A Quiet Moment – #18 – Phase 3 Begins

On Monday, I began phase 3.

Now, it would be pretty fair for you to ask “what the hell is phase 3?”

Well, if you’re a long-term reader of my blog, and you’ve read some of my previous posts on weight loss and exercise, you may recall that I began what I can (in hindsight) call phase 1 in May, 2014. Up to 255lbs, I was unhappy with pretty much everything and it was enough to kick my ass into action. I changed the way I ate breakfast and lunch, and in doing so, I lost about 30 lbs. I added in biking to and from work, and started to feel good again (except my backside, but I eventually got used to the bike seat).

In August of 2016, I began what think of as phase 2: I returned to the gym. It had been six years since I quit powerlifting, but it came back quick. My body remembered the motions it had made so many times before, and I increasingly felt like I was in the right groove. By June, 2017, I was putting up numbers near where I had left off lifting: a 405 squat, a 205 bench (sad, but bench has never been a focus for me), and a 405 deadlift–short of my all-time PR of 455, but coming along. The time was ripe for phase 3 to begin.

On Monday, my wife and I started on a slow-carb diet. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it can be chocked up to dropping any carbs that can be white (rice, bread, sugar, potatoes, etc.), and dairy. There’s more, and keeners can search slow-carb + Tim Ferriss for more info, but what intrigues me about it that it doesn’t go straight for ketosis by eliminating all carbs, but instead focuses on making the more sustainable choice of swapping over to more fibrous carbohydrates, like those from green vegetables, beans, and legumes. I’ve been meaning to incorporate more of those into my diet anyway, so it really doesn’t feel like much of a hardship–other than not putting sugar and cream in my coffee, which can burn in hell; that will definitely be the first thing I add back in.

What do I hope to accomplish with phase 3? Good question; thanks for asking it. My goal is to drop to 205lbs. I’ve found that I have natural plateaus every 25lbs or so. I’m quite comfortable around 230, and I could easily sit at 255 without much fluctuation. Does that mean that a similar plateau exists at 205? That’s certainly what I’m hoping. From there, I’ll decide how to approach more bulk, as I want to continue to powerlift and grow stronger. That may mean pushing below 200lbs (which I haven’t seen the other side of since elementary school), and then coming back up to around 205 with more lean mass. It may mean a straight gain back to around 215, with lean mass. I’m not sure. The waters are fairly uncharted, at this point. While I don’t want to shell out for proper body fat testing, some calculators have pegged my lean mass at about 174lbs. That would put me at about 15% bodyfat at 205 lbs. That’s not too shabby for a 35 year old father of two, IMO. Also, if I were inclined to think of it as a fighting weight, it works pretty well; 185 would leave me at about 6% BF, and probably cranky as hell. I think my ideal would be 10-12%, or around 195lbs, but I can’t help but think that would be a temporary stop before adding more muscle.

Then again, I guess that’s a whole lot of cart before the horse, isn’t it. For now, I’m going to focus on sticking to slow-carb as well as I can and see where it takes me. I’m thinking a minimum of 30 days to a max of 90 days for the first go, then decide what to keep and what to ease up on. We’ll see, I suppose. Like lifting, I’ve got to put the work in first.

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