Training Break Recap, Glycogen, and New Workout Program

My first training break is complete! I took last week off from working out to give my muscles some time to rebuild as I’ve only taken off 1-2 days at a time since I started working out last year. I was a little hesitant to change up my schedule, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect with the surprise downturn in health of my beloved dog, Watson. Not only did I give my muscles a break, but taking a week of from working out allowed me to sleep in, gave me more freedom with food (since I didn’t feel compelled to down 30g of post-workout protein), and (most importantly) gave me more time to spend with Watson before he left this world.

Before starting the training break, I fully anticipated I would gain some weight. Mainly due to my muscle’s glycogen supply being restored since a lack of working out meant my glycogen levels stayed up. Over the week, I ended up gaining around 2.5 lbs, but I also (foolishly) added more calories into my diet as part of my reverse diet plan. In hindsight, I should have left my calories as is so I could gauge if the weight gain was due to the added calories or the training break. Since I did both, I’m not quite sure if one or both changes were the culprit. Either way, I’m confident I didn’t gain much fat, and I’m not too worried since my end goal isn’t to stay at 118 lbs.

Anyway, I’m leaving my calories/macros as is for this week and will see how my body responds. Ideally, I’ll see some weight loss so I can add more calories next week!

What is Glycogen?

Okay, I keep talking about glycogen, but perhaps you’re not familiar with what that is. In a nutshell, it’s how your body stores carbohydrates as energy. Fat is another way your body stores energy, but I won’t really go into that in this post.

When you consume carbohydrates, your body will store a limited amount of those carbs as glycogen in your liver, fat cells, and muscles. Water is required for storing glycogen, which is why many people see a 5-10 pound drop in weight when first restricting their calories and adding in exercise. While we’d all love it to be fat loss, it’s most likely water and glycogen loss. As you continue restricting calories and working out, your glycogen stores will remain depleted, which can make it difficult to gauge when you actually start losing fat.

To further complicate things, let’s say you have a treat meal and indulge in some delicious bagels, pasta, banana splits, etc. The following day, you’ll probably see the number on the scale creep up quite a bit. Fortunately, just as you didn’t really lose 5-10 pounds of fat when you first started working out/restricting calories, you didn’t actually gain fat after overindulging. Rather, your glycogen stores were replenished, which added to your overall weight. In order to gain a pound of fat, you must consume 3,500 calories OVER your maintenance calories. This would be extremely difficult to do unless you were consistently eating ridiculously large amounts of food throughout the day (like 6,000+ calories).

When researching how much weight glycogen can add to the scale, I read several articles stating the body requires around 3-4 grams of water to store 1 gram of carbohydrate. So if you were to eat 400 grams of carbs during a treat day, your body would also store an additional 1,200-1,600 grams of water. Add the carbs and the water together for a total of 2,000 grams which works out to around 4.5 pounds on the scale!

With that said, I feel understanding what glycogen is and how it works is essential if you are dieting. Dieters who are unfamiliar with how the body responds can easily feel discouraged and upset when seeing the weight on the scale increase after a tasty trip to McDonalds. This can lead to abandoning a healthier lifestyle due to feelings of failure, etc. However, by realizing how your body stores energy you can begin to understand how it responds to certain foods and situations. It’s also important to note why merely weighing yourself is not a good indicator of your overall body composition. Remember, taking progress pictures, measuring your waist, hips, chest, etc., and gauging how your clothes fit are better indicators of your progress over time.

New Workout Program

Today marks the first day of my next workout block, and I’m really excited about the program I’ve put together. Essentially, I thought it would be fun to make a program using the supplemental/deluxe/extra workouts from the 21 Day Fix/Extreme, Hammer & Chisel, Body Beast, and Sagi’s Beachbody On Demand exclusives. It’s a 4-week program where I’ll be focusing on different body parts each day of the week. Tuesdays are cardio days and Sundays will be total body.

It felt so good hitting the weights again! I felt stronger, and even lifted more than I thought I’d be able to. I also really enjoyed trying a new workout, as it keeps things interesting and exciting. Looking forward to the next 4-weeks! 🙂

Thank Yous, Reverse Diet Milestone, Training Break & Cookbook

Here is the first “official” blog post since Solana Fitness went live!

