T Nation

Advice Wanted


I am in week 18 of my training program and thought it would be a good idea to solicit some feedback on my program and progress to date.

On June 13, 2006, I was 248 pounds and most likely (although not measured at the time) around 30-32% BF, maybe more. I am 5'11". I was horrified that I had let myself get into this position at age 27.

Anyway, I immediately jumped into a program that was cario intense, with limited lifting. I cut calories to around 2200/day. I took six one hour martial arts classes each week for 12 weeks. I lifted full body one day per week. It was the first time I had touched a weight in five years.

By the end of the 12 weeks, the beginning of September, I was 224 pounds and had my BF measured by a trainer at 22.2%.

At this point I reset and added three weight training sessions per week (3 total) and one extra cardio session of running on my treadmill, continuing with the six martial arts classes. I train back and bis one day, then chest, shoulders, tris the next session, and then back to back and bis.

I don't train legs because they get an intense workout during the martial arts training and if I trained them with weights I wouldn't be able to walk by the end of the week. I have been doing this routine for the last 5 and 1/2 weeks. Yesterday (October 9th), I was 218 with 18.8% BF.

I cram as much protein into the 2200 calories as I can. If I am being honest, I really only probably get between 180-200 grams, but I try for more. I supplement with Multivitamin, CLA, Omegas 3,6,9, Hydroxycut Hardcore, L-Carnitine, L-Glutamine, L-Arginine,and some full-spectrum Aminos throughout the day.

I have a lot of work to do. My ultimate goal is 8% BF, trying to maintain a weight in the ballpark of 200. I think that will take me about another 15 weeks (so 32 weeks or so in total). After that, I was planning on shifting from the cutting phase to some bulking, adding some creatine and bumping up the calories.

BTW, I intended to post this in the beginners section but I have never used this forum before so I am not sure if I am doing it right. I am a beginner and looking for you to evaluate what I have done so far and provide advice on whether I should stay on course or tweak the program going forward. I will consider posting picks at 10% BF, but trust me, I have done you a favor by not posting any at the moment. Thanks.


While you are making progress towards your own goals, you are doing well.

If you start to shift your goals, then that may change what you decide to do. Obviously, because you are doing your martial arts work, that may limit the amount of cardio and weight training you can also fit in.

Around here a lot of people are interested in putting on muscle or achieving high levels of performance at some particular sport.

Pick or state some particular goals and that will help determine what you'll need to do to achieve it. If you simply want to be leaner, then that is going to be largely controlled by dietary factors over time.


Good point. I have thought about that, making sure I am stating consistent goals and not confusing myself. In the long term, I am interested in strength and size, which is why I spend time reading this website. Basically, when I looked at my stats in June, I said, holy sh#$, you are a fat loser. So I have been focusing on cutting. When I get down to 8 or 10%BF, I will shift to growth. I figured if I got to obsessed with growth or my lift numbers like I was in high school, I would be trying to grow and cut at the same time and get no where. So I am trying to do one at a time, althought I have had some of the lean mass gains a beginner can expect. Basically, one of the things I want from the readers here is when you think shifting gears make sense. I have avoided creatine in my supplementation but want to incorporate it at some point. I think that ther4e must be some point where I can shift to growth mode and my BF% will still go down because my metabolism will be stoked and the additional muscle will contribute to the percentage change (not a math major, but it makes sense to me). Do you think there is a point in time, say 20 weeks from when I started, or a particdluar BF% or something when I should shift gears...meaning up the calories (at to what amount of calroies for that matter), lower the cardio, and increase the lifting weight/intensity? I am sure it differs by person, but are there some guidelines I should be aware of?....points in the training process when shifting gears from cutting to bulking is optimal? And yes, performance in the martail arts is important to me, so I will never be competitive BB size, but do want better than average size and strenght. Thanks foir your input.


first nice work so far

second man try breaking up your thoughts I dont care if they are proper paragraphs etc but damn that long run on crap makes it a pain to read.

3 creatine why wait?? IMO its even more benefitial when cutting, When non a hypocaloric diet it aids in keeping muscles hydrated and the extra creatinbe and hence ATP stores may allow a bit more intensity while on a cutting diet a few reps.

4 train your legs. sure dont kill them so you are sore forever but you need resistance training for them Id go heavy strenght based say sets of 1-5 3 is always good say 4-5 sets dont jack the volume way up keep it basic BIG compounds add strength avoid failure.

5 shift when you reach your goal thats will be YOUR optimal time and do it slow 200-300 k/cals at a time let the metabolism catch up. If you go and ramp the intake up very fast your metab will take a while to get up to pace.

Read the massive eating reloaded if for nothing else the way the calories are slowly increased and expalaination on how metabolism chases intake.

Keep on trucking nice work


In my opinion you are going to be walking a tightrope trying to make significant gains while staying under 10% unless you were already at like 6% when you started.

Rememeber it takes a lot more time and effort to build muscle than it does to lose fat. This is especially true once you put on a bunch of muscle. There's more of you to burn the fat.

If you have serious aspirations for significantly more size, waiting until you're 10% and then trying to gain might make it a longer haul. Maybe a much longer one in fact.

Congrats on progress BTW. Oh yeah, the guy who told you to train legs was right as far as I'm concerned.

