Lately, I feel like I’ve been struggling to find the right balance between maintaining my physique and improving it. By improving, I mean making lean muscle gains. The goal is to do this slowly, so I allow my body to adjust to the changes in my diet and put on a minimal amount of fat. But as a female, I feel like I’m even more susceptible to having a negative body image and focusing on the numbers on the scale, which can hinder you.
Do I feel like the number on the scale is a true representation of what a healthy or ideal weight is or should be? Absolutely NOT! But, when used as a guideline to help keep track of goals and give you a basis to go by, I think it’s a good asset. With that being said, the scale can also hold you back when trying to make gains and you’re focusing on that number going up, as I am doing now.
Last week, I asked people what they thought weighed more: muscle or fat. Do you know what most people said? Muscle Well, folks, a pound is a pound no matter what it’s made up of! No changing that. Muscle is more dense than fat and therefore takes up less space. So, it is possible to be smaller in size and weigh more than someone with a higher body fat or one that is out of shape.
It’s definitely nerve-racking to see the scale go up, even when you know that’s ultimately the goal; to see definition fade away can also mess with your head. There’s definitely trial and error involved in finding what works best for your body. Even people with professional trainers and coaches experience setbacks. I’ve learned my body reacts better to higher (healthy) fats rather than higher carbs. You can’t do both. Lame! Right?! ;)
I’ve been doing high carbs for a while now and today was my first day back carb cycling. Today was hard, not gonna lie. So when most people fuel their bodies with carbs, I strategically plan out my 6 meals for the day with higher fats, at specific times. Three days out of the week I eliminate carbs, not including those from veggies, and bump up my fats; healthy fats, of course. Then, I gradually work carbs back in. Day 4 & 5 low carbs, oats at breakfast only. Day 6, moderate carbs, usually Meals 1 and 3. Then Day 7, high carbs, usually maxing out at 200g. My high carb day is always on leg day because I want to maximize that high carbohydrate intake. I also usually have my cheat meal on this day, as well.
This is what I’ve found works best for me… everyone is different.I don’t feel weaker on my no carb days. Cranky, yes! But as long as I’m constantly fueling my body and providing my muscles with healthy fats, my results are on point and always look & feel better than ever! Most people use carb cycling for cutting, as it’s an awesome way to do it. But I still keep my calories high and only do this for about 8 weeks at a time and I love the results when I do!
So, from here on out, I’m gonna focus hard and make a conscious effort to remember, progress not perfection. And don’t pay (too much)attention to the scale. To hold myself accountable for my own success and remember- I’m the only person holding myself back from the results I want.
This is your body and your fitness journey… do it for you and nobody else!