road to ripness to read my competition journal).
To begin with, in bodybuilding I think it is important to look at the larger picture and be patient. Before, the rule of losing 2-3 pounds of fat a week just wasn't good enough for me. If I wanted those abs, I'd have them the soonest that I can. Now, I've come to realize that the body doesn't change overnight. The body is like the weather, it will change degree by degree and not from winter to summer in a few days.
Those who have dieted down before know how much low carb diets can be mentally straining. I have made the stupiest decisions while dieting when I was getting tired of the diet and wanted to speed things up. Now, I've learnt to make decisions over the course of weeks by analyzing results and facts rather than letting my impulses guide me. It is always better to diet too slow than too fast. If you have never competed in the past and intend to then I recommend that you diet down to competing shape severals weeks/months before the show. Don't just set a date and hope things are gonna turn alright. Getting ready ahead of time will allow you to be relaxed coming into the show and it will also give you the time to learn how to peak on the contest day instead of 2 days after.
Influence of endurance/calories intake/bodyfat on strength
Before, I thought training for endurance meant I wouldn't be able to keep my strength. I've been doing some boxing lately and so far I tend to want to disbelieve this theory because I was able to improve my high rep strength and maintain the same level of strength when doing low reps (6-10). I can't really comment whether or not it has affected my 1 rep max because I never do them. However, there seems to a correlation between strength-bodyfat-endurance. I'm saying that because in 6 months of boxing and while being fat, I never really improved endurance-wise. I've lost 25 pounds so far in a bit more than 2 months and in those 2 months my endurance has improved more than it had in my 6 months of being fat. Even though I was keeping my strength from 210 to 190, my strength seems to be taking bigger hits while losing the lower bodyfat percentiles.
Suprinsingly, the strength is not directly affected by my calories intake unless I make too drastic changes to my diet. At the beginning of my diet, my calories were too low and I could barely do 10 push ups. When you're in a caloric deficit, you know it because your motivation is below zero and even if you try your muscles get tired after a few repetitions. I think the objective here is to always have carbs to fuel up your exercise. That's why I think my low carbs diet in the past have failed. My current diet includes a high carb day that serves to fuel my muscles in the low carb days.
No doubt your endruance will increase when you have less to carry.
Are you still doing boxing as well?
I meant that my endurance increased even with regular lifts (not just cardio) such as my high reps benchpress, doing push ups, etc. Yes I'm still boxing.
I did a keto diet a few years ago and I was very pleased with the results. I've heard often many complain about how the carbs craving are unbarable, but I didn't have any cravings. For me it was basicaly eating steaks and bacon, and laughing while I watched my fat come off. I opted to do the TKD diet instead of CKD. I was told it is faster, simply thougher to stick to. It also appeared not as complex as the CKD which you had to eat a certain amount of carbs the weekend. With TKD, I simply had to eat 40g of carbs before the workout and that wouldn't even kick me out of ketosis whereas with CKD you definately got kicked out after carbing up for at least 1 or 2 days.
I was really satisfied with the results in the first ~2 months. The fat came off way faster than with regular low carb diets. I got down to about 8% bodyfat at which time my calories intake was about 1800 without doing any cardio. After that my progress stagnated so I added cardio but that wouldnt beat the plateau. I'm not really sure how things went after that, school started and I pretty slacked off the diet. All in all, I would say TKD/CKD are very good at losing the extra pounds but I think low carbs diet are still better at shedding off the last few pounds.
I hate you, worst of luck and don't keep it up :moon:
Good idea keeping notes of what works what doesn't, glad to see you have time to do it now :french:
Carbs and how the body respond to them still remains a complex science. Carbs will make your body look fuller, carbs will give you energy, too much carbs will make you bloated, and lack of carbs will make you flat, weak, and cranky. While I'm cutting I've noticed that there is a big difference in taking simple carbs vs complex carbs. When I'm taking simple carbs, I become fuller, vascular and have more energie. For my show, I was eating oatmeal and I think maybe I should have eaten junkier food instead. Though, there's moreto contest preperation than eating carbs such as controlling and coordinating water and sodium intake. Complex carbs sustain the energy for a longer period of time but you look a bit flatter than with simple carbs.
