Yesterday I had a photoshoot with LuisX for my new sponsor, KAOS Fitness. I knew well enough in advance when the shoot would be taking place so I had plenty of time to prep for it and get my physique camera-ready. I easily could’ve started cutting calories and adding in a bunch of cardio. Instead, I made absolutely no changes to my daily life, nutrition or training methods. None. I did absolutely no cardio and I continued to eat just as I normally would, keeping my macros around 150g protein, 170g carbs, 55g fats, give or take. I’m not too strict with my macros being that I’m in my offseason and I like to allow myself some freedom from them to enjoy life’s greatest food pleasures and indulge here and there, but I am still very conscious of my eating habits whether I like it or not (it’s the OCD in me).
I did tell myself I was going to attempt some cardio in the weeks leading up to it but I just really hate cardio so that didn’t happen. There were a few days when I lifted faster and did higher volume with shorter rest periods so I count that as cardio. I also told myself I’d slowly cut calories but that didn’t happen either. I enjoyed all the foods and then some. However, I’ve become very in tune with my body and how it works, and I know how to balance my nutrition and training to allow myself that kind of food freedom yet still stay on track towards my goals.
The past three years have been a roller coaster for me – mentally and physically. In short, I started my fitness journey in April 2014, lost about 20 lbs and competed for the first time only seven months later in November 2014; jumped right back into prep for another show in April 2015; then jumped right back into prep yet again for one more show in June 2015. My body didn’t respond well for that third show and I was incredibly disappointed with the package I brought to the stage in June. I decided it was time to take a break. During this break, I binged. I gained back all the weight I had lost….and then some. I became depressed and hated myself. I lost the body I worked so hard for and I never thought I’d get it back. I never thought I’d find the confidence and strength that I had gained through my first year and a half of my fitness journey. I was just totally lost and miserable and I cried alot. Finally I pulled myself out of the dark, regained my composure, refocused on my goals, got a new coach, tried a different approach to training and nutrition, and was ready to give competing another go. I did it, and I learned a hell of a lot in the process, and I couldn’t have been more proud of myself and the physique I brought to the stage in November 2016.
Having gone through the hardships I did and overcoming the obstacles I had faced, I refuse to ever let myself end up in that place again. I have a new healthier outlook, I know what works for me, I know what I like and what I don’t, what makes me happy and what doesn’t. I train because I love to. Lifting is really fucking fun to me. “Dieting,” not so much. Eating is also really fucking fun and I eat what I want, as long as I’m monitoring my calories in versus my calories out to make sure I’m staying within my target range. I don’t need to torture myself with boring ass chicken and broccoli and hours or cardio – I still got a 6-pack on a diet full of donuts and ice cream and pizookies and peanut butter. This is a LIFESTYLE, and life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, and that includes food! The day will come when I’m in prep again and have to walk my ass off on that stairmaster for hours and hours and eat minimal calories but for now, I look great doing what I’m doing, living how I’m living, and I feel even better.
Moral of the story: don’t “diet” and don’t aim for a “perfect” body because there’s no such thing as perfect. Instead, love your body in all stages, have confidence in who you are and what you stand for. Learn to understand and accept the laws of science in which calories in versus calories out determines body composition. In other words, if you want to change your body composition (lose fat/build muslce/”tone up” whatever the fuck that is), monitor your calories and portion sizes, aim for a specific daily target macronutrient intake for your goals. If you don’t know where to begin, email me!