Stuck At A Short Halt with Fat Loss
Sarah Johnson, was fifteen weeks out of stepping on to the biggest stage of her life strapped in a bikini showing off a little more than Victoria Secret on her best days and she was getting a little worried. Sarah was one tough cookie though. She was strong, capable and determined to win after her many months of longing to compete onstage. She enamoured over the ladies who strutted their stuff onstage with such fabulous physiques as pictured in the magazines. She admired their flawless abdominal lines, ripped arms, gracious hamstring sweeps and eye popping quadriceps.
She enjoyed the limelight, but more importantly the satisfaction of knowing she had what it takes to make the cut. She saw the other gals onstage and thought, “I want to do THAT!” And for whatever reason she wanted that solid gold trophy more than anything.
She had set out weeks ago with her coach, Steve, meticulously planning out her workouts and meals for a show fifteen weeks away, assuming that would be enough time to diet down her already honed physique and got to work. But Sarah was stuck…
Sarah was stuck at a certain body fat percentage and it was holding on for dear life. What could she do?
The next morning in the gym Sarah sauntered into the gym dragging her gym bag slowly behind her.
“Hey Sarah,” Steve shouted over the commotion in the gym. Several of the other ladies were already well into their warmup, laughing and giggling over nothing in particular. Immediately Steve could see that there was a problem.
Sarah walked over to the cubbies and lugged her gym bag into one of the square orifices, as if it weighed a million pounds.
“So, what’s up,” Steve said, walking over close to Sarah who was just now taking off her sweater.
“Oh, I don’t know Steve,” Sarah said, “I’m just having a bummer of a week.”
“What’s the problem? “ “Are you worried about your last two body comps?” Steve remarked insightfully.
“Yeah, I’m really frustrated right now,” Sarah said. “I’m just not losing anymore…and I can’t figure it out.”
“Alright, well let me get the other girls on track and then we’ll sit and chat for a few minutes,” Steve said, clapping his hands to the others and pointing over at one of the boards listing a variety of workouts. “Okay peoples, let’s go, start off with these…”
His voice droned away in a mix of exercises, sets and reps as he directed the other gals to their workstations. Sarah slunk into a chair at the edge of the action and waited.
“Alright,” Steve said, after everyone was on task. “Let’s see what the hold up is with you’re fat loss.” Going through his mental check list Steve counted off on fingers, weight training five times a week, check; hard cardio two times a week, check; some slow cardio, two times a week, check; sleep habits, obviously, you’re getting in more than the rest,” Steve smirked.
Sarah rolled her eyes at Steve.
“Got it, sleep, check,” Steve said. “Okay, what about your diet, have you been consistent about it?”
“Yep, got it all right here,” Sarah handed Steve her food journal.
Steve took a couple glances through the journal and asked, “So if you’ve been consistent about your nutrition why am I seeing so much bread, pasta and all this other processed junk?”
“Well, you told me to up the carbs,” Sarah said.
“Yes, after your workouts,” Steve said. “You see initially we were on a fat blasting attack to get the fat burning enzymes and mechanisms built up to help you lose fat quickly.” “That was stage one.” “Now that you’re down below 20% bodyfat, your body is fighting to hold onto bodyfat more than ever.”
“Okay, yeah I remember those days, all protein, fats and veggies,” Sarah said, “Yuck!”
“Yep, don’t worry you’ll be there again,” Steve forewarned, “but we added in some extra carbs to help support your training efforts.” “Resistance training is hard work for the body, especially with the added demand you’re placing on it daily with cardio, as well.” “You’re for all intention purposes an athlete, which require a certain level of carbohydrates in order to function optimally.”
“Okay, so I added the carbs and now look at me,” Sarah said. “My body comp hasn’t changed in a couple of weeks and I feel more miserable now than I did with my protein and fat based diet.” “What gives?”
“Well, a couple of things really, but we’ll focus on the type of carbs now,” Steve said. “You’re replacing good bodybuilding foods like rice, oats, potatoes with bread, pasta and crackers.” “Sorry that stuff is garbage for building a good physique.” “Better quality food builds better quality bodies! Get back to those basic building blocks, the starchy carbs.” “Heck you’d be better off with some fruit too than crackers.”
“Okay, easy enough,” Sarah said.
“Oh, but wait there’s more to this story,” Steve said. “In addition to quality, we’re also going to focus on the timing.” “I told you to up the carbs in the POST-WORKOUT period.” “That’s nutrient timing.” Basically you’re having a good boost of carbs in your time period immediately after your workouts in order to assist with building and retaining muscle mass.” “The rest of the time…”
“I eat protein and fats?” Sarah said expectantly.
“Yes, exactly,” Steve said. “Don’t forget the fibrous veggies, those don’t count as overall calories because they’re too hard to digest. Go ahead, eat a pound of broccoli, just be ready for the onslaught in the bathroom to follow.”
Sarah laughed. “Yeah, sure. Okay, so I guess I’m just a bit all over the place with my carb intake.”
“Yep,” Steve said. “Oh, and don’t carb load after a cardio session.” “You really have to be blasting the muscles hard in order to have a successful carb feeding after a workout. You’re little bout of running and stepmill doesn’t count unless it’s after a resistance training workout. Remember we’re using that period to help build and preserve muscle mass, while keeping you losing fat. Make sense?”
“Yes, yes, I think I get it now. No bread, pasta, crackers. Replace with rice and sweet potatoes to refuel after a weight workout,” Sarah said. “Bananas?”
“Yes to the former, bananas, put one in your post-workout shake,” Steve said. “Alright, let’s see how that goes for a week or two and then we’ll re-evaluate. We should see those numbers come back down again.” “Remember there’s a time and place for everything, carbs, fats, proteins they’re all just fuel and building blocks for the body. You have to have the right amount and type for what you’re trying to do at the time.”
“Got it,” Sarah said. “Can we go pick up heavy shit now?”
“By all means, let’s get too it,” Steve said, jumping up. “Alright everyone, let’s get this done!”
CPT SMASH –Remember the body is a functional and adaptive organism, if you’re trying to achieve a certain goal you must keep in mind the when, how and why things work. One solid diet may get you so far, but after a certain time period you must change things in order to facilitate further changes.
Further tribute to bodybuilding and physique:
Male and female bodybuilders are a breed of their own. They make great sacrifices in their personal lives, bodies and diets in order to achieve the ultimate level of physique perfection all, for moments of glory on stage. Is it an easy road? Definitely not.
Is it a challenge, you bet?
Bodybuilding is challenging for both men and women, which is why so many people choose to compete. It’s more than just a challenge, it’s a battle of wills. A test of strength to persevere against all odds both physically and mentally. Not only that but it’s a learning experience for everyone. Everyone who competes gets to know their inner workings that much better, but only after diligent training and nutrition can one achieve success. It’s a long and tough journey, but the rewards are so worth it.