Two weeks ago today, Coach looked at me and said “You’re too damn skinny. If I have you cut any in the next 14 weeks you’ll be the smallest girl on stage. You shred fast, so let’s use that to our advantage and give you a few weeks of building.” I’m now charged with building some delts, a much wider back, and a butt.
Know what that means? That means that while other competitors are adding cardio and cutting calories right now in preparation for the same show, I was taken from one or two sessions of HIIT per week to zero, and my slight weekly deficit (-10%) was bumped up pretty significantly to an overall weekly caloric surplus of 5%. That’s 1300 extra calories per week- which is pretty much like adding almost an entire extra day’s worth of food into a week.
Of course, I went home and immediately put on my math nerd spectacles, pulled up Excel and grabbed a calculator. You better bet that before any dinner was made, I had calculated out my new macros. And eaten a leftover egg roll that I had made for dinner the night before. The numbers I ended up with were both terrifying and wildly exciting; never since I began tracking calories had I eaten so much in a day! Oh all the things I could fit within these new parameters- I was having visions of doughnuts (this crazy amazing fancy hipster doughnut shop just opened a block over and their Instagram is to die for), of froyo, of giant turkey sandwiches with piles and piles of apples and carrot sticks! Oh, all these carbs, all of these delicious foods would be mine!
I want to also address the fact that these numbers were terrifying. As a woman in our society, we are constantly told “smaller, smaller, smaller,” “eat less,” “thin is desirable.” So the idea of substantially increasing your food intake with the express intention of getting larger- especially as a former overweight person- is really quite the mindfu…n and games. But I was committed! Coach says grow, and I put my trust in him! Besides, eating more and lifting heavy are pretty much the two best things in the world.
But here’s the reality, after two weeks:
It’s fucking glorious.
I’ve nailed my macros every single day for the past two weeks within just a few grams. I’m never hungry, even on rest days when my calories are pretty low and my only carbs are veggies; my lifts are incredible- I’m doing multiple working sets of squats above 205 pounds, and I’ve PRed my barbell hip thrusts over 300 for reps, as well as my military press at 80 pounds for reps. This. Is. Incredible! But it doesn’t end there! Not only am I jazzed to eat (I mean, let’s face it, I’m always jazzed to eat), and my gym sessions incredible, but I’ve been getting some pretty awesome compliments this week. On my butt. People are complimenting my butt. Like, random stage women in the gym… it’s totally not weird, because I’m so excited that people are noticing the work I’ve been putting in. I’ve never had a butt in my whole life. But I am growing one! And I’m almost positive my delts are growing too.
According to my calorie tracking app, my weight has fluctuated within two pounds during this time, starting at 114.2, on the first day of my increased calories, and making a peak after a high calorie/high carb day at 116.8… ultimately settling back to 114.6 today. What. WHAT.
Perhaps I’ve been too modest in my calculations. Perhaps my TDEE is higher than I anticipated…dare I eat more? At 12 weeks out? Even if not, it’s incredible to be starting out prep with calories this high. The higher your starting calories, the higher your calories get to stay when you’re cutting, which equates to a healthier, hopefully not awful and feeling starving and grouchy and weak prep. I’m more and more excited about this as I move forward!