Moving forward into my first month of my #bodybuilding adventure, the challenge I gave myself was to continue with my #workout schedule while I added an hour of #cardio daily whilst dropping my caloric intake around 800 calories. The ultimate goal for the month was to reach a #bodyfat percent level of 17.14 from my starting level of 21.31. Would this added cardio and caloric drop do the trick?
Before I started the weight loss, my caloric intake was just over 2300, including 281 grams of protein, 193 grams of carbohydrates, 55 grams of fat and 30 grams of sugar. I intentionally increased my caloric consumption to help put on much needed muscle size before I shredded down. However, when I realized I increased my body fat to 21.31%, I began to worry that I would not be able to meet my goal of 4 - 6% for the contest that was three months away. Pre-ReinventionKing Gregory would have said why even bother and cut himself a slice of chocolate cake. But the ReinventionKing Gregory of today embraces all challenges. In the words of the inimitable Macy Gray, "How will you make it if you never even try?"
I played around with the #macronutrients and decided to keep my protein intake as high as possible to preserve my muscle size - or dare I say even increase it! I settled on a figure of 237 grams of protein, which equals to 1.25grams/lb of bodyweight, which was 189 at the start. In total, my daily caloric intake was reduced to 1514 calories. The next important number was my fat intake. Fats are necessary for our bodies to function properly, especially if we want our hormones working efficiently. So I decided that my caloric intake of fats should equal 20% of my diet. My beloved carbs bore the brunt of my fat shredding axe and were reduced to 80 grams while sugar was cut in half to 16 grams. Hopefully, that would keep my hunger pains in check as my blood sugar levels should be pretty stable.
"I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike."
- Queen, Bicycle Race
After setting on my macronutrient numbers, I turned my focus on cardio. As I mentioned in my previous post, my cardio of choice was my fabulous new #Peloton bike. (If you're a fellow Peloton team member, my username is - surprise surprise - ReinventionKing. Give me a shout out!) Before the fat shredding began, I was doing cardio about three time a week - just enough to keep my body moving without having to lose any of my muscle. But as I began the fat loss regimen, I upped my cardio to 60 minutes/day. Many of the bodybuilding articles I read said to start at 30 minutes/day, but I was worried that my body fat was too high, so that's why I started with an hour instead. Calorie-wise, according to my Peloton profile, I am burning between 540 - 610 calories a day.
My biggest worry was my energy level. Would I be able to function while I decreased my food intake and increased my cardio? The first two weeks were the toughest. It seemed like I needed a lie-down every 3 or 4 days in the afternoon. But after the initial two weeks passed, my body must have adapted because my energy level returned to normal. Although, I must add, I practically doubled (tripled?) my caffeine intake during this time.
My other big concern was my workouts at the gym. Would my weightlifting regimen suffer? Would I have to cut back on my number of sets and poundages? (As some people have inquired, I am sharing my routine in the graphic below.) To my surprise, my weightlifting numbers remained consistent. On some exercises, my back most notably, I had to drop some of the poundages by 5 - 10%. But the others remained mostly the same amount. And I was able to stick to the same amount of sets that I was doing before I slashed my calories.
Well how did I do after the first month? AMAZING! My bodyfat dropped to 13.95%, far below my goal of 17.41! (See chart on left, green is projected and blue is actual.) And I never got "hangry." Perhaps that was due to my blood sugar levels remaining consistent. Whatever the reason, I'm not questioning it! I'll go with the flow as long as that lasts. And as a person who was formerly obese, I've amazed myself that I have successfully removed the emotional connection with food and I am now able to use nutrition as a way to reach my goals. Food is no longer an enemy, but a friend ...a cohort. (Also, I am not concerned by my actual weight as muscle weighs more than fat - meaning a man weighing 175lbs with 12% bodyfat looks different from a man weighing the same weight but with a bodyfat of 22%.) However, my taste buds did demand taste and I found myself adding lots of #garlic and spices and more garlic to my meals with a little sprinkle of garlic powder just in case I still didn't taste the garlic. I think the hardest part of the day comes when I count out my ten cashews that I enjoy every evening. I'm so used to opening up the jar and grabbing a handful. Overall, I am happy with the results as you will see below. Let me know if you see a difference in my physique.
Happy with my progress, I decided to stay the course during my second month in terms of nutrition and my cardio and weightlifting schedule but will ready to make any tweaks along the way if necessary.
I hope you accompany me along on my journey and that I inspire you to overcome your fears, follow your dreams and pursue new goals. Please visit my blog at ReinventionKing Magazine and post questions or comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. Soon I will be available for empowerment and wellness coaching sessions, in-person or via Skype. And remember, if I can do it, you can do it!