My 12-Week Program - Done!

January 27th, 2013
By

Here are my results and reflections of my 12-week diet and training program....

First, what the heck was I thinking starting this diet and training program at the beginning of November??? As usual, I take the most challenging way to go. I clearly stated from the get-go that I was planning on cheating on the 3 holidays. I did 'cheat' but didn't go too far overboard. It didn't seem to matter much.

I lost 7 lbs. -- which is all I wanted to lose. I prefer not to get below 105 pounds because I start to look too skinny. My challenge was to hold my weight and put on more muscle. I dropped about 3.5% bodyfat which is several points less than I ultimately wanted but I'm certain it's because I just couldn't work in as much training time as I would have liked--and far from what I used to do in my competitive days. Unfortunately, my life can't revolve around workouts these days between work, kids, business and the house, so I did what I could and didn't stress about it.

The first 3 weeks were easy to stay motivated. My weight dropped and I focused on getting enough lean protein and reducing my carbs, but still had my good fats. At this point, I still ate nuts and a fair amount of whole grain complex carbs. I enjoyed the strict diet and could see the results in my body week-by-week. Even the kids joined in, asking for foods that had less fat overall and whether it was good or bad fats.

By the time I was 4-6 weeks into it, I really began craving carbs. I slowly dropped my carbs because I wasn't able to get in enough cardio. Other than breakfast, my lunch, dinner and snacks were mostly protein and veggies. My training went well and, as usual, my upper body responded quickly.

After 6 weeks, I realized that my upper body was pulling too far ahead of my lower body, so I had increased legs and cut my upper body training in half. This helped but the bottomline is that I just don't have enough weights at home for heavy leg training. I made due.

In the last several weeks (after enjoying myself on Christmas and New Years) I clamped down with lower fat foods and I could see better definition each week.

All things considered,  it was worth the effort. I'm happy getting back in shape and  since my kids have gotten used to some of the changes, we will stick with them to keep calories and fat down. I.e. We've switched out turkey and chicken for beef, eat more fish, always keep veggies in stock, and often pass on the extra carbs like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes.

Here are some pics. Sorry if the quality isn't there but they were just taken at home. I decided to use black and white to show better contrast since I had no time to tan. At any rate, I'm a LOT smaller than 27 years ago in my competitive days, but my arms aren't too bad (considering I haven't done a single bicep curl  or tricep isolation exercise), my abs are pretty solid even after three kids, my lats are okay thanks to pullups, but I don't quite have enough thickness without getting in those heavy lifts, rows/pulls and benching. As a whole though, I'm satisfied. I could be much worse for pushing 50.

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This helped me realize how far I am from being competitive again. It requires so much more time and dedication than I can rightfully give and I'd never do it halfway. So to answer the many who have inquired....No, I am NOT competing.

For now...I will resume a healthy diet but allow myself the social cheating and weekend treats. And my training will go back to intervals 4 times a week and get in more cardio.

Hats off to the competitive bodybuilders and physique contestants. I know the time and discipline required and, with all other life priorities, see the sacrifices that need to be made, holding training and diet as top priority for months on end. Awesome!

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10 Responses to “My 12-Week Program - Done!”

  1. Bob:

    No wonder your kids have gotten used to the changes! You look great. Compared to your color photos from June 6, 2011, where you look fit and trim, in the recent photos your lean muscle mass is standing out, and you look like an excellent fitness woman or even pretty close to a lightweight masters physique women. Some amateur lightweight physique contestants would die to get that biceps. Remarkably, you have accomplished this 1) without an array of complicated and expensive gym weight machines; 2) without taking a medicine chest full of hyped supplements; 3) without becoming a gym rat addicted to long, tortuous hours of training; without going through the "off season" routine of bulking up your weight to 20 or 30 pounds or more above your "contest" weight (which certainly cannot be a healthful thing to do); without a starvation diet of tuna and water; and, of course, without taking illegal drugs, either to boost muscle growth or reduce adipose tissue.

    It is sad that some people looking at your results, gained by rational diet and honest weight training, might suppose that the only way you could make those lean gains would be by recourse to anabolic drugs. You're living testimony that that is not the case. Even though you don't want to compete again, I have no doubt that if you continued to do what you have been doing, before long, you would look like a physique competitor anyway! Please keep showing us the way to mental and physical health and fitness.

