by Tim Mount, CN, CCMH
It was a productive – sometimes difficult – 17 week transformation, but hit my fitness goal and competed in my first Physique show on October 25, 2014 in the INFB Texas State Naturals competition in Austin, Texas.
Although I did not place in the top 5 (which get medals), I am very proud of the way I looked on stage. Below is a comparison of myself and the 5th place competitor. The judges said I needed to be a little more lean, but I don’t feel like I missed placing by much.
Now it is time to settle in to a maintenance diet and workout routine. By losing weight I’ve been eating less calories than my body needed by cutting carbs and reducing fats. Now that I’ve achieved my target fitness level I’ll add back in moderate amounts of carbs and healthy fats – and also have a few “treat” meals here and there!
Here are a few tips for a maintenance diet:
- Never eat more than 35 grams of carbohydrates at one time. Any more than that will be converted to fat.
- Balance the amount of healthy fats, like butter, olive oil and coconut oil with the amount of carbs in a meal. If eating 35 grams of carbs be sure to keep the fats low or risk putting on fat.
- Keep protein around 25 – 30 grams per meal for 3-5 meals depending on whether it is an exercise day or not.
I’ll be changing my exercise routine as well. For the competition I needed to pack on as much muscle as possible in a short amount of time. That meant I needed to lift weights nearly every day and sometimes add in fasted morning cardio (before I eat breakfast) to also accelerate weight loss. For me, that isn’t a sustainable routine long term. I found myself being a little burnt out by the end.
My weight loss routine looked like this:
- Exercise as many days in a row until my body screamed at me to take a rest day or two.
- Lift weights every exercise day. Try and do 2-3 morning cycle (spin) classes per week, or 20-30 minutes of stair stepper at the end of a lifting workout.
- My body part splits were:
- Arms (bi/tri) – I have smaller arms and needed to put the most energy into this area. By putting them at the beginning of my split I was usually most rested and had extra energy to train them harder
- Chest/Shoulders – I originally started with chest/tri and shoulders/bi, but found that my shoulders were getting fatigued and achy because the front of my should was used a lot during many chest exercises. By combining chest/shoulders I could work the front of the shoulders in the beginning, then round out the rest of the shoulders after chest.
- Back/Lower Back – There are too many muscles and pulling directions to include anything else besides back in a single session. Many people also do biceps, but that would be too much for me. I like having biceps be a secondary muscle group during this day so I get a little extra work in on them. (Same goes with triceps for chest day.)
- Leg – I am usually very fatigued after leg day, so I put them last in the split and often take a rest day after this workout.
Mentally, my mindset will change slightly. I was very strict on cheat meals, only eating a few bites of food off my meal plan when I absolutely needed it during show prep. Now I plan on evaluating my fitness every 2 weeks to decide how well I am maintaining my fitness. I was down to 4.9% body fat for the show, but would like to maintain at around 6-7%. I measure myself using calipers regularly and keep a running spreadsheet. Here are some mental tips that I’ll use:
- Anything over 7% body fat will trigger a 1-2 week weight loss diet, similar to my show prep diet, until I get back under 7%.
- Remember that fitness is a lifestyle, not a goal. Although the show was motivation to get in shape, it wasn’t the end goal after which I revert back to my previous body composition.
- I downloaded an app for my iPad called My Recipe Box, which allows me to add and organize recipes. I am constantly adding delicious, low-carb and low-fat recipes that are vegetable and lean protein based so I can plan my weekly meals instead of eating whatever I crave when I’m starving.
Thank you for sharing in my journey! I hope that I’ve inspired some of you to take a similar challenge and get into peak condition. It’s never too late and although the path can be difficult occasionally, the increased energy, positive moods, positive body image, mental clarity, and being a damn sexy beast are well worth a temporary commitment to transform into your ideal you!