I have been working on leaning out for quite some time. When I say quite some time, I mean years. The first battle was discovering and resolving my gluten intolerance. For me, and others, gluten intolerance can lead to not being able to shed fat. I did lost 15 lbs after going gluten-free. Now I am just trying to hit that 18% body fat mark. In the world of body building that is not even really that lean. So what gives? Why can’t I hit that target?
I have done my research. I am also blessed to have a friend that has been in the industry for over 20 years. I have the basics down. My eating is clean, super clean. My workouts are in place. The truth is everyone’s body is different. You will never get lean without knowing the basics of nutrition to reach the body you desire. However, there are some finer points that only you can discover on your own. My friend, who has been in the industry for decades, has a four-year degree in nutrition. She know her stuff. After all her years of experience, she maintains that her body is always changing and she has to continue to tweak her diet accordingly. Great, this is a moving target too!
I am gaining experience with trial and error. I have certain road blocks I face. My body holds water, lots of water. I track it and have found it centers around hormonal shifts during the month, sodium intake, and seasonal allergies. I have been using natural remedies to combat the issue. But, I did find another tool that has worked a miracle.
For years, I read how helpful food journals were. I was stubborn and refused to keep a diary of what I ate. This last bout of having a set back in progress left me despite. I did some research. Used a calorie calculator that took figured in my desired weight, active level and goals to lean out, I found my target range of calories for the day. I started mapping out my meals. I have found it to take the mystery out of what my diet looked like. The reason, why of course, I was experiencing a set back was my calories were too high. I know, I know, it is simple math. But when you don’t track how much peanut butter you are eating from the jar, that math sees complicated. With the food journal in place, I have dropped three pounds and one body fat percentage. Yet, I face one more challenge in not burning muscle while leaning out.
When I was at 19% body fat before, I looked flat and saggy. I dropped the fat, but also burned muscle. I am watching closely that my muscle mass doesn’t suffer. So far, I believe I am on target with that. My body looks different at 19% body fat this time. Some times, the best indicator of progress is the mirror, your own eyes and a series of photos.
Here is the burning question I ask myself all the time. Why am I doing this? It can be frustrating. It requires discipline and determination. Body building is an art form. It is weird to say that. Given the fact that I am an artist, first. A classically trained musician, with a Bachelor of Music, so I do understand art forms. I am sculpting, forming and creating the body I want. It is all about good health, of course, and a dose of aesthetics. You simply can not take the artist in me out of anything I do. My love for body building is a simple one. It is the process of creating, what every artist loves.