Thank YOU!

I want to give a BIG thank you to everyone for your support of Solana Fitness!  I truly appreciate everyone’s sweet comments, posts of encouragement and overall support!  You guys are awesome!  I’m also overwhelmed with the positive response and am happy to share that I’ve been contacted by multiple people already!  I’m so excited and look forward to helping others get started on their healthier lifestyles!

My promotional offer for the 15% discount on the first five people who signed up has expired due to the responses I’ve received.  Thank you again!!!

Reverse Diet Milestone

If you’ve read any of my prior posts, you’ll know I’ve been on a conservative reverse diet for the past three months.  My goal has been to increase my calories as much as possible to stave off any metabolic damage from prolonged fat loss.  I decided to take my time with the reverse diet to limit fat gain as much as possible.  As part of the diet, I decided to set some mini-milestones to help acknowledge how things are going and to set some goals for structure, etc.

When beginning the reverse, I set the following goals:

  • Reach 200g of carbs
  • Remain less than 125 lbs
  • Reach 2,000 calories
  • Body Fat of 14-15%

Starting this week, I was able to hit the first milestone as I reached 200g of carbs!  This may not seem like a big deal, but when I started the reverse, I was consuming 100g of carbs a day.  Adding another 100g is the equivalent of adding 400 calories back!  I’ve also been able to maintain my weight thus far!  In fact, I’ve lost weight since beginning the reverse since I started at 124, and now average around 119.  Body fat percentage can be harder to track, but I believe I’m holding steady around 16%.  I’d like to drop a bit lower, but that may not happen before I start bulking later this year.

I still have the goal to reach 2,000 calories, but have also added a new goal of hitting around 65g of fat.  I’m currently at 55g right now, so another 10 grams will add another 90 calories.  By that time, my carbs should be well into the 200s!  I’ll keep you all updated of my progress!

Training Break

So, after 15 months of training, I’ve not taken many breaks from working out.  During my rounds of the 21 Day Fix/Extreme, there were no actual rest days.  One day a week was scheduled for yoga (which I LOVED), but it still wasn’t a true rest day.  PiYo, Hammer & Chisel and Body Beast all have a rest day included, however, I’ve never really taken more than a day or two off since I started working out.

It’s recommended to take some time off from training in between programs or roughly every 8-12 weeks.  You should still track what you eat and limit the treats where possible, however, a cheat meal or two will help keep that metabolism chugging along.  Also, giving your body a full week to rest will help avoid burn out, allow your muscles to truly rebuild, and give you back some time to enjoy other activities!  Often times, people come back stronger and more refreshed following a training break, however, some may experience a bit of atrophy if the break lasts more than a week.

Anyway, I wrap up the first round of Body Beast this coming Sunday and am planning to take August 22nd-28th off from training.  I’m still trying to decide what I’ll try next, but am looking at either another round of Hammer & Chisel, or a hybrid of Hammer & Chisel with Body Beast.

Cookbook

Because I don’t have enough project lined up at the moment <insert sarcastic smile here> I’m currently working on a cookbook I hope to release in the coming months.  I love creating new recipes by taking my favorite foods and making them a bit healthier.  Many people have requested I create a cookbook to easily reference the numerous recipes I’ve created, so I’m doing my best to actually create that book!  I already have a title lined up, and am currently working on the layout along with obtaining nutrition information and photos for each recipe.  My goal is to reference macros and Beachbody container equivalents for each recipe in the book.

Got a recipe you’d like to see me include?  Please leave a comment and let me know!

Solana Fitness is now LIVE!

After months of planning, I’m so excited to finally launch Solana Fitness!  I’ve been dabbling with offering coaching services for a number of months and decided to make it more formal!  Firstly, I’ll address some “burning” questions you may have.  🙂

Am I keeping my day job?
Yes. At least for now!  I found I love learning about fitness nutrition and resistance training, and I want to do more with it.  However, it will take time to get the certifications and experience I need, so maybe one day I can do this full time.

