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The 10% Thing

Which 10% thing is that? Some might even have something in mind already. I can think of only one ofd the top of my head, and that’s a 90 / 10 rule. Meaning as long as you adhere to a diet or training regiment 90% of the time, you should still make progress. The other 10%, well, that’s called being human.

But that doesn’t have anything to do with this post. Or at least not much. This post is about me, after almost four weeks of cutting, breaking the 10% bodyfat barrier. By now America is accustomed to Biggest Loser numbers, so 4 weeks of cutting must mean I shaved off at least 20 – 30 pounds, right? Well…not exactly…

I went from 226.5 to 217.5, as of today. Nine pounds in 26 days, not very impressive. I would agree, except my strength has not only maintained during this phase, but it has even increased just marginally. That’s a very hard thing to accomplish. That means those 7 pounds are, in all likelihood, pure fat and not muscle. Hell, maybe I even lost 7.5 or 8 pounds of fat but gained a little muscle. Stranger things have happened.

To do that the diet has to be very careful. Low carb, but not carb free (especially at the right time). Proper workouts without excessive cardio to catabolize the protein (muscle). And properly maintained calorie amounts. The objective is to eat less than what I need to maintain my body mass, but not by much. Some occasional refeeding of carbs to jumpstart the metabolism and anabolic processes, and plenty of water to wash everything through.

Three more days left, counting today, then I transition into a gaining phase. The objective, of course, is to gain muscle and not fat. So again it has to be carefully controlled. A lot of people will treat a bulking phase as an excuse to binge on pizza, fast food, and anything else they can get their hands on. That works, and it adds muscle (provided you work out), but it’s far from optimal. When you’re done with the phase you’re fat and your organs feel abused (because they are). To do it right you eat only a little over your maintenance level, specifically on workout days or the day after your workout, and keep the simple carbs to a minimum (exception: during or after a workout a post workout shake loaded with protein and simple sugars is the best way to go). That will help to still put on muscle, but limit the fat gain.

My goal? Unrealistic, but still a goal. Before my injury in November I was flirting with 235 pounds and being in the 11% – 12% bodyfat region. I’d love to be 230 – 240 and 10% bodyfat (or less, optimally). As a point of reference, I believe Arnold was in the area of 250 pounds during his 1975 (final) Mr. Olympia competition. Granted, he was a hell of a lot leaner and also an inch or two shorter than me. Oh, and they had access to a lot of different supplements back then too.

These days you look at Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman and I wouldn’t bat an eye if they were 300 pounds and very lean. The game has changed – but more importantly, I’m not a bodybuilder, I’m a powerlifter. They’ll always look prettier than me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give some of them a run for their money strength-wise. Well maybe not Ronnie Coleman, that guy makes front loaders and some cranes look like sissies in comparison.

But hey, I’m just a guy with an obsessive hobby (several, probably). If anybody wanted to endorse me and pay me to do it for real then maybe it’d be a different story. Then again, maybe not – my genetics might be nearing the end of their potential. Only time and hard work will tell!

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