47 Years Old and Ripped!
Earlier this year, I won my fourth and perhaps final online fitness/transformation contest. I’m really proud of the look I achieved. You can see photos here. At the end of this contest, I was not only ripped, but strong! I could do at least 5 pullups in a row, not bad for a woman weighing about 140 pounds. My endurance was through the roof! I was energetic and happy!
Not-Mono is a Bitch!
Perhaps it was the toxic job I took around that time. Perhaps it was the stress of getting very lean. Perhaps it was just bound to happen. What happened shortly after getting into the absolutely best condition I have ever achieved was brutal. I was broadsided by a virus that looked just like mono. The test was negative but the result was the same. I lost months of my life. I showed up at work. I did grocery shopping and prepared meals for my family. And I slept.
Recovery is a Bitch!
Getting back into my gym habit was not easy. I could not face doing a Venus Index workout. I showed up and tooled around periodically for weeks until I was finally ready to work out properly. I was weak, slow, and took a long time to recover. Each workout left me sore for days.
But recover I did and I went on to do Phase 3 of Venus Index. I wasn’t sure if it was not having worked out for 2 months or the workout design but I had to use ridiculously low weights to complete the workouts at first. Over time, I got the hang of it and got stronger. Did I get to full strength? I am not sure as the exercises in that program were so different. This is a great thing; you need to regularly change up how you challenge your body and not do the same exact thing year in and year out. I remember that Phase 3 gave me quite an impressive amount of endurance by the end.
48 and on Fire!
After completing that workout, I began doing a lower volume version of Venus Index (the original program) with my teenage daughter during the day, and The Gauntlet with my husband at night. My birthday came and went and I felt unstoppable.
Evil Vile Virile Virus
Then we all got sick. Again. Sigh. I lost 10 pounds in one week. I lost 2″ off my hips and nearly an inch off my shoulders. (My waist is unchanged.) How that is possible, I don’t even know. Eating was of little interest to all of us and we could only manage a few mouthfuls. The nighttime fevers were so crazy, I had to change clothing. I didn’t mind losing the weight at that point as I was carrying a bit more fat than I like to but with the loss also went my energy. I went back to sleeping all day and all night and not even being able to stand up to prepare meals. I’m not sure exactly how we all got through the worst.
That’s brought us up to the present. I have made the overwhelming effort, once again, to have a gym habit. The amount of weight I could lift was definitely pitiful. After a few workouts, I thought maybe I just wasn’t trying hard enough but no, I really got very weak. It’s sort of fascinating!
Today, I had a DEXA scan done. I may be at my worst numbers in two years but I am still doing well. My body fat is at 20%. My bone density is 1.5% of the average 30 year old. Yay, weightlifting! What shocked me is that my Lean Body Mass (LBM) is about 115 pounds. According to the calculations in Venus Index, mine should be about 120 pounds based upon my height. This puts me an entire standard deviation below predicted LBM. The good news is muscles mass, once built, only deflates; it does not go away. I expect to reinflate mine rather quickly. Also, my protein consumption has been lower than recommended by the Reverse Taper Diet and I didn’t bother taking creatine while I was sick.
The Contest is ON!
The following changes should get me back on track for an amazing DEXA result in the next months:
- continue to lift as heavy as possible
- ramp up the volume to a full 3 hours lifting/week (or more)
- continue with some moderate cardio for fatloss (doing the StepMill and some walks)
- 100g protein/day (I am 5’11″)
- 5g creatine daily
- eat at maintenance, so around 1600-1700 calories/day on average
That’s it. That is the whole plan. Nothing magical. Just hard work and time. I plan to have another DEXA when I start to see my hip and shoulder measurements come back up. I will continue to closely monitor the waist measurement as any increase means a gain in body fat.