My Progress from 79kg to 67kg.
Thought some might find it interesting as to how I approached the nutrition side of dropping a weight class!
February last year (2015) I suffered a lumbar facet joint injury (or something with similar symptoms) that only started to come right about a year later. By January of this year, I had become tired of dealing with the many woes of having an injury, and so decided to drop some body fat to get my mind off the fact that I was going to be unable to squat or deadlift heavy very soon. By late February/March 2016 my back started to feel OK under relatively heavy loads (100kg squats and 130kg deadlifts which was heavy for that time). I had dropped to around 74kg which is my usual competition weight and thought it would be worth a crack dropping to around 68kg to water cut down to compete in the U66kg class in my last year as a junior (23 and under).
How did I achieve this fat loss? Through the forever slandered, calorie-counting. Love it or hate it, energy balance is the most important thing when it comes to long term weight loss or weight gain. It is not the ONLY important factor, but it is definitely the most important. I counted calories, reducing the amount I was eating compared to when I was gaining weight. When weight stalled, I reduced calories further, or added in some light cardio. That’s the most important factor – controlling energy balance (energy in versus energy out).
I also ate more protein. More protein during a weight loss phase is crucial. Protein requirements go up when losing weight to spare muscle tissue. Protein, in general, is also is very filling compared to other macronutrients such as fats or carbs (read more about this here). I made sure to have 2-3 servings of veges per day and 1-2 servings of fruit. I also made sure to eat a good amount of fibre (generally over 25 grams, usually around 35). Having a consistently high intake of fibre helped keep me full during the weight loss phase. Fibre also acts somewhat as a proxy for the micronutrient content of the diet as well. IE if someone has a diet high in protein and fibre with fruits, vegetables, and dairy incorporated, you can be pretty sure that their diet is also sufficient in micronutrients.
Protein, fibre, calories, and cardio exercise, all controlled. Those factors, as well as reasonable variation in food selection and fruit and vegetable consumption, meant that I didn’t have to worry about the recent devil in nutrition: sugar. In fact, looking back at previous Myfitnesspal entries, I probably consumed around ~100g/day (25 teaspoons?). Whether or not a sugar intake is acceptable or not is dependent on context – in a weight-trained individual with a decent amount of muscle mass, and with a diet that contains adequate fibre, protein, calories controlled, sugar intake means moot.
Due to restricted calories, my intake of sugary/processed foods dropped as I continued (as less processed/sugary foods tend to make you more full on average per calorie), but I did not make a point of avoiding certain foods. Sugar is only a small part of one’s diet. Don’t major in the minors.
Focus on the important factors…: Calories. Protein. Fibre. Fruits/Vegetables (micros)..and water 🙂 You don’t have to track calories forever, but when you have a bodyweight or body-composition focused goal, it sure does help. It keeps you accountable.
Where to from here? My plan is to hover around 67-69kg for the remainder of this year and continue to compete in the 66kg junior class.
Contact me if you would like help structuring your diet &/or training towards bodybuilding or powerlifting comp prep.