I’m a little over 4 weeks into my prep and everything seems to be going fairly well. I’m excited about the changes and progress I’m making! Let me jump right in with specifics and details…
- Calories/Macros have been steadily increased and I’m currently at 2240 calories (54% carbs – 23% protein – 23% fat)
The first couple of weeks I was SO excited to get new numbers and MORE food. My body was adjusting great to each of the increases. Then I kind of felt like I hit a wall with this last increase. I started feeling less lean, a little bit more bloated, and certainly “puffier” around my mid section. I began to feel discouraged about this reverse dieting process and immediately almost convinced myself that I need to start cutting early. When paired with a couple of highly emotional days (December is an extremely hard month for me due to the anniversary of my dad’s passing) AND my good old lady cycle, well its just a recipe for disaster on any given day. However, all of a sudden yesterday, my body started feeling like it normally does. I ate a couple of fairly large meals which normally leave me feeling more bloated, but instead I got back to feeling lean and strong VS. a puffy marshmallow. Yesterday convinced me that this is part of the process and in order for me to properly cut/diet next month, I need to stick to the plan.
- I’m trying to reduce my normal 2-3 hour eating window to 4-5 hours with bigger meals. Prior to prep, I was eating 6-7 meals per day that averaged anywhere from 200-350 calories and now I’m shooting for 400-600 calories for most meals. It’s been a big adjustment but I think I’m getting the hang of it.
- Cardio has been reduced yet again. Praise Jesus.
I’m currently down to one 20-25 minute HIIT session per week. I typically stick with intervals on the stair master or treadmill where I do a 3-5 minute warm up, then do 1 minute maximum speed/work, followed by a 1.5-2 minute recovery, and I repeat for 8-10 rounds. I know a lot of women are cardio bunnies and they either love it OR are under the impression that the only way to lose fat/weight is to pound out an hour of cardio a day. That’s great for them. I envy those that love it and can tolerate doing the same thing for that long. Whatever they feel they need to do to be healthy (both physically and mentally), more power to them. For me though, while I’m reverse dieting and in a little bulking phase to grow, I want to preserve as much muscle as I can. I am fighting HARD to build and recompose my body which already isn’t an easy task so cardio will trump all that hard work and GAINS! I have no idea how much this will change when I go to cut, but for now… I’m 100% happy with my 20 minutes per week. Thank GOD!
- I started a new training split a few weeks ago that I am SO in love with. It’s a combination of power and hypertrophy training which allows me to basically hit all my muscles twice per week (VS the traditional bro split of one body part per day/week). I’m feeling strong. I’m hitting PR’s. And I’m also starting to feel slightly less sore than I was on my old split. I was seriously sore EVERY single day, regardless of what and how I trained and it would last for a few days. Since I started the new split, I’m feeling my typical soreness on my lower days BUT it doesn’t last as long and on my upper days, I’m feeling tight but not necessarily sore. Kinda wish I had started this split so much sooner! I’m happy I’m training my muscles to recover faster.
All in all, I have felt GREAT this past month. We all have good days, not so good days, and better days. I definitely don’t feel like I have been on any kind of prep, especially the kind I typically see others complain about due to excessive cardio, limited food choices, decreased calories, reduced carbs, and some even needing to do two a days for training. I’m training 5 days per week lifting and on one of those days I get my 20 minute cardio session in, then have 2 full rest days. I have eaten everything I have wanted to. I have enjoyed eating out with my family at least twice a week from the very beginning. And some days I almost feel like I want to keep pushing my reverse diet & bulk longer because I feel so darn good (physically & mentally) 99.999% of the time. Nothing has been hard but I know a lot of that has to do with A. barely any cardio B. more food to enjoy and most importantly C. my love of lifting! There is not a day that goes by where I’m not giving 100% at the gym. And when I’m not working, with the family, or at the gym…. I promise you that I’m probably thinking about training and wishing I was lifting something!
Here are some pics I posted on my IG this week, figured I might as well show my growth here as well!
Super proud of my bicep growth! There are roughly 6 weeks in between each of these shots. Far left was when I first got my gym membership (2-3 months of lifting at home), middle was 6 weeks ago, and far right was last week. These little babies were literally built from nothing. I went from using 5 lb dumbbells for bicep curls to using 25 lb dumbbells on my power days/20 lbs on my hypertrophy days. Next week I will attempt another PR and hit 30 lbs…. mark my words. Even if its only for 2-3 reps, I’m gonna do it!
