T Nation

Accepting Less Than Perfection

This is long and (probably) rambling, but if anybody has the fortitude to read through it, I value your opinion.

The recent article by Mike Boyle got me thinking a lot about my views regarding lifting and nutrition. There is a lot of information on this site about what is optimal, and my knowledge is far beyond what it would be otherwise. However, I find myself falling into a trap where I ignore what brings me satisfaction or pleasure in favor of what I’m told is right. I suspect I am taking the advice on this site to an extreme that is hampering my efforts by making things too difficult or too unenjoyable for me to succeed.

For example, after a lifetime of being a skinny bastard (High School wrestled in 103 weight class to give you an idea), I find myself at 210 at 5’9 with MUCH more muscle but unacceptably chunky. I decided it’s time to shed some of this fat I’ve accumulated from years of eating so damn much. So I got my ducks in a row in accordance to what the experts preach. Veggies at every meal, no ‘other’ carbs except PWO, blah blah. All the things we preach around here.

But you know what? It’s a damn pain in the ass, I feel like total shit, and I’m not convinced it’s necessary. If I was 10% bf trying to drop down to 3%, maybe. But to drop hypothetically from 20% to 10%? Maybe I just need to keep busting my ass in the gym and start making healthier food choices. If I want a 100% whole wheat sandwich with yogurt on the side for lunch, then that’s what I’m going to eat and to hell with carbs. It’s not like I’m eating donuts.

I’m going to keep it basic. Try to consume lots of protein, make an effort to include fruits/vegetables, and avoid obvious junk foods (particularly fast food which is my nemesis). Then I’ll see where that takes me. I’m not going to worry about the details until progress stops.

Otherwise, I think I burn myself out by going too overboard. 6 months of a good diet is better than 1 month of a perfect one, I figure. I think the effort/reward is all out of whack if I take it to perfection.

So what do you guys think? Do we take things too seriously and hurt our efforts in the long-term by making it too difficult? Are many of the core nutritional principles preached around here excessive for the average person and more intended for dropping down to a contest weight than a healthy one? Can I achieve my goal of seeing my abs again by following more ‘traditional’ nutrition guidelines (which include plenty of whole grain bread/pasta) any time it strikes my fancy?

Whether you’re interested or not, I’ll keep you updated over the next couple months.

Can you see abs with lots of pasta? Probably. Depends on how much and what types of excersize you’re doing. Depends on your body. Are a lot of the things “preached” around here unrealistic? No. It’s my belief that what T-Nation does is tell us exactly what we need to do to achieve anything we want to achieve in regards to our bodies. I dont think anywhere does it say “However, only working out 70% as hard as ronnie will yield no results”. Neither do I think that the intensity with which some people approach the things they learn here is damaging in the long run.

Personally, I’ve put in to practice everything I’ve read here which applies directly to my goals. Using this information I’ve basically achieved them, but the progress which I’ve made has not made me thankful it’s all over… rather made me eager to achieve even greater things. Really, if you need to eat pasta and bread to keep your sanity while still maintaining ultimately healthy principles which will work towards you achieving your goal, then I say hell yeah eat bread and pasta. It’s not like you can never turn back, you can always gauge your progress and decide if you’re achieving your goals with your current diet. Do whatever feels right. And good luck!

My Plan.

Nutrition:

  • Buy a ton of fruits and vegetables to have around the house. Eat them whenever I feel like it.

  • Eat as much 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat pasta that I want without pigging out. I have a guilt complex with carbs while dieting from years of reading about nutrition, so I’m going to have to just get over it.

  • Count no calories

  • Try to eat more than 3 meals a day but I’m not going to watch the clock. If my stomach is grumbling, I’ll eat. No planned meals except for breakfast and before bed.

  • Ignore combining carbs with fat. If I want a peanut butter sandwich, I will eat one.

  • No calorie containing drinks. Lots of green tea because I like it and it’s good for you.

Supplements:

  • BCAA pills from Biotest to be taken if I wake up in the middle of the night to pee. It’s simple, easy, and I’d like to keep my muscle, so I figure why not.

  • Fish oil (combination of Flameout and Carlson’s Lemon Oil)

  • ZMA before bed. I don’t really notice any benefits, but I still have a two month supply, so I might as well.

  • 1/2 serving of Surge during my workouts, simply because it helps me perform better. My blood sugar tends to crash when I train intensely, Surge evens it out for me.

  • Plenty of protein shakes and creatine

In the gym:

  • Upper body day 2x a week: Dips, Chin-ups, Close-grip Bench, One Arm DB Row, DB Overhead Press, DB Shrugs, Rear Delt Flies plus external rotation and prone trap raise variations to keep my shoulders feeling good.

  • Lower body day 2x a week: Front Squats (which I’ve recently fallen in love with), Romanian Deadlift, Barbell Dynamic LUnges, Barbell Side Lunges, and lots of ab work.

  • All exercises done using the ever common 3 x 10reps. I will keep this split and set/rep range until I notice my numbers stagnating for more than 2 workouts.

  • Everything done as alternating pairs simply because this helps me get in and out of the gym in an hour while still allowing a 2 min or so rest period between working the same muscle. I’ve found when I use shorter rest times, my work capacity drops too much, so this is what I prefer.

Cardio:

  • Low intensity cardio on my rowing machine 45 min, 4x a week. I like to do this in the mornings (not fasted) while I watch TV shows on DVD.

Currently my waist is 39" and my weight is 205lbs first thing in the morning. I carry a ton of fat in my hips and legs though, so if my waist measurement stays the same but I’m still dropping weight, I’ll watch the scale and mirror to evaluate.

Some people always think the extreme is the only way for results. Why people go and follow something like The V-diet is something I dont understand.

Eat your carbs, excercise more, lose fat, have fun.

(currently I am losing some fat while eating 400-500gr of carbs per day. Its working fine. To go from 10% to 6% would probably mean eating less but why be 6% anyway?

I agree with your concept. I wrote an article a while back called “Don?t Gauge Your Results on Physique.” Its worth a read and will make you think a bit diffrently.

thefitcast.com/?p=75

It had a similar topic to this. Basically, some of us will never achive that ultimate body without the help of substances we would rather not take.

-Kevin

Who are you trying to convince,us or yourself?If that’s what works for you then by all means run with it.No one plan will work for everybody, but the tone of the original post was rather combative. Like “This is what I am going to do and that’s the way I am going to do it, There!”
Roll on Rough Rider, the only person in your way is you.Really, be happy and enjoy the ride.

I have been in the same boat as you, and only twice in my life have I dived down below 8% BF at 200lbs. It took so much work, ephedra, intervals, carb cycling, TRIBEX. I blew my self out.

Looking back I would of much rather been 16% BF at 225 lbs, ate more balanced and taken years to get down to 10% that I would have maintained.

Doing systems that you don’t want to do wont last for long trust me on that one.

One that that i figured out is interval training with the heavy bag. either 45 sec on with roundhouse kicks, 1 min off, rest repeat , or boxing against heavy bags same protocol.
also jump rope same protocol. all done separate from weighttraining.
Oh and sprints of course ame protocol.

add a couple of hikes to that and your on your way. !!!