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My plan for maintaining is to not have much of a plan. I’ll explain…

Saturday, April 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

This is more entertaining than an image of someone treading water.

This is more entertaining than an image of someone treading water.

I was recently asked if I was going to track my meals and calories on JSF BodyShop™ while I’m maintaining. The answer is “No”, and this morning I’d like to talk about why I won’t be doing that. First, a bit of history…

If you’ve been following my progress at all over the past eight years, you are certainly familiar with the typical flow of things around here: cut, maintain, bulk, cut, maintain, bulk… Thanks in large part to my strong ability to focus on a specific goal and then relentlessly work until I reach said goal, cutting and bulking are where I’ve always excelled. Maintaining, by far, has been the most difficult challenge for me, and that’s because I’m such an “all or nothing” type person. Give me a goal and a deadline and you can bet your last dollar I’ll reach it; tell me to tread water somewhere in the middle and you’ll eventually find me at the bottom of the ocean.

This weakness in my game is something I recognized long ago, and I have conscientiously worked to improve. Last year after my cut I did a fantastic job at maintaining single digit body fat percentages up until October, and then I let the “nothing” side of my “all or nothing” personality take over. By the end of the year I was at 15.9% body fat, and facing yet another extended cut. Now that I’m back down to 7% body fat, I’m ready for another attempt at finding balance and sustaining it.

Which brings us to today. In my opinion living a balanced lifestyle is not about tracking every last calorie. It’s not about depriving yourself. It’s not about having a daily caloric goal. Those are the tools (and valuable ones, I might add) of the cutting and bulking trade. Maintaining is about making sensible choices, not going overboard (in either direction), staying active and not obsessing. Tracking everything I eat would only serve to reinforce my “all or nothing” mindset, and that’s exactly what I do not want.

I will, however, be taking weekly measurements and body fat readings every Sunday for the rest of the year. Taking stock of how I’m doing with measurements is something I feel I must do to make sure I’m staying on track. Eventually I will no longer need to do that, but I’m not there yet. I do feel I can handle the diet and training side of things without tracking (I proved this to myself last summer).

It’s a beautiful morning, and I’m going to get some gardening in while it’s a nice cool 65 degrees. Have a great day!

John Stone Fitness Comments

4 Responses to “My plan for maintaining is to not have much of a plan. I’ll explain…”
  1. That is all well and good, but there actually IS a daily/weekly caloric load to needed to maintain. You may inherently (by now) know what that amount is and approximately what and how much of something you can eat without “tracking” it per se, but that doesn’t change the facts. In the best of all possible worlds, one might come up with a *general* amount to eat at this point and make it a lifestyle change so that indeed there would be no tracking in a robotic (unbalanced?) manner required. This is particularly true where there has been a great deviation in weight and body composition fluctuations where it would be a crucial time to establish a new homeostatis and set point for the body.

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