What’s going to happen to Studio Solana?
Nothing! I plan to continue my crafty endeavors!  The number of craft shows I do each fall/winter may decrease a bit, but I still fully intend to melt glass, knit fibers, sew and just craft in general!

Why should I hire you as a coach?
If you’ve been trying to lose weight, or always gravitate to the diet/flavor of the month with little results, I can help you navigate the sea of information on the internet and give you some basic things to try.  I’ve also been told I’m a great motivator, and I do enjoy challenging and supporting people along their journeys!

How do I learn more?
Visit the Coaching page on this site to see what services I’m offering.  I also plan to blog/write informational articles from time to time, so be sure to follow me on Facebook and RSS feeds for the latest content!  I’ll even be posting some exclusive recipes that I’ve developed.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  For now, explore the site, read my blog (I documented my macro experiment and am currently documenting my reverse diet experiment), and check out the Resources section for more information!

Photo Shoot Images

I had a great time working with Bliss Eleven Studio to create some fun fitness images!  The main purpose of the shoot was to get some decent images for this site and social media, but also to document how far I’ve come on my personal fitness journey.

After just over a year, I’ve lost around 30 pounds and five dress sizes.  I’ve gotten stronger, more flexible, am in less pain, and have learned a wealth of knowledge about diet and nutrition.

We took a lot of images, but here are some of my favorites:

I’d love to know your thoughts and which ones you like the best.  🙂  Also, be sure to check out Bliss Eleven for any photography needs!  Laurie is a genius with the camera!

Reverse Diet: Update #2

It’s now been 11 weeks since I started my reverse diet, and I must say, it’s been so nice to add carbs (along with some fat) back into my macros!  I find I get to eat a lot more fruit, sweet potatoes and plantain, since I don’t have to be so picky about how I allocate my carbs.

At the beginning I was eating around 1,389 calories, which broke down into the following macros:  Protein – 125 / Fat – 49 / Carbs – 112.  I’m currently at 1,700 calories, and my macro breakdown is:  Protein – 123 / Fat – 52 / Carbs – 185.  One of my mini goals was to get to 200 grams of carbs, so I’m on track to get there soon!

One of the things I’ve noticed during the reverse diet is how much hungrier I am.  I know it’s a byproduct of my metabolism speeding up, which is both good and bad.  I find I’m sneaking little snacks here and there more often, and while I try to track most of them, I don’t track them all.  This means I’m probably actually eating another 50-100 calories a day than my target.  Fortunately, I’m not too worried about it since I’m doing a very conservative reverse, but as I get closer to my maintenance calories (TDEE – total daily energy expenditure), that snacking could skew my results of how I’m actually doing on the diet.

Also, since I’ve been adding more carbs, I’m finding it difficult to stay within my protein target for the day!  I’m so used to eating high-protein foods and limited carbs, that it’s been a real shift in my eating habits!  I also tend to steer towards complex carbs, which have some protein as well (like broccoli, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes), so even though I’m eating more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, the grams just disappears so quickly!  Of course, my love of protein angel food cakes, protein fluff, greek yogurt with peanut butter, and ricotta cheese makes it extremely easy to do!  🙂

Anyway, here’s a chart of my latest ratio of calories to weight.  While I’m still trending downward, the weight is starting to level off a bit, which means I’m getting closer to my maintenance.

reverse_diet_10wk

The yellow line represents my calorie increases week over week, while the dark orange line is my daily weight.  It’s interesting to see the spikes in my weight following my “free” Sundays.  While I don’t binge, I do enjoy a few fun foods and eat closer to maintenance.

Overall, I was wanting to move into a body recomposition phase following my reverse diet, but have since learned I may be a bit “too lean” to recomp as I had planned.  I may need to enter a small bulking phase to gain some muscle along with a bit of fat for both aesthetic and hormonal reasons.  This will allow me to have a good foundation to start from when I am ready to recomp.

I’m also looking at the speed of my reverse diet, which has been extremely conservative.  I’ve only been adding about 30-50 calories every few weeks, so I may bump that up to 100 calories in the coming week or so.  Once my weight has trended up for a few weeks, I’ll begin doing a slow bulk where I’ll aim to gain around 1 pound per week.

