Words cannot even express how excited and happy I am! Officially 4 weeks into my 8 week cut and I think things are going really really well. Aside from an annoying knee injury which has changed my lower body training days, I’m moving along nicely! It’s SO neat to see your body change every week. There really isn’t any better motivator than your own progress. I’m beginning to see glimpses of more defined muscles everywhere without having to flex and some of my clothes aren’t fitting quite the same. BEST indicator of progress. I’m a happy girl!
So here are the details….
- Changes in macros:
I have reduced calories SLIGHTLY each week. I think when the majority of people begin a diet, they are prompted to have a huge reduction in their caloric intake right from the start. While this may produce some quick weight loss to start with, it’s never the best route to take in my opinion. SLOW & STEADY wins the race. Like I have said many times before, I have both immediate AND long term health in mind so dieting slowly is the most gentle way to treat my body. I do not want to be left with a shot metabolism and end up either gaining body fat quickly or losing my overall physique as soon as I go back to reverse diet again. I am now averaging around 1,600 calories with 165 grams of carbs per day. Again, cutting your carbs out completely and/or too fast (as most diets suggest and promote) will compromise your metabolism. Reducing them SLOWLY is the best way to treat any diet. I am also doing a form of carb cycling so my carb intake varies each day. I have high days and low days, no specific “refeed” days. I was really scared coming down from over 2,300 calories. I thought I would be SUPER hungry every day but it’s not the case. Because calories have been reduced slowly, my body seems to have adjusted well. Cycling carbs also helps for days I have a few more cravings and need a pizza or ice cream fix. I have no idea how I was eating over 320 grams of carbs at the top of my reverse diet…. good lord, that was a LOT of food. I enjoyed it at the time, but I do feel much better and comfortable at around 175-200 grams of carbs. Don’t think I would ever expect to hear that coming from me. This girl has always loved her carbs!
- Increased Cardio:
Unfortunately, its kind of hard for that not to happen! I hadn’t been doing ANY significant cardio through all of December and the beginning of January during my reverse diet. I am currently doing 3 days of HIIT a week now. For me, the stair master and treadmill are my go to options but because of my knee, I have been using the Elliptical. I do a 5 minute warm up, 20 minutes of intervals (20-30 seconds going 100% effort, 2 minute moderate effort to bring my heart rate down slightly, repeat), and end with a 5 minute cool down on the same machine OR I like to use the row as well. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with cardio. I don’t like thinking about doing it, I complain while I do it, BUT I always feel so much better after I do it. Going to work on changing my mindset about cardio from this point on! New goal: to enjoy the entire training process (weights and cardio)! The better I feel about doing it, the easier it will be to tackle it. If it were up to me, I would rather be lifting for 2 hours than hitting 20 minutes of cardio. No more. I’m changing my mindset from this point on!
- Training split:
Unfortunately, I am nursing that knee so I had to take a break from my lower power/hypertrophy split but hope to get back on that next week. I will most likely continue to do hypertrophy only from this point on until my knee has healed properly. I do legs/glutes twice per week, every other body part once (I add a couple of extra shoulder exercises in here and there also). The reasoning behind hitting these two specific body parts at least twice per week is simply because those are the areas I want to change the most. From the very beginning of my journey, I was set out to grow my booty so I do as much as I can to help that process along. I was not born with any good genetics or muscle shape there so I have to work extra hard to make the changes. Growing some “boulder” shoulders was something I started to want a couple of months ago. I love how defined shoulders look so I hit them hard now! Every other muscle group I’m happy with how things are coming along so once per week will work for me. Also, Aabs I am now doing twice per week (previously doing them zero to once per week). For abs, I do 4 sets of 3-4 WEIGHTED exercises.
- How I’m feeling:
In all honesty, I feel really great! I’m not hitting many PR’s while training anymore, but thats ok with me. I’m still working hard and lifting heavy! Seeing my body change, almost day to day is exciting!
Bottom line here is that I am SO glad that I decided to reverse diet because I know it has helped tremendously in making this dieting/cutting process easier on me both mentally and physically. I could have easily leaned out further last year BUT at what cost? I would have been eating next to nothing, starving all day because of the caloric deficit I would have needed to be in, doing tons of cardio (which as you know, I completely HATE with a passion), not increased any muscle size, and most likely would have given up simply because my body wasn’t prepared to diet. It was such a whirlwind when I stopped clean eating and jumped into flexible dieting. I moved things along SO quickly from that point on. Taking these few months to gather my thoughts, reassess my goals, AND reverse diet really did set me up so much better for my long term health and goals. I was ready to take my body to the next level and the reverse dieting process was key!!! Very thankful I did my research and didn’t jump on ANY diet programs that promised XYZ over XYZ amount of time. Fastest way for ANY diet to fail is to make drastic changes. Be kind to your body…. you only get one! If you treat it like you love it, it will reward you! Lots more wiggle room when you ensure you are already eating enough to diet down!
