When being lean just isn’t good enough
I know how to get lean, but I want to get ripped so I paid my trainer for a customized diet plan where I ate 1600 calories a day with protein at 26%, carbs at 51% and fat at 23% of my diet. I woke up nightly at 2am, starving, but refrained from eating because, if I did, I would go over my quota.
After six weeks on this low calorie diet, and no improvements, I asked my trainer to tweak the diet plan. He increased my calories by 200 and said to up the cardio. One week later I was a half a pound heavier and looked it. My trainer moved to another state, and didn’t give me further advise so I hired another trainer who gave me a new diet plan at 1479 calories a day with a higher protein ratio at 34%, lowered carbs at 44% and a lowered fat intake of 21%. (which meant very lean proteins and no nuts). He also wanted me to do 1 hour of intense cardio 5 times a week.
Three weeks on this extremely low-calorie diet, and no fat loss, I knew something had to change. My trainer told me to limit weight-training to 3 times a week instead of 5. I no longer woke up hungry and figured this was a bad sign. I gained a pound and it wasn’t muscle weight. My trainer then said I should decrease my calories by 100 to 1347 a day. I wanted to cry. He told me to “trust the process” and not to get advice from anyone other than him because everyone will tell you something different. The problem was that his “process” was backfiring.
Any time you eat too few calories, your body adjusts and your metabolism drops. That’s what I feared was happening. I did what he told me what not to do and spoke to Rick Stephensen, owner of World Gym in San Diego, a bodybuilder who used to compete in the 80’s. Back then, to prep for a show, he would cycle between 1600, 1700 and 1800 calories a day which is extremely low for someone with that much muscle at 5’8. He said 1379 calories was too, even for a tiny woman my size, that my metabolism slowed, and I needed to adjust my caloric intake 200-300 each day so that I wasn’t eating the same amount of calories on a daily basis, yet still being in a deficit. The reason this works it that it shocks the system so that it never knows how much you are going to eat. This is great news because I won’t be starving myself daily, and can indulge a little 2-3 days a week.
Photo: Me, on the left, and IFBB Pro Lisa Rapoza at World Gym, San Diego, Pacific Beach