On December 14th, I competed in my first powerlifting competition at 181 lbs. 2.5 weeks prior to weigh-ins I weighed 191 lbs, as I had let myself get fat while focusing on increasing my strength during the prior few months. Because I was unhappy with how I looked and I was eating a fair amount of garbage, I figured I would clean up my diet and see if I could make 181 lbs for the meet. This wasn’t an aggressive cut – I just stopped eating garbage and told myself I would up my calories if I was unable to hit my programmed numbers for the next few weeks. This wasn’t necessary, and the weight came off quicker and easier than I expected. I competed, then took about a week off from training with my weight staying in the low 180s.
Christmas came and went, and with it came a few weeks of shitty food choices and sub-par training. At the end of December, after being singularly focused on my meet and having not paid much attention to my physique, I realized that I looked like shit.
On December 26th I took my weight (187.5 lbs) and waist measurement (37.5" at the widest point) and devised the following plan: Run a variation of the Texas Method that caters to Powerlifting while dropping an average of 1 lb of body weight per week for a total of 12-16 weeks (depending on how I looked). The fat loss would be achieved by tracking my macros and implementing HIIT-style conditioning 2x per week. I figured that with the rate of fat loss being slow enough, I would still be able to hit the modest weight increases prescribed in the Texas Method program (5 lbs per week for Squat and Deadlift, 2.5 lbs per week for Bench). At the end of 12 weeks, if all went as planned I would have added 60 lbs to my squat and deadlift and 30 lbs to my bench while taking my weight to 175. With this weight loss I anticipated a loss of 3" from my waist. Obviously this is “best case scenario” results, which is why I gave myself the range of 12-16 weeks to achieve the weight loss and set my actual expected strength gains slightly lower.
In either case, I set my starting calories at 2800-3000 (depending on how I feltâ?¦ most days were 2800) with protein at 200+ grams per day and fat and carbs fluctuating. I don’t think I need to micromanage my diet to get to where I want to be physique-wise, so tracking calories and protein should be enough. If not, I can change this habit. I chose these number based on results that I’ve had in the past where I had set protein at 200 grams and calories at 2800 and gotten noticeably leaner in just a few weeks without ever having to adjust my numbers. My problem was that I stopped tracking all together and got fat again.
Week 1 came and went, training went well and the diet was easy. I felt slightly “small” most days, which I assumed was due to the lack of bloating from the calorie surplus I usually ate. Training felt good all week, so I assumed my calories were sufficient. Today marked day 10 of the diet, and was the first day that I woke up and felt that I looked slightly leaner rather than just smaller. I went about my normal business, and then at lunch time I decided to break out the tape measure and check my progress. My waist measured in at 38.5 inches – A FULL INCH LARGER THAN IT WAS BEFORE. During the past 10 days my weight has bounced around from 185 to 187, without any apparent trend in either direction. So my only really marker (my waste size) shows that I’m moving in the complete opposite direction. What is going on here and what should I do about it?