This split is roughly 3 months difference. Picture on the left was me at around 2200 calories BUT only 205 g carbs. Picture on the right was this past weekend at 2240 calories and 305 g carbs. The change in the images is subtle and the angle is a slightly different but I really want to illustrate that despite what we have been taught our whole lives’, carbs do NOT make you fat. Again, my main goal in reverse dieting has been to repair my metabolism so that when I do start to cut/diet the process will be SO much easier. Of course I could reduced calories and my carbs to lean out further & quickly now but at what cost? I would most likely be hungry more. Definitely feel deprived every day. Lose energy. Possibly start to binge eat. And definitely make it that much harder for my body to adjust once my cut/diet is over and I switch over to maintaining. I will be stuck at the lower calories with no where to go. When “dieting” one MUST think long term. You have to think about how you want your body to look and feel in the future. Push yourself to NOT look for immediate results. Dieting the way I have chosen to do, sets me up for long lasting results and not being on a roller coaster of constant & lifelong dieting. As for next month, I have no idea what is in store. The way I see it, if I can train my body to maintain above my normal maintenance level, then reducing calories even the slightest amount should produce some great results. That’s my hope anyways. We will see come the first week of January. Until then, MORE food (and carbs) please!
And last…. this is just a progress shot of my backside. One of my main goals when I started to get serious about my body and changing it was to grow my bottom. Unfortunately, I was not blessed with good booty genes and this thing was as flat as a pancake my entire life. Absolutely no shape at all, definitely resembled Miley on any given day! Finally, I think I’m starting to see a little bump back there. At least I’m hoping it’s growing! I used to also want a six pack, but now…. I’d take booty over abs ANY day of the week! I train legs twice per week but both days are heavily focused on glutes. Lots of squats, dead lifts, hip thrusts, kick backs, and various lunges. I go all out on those exercises. After 3 months of lifting HEAVY for them, things are finally starting to change. Progress may come slow and to some you may look at this picture and think “Yeah, you still have a flat ass!” BUT I can feel a difference. I’m starting to see a difference and in the end, that’s all that counts in my book!
“Fear no workout. Destroy every set. Feel every rep”
Looking forward to another couple of weeks to grow, build my metabolism even further, and kill it even during this holiday season! Feeling gggrrrrrreeeeaaaaatttttt! Let’s do this!!!!!
If you are interested in learning more about metabolic damage, reverse dieting, would like to have a plan set up for you, or are looking for a competition prep coach please be sure to check out William Grazione at Metabolic Evolution!
BrionnaFebruary 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm
I was curious, as I am just starting out I wanted to start counting my macros. I recently have calculated the appropriate grams/cals for macro intake levels… it is still so confusing to me as to what a good method of keeping track would be?
Of course tracking food… but should I prep? I just don’t know
corinaFebruary 4, 2014 at 8:54 pm
Hi Brionna! personally, having 1-2 of my daily meals prepped and ready to go when I want/need them helps a ton. Takes the guess work out. I wouldn’t do it for every meal because that would get boring by day 2 lol. As long as you are tracking your food and macros in myfitnesspal or similar app, you should be able to stay on track. Take a look at my article on MFP here on my blog, that explains how I input food! Hope that helps!
KateyMarch 26, 2014 at 6:39 am
Hi Corina! I’ve been tracking my macros for about a month, at 25% lower than maintenance. I want to build more muscle, so I’m going to start adding calories slowly to get to maintenance to build, like you have. About how long would you suggest I increase these calories for, 2 months? And when should I start cutting back again? Thanks so much, I am completely obsessed with your blog, and you journey has been so inspiring to those who were at their ends rope with yo-yo diets. God bless you and your family!:)
corinaMarch 26, 2014 at 4:52 pm
Some people reverse diet (add calories) in over the course of 2, 3, 6, or 12 months…. just comes down to how you feel and what you are trying to do! In retrospect, I probably would have continued with my reverse diet a little bit longer just to see how far I could push it. Now that I am dieting, I feel like I didn’t put on the amount of muscle I wanted to. Just take it day by day, add calories until you start to gain weight/body fat too fast and then either maintain there for a bit OR you can start to cut/diet… SLOWLY though 🙂 Don’t make any sudden drastic changes! Hope that helps!
ShelbyDecember 19, 2014 at 3:02 am
I can’t believe how much I love your blog. I’m 24, no kids, but I relate so much to your experience because of how time limited and passionate you are. I’m super busy myself so I appreciate all the effort you put into this. I used to be a serious runner – I maybe did the occasional power class at my gym twice a week just to “check the box”, but found I missed having curves.. It bothered me that people sometimes had the backhanded compliment of “girl you are SO skinny!” I ran 4-6 days a week and while I was good at it, I didn’t fuel up like an athlete should. I lifted in high school (and was not a runner back then) and decided to build muscle. I love the shape I’m getting (might even have a booty again 🙂 )
Recently have started IIFYM after finding a great trainer, and I’ll admit, it’s a litte different than what I’m used to. I never ate this much “back in the day” and the fluffiness that has replaced my relatively flat (not muscular at all) tummy is, for lack of better description, weird. BUT thanks to reading your blog I have ideas to help figure out bloating (I’m hitting 30-40 g fiber, so THATS a start!) and just knowing that this process takes time and I have to be patient. I know that years of running has probably altered my metabolism – so it will take my body time to figure things out. Your honesty is incredible, and makes me feel like I’m not the only one who is going through it all. Thank you thank you for being so relatable and inspiring! You are amazing!