•How long have you been on this journey?
I’ve been EM2WL for about a year. I recently started my official “bulk” – eating at a surplus, with limited cardio, and weight training as my primary focus – in August 2013.
•When did you first learn that you needed to eat more to reach your goals? What was your original response?
I learned this last year after reading some of my MFP friends posts about TDEE. I was actually eating below my TDEE for a few months but didn’t know it. (I was eating approximately 1400-1600 calories daily, depending on my workout, but I should have been somewhere around 1950 calories.) I was nervous to increase my calories, especially since I still had about 10-15 more lbs to lose. But the risk of compromising my metabolism, plus I found myself getting hungrier, made me increase my calories. I did it slowly though, as I was very cautious. Each month, I increased my calories by 100 until I hit 2000. I continued to lose weight until I hit 2000, which was perfect for me because by that point, I had reached my weight loss goal and I was at maintenance.
• How did others around you act about your decision to discard the usual low cal methods for weight loss?
As I increased my calories from about 1600 to 2000 many of my close friends and MFP friends followed suit, especially when they saw that I was still losing weight. They experienced similar results. Now with my decision to bulk, I received mixed responses. Even split with health conscious folks – some gave me the “more power to you, but no way I’m trying that because I refuse to see the scale go up,” while others, primarily those that are about this weight lifting life, agreed “it’s the way to go if you want to put on muscle and transform your body.” Everyone was shocked to see me indulging in bread regularly!
•How did your body react to the initial increase in cals?
Gains! In the gym and on the scale. My energy during my workouts skyrocketed. My bootcamp instructor noticed it immediately; I was able to keep up with the “stars” in the class. I was able to lift heavier and my endurance increased. I gained 1.25 lbs steadily for the first 2 months and went up a size in pants. Going into month three; the weight gain has stalled a bit.
•What results have you seen from sticking to it and “trusting the process?”
The biggest change has honestly been my overall mood. Along with the increase in calories, I changed my macros. I used to carb cycle so my macros were 20c/40p/40f with 1-2 days a week where I would double my carb intake to about 200g (instead of the usual 70-100g). With the increase in carbs, came an increase in serotonin. And while I’m not doing a “dirty” bulk; I’m not as strict with my eating as I have been in the past (I was following paleo/primal), which has taken a lot of the stress out of eating, especially when I’m at a restaurant with my family and/or friends. So, overall, I’m a much happier person; my family and co-workers have even noticed it. People actually like to go out to eat with me now. We can all indulge in bread together!
The second biggest change I have seen is my body. When I lose weight I tend to look “straight” and immediately lose what little curves I have. Now my curves are accentuated and my muscles, particularly my biceps, are bigger. My shoulders are also more pronounced. I can’t fit any of my cap sleeve shirts now. And I love it. My quads are bigger than ever. And I finally have a tush!
•Can you describe your typical weekly workout schedule and a sample day of meals (or macros)?
Typical workout schedule
Monday – Back and Cardio (Kickboxing)
Tuesday – Chest and Shoulders
Wednesday – Legs
Thursday – Biceps and Triceps and Core (Jillian Michael’s 30 minute ab workout)
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – Boot Camp (45-50 minute full body circuit workouts with weights, 5-10 minutes warm-up/cool down/stretching)
Sunday – Rest Day
Sample day of eating
1 oz planters mixed nuts
6-8 oz grilled chicken breast seasoned with Mrs. Dash fiesta lime seasoning
1 C sautéed kale with sliced garlic and ½ TBSP olive oil
1 medium baked yam with cinnamon
1 medium granny smith apple with 1 TBSP all natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 hardboiled egg
Snack (post-workout meal)
2 scoops protein powder mixed with 3 C baby spinach, ½ C vanilla unsweetened almond milk
6 oz ground turkey mixed with celery, peppers, taco seasoning, kidney beans, shrimp
½ C marinara sauce
1 medium baked yam with cinnamon
Chocolate chip cookie dough Quest Bar
In the spirit of transparency, on the weekends and during my TOM, my nutrition isn’t as clean as I’d like:
- Breakfast is usually gluten free protein pancakes with dark chocolate chips, butter, and 100% maple syrup or IHOP pancakes or a Dunkin Donuts croissant with egg and cheese with a glazed sour cream donut
- Lunch may be a bacon cheeseburger with ketchup and pickles and sweet potato fries with bbq sauce (Red Robin, Chili’s, or TGI Friday’s)
- Dinner is usually pizza (local pizzeria or Pizza Hut) or shrimp fried rice with a shrimp roll (Chinese local takeout) with a cup of Breyer’s butter pecan ice cream and two (warm) Mrs. Field’s semi-sweet chocolate cookies for dessert
I have no issues going to the gym and getting my workouts in; in fact, I have to make sure I keep track of my workouts to make sure I take 2 rest days. I would have no problem working out 7 days a week (but we all know muscles grow during rest periods so I make sure I rest 1-2 days a week, sometimes three if I’m suffering from DOMS). Nutrition is where I struggle and work to improve on a daily basis.
After the birth of my third child who is currently 21 months (my twins are 8 years old), I gained 70 lbs. I lost all the baby weight and dropped down from a size 16 to a size 4. I was content with my size but not my body composition. Even though I was size four, I was still 26% body fat and really didn’t have much muscle definition. So, I decided to bulk in an effort to gain muscle and muscle definition and increase my strength. I also decided to bulk because the carb cycling was making me crazy. I was excited to switch my macros, making complex carbs my highest macro percentage.
•What changes are you hoping to see from bulking?
muscle, muscle, muscle!
gaining too much fat in my midsection and not enough muscle everywhere else
•Do you have a specific look you would like to attain, or are inspired by?
Katie Chung Hua
Lindsay Kaye Miller
Britney Spears (MTV Awards 2000)
Kiki <what’s your last name?
Ultimate personal goal would be 18% body fat
•Any parting words of encouragement to those who are new to eating more, or struggling with the decision of whether or not to fuel properly?
I’m one of those people that love to try different eating plans, fitness workouts, etc. to see what works for my body and how my body will respond. Everyone is different; therefore, our bodies will respond differently to eating plans, macros, and workouts. If you were willing to try low-carb, low-cal, primal, paleo, etc. and were unsuccessful, you might as well as try the EM2WL method and see how your body responds. Do research, connect with other EM2WL folks, and ask questions! And once you start, before you decide to abort the process, give yourself 2-3 months to adjust/respond and take notice to the changes. Take pictures, take pictures, take pictures – before and after! You will be surprised and pleased with the way your body transforms and the gains that you will make in the gym. And if you’re not happy with it, try something else and keep trying/tweaking until you find the plan that works for YOU.
•Thanks SO much for your time! How can our readers hear from/see more of you?
Have an EM2WL transformation to share? Willing to let us tag along on your journey? We’d love to see it! Be featured on our Transformation/Journey page by submitting your story to Success@EM2WL.com