I know this won't make a lot of friends, but I find it relatively easy to get lean in that I don't deal with a lot of hunger like most people do. I don't know why, but it's just something that I may have come to from years of doing this. Maybe I have just trained myself to not be bothered by it, I don't really know.

However, when it gets to the point where I have to push my body fat to the point where I need to get under the 198 cut off and body fat is getting pretty damn low, it becomes sucky real quick. I'm at that point now at 6 weeks out.

Hunger is creeping up but more importantly, I am getting depleted much quicker. Obviously, this impacts my training to some degree and you just have to figure a way around it because it is inevitable that your strength and workouts aren't going to be as productive as you want them to be at this point in a prep.

My skiploading has allowed me to not just hold strength but build strength during this prep phase which has never really happened before. Some people can build and some people can hold strength, but some of us (like me in the past) simply lose strength over time, slowly, as the calories decrease. I am still holding strength that is better than during the off season at over 30 pounds heavier. However, this is almost certainly not going to happen over the next 6 weeks, and quite frankly, I don't want to push those same numbers for fear of injury. I will still push as close as I can because I want to "dance with the one that brought ya," but I have to be smart at 50-years old because an injury would completely derail everything when all I have to do is be smart and train according to how I feel, how strong I am, how full (after a load) or depleted I am, etc. I have done this successfully for the entire prep and plan to continue doing this, but I backing off a little bit and not being as concerned about total poundages is also going to be a focus over the next 6 weeks.

The cool thing (again, where I might be luckier than most), is that I still get insane pumps even when depleted and even when my strength is down as fatigue sets in the further I get away from the last skipload. Most people struggle to get a pump, but I have never had that issue. I can get a massive pump in just a couple of sets and then push to the point of it being skin-splitting, even while being depleted. I just can't maintain strong muscular contractions for anywhere near as long and strength dives every single set that I do. I'm talking about doing 12 reps with a weight and then sometimes the next set will be the same weight for only 6 or 7 reps. I fall off of a cliff when it comes to fatigue and muscular contraction.

This is why it is vitally important to be careful with my volume and intensity. Something I have come to over the years is that intensity is always important, but it is more important during a growth phase than a cutting phase and especially when you are DEEP into a cutting phase. There is no real benefit to training like a crazy man and going passed failure when you are depleted and not growing, anyway. It exhausts the nervous system and taps recovery. So, the goal is training hard enough and long enough, but not too hard and not too long. It's a balancing act, of course.

This is precisely why my training schedule involves heavier sets after a load for my first training rotation, and then I drop the weights back a bit and go strictly by "feel" for the second training rotation where I might do even more volume than when training heavy for the first rotation.  This has worked wonderfully for the prep and I will continue to use this approach.

I added some oral supplementation just a few days ago and though I expected a bump in scale weight, I did not expect a bump of almost 5 pounds. This has created a new "problem" in that now I have that much more weight to cut before hitting the cut off for my class at 198. I was as low as 204 in the beginning of the week and weighed in even more depleted today at 209. I look better and I look rounder, but I still have a cut off to make, as well. I have my work cut out for me over the next 6 weeks, but I have little doubt that I will make the cut off, just fine, like I always do. I just might have to gnaw off an arm to get there.

I am making another diet change coming off of the skipload that I start later tonight (and go all day tomorrow). I will be dropping 50g of carbs from training days and 50g of carbs on non-training days and this will be my first diet change in something like 6 or 7 weeks. This diet change should take me through the rest of the prep, but that is yet to be determined. The thought of carbs and calories going lower than that is not terribly appealing, but I will do what I have to do to get it done.

Still zero cardio other than my nightly walks to increase NEAT. My feet are beginning to feel heavy, even for this low-key daily walk. However, this is to be expected at this point as it is time to push my body to the point where it doesn't want to be. 

I continue to remind myself to enjoy the process because I don't know how many more years I can do this at this level. It might be a lot of years, or it could only be 1 or 2. I could always continue to do it, but doing it at the level where I can still progress is the part that I will miss one day in the future. I can't think of anything more depressing than wanting to do something that you love, having the desire, but not having the ability to do it at this level, anymore. I am enjoying the process and I will miss it when the shows are done. Of course, I will have more energy and be more talkative but... who cares?  🙂


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