This post is long overdue. I concluded my dieting for this Spring/Summer about 3 weeks ago. All in all I would say it was a successful round of cutting. Each time I set out to gain weight (build muscle) or lose weight (burn fat) I learn a lot about my body and how it responds to the dieting and training. This Shred session was no different. So I thought I would take a minute and tell you about what I learned.
As you may know I followed a dieting strategy that was created by a trainer named Mark McManus. His program is called Total Six Pack Abs. You can learn more about this program by clicking here. This program is based on Ketogenic principles (low-carb) but differs from Atkins and other no/low-carb diets because it’s designed for people who are trying to retain and even build lean mass while they are dieting.
I have tried low-carb dieting in the past and I’ve always had great results. Dropping 20-30 pounds has never been a problem for me. My only issue is that I typically lose a lot of my hard earned muscle and my strength decreases rapidly. Obviously this isn’t what I want.
This time around however I was able to retain my hard earned muscle mass fairly easily. In fact in certain areas (especially my quads) I increased muscle and strength! Something I used to think was impossible. I dare say that I achieved my leanest and strongest physique of my career and I only needed to make one minor adjustment to my diet.
When I typically dieted down, I decreased my carbohydrate intake to virtually nothing. Slightly increased my protein intake and maintained my fat intake. The problem with my previous approach is that my calories dropped too significantly and too quickly.
My typical diet prior to dieting consisted of about 220 grams of protein, 50-70 grams of fat and around 300 grams of carbs. Total my caloric intake would be just below 3,000 daily.
When I would cut my carbs out I decreased my total calories instantly by 1,200 leaving me with just 1,800 calories on a good day. You can see how it was easy for me to drop 20-30 pounds in a couple months.
The Total Six Pack Abs program gets very specific as to how much of each macro-nutrient each person should be eating. For me the only thing that I needed to change was my fat intake. I needed to eat more fat…a lot more fat!
To fall in line with Mark’s suggestions I needed to more than double my daily fat intake. In the beginning I was eating about 160 grams of fat a day!
I’ll get into the whole “Eating More Fat” concept in a later post, but for now I’ll leave you with this. Fat does not make you fat!
After I had adjusted my diet my protein intake remained around 220 grams a day, carbohydrates were at 60 grams a day and fat was at 160 grams a day (it did drop to a low of 115 grams a day). I was eating roughly 2400 calories a day. I dropped from 215 lbs to 190 lbs. I started at about 15% body fat and ended around 9%. My lean mass decreased by only a couple pounds. I maintained my mass, strength and energy. I accomplished this in just under 4 months.
So to summarize what I learned from this round of dieting.
1. Eat more fat!
2. Decrease calories slowly!
3. Keep Shred Session to 8-10 focused weeks!
I really enjoyed Mark’s program (learn more about his program here!) and learned a lot from implementing his strategies, I’m glad I gave it a try. Hopefully this post has given you something to consider when attempt to get shredded. Feel free to comment or ask questions below or on my Facebook page! Thanks for reading!