I’m the worst blog poster. I get all jazzed and tell you I’m embarking on this epic journey of doughnuts and muscle growing, then I disappear for the duration. What a jerk.
Let me backtrack a little and fill you in on the past two weeks.
The first four days or so were great. I calculated my macros to be at about a 15% surplus, which I typically do not do. My last bulk, I never went above 10%, because I truly believe that any more than that is excessive, and does not aid in helping to grow muscle any faster, but just prolongs/makes your following cut all the more miserable. So in the interest of minimal fat gain, I try to go the slow and steady route. This has also worked well for mementos and emotional health. On a slight surplus, my mind adjusts with my body changes, and I feel awesome. Im’ confident and strong and sexy and I wish I always felt like I do after a few weeks of bulking.
So like I said, the first few days were like that.
Then, life happened. I mean life always happens, but life got nuts, quickly.
I’m not trying to make excuses here- I have a no excuses/no victim-playing policy in my classroom, and in my life. So I’m taking ownership of this, one hundred percent. I let things get away from me, and I did the stereotypical bro thing.
I used my “bulk” as an excuse to get fat.
During the time I allotted for my micro-bulk experiment, I was assigned to give no fewer than 16 standardized test sessions in the span of seven days.
I also had a draft of my master’s thesis due to my advisor, and found I was still short 4 sources so I spent an entire week doing research and adding to my existing research. I also had to make sure all the i’s were dotted and t’s crossed on stacks and stacks of paperwork, and final senior project presentations were ready and scheduled for five graduating seniors. Plus dog sitting, so I wasn’t even staying at home part of the time, meaning my cooking and lifting and eating was thrown off.
When too many things get out of hand in my life, my anxiety takes over, and I cease to function fully on all levels. To a certain extent, I thrive on stress. I like having deadlines and things to accomplish, it keeps me motivated. But at some point, things get to be overwhelming. It takes a lot to get me to that point, but, it does happen.
So I ate. And ate. And ate.
And sadly, it wasn’t just cucumbers and salsa. It probably would have been MORE cucumbers and salsa, but I ran out of both and I didn’t have time to get to the grocery store. Seriously, all I’ve been able to think about for like five days is cucumbers and salsa.
Aside: Cucumbers and salsa is on par with birthday cake Oreos in terms of things I love. But maybe more. At any given time, there are between one and five different jars of salsa in my house. I eat it every single day. No exaggeration, I go through a 16oz jar in 2-3 days. I’m not ashamed of that. I fux wid salsa hard. It’s like the most delicious way to spend 30 calories in a day, honestly.
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GUYS. LOOK at what I found at @sproutsfm this week. #pumpkinspice #SALSA. This is EVERYTHING. No shame, eating it straight from the jar. At least I grabbed veggies this time. Husband gave me a bit of a side eye when he caught me eating straight hot salsa with a spoon this weekend. Veggies+salsa=#prepsaver- it's pretty much no calories. (Warning for fellow crunch-a-phobes… Cucumber crunching) #basicAF #whitegirlstatus #icanteven #betcheslovethis #pumpkinspicesalsa #basic #dontjudge #thisiseverything #fitfood #fitgirl #pumpkinspiceeverything #neveroutofseason #figurecompetitor #hnathletesearch #diettips #lowcalsnacks #contestprep #bikiniprep #figureprep
Anyhow I got a little fat. By day 10 of my bulk, I woke up and realized that my skin hurt and i had heartburn. I can’t even make this up. I had eaten to the point where my skin felt like I was crammed into it! And heartburn… I haven’t had heartburn since I weighed at least 30 pounds more than I do now, when I had it pretty much every day. WHAT! Luckily, some of it was just excessive carb consumption in a short period of time causing me to hold water, and hitting the gym the following two days, and reducing my carbs slightly (though not enough to take me into a deficit), helped a lot. On that day, I weighed in at a full 9 pounds over stage weight, 121. For reference, I began this micro-bulk experiment at just 2.8 pounds over stage weight- 114.8.