While I think it's good to summarize your experiences, it's also important to record the details. Otherwise, how will you find patterns?
Also, I thought it was common knowledge for people to consume simple carbs before a show to increase vascularity? I've heard of people using wine and chocolate ... ? You and your damn oats!
are you talking about long b4 your show, or just 1 hour-30 mins b4 stepping on stage? I rememeber you eating sugar, drinking whine and eating a candy bar I think.
Anthony: I wouldn't say it is common knowledge, or at least I didn't know and that makes it not common. :) I'm sure if you asked all the competitors at a show what they did precontest, I'm sure all of them would have different answers. I've heard bodybuilders taking pretty much anything from pizza to pancakes with syrop the day before the show, some the morning of the show, etc. My first precontest wasn't a success, I pretty much did everything blindfolded and I don't intend to repeat history next time. I was flat in the prejudging but I was in a decent shape at the nightshow so I got a bit lucky but I could have done better. I knew about the wine, and some even say that hard liquor is better.
Frankster: I'm talking about eating simple carbs in your carb load diet 2-3 days before the show. Don't you remember me eating your oatmeal in the hotel room?
ok, yeah I remember... I thought you meant you were eating oatmeal b4 going on stage.
Cardio has always been a big questions for dieters as to whether it is catabolic under certain conditions (such as doing it on an empty stomach or the intensity of it) or not. I suppose it still remains a mostly answered question because there are so many contradicting theories out there, so much that none can be attributed undisputed credebility. Personally, I think the results will vary from individual to individual depending on the genetic tendency to retain muscle. My experience with cardio is that as long as I don't lose too much weigth at the end of the week, my muscle mass remain the same regardless of the intensity. I base my reasoning on the fact that I've been doing boxing twice a week, which is high intensity, and it hasn't affected me negatively whatsoever. However, I don't think it is necessary to do high intensity cardio to lose fat and that it's only beneficial to increase the metabolism throughout the day. I've been monitoring my heart beat during my cardio sessions, using a heart monitoring watch, and I love it. Knowing exactly how your body is reacting to the training is reassuring and allows you to accurately control the intensity according to your targetted heart rate.
In order to keep in good shape, endurance-wise, I find it better to alternate between the different cardio machines to target different muscles. At the beginning, I used to repeatedly do the stairmaster, crosstrainer and boxing for cardio training. Then one time I did bicycle for a change and noticed that my legs' endurance was way behind the rest of my body so that's why now I believe it is important to use a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups even in your cardio sessions.
Perhaps some of you will say that you are a bodybuilder, not an athlete training for the olympic and therefore don't care about endurance. I suppose that holds reasons; however, I think it might make a little difference, taking two person with the same bodyfat that the person who's in better shape will appear harder.
I noticed that when you drink up a lot of water on a regular basis and then for one day you cut your water consumption that the next day you'll be retaining less water than usual. I think that drinking a lot of water makes your body flush more water as well, and that if you drink less water on one day, your body will still try to flush the same amount. I don't have much experience with this myself, but I've heard of competitors who play with their water intake in ways similar to that mentionned above to peak on the day of the show. The thing which I am not clear about is that you still need water to look your fullest, and flushing water out of your system means flushing water out of both fat and muscles. Knowing what I know now, if I was to get ready for a show in a few weeks I'd drink up a few gallons of water each day up until 2-3 days before the show, then cut it little by little to almost none on the day of the show. Currently, in my diet I drink 2 glass of water first meal with 3 of my meals, and the other 3 meals I drink only 1 glass and I find that enough to clean my system.
I am getting into the sub 10% bodyfat and I think it shows in my energy level at the gym. The difference started showing in heavy exercise such as the leg press in which I had to stop at 10 reps instead of 15. My body in general seems to be getting more 'fragile' with less fat in that when I put 365 pounds on squat, I can feel a strain everywhere in my torso.