RP Updates

Writing a post about the diet I’m going on and then NEVER WRITING AGAIN might seem suspicious. But it all worked out very well! I lost about 20 pounds overall and was very happy with the experience. I even started using RP training templates. I am finding this dieting + training combo to be satisfying and, in a way, creative–like I’m crafting this body. I’m not sure I have the drive to do “real” physique stuff, but I do find myself more interested in it…

Beginning of cut (L), end of cut (R)

Pro(?) Tips

  • Life is easier if you just eat the same thing. But, you can do variations on a theme. I’m a big weirdo who can eat plain chicken and rice every day, but Bren, who likes this thing called “flavor” ??? started making his chicken into kebabs and varying the marinades. The process is always the same but the spices change. It is a simple/easy way to get some variety in.
  • We stopped portioning out our meals in advance and kept our food in big containers in the fridge. Then we would portion out for the day in the morning or the night before. I prefer this because I can be certain my macros for the day are correct–no need to worry if an unexpected event that impacts my workout schedule, and I can’t accidentally grab the wrong meal (which, let’s be real, is my real problem). The amount of time it takes to portion out one or two meals at a time is negligible–doing it all in advance does make your fridge look great on Instagram because it’s filled with all those identical containers but it’s not THAT much of a time-saver.
  • However much rice you think you need to make, you’re wrong. Double it.
  • Fat-free Greek yogurt. That’s it. That’s the pro tip. You need it.

Life with Templates

The templates are intimidating at first but, since each meal basically has the same macros, you memorize your numbers after a while and it becomes easier.

Fat Loss 1 isn’t so bad–the template mostly cuts your fats out, which doesn’t bother me much. Fat Loss 2 is a little more difficult because it cuts your carbs. Fat Loss 3 is the frickin’ worst because it cuts both your fats and carbs to almost nothing–you are basically eating protein and vegetables and nothing else.

I originally intended to do the full 12 weeks but called it quits as 10 weeks. Fat Loss 3 really impacted my energy levels, to the point where I couldn’t complete my workouts. It wasn’t worth it to me to suffer for another two weeks just to lose a couple more pounds. I ended at 201.4, which was “close enough” to 200 for my purposes. 😉

Maintenance & the App

PANCAKES

When I went on maintenance, I decided to switch to the RP app. I was worried that I would re-gain all the weight I lost; the app appealed to me because it would adjust my macros if I gained back too much.

I actually lost a few more pounds on maintenance, stabilizing at ~198. So I did break 200 after all!

The app is much easier than the templates because it just tells you what to eat. It is NOT a food tracker and does not include a huge food database like MyFitnessPal. I suppose it’s a bit similar to the templates in that regard; the templates had approved food lists.

That said, the app does tell you the macros for each meal so if you want to eat “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM) style, you can.

For maintenance, I just tried to stay above 80% adherence. This was really easy to do, especially because Bren went on a cut at the same time I went on maintenance so we basically just stopped eating out. My non-adherence to my plan was usually a glass of wine or an extra pancake. Gimme dem pancakes!!!

A Slow Cut

I liked that I had lost a few pounds on maintenance without really trying and decided to do that “on purpose” with an easy cut: 5 pounds over 7 weeks. I am down to ~194, just a couple pounds to go. I’m not sure if I would do a “hardcore” cut again…I think I might just cycle between maintenance and “aggressive” maintenance.

This past week the app cut my nutrients for the first time (my loss has stalled out) and, unlike the templates, it seems to have cut the carbs first. I don’t think I’m in the app equivalent of FL3 yet and I hope I never have to go there. 😛

Female Physique Template

I enjoyed my RP diet experience so much I decided to try out the RP programming experience as well. I got the Female Physique Template (FPT), which is more of a physique/hypertrophy-style training than the powerlifting I had been doing. It is 23 weeks of training, 4 mesocycles. I have completed meso 1.

You can pick your exercises so I made sure to include squat/bench/dead, but technically you don’t have to do any of that. I actually ended up removing the back squats later because I am having issues with my shoulder and both high and low bar position are too painful. So now I do 3942094023 dumbbell lunges instead.

The template is a dynamic Excel sheet (as an Excel nerd, I am impressed by its construction) that reacts to how you rate your workouts–i.e., if it’s too easy, it’ll add sets. And that’s how you end up with SEVEN. GOD DAMN. SETS. of deadlifts in week six. I wanted hypertrophy and I got it!!!

