We’re now down to just 11 weeks, or 77 days, until show day. You can all but disregard the last week – as all the hard work should have been done by then; so time really is marching on!
Prior to this week, I lost 0.8kg Body Weight just from the dietary changes that were made in the week prior; that’s fantastic. Seemingly small drops in body weight, frequently, amount to big changes.
Smaller drops in body weight are also much healthier, as they’re indicative you’re doing a better job at holding on to your hard earned lean muscle. This is absolutely essential, regardless of your objective with dieting. The mechanisms that burn fat, mitochondria, are present only in Muscle tissue; so losing Muscle = losing the ability to burn fat. This is why ‘weight loss’ clubs, I won’t name names, never tend to be effective in the long term!
More and more frequently we’re seeing the popularity of the 8, 10, 12 or even 16 week transformation in the fitness industry; but the transformation should not end when the time scale is up. That should be just the beginning of your journey. A transformation should set you up metabolically, psychologically and morphologically to go on and succeed and achieve bigger and better things from that point. This simply isn’t possible if you’ve ripped your calories apart and are left with no food, and even less muscle than you started with.
The same is very much the case with contest prep. The idea being to have a fantastic end product, but one that isn’t completely good for nothing after that point. If you aggressively remove calories from day 1 week 1 of the process, sooner or later you’re left with no calories left to play with and a very tired, very drained, very flat, unsuccessful and unhappy competitor.
So whats the other key ingredient that gets overlooked in order to change body weight? Whats the acute variable we changed this week, without cutting food, to hopefully shift some more body fat?
Effort is the single most overlooked tool in your arsenal.
In some instances food can be exactly where it needs to be. Cardio is set precisely as it needs to be, but something can still be manipulated to get more from less. It’s time to look deeper and ask if you can turn the screw on your training. The answer here is always “Yes, I can”. No matter how hard you train, how hard you think you train, it’s ALWAYS possible to train harder (Trust me, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Twice. Once on my trip to Mi40 in Florida for the Hypertrophy camp, where I had my arse handed to me twice a day, every day for 4 days. Again when I begun working under Jordan Peters).
Put simply, by pushing harder and asking MORE of yourself, your session intensity and thus your overall energy and caloric output increases, creating a greater deficit WITHOUT having to eat less. When you combine this with the metabolic and hormonal adaptations and the potential for additional hypertrophy and strength gains – this is a perfect cocktail for success.
But effort isn’t easy. It’s hard. You cant buy effort, you cant be taught effort. You can only develop an ability within your mindset to push harder and further than before. It’s not always easy, quite the opposite, but the rewards are incredible.
Truthfully, I believe this is the primary difference between the competitive athlete and the avid gym goer. One of them has something at stake and will train like their pride, reputation and values depend on it. The other is just turning up. You decide which one will go farther.
This links back in to my earlier blogs on the importance of setting goals. Your goal doesn’t have to be getting on stage, running an Ironman or breaking a Powerlifting record; it could just be to lose 1 stone. It could be to gain body confidence and look good naked for your summer holiday. Either way, it will motivate the hell out of you and your effort will inherently increase.
As I mentioned above, my food has stayed the same this week. So right now, food and carbs stay pretty high on training days; favouring a zero carb and lower calorie approach on rest days to induce a caloric deficit.
The training split remains the same; that is as follows: –
Monday AM – Legs PM – 35 Minute Walk
Tuesday AM – Push PM – 35 Minute Walk
Wednesday AM – Pull PM – 35 Minute Walk
Thursday AM – REST PM – 35 Minute Walk
Friday AM – Lower PM – 35 Minute Walk
Saturday AM – Upper PM – 35 Minute Walk
Sunday AM – REST PM – 35 Minute Walk
But in the interest of inducing higher levels of effort in every session, one move we have made is to reintroduce squats.
Barbell, Smith Machine and Hack squats have previously been eradicated from my programme due to the famed lower back injury. This injury consists of the musculature of the lower back becoming tight and compressing the delicate spinous processes of the vertebrae, upsetting the intricate balance of space, movement and rigidity in the lower back and presenting with one hell of a lot of pain! But as time progresses and my rehab is nearing completion, it’s becoming safe to reintroduce these!
This is a double edged sword. I love squatting, but my God I’d forgotten how much they hurt! Talk about making you put in the effort!
Cardio again has remained consistent for me, with 1 daily walk of 35 minutes. This has remained a constant for the past 2 weeks and is actually really quite enjoyable!!
I suggest you try it increasing your own caloric expenditure, if not just for the mental clarity and enjoyment! It’s not so fun in the rain, but needs must and you must be stronger than the excuses!
The post Episode #006 – Effort is the greatest Tool in your Arsenal appeared first on Marc Rhodes PT.