Wow! What a difference eating right makes regarding strength. I've been in and out of gyms for 20 years and never have I actually paid attention to the correlation between my performance in the gym and what I was shoving down my throat.
I've been writing lately about how I felt like I had stalled - even taken a step backward in strength (bench)...well, I took an honest look at my habits outside of the gym and had to admit I had gotten lazy. I had stopped counting calories, I was drinking wine every night and was unsuccessfully fighting severe cravings for Oreos. I was also eating a paltry amount of protein each day. I was feeling tired, sluggish and my performance in the gym was going backwards.
With all of these lapses, the one thing I have stuck with is the IF. In fact, not eating for 16 hours a day is quite easy for me now and probably the only reason I didn't gain all of my weight back in the past few weeks. Despite my crappy diet, my weight held pretty steady at around 116-117 lbs during this period of slothitude.
As they say, "You are what you eat." If I want to look like the chick in the sidebar to the right in a few months (which I will), I can't be swilling wine and stuffing my face with Oreo goodness every night...not even Leangains is THAT good. ;)
Well, after just a few days of absolutely stuffing myself with protein, eliminating almost all alcohol and cookies, and sticking to very, very low carb on rest days, I'm happy to say I have my strength back. With my work schedule, I've found it difficult to eat right at work, so I've enlisted the help of my friends ON Casein and unsweetened almond milk. They're doing the trick. They satiate me, give me a necessary protein boost and curb my cravings for something sweet after I eat a meal - the perfect trifecta! I also no longer wake up starving and have gone from about 116 lbs - 114.8 lbs in just a week.
And my strength is back. When I hit the gym this morning and I knew things would be better. I had topped out at 95 lbs for my bench a few weeks ago, but then had to drop to 85 lbs my last workout as it was just a struggle to manage the weight on my own. Today, with the help of my new workout partner and spotter (my 12-year old daughter), I am back at 95 lbs x 5, 85 x 6, 80 x 7, 75 x 8. I'm going for 100 lbs first set next week and have confidence that, with a continued focus on the proper diet and attitude, I'll knock it out of the park and never look back...
I also added in standing military press with 50 lbs x 6, 40 lbs x 6, 30 lbs x 6; & weighted dips +15 lbs x 5, +12.5 x 5, +1- x 5, +5 x 5.
I'll post new progress pics in about a week...trying to go with 30 days at a time to really see the difference. I honestly still have quite a ways to go. I thought I'd be leaner at this weight, but I guess I was a real fatty for someone so small. I'm now thinking I can be ripped at 105-110 lbs depending on how much lean mass I can pack on at the same time...I can't WAIT to see what I look like when I get there. So excited!