Today is your second rest day as you’ve reached the end of your second training mini-cycle. More importantly, today is also the first recalibration day on Riding the Redline. That means you’ll assess your progress today, and you’ll make some adjustments. While it would be great to tell you specifically what to do, I’m going to need your help in making adjustments for yourself. It’s crucial that you learn to honestly assess your progress, and make the adaptations that will allow you to get the most from this 4-week program designed to increase strength and endurance while burning stored fat and enhancing lean muscle tissue.
Here’s what I want you do to. I realize you may not be able to do all of these, so I’m providing a way for you to gauge the importance of each.
I think this is the most accurate way to gauge your success on Riding the Redline. Remember to take these photos at the same time of day while wearing the same clothes as you did before you began this program. Also use the same photographer, location and lighting that you did on that day. These photos will provide a lot of feedback for you now, but they’ll also help you later in the program as well.
Remember that I’ve de-emphasized body weight as an essential part of this program. You’re not strictly trying to lose weight—your body composition goal is to reduce body fat while increasing muscle tissue. Obviously increasing mass will increase weight while losing body fat will decrease it. That makes strict bodyweight a less valuable tool than other metrics. Still, total bodyweight taken in conjunction with these other measures does provide valuable information. Take it in stride and don’t overemphasize body weight on its own.
Again, you’ll take these measurements: Mid-thigh—both sides; hips; waist; chest/bust; arms—both sides. Also shoulders—with arms relaxed at your sides.
Remember that you’ll need someone to take some of these measurements for you. The tension on the tape should be moderate for every measurement. It’s important that you use the same amount of tension, and level of flex or relaxation for today’s measurements as you did before you began this program. That allows you to compare apples to apples. I also recommend that you have the same person take your measurements to remove yet another variable.
You may be surprised by how much or little some of these measurements have shifted. For instance your mid-thighs may be a bit thicker while your hips and waist have reduced. That’s what we’re looking for in terms of shifts in body composition, and this is a much more important metric than body weight. Still, you’ve only been following this nutrition and training program for 8 days, so the shifts will likely be incremental rather than dramatic. The key is to see if your measurements are moving in the right direction.
Of course, you may have already done this, but if you haven’t stocked up on the nutritious foods that you’ll be consuming for the next couple cycles of Riding the Redline, then today is an ideal day to do so. Also prep vegetables and meat so you have these at the ready, which will help prevent you from cheating on this short program.
I want you to assess your success to this point. If you’re pleased with the results, then I don’t want you to make any changes to your calorie intake. However, if you feel you can accelerate your progress without losing strength, then I want you to cut 25 grams of carbs from you daily food intake. And I recommend doing this near the end of the day—either from your dinner or your late-night snack. That’s only a reduction of 100 calories, but this will help you continue to make progress over the next two mini-cycles. You’ll still keep your protein intake high to support recovery and increases in lean tissue.
If you aren’t happy with the results you’re seeing, then I want you to ask yourself these questions:
If the answer is “no” to any of these, then the solution is simple: Just do what I’m telling you to do. If the answer is “yes” to all of these, then I want you to hold yourself accountable and cut those 25 grams of carbs from your nutrition program each day, taking them out of the meals at the end of the day.
My guess is that very few of you are going to fall into this latter category where you’re nutrition, training and supplementation are completely on point, but you aren’t seeing results.
TIP: If you have the time or ability, I recommend getting in some form of active and passive recovery. Active recovery includes light movement such as a hike a very slow-paced short cardio session or an easy swim—but no more than about 20-30 minutes. This will help promote burning out the lactic acid in your muscles—and your aching ass will thank you tomorrow (trust me, I know how much it’s hurting right now). In addition, you can include other passive forms of recovery such as massage/foam rolling or hydrotherapy such as a sauna or Jacuzzi.