I’m starting to feel a bit like a broken record talking on and on about periodization and the importance but I thought I would give you guys an insight into how my last year went! Last July I said out loud to a couple people, I want to qualify for the CanWest games, I was actually meaning as a team by the way, not as an individual. I really liked the idea of having to qualify and earn my spot. I sat down with Mike at the end of June and told him I was finally ready to give it a go, see how lean I could get and maintain. I have always been muscular and I carry I higher body fat than most competitive athletes. Luckily for the past year, I had been eating a steady 2030-2200cals so I knew I would be able to start a cut right away. If I had not been eating that amount like when I started with Mike four years ago (1200cals) I would have had to reverse diet first! Anyways the first 16 weeks all we did was change my protein by 10 grams lower, and my fat 10 grams lower. Now truthfully it was about 15 grams lower by the time my day was done because I don’t handle fats all the well. I don’t even want to add them into things.
16 weeks in and I am down 15lbs this is perfect. In this time I did notice I was going to bed hungry and looking forward to eating and really I was still eating 1900 cals. So not a major drop, recovery at the gym was a bit slower and I lost some strength. At the end of 16 weeks I brought my calories up for about 4 weeks, I worked on strength and building a better cardiovascular foundation. I am fast and powerful but I am not fast and powerful for a long time, so that was my main focus. I knew I have always done well in lifting but lifting over and over again and then running and doing muscle ups exhausted that wasn’t working well for me.
After the 4 weeks I popped back down to the cutting cals, Now I know most of you would think why in the heck would you do that? Honestly, I feel really good on those cals. I don’t feel that great with more food, I feel a bit better with less. I don’t know why that is but I feel must faster, lean and strong. When I have too many I feel sluggish. I monitor it based on my sleep and how my body feels. Mike gave me a refeed days on Thursdays my rest days to keep me fueled and it allows me to flow with a bit lower cals.
The CrossFit open comes, I did decently but truthfully I wasn’t wanting to peak anything so I breezed through knowing the CanWest qualifiers were coming. I completed them and by my tooth, I got in. I was shocked actually, and then an “oh shit” feeling came like now I have to go and compete and be really fit! This is where I increased my training volume leaving my calories alone, I had that refeed and was still having 3 full rest days off.
6 Weeks out, I then cut down to 2 rest days, increased strength volume and increased the intensity in my training, once or twice a week I would treat a WOD like the competition so that I could push some boundaries. I also started working out in the direct sunlight and heat and it hurt badly. Talking with Mike, I started back eating sea salt right off the spoon in the morning, 1/4tsp. It’s gross but it sure helped with feeling dehydrated.
2 Weeks out I started increasing my water, and my carbs and lowering my fat. I start to get nervous, and I dream constantly about things going wrong. Increasing my carbs I sleep much better so this helps, the scale sneaks up a bit but I know its not something that will affect me because I have and used to train daily being much heavier!
Competition, in a perfect world I would be able to eat, the heat, the nerves, and my history is the perfect combination of not being able to stomach food. The Friday I do okay with food because I don’t go until the evening. The next two days go like this:
Breakfast: Fruit, sausages, 1 TBSP of sea salt
Prewod: Max perform
Post wod: Max recovery, with protein powder, 250ml of coke
I repeat my prewod, and post wod until the day is done.
Supper: Everything!! I always go for a steak, baked potato, veggies, and salad and usually some kind of appetizer. I eat whatever I can!
After the competition I go the next week, just eating quality foods with a few favorites, I never binge because as I am trying to recover my body needs those calories. My digestion is a mess so I have to be careful with gluten and diary. I showed you guys that picture, and that was from a very small amount. Appitite takes a bit to come back so now Im working on that! As for my calorie count right now I am back upto about the 2200 for another week or so and then Im going to start dropping myself down a bit.
Now I know this all seems very general but honestly its so individual based on what your body will want and need in times of stress, compeoition, and set points. People all perform differencely, have different digestion and can tolerate more or less, but the periodization never really stops. There is maintenance and really every time I pop upto 2200 cals thats my maintainance, and next year Im going to work at trying to bring my numbers up so I am going to reverse a bit higher over the winter and then be able to come down without feeling so hungry.
Being hungry is part of the process though. You don’t want to be starving but if you are cutting your going to be hungry. If your looking for performance you cant be hungry you need to be well fed so your body can perform! All of these things are best made by someone who has no emotional attachment to you and your food. I know somedays I want to eat more because I feel tired but if its not part of my periodization plan then I need to hack it out, I can do this now because I have been going for so long. Someone who is new needs that coach to be accountable to!
I encourage everyone, take one year out of your life to really give your nutrition a go, make it a priority and learn how to find a plan thats going to let you be successful forever. Stop looking for the fastest and cheapest, those results are not going to stay with you. I gave up alot last summer but it was totally worth it. I have reached a goal, created a new set point and now feel much more confident in my skin.