With that said, it looks like my goals are shifting again!  Instead of a body recomposition experiment, I’ll instead start a bulking experiment.  This is new territory for me, so I’m interested to see how it’ll go!

Here’s a summary on my current short and long term goals:

Short term:

  • Reach 200+ grams of carbs
  • Reach ~ 60 grams of fat
  • Maintain a weight of around 120 lbs

Long term:

  • Push calories to 2,000+
  • Enter slow bulk phase to gain around 1 lb per week (3,500 additional calories or 500/day)
  • Target a weight of around 125-130 lbs before starting recomp

I hope to post another update in the next few weeks!

Reverse Diet Update

Hard to believe it’s already been 6 weeks since I started my reverse diet!  In that time, I’ve been able to increase my calories from 1,389 to 1,547!  While that may not seem like much, it really is when it’s all put towards increasing carbs!  I can have sweet potatoes, plantains, fruit, rice, bread and treats more often now!  🙂

My weight has continued to trend downwards despite some pretty significant fluctuations each week, but it’s interesting to see how the body responds to schedule changes, types of food, stress, and sleep patterns.  In my last post, I mentioned how I thought I was hitting my caloric maintenance levels, since my weight was leveling off, but I don’t think that’s really the case as continue to feel hungry on a regular basis.  This tells me my leptin levels are low and that my body still needs more calories.  I believe the weight loss is “slowing down” since I’m hitting lower body fat levels and with my calorie deficit getting smaller as well.  I think my TDEE is around 1,700, so the trend should continue for another few weeks.  I’m also noticing my body is appearing more lean in my problem areas.  I do have some loose skin, but my midsection and “love handles” have tightened up a bit as confirmed by most recent measurements.

Overall, I am taking a very conservative approach to the reverse diet as I want to limit gaining body fat as much as possible.  Once I see my weight increase for a few weeks, I’ll know I’ve hit maintenance and will remain there for a few more weeks before pushing my calories up again.

Last Sunday, I added in a “refeed” day to help replenish some glycogen and to throw my metabolism a curve ball.  I knew I’d gain around 3 pounds following the refeed, and ended up gaining around 2.6 pounds the following day.  🙂  After 4 days, my weight came back down to pre-refeed levels, so I’m hoping to increase my macros for the coming week!

In other news, I’m also gearing up for my first fitness photo shoot!  There are several reasons for the shoot.  #1 – Photo shoots are fun, so it’s a great way to treat myself by getting dolled up and hanging out with some fun people at the same time!  #2 – To document how far I’ve come on this fitness journey.  I’ve lost 30 pounds and five dress sizes, so having some great “after” images will help me see where all the hard work has gone.  #3 – Marketing for Solana Fitness. I need some good quality images for this site.

The photo shoot is a little over a week away, so I’m currently determining how best to structure my diet to appear as lean and defined as possible.  It can be tricky with a reverse diet since I’m actually adding more calories back in.  I’ll be interesting to see how it goes!

Reverse Diet Experiment

So, after successfully completing my macro experiment and achieving great results, I decided it was time to start a reverse diet.  What is a reverse diet, you ask?  Essentially, it’s a planned and controlled increase of calories over time.  When in a caloric deficit for an extended period, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy since your body doesn’t want to lose weight.  If you remain in a deficit for too long, some people can actually get metabolic damage, which means they will quickly gain weight as soon as they eat more calories than they have been.

This is something many bodybuilders or people who compete in the fitness arena deal with.  To hit their goals for maximum muscle definition and low body fat, competitors will often eat at extremely low calorie amounts and do ridiculous amounts of cardio for weeks or months.  However, as soon as the competition is over, they go right back to eating at their typical calorie limits, often gaining 10-20 pounds in a short amount of time.  Articles recently came out about several winners of the Big Loser, who gained all their weight back (and more) following the show.

I’ve been eating at a pretty consistent deficit since May 2015, and while I’m not quite at my goals yet, I’m close enough to start working to increase my calories; mainly carbohydrates.  Ideally, I’ll continue to lose or weight for several more weeks, before hitting my current maintenance calories or TDEE.

