My goal is to look as good as I can (without stupid risks to my health) for a cruise in January for 20th wedding anniversary. I reviewed my last 10 years of training logs, and now have analysis paralysis.
My intent is to string together a few blocks of training and eating to get the most out of my training. I'm stuck because I think my metabolism has slowed too much to cut more fat, but I am not yet lean enough for a clean gain.
Frankly, I have never been very lean. Once a fat powerlifter, I've trained to lean out for about 5 years. Two injury setbacks wiped out much of my progress, but I am still down 40lbs. (I was also a slow learner w nutrition.) Today, I look fairly jacked vs. the general population, but not yet in the BF% range that coaches say you should get to before trying to add clean muscle. (5'9", 195lbs dry, 46" chest, 34" at navel.)
I see classic signs I need a break from cutting. My maintenance diet is ~11 cals/lb BW. I don't drop any fat until I get under 10cals/lb. I am weaker than I was even a year ago. Lots of joint aches, limited recovery, etc.
My avg macros the last 3 months: 210g protein, 125g of carbs (5 days ~95g, 2 days ~185g) and 75g fat. I eat mostly paleo + post-workout protein, very little junk, no wheat or sugars.
Here are some strategy options I came up with:
A. Slowly add more carbs, and gradually increase my training volume to match
B. Try a zig-zag, (like Dr. Teta suggests on this site) 2-3 weeks of higher calories, then 2-3 weeks lower, repeat. Training volume to match.
C. Shock the body with 3-4 weeks of big eating and high volume training, then reassess.
D. Drop to 9 cals/lb, and give it a few more weeks.
I train mostly full-body workouts, lots of dynamic effort and olympic variations, with a mix of conditioning finishers. I've made the most progress recently, bodycomp and strengthwise, doing high frequency, low volume plans like Dan John's stuff.
Any suggestions? Anyone else been here? What am I missing?