I Need Benchmarks to Knock Over

At my real job – a teacher – we call them “benchmarks” – a point of reference by which something can be measured.

The BIG goal…

“Stage ready on August 25, 2012”

is a little overwhelming to think about.  I need to set up several smaller benchmarks with dates.  I’m very goal orientated.  I’ve been pushing forward with my lifting for the last four months and I made good progress.  I feel solid and strong.  But these last 25 weeks need some structure.  Especially since I have several other very important things going on that have nothing to do with my training or my daily routine of teaching.

  • NASM certification test and CPR certification must be done by mid April or I loose the $600 I paid for that exam.
  • Taxes and other personal business stuff needs to get done in March.
  • My calculus students need to be ready for their AP exam on May 9th

(Ugh!  I should have gotten a student teacher this semester.)

OK – it’s my reality and I’ve got to come up with a plan.  Losing sleep is NOT an option – in fact, I need more sleep.  The bod is working hard and she needs recovery.

So far, I’ve set one benchmark.  (There will be more.)

Benchmark #1: Body fat will be at 15% by May 17th.  Assuming no muscle loss and hoping for some muscle gain, my weight on that day will be 142 pounds.

I’m really not sure how low it needs to get for Women’s Physique.  I’m assuming somewhere around 10-12%.  It’s really going to more about what I look like than about that number.  And I’m not sure what my body fat is right now.  Last time it was checked I was 22-23%.  From the mirror, I don’t see that I’ve gained fat.  I started my diet a couple weeks ago.  Nothing drastic – small deficits up to 500 calories a day.  Most of the deficit created with cardio.  I have made small changes in the food intake, but not much.  Just shaving some portion sizes.  For example, I’ve cut my oatmeal down from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup.  Replace agave nectar in the oatmeal with a low-carb granular sweetener.  That’s 60 calories replaced with almost none.  I can’t tell the difference.  Shaving off the portions of things throughout the day can cut 100-200 calories off.

I’m eating almost half of my calories before and after the morning lifting workouts.  Muscles get what they need to do their work and to start recovery.  Then I’m eating something small every couple of hours.  I’m keeping the metabolism burning.  I can feel it.  I eat and get hungry again within an hour.  As long as I keep lifting heavy, I know I won’t be losing muscle.  The plan is that my body will become a fat-burner.  I’m hoping that with small changes and more body composition changes, I won’t have to be doing anything drastic until the last month of show prep.

I’ve lost 2.2 pounds.  To be on track for this benchmark, I was supposed to lose 2.6 pounds.  So I’m a little behind.  Not much.  Not worried.  The first week I didn’t see much change at all.  This week, the weight has been dropping consistently every day, even on days I’d expect to see an increase in water weight.  My calorie intake fluctuates and the deficits are not consistent.  That’s a good thing.  I don’t want my body to adapt.  I haven’t had to “plan” bigger calorie days – they just happen naturally if I’m feeling it.  (The day after a leg workout seems to be one when I need a bigger meal.)

So even with very small deficits on a day or two, the weight dropped this week.  I think that’s a good sign.

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Nutrition

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