Beginning of Meso 1 (L), end of Meso 1 (R)

People say the big changes happen in meso 3, so I’m looking forward to that. 😉 So far I have noticed small changes, but nothing dramatic. Luckily I enjoy the style of training itself, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to cry a little when looking at some of the programming. Just……. so many reps.

Meg Squats’ Uplifted 8-Week Program

Mariza flexing & smiling

“This was too long for an Insta caption” is my new blogging philosophy I guess.  😀

I still have one week left in Meg Squats’ Uplifted program, but I’m just gonna go ahead and talk about it now. The final week is a deload so there won’t be much if anything to update.

The program is based around powerlifting (squat, bench, deadlift, and then later she adds my ol’ pal the overhead press) but also includes a lot of bro (accessory) work. The program is supposed to get people into powerlifting but I actually came away from it thinking I might look into body building because I loved the bro work so much. Whoops!

For the accessory work, she provides alternative exercises which I really appreciate as a home gym person. I was able to do everything at home just fine (of course, a lot of people don’t have squat racks in their basement). Unfortunately for me, there are a lot of goblet squats AND for a lot of the exercises the alternative is also goblet squats. I HATE goblet squats. I did 561 of them (I COUNTED) over the last 7 weeks. I’ve probably got a few more next week but I don’t want to look.

 

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I had to work on faith in the first half of this program because I wasn’t adding a lot of weight and was only deadlifting and squatting once per week; bench was twice a week but I wasn’t really leaving the 90-95# range at all.  I’m used to the Starting Strength linear progression model where you lift three times a week and add weight each time, so I just wasn’t sure how this program was supposed to work.  I observed Bren doing a similar program with his coach and he had similar doubts at first so I just kept at it. The rep tests helped – e.g., my first bench rep test I did 10 reps at 90#, and the second test I got 12 (well, 13, but no lock out on the 13th). In that way I could see a little bit of progress.

In the second half you work on 3-5 rep maxes and mix up the lifts a little bit – you do two lifts per session (albeit a bit lighter for the second). For example, you’ll work up to 3RM on deadlift and then bench at 85%. That is where you start to see the progress.

She advises you to eat at maintenance or maybe even bulk, and I was like “OR I could go on an elimination diet!” This was at the instruction of my nutritionist of course but it was not great timing. I don’t think I was under eating necessarily but I know for sure that I lost muscle in my legs.

She also tells you to pick weights based on RPE and I discovered I’m REALLY bad at RPE (e.g. I tried to put my deadlift 4RM max at 250# but Bren made me do 260# and he was right).  Also, you are supposed to work some of the accessories to near-failure and I …. was not. At one point I was doing those frickin goblet squats at 45 pounds and I was like… I bet I could do more than this. So I tried 55. And then I tried 65. I don’t have a dumbbell heavier than 65 so I don’t know if I could have done more. So the program is like “work close to failure” and I was like “OR I could work 20+ pounds too light!”

 

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Despite accidentally working against the program a little bit, I still think I made some nice progress. I squat 230# for 4 reps – only 5# more than my all-time max, but it’s still a PR and it felt pretty OK. “Easy” is too strong a word, but I think all the volume and accessory work made it way better.

I also hit 117 AND A HALF on bench, 2.5# more than I’ve ever benched. Those bench PRs are precious. I’d take half a pound.

 

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Although I didn’t deadlift anything “new,” I did do 3 reps at 275 which makes me think I am probably at least a little bit past my previous 1RM of 280.

Overhead press is not really tested in this program but I will just point out that I got 5 sets of 3 at 80# with strict press (i.e., no bounce). My current max on OHP is 85# and that’s with the bounce. So I might be past that as well. Then again, OHP is the cruelest of the lifts so who knows.

In conclusion A++ will run again. Now that the boogaloo is over I feel like I can mess with my diet a bit (I am actually in the re-introduction phase for dairy/gluten anyway) and I have a better idea of where I should be working weight-wise/what RPE feels like, so I’m excited to try it again and see what I can do.

I probably wouldn’t recommend this program to true novices – the variety and volume of exercises might be overwhelming if you’re new to the whole scene. I think this would be good for somebody who knows their way around the gym and wants to try powerlifting, or somebody who knows powerlifting and wants to switch it up.