Changing my diet/workout routine, I pretty much have just one goal: get leaner while sustaining (or building!) muscle. It’s been approximately a week, and I’m about the same weight, maybe a bit leaner (I’ll have to compare photos later), and I probably had one of my best gym days in months. I completed my sets on the bench press (at a weight where I’ve been stalling for the past few weeks) and set new personal records on Squats and Deadlifts. But does this mean that my diet/routine was successful?
I often hear people tell me about how they swear by these diets that make no sense. Or sometimes they do make sense, but it’s really common sense (reducing calories + more cardio? Amazing!) added to some stupid fad that makes no sense. For this post, I’ll be asking myself questions that I’ll normally ask dubious dieters.
- Are you sure that the gains in strength weren’t caused by other things? Like being well rested or eating more? I don’t think that I was actually better rested since I normally bench maybe once or twice a week. This week, I hit the gym 4 times for weight training. I may have been better rested since I skipped all of my fighting stuff this week, but the underlying principles of the diet actually accounts for that. As for eating more, that’s pretty much what I did in the carb load phase. However, I did the lifting at the same weight as I did last week when I stalled, so you couldn’t really argue “oh he’s just stronger because he’s put on more weight.”
- Could it have just been the placebo effect that pushed you to the new PRs? Well, I guess realistically the answer is “yes” since I have no way to disprove that. I will admit that I’d been exciting about this diet and my workouts all week, so it’s probably a good chance that my attitude helped me.
- Could your weight maintenance be explained simply by calories in = calories out? Probably. I tried doing the math, but there were enough gaps from guesstimating that the margin of error for my calories in and calories out is pretty large. I will say though that this diet doesn’t profess to make calories magically disappear as much as it attempts to help you lose stubborn body fat. The real test is whether I’m actually leaner down the road.
- Are you sure it’s not just a fad on top of really simple dieting principles (like adding exercise and eating less?) I’m pretty confident that this isn’t a fad. There aren’t lots of grossly simple analogies that explain how it works, and there’s no promise that it’s easy. It’s a hard diet, the workouts are brutal, and you’re never really just adding exercise and eating less.
- Do you naturally have a strong metabolism? Are you sure other, simpler diets wouldn’t work for you? I can’t answer the question about the metabolism because I don’t know, but I’ve never really been fat or thin, so I don’t think I have an especially fast metabolism. I will say though that I’ve maintained caloric deficits with cardio/strength training in the past, and I was able to lose some weight from that, but I stalled at the weight that I’m currently at.
So to conclude, is this diet effective? It’s week one, so it’s really hard to say. I’ve been pretty enthusiastic about it, so that probably helped me push a little harder on the workouts, and realistically, since it’s only the first week, I’m still trying to get used to the work outs and dieting, so it’s possible that I’m not even doing it right (and getting gains completely on enthusiasm!) I think I’ll have a much better idea of how my body reacts this diet after a few weeks of sticking to it.