I actually started my reverse diet on May 30th, 2016 and have been tracking my weight daily to see how my body responds to what I eat.  As I indicated above, I did continue to lose weight, but seem to be leveling off now.

Following the bead retreat, I gained 7 pounds from a weekend of indulgences, and was able to work off most of that weight in the following week.  As such, when I started my reverse diet, my macros were as follows:

Calories: 1,389 / Protein: 125 / Fat: 49 / Carbs: 112
Weight: 122
Body Fat: ~16%
Waist: ~27.5 (belly button….not natural waist)

I wanted to be extremely conservative with my reverse diet and started by only adding 5g of carbs since I had eaten so terribly the weekend before.  I planned to weigh myself every Sunday and would then decide if I should add more carbs the following Monday.  So, for Monday, May 30th my macros were set as follows:

Calories: 1,409 / Protein: 125 / Fat: 49 / Carbs: 117

Typically fat is also increased, but at 49g it’s already pretty high.  As such, I’m keeping it consistent for a few weeks and only focusing on adding carbs.

After my first week on the reverse diet, my weight continued to drop, which was expected.  I only added 20 extra calories to my day, so I knew I was still well below my TDEE.  I then added 10g of carbs for week two, and saw the same trend.  I actually hit my lowest weight EVAR of 118.8 that week, but ended up gaining several pounds back following a weekend with my niece.  🙂  Despite trying to eat well, my schedule was totally thrown out of whack, which definitely impacted my progress.

Here’s a chart of my reverse diet metrics thus far:

reverse_diet_start

After 4 days with the new macros, my weight dropped slightly, but I’m currently hovering around 119.5 pounds.  While it’s lower than where it was on Sunday, it hasn’t changed in three days.  I believe this means I’m nearing my maintenance calories and will need to stay with these macros until I achieve homeostasis (or my new maintenance), before I try pushing my calories further.  On the flip-side, I did have a food day at work this week, and ate more sodium-laden foods than normal.  Also, even though I tracked most of what I ate, I’m pretty sure I still went over my carbs for the day.  Hopefully I can continue to stick to my meal plan for the rest of the week, and will have a better idea of how the reverse diet is working by this weekend.

Having the extra carbs has definitely been nice, as I can enjoy more snacks throughout the day, though I find I’m struggling to get all the food in each day.  I’m finding I still have at least 20g of protein left by the end of the day and try to squeeze them in before bed.  Despite not being too hungry, I’m getting in the protein with angel food cakes or protein fluff, but that may also be working against me.  I guess we’ll see!

I’m also going to change my weigh-in/measurement day for the macros to Saturdays as that seems to be the day of the week where I weigh the least.  It’s also my rest day, which would explain why Sundays tend to be a bit up each week.  I’ll still start the new macros on Mondays, but will base that decision on Saturday’s metrics.

Stay tuned as I continue to share my progress with the reverse diet!

My goals for this new experiment are:

* Hit 2,000 calories
* Get carbs up to 200g
* Remain under 125 pounds
* Body fat of 14-15%

Here’s hoping I can achieve the above goals before the end of the summer!

Macro Experiment: Week 8 (5/9/16-5/15/16)

Hard to believe that after 8 weeks, my macro experiment is COMPLETE!  It’s been such an eye-opening journey, and I learned so much!  The weeks flew by, and it was exciting to see my body change as a result!  I learned so much about cutting, macros, protein, refeeds, carb-cycling, and most importantly….patience!  Never in a million years did I think my body could look the way it does now, and I give all the glory to God, who gave me the strength to persevere!

Here are my final results!

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In addition to the decreased weight and body fat, I also 2.5″ from my natural waist and around my belly button!  This is a huge accomplishment as the area around my belly has always been problematic.

Also, I should note the slight uptick in weight during the last week was from going over my carb macro.  While I was still under my calorie limit, I ate more carbs than protein, which resulted in some glycogen being replenished.  Also, I failed to hit my fiber goal, which compounded the issue.

