Reflecting on diet vs performance as a lightweight

Training is basically a simple idea. Train hard – get fitter / faster / stronger (whatever you’re looking for) burn fat, put on muscle.

(If only it were that easy!)

But if you break a lot of this down into component parts, as a lightweight, it becomes problematic.

  • Train Hard – Lose fat:- Cool! That’ll work
  • Train Hard – Get fitter:- Yup, I’m still with you here
  • Train Hard – Gain muscle:- eh, hang on, all that weight I just lost as fat is coming back through my bulging biceps and quads!
  • Train Hard – Get fitter / faster:- Ok, that’s happening a bit, but as I need to watch how much muscle I’m putting on, the gains aren’t quite as good as I’d expect.

Maybe some of this is down to what food I eat. Maybe the mix or carbs vs proteins and fats isn’t quite right. I think I’m around 40% carbs – then 30/30 for fat and protein. I have to say though, this isn’t by design – it’s just how things stack up. I’m sure if I knocked my CNP protein bar addiction on its head this would shift a bit, but that’s not quite addressing the issue.

And it’s even worse when I’m surfing the 75Kg line. If I’m 75.5Kg, I want to train hard to lose the 500g – and this is usually at pre-competition time, so when I say train hard, we’re talking sprints / tough stuff – but the result of this is often an addition of muscle at the same time as fat loss.

A couple of interesting things to note though.

  1. Drinking lots of water seems to help. Whether it’s because it fills me up so I don’t eat as much? Or maybe it cools me down and my metabolism has to raise? Or maybe it’s flushing out free-radicals / retained water? Who knows. But it does seem to help – and of course I’m properly hydrated when it comes to training.
  2. Fasting helps. No duh! I’m not saying it helps me perform better on the erg. I don’t get stronger, I don’t get fitter, I don’t get faster – but I do get lighter. On Tuesday, I had to work from 09:00 to 22:30 – which meant not only did I not get to eat a big dinner, but other snacks (nuts) weren’t part of my day. I just had three protein bars (obviously) chicken breast and spinach, and when I got home, some peanut butter on toast. Weighing myself between Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning saw a 1.5kg difference. Allow for a 1Kg swing due to hydration – and even 500g in a day is a lot.

I read a good article yesterday about the Gallon of Water a Day Challenge. Part of me (the idiot part) wants to try this! https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/i-drank-a-gallon-of-water-a-day-for-30-days-water-gallon-challenge

But, as I’m about to hit 5 weeks on this enforced lock-down – I’m down to 8.5% body fat – I’m pretty sure I’ve got more muscles than I had when I was 18 – and I feel fit and powerful. I just have to make sure I can continue to improve without bursting the 75Kg bubble!

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