My body felt terrible. I wanted so badly to wear a snug pencil skirt but my belly felt squishy and I could feel the fat sitting on it, so I opted for a flowy top. Even my face was puffy! My energy levels were laughable, in comparison to the amount of energy I needed to get through, you know, my life. I didn’t feel sexy at all, not like the last time I bulked, when I was busy trying to show off my newly-grown bullking-booty and freshly made delts, oh no, I was busy wearing sweatpants this time around. Worst of all, my lifts felt terrible- the exact opposite of what I normally feel on a caloric surplus, because I wasn’t fueling my body, I was abusing it. I carefully calculated out macros, set the spreadsheet as my iPhone lock screen as always, memorized the numbers, and promptly acted like an idiot and ate a bunch of Breyer’s Slow Churned Luscious Red Velvet ice cream… part of which I calculated into my macros, and the rest of which I thought to myself “whatever, I’ll turn it into delts anyhow.”
Um, no. No. I turned that into love handles. And I knew better. I SO knew better!
Of course, objectively I’m nowhere near fat. I’m probably an estimated 16% body fat. I can still see most of my abs. I don’t want to sound like a prick when I say “I’m fat,” I’m not looking for consolation or attention or what have you. What I’m saying is that I did, in fact, gain body fat and I did it rather rapidly, and now I’m uncomfortable. But I’m also taking ownership and I know how to fix it.
So today is day one of my cut. I know, because last night I got a reminder on my phone a few minutes before 8: BULK END. What kind of a jerk sets that as a calendar event with a reminder? This kind. This kind of jerk.
I was annoyed with myself about it for a minute, but then I realized I’m not even mad. I’m… oh god I can’t believe I’m about to write this…
I’m looking forward to cutting.
As I calculated my first set of macros last night, I found myself relieved by the numbers- they seem so manageable! Yes, of course having wide macros is fun. It means I can be a little more lax about estimating at restaurants, it means I can have more frequent doughnut dates with my swolemate, it means I can fit an Oreo or two into my day without skimping out elsewhere. But you know what? It gets old. I get lazy. I did the thing, that the clean eaters accuse the IIFYM followers of, of using it to just eat junk food. Don’t get me wrong, I was eating all kinds of delicious veggies- salads, turkey and veggie sandwiches and stir frys, hitting my protein every day… but I got lazy about the rest, and I paid the consequences. I gave myself two weeks to grow, and I probably will not see much size gain at all once I cut back down now. I’ll likely have just gained and lost the same 2 pounds. And that is wasteful. Wastefulness, particularly of time, is one of the most frustrating, annoying, and disrespectful things in my mind. And I’ve no one to blame but myself.
So I’m looking forward to my cut. I tend to be much more accountable when my calories are a bit lower- even when they are at maintenance level. I’m more creative in my cooking, so that I can get the maximum flavor and deliciousness out of my day and not waste my macros on pointless things that aren’t going to satiate me or feel “worth it.” I’m looking forward to the forced creativity in the kitchen, even if it does mean fewer doughnut dates. Or maybe, being as my doughnut
partner has agreed to begin her summer cut with me, we can just go get A doughnut and split it.
Because let’s face it: I’m not giving them up any time soon. Even the day before I hit the stage I was living that deep fried bread ring life.
Anyhow, because I so royally screwed this up, I have to say that my experiment with micro-bulking is invalid. I am still intrigued by the idea, and would like to try again another time, when I feel a bit more stable in other areas of my life, perhaps. I think next time I will stick to a more modest increase in calories as well. An interesting side lesson I learned during this time, though, is exactly the number (well, small range) of carbs where I am comfortable and my body feels properly fueled and not over-full. So that’s interesting, and great knowledge to have!
Anyhow, new macros today. I’m excited to see AGAIN the changes my body makes in the next 5 weeks. I don’t plan to get stage lean, that would be just nuts and probably not the healthiest option, so my calculations aren’t particularly intense. Honestly, I cannot handle any more intensity in my life right now. Back to my standard form: sustainability. Slow progress is the most maintainable progress, and the most sanity saving. And honestly, weighing in at 116.5 this morning was not outrageous or anything. I’ve got 5 weeks, so I’ll be taking just a slight deficit and keeping my workout intensity up, and my doughnut-loving also-on-a-cut-now swolemate has agreed to Sunday morning HIIT sessions in the form of stair sprints at the convention center or tire flipping in the back alley. Beyond this, I do not intend to change anything. No steady state cardio, no drastic carb cutting. No “diet.” Always small changes, wait, reassess.
So here’s to a sane, healthy, sexy music festival season. As always, no restrictions- there are still two containers of Oreos in the cupboard, sitting nicely next to seven kinds of nut butters, just waiting, sitting patiently for me. Project EDC body, let’s go!