Check out my progress pic!  The toning up is definitely noticeable in the waist and arms.  🙂

Next Steps: Reverse Dieting & Body Recomposition

Now that this leg of my fitness journey is complete, it’s time to start the next one! I didn’t quite hit my goal, but I don’t want to continue “cutting” (burning fat) much longer as it can damage the metabolism.  I’ll talk more about Reverse Dieting in a future post, as I’ll be documenting that journey as the “Reverse Diet Experiment”.  🙂

For now, I plan to do one more week of my current Hammer & Chisel workouts while slightly upping my carbs.  I don’t plan to cycle my carbs on training days and will remain at the lower calorie range throughout the week.  The main reason for this is because I’m attending a retreat this coming weekend, which will put a strain on my schedule and eating habits.  As such, I plan to workout Monday-Friday, taking Saturday as my rest day.  I hope to do some sort of yoga or pilates while at the retreat, but that may be difficult due to the location.

During the week of May 23rd, I’ll take a slight break off from any structured plan and will dabble in doing my own weight circuits and/or trying out new workouts from BeachBody.  I still plan to stick to my current macros, and will fully jump into Reverse Dieting on Memorial Day!

That closes out my posts on my Macro Experiment!  If you have any questions, or would like help with setting your macros, please feel free to contact me!  I’d love to help!

Macro Experiment: Week 7 (5/2/16-5/8/16)

311115_e1c5755b3b6047a790e2206130da39bbBy now, you know I’ve been eating “low carb” for the past several weeks.  While I do get a bit of a bump on training days, it’s only a paltry increase from 100g to 113g, which equals around 50 extra calories from carbs.  When tracking macros, you quickly realize carbs are in EVERYTHING, so what do you do to limit them?  Use cauliflower and cloud bread!

Cauliflower – My New Favorite Food

I’ve never really paid much attention to cauliflower.  I would eat it from veggie trays at parties, but it never really impressed me.  Bland, crunchy, boring.  I never bought it, never used, never thought about it.  Well no more!  I was introduced to cauliflower rice and other various preparations for this overlooked veggie, and now I’m a Cauli-Lover!

Cauliflower rice is the simple process of grating the cauliflower florets or pureeing them using a food processor.  The end result is a coarse “rice” that looks similar to quinoa.  You can eat it as is, or flavor it in a variety of ways.

A cup of riced cauliflower equals around 30 calories and 4g carbs, which is very filling, especially when adding other vegetables, proteins or fats.

Here are some of the tasty variations I’ve created include:

  • Mexican rice (salsa, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes)
  • Lime & cilantro rice
  • Curried rice (great with Indian dishes!)
  • Special fried rice (shrimp, egg, mushrooms, carrots, coconut aminos, garlic, ginger)
  • Cheesy broccoli, chicken & rice (cheddar cheese, broccoli florets, coconut milk)
  • Tortillas/Wraps
  • Pizza crusts
  • Garlic cheese sticks
  • Buffalo cauliflower (roasted cauliflower florets tossed in hot sauce)

I’ve also run across several recipes I’ve yet to try like cauliflower tots, cakes/patties, and garlic mashed cauliflower.  Check out Pinterest for more ideas on how to use this versatile veggie!

Cloud Bread

Also known as “oopsie bread”, this item was a happy accident for a food blogger, which is how it got the “oopsie” name.  Since that time, it’s caught on in the low carb and health food world and has recently taken off under the name “cloud bread”!  The bread is very light/spongy (almost like a merengue) and made with eggs and a dairy source.  The eggs are separated with the whites being whipped to stiff peaks, while the yolks are combined with one of the following: cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, greek yogurt, cream cheese, goat cheese, sour cream, etc.  The whites are then folded with the yolks to create an airy batter, which is then spooned onto a baking sheet and baked at a low temperature.

I typically make savory breads, but the batter can also be made sweet and used in desserts.  Again, Pinterest is a great resource for recipe ideas, although my favorite way to prepare cloud bread is for burgers.  I add some onion powder, dill weed, and a pinch of salt to the yolk mixture.  The resulting buns pair perfectly with a lean burger patty and cheese!

What makes cloud bread great is that it is almost 100% carb free.  Instead, it’s a nice protein source, and while it isn’t exactly like bread, it’s close enough to give you the satisfaction of holding a sandwich in your hand without giving up a bunch of carbs.  They’re also the perfect little snacks if you’re craving something between meals!

