Definitely read Julie’s blog to get a great update of what we have been researching and experimenting with in our competition prep.
Last week we jointly decided to try out the macro nutrients that Layne Norton suggests in competition prep. This meant I raised my typical 130-150g of protein up to 180-200g. This is really uncomfortable for me because I am accustomed to using the standard rule of thumb that an intense athlete or bodybuilder should be maxing out at 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. Notice, I said kg not lb. I went ahead and made the change, but at the back of my mind I was worrying about my liver function. I referred my question to a client of mine that is a gastroenterologist and he said that if I am otherwise healthy, have no history of liver or kidney problems, and am not doing it long-term… he doesn’t see that it should be damaging. After speaking with another competitor who trains at Emerge and actually hires Layne to do her diet, I asked if he had her on any supplements to assist the function of her liver, and he does. SO, I feel satisfied in two areas… one: My liver isn’t going to suddenly crap out on me after this diet *PHEW* and two: Layne saw the potential issue of such a high protein diet and has his clients on a supplement to assist… so I still trust his judgement and guidance. 😉
Just because we raised our protein doesn’t mean we went crazy LOW with our carbs. Often times, people go on a high protein and extremely low carb diet. My carbohydrates are averaging at 130g. I have read that depending on the person, 50-100g is the bare minimum to spare muscle and to allow the central nervous system to function. I am a huge believer in eating sufficient carbohydrates because with my job I need to be on my feet, physically active, making thoughtful decisions about clients programs, and all while maintaining an energetic, positive and motivating attitude. When my carbohydrates are severely restricted I cannot function in life. I cannot do my job. This is unnecessary and a part of what I teach my competitors. I believe that we can both be HAPPY and be HEALTHY while getting ready for competitions. Not just looking amazing, but continuing to feel amazing as we transform our bodies. Some people may have the types of jobs that allow them to zone out as they go into ketosis (MUSCLE WASTING!) but I do not. I want to be happy 😉
People can successfully compete by doing a very very low carbohydrate diet but they risk a few important things. For one, they risk the intensity of their workouts and cardio. The resting metabolism drops significantly and I have seen this happen repeatedly by using the bodybugg to track my own caloric expenditure as well as my client’s. My own burn dropped significantly when I was at my lowest, and as soon as I added my carbohydrates back my burn went up DRAMATICALLY. Since bodyfat loss is all about creating a calorie deficit, it doesn’t matter what fancy tricks you do if you don’t burn more than you take in. Gotta keep that BURN!
Also, a competitor will get lean enough to compete but they most likely lose a significant amount of muscle as well as damage their metabolisms and hormones. I have read that this type of damage can take 1-2 years to correct and it ends up being very annoying as the individuals bodyfat somehow continues to go up, even as they put in a lot of hard work in the gym and try to focus on doing well with their diet. As Julie mentioned, they also end up with carb sensitivity. If someone isn’t going to be ready for show, they may choose to do a last minute ketogenic diet – but it definitely has side effects and I believe they should never be done long-term. And who wants to be a cranky, angry, sluggish, irritable, weak during workouts, falling asleep during cardio, and flat all the time? I know my clients would hate to have a cranky, angry, sluggish, irritable trainer – which is why I chose not to follow this old-school competition prep path. I appreciate the new science a lot more
Here is the diet I wrote up. It is very boring for now as I get used to it, but I sure do want to sub some of my fun nutritious foods back in! I will slowly learn what I can sub in without effecting my macronutrients and food timing.
Meal 1: 1 serving 10 grain hot cereal, 3 egg whites
Meal 2: 15 almonds
Meal 3: 2 Hours prior to workout: 1 cup oatmeal or 1 Ezekiel english muffin or 1 cup rice or sweet potato
Meal 4: During workout: 1 scoop whey protein, 1/2 serving dextrose, glutamine, BCAA
Meal 5: 30 minutes post workout: 3 oz chicken, 1 cup oatmeal or 1 cup rice
Meal 6: veggies, 1 tbs olive oil and vinegar dressing, 4 oz chicken
Meal 7: Casein
Sunday we did a refeed and it definitely did not go how I had hoped! I was up late with friends Saturday night (In 2 weeks I am going to have to just drive separate from my husband and go home earlier so I don’t get screwed up on my program) When I got home it was past midnight and I had an extra serving of casein protein. I logged it onto Sunday, which is what I usually do in situations like that. When I woke up I had a chobani yogurt and a yummy protein peanut butter cookie (The only ingredients are egg whites, whey protein, spices, peanut butter, applesauce) We worked out early Sunday and I did my normal protein shake during but because of my prior decisions – my protein was already getting too high for the parameters of the refeed day. This meant that I could only really eat carbs for the rest of the day. Bad planning on my part.
I got a pancake and toast at first watch with one tbs of preserves and ordered french toast to go. It was so freakin yummy. With no butter and no sugar, each of these ends up being about 500 calories. My appetite was already WILD by the time I left the restaurant and I found myself reaching into my to go bag and eating one of my three pieces of french toast. It took ALL of my willpower and self-talk to convince myself it was illogical to eat the french toast while I only had to wait a couple hours to actually be allowed to eat it. When I got home I cut it up and put it in my own container to bring to a superbowl party. We are fostering two puppies and have a dog of our own and while I remembered to pack all of their food, bowls, and crates… I FORGOT my french toast! Noooooooooooooooo! When I got to my mother-in-law’s house I found that she had multigrain crackers and multigrain chips available so I ate those as my carb. I would eat a few, then log them on my food logging ap, then eat a few more, and log them. In total, I ended up being 100g too low in carbs and too high in protein and fat.
Lesson learned. Next time I will plan much better. Boo for me. At least I hit the calories I was supposed to hit, so that is good.
My workouts have been strong, but we did HIIT training the day after our refeed and I felt like a complete sweaty weird gross slug. It was so strange! Last week I did the hit on the woodway at a speed between 9.0-10.5 and this time I found myself starting out struggling to stay over 8.0 and even dipping into the 7’s. It had to be the diet! I am eager to examine how I feel after a correctly done refeed.
Ok – sorry this entry is late! I have been busy with these foster puppies – but arent they just so darn cute??
Be Happy, Be Healthy!