Soooooo, how’s my training going I hear you ask? ……… birds chirping……. a couple of cricket noises……….
Ha. Actually it has been an interesting couple of weeks. It was about 2 weeks ago that I decided to take a week off from the Gym. I wasn’t feeling 100% – perhaps I had a virus or something – which wouldn’t have been unusual as my wife and kids had both been unwell. I found that my motivation was also really low.
If you’ve been following the blog then you’ll know that about 4 weeks ago I also changed my diet, increasing my calories in order to rev up my metabolism. I went from around about 2,200 calories per day, up to 3,300 and it was actually pretty difficult to eat that amount of (healthy) food! I was feeling so stuffed all the time. Something was happening though as my weight shot up over that time by about 7 pounds.
Then during this week I received an email newsletter from Tom Venuto where he talked about a “get ripped cheatsheet“. For some reason it really excited me. I guess because the more I read the more I realized that what I had been doing when I was on 2,200 calories per day was exactly the correct thing to do! I used to worry that I should be changing up my diet so that my body wouldn’t adapt to eating the same thing all the time (I thought it was important for success), however Tom said that most bodybuilders will eat the same thing every day when they are cutting! Even though it is boring, it makes it easy for the meal preparation. Going through Tom’s list, it became clear to me that the reason I hadn’t seen any further progress was due to consistency. That is, typically I am very strict with eating healthy during the week, but the weekends are a different story. Sure, I had my cheat day on Saturday, however I found that I often would eat unhealthy on Friday evening, and also on Sunday.
It was like someone had flicked a switch. With this newsletter I really found new motivation to try the ‘cut’ again so that I can get that six pack. I had been on 3,300 calories for about 4 weeks – which I’m hoping is enough time to get my metabolism back up to full speed. So this week I started back down to 2,400 calories with the resolve to keep up the healthy eating during the weekend as well as the week. I still need to eat more on Saturday to try and prevent my metabolism from slowing (adapting) to the lower calorie amount, however I will try and eat 3,300 of healthy food rather than just mainly junk food. According to Tom, on the “refeed” day one should try and spike up the carbs – so I have been focusing on increasing carbs rather than protein or fats. Still means a lot of eating on Saturday!
Added to this I also changed up my workout routine. Will Brink in his Bodybuilding Revealed teams up with Charles Poliquin to discuss Poliquin’s training routine. Charles is a world famous trainer, having trained Olympic athletes, professional sportsmen etc. He (and Will) advocate changing up your workout routine every 6 weeks or so (sometimes even sooner) as the body (amazing at it is) will quickly adapt to a new workout and as soon as this happens progress slows (or stops). So I decided to start Charles’ 4 Day Split routine.
His programs have 2 phases, being accumulation and intensification, with him suggesting that people start with accumulation, which is what I have done. I did my 3rd workout on this program today, and boy am I sore! Changing up a program really does hit muscle groups in a new way. My first day of his program was legs, and I admit I had to quit half way through as I was feeling so crappy, almost throwing up. However I got through the whole thing today.
I read in some forums that Charles’ programs are for ‘bulking’ and not cutting, so since I am trying to cut, perhaps it my not be the best. However I can’t find any further information to confirm that. In any case, I think just doing a different routine is going to be good for my body. It certainly has been good for my motivation as I enjoy doing a new program. The other difficulty with Charles’ program is that it calls for a lot of supersets. This is impossible for me on the lower workout day as the leg equipment is split between 2 floors at my gym. It would be difficult enough anyway even if the equipment was next to each other, as the gym gets incredibly busy, however it is impossible to do it between floors. Upper day is a little better, as I can use one piece of equipment for multiple exercises. Anyway, I’m not too concerned about it – I’ll just do the best I can with what is available.
I’ve decided to do this cutting phase for approximately 12 weeks and see what kind of results I get. The plan is I’ll stop around Christmas – so I can enjoy some great meals over Christmas and New Year!