The launch of Jacked Street is upon us and I think it’s only appropriate to share my thoughts of the nearly six month programming experiment. In this article, I’ll share with you how I succeeded in getting jacked AND leaning to the tune of twenty pounds. There are no tricks to getting jacked, there is only hard work and dedication. How did I optimize both? Read on.
When the program was in it’s infancy, I was initially tasked with gaining ten percent of my bodyweight. I was a stout 151 lbs of pure female muscle and more than handful of ass. As it turns out, you can quantify that ample handful – and I did just that via BodPod and calipers – giving me the result of 24% bodyfat. I learned that I am three fourths moxie and one fourth Beyonce/nonfunctional adipose tissue.
Needless to say, I was not inclined to up the mass as I was all too familiar with slinging around barbells at my size. I wanted to see if I could maintain that strength while biasing a bodybuilder style of training and losing ten percent of my bodyweight. This is precisely what I did.
The Secret to Life and Jacked Street
What is the secret to not only surviving but succeeding on Jacked Street? Without a doubt the answer is sleep. This should come as no surprise to anyone that has done research on the value of sleep and recovery. Eight hours is the minimum amount I would recommend for a program of this volume.
When I committed to the program, I went all in. What little social life I had took a complete back seat to my schedule of waking up at 5am everyday, training at 6am, and being in bed by 9pm. I realize this is not feasible for everyone because “life” encompasses kids, overtime, Vegas, and date nights. However, I will just tell you flat out. The reason I was successful was because my priority was sleeping, eating, and training. Going ballzz deep requires a ton of sacrifice, but remember that it is only temporary. Check out Dr. Kirk Parsley’s presentation to learn more about sleep and be sure to re-listen to his visit in the Power Athlete Radio jungle here.
The Honeymoon Phase
It’s 5 weeks in and I had lost six real pounds of fat and not that bullshit four pounds that you lose any time you start dialing in your diet and getting good sleep. My clothes were actually becoming loose on me and the people around me started to notice the changes. The guys bulking on the program will attest to similar positive changes – noticeably bigger chests, shoulders, tighter jeans, and a perpetually awesome pump. A new stimulus was just what the doctor ordered both physically and mentally.
Much like any training program, there comes a point where the thrill begins to wane and the body begins to finally feel the accumulation of weeks of volume. Although no pain was present, the fatigue was as real as it gets. For me, this was particularly the case because of the constant state of caloric deficit that plagued my day to day. The end of the week was more about survival than anything – again, an experience that was uniquely challenging for the “leaners” testing the program.
The point is, living on Jacked Street became more like actual work and less like pleasure. I reminded myself that consistency was the only way to approach the training and to see it through, regardless of the number of weeks I had ahead of me.
Leaning on Jacked Street
Let me break it down for you. You can achieve bodybuilder-esque success on Jacked Street even if your goal is to cut the bodyfat and drop overall L-B’s. The first component to this is going to be caloric restriction and the second component is going to be steady…state…1 RM’s. Just kidding – Cardio.
If you are not on MyFitnessPal get your soon-to-be tight ass on immediately. This is essential to tracking your macros, tweaking said macros, and readjusting as your body changes to ensure continued progress. With the help of MFP, I lost 1lb of bodyweight per week. Even a month off the program, I still use this App everyday. Habits, bad or good, are often hard to break and this one just happens to be one of the better habits I developed.
I think it’s worth mentioning that this experience was very eye-opening for me from a nutritional standpoint. I assessed my diet as is in the first two weeks and found that my protein intake was ridiculously high. Over half of my calories were coming from protein and almost 40% from fat. I was carb deprived and didn’t even know it. Upon embarking on Jacked Street, I made the necessary adjustments to allow myself enough protein to maintain muscle mass while still being able to drop fat. The result was only a 1 lb loss of lean muscle mass.
If you want to burn pure fat while practicing caloric restriction, the best option is steady state cardio. This is such a necessary component to Jacked Street as we found even the gainers benefitted from building upon an aerobic base. Dosage varied, of course, because I also used long, slow, cardio as means to get into caloric deficit. Although this is a departure from the “Speed Kills” mantra of Power Athlete HQ, “performance” in the context of this program is aesthetics. Leaning on Jacked Street promises no traditional performance gainzz, however, it yielded amazing results with regards to maintaining relative strength and vastly improved gymnastics.
While following the program to a tee, I incorporated three cardio sessions per week ranging between 40 minutes and 1 hour. This steady-state activity took on many forms in an attempt to avoid sheer boredom or facilitate the use of my phone as means to watch inspirational movies or episodes of South Park. I used the step mill, incline treadmill, row machine, and outdoor biking. My favorite was definitely the step mill. It takes a certain amount of hate in your heart to commit to 1 hour on the step mill, but I found it to cause the least soreness of all the options.
