I feel like a lot of my post-competition posts may suggest that I am opposed to having physique/appearance goals, which isn’t the case. For me, competing led me to become too preoccupied with physique/appearance, so I purposely put physique-based goals on the back burner for a while and instead shifted my focus toward performance and health goals. It’s an issue of balance for me, so having swung the pendulum too far in one direction, I had to shift my momentum back the other way to find some kind of middle ground.
I think I have finally reached that middle ground. I still have performance goals – I really want to train hard in both Crossfit and Olympic lifting, with the long-term goal of some day competing in one or both. However, now I am setting some physique goals as well.
My trainer redid my measurements yesterday. I wasn’t horrified, but I wasn’t thrilled either. For my show at the end of March, I was 117 lbs and 11% body fat. Currently, I am 127 lbs and 16% body fat. I am 10 lbs heavier and up 5% body fat from when I competed. (For those of you that don’t know and are curious, I am 5’2).
Neither of those measurements are bad. My weight is higher than I have traditionally liked it to be, but I am carrying more muscle mass now than I have in the past. And ultimately, I don’t really care about my scale weight – it is simply one (sometimes deceiving) indicator of where I am in terms of gaining muscle, losing fat, or both that should be analyzed in conjunction with other pieces of information like tape measurements, body fat, and performance. I could be 135, 145, or 155, and as long as I was still relatively lean and looked good, I could care less!
So why bother having physique goals at all? Well, I know I am not 100% comfortable in my body right now. My clothes are tighter, and I find myself wearing my baggy tanks instead of my cute, fitted ones. I will change my mind several times about what to wear to the gym because I don’t feel confident in what I am wearing. Bodyweight exercises, like pull-ups and chin-ups, are more challenging because I have more weight to move. It’s tied to confidence for me. I don’t want insecurity about my physical appearance to distract me during or detract from my training and performance. It spills over to life in general too. Do I need to be shredded with a six-pack and look photo shoot ready? No. Would my confidence improve if I cut my body fat by a couple of percentage points? Yes. Can I accomplish this without significantly affecting my training in an adverse way? I think so.
I am working with Alli Moyer for primal nutrition coaching for 12 weeks, and I’ve already reached the 6 week point with minimal physical progress because I haven’t been very consistent with my nutrition (I pretty much had an eat-whatever-I-want 4 day weekend in Charleston last week, and let me tell you, I took full advantage of my time there). My birthday is also just over 8 weeks away (August 2nd), and well, I would like to feel awesome and be able to enjoy a tasty meal (one that hopefully includes some kind of chocolate and red wine) to celebrate it guilt-free.
Alli believes in small nutrition changes over time to produce lasting, sustainable body composition progress, which is the approach I want to take. Yes, I am impatient, and there is a part of me that would love to start doing a shit-ton of cardio and significantly restrict calories to produce some quick results, but I know long-term that’s not what I want. I also know that significantly cutting calories and/or doing hours of cardio would definitely have a negative impact on my training, which I want to avoid as much as possible.
So, do I have a specific body fat percentage in mind? Nope. Even though I do want to get leaner, the way I plan to achieve this is through process goals – being 95% nutrition compliant for the final 6 weeks that I am working with her, and continuing to work my ass off in Crossfit and the gym. If I do that, my body recomposition goals will take care of themselves. Fat loss is neither linear nor predictable, so I think that setting a specific body fat percentage goal isn’t value-added. When I get to where I am comfortable, I will know it. My actual body fat percentage is really inconsequential – it’s being comfortable and confident with how I look and feel that matters, and I don’t need a number on the scale or a set of body fat calipers to tell me that.