About six months ago, I began to increase my calorie intake from around 1500-1800 on average to between 3000-3500. I have always read that in order to build muscle and mass one needs to increase their caloric intake. My fear was that I would just become fat without any muscle gain. For years I have neglected that advice and tried to accomplish it on my own. Let’s face it…we all know more than science, and I’m a SCIENTIST!! Just not exercise or nutrition. The primary reason for my decision to up my calories was my constant feeling of fatigue. I would workout hard in the gym for an hour a day, five days a week, lifting heavy weights. I have been going through a variety of workout plans, but would just feel tired without anything to show for it. After nearly doubling my caloric intake each day, I began to see instant changes in how I felt! Provided I was able to get a good nights rest, I would go through my days without very little feeling of fatigue. It was great! On top of having more energy, I could feel my body changing. I felt thicker, but my waist size of my pants stayed the same and my weight began to creep up just a bit. I know muscle, fitness, diet, and health are all long term…life long projects we take on for ourselves, but I know if I keep eating the way I do and changing up my routines to show progress, then I will be well on my way to reaching my goals.
My goals…These seem to be an ever changing, moving target that is impossible to keep up with. Currently, I am focused on gaining strength and muscle mass. Over the past few months I have seen my weight and strength greatly increase. I’ve went from barely to having a 1RM of just under 200 lbs to a new 1RM of 280. I consistently increase and change up my workout weights to continue the muscle growth stimulus. Granted I have gained a bit of fat on this journey, but the muscle and strength gains have made it worth it. Eventually I will work on a cutting diet/program, but right now I am too pleased with my progression to stop what I am doing. Some athletes bulk for years!! I don’t see myself in that camp right now, but for the time being it’s working. I’m comfortable with my weight and appearance even with some ‘fluff’.
I am a big fan of taking progress pics either naked or at most with just underwear. This is where you can actually begin to see what you are (or are not) accomplishing. Everyone should be taking beginning and ending pics at a minimum. It will help show how far you’ve come and can be a big motivator to not let yourself go back to where you were. This can be for weight management or muscle gains, but regardless of your goals it is essential for you to see that progression. Although I haven’t taken any in while myself, I am a big advocate of taking routine progress pics, and when you reach a short term goal. You don’t have to share these pics with anyone, but it’s a great visual check for yourself.