Tips to Being Successful
The program provided is something we at PAHQ are very proud of. If you do it, follow our narratives, and avoid secret squirreling 10k runs, Murphs, or any other potentially goal/recovery-derailing WOD’s, you will be in good shape. Eating well and getting the required 8 hours of sleep is implied. What is not implied are the little things, takeaways, tips, tricks and habits that I developed to successfully lean on Jacked Street. Admittedly, these Cali-isms may not be for everyone but they worked for me and you can’t argue with results.
- Slow and steady. As tempting as it is to attack any new program with the vigor of someone half your age, be patient. You will make progress but like anything, you must be patient and trust the programming – that is, unless you’re willing to forfeit all of your hard work in nearly the same amount of time it took to acquire it. This concept as it pertains to leaning is especially important as other factors are at play here. Healthy and sustainable weight loss is dependent on a healthy metabolism, hormone regulation, and many physiological variables. The idea is to ensure proper recovery by eliminating overtraining as a potential hinderance.
- Train in the morning. It is said that people will find any excuse to put off their training especially when they plan on doing it in the afternoon or evening. Well, if you’re like me you enjoy training and look forward to it, so I’m not familiar with the excuse issue. I am familiar with fatigue, however. As the day wears on, the morning sparkle in my eye diminishes. I don’t know if it’s age or occupational hazard related, but if I don’t start my day with a training session I find that I tire more easily throughout the day. Being consistent with my training partners at 6am kept me accountable and reminded me that the program was my first priority.
- Reading = succeeding. I am person who likes to enjoy music while training but part way through this program I began to read my kindle during sessions. First this was exclusively done while doing cardio and then I started reading between my sets. I found this to be incredibly helpful. I have two theories as to why it worked:
- Change is good. If you are constantly stimulated by music and you transition to reading, you might find yourself more centered, focused, and less distracted with the goings-on in your environment. You become engaged both visually and mentally, allowing other senses to be a part of the process.
- What you read matters. I read several books throughout Jacked Street, the last being Unbroken, that all had a similar theme of great challenge accompanied with great triumph. It’s no secret that I’m all about the mental game so when I found myself feeling inspired to go harder for longer as a direct result of reading these empowering biographies, I knew I had tapped into a new training corridor. Call it cheesy, but these books carried me through a lot of self-pitying moments on the stepmill.
- This Just In: Weekends are also days. I know what you’re thinking… what the fuck is that supposed to mean? Half ass commitments like “I eat well throughout the week but I take weekends off” get half ass results. Let’s say, worst case scenario, you include Friday as part of your weekend off. You’re looking at over one-third of your week wasted on eating like it’s your birthday. Weekends are days of the week just like Monday through Wednesday. You can choose to make the most of these three days by eating well, recording your calories, and training as your program dictates or take the “Weekends: Where the beer flows like wine and calories don’t count” approach. If you do, you’ll always be one-third behind where you need to be.
- Don’t be weird. As much as I stuck to the macros, ROYGBV, and alternating protein sources, a time would come where I just knew I needed something to bring me back to life/sanity. I’d crave a little something from the good old days when I ate what I wanted and drank with wreckless abandon. Usually this occurred once every two weeks in the form of a beer or two, a giant steak, or some sweet and salty cashews. I never let myself get too Busey and always knew that when the cravings were getting intense, I should just satiate them. I was seeing good results so I had no reason to believe that they’d derail my training or recovery. I managed to survive Thanksgiving, Christmas, and almost all of NYE. I brought in the New Year by ice-luging 4 shots of Bailey’s and consuming one half of an apple pie – and yet – I managed to hit my goals. Don’t be weird, people!
Body Weight :: 151 lbs 131.6 lbs
Body Fat % :: 24.4 16.6
Lean Mass % :: 75.6 83.4
Body Fat lbs :: 36 21.9
Lean Mass lbs :: 111.7 110.1
Thanks to Jacked Street, my body underwent some serious changes. I may not have gained any strength while leaning on the program but I also didn’t have any significant strength losses. At the conclusion of the testing period, I began to ramp up my calories and instantly felt the energy coursing through my body during my training. It was only a matter of weeks before I could perform the big lifts with nearly the same level of proficiency – only this time I was 20 lbs lighter and stronger pound for pound.
Like so many other challenges in life, success came down to consistency. Consistency of sleep, diet, and training. I slept like a baby and kept farmer hours, ate frequently throughout the day – never allowing myself to get too hungry, and I trained my ass off. I hammered each exercise with as much energy and pump as I could muster. Admittedly, this was largely due to my training partners never accepting anything less.
Was the sacrifice and suffering worth it? At PAHQ, we test programs for efficacy, experience, and understanding. I walked away with a broader knowledge base and a bicep vein. What do you think?
A strength and conditioning coach since 2009, Cali has worked with numerous athletes spanning from rugby players to cross country skiers. Almost immediately after finding CrossFit in 2010, she was introduced to a program that better suited her athletic goals. With her existing background in powerlifting and football, she became a natural devotee to CFFB/PowerAthlete and testament to it's effectiveness. In 2012, she left D.C. and headed for the state named after her to be a part of the CrossFit Football Seminar Staff and a Jedi of Power Athlete HQ. Cali currently resides in Seattle where she works full time in law enforcement.
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