Day 14 – The Proof is in the Numbers

Today is a planned off day from the gym.  I will use today to finalize my meal plans for the upcoming week.  I will be adding a bit more calories in each day this week over last week so I have to plan accordingly.

If I don’t take the time to record what I eat & then measure the results, how can I expect to track my success?  How will I know if I am gaining fat, muscle or both?  How can I maximize my efforts in the weight room if I don’t know where my current plan is taking me?

14 Days of sustained effort in the gym, discipline in the kitchen (besides a planned cheat meal period-more on that in a moment) & proper stretching/recovery paid off this morning.

I only weigh-in once a week; first thing Sunday morning.  I do this for a few reasons:

  • Due to daily weight fluctuations, it is best to not track the weight yo-yo during the week.   Your weight will be all over the board & it isn’t worth obsessing over.  Once a week is fine for me. Some people even go two weeks between weigh-ins.
  • My body water weight, in terms of both pounds & percentage, is most likely the same on one Sunday morning as it is the next.  This is due to me following a fairly consistent eating & exercise plan.  Plus, I am my most “dry” at this point as I haven’t had any water since going to bed at least 7-8 hours earlier.
  • Because my water weight is fairly similar from week to week, I can more easily & accurately gauge my body fat % when taking my caliper readings.

So this morning, when I stepped on the scale, I wasn’t upset when I saw that I had gained 3.2 pounds in the last week.  I expected this to happen; I increased my daily caloric intake this week to around 2700-3000 Calories/day (300-500/day more over last week).

After recoding my new weight (which I am keeping secret until I complete my 90 days & post new pictures), I then proceeded to take my body fat measurements with my caliper:

Defender Body Fat Caliper

Defender Body Fat Caliper

This simple tool allows me to accurately gauge my body fat percentage each Sunday morning.  I simply follow the instructions that were supplied with the caliper.  I take 3 measurements of each prescribed area & use the average to compute my body fat %.

I was glad to see that my body fat percentage had went down some the last week.  About 1/4-1/2%. I give myself a tolerance of +/- 1/2 to 1 when computing my body fat%.  I tend to measure the same spot each time so I am fairly accurate but I’m not a pro so I keep that in mind.

This past week was somewhat different for 2 reasons so my expectations for next week are a little less ambitious.

  1. My weekly caloric intake was about 1800-2100 higher than last week BEFORE a cheat meal.
  2. The planned cheat meal was 2 small slices of cheese pizza along with some chicken wings & part of a Snickers Almond bar.  These “dirty” calories were budgeted in & accounted for so they did not interfere with my progress.

I allow myself a cheat meal every 10-14 days. Sometimes I don’t take full advantage of it, other times I do.  Either way, it is a small reward that ultimately I am comfortable with consuming.  I usually plan them post-workout but this week I didn’t.  I did partake in a 14 hour fast after the cheat meal so that helped to mitigate some of the effects of the high glycemic carb & fat combination.

My goal for this week is another bump up on the scale of at least 2-3 pounds.  Gaining an average of 3 pounds a week for the next 8 weeks will get me to my goal weight.  I may have to shed a few of those pounds to get “photo ready” again but I have a 10 day plan that I know works.

Most people have difficulty relating to someone attempting to build muscle, especially when they hear talk of eating excessive calories, cheat meals, non-fat free diet, etc.  As foreign as it may sound to some, implementing it can be challenging at times.

All calories are not created equally.  Sure, I could get an extra 500+ calories in each day by eating fast food but that isn’t going to yield the same results as eating as many whole, nutritious foods as possible.

Sure, it takes little bit of extra effort to modify my meal planning spreadsheets, buy/prepare extra portions & everything else I do to track my nutrition.  But it is worth it.  It reminds me of a saying: “There’s very little traffic on the extra mile.”

The reason I do the things I do isn’t because I am better than anyone else.  I do them because they are what separate me from the masses.  I will push on past a barrier that stops most people cold in their tracks.  Once again, I’m not better than anyone else & I am not judging anyone.  However, I am very driven to succeed in my endeavors and refuse to be denied realizing the body of my dreams.

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