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Confusing Experience

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:45 pm
by Dave X
Hey everybody, just looking for some input on what may have caused my change in appearance over the course of a few days, despite the fact that it shouldn't have happened.

First, the background. I went up to Dartmouth with a bunch of other people from Thursday to Sunday. The whole time I was there, I was eating junk : pizza, oreos, oatmeal cookies, tortilla chips - those were just snacks. For meals, I'd have potatoes, bagels, muffins, orange juice, cheeseburgers, ice cream, rice, more cookies, etc. I drank a lot of water, as I normally do. I also drank a lot of diet coke - normally I don't touch any sort of sodas. I ended up probably having multiple liters during that span. To top it all off, on the final night, I drank an entire bottle of wine in a short period of time (needless to say, waking up early the next morning was not pleasant).

In terms of exercise, once I woke up at around 7 and exercised my upper body for about an hour. The next day, in mid-afternoon, I exercised my lower body. For a few hours each day, I'd play frisbee, but just standing around throwing it, sometimes chasing after badly thrown ones. I'd also do quite a lot of walking around campus. I didn't get much sleep, and often I'd go to sleep with quite a bit of (unhealthy) food in my stomach.

For some reason, though, I ended the session significantly more cut than I had started it. At first I thought it might be the wine, but even a day or two after, I still haven't gained any weight or lost any definition. While I don't have a 6-pack, I do have the step right below it in terms of definition. I'm just not sure of why, after all of that unhealthy activity, I ended up looking better than before. To top it off, normally when I engage in that sort of stuff, I can see a visible change, especially if it goes on for more than one day.

On a side note, the gym at the school was absolutely fantastic. As a freeweight user my entire life, using the machines got me much more sore than usual, I especially liked the oblique and ab machines (they were different than what you usually see), I have to say I'm tempted to join a YMCA in order to use more machines, I think it could help me break my plateau.

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:44 pm
by Stephen Johnson
People who train overly hard and follow an ultra strict diet sometimes deplete all of their muscle glycogen. This leads to a flat, undefined look in their physique. Many bodybuilders will purposely restrict carbs while dieting for a show up until a couple of days prior, then they will carbo-load to add back the glycogen. When water is added, this leads to a fuller muscular appearance.

That's just a guess on my part. You didn't say anything about your exercise/diet routines prior to your binge at Dartmouth. Rest assured, though, that a junk food diet eaten over a longer period of time will lead to a junk food physique. But taking a break from onerously clean diets and having fun every now and then is good for one's sanity.

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:04 am
by Dave X
I think that might be it. I used to do a 3 day split (1/2/3/1/2/3), and for a while I was also doing daily HIIT. It didn't feel like overtraining, though maybe it was.

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:38 pm
by Stephen Johnson
Dave X wrote:I think that might be it. I used to do a 3 day split (1/2/3/1/2/3), and for a while I was also doing daily HIIT. It didn't feel like overtraining, though maybe it was.
If you were working out 6 days in a row without taking a break, you were being overly ambitious. It's hard to grow muscle when you're always tearing it up in the gym.

If you're still sore after yesterday's workout, fight the urge to go to the gym. Kick back and have a beer.

Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:15 pm
by TimD
Hi Dave X. Just to add to Stephen's answer, I think it may have been the sudden change in things. I've experienced similar occurences. When I was shipping out, before one particular voyage, all of us entered a bet to see how much weight we could lose. All went semi normal, and those of us using a low carb type of diet, lost the most amount of weight, and after a day or two of doing what you described, ended up much fuller and cut. Go figure that one, probably it has to do with what Stephen was talking about. The body was sucking in nutrients and water, and the muscles just swelled.