I made some changes to the way I’d been managing my deficits at the end of May. I struggled a lot with staying on-point when it came to my deficit and I figured that as I’m getting to a fairly low body fat percentage it would help to incorporate more days at maintenance calories. So June was my first month working with calorie and to some degree carb cycling. It was an interesting and pretty successful month.
I switched the body fat calculator I’d been using because I found another one that allows me to input decimals. The one thing I disliked about the old one (http://fitness.bizcalcs.com/Calculator.asp?Calc=Body-Fat-Navy) is that I couldn’t input decimals so I had to round to the nearest whole centimeter, something that could have a big effect on the formula. The new one (https://www.omnicalculator.com/fitness/navy-body-fat) is better because I can use decimals, but I do have to calculate out the body fat in kg based on the body fat percentage number I get from the calculator. They also have about a 3% error margin, but I rely on that if they are wrong, they are wrong consistently so that I’m tracking the trend correctly.
In June I lost a total of 1.25 kg (2.75 lbs), this is lower than what the deficit predicted but I did manage to maintain the planned deficit for the month after I started calorie-cycling. It was much easier to stick with 3 – 4 days of steep deficits when I knew I would be eating a day at maintenance calories in a few days. I also did a week at maintenance towards the end of the month just to give myself a break.
June Weight Loss Statistics
As you can see from the table, my weight is off by about 200 grams (0.9 lbs), my last 6-day running average came in at 79.4 kg (175 lbs), vs. the predicted 79.58 based on the running deficit. My planned deficit for June was a daily average of 576 calories, and I managed 476 including the week of maintenance calories I threw in towards the end of the month after running a deficit for 6 weeks.
I ended June a little higher on body fat than planned (15% vs. 14.6%), owing to being about a 100 calories over what I estimated at the end of May. One of the funnier things that I’ve noticed since going back in a deficit is that I just cannot handle the level of deficit over time that I could when I was at a higher body fat level. My lifts have more or less stagnated in the gym, and I struggle getting the same number of reps that I did during my month at maintenance. It’s pretty incredible what difference an extra 500 calories every day does to how you perform in the gym.
I spent a lot of time researching getting from 15 – 10% body fat this month, and there seems to be a consensus that the leaner you get, the less hard you have to diet to maintain lean mass and performance. I’ve generally tried to put the days with the steepest deficit on off-days, my maintenence day on leg-day because it’s my heaviest workout, and stagger it a bit to avoid getting more than 2 days in a row with high deficits.
The July Plan
The calorie cycling has made the diet a lot easier to stick with, so I’m going to continue doing it for July. I’ve planned for a 500 calorie deficit (average) for the month, before having an 11 day break while I’m on vacation from the end of July until August 13th. So far, for the first 4 days of the month I’m a little over planned (511 deficit vs. 500 planned). If I get in a little over or under that’s manageable, and I figure that once I get back from vacation I’ll need to do another 3 – 4 weeks of dieting to reach 10% on the calculator.
I’ve discovered that I have a very typical male body fat distribution and hold most of my body fat in the trunk, and especially the stomach area. This means that my arms and legs are getting very lean. I’m getting muscle separation in my shoulders, quads, hamstrings and calves, but I’m still holding a good bit of subcutaneous fat in my stomach/love handle region that I’ve started to notice thinning out as I’ve gotten below 20% body fat, and faster since I’ve reach 15%.
It’s going to be very interesting to see the change in the progress pictures that I take on July 31st and compare them to June 30th, to see how much of a difference the planned loss of about 2 kg (4.5 lbs) has on the stubborn areas on my body.