For those of you who have been following, after the Cal State Games 2014 I had a decision to make. I weighed in at 73kg which is right in the middle of being a 69 and a 77. Last year, I had failed at an attempt to come down to 69kg, during which I ate super-clean (paleo principles) but did not control portion size or any other variable.
In my mind, the pros of being a 77kg are-
- never have to worry about making weight- I was able to live around 75-76kg, eat (lots) of starch on training days, and ad lib portion sizes with no fluctuation in body weight. Not having to worry about what or how much I was eating, and not having to worry about making weight was huge.
- eating lots of starch on training days- like, duh. I live to eat, and quite honestly being able to eat tons of fries and rice on training days was often the best part of the day.
It took a while to get under 160lb.
However, here were the positives of being a 69kg-
- I knew I would look ripped. While not necessarily functional, I’d be lying if I said my ego didn’t want this. Every human being wants to “look good” to other people and I am no different. There’s no shame in admitting a part of you cares if you look good to other people. The problem only comes if it takes on too important of a place in your ego spectrum.
- qualifying totals for the 69kg class are lower, and I would perform at a relatively higher level compared to being a 77kg.
- the challenge- this is important. Part of me knew it was possible to come down to 69kg, and the fact that I failed last time was a major driver. The process itself, and succeeding this time, was a reason unto itself.
During a trip to Vegas with friends. I had to maintain discipline while everyone else was eating 8 course meals and living it up. The scale helped remind me why I was doing this.
So, after Cal State I took a solid week off to rest, heal and mobilize. Since then, my strategy as far as weight loss has been two-fold:
1. Clean up my diet- I moved from an 80/20 approach to a 90/10, or even 95/5. On my non-training days, I eat absolutely no starch and no sugar. On training days, I take in a cup of rice post workout. The last time I tried to move down, I didn’t eat any starch, and my strength really suffered. I have found through personal experience that if one of your goals is to maintain strength, some starchy carb is an absolute necessity (at least for me).
2. Caloric restriction- I simply eyeballed my meals, and made sure to eat “less” at each meal. By “less”, this ended up being about a 1/4 reduction of whatever I was eating before. So if I typically would eat a plate of food, I’d now eat 3/4 of a plate. 4 eggs for breakfast became 3, etc. I knew I was doing it right b/c I’d wake up and go to bed hungry, but it was tolerable.
SO CLOSE. Honestly I probably could hang out here and just not drink/eat much the day before I weigh in, but I’m not taking any chances.
Long story short, I started in the first week of August, and on 10/13 (basically two months), I hit my goal- 152.1lb, or 69kg exactly. Now I just need to hold myself here until Nov 1st, when I’ll be competing in the Fortius Halloween meet. This should be a small meet, but it’ll be sanctioned, and thus my results will qualify me for Pan Ams and Worlds for 2015. Typically, one should live slightly above target weight and then cut leading up to the meet, but b/c this is my first time competing as a 69kg, b/c of the work that I’ve put in, and b/c I’m not sure how my body will respond to a “fast cut”, I’m not taking any chances. Once I get this meet out of the way, my plan is to live at 154-156lb.
Nailed it, exactly, with 18 days to go.
The qualifying totals for 2014, Masters competitions for a 69kg were-
- Nationals (new for 2015)- 167kg
- Pan Ams- 167kg
- Worlds- 187kg
My goal for this meet is to open with 76 on the snatch and 102 on the Cl/J, both weights I can hit in my sleep. This would give me a total of 178 and qualify me for Nationals and Pan Ams (based on 2014 totals). Ideally, I go 76/81/85 on the snatch and 102/107/111 on the Cl/J- If all goes well I’ll have a 196 total and qualify for Worlds as well. However, as long as I make 81/107 (both quite doable), I’ll wind up with a 188 total which would also be enough for Worlds (as long as they don’t bump up the numbers for 2015). I’m pretty hopeful and confident based on this analysis. The two potential roadblocks are- a) I have a shit day and don’t hit 81/107, and b) they bump up the qualifying numbers a lot. Either way, the solution is to simply lift as well as I can and hope for the best.
I LIKE how I look and feel. I’ll be honest- I can see every one of my abs, and also the psoas muscle on either side (the muscle that starts around the front of the hip and trails to the groin). I’ve lost track of the number of compliments I’ve received on how I look, and it’s very gratifying. That alone has made this process worth it. I’m never going back to a 77kg. I know I’m healthier, and I look better too.
Part of me LIKES waking up and going to bed hungry. Sure, it’s uncomfortable but I feel “lean and hungry”, like that line from the movie Gladiator. I kind of feel like a predator between meals- hungry, but very leaned out and ready for action. I feel more like an animal at the top of the food chain, rather than a product of sloth and indulgence. It’s kind of hard to describe but I imagine it’s what warriors hardened by countless battles feel like.
My gymnastics skills have gotten much better, simply by virtue of a lighter bodyweight. For example, I’ve been messing around with front levers since I started CrossFit over 5 years ago. On some of my rest days, I will jump up and play around with the move, and I’m able to hold the positions much better/longer than ever before. Here’s a video of an (almost) front lever; if I tuck one leg I can hold it with almost no pike.
My snatch and clean and jerk have basically remained consistent, even with the decrease in bodyweight. Incredibly, the ankle I injured pre-Cal State is STILL not 100%, although it is not limiting me much at all now so I just ignore it. I can consistently hit 75-82kg on the snatch, and 102-105 on the cl/j. The snatch feels the same as when I was a 77kg, although the heavy clean and jerks do feel heavier and not as easy.
The only place I have definitely noticed a dip in strength is with heavy front and back squats. My 1RM is certainly lower than before, and I struggle on heavy sets that would not have bothered me much in the past. For instance, FSq’s above 115 used to be automatic up until 125 or so. I’ve recently done sets of 115 x 2, and that second rep is the hardest one on the planet.
Overall, I’ll take it though- lifts have barely gone down, I look and feel better… and I did it. I proved to myself I could do it. It was actually easier than I thought it would be (given I hit a plateau/failed last time). Now, to qualify for some big meets in 2015 on Nov 1, then go nuts with my food intake the next few days after that! I’m looking forward to it.