Here is my progress pic… left is at the top of my reverse diet about 4-5 weeks ago and right is this morning post breakfast and 1/2 gallon of water.
And words will never be able to express how seeing this felt last week…. I have NEVER been at that body fat % in my whole 35 year life!!! I was shocked and so happy to see my hard work and dedication paying off!
Last but not least…. here are my 4 week diet check in numbers!
BEGINNING STATS AT THE TOP OF REVERSE DIET (NOT FLEXED):
- WEIGHT- 103.2 lbs
- BODY FAT- 19%
- WAIST- 27″
- BICEP- 10.5″
- QUADRICEP- 18.5″
- HIP- 30″
- GLUTE- 34″
- CALVE- 12.5″
- SHOULDER- 38″
CURRENT STATS (NOT FLEXED):
- WEIGHT- 101 lbs
- BODY FAT- 17.8%
- WAIST- 25.75″
- BICEP- 10″
- QUADRICEP- 17.75″
- HIP- 29″
- GLUTE- 33″
- CALVE- 12″
- SHOULDER- 37.5″
** PLEASE NOTE: Other than the reduction in my body fat, I really couldn’t care less where everything else is (I actually don’t like seeing any other numbers go down). My goals have NEVER been about losing “weight”. The number shown on the scale mean nothing to me. I have always been focused on recomposing my body, building muscle, feeling healthy & strong, and finally being at a point in my life where I didn’t feel “skinny fat”. **
Working hard, being committed, making your daily changes a lifestyle, and most importantly… loving yourself (before, during, and after the process), are a recipe for success!!!! No short cuts, nothing drastic, no quick fixes,no magic pills or secret program, just slow & steady! Welcoming the next 4 remaining weeks of my cut but also looking forward to reverse dieting again 🙂
Katie @ 24 Carrot LifeFebruary 27, 2014 at 4:19 am
You look great! Can’t wait to see your progress pic at the end of your leaning process.
corinaFebruary 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm
Thanks so much Katie!!!
TraciFebruary 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm
You look great before and after. I can’t wait to see the finished product in 4 weeks, you’ll look amazing! What’s your plans for after that? Also, it’s so encouraging to see that you lost almost 2% bf but only a couple of pounds. I’m so blinded by that damn scale sometimes even when I know my clothes are loser but the scale doesn’t budge it always brings me down. I know my batteries are about to die in that thing maybe that’ll be the day I stop listening to that stupid thing.
corinaFebruary 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm
HI traci! After this cut is over I’m planning on reverse dieting again for a little while to get back to “maintenance” and then simply just eat, lift, and enjoy life without tracking! And yes, I do not care at all about the number on the scale for weight… I actually like seeing it go up (as long as my body fat goes down & muscle mass goes up)! Scales never be used to tell the whole story! There are SO many other things that need to be considered… have you seen my post about non scale victories? Check it out 🙂
ChristineFebruary 27, 2014 at 11:21 pm
Hi Corina! I’m glad I found your website because you and your progress have been so inspirational. Your website is also very informational and I’ve learned many things. I’ve been starting (and re-starting) my own journey for a while now but I think I’ll eventually get to where I want to be. Thank you for sharing your fitness journey!!
SarinaJuly 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm
I am so glad I found your website. You are such a Inspiration!!!! I was wondering when you have low and high carb days? To what are they connected???
corinaJuly 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm
Hi Sarina! I do high carb every 3-4 days!
StephanieNovember 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm
I really admire you. You are my top inspiration for reverse dieting.
How long was your reverse diet ?? And can you comment on carb cycling please? Do you calculate it based on your overall carb goals for the week ?
corinaNovember 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm
I reversed twice in the past year, each time for about 3-4 months! With carb cycling, you basically just have high days and low days and yes, its important to base them off weekly totals!
MelinaJune 8, 2015 at 5:57 am
Can you comment on your use of carb cycling vs. having them consistent throughout the week? Is your benefit purely mental or are you also finding that metabolic adaption is less likely?
Thanks Corina! 🙂
corinaJune 8, 2015 at 4:37 pm
I think its more personal preference. Some days I like to eat more and some days less. In the end, its your total weekly calories that will matter most!