Today is Day 2 of my 9 week slimdown. I am quite happy with my figure and appearance right now, so I’m really just looking to refine and make sure I look my best when I am in Europe for 2.5 months.
I eat very well and I am very consistent with my workouts, I just haven’t been super regimented with my cardio/metabolic conditioning in recent months. I do it, but if I really don’t feel like it, then i don’t and that’s been fine. My attitude to diet has been a sort of relaxed “eat protein based meals, don’t overeat, don’t go crazy on anything carbohydrate based” and the one change I’m about to make that will make the biggest difference is I’m about to cut out all alcohol intake, down to 1 or 2 glasses of red wine a week, if at all. I have been very social for all of 2013 and drinking champagne and beer and cocktails probably 2 times and sometimes 3 times a week. I really think the alcohol is a huge factor and I can honestly take it or leave it, and it needs to GO.
I will be frank with you all, I come with a history of extreme dieting and a very regimented lifestyle. I competed in figure in 2009 and in 2011 I did a 4 month prep planning to compete again. I had to pull out 6 weeks before my contest date due to an injury. I am ambivalent about competing in the future, for various reasons, some of which are in this post and others, which I’ll probably talk about in a future post. What I’ve learned over the years is that having a balance is of paramount importance, and the last 2 years I have made huge strides in finding that balance.
What does balance mean to me?
Balance to me is training regularly, but never oppressively. I love to train. I love to train HARD and PUSH, but in the past I have sometimes gotten bogged down in the mentality where more is more (it really isn’t) and where my diet and exercise habits may have been more of an exercise in self-flagellation and martyrdom than anything to do with REAL health, strength and fitness.
Balance to me is also eating well and also enjoying time openly and freely with family and friends and enjoying food, without ascribing emotional values to things like “good, “bad”, “cheat”… The only truly bad foods are things like transfats and high-fructose-corn-syrup, chemicals, additives, unnatural preservatives. Carbs are not bad. Carbs are fuel. Fat does not make you fat. Proteins are the building blocks of lean tissue, and everything has it’s place in your diet.
If you eat well and train consistently, having a cocktail and some birthday cake on the weekend with your friends is not going to make you fat.
Back to my 9 week trim down!
So, as I said, I have been focused on finding balance and I have been very good at it. I think when you’re just looking to maintain, the occasional piece of cake and cocktails are fine, but I’m going to get rid of the alcohol, because drinking regularly and especially high sugar beverages will hinder fat loss. For maintenance, it’s OK. For fat loss, the drinks have to go. Honestly, I enjoy a social drink, but I don’t love it all that much. I can truly take it or leave it.
In addition to that, I’m tightening up my carbohydrate intake. Please note: I am not eliminating carbs by any means, I am just tightening up my diet. Which means most of my carbs will be restricted to pre and post lifting and refeed days, and other than post-workout carbohydrates, they will be all complex carbs.
Lastly, I am creating a cardio schedule a sticking to it. There will only be one or two steady state cardio sessions in my plan, starting at only 20 minutes a session. The rest will be interval training and metabolic conditioning.
I plan to take progress pictures and share them with you all at some point, too.
How well have you managed to adopt a balanced approach to your diet and training? What has worked best for you?