My husband, who is also an excellent fitness coach, and I felt we were not progressing as we should. By that I mean he was putting on fat and I wasn’t losing any. He has been guided by Ben Pakulski’s programs and recently purchased the Incredible Bulk.
This seemed a timely move. It contains information related to some issues we may face on this bodybuilding journey such as fat gain or a state of maintenance rather than growth. Based on what was learned, we decided to work in a cut phase. Before the cut phase, however, there was a two day transition phase which meant no carbs aside from all the green veggies we cared to eat. The cut phase is very low carb where we ingest our daily carb allowance during and immediately after our workout. For the two day transition we did not lift; cardio only. It was kind of rough. This put me out of the lifting routine for five days. That was rough too.
The point of the transition phase is to kick the body into ketosis and reset it to increase insulin sensitivity so the body can process carbs more efficiently. This is a method that should be done with caution. Some people will react very negatively to it and there are some factors to consider such as certain medical conditions.
Ketosis can be uncomfortable but it shouldn’t last long or be extreme. If you are experiencing extreme side effects then it would be prudent to add more carbs to your daily allowance but add complex carbs like brown rice, low or no fat yogurt, sweet potatoes, etc. I have found munching on some nuts to be very helpful. I am no expert on this. I’m only sharing my experience. I will add this should not be attempted without some research or guidance from a health coach.
However, there are many who follow a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet but again, I wouldn’t enter into it lightly.
I think our age has presented some challenges that younger folks typically do not experience as well. One is our metabolism; it’s much slower than our younger selves and we have to learn to work with that. Another is hormones. They also change as we age. We have both been afflicted by this. Hormones play a crucial rule in our health and fitness especially when trying to build muscle mass.
Female Hormone Cycle
I recently came across an article for women in training that provided some great insight about working with their hormonal cycle. Women can take advantage of their cycle and bulk and cut during certain phases. And that’s the key: you can’t work against your hormones or your body. It’s important to be in tune with it and despite all the programs out there it’s ultimately up to you to decide what is best for you. I’m struggling with this. I want to maximize my time at the gym and my diet. I think we women need to learn more about this. I believe the typical training regimen, often designed by men, is not supporting us as fully as it should.
I log everything: my weight, measurements, gym performance, and photos on a weekly basis. After reading the article on the hormonal cycle I saw where my gains and losses happened and where I was in that cycle. It was eye opening and I realize that I cannot follow along with the same macros continuously. I am now going to follow dietary and workout guidelines based on information from this article. I look forward to seeing how this will impact my goals.
Female Phase Training: Training with the menstrual cycle
Of course I’m focusing on women here, but men need to learn the importance of hormones in their training as well.
A hormonal panel for you women and men who train would be a great thing to get. You may be surprised at the results. Armed with this information, though, you will learn to maximize your gym time and diet for maximum gainz.