BACKSTORY (if you're into that sort of thing - if not, skip ahead)
I got into weight training around 12 or 13, and was quickly drawn to the idea of getting stronger & the discipline the lifestyle breeds. I got quite strong for my age, and as I was active in organized sports through high school, stayed in pretty good shape. However, I never really learned much about nutrition other than eating protein was good for muscles. So not surprisingly, once the organized sports dropped off in college, my physique followed quickly. Even with decent workouts 3-5 times/week, my diet was atrocious.
Out of college, the downward spiral just continued as even the recreational workouts trailed off. I ultimately topped off at 225 pounds, was disgusted with myself enough to lose 50 pounds using the South Beach Diet. But I had no plan on how to maintain without being on a set meal plan, and gradually saw my weight rise back up. So having made that trip 3 times in total now, I've maintained a sub-190 body weight for 2 years after developing a plan to stop the yo-yo, and relearning to actually enjoy the process. My muscle memory is obviously working in my favor, and combined with a recent surge in fitness education, I'm excited to embark on the next voyage in my fitness odyssey...
Inspired by the amazing cutting logs of 66jzmstr, Sovietaced, Ivanthegreat, ajw1982 & sarasayshi, I've decided to do my first official cut using leangains system. I've had moderate success with the system for a little while now, but I'm hoping this will keep me accountable and dedicated. Will be doing a 12 week cut, although I'm quite interested to see how far I can get by my birthday (6/2), which is only 9 weeks out. Would love to get lean enough that I can switch to a recomp instead, as it would be great to eat above maintenance 3 times a week strategically. But we'll get there later...
While I certainly want to take my physique to the next level, I'm actually at as low a weight as I've been able to maintain at any other point of my adult life save for my wedding day (where I crash dieted & rebounded like CRAZY on the honeymoon ;-)). But cutting down gradually to 170 or below makes me very excited to think about, so I'll set 170 as the first goal weight.
Waist (at navel): 35.0
2" above navel: 35.25
2" below navel: 33.25
I'll maintain a feeding window of 2-10PM. My schedule dictates that I train early AM, but I'm far more likely to cheat/binge at night, and shifting my schedule for weekends gets messy. So I will supplement with BCAA on training days to get me to the feeding window. A nice off-shoot is that my walk to the train station & to work (~25 minutes) will take place during my fasted state & hopefully speed fat loss.
Since this is my first cut, I want to keep it as simple (read: sustainable) as possible. Using Lyle McDonald's generic guideline bodyweight x 14 formula, I'm estimating my maintenance at 2520. Then going with 10% below on training days & 35% below on rest days, and using round numbers to make it easier, I'll be cycling 2250 & 1600 calories respectively. This will result in roughly a 4500 calorie/week deficit, so I should be dropping 1-1.5 pounds per week. I'll hit at least 150g of protein on both days, go as high carb training days as possible (aiming for >250g), and stay borderline paleo on rest days. I will not attempt to match the beautiful food porn of Dave (66jzmstr), but will try to post pics when the spirit moves me. I'll be preparing my own meals as much as possible, and will do a lot of repeats - both for consistency and since eating the same ****e over and over never bothered me.
I will re-evaluate my calories if & when I get to 170 pounds, or if progress stalls.
I'll be logging calories using myfitnespal. If I don't update this log with my daily eats, I'll include the missed days with my next post.
I'll be training early morning 3 days/week, splitting up my days into "pushing", "pulling" & "legs". I may do some ab work or light cardio on my off days, but will not hold myself to that starting off - Actually leaning towards doing some yoga on off days to improve my flexibility & keep my lower back (which has a tendency to tighten up) limber. Will be doing RPT for almost all exercises, but will not start that way for squats. Although I had years of weight lifting experience when I was younger, I never learned how to properly squat until recently - thank you "Starting Strength" :-) So the ego needs to suck it up while I get the form down for 3 sets of 5, and I'm confident that I'll be able to progress to RPT for squats soon enough. I will also reserve the right to ditch Leg Press once I've got the Squat technique down well enough to really push my limits - right now I feel like I need to add in extra Leg Presses to tax the muscles. Sticking mostly with compound movements and will throw a single isolation movement in at the end of the workout to burn out and/or hit weak points. I'll be doing pulling first in the week, as my chest is naturally quicker to develop, so I'm hoping hitting back hard while I'm fresh will help me take it up. Training Legs on the weekend so I don't feel rushed and can rest adequately between sets. Workout presently looks as follows:
DB Side Laterals
Standing Calf Raise
Seated Calf Raise
Binges, & Babies, & Booze - Oh My!
My biggest concern, and likely the reason I have never achieved the physique I want previously, is binges. I have a hearty appetite, so often if I start to nibble on something I haven't planned, I'll fall off the cliff and gobble an insane amount of calories. So I'm going to have planned cheats to keep myself sane while sticking to the overall plan. Actually, cheat may not be the right word as I will be sticking to my guidelines calorically. I guess it's more a tighter version of IIFYM, so I'll be eating some chocolate, sweets, etc. I'll also need to be diligent in logging EVERYTHING I eat, resisting the temptation to omit things I know are bad so I don't have to acknowledge them in print. I also think this log will help with that. By no means will my journey be perfect, but I hope that will help inspire those reading who have similar issues.
My wife and I are expecting our first baby, so she will have cravings out of nowhere and want to go out to eat on weekends. I'm certainly not going to deprive her to stick to my diet, but I don't want to use that as an excuse to go off the rails when dining out either. So I'll need to stay focused on eating something that will fit my plan for that day. This is another reason I'm keeping a workout day on the weekend ;-) I'll also need to amp up the willpower, as there are more snack/junk foods laying around the house than usual.
I also like to drink - perhaps a little too much. While I'm definitely going to need to keep that under control, I also feel I can indulge within reason and keep on track. My question for the boozers is which should take precedence - calories or protein? In other words, if I plan on drinking later that night, is it better to meet my protein minimum at the risk of going slightly over my calorie goal? Or should I keep the caloric goal as the pinnacle even if I may hit only 140g of protein that day? Don't be overly concerned ;-) I'm not planning to plan my diet around drinking - just curious which way to shift priority. I think as I stay focused, it will only serve to illustrate how empty calories detract from the general plan, and keep me on track from both directions.
First cut following Leangains model; Train heavy 3X/week; 2100/1600 split; Get Cut Up!
P.S. - In B4 "tl;dnr"