Stuck in the Middle with Me

I’ve been fat, and I’ve been lean, and I have to tell you, I like being lean a lot better. I haven’t gotten a Dexa Scan, but I estimate my current body composition to be around 12% body fat. I’m pleased with that, although one can never be too lean. This is a fairly easy level for me to maintain on a low carb diet–and I’ve recently dropped back to keto levels of carbs–but it raises one rather unfortunate dilemma: I’m right in the middle of two weight classes.

Having decided to commit my time, energy and money to become a competitive Powerlifter again, I have to at least consider the optimal weight class to compete in, because Powerlifting is a weight class sport. My body weight is fluctuating between 172.5 and 174, saddling me between the 163-lb and 182.75-lb classes. The first competition I could realistically see myself participating in is in December, so I have a choice to make. Compete in the 183’s 10 lbs below the max weight, or try to drop down 10 lbs to the top end of the 163’s. Oy vey.

It is at least theoretically possible for me to use salt, water and food manipulation techniques to get to 163 for weigh-in purposes, but I think it would be a rather painful process with no guarantee of success. The last time I competed, my walking around weight was around 206 lbs. Using carb depletion, along with water loading and then cutting off the water, along with some time in the hot tub, some diuretics and limited food intake, I weighed in at 197.6 the day before the competition, successfully entering the 198-lb weight class. After refeeding and rehydrating, I competed at almost 210 lbs the very next day. So I know it can be done, however the difference this time is my perpetual carb depleted state. I don’t think I am carrying enough water to make a 10-lb cut before weigh-in’s. I could certainly diet some more to get closer to 165 lbs between now and December, so I’d have less weight to manipulate in the final week, or I could take the more pleasurable route of gaining a few lbs over the next 6 months and competing at a plumper version of myself closer to the 182-lb mark.

At just under 5’11”, I am already bordering on being too light for my height. I’m just not all that muscular and adding lean mass has always been a challenge for me, so the thought of getting to below 170, maybe even 168 lbs, isn’t all that appealing. Sure, I’ll be ripped as shit and look like an Abercrombie and Fitch model with my shirt off, but dressed I’ll look like something a strong wind would knock over and my face will have the heroin chic, hollowed out look which used to be so en vogue.

However, on the other side of the aisle, were I to eat more food and put on a little body weight, no matter how carefully I do it, experience tells me I’ll be storing the extra food as lard covering up my abdominal muscles, vs. bigger and thus stronger quads, pecs and delts. Muscle is what moves weight. Muscles contract and create force. Fat sits there and mocks you. Fat doesn’t contract or contribute to moving more weight in any way. So I hope I’ve laid out the dilemma here in no uncertain terms.

At this stage, I realistically see myself maintaining this level of body composition and just trying to be a stronger 174ish-lb man, but I hold open the possibility that I will awaken one day–as I did recently and just decide to get serious about powerlifting again–and decide to bulk up and fill out my singlet with a chubbier version of myself and hit that 182-lb mark so I can compete at the top of the class without suffering through a weight cut. Who knows, maybe some of the weight I gain will be shiny new muscle.

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