Over the last six months I upped my calories in order to add some muscle and I let myself get heavier than I’ve been in 20 years — 162 lbs. Now it’s time to get back into my regular pants (and my swimsuit).
For about 10 years I’ve been either low carb, slow carb or paleo (with a Saturday free-for-all cheat day). Normally I would just drop my carbs to <20/day and add some HIIT workouts to the mix. But after listening to The Art of Manliness podcast #401 I decided to try eating a balanced diet per IIFYM (“If it fits your macros”). FYI, macros refers to macro-nutrients — protein, carbs and fat. Supposedly this way of eating helps you cut fat while retaining muscle mass.
After one week on the plan I’ve noticed the following:
- I’m less hungry. Contrary to the popular wisdom, this meal plan satisfies me more than the low-carb one.
- I have more energy before, during and after training sessions.
- I’m losing fat without sacrificing muscle and without adding extra training. Basically the same regimen, maybe a jot less because I’m no longer running 4 or 5 days/week to get ready for that mud run.
- The math on this is impossible (chart below). Nobody can add 3.2 lbs of muscle in one week, so clearly my single-point body fat calipers are only approximate. Still, I think it’s safe to say that most of my weight loss was in fat. Here are the digits:
Muscle Weight (lbs) Fat Weight (lbs) Total Body Weight (lbs) 5/17/2018 22.80% 123.1 36.4 159.5 5/10/2018 26.00% 119.9 42.1 162 Change: -3.2% 3.2 -5.7 -2.5
Most people use My Fitness Pal to track their macros, but I don’t have the time or patience to enter food minutia into a an app.
If you want try my method, use this IIFYM Daily Meal Plan Creator Spreadsheet that I made to print out a few meal plans (it contains the entire 2016 USDA macro nutrient database). Then just cycle through the various daily plans as needed.
Pro tip:Cook all breakfasts and lunches on Sundays and eat the same thing every day for those two meals — that way the only thing you have to think about are dinner and snacks.
Here’s what I looked like back in 2014 when my wife took pictures for the Calisthenics Codex book – pretty much just thin and nondescript at 11% body fat. Four years and plenty of weightlifting later, I’m going spend 90 days getting lean and see how I look and where I end up this time.
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