I finally hit my optimal weight.
And I sorta kinda need everyone on the planet to know it because it was so freaking hard to do.
Just in case you haven’t heard me talk about weight I’ll give you a quick rundown:
I’m a grown-ass…
is around 152 pounds (69kg).
I carry it well, fit my jeans.
Instagram thick. You know...
Physics doesn’t give a fuck how I look in my jeans that (m)ass is a hindrance to my day job which is to defy gravity for as long as possible in the long jump.
And so every training season I start out carrying 152 pounds around the track. And I slowly make my way to 135 pounds (61k) in time for nationals/world champs/or whatever it is I want to be at my “optimal” weight for.
I have to step down in stages.
Because to do it too quickly would be unhealthy and unsustainable.
Before I even step out on the track to begin training in the fall I go into what I call “Calorie restriction”
Okay, so listen...I’m not a doctor (yet) and I’m not here to give you dieting advice, I’m just telling you about what I do, and even though my plan has been informed and done under the guidance of doctors and nutritionists, please consult your own too.
Calorie restriction is based on my basal metabolic rate (BMR), and my caloric needs.
BMR: is the the amount of energy that a person needs to keep the body functioning at rest. This is basically the level of energy your body needs to keep your organs working properly, your brain functioning, etc.
Caloric Needs: Is how much energy your body needs for what you do on a daily basis.
Caloric Restriction for me means that I consume a number of calories that falls between my BMR and my caloric needs.
In other words, I consume enough to meet my BMR, but less than what my average caloric need number is.
This creates a deficit.
And a deficit of 3500 calories equals about a pound lost.
I can’t do this while I’m training, it would leave me too weak, and at risk of injury. So I do it for two weeks BEFORE my first week of training.
Just to jumpstart things.
And is NOT sustainable.
But I can drop about 5 pounds in two weeks eating this way WITHOUT exercising at all.
The commencement of fall training changes my fuel plan again. My fall training is intense and heavy on the plyometrics, and power focused in the weight room.
That requires eating for energy, and recovery.
I don’t count my calories anymore at this stage. I focus on the number of meals I’m eating.
I eat six meals a day during the fall.
Which requires a ton of planning and a lunch box.
Eating six times a day keeps me from experiencing energy crashes and keeps my metabolism revved up.
In order to keep losing weight during this phase while simultaneously increasing the number of calories I consume daily I have to make another drastic cut to my diet:
Sugar disappears from my diet during this phase.
And even though it seems like the FALL (better known as the offseason) is the perfect time to indulge in these sorts of treats because the season is so far away let me tell you (from experience) that trying to lose weight DURING the season is damn near impossible without sacrificing performance.
Once fall training is over, and we’ve moved on to specific prep my fuel plan changes again...at this point I’m around 145 pounds.
And even though on paper that’s only a seven pound drop...remember that we’re lifting heavy and gaining muscle at the same time that I’m trying to lose weight.
So once this phase is over I’m around 140 pounds (63.5kg). I’ve got five to go.
And it is the HARDEST FIVE.
Now we’re in pre competition and my fuel plan changes yet again (I hope you see a pattern here, my fuel plan reflects my goals AND needs and because both of those things change during the different training macrocycles-my fuel plan also changes.
In competition I switch my fuel plan again...only now I’m no longer eating six times a day. I’m basically intermittently fasting.
And not only am I fasting I’m attempting to force my body to switch from using glycogen as a fuel source to using fats because at this point I’ve also removed carbs from my diet.
But Tee, what do you do for energy? You ask.
That’s my point.
My events don’t require me to carb load for energy, hell I don’t even need to breathe during either of the events I participate in honestly (I do, but I don’t NEED to).
So because I train in the afternoon, my fast starts from dinner the night before through lunch the following day (about 16 hours) I fuel up before training, and make sure I only eat my “authorized” snacks ( and a substantial dinner before 8pm (on a perfect day) and I repeat the cycle.
This is where I am now, and I’ve reached my goal. I looked at my body today in the mirror and I said to myself, “you made it”
And my second thought was “damn”
That took almost eight months to do.
And yet, because I knew the plan and knew the goal
I was perfectly fine with the time it took
I was okay with the scale...even when it fluctuated back up, even when it plateaued.
Because I was playing the long game.
Today, I was in a competition in Göteborg, Sweden. And it was probably the first time in years that I had fun in a competition from start to finish (the closest in recent history that I’ve come to having fun in a competition was in Padova when we jumped in the square) so today was strange for me.
Because even though I got my ass handed to me (again) I was thinking about the long game.
I was thinking about every attempt as it came, bettering my technique each time. Overcoming irrational fears and questions about my abilities in favor of executing what I know I must.
As I walked away from the competition this afternoon I was reminded of how it took my body a while to transition to ketosis, the final phase of my fuel plan and the last step in my body sculpting. And how I was okay with the time that took, and how it felt at times. Yet, I’m not always okay with the time it’s taking for me to transition in the jumps too.
And you’re probably like transition to what? You’ve been jumping 7 meters and now you’re not.
I jumped 7 meters by running fast as hell on the runway, taking off fearlessly, blacking out in the air, landing however I landed and bouncing out of the back of the pit because of over-rotation and uncontrolled momentum.
And sure...many athletes would be content with that.
But I’m not.
I’ve been doing “this” for too damn long.
I want to run down the runway as fast as I can, take off fully aware, and put together a jump that is as close to technically perfect as possible. Because with my speed plus solid technique one would think that’s a recipe for some good shit.
Problem is...I had to unlearn some stuff first. Some bad habits.
I feel like I’m starting over.
And I’m sort of in this place where everything is worse before it get’s better. Like a high school phenom transitioning to her collegiate program freshman year of college. Or what your bedroom floor looks like when you’re attempting to organize your closet. Or what the house looks like after demo day during a home renovation.
Or like a pro, transitioning from natural talent to mastery.
It’s a mess. It’s incomplete. Something is always coming up. Doesn’t seem like it will ever come together. You get bestowed with pandas by Jon Drummond in his facebook group, or sent messages from peers begging for the old you back.
And yet it does.
It comes together
And eventually you can no longer even picture what the old thing was.
Because the new thing, the reno, the upgrade- completely overwrote the old.
So I’m rebuilding all that, just as I’ve rebuilt my body.
Which took so much time...
So much patience...
But damnit it looks good.
Some quick advice for athletes trying to lose weight:
1) Start early, so you can do it over a longer period of time.
2) Cut sugar. Because you don't need it.
3) Switch your mindset to eating for fuel and purpose- not for fun, or out of boredom.
Bloggers Note: I’m not a patient person. At all. Unless…I am clear about the plan. It doesn’t matter what it is. Or how long it takes. If there’s a plan, I can live with the tediousness, the minutia, of seeing it into fruition. But if I can’t see it, if I don’t have a plan…or worse yet if the plan belongs to someone else and I’m just a cog in someone else’s wheel, well….nothing good comes of it. So here’s to owning your vision, owning your plan, and working that shit into fruition.
No matter how long it takes.