Ok.. . So it's that time of year.
Winter bulk is over. (I didn't put on 50 lbs this year, only 15) Now, I know that eventually in the coming months, my shirt is going to have to come off in a public setting. I started the winter at 170, and am now about 185. A few lbs *could* be muscle, but I drank like a fish this holiday season, and I can only pretend so much.
I've always said that up until you are in your mid 30's, winter bulking is completely acceptable in order to put on some quality mass. After that, you can still do it, but it gets harder for you to lose that added weight. It's not impossible, and I know people that are the exception to the rule - but for the most part, it gets harder as you age due to the slowing of your metabolism and your body's response.
So, now I need to come up with a plan. It's relatively simple and I've made it work for myself the last few years. Find what works for you. I know people that can do 3 full protein days in a row with no carbs at all for 72 hours. Well, let's get one thing straight. If I go for more than 24 hours with no carbs, everything starts to look like a potato and someone is going to get bit. I get hazy, cranky and start to be really bitter about life. I just can't do it.
So, I incorporate a carb cycling approach. I still like lifting heavy while I "cut". There are many benefits. I get to keep the strength that I have accumulated over my bulking period, and I wont lose as much muscle as if I just completely switched to cardio based exercises. I keep my cardio to fasted morning runs (or walks if I'm feeling lazy that day) and the biggest change comes in the food that I stuff into my face.
I have high carb days and low carb days. I will explain the difference and why I do it the way that I do. My high carb days fall on my heavy lifting days. I need the extra energy to maximize my performance on my big lifts and the added glycogen (sugars from these carb sources) does just that. I'm eating leaner protein and my fat content stays roughly the same. Now, the big difference comes on my low days. I cut my carbs down to about 50g per day (roughly 2 slices of bread) and make sure to get cardio in on that day. Now, what this does is depletes your body readily available glycogen stores and your stored fat is more likely to be used as a fuel source when that happens. I replace the carbs with lean protein and greens as to keep my total calories at a decent level. So, on the days I am lifting and eating high carbs and protein, my body can be slightly anabolic, and on the days I am jogging and eating less carbs, I will be more catabolic and elicit a different response from my body.
I start this early in the season as I don't like counting calories... It's a lot of work and I just don't want to do it. I'll eat this way for a couple of weeks, to see if there is a loss without cutting down my total calories by too much. If I am losing too much (more than 1.5lbs per week) then I will add in more calories. If I am not losing, I will simply cut my calories down by 2 or 300 a day. It's relatively simple.
As you can tell from my previous blog posts, I really don't like to complicate things in my nutrition, or my life.. haha, so this works out perfect. So now, by the summer, I shouldn't be this pale mess that sits in front of this computer and writes this blog.
Feel free to try this approach yourself - let me know how it goes.