Abs by April...

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times...

But seriously, it wasn't easy. Starting at around 213.1lbs in January, I was determined to see my abs by April, and it happened! But not without a lot of sacrifice. And as anything that costs you a lot, it was definitely worth it.

The gallery pics below... they tell the main story. 

Diet? I went "mostly" Paleo with a little leeway here and there as things got rolling. I definitely did not "cheat" or go off my Paleo focus for the first 40 days. These were the hardest, little to no results seen, my body was still in mourning over my sugar depletion, and my energy took a turn for the worst - though that was only the first 2 weeks... Once my body got used to the idea of being rid of major sugar intake (no beer, bread, grains, potatoes starches, simple sugars or candy) things started to equalize and I started feeling a bit better overall. 

Like I said, the first 40 days were the hardest, but then things started to happen. I started seeing less bulge out of the sides of my frame (love handles were disappearing), overall started seeing more muscle definition and tone. These little changes gave me all I needed to move forward. 

As I got into March, I started adding a little more fuel in the form of sweet and white potatoes. I needed more energy and muscle building carbs to get me through tougher workouts. This was a minor change in diet, but major in terms of energy acquisition. 

I tend to lean towards eating too little when I "diet" and I felt the repercussions from that starting to take it's toll. So the addition of potatoes back into diet helped mood and strength a lot. 

As March was ending and I was looking to April, I was functioning as an athlete much better than I had in at least half a year, though my strength was not at it's peak, my overall performance was getting better daily. And my strength to weight ratio was the best it had been in a long while. I honestly don't mind the "scale weight" if I'm lean enough to see my abs and my body isn't carrying dead "fat weight" in excess. To be honest, as I neared the 190lb mark, I was starting to feel "too light". If I had my way, I would walk around at 200lbs with only 6% body fat, and I'd love to try and make that happen over the rest of this year! but I'll settle for 199lbs at 8% BF! Haha.

As April rolled around, I started being much "freer" with my diet. I allowed more simple sugars, a little ice cream here and there, treats if you will. I was also eating more than I had the whole time. My weight crept up from 193 to 196, but I was also growing muscle wise. 

Since my metabolism had started running much more efficiently with the absence of so much actual fat, I was able to add these things in and they had little to no negative effect on my body composition. In fact sometimes a sugar spike actually shocked my body into leaning out even further. Kind of a "carb night" effect.

So, in short, my "Silver Bullet" advice is this: Find a plan that you KNOW works with your body, do it 100% for at least 40 days, gauge whether or not you need more of one or another macronutrient, add that back in little by little. Watch your weight daily: I weighed myself multiple times a day to see how food, working out, heavy training, heavy cardio, rest days all effected my body. I was able to use this info to feed myself better as the days went on. Stick to the plan, and trust the process!

I know what my body does well with; I know what it needs and what just adds on nasty fat, and because of that I knew a mostly Paleo approach was going to work well. I'm stoked with the results, and now I'm looking for a new challenge, like I said, my ultimate goal would be to be 200lbs, at 6-8% body fat. 

Now, when I say mostly PALEO this is what I mean:

Paleo basics: no gluten, no grains, no wheat, no flours, no legumes. Moderate amounts of vegetables, and protein in the form of animals (anything with a face). Minor amounts of fruits. No extra processed anything. No diet sodas, no aspartame or Stevia. Everything was whole food. The reason I say "mostly" is that I allowed a little corn in my diet, in the form of corn tortillas. I know that this won't sideline my whole goal, so I allowed them. I did have a little more rice in March and April. 

As I got freer with my diet, I didn't keep out simple sugars and an occasional glutenized treat. But only in very small dosages, BUT this dosages of treats actually increased if the treat was inherently "gluten free" as I am more committed to being rid of gluten in my body, than I am simple sugar...

My workouts were mainly Olympic weightlifting based, early in the year it was light barbell only work and as my back felt stronger (I hurt it in December of last year) I started going heavier. 

As of now, not really sure what all of my numbers are but my back squat has to be stronger, since I just hit 5x5 at 345 the other day, and I felt good. I've hit 305lb pause front squat doubles within the last week. Hit a 90kg/198 lb hang snatch this week, and I'm just generally feeling stronger. Which is fantastic, because I'm still lighter than I have been since probably January of last year (2016).

So, there you have it. No special sauce, just a lot of hard work. I did take some supplements, Inspired Nutra KOR and Pre workout, which helped fuel my workouts definitely. Also had whey protein. 

If you guys have any questions, feel free to comment or email