Before I start with my somewhat lengthy post, I want to say that I am really determined, at peace with myself and ready to begin a transformation. My main goals are BF loss, muscle gain AND developing strength, POWER, and endurance - I’ve been always really clumsy and “weak”, and I want to change that and take control of my body.
I’ve been active for about 6 years now. I had scoliosis and back pain since I was a kid, and started doing bodyweight training and authentic Pilates with a personal trainer when I turned 14. I developed a lot of core strength and I really enjoy core work and challenging core exercises, and as a result, I don’t have back pain anymore.
However, I also have a number of serious neurological problems, including epilepsy, for which I am medicated and it has affected my training a lot. I’ve also been in the hospital for months at a time sometimes or spent some weeks in a wheelchair, missing school, training, and well, basically most of my life in general. The state of my health and well-being caused me to be depressed, because I couldn’t pursue what I wanted in life.
I’ve had a number of depressive episodes throughout my teenage years which were related to my poor health, and since I’m also a huge perfectionist, I developed anorexia at the age of 13, and I became completely obsessive with cardio and starving myself when I was 18.
Sometimes I still look at myself and know that I want to be different, but I don’t let myself dwell on it. After all, I train for health and strength, and the aesthetic side is not the most important of my priorities.
But for a few weeks now I’ve been feeling much better, mainly due to my epilepsy meds, and I can train every day now. Sometimes if I have a lot to study or concentrate on, I’ll train early in the morning, but I try not to skip any days, and have 1-2 active rest days per week.
My nutrition has also been really healthy for years; I eat plenty of clean protein, “good fats” and carbs in moderation. I try to stay active all the time - I walk plenty, I ride my bike, and I lift daily. And here’s the thing: my strength has grown immensely, but I’m struggling with growing muscle and losing fat, unlike when I was a cardio nut two years ago.
I started with serious lifting about 2 months ago and would squat with 10 kg at 50 kg and it’d be really difficult/heavy for me. Now I squat 2 sets of 15-18 reps at 95% of my bodyweight with the proper form, and deadlift at 90%-95% bodyweight for two weeks as of now.
I had my BF measured at 27% in July, where I was rarely active, because I stayed in the hospital for a while again, but I can’t see any difference in relation to my BF as of yet. I apologize if I sound really impatient in a way. But I want to know if there’s anything I should start with to completely transform my body in at least 6 months or maybe a year.
I don’t count calories, but my daily menu may look like this:
Breakfast: Whole yoghurt with whole oatmeal, a tsp of sugar-free strawberry jam or fresh strawberries, other berries, and sometimes coconut. OR two eggs with avocado on a sugar-free oatmeal toast
Snacks after training/cardio or before/after weights and other training sessions OR other kind of physical activity during the day OR if I am really hungry and can’t eat full lunch/dinner yet: sugar-free wild beef jerky, almonds, maybe rarely a banana, sugar & additive-free peanut butter
After training: protein (chicken breast, beef twice per month, tuna or salmon, chickpeas), maybe a homemade curry thing (or a homemade sauce without sugar with fresh spices), fat (such as an avocado, cream cheese or sth like that) and a controlled amount of carbs (grains about twice or three times per week, but not all the time- wholewheat pasta, quinoa, brown rice, sometimes wholewheat couscous once per month, or lentils, peas, fresh veggies).
Drinks: tea, water with fresh lemon or peppermint, homemade aloe vera juice drink without sugar, but mostly water. I don’t drink alcohol or sugary drinks at all (actually can’t tolerate alcohol and can’t drink it because of my meds, and I dislike really sweet stuff).
Dinner: salad from lots of greens, sprouts, homemade pesto, chickpeas, tuna, eggs etc. a light dinner usually.
Cheat meals occur very rarely in the form of one pizza slice or smth like that once in a few months, or a homemade cottage cheese cake with palm sugar from my SO’s mother once per month. That’s all the cheat meals I have, because I am really/honestly not fond of sugary things or fast-food, not even used to that, so it’s not difficult for me to maintain these eating habits. However, if you have anything to recommend, let me know.
Supplements: vit D, fish oil, CLA, probiotics, small amount of zinc (for my skin), magnesium oil when necessary. BCAAs after training. Sometimes whey protein before sleep (I’m still not sure on these things).
My concerns: can’t lose fat, gaining weight rapidly but can’t see any muscle growth (I weighted 50 kg when I had lots of belly fat a few months ago and now I weight 53 kg, however there’s much less belly fat but no muscle definition).
My hormones are great (had my thyroid checked just a few months ago due to neurological issues, I have regular menses etc and no PCOS). I am gaining strength but can’t seem to perceive any physical changes. HOWEVER, 2 years ago, when I was a cardio nut, my BF was really low and I had muscle definition although I was just sprinting every day (HIIT) and doing bodyweight exercises.
Current training schedule:
Trying to do cardio, 450 kcal (90 min on a bike, 20 km) every day, but if I am too tired, I’ll settle with 30-40 min. Before or after lifting.
Monday - Workout 1
Tuesday - Workout 2
Wednesday - Workout 1
Thursday - Workout 1
Friday - Workout 2
Saturday, Sunday - active rest days with bodyweight exercises and maybe HIIT or more cardio.
Barbell triceps on a bench with a narrow grip
Overhead squats (bodyweight or 10 kg at the moment)
TRX HIIT, abs
Chin-ups (can do only 1 fully at the moment)
Core work, bodyweight exercises, box jumps.
I am a bit socially anxious to try other exercises, however I’m willing. As you can see, I haven’t been doing much for my arms, becuase they’re really wide right now and I want to lose more fat before defining them (although now that I’ve said it, it seems kind-of ridiculous to think this way).
I also attached a picture of myself in a relaxed everyday state in July, then three pictures of my body taken today, and the last picture is of me 2 years ago when I was just a HIIT nut but achieved a much lower BF percentage without lifting… However I don’t want to go back to that, since I was lethargic, obsessive and unhealthy. I am looking for something different.
I am really sorry if this post turned out to be way too long. I’m really looking for help regarding my situation, as I’m trying and I want some guidance and advice on how to change my situation for the better and become more efficient.
I’d like to be at a much, much lower BF percentage, have a lot of muscle definition and continue gaining strength. AND I am not sure if my diet is completely right.