If you read my last article, you will know the Pioneer Tribute meet didn\’t go everything well for me. And also you know that I believe it didn\’t go well because I tried to diet too hard, got too lean, and ended up-predictably-getting injured. ?
In hindsight, that whole scenario might have been avoided had I simply understood my own limits for training at really low levels of bodyfat. If you are a strength athlete who also really wants to look good around the beach, you might have similar concerns. How lean is too lean?
As always, it depends, and there is nobody right answer that applies to everyone. However, there definitely is such a thing as too lean, and also the longer you push that limit while continuing to train hard, the higher the chance of overtraining, frustration, and injury. ?
Am I Dieting Too Hard?
The first step to prevent self-destruction: Keep an eye out for the indicators. Again, these aren\’t the same for everybody, but it is quite a safe bet when you notice a number of these indicators cropping up, then it\’s time to back off.
- Extreme fatigue outside the gym. During the last six weeks or so of my Tribute prep, I could barely function outside of the gym. I had no energy even for \”relaxing\” activities, like chilling out by the pool or catching a movie. And I was consistently falling asleep around 9 or 10 PM instead of my usual 11 or 12. I knew these were signs that I was dieting way too hard, but because – with the help of lots of preworkout – I could make it to the gym, I thought I\’d be okay. I figured wrong.
- Inconsistent performance.?\”Inconsistent\” can mean several things, but I\’m specifically referring to a design of up-and-down workout sessions. You are available in eventually and nail your scheduled lifts, and the next day, you\’re missing warm-up weights. Or else you use to a health club feeling great, and wind up struggling through every exercise. ?
- Joint pain and injury.?This one should be pretty obvious. If you notice a significant uptick either in of these, look out!
- Lack of motivation. Feelings of motivation appear and disappear even throughout a good meet prep, but when you\’re constantly questioning why you\’re even looking to get through one, you\’re ready to back away.
Remember, it\’s totally normal to experience a few of these things, some of the time. But if they\’re persistent and severe, you\’re ready to re-evaluate.
How to Get Back in line Throughout a Hard Diet
Of course, if you are dieting way too hard, you can just start eating normally, and it is a safe bet that doing this will resolve most of your struggling pretty quickly. But when you won\’t want to go down that path, you have a few alternatives.
- More frequent cheat meals.?I discover that if you\’re really dieting hard, and you\’re more worried about performance than appearance, that you can get away with a fair bit of cheating without gaining too much weight. Now, keep in mind, when i state \”a lot,\” I mean a cheat meal or two each week – not a cheat day, and never every single day. By timing these cheat meals before your heaviest training, you can preserve how well you\’re progressing going a bit longer than you may otherwise be in a position to.
- Reverse dieting.?This strategy describes adding a tiny bit of calories to your diet before you begin gaining weight. Typically, the concept is the fact that you can minimize the quantity of bodyfat you set after your diet plan – however in my experience, it is a bit inefficient when your goal is adding lots of muscle. In case your goal would be to remain in fat loss class without starving to death, it can be really effective, because you\’ll gain so slowly that you ought to still be in a position to stay close to your cutoff weight – and through a tough diet, a few extra calories can seem to be like a godsend.
- Deload.?Remember, training and recovery is a balanced exercise: if you aren\’t recovering well because you aren\’t eating enough to aid your hard training, then your only email address details are to eat more or lighten. One way or another, that equation must balance.
Dropping fat loss class isn\’t easy, and it is not necessarily even smart – but I totally comprehend the appeal. If you\’re contemplating it, make sure you have a plan moving in, and don\’t be afraid to alter that plan if necessary. Most of all, maintain positivity. Regardless of how difficult it might appear at the time, you will make it through, one way or another.
Editor\’s note: This information is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the recording are the author\’s and don\’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.