Monday, August 24, 2015

Ass Moves Mass. Bulky Vs Fit.

So the title, "ass moves mass" was not made up by me. The term applies to powerlifters. Likely the only females who are encouraged to eat lots because a bigger size will increase their performance. Maybe Strongwomen get that too? Did you know I'm doing my first Strongman competition this weekend? Oh dear lord, what have I gotten myself into. More on this later. Let's talk adaptation of the female figure.

My Story
Dream Body Alert
A couple years ago, when I was dropping weight dramatically, every week I got noticeably thinner, I was very in tune to the words people used to describe me. I heard words like fit and lean as I walked by. I was approached by strangers who would ask if I was training for a competition. You mean like the Tough Mudder? (I had no clue they meant the standing on stage variety). And I felt that way, I felt thin and fit. I felt light on my feet and absolutely stunning. My clothes were getting bigger and I felt VERY comfortable in my own skin.

The Problems
The problem was my primary focus was weight loss, leaning out - getting smaller. I wanted to be small enough that my hubby could lift me up. I wanted to be the tiny, short girl.  I wanted to be the blonde model from Athleta. I knew heavy lifting, running and high intensity could make me drop fat, so I did that, consistently 3 days a week I pounded the gym pavement like it was my job.
Athleta Dream body

And I was willing (finally) to stop eating crap, start eating more veggies (mostly JUST veggies) and earn the body I wanted. I was willing to do anything. So I ate small meals, only 2 or 3 a day, I did lots of fasts, I sometimes just had a big plate of steamed broccoli for dinner. I skipped meals to make sure I was working out in a fasted state. And in the gym I lifted  and did high intensity for 2 straight hours and came home and wanted to collapse onto my bed. And it all worked. I got down to 17.9% body fat and I felt like my true self emerged from hiding. I had the body I wanted. But I had other obstacles to face.

A Love Affair...
I became entranced with the barbell. I realized that the barbell could change me from feeling timid and shy to feeling superhuman. I could walk into the gym and feel isolated or blah, but after I lifted I felt like a lean, mean, strong-ass machine. So I wanted more, I wanted to lift heavier. I was not longer interested in how many deadlifts I could do at 150#, I wanted to know how much I could lift as a one rep max. Of all the lifts I knew, I kept adding on more weight plates. So my barbell got heavier and heavier and so did my appetite.

me, April 2014
me, June 2015

The Kitchen, Open for Business
Besides being an animal in the gym, I morphed into an animal in the kitchen. I became soooo hungry.  When you have a ferocious appetite, it's impossible to eat like a rabbit. I also increased my workouts, I was often doing two workouts a day. Thus, when you are working out for 2-3 hours a day, your body WILL find a way to fuel your workouts. And considering I was unwilling to lower my workout intensity, I was putting myself into a predicament. I said a subconscious adios to my original goal of wanting to lose weight.

Want to eat 20,000 calories a day? Be this guy, be this guy

My body fat test showed I required an average of 2800 calories a day on active days. It didn't take long to begin the monster eating. More eating meant my body began changing and it was saying, "you're welcome" as it adapted to help me be a badass, I was resenting my body for the growth. I noticed first my legs, and watched as my skinny clothes grew less and less comfortable. I worked out harder, and resisted again. But eventually it doesn't work. Not just because my appetite, but also my cortisol levels went wacky because I wasn't eating before or after my workouts. I considered giving up lifting heavy but that seemed like I was quitting. Plus I like it too much! And once I realized I couldn't   be losing weight and gaining strength, at the same time- I declared a truce,  to stop the fight against my body. Very easy to say. Very hard to do.

Anatomy and Physiology 101...
You can be strong and fit and also have fat over your muscles.This is why you might have a six pack just dying to come out and play if you would tweek your diet. There are plenty of strong people out there but they have a high body fat percentage so you can't see their superhero muscles. Also, bulky is a subjective term. What I used to think was "too much muscle" on a female has changed over the years. Not everyone agrees that strong is the new skinny. Also, girls are more prone to fat storage because we are created to reproduce. It's an honor but can be a little bit of a curse to our figure.

My Diet has also been through leaps and bounds since this all began. Where once I was a simple PURIST, restricting my diet by ingredients, these ingredients have slowly slipped back into my life.

The LEAN diet I followed 100% of the time when I was my most fit:
- No dairy
- No alcohol
- No SUGAR!! HUGE factor right here!
- No gluten
- No exceptions

NOW...Instead of passing on the desserts, I have a little.OK, OK, sometimes I have a lot. And I know the sugar is bad news for my body comp. I know sugar decreases my human growth hormone and increases insulin. These are two major hormonal players involved in determining what your body looks like. Do you want to look fit? Nix the sugar. I guarantee nothing FIT will ever come of sugar.  Wanna more sugar hatin? Here. Now what words do I hear to describe me? Bulky, Jacked, big, "all muscle", a beast. It's been a lesson in self acceptance. An introduction to unconditional love for myself. Admiring myself for what I can do and disregarding thoughts of what I feel I "should" look like.

In conclusion...
Your body composition is decided in the kitchen/restaurant/fast food line. It's based on what you do or do not eat.  Eating sweet desserts, downing soda and eating nutrient poor food will cause unfavorable results. But eating your veggies and supplying your body with vitamins might just change your life! As for lifting heavy, yes I think it can cause large muscle growth, and I think its beautiful. But it won't happen overnight, and it won't necessarily be unfavorable. And it will encourage a big appetite which I think is the main factor in getting big.

The Elite Crossfit body. These Girls: Not a Starvation Diet

The adaptation of the Female Crossfitter's Body. This is Camille Leblanc-bazinet. This is how much a body can change and adapt over the years based on what physical activities you demand of your body. This is the body in motion, improving and progressing.  Too often we watch weakness enter the body with a poor diet and watch people grow in fat. It's beautiful to watch the human body grow in strength.