This week I have decided that my goal numbers need to change to focus on LEAN MUSCLE instead of weight and body fat. I also believe that I need to extend my bulk to the end of the year, so that the cut ends in the spring instead of January (what was I thinking?)
Why extend the bulk? I have realized that it is within the bulk that the majority of muscle mass is gained. When I started, I thought I could still build muscle during the cut, but now I know: 1. If I am LUCKY, I can gain a little more muscle, 2. More than likely, I can maintain most of the muscle, 3. It is quite possible that I can lose some of the muscle.
Also, when I first planned my cut, it was going to coincide with a trip to California, but now I decided not to go. Why be cut in mid-January, when I could extend the bulk, build more muscle, and cut in spring, so I can look good in tank tops and maintain all summer?
IB: This is a fact of life that many people do not seem to understand, until they hit their first plateau. Beginners to weight lifting can indeed build muscle while losing fat. This is because they have bodyfat in the first place, which is extra energy for muscle-building. Also, going from zero to something is very noticeable. So, they think they can keep going and the gains train won't stop. But once your body hits equilibrium, the party is over. Something cannot come from nothing, you need to eat extra calories to make building blocks. Hence, the bulk.
My new goal is to show that a crazy low percent body fat and weight doesn’t equate to beauty, or happiness, or solve all of life’s problems. I want concrete numbers I can work with. I want my goal to be challenging but healthy and as a way to set a good example for other people, especially women.
One week before my before pic on 9/12/15, I was at 11.2% body fat. During my the bulk, I will gain 10 pounds lean muscle mass and, during my cut, get my body fat back down to 11.2%, which should make my end weight at about 155 pounds by the end of my cut. Should make for an interesting side by side, one picture with 10 pounds lean muscle more than the other, but the same amount of body fat.
IB: Good point. People put too much emphasis on weight without regards to body composition. Muscle ratio to fat is important, too, if you really want to be fit. That said, 10 pounds of lean mass is a lot of muscle, especially for a woman, and especially in just a few months. I'd say you'd be successful if you hit 5. You'll also be surprised at the difference.
I would also like to remind my readers, Jeanne maintains a "fitness model" physique. This bodyfat percentage is very low, even for an athlete. It is not beneficial for general health; it is for competition figures and a specific aesthetic. Anything under 22% for females is considered quite fit and healthy.
As far as the bulk, itself, is going this week, I can feel and see that I am building muscle. However, I also know that the increase in the scale numbers is also fat and the high intake of carbs creating water retention (I also think supplements contribute as well). I am still wearing size four pants, but can do size six. All good.
What is a little disappointing is that I don’t see any improvement in any specific area. I know – and can feel – that all my muscle groups are growing even if they are not showing. I also know that this is the proper way to train. It comes with patience, trusting the process, and that having ALL muscle groups balanced and gaining is what is ultimately important. There is no room for instant gratification (beyond endorphin rushes), only the big (hopefully REALLY big) picture.
Finally, there is a chance that bodybuilding.com will have another challenge after this "Fit Squad" challenge. I would love, love, love to have the motivation from a new challenge to keep me going. If they don’t . . whateva’.