Throughout this 5-video series, I’ll reveal the strategies I used for gaining 100lbs on my powerlifting total in 3 years. The final gain of 25lbs onto that total happened during the last 5 months while dropping 5lbs of body fat for my USAPL debut.
VIDEO 1 -INTRODUCTION
How does one improve strength while in a cut? Generally accepted as impossible for anyone but a strict beginner, Team 3DMJ is working hard to do just that. Using me as the guinea pig and artist, the team pulls their knowledge together as I outline the tactics that were used to progress in both of these areas during the same time period.
Quantifiably measuring strength improvement using a “payload” (similar to a Wilks score), I outline the improvement in strength by totaling my squat, bench press and deadlift and dividing that by my bodyweight at that time. Using this calculation, my payload improved from lifting 6.00 times my body weight to 7.33 times my body weight. This increase in strength simultaneously occurred while dropping body fat.
I also mention my previous training experience and habits in this introductory video. I have spent 18 years in the gym. Most if these years my focus has been progression through Intensity, as opposed to volume. Likewise much of my time has been spent in a once per week frequency, as opposed to training body parts twice or three times per week.
VIDEO 2 – MINDSET
Are you really as weak as you think you are? Why are you weak? Are you weak because you actually are weak, or are you weak because you are giving yourself a REASON to be weak?
Yes in order to drop weight we do need to take in less food than we need to. However is that a predisposition to feeling tired, weak, and lacking motivation? NO.
In this video I offer three examples and “reasons” why I am strong, exuberant and CAN progress despite being in an overall deficit. This is a look into my personal mindset about training in conjunction with historical situations to further illustrate my ideas on the topic. I truly believe that mindset is one of the most important aspects of gaining strength while cutting.
VIDEO 3 – DIET / NUTRITION PERIODIZATION
Long gone are the days of endlessly keeping an athlete in a caloric deficit. There is tons of anecdotal research on bodybuilders of all ages and body types that cyclical, intermittent caloric restriction is not only a better way to lose fat, but also offers most people an option that is much easier to adhere to.
In this section I outline how I cycled my nutrition while staying in an average caloric deficit. Using the research that we actually have available (as opposed to the anecdotal research), I outline how only 2 or 3 days of a deep deficit is required to maintain steady weight/fat loss.
Study citations mentioned in the video:
*2011 International Association for the Study of Obesity 12, e593–e601
*2013 British Journal of Nutrition – Accepted 13 February 2013 – Harvie et all, effects ofcontinuous vs intermittent carb and energy restriction.
VIDEO 4 – BALANCE & EXECUTION
This sport is like walking a tight rope at times. You must adhere to your program, but not let it rule your life. On the other hand, life can’t take over and take precedence over your training. How does one walk this tight rope?
In this video I outline the things that I felt were important in allowing me to execute my program consistently. These simple strategies were in essence easy enough to execute without taking over or heavily interfering with my life.
1. Having my own gym at home helped not only for convenience, but also allowed me to set my ego aside and train with sub optimal weight when I would not allow myself to do so when going to the gym.
2. Borrowing macros from one day and subtracting it from another allowed me to eat sensibly with my family without my average intake going over what I knew my body needed.
3. What I call “open training” was in essence a check list of training items that I needed to complete in a given time. So it was just enough structure to keep me adhering to my program, but allowed for enough flexibility that I could adjust and move things around when either my body was to beat up, or life got in the way. It also allowed me to de-clutter and get the training completed in a longer period of time if life did become over whelming.
VIDEO 5 – AVOID “THE BULK”
We all know that a person has the greatest likelihood of rebounding and gaining substantial amounts of fat after a long competition prep and invasive diet. A slowed metabolism is part of the problem, but more so the real culprit is returning to eating like we did when we were 20lbs heavier. This can be very detrimental when our bodies have adapted themselves in order to get by for months and months on much fewer calories.
In this video I show how I was able to estimate my maintenance at the new lower bodyweight and new metabolic rate by using the data complied during the competition diet. Then by adding back in the calories that were responsible for the caloric deficit, there is no reverse diet that I followed, but instead going right to maintenance for the current body weight and estimated metabolic rate.
I was not perfect in my estimation of maintenance calories. In fact avoiding the bulk was not even my intention. However I outline what was my intention and how the evolution of this entire video series was the result of what I discovered as I navigated the execution of my recovery diet for months and months.
Study citations mentioned in the video:
*Garthe , Truls Raastad , Per Egil Refsnes & Jorunn Sundgot-Borgen (2013) Effect of nutritional intervention on body composition and performance in elite athletes, European Journal of Sport Science, 13:3, 295-303
VIDEO 6 – TRAINING PERIODIZATION & PROGRESSION
Which is better? Training with heavy weight and low reps / sets? Or is lighter weight that allows for more reps and sets? Periodization is how we get the best of both worlds, and everything in between.
Weekly periodization is nothing new, but the more recent practice of daily undulating periodization is a training philosophy that has been proven to be more effective for both strength and muscle hypertrophy.
In this video I outline not only traditional weekly periodization of training, but also monthly periodization in a traditional format. Then I outline how a coach can control the monthly periodization of training loads and volume. Additionally how using an open approach or “checklist” of training will in essence take care of the weekly periodization on its own.
This series / strategy is not the end all and be all training and nutrition programming. As we all know, the newer you are to the game, the less strategic you need to be. However for those of us who have been at this game for a dozen years or longer, we have to be more conscientious and more meticulous with the way we do business in the gym, in the kitchen, and in our heads. It is my hope that this will help open up doors for your own strategies.