    Just a technical question: Do you think that some body builders overestimate the need for a period of weight gain and bulking before they diet down? You don't seem to need that bulking phase to gain lean mass. Was that the case even when you were larger back in the 80s and 90s?

    Best wishes,

    Bob


  2. Ukuhead:

    "You look marvelous."
    Billy Crystal

    Thanks for putting it out there and letting us follow your progress.


  3. theDman:

    Looks great Lori. I'm trying to lose weight myself, just to get better test results when I go back and see the doctor in March. I've been uh, "bulking up" but my weight climbed back up to 230...again. Not good.

    I'm in my mid-50s now and the weight does not come off easy anymore. Carbs are my weakness, especially at dinner. I'll never look as lean as you, but I would like to lose 20 (lost 5 already).

    What arm routine did you used to use? My biceps have never looked like that.


  4. Lori Okami:

    Thanks Bob!
    Yes. 1) Unfortunately, I don't have the weights to do heavier benching, squats, deadlifts, rows, etc. but I do have cables, light dumbbells (only up to 15 lbs.), kettlebells up to 44 lbs. and medicine balls up to 15 lbs. 2) I stayed with my usual vitamins (multi, C, omega, iron and lysine) and supplemented with whey protein powder only--no muscle-building, fat-burning or muscle recovery supplements whatsoever. 3) Roughly 45 minute resistance workouts 5-6 days a week and 30 minutes of cardio about 3-4 days a week. There was no "bulking up" other than counting protein and scheduled intake. This alone helped me to increase muscle while dropping fat weight. I plan on sticking with the dietary changes made but will just allow myself a little wiggle room to enjoy some treats.

    Thank you so much for the vote of confidence. I still have improvements I'd like to make and I'm fairly confident that I am capable of progressing--regardless of my age.

    To answer your question, while I do think the added weight can help heavier lifting and "bulking up," I also believe half of it is psychological--not to mention just for them to have an excuse to eat a lot.


  5. Lori Okami:

    Hey Ukuhead! Thanks!!!

    Hi theDman!
    Mahalo! Yes, gotta watch those carbs. I switched to heavy fresh (steamed or sauted) veggies in order to cut the carbs down and I'd fill up just fine. That's what worked for me! As for arms, my absolute number one bicep exercise is the preacher curl. I've made big guys squeeze butt on strict 20 lb. preacher curls--so don't let the weight throw you off. It may not take a lot if you do it right.

    Keep it up! It's amazing what a few weeks can do!
    Lori


  6. theDman:

    One more question Lori, what is your opinion about using machines versus free weights? I may have asked you this question before, but anyway, at my age, I don't want to chance benching or squatting heavy with free weights, so I stick to machines.

    But these machines seem so light to me? I stick the pin in the bottom of the stack and crank a few, but I am thinking, "is this really 250...or 300...or whatever..." I don't feel like the weight is anywhere near what it says it is. It feeds the ego for sure, but what kind of workout am I really getting?


  7. Bob:

    Lori,

    Interesting to see that you exercise with medicine balls too. In addition to working many other muscles directly, those heavy balls can do a lot to strengthen the abs and other core muscles. Do you ever work with sandbags ("Bulgarian bags") to approximate "real world lifting" experiences and spring grippers like the "Captains of Crunch" set? In the everyday work world, I think a strong grip and ability to handle irregular, shifting weights like sandbags is often of more practical use than pushing iron (though both type of exercise are very much worth doing).

    Bob


  8. Jay:

    WOW,you look Great Lori!.


  9. Jeri:

    Hi Lori,
    Your look AWESOME!


  10. Lori Okami:

    Hey the Dman!
    The main thing is the burden on your muscles and your body. It really doesn't matter if it comes in free weight or machine form. The # is just a way for you to monitor your progression. Don't try to compare them across types because design, angles and positions will influence the burden felt. I like both and for different exercises I'll switch between them. Go with what works for whatever muscle groups you are training.

    Hi Bob!
    I am a big fan of sandbags and physical labor. I think overall body strength is important and not just the fufu showy muscles. I've tweeted about digging gravel all day, shoveling dirt and carrying heavy rocks in my yard and training with such things really help.

    Aloha Jay and Jeri! Thank you!