I’m happy to report that my efforts in the gym and focus on my nutritional intake since returning from my summer trip to South Africa has paid off. Instead of being a little jiggly (which I was when I returned..and which I rightfully earned with my lack of exercise and eating with a shovel) I’ve managed to firm it up and return to my normal non-wiggly self.
This was accomplished with a two-pronged approach. I returned to my workouts with a new intensity. The time off gave me a chance to regroup and rest my joints. When I got back to lifting I felt refreshed and very strong. I particularly focused on my shoulder and bicep development and began a routine in which I purposefully overtrained them for a few weeks, then took one week completely off shoulder/bicep training. Now I’m back to the overtraining three-week block. I also made sure to get my cardio in, not enough to burn up the muscle I was trying to build/hold but enough to remove the little layer of fluff that had taken up residence under my skin. I generally kept my cardio sessions to 30 minutes each time I hit the weights (and will continue this for a few weeks longer). I’ve learned not to do too much cardio even though I want to when I’m trying to lean out. It’s hard to stop myself from doing just that but I know from experience it makes me unpleasantly skinny by eating up the muscle I work so hard for.
I didn’t do anything radical with my diet, I simply moved away from eating those treats I’d been allowing myself. The potato chips, cheese and fatty meats were removed and I increased my vegetable intake (particularly the dark green, leafy variety). The added veggies were to keep me from getting hungry and helped me resist the Sirens’ song of the chips I love so much. I admit I have had pizza a few times but I kept it to one piece instead of the whole pie. That’s where the veggies came in handy. I got to feel full AND have a little treat.
A little attention to my output in the gym and to my nutritional needs makes all the difference in how I look.
People often ask me how I stay lean year around and I tell them that it’s the small changes that make the difference in the way your physique looks. The first step is to avoid letting things get out of hand. Big swings in weight (fat to muscle ratio) are hard to manage but small swings are easy to correct. A little attention to what goes in your mouth and a little increase in intensity in workouts goes a long way.