Can I "fix" my body after 2 years of excessive marathon training and under-eating?
I've been running for almost 6 years now, but I never went overboard before. I've been working out for over 5 years and use to be much more balanced. Then, in August 2006 I started training for my second marathon and went way overboard. I was running not only way too long all the time but I wasn't eating anywhere near enough (or the right proportions of nutrients); I just ran far all the time. Anyway, although I reached my goal time in the race, I kept running at that level (aside for a brief 5 month period from this Jan-early June) for just over 2 years. There were times where I'd fix things up a bit in some aspects, but I was still always running so much. My metabolism got so fast that around last November I developed this problem where my muscles would grow and shrink on a daily basis (sometimes changing within hours). It sucks to go to bed one night OK with the way you look and to wake up with a different body composition.
Anyway, after my last race on Sept 7 I finally came to terms with what I had done, and decided to give up long-distance running and increase my weight training. I talked with my friend (who's training to be a nutrionalist and is a weight training enthusiast) about what to do. I've done days and days and days of research on foods to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, how to train. I've completely switched my workout routine (I use to use machines and now I'm doing all free weights and compound, body-weight exercises). My strength has sky-rocketed already in the last month, but my body is still having the shrinking problem. The composition of my muscles still changes day to day (though I don't seem to get weaker). I also seem to have put on a little bit of fat, which is weird because I'm still very slender (as my metabolism is still fast). Then again, I don't know if it is fat or loose skin (which I've had since I lose my excess weight 5.5 years ago (I use to be obese)). It's all so confusing. My nutrition is excellent. I eat so healthy. I don't go long periods of time without eating. I don;'t over-train. And, I still incorporate a couple days of light cardio (20 mins running) a week (after an initial 2 weeks of no cardio when I first started).
Things were progressing fine for a while. I was putting on some size (which always happened whenever I'd cut down on running before) and other running-induced problems (like a drop in my libido) was beginning to fix. Then, a few days ago I shrunk again, and all the problems are happening again, especially the seemingly-fat increases. I have no clue what is going on.
Can someone help me? I'm still very healthy, very active, and now becoming much stronger. It's just that my body appearance is all over the map and not reacting the way it should be.
I am not an expert on all of this but I think I may have some useful suggestions. First off, if you are trying to build muscle back up lay off the cardio. Totally. I typically have to fight to keep my BF% down so I do interval training cardio 4 times a week. If you are trying to gain mass drop ALL cardio. Keep a food log for a little while and watch you macros. Make sure you are getting enough protein (1-1.5g of your LBM) and fat (about .5g of your LBM). This should help you to build the muscle you are seeking.
I think that your comment about going to sleep at night and enjoying your body comp but in the morning not is a problem many people have. Usually at the end of the day my arms look bigger than they do when I wake up in the morning, however I ALWAYS have better looking abs in the morning. I doubt your muscle composition is really changing much through the night, your pumps are just different (not sure but I think this is what is happening).
Anyway, I would just try and resume a strong weight lifting regiment and eat lots. Don't be afraid to gain some BF% because I think you may need to simply bulk for a few months. Then once you reach some good strength goals go for a cut.