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2012 maintenance plans.

Monday, March 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


With my highly successful 2012 cut over, it’s time to turn my attention towards maintenance. My maintenance plans for 2012 are going to be more or less the same as they were in 2011, with a couple of small twists.

Before I get into my plans for 2012, I’d like to quickly go over where I am now.

Even though I was on vacation and not blogging last week, I went ahead and posted the first of my 2012 maintenance progress reports yesterday morning. I will continue to post these weekly reports all during my maintenance program. As you can see from yesterday’s report, I actually continued to lose fat during the first week of my maintenance program (171.0 pounds @ 5.4% body fat). I don’t like to transition from a cut to maintenance all at once, and so I am slowly increasing my calories a little each day.

My activity level while I was on vacation was extremely high. Every single day of my vacation I got in some form of strenuous exercise. Additionally, I still have not had any splurge meals since my cut ended. It’s amazing how much “clean” food one can eat and not gain fat–especially when exercising daily. I didn’t eat 100% clean, however: I treated myself to theater popcorn and a little chocolate a few times!

Yesterday was another very active day for me, and this morning my scale weight is down to 170.6 pounds. That’s incredibly light for me, but I still feel excellent. In fact, most of the minor, yet annoying, aches and pains that I was feeling at the end of my cut are gone (I took last week off from strength training).

I’ll talk more about some of the highlights of my vacation tomorrow. Right now I’d like to get into the meat of this morning’s blog, and that is what’s to come in 2012.

This year I’m going to require that I remain below 10% body fat almost the entire year. In 2011 I was very successful at maintaining single digit body fat levels all year long, but during the final few weeks of the year I allowed myself to go a little nuts. I started this year’s cut at 12% body fat, and that made for a fairly brief (10 week) cut back down to less than 6% body fat. I like that, and I’m going to do it again this year.

The reason I allow myself to gain a disproportionate amount of fat during the final few weeks of the year is two-fold:

First, it’s the holidays and I like to be able to completely relax my diet without giving it a second thought. It’s sort of my “reward” for maintaining low body fat all year long.

Second, and most important, one of the ways I get geared up for a very strict “all or nothing” cut is to completely relax my diet for a couple of weeks before my cut starts. Giving myself complete dietary freedom for a couple of weeks before I start cutting really seems to strengthen my resolve. I guess I like to “get it out of my system” before I get down to business.

As far as my training, I’m going to continue to lift weights and do a lot of mountain biking, but I’m not going to lock myself into some arbitrary schedule or training program. I like the freedom of waking up and thinking, “Hey, it’s leg day but I’m totally in the mood to hit the trails. I’m going mountain biking instead!” Maybe I’ll make up the leg workout the next day, or maybe I’ll decide to go ride again instead.

That same freedom goes for my actual weight training workouts. I usually have a plan when I walk into the gym, but I’m not going to hesitate to throw that plan out the window if I’m in the mood to do something else that day.

I’ve discovered that the key to being consistent while maintaining is to make sure I’m having fun. It’s hard to have fun if I’m forcing myself to do something I don’t want to do. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for forcing myself to train when I don’t feel like it, but those days are few and far between when I enjoy what I’m doing. So that’s my simple philosophy when I’m maintaining: work hard, but have fun.

Shifting the focus over to my actual diet, once again freedom is the name of the game. I did really well in this area last year, and I’m going to do it again this year. Maybe I’ll go three weeks without a splurge meal and then have three splurge meals in a single week. It’s doesn’t matter, so long as I’m keeping my body fat low. I’m not going to get hung up on meal timings and being “perfect”. Being perfect is good for short-term goals like cutting and bulking, but for maintenance it’s not very sustainable (at least not for me).

I love to cook, so of course I’ll be trying out lots of new and exciting healthy recipes over the next year. I’ve discovered that eating healthy is fun and sustainable when I’m trying out new meals on a regular basis. As always, I will share the gems with the community in the recipe section.

I need to get to work, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do after taking last week off. Thanks for reading–have a fantastic day!

John Stone Fitness Comments

6 Responses to “2012 maintenance plans.”
  1. I look forward to hearing more on this topic I fell apart when it came to maintaining. I cut for 9 months and got into pretty good shape went on vacation and never devoloped a feasible maintaining plan on top of a lot of other issues. Needless to say I am back in weight loss mode and have signed up for the April 100 challenge. Eventually my guess is early 2013 I will have to transition to Maintaining or maybe bulking so I like reading about it.

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    • Learning to maintain can be very difficult. For me, being such and all or nothing type person, maintaining was something that took me many years to get a handle on. In fact, I feel last year was the first time I was really successful at maintaining. Don’t give up!

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  2. John, it doesn’t sound like you are planning to do any bulking this year. Is that right? And you didn’t bulk last year if I remember it right. Are you done with bulking for the foreseeable future?

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    • The last time I bulked was late 2008/early 2009. Adding muscle for the sake of adding muscle doesn’t fit with my current goals at all; in fact, it would be counter-productive. I’m not saying I’ll never do another bulk again, but I certainly have no immediate plans to do so.

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