The thing about being (reasonably) lean is, for most of us, it requires some sacrifice. I began a cut August 2015 before pushing my intake back up to maintenance in February. I’ve managed to maintain a fairly lean physique since then. Not stage lean. Not even really “she’s shredded” lean but reasonable abs and about 14% BF. Well, for me, staying at this kind of conditioning is a bit tiring and in the name of improvement, it makes sense to increase my food intake in order to build muscle and continue to make gainz. With a ‘Z’ because those are the real kind.
I’m no fan of weight gain. I find it hard to come to terms with. I’ve no doubt you do too. More than likely you associate looking and feeling lean with a perception that you are “fitter”, “stronger”, “more dedicated”, “more agile”, “a better dancer”. I made the last one up but you understand me.
In actual fact, your body fat percentage doesn’t tell you any of these things. All it says is that you can eat in a calorie deficit successfully for a certain amount of time, nothing more nothing less. Gaining weight doesn’t somehow make you less attractive or less fit or less desirable, in fact if you’re doing things the right way then more than likely, nobody but you will notice your weight gain anyway.
There’s no doubt that looking slightly less conditioned is a mind game but in the name of balance and a healthy relationship with food, it’s absolutely necessary. Weigh yourself once a week not every day (that’s stupid), take photos, use a measuring tape, set strength or endurance goals, do fun things, enjoy your food. You don’t need to be that guy/girl who is complaining about how much they struggle so much in “off season” and woe is me I just want to be lean again. Stop it. You’re brilliant at every stage. You could instead just be that boss who trains hard, eats well and enjoys the fact that they’re balanced enough to not give AF. Because truly, your BF% only matters to one person and if you don’t care then it matters to no one at all.