On another note your physical output is enormous at the moment. You're going to eventually start to see your energy dropping at 2200 cals a day.



Fair enough. Ok, help me pick a creatine. The creatine section at GNC is overwhelming....no idea what to buy.


True. I think I am at risk of overtraining in the cardio area. I will consider cutting back on that to fit in tinme and energy for leg resistance training.


sorry if this should be obvious, but you said read "massive eating reloaded"? Where is that? I couldn't find it. I will take your advice if you wouldn't mind giving me the link. Thanks.


You can get creatine in the Store here.

Massive Eating Reloaded, Part I

Part two just search.


A lot of reading, but I think I got most of it.

1.) 2200 cals is NOT enough to go where you want to go. Simply not enough. You had a good start, but where you want to get is rather mid-advanced level. Your body will not allow you to lose fat at that caloric level with that kind of activity. Bye-bye muscle.

You weigh, what 220lbs or so at 5'11" or so. you have some muscle built. You lift and do cardio and MMA.--ON 2200cals! You're about to plateau big time.

Increase the cals by 200-300 to start. All these cals should come from protein/fat/and maybe a few complex carbs or good veggies. Some people find nice results by waving carb intake. 3-4 low/1 high/2 low/1 high 3-4low......you get the idea. Some are better at Anabolic levels. Read up and try each for a long enough period to gauge results.

2.) drink a lot of water

3.) You have got to get adequate fiber.

4.) you will need plenty of rest

5.) continue to vary your workouts. Most should be with heavier weights. Sacrifice volume-not intensity. It is alright to throw in lighter days and maybe even a circuit set up for a change. Don't live on this type of workout though.

6.) Eat light and often. Never miss a PWO.


Thanks. I saw the creatine in the store. I am a little confused though on the whole monohyrdate versus ethyl ester. I have read conflicting views about whether it is better to pay a little more for the ee, claims of less bloat and better absorption. Worth the extra $$?


Thank you. I have read a lot of threads where all people do is talk sh#$. That advise is exactly what I was looking for. My energy has dipped significantly in the last week or so and I have been considering upping the calories. I will up today. I am also going to start creatine today.

So you say my goals are a bit advanced for the moment? I will eat muscle on my current path. Bad news. Time to make a change then. What are your thoughts on better goals (I understand that goals are a personal thing, different for everyone, but I am looking for waht you think is doable, healthy, and proper for my "skill" level)

So I am 5'11", 218 at a little under 19%BF at the moment. In the abstract, we could say my goals are not to be a competitive BB or an offensive lineman. So I don't need to be 4% BF or incredibly huge. I want to be able to move with speed, strenghth, and control in the MA training, as far as performance goes. And, equally important, look good at the beach next summer. A scrawny 8%BF is not acceptable. If that is what would happen by continuing on this diet, f#$% that.

I have trouble picturing what the different BF levels will look like on me. I think 10% is pretty lean but honestly I don't know. I think that 215 at that BF% or slightly higher BF% would look good and I would still be fast, not slowed down in sparring by the weight. That would probably take a while for me to achieve. If you were me with my height and current build, what would your weight/BF goals be 12 weeks from now?


Well, I've been known to spew some shit as well here, but onward.

By advanced I mean 8-10%bf takes more than a casual approach to hitting the gym and eating without thought. It is a serious goal. The goal itself is fine, but again, I think you need a better roadmap. More info.

215 @10%bf would look good on anybody--5'11" Not slamming, just didn't want someone to throw in a 6'6 guy. You can do this, but again, I think you need to rethink your nutrition. I see your calories as an issue.

Up them SLOWLY. You may in turn see better/longer/more intense workouts which enables you to build muscle a little quicker and shed some fat. Your only looking at like 20or so lbs of fat separating you from your goal. But these are the hard 20. To maintain your muscle and energy you will need to tweak and modify .

Read a bunch of nutritional articles. It really is eye opening and I think beneficial, moreso than me spewing. It will give you a better overall grasp of the body as one big machine and what it takes to run it efficiently.

Keep working!


Go with the 100% Creatine Monohydrate.

EE is useless


Congratulations on your progress so far!

I do feel that you could continue to further your gains by improving your split. Training triceps in its own session is not optimal.

Since your main goal is aesthetics and not to succeed in martial arts, you need to start training legs (actually you need to even if your goal was to succeed in martial arts). This will help you burn more calories both while training and while not training. Build a bigger engine, it burns more fuel. Also, getting stronger at exercises like squats, deadlifts and lunges will improve your martial arts ability and will cause your work outs to be of higher intensity, which causes you to burn more fat. Compare the typical physique of a marathon runner to that of a sprinter.

I did mma for a couple years while lifting weights. There are ways to avoid getting too sore. First, gradually ease into leg exercises. Second, don't do too much volume on any given day. Third, focus on lower rep ranges which tend to get you less sore than higher rep ranges.

I recommend that you change your split. If you want to stick to what you are currently doing, I'd do something like squats with your chest day, deadlfits with your back and bi's day, and lunges with your shoulders and tri's day (I threw tri's in with shoulders; they don't warrant their own day).

Even better in my opinion would be to do either three full body workouts per week with mostly compound exercises or four days per week with a lower/upper body split.

Keep up the good work!


Mint. You guys are good. All good info. I am going to make some changes to diet and routine and will let you know at the end of November how it is going.