Maintenance, what does it mean? What does it take to ‘’maintain’’ your ideal physique once all of the hard work has been done via a transformation period where you have lived like a saint? The answer is more dedication. Before you groan and wonder ‘’is it really worth it’’ don’t panic, maintaining is a lot easier than attaining a physique which means that you will be able to afford yourself more flexibility within the realms of being reasonable.
So, how does one maintain?
This is a question I have pondered for many weeks now, I am 10 weeks deep into a transformation which has afforded me nothing but what I have NEEDED to lose fat – not want. With another 5 to endure, I have begun to set out some basic rules which will allow me to maintain a large percentage of the condition I have (and am yet to) achieve whilst enjoying life just a little. Hitting the pub on a Saturday and snacking on processed foods isn’t my idea of ‘’enjoyment.’’ I enjoy home-made dishes, many of which are loaded with calories and poor ones at that. Combine that with my zest for rolls of coconut ice cream, apple pie and desserts in general and we have a starting point to the plan. Obviously, going through a transitional period requires drastic compromise but once the journey is made the plan needs to afford me (and anyone else) some normality to ensure that it remains an enjoyable lifestyle choice – not one which develops into a prison of the mind!!
The first thing which will change is the habit of weighing food, I hate it! It’s a right cluster beater and has to go for me. Instead I will monitor portions with more generic methods i.e. 1 chicken breast or 2 1 cup of rice and so on. To an extent, I will eye ball it because I am so experienced at knowing how much I need. This will free up my life immensely, it is a psychological thing too.
Secondly, I will worry less about the specificity of my food sources at given times of the day. Whereas every meal is set for me right now at certain times of the day I will alter it so one day I might have steak for breakfast, the next I might have salmon or an egg and ham omelette. My macro ratios will remain much the same as will the quality of the food (importantly) but I will give myself more freedom to go on desire at the time. It will also mean that when I am out I have more freedom to eat healthy, yet guilt free.
Once my photo shoot is done I am going to be getting my cook on making an effort to learn two new recipes a week from the awesome Anna Sward! This will mean I will be enjoying things like carrot cake, cheesecake, chocolate donuts and cookies frequently with my post-workout meals yet they will be completely guilt-free due to the contents in which they are made of. This is a big step for me, making like for like recipes which allow me to enjoy all the foods I crave without the drawbacks.
Cheat meals, will they exist? Yes, once a week I am going to afford myself the luxury of a meal of choice along with a starter and dessert. This might be some breaded camembert, pizza followed by ice cream. The important thing is it provides an opportunity to go wherever I want to eat, enjoy something different and I will actually strategically include it at a time where it will be helpful towards maintaining my physique. Post-leg workout nutrition anyone?
These are the changes I want to make, but of course it still has to be done in a way which doesn’t just bring me back to point A. with that said my calorie intake will grow very slowly post-photos in order to let my metabolic rate slowly recover (after prolonged dieting it will be slower). My nutrient timing (carbs) will be the same, around my workouts and reduced on off days!
In a nutshell, that provides all the insight you need to know what maintenance is. Simply having a plan which you can enjoy YET sustain your current condition.