A Steep Learning Curve

I’m focused.  I’m still heading towards the goal of competing this summer.  But there are some things I can control and things I cannot control.  The learning curve is steep with respect to how my body works now that I’m 50 as compared to how it worked a few years ago.  But I’m making a lot of progress.  I’m getting very good at making observations, researching, adjusting, making new observations, lather, rinse, repeat…

Cortisol is forcing me to research and experiment.  “Forcing” because it is very unpleasant when it’s pumping.  I’m learning a lot of things very quickly.   Seems like something new presents itself everyday.

  1. I need to treat the progesterone deficiency caused by menopause.  I stopped using the progesterone cream to save a little money. However, my adrenal gland may be producing cortisol in response to the hormone imbalance.  I started the cream again this week.  Not sure how long it takes to build the level back up.
  2. Low intensity cardio is absolutely out.  A little easy recumbent bike activity yesterday turned the pump on full blast for the next ten hours.  High intensity interval cardio and lifting will both start the cortisol pump, but it’s not as severe.  So it’s going to me more giant sets and circuits for me, I suppose.
  3. “Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame” While it’s true that I lost weight the first week of carb cycling, nothing more has happened since then.  It must have been all water.  After a few weeks of carb cycling, I’ve observed that on the days when I have carb grams equal to or higher than my protein grams, I had a higher calorie burn and I lost weight.  On moderate and low carb days, nothing happened or I gained weight.  I went back and looked at my bodybugg data for the last 146 weeks.  I found a month when I had a 2% body fat drop while gaining muscle.  During that month, I had an average daily calorie deficit of 500 and my carb grams were about equal to my protein grams.  Right now, I have more muscle than I did during that month, but my body fat percentage is about the same.  So I’ve decided to eat how I used to eat when I was losing fat and gaining muscle. There is research out there that suggests “cutting down carbs will increase glucagon production to raise blood sugar….which stimulates free fatty acids, causes tissue catabolism (cortisol?),  impairs insulin’s interactions with its receptors, decreases appetite, stimulates the heart and promotes hyper-secretion of insulin.”  OK – I don’t want any of that stuff to happen.  More reasons to go back to what used to work to see if it will work again.
  4. I’ve been drinking my postworkout shake in the middle of my lifting workout instead of after for the last couple of weeks.  I’ve been getting stronger, so I think that’s a good thing to keep doing.

It’s becoming even more obvious to me that I need to think outside the box with respect to nutrition and cardio.  I’m also prepared to postpone competing if necessary, but that decision will not be made until it’s clear I’m not going to lose the fat fast enough.  Others can increase their cardio.  I can’t do that.  I’ve also realized that I’m not willing to compromise my health to reach this goal by a certain date.  It will take as long as it takes.  I was unhealthy before and I’m not going to go backwards.  Always moving forward.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

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2 Comments

Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Cortisol, Nutrition

2 responses to “A Steep Learning Curve

  1. Right. You’re keeping your head on straight, as always.

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