For the record, this is a frighteningly long post about powerlifting, IIFYM, and lifestyle changes that I’ve decided to implement (aka feel free to skip if none of this is of any interest to you).
My last competition didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, and while I can’t deny that I’m disappointed, I can’t say it was a total loss either, because I reached a new PR on deadlift and didn’t bomb my squats this time.
I will say that I did feel a whole lot more alone, which may have been due to the fact that everyone there was with their coach/trainer/team, and then there was the straggler–me. Here’s a conversation between me and one of the other girls there:
K: Where’s your coach?
F: I don’t have one.
K: (looks somewhat incredulous) Wait, you don’t have a coach?
F: Nope, I kinda just work out for fun between all the studying. :O
K: Dang! You go, girl! That’s awesome!
As always, however, everyone was incredibly friendly and supportive, which was rather uplifting, because I feel that competitive venues of this sort are pretty darn rare (not that I’ve ever been in all that many non-academic competitive environments). I’m wondering if I should give Steve my “I WAS DESTINED FOR GREATNESS” speech and then convince him to train me with awesome home-cooked food as a bribe.
Things I will do differently next time include always asking for liftoff, and also finding some piece of time while training to figure out what my maxes are so that I’ll actually know what to pick for my openers (I was super lax with that this time–both with the training and the dieting). The latter was a billion times easier this time around, and I wasn’t miserable at all. I weighed in at 120.8 with all my clothes on, so I definitely think I did it right this time. I don’t think I rehydrated enough though, which may have affected my overall performance too.
A fair number of people at my school seem to think that I used to be a college athlete of some kind, which is actually wildly flattering, because I definitely was not. (I can’t actually fathom what kind of sport I’d be good at. It’d have to not involve hand-eye coordination because sadly, I’ve been known to open doors and then walk into them. By “them,” I mean the door. Don’t hate.)
I’ve changed up my workout routine as well as my eating habits, which I’d hate to call a “diet” because it’s really not. (I prefer the term “lifestyle change” because it’s a lot more accurate.) As I may have mentioned in the past, I joined instagram mainly because of the food porn. This has not changed and my recipe list continues to grow astronomically, but I kept seeing a bunch of the same tags in my favorite recipes/pictures and got rather curious as to what “IIFYM” was.
So I looked it up and have, in essence, partially adopted it into my current lifestyle. IIFYM stands for “If It Fits Your Macros” (proteins, CHO’s + fats!). Here’s the summary, if you for some reason don’t feel like reading their page (I basically just threw in my own commentary).
- Buy a digital food scale and weigh everything you eat (in grams, uncooked) for the first 3 months.
(I bought a scale for ~$6 on Amazon, but my inner drive to weigh everything I eat isn’t quite there yet. I may get on this eventually if I want better results. I will probably have to if we do indeed get to everything we have planned for San Diego.)
- Open a free account on a calorie/macro tracker/app of some kind.
I prefer myfitnesspal because the iphone app is free, and because I can throw in my recipes and find out the exact macros for it. Be forewarned that there are mistakes in some of the things people have logged. If you hit your macros perfectly, you shouldn’t have calories “left over” because hello math. (CHO = 4cal/g, protein = 4cal/g, fat = 9cal/g)
Jun prefers fitday because it’s much more customizable in terms of tracking your macros (MFP uses percentages for macros, but I’ve found a way to circumvent this) and giving you free reign over how many other nutrients you want to be tracking (MFP only allows an additional 2) and because there are too many food/ingredient options on MFP.
- Put in your info (age, weight, height, gender, activity lvl) into this calculator.
- Log everything you eat into whatever you ended up choosing for #2.
This may seem tedious at first, but if you’re weird like I am and enjoy making lists/tracking every single thing you do (yay for type A’s!), this is actually kinda fun. I make it into somewhat of a game, or turn it into a puzzle for Jun (see the picture below).
- If you want to lose weight, eat 15-20% less calories than your daily required calories (TDEE). If you’re trying to gain, eat 10% more.
There’s no need to eat more calories on the days that you work out, because the calculator already factored that in for you when you chose your activity level. (It takes your week’s worth of caloric needs and divides it by 7 so it’s averaged throughout each day of the week.)
- For even more accuracy, take in…
- > 1 g protein/lb BW
- 0.45 g fat/lb BW
- Any remaining calories left = CHO’s (carbs)
- 20-25% of your BW in fiber
- 1 gallon H2O/day (in addition to whatever other liquids you consume)
- Recalculate your TDEE + adjust your macros every ~5 lbs.
- Try to meet your micronutrient (vitamins, minerals) requirements first before you move on to other foods.
(Take a multivitamin!). I’m also tracking my fiber, calcium/vit D + sodium intake.
Just for fun, my fb husband/best friend has somewhat been dragged into this too (he was curious, so I just sent all the information his way and he hopped on board), so our conversations have turned into something like the following:
We’ve found that getting enough protein each day is pretty effing difficult without protein powder, so I’ve been making use of my Costco bag of it, and he’s been finding alternatives because he hates powder. As you can see, cottage cheese is currently winning, and I’m thinking I may have to convince myself to like it just because it’s super cheap and a really good source. 14g protein/7g CHO/0g fat is kinda hard to find. :O
(This also means that the recipes I come up with in the future will likely be protein-heavy and that I’ll probably include the calories/nutrients in my recipes from now on. Yeahhhh bro food!!!)
I’m fairly curious to see how lean I can get while still maintaining my strength so that I can continue to lift heavy things and hopefully also incorporate said strength into pole. He wants to be super-awesome at gymnastics (I would too, actually; it’d go hand in hand with pole), so it is an experimentation of sorts. At present, I’m still doing rough estimates with my food to see where that takes me, but thus far (I’m currently less than 2 weeks in, and definitely did not follow this the day before/day of my competition), I do believe I’m seeing results and I really like the flexibility. Depending on my goals, I may or may not go hardcore and start weighing everything I eat, but at the moment, I think this will definitely suffice.