I use two eggs and two ounces of fat-free greek yogurt to make 8 buns.  This comes out to roughly 40 calories per serving;  < 1 g of carbs, 5 g of protein and 3 g of fat.

The moral of this post overall is that you don’t have to give up foods you love when cutting macros/calories to reach your goals.  You just have to be creative!  In fact, I may make some “healthier” oreos for my protein shakes this weekend!

Macro Experiment: Week 6 (4/25/16-5/1/16)

I decided to continue with the carb-cycling this week since I did break the 125 mark the Saturday before.  As such, I re-calculated my calories and macros again.  For week 6, I started with the following values:

TDEE:              1,693
Calorie Target: 1,354
Protein:            125 g (non-training) / 150 g (training)
Fat:                   50 g (non-training & training)
Carbs:              100 g (non-training) / 113 g (training)

While I wasn’t too excited at dropping the calories again, I’m determined to reach my goals.  I’ve been loving the macros process thus far and want to see how far I can take my physique!

Types of Protein

I mentioned supplementation earlier, and one of the ways I’ve been supplementing my food intake is with various proteins.  I currently use Beachbody Recover following my workouts, which delivers 20g of whey isolate protein to my muscles.  I also try to drink Shakeology daily, which has 18g of protein and was curious what the difference in proteins is.  As such, I began my research into proteins!

Protein bars

These are great in a pinch, but many bars contains unpronounceable ingredients, sugars, and other things which essentially make them high-protein candy bars.  There are several brands that rise to the top, but I found it’s best to make your own bars whenever possible using some of the proteins I’ve listed below.

Whey

I’ve learned that whey isolate is the best protein for immediate muscle recovery.  It’s a fast digesting protein that quickly helps muscles rebuild after being broken down from a workout.  There is also whey concentrate, which is beneficial, but not as effective as the isolate version, which has the complete panel of amino acids.  However, I’ve read several articles that indicate whey protein blends (containing an isolate and concentrate) are no more effective than just consuming an isolate.  I suggest trying several different protein brands (with the purest ingredients possible) and see what works best for you.  Whey protein is typically found in protein powders, and certain cheeses like ricotta or Indian paneer.  It is a byproduct of cheese-making from cow’s milk.

Casein

This protein is also derived from cow’s milk, but takes longer to digest.  As such, it’s great for night time muscle repair and to stave off hunger in the middle of the night.  Casein can be found in dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt, but can also be found in protein powder form.

Egg Whites

Another great source of protein are egg whites.  These guys have no carbs, no fat, are low in calorie and pure protein.  It’s no wonder the body-building community relies on them to meet their macros.  You can find cartons of egg whites in the egg and dairy section of most grocers (though these have small amounts of carbs), but there are also a number of egg white powders available as well.

Plant-Based

As the number of vegans and vegetarians continues to grow, getting enough protein can be tricky for this slice of the fitness world.  Many plants, seeds, legumes and vegetables have some amount of protein, but there are also several protein powders that are derived from plants to make it easier and more convenient to get enough protein in a day.

Animal-Based

This accounts for meat.  Eating meat is a great way to get in a lot of protein in one sitting.  Whole eggs, chicken, turkey, lean red meat, fish and shellfish help make meals filling while providing lots of muscle-building protein.

Week 6: In Summary

I was happy to see much more progress this week following last week’s slight increase.  By Wednesday, the scale dropped again, and I could see more definition in my abs.  By Saturday, my weight dropped below 124, but crept up a bit during the day.  Either way, the fat around my mid-section is “jiggling” less, and my arm muscles have started to pop.  I’m also happy to share I went down another dress size!

Calories/Macros:

TDEE:              1,693
Calorie Target: 1,350 (non-training) / 1,502 (training)
Protein:            125 g (non-training) / 150 g (training)
Fat:                   50 g (non-training & training)
Carbs:              100 g (non-training) / 113 g (training)

Stats:

Weight:                     124 (-1.5 pounds)
Dress size:                2
Natural Waist:           26.5″ (- .5″)
Estimated Body Fat: 19%
Updated Goal:           Shooting for 120lbs