I decided that as summer is coming up, it’s time to take some of my own medicine and drop some body fat. Over the last year or so I have gotten markedly stronger and more muscular but because of my increased food intake, have also happened upon more body fat than I have had before. Right now, I’m sitting at 13.6%. While most of my caliper readings are single digits, the ones around the mid-section aren’t. They need to go.
I also have an ulterior motive for leaning-down. It’s the following little known secret:
The best way to bulk up is to lean-down first.
I ultimately want to be competing at the 93kg powerlifting category. For my height, I feel too light to be able to compete adequately with others in my weight class.
So, over the next 3 short weeks, I’ll be going on one of my own fat-loss programs to see what everyone is complaining about. It’s a short amount of time, but let’s see what difference I can make to my body composition.
Diet Program Requirements
Anyone who has been through one of my fat-loss programs will know that they involve the following elements:
- Decreased calorie consumption. Burn more than you eat. Everyone, even weight-watchers, knows that.
- Clean food & no alcohol, cakes, sweets, or other stuff you could consider ‘crap’
- Enough protein to ensure my muscle doesn’t turn to mush (2.5 x bodyweight in kg)
- Cycling of carbohydrate intake to coincide with moments of high metabolism, i.e. morning & post workout
- Fish oils to encourage metabolism of fat
- Optimal intake of vitamins and minerals to cleanse and provide resources for the body
- A combination of strength training and metabolic conditioning
- 3-4 Litres of water per day at least
So with these things in place, I now lay out my plan. If you want more tips, Charles Poliquin has given a brilliant, more detailed set of 50 here.
Diet Component #1: Calories
I calculate how many calories I should be consuming on workout and non-workout days, using my carb-cycling codex calculations.
Looks like I should be on 2735 calories per day. This takes into account the fact that I’m working out 4x per week and have an active job. For someone more sedentary but the same weight as me this would of course be less.
This works out as:
- Protein 208g
- Hi carb day Carbs 340g
- Lo carb day Carbs 110g
- Fat 110g
Keeping Track of Calories
How do I know how many calories I’m eating? I make sure I track my calories by entering them all into an app like the FatSecret Calorie Counter. There are loads of calorie counter apps out there, but this one breaks down your macronutrients so you can see if you’ve got the right distribution happening. I can’t emphasise how useful this is. It’s not a requirement, but it does help understand what your intake is with respect to where it should be. Yes, it takes time, but if you object to spending time on improving yourself, why not go and read the Men’s Health Abs in 60 Seconds article and see if that works for you. You can find the same article in every edition.
Diet Component #2: Paleolithic Eating
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Having just said this, I don’t plan every single meal. But I do plan the overall composition and frequency of my meals. Most meals are going to consist of some form of protein; chicken, fish, eggs, turkey, steak, and some green vegetable, usually broccoli or spinach. I’ll snack on things like tuna salad, raspberries, blueberries, nuts, protein shakes (in an emergency – not ideal because of the insulin spike post-shake), yoghurt (Total, not Muller!) and cottage cheese. Boring but simple and easy to follow. In all honesty, I can’t really write a better diet program than the one on the Caveman Strong website. Luckily it’s free so have a look at it here:
Here’a a sample day. Let’s take Monday which is a training day.
- 5am: wake
- 5.30am: 3x eggs, 140g thin sliced beef steak
- 6am-12pm: train my lovely clients
- 1pm: 220g salmon fillet, broccoli
- 4.30pm: pre-workout. 60g protein shake
- 7pm: post-workout. 60g protein, 80g instant oats
- 8pm: dinner. 240g chicken breast, broccoli.
- Protein: 265
- Carbs: 110
- Fat: 115
Diet Component #3: Carb cycling
So what’s the deal with this carb cycling thing, I hear you ask? Simply put – on a workout day, I eat more carbs. For breakfast, then post-workout. On a non-workout day, I hardly eat any carbs. Permitted carbs are:
- Instant Oats from MyProtein as part of post-workout shake. Fast absorption of good quality carbohydrates.
- Sweet potato, usually 1-2 hours after a post-workout shake.
- Porridge, on a workout day (but I rarely bother – I prefer eggs or steak generally, both with broccoli or spinach. They’re quicker to make and eat)
Diet Component #4: Supplementation
I determine which and how many supplements I need.
- Super greens. A superpowered multivitamin equivalent with pro-biotics for gut health.
- Fish oils. Highly concentrated fish oils from the Foundry shop.
- Instant Oats and Whey Protein from MyProtein. Liquid post workout protein and carbohydrate for quick uptake into the muscles. After having tried almost all protein brands, this is my favourite. No stupid marketing, just does what it says on the tin.
I write a four-week training program including the following components:
- Strength: to ensure I maintain, if not build, strength levels
- Conditioning: circuits and intervals to raise lactate levels and burn fat
The strength component looks like this
- Deadlift 3×5 160kg+
- Squat 5×10 90kg
- Hamstrings 3×5-10
- Tommys 3×10 15kg
- Squat 3×5 120kg+
- Power clean 5×5 work up to 80kg
- Hamstrings 3×5-10
- Band situps 3×10
- Bench 3×5 85kg+
- Military press 5×10 40kg
- One arm row 5×10 30kg
- Triceps 3×5-10
- Biceps 3×5-10
- Chin ups if I have anything left in the tank
The conditioning component looks like this. Bear in mind I also cycle about 20mins per day at a moderate pace to and from work.
- Skipping warmup
- Kettlebell metabolic sequence – “The Widowmaker” 16kg bells.
- Snatch x 20, Clean & press x 10, Double front squat x 10, Double military press x 10, Double row x 10, Pushup on bells x 10
- For time – always aim to beat previous time.
- Tri-set x 3 to finish:
- Renegade Row & Pushup combo x 20
- Double KB swing x 50
- Skipping cool-down
Before and After Stats
I make sure I have pictures and measurements of myself before and after the program to see how well it worked!
Watch this Space
I’ll post my results and pics to let you know how I did!!