The purpose of this post/thread is to present anecdotal evidence for the practices described below in hopes that they will be of some use to others with similar goals and, hopefully, to receive some feedback and start a discussion that will serve to refine the methods used and to attain further insight.
After a strength/weakness-addressing period I found myself carrying excess body fat. Also, my conditioning had suffered due to the fact that I kept GPP work to a minimum of one 15-20min session per week. This situation was deemed unacceptable because I will be running a 12 mile obstacle race on december the 1st. To address this situation, I designed a diet and training plan, lasting four weeks, around the following goals:
- Drop excess body fat, measured by scale weight and waist circumference (at largest)
- Improve conditioning, measured by performance on a 2000m Row test
- Keep strength levels, measured by performance on six different lifts: Deadlift, Bulgarian Split-Squat, Power Clean, Snatch, Standing Press, Bench Press.
Before laying out the program I followed, I think it is relevant to present some insight i have attained throughout the years about what works for me training-and-diet-wise because it gives some background to the methods I used. Training-wise, I have found that I respond well to high frequency, given that volume is kept relatively low. Diet-wise, I have found that in order to lose fat efficiently I have to drastically lower calories.
Also, having prolonged periods of fasting seems to work best for me both because it seems to speed up fat loss and because it suits my psychological profile. Furthermore, I have noticed that I don’t do well with High Fat/Low Carb diets, as my mood plummets and my fat loss quickly stalls whenever I try this approach. I do better keeping calories very low but carbs relatively high. With this and the goals in mind I designed the following program, to be followed for 4 weeks.
Test Subject: 24 year old Male with 6 years of varied training experience, tendency towards gaining both muscle and fat with relative ease.
Formal training was done 6 times per week. Every session included the following components: a) General Warm-up and mobility b) Strength, in which one main lift and one assistance lift were performed c) Conditioning, in which a Crossfit workout was performed d) Rowing, typically 2000m total, split in different ways (200m intervals, 500m intervals, etc.) to keep motivation up. This part was performed only when the Crossfit workout was short in duration and energy levels were high.
For the strength component, the following schedule was followed:
Monday: Power Clean 3x3 across (Not including warm-up sets), Glute Bridges 3x10
Tuesday: Deadlift 3x5 ascending, GH Raises, 3x10
Wednesday: Press 3x5 across, Weighted Pull-up 3x10
Thursday: Snatch 3x3 across, Single-Leg Hip Thrusts 3x10 (each leg)
Friday: Bulgarian Split-Squat 3x5 (each leg) across, Weighted Back Raises 3x10
Saturday: Bench Press 3x5 across, DB Row, 3x10
All workouts were recorded. Progress was made whenever it was felt possible based on how the weight felt during the warm-up sets and in 5lb increments with respect to the previous session of a given lift.
Breakfast: 3 Scrambled Eggs, 6 small rice cakes, 1 portion of fruit, 2 caps Flameout
Lunch: 1/2lb Beef or chicken (prepared without extra calories except of some olive oil or butter), Large portion of vegetables, 1 portion of fruit, 2 caps Flameout.
Peri-Workout: 2 Scoops Anaconda, 2 Scoops MAG-10 one hour after.
Pre-Bed: 2 Scoops MAG-10.
Probiotics, taken 2 times per day, with meals
Enzymes, taken 2 times per day with meals
Superfood, 1 serving per day
Elie-Pro Minerals, 1 serving per day before bed
Carbolin 19 (form Week 2), 4 caps per day
Weight: from 178.5lb to 164lb
Waist: from 93cm to 84cm
Deadlift: from 315x5 to 325x5
Bulgarian Split-Squat: from 95x5 to 135x5
Power Clean: from 185x5 to 205x5
Snatch: from N/A to 145x5
Press: from 125x5 to 145x5
Bench Press: from 215x5 to 225x5
2000m Row: from 9:14 to 7: 52
This approach proved very effective and all of the the goals were achieved. More than 14 pounds of bodyweight and 9cm of waist circumference were lost, with no apparent losses in muscle mass. Conditioning improved significantly and strength was kept, since there was no loss in any of the lifts measured. In fact, performance in some of the lifts increased a bit, but mostly because of improvements in technique (in the case of olympic lifts) or novelty of the lift (in the case of Bulgarian Split-Squats and some of the assistance lifts, though these were not measured).
Motivation to train and subjective intensity of the workouts was high throughout the program with no symptoms of overtraining, although recovery between sessions was sometimes not optimal due to some overlap between the strength sessions and the random schedule of the Crossfit workouts.
Mood was somewhat variable during the program, although the addition of Carbolin 19 improved this aspect notoriously. Hunger levels were acceptable during the day but very elevated during the night, especially during sleep hours, were episodes of waking up because of hunger became more frequent as the program progressed.
Possible Improvements and Variations Worth Considering
Some of the following points are possible changes I would consider were I to do this program again (which I probably will since it proved to be the most efficient I have done for fat loss so far) based on results and the overall experience with the program. Others are possible variations others might consider when attempting this or a similar program:
Change the “fasting” schedule: I chose to keep my solid meals during the early day because It is easier for me to fast at night than it is to skip breakfast. This worked well as far as compliance but sleep was negatively affected because of very elevated levels of perceived hunger during the night. It might be worth considering to consume most of the calories at night to prevent this and if one’s habits naturally gravitate towards eating more in the night than in the morning.
Use of more MAG-10 pulses: I felt that this supplement was crucial due to the fact that my recovery suffered the couple of times I didn’t use it and it improved whenever I used 2 pulses. It would be interesting to see what would happen if one used up to 3 pulses per day as it has been recommended by the coaches in the Indigo forum.
Use of HOT-ROX instead of Carbolin 19: In my particular case, I decided not to use HOT-ROX because I suffered an Acute Pancreatitis attack almost 2 years ago and so, I am reluctant to use supplements that might affect metabolism directly. There is no scientific evidence behind this decision, nor did I find evidence that suggests that HOT-ROX may have a negative effect on pancreatic function. This is merely a precaution I take based on belief. Others might consider making this substitution since the addition of a thermogenic might aid the fat loss process.
Different Conditioning Programing: for my conditioning work, I decided to follow the routines laid out by the Crossfit Box I frequent because I enjoy them and they help keep my motivation high. However, I realize that this type of programing is not optimal because it’s randomness sometimes produces a negative overlap with the strength routine that affects recovery and subsequent performance in both areas. It would be optimal to design one’s own Conditioning program to compliment the strength portion of the workout.
Overall, this program worked very well and I feel it could be a very solid base for my future fat loss programs. I have dieted for longer period in the past (12-16 weeks) with inferior results so I am very happy with this strategy. This is in fact the most effective fat loss program I have used and it suits me very well for various reasons. First, as I said, I don’t do very well with very low carb diets and I feel this one gave me sufficient carbs to keep a relatively good mood and have decent levels of energy during the workouts.
Second, I like to keep my dieting periods short because longer periods of caloric restriction make me crave unhealthy food and bounce back to very bad eating habits. This diet was short enough to avoid that. It was psychologically challenging, although not so much as other diets I have experimented with. Physically, the program was very rigorous, especially considering the low caloric intake but it was doable. I really think that the peri-workout supplements used allowed for the program to succeed and this speaks very highly of them. It may be that this program would have turned out be excessive and overly abusive had they not been used.
I hope this can be of use to others in a similar situation and/or with similar goals and of course am willing to answer any questions that anyone interested in this post may have.
P.S.: English is not my first language, so I apologize for any grammar/syntax mistakes.