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Body Composition Help


#1

Hello all, I'm new to the Forums as this is my very first post. I'm no stranger to T-Nation though. I'm 38 years old and I've tried everything from Strongman to Power lifting, to Bodybuilding, and the list goes on I assure you. The issue is no matter what diet I try meaning 1500 calories a day to 3000 per day I cannot get lean at all. I have recently added a second workout to my day. Its been three weeks and no changes what so ever. I mean a little more definition in the shoulders but nothing else.Yes I realize it takes time.

I can eat 6 small meals or three regular sized(traditional) meals. Ive tried Intermittent Fasting, Carb Backloading, Keto, Paleo and Zone. Im starting to think my body is stuck in a twilight zone lol. I drink close to one gallon of water every single day. I sleep between 6-9 hours per night. The only supplement I take is NO Explode for my morning workouts(5am). Im sure my age is not helping but I put in a great deal of time in the gym. one and a half hours in the morning and one and a half in the evening.

Before anyone says thats too much I have tried training once a day for years. Ive tried every other day, and once I trained every other week. Nothing changes except for some aching joints. lol.....Body fat will not change. I can get skinny fat like no other but lean is just not happening.

I spent most of my time training legs and neglecting my upper body. My legs are not even all that impressive but compared to my upper body its allot different. I work behind a desk also and Im sure thats hindering me but it pays the bills..

Anyone else been through that and if so what did you do
Im 5' 7" @ 193 first thing in the morning.
just guessing Im probably sitting at 20-25 or higher bodyfat.

Id rather not post any images as I just don't like to do that. You can trust I look like the typical powerlifter that tried leaning out and failed at both the powerlifting and the leaning out.

Im not looking to step on stage just to have visible abs and lean overall look.

Oh as far as cardio goes I do 20 minutes in the morning of some type of cardio machine. I make sure to get my heart rate up to fat burning level according to the charts on the machines for my age.

I sit in the sauna 10 minutes in the morning and the evening. I have put in so much time only to receive little to no results and Im just looking for a different direction before I throw in the towel and take up professional hopschotching.

Forgot to add that I also tried p90X adn T25...... too much jumping hahaha

Now I defer to the professionals and thanks in adavance


#2

First things first, I’m not a professional but I am close to your age and sometimes struggle with fat loss (I’m 5’11 210lbs in the 15-18% range) although its been dropping since I got serious again after F-in around for a year+ after my son was born.

My first couple thoughts would be of that 1500-3000 calories what are you eating? Not to be a smart ass but 3k of delicious Twinkies will give very different results than 3k in tuna.

Are you still neglecting your upper body? Muscle as I’m sure you know is pretty metabolically expensive so perhaps bringing the upper to match the lower would help.

For me I train about as the same in the morning but in the afternoon I try to do something outside, even if its just a long walk. Maybe try adding in sprint work. I find cardio on a machine to be boring and ineffective and 20min is probably not enough.

I too work at a desk but every hour I get up to walk around or stretch. I’ll even do push-ups, squats and ab stuff at my desk to counter the effects of sitting.

Finally do you track your workouts? For me it helps me see what I’ve been doing and pushes me to do better every time I set foot in a gym.


#3

Thanks for the reply

My diet is the same each week with some variation in what proteins I eat first

Steak
ground sirloin
chicken
eggs
whey
Bacon
Sausage

I swap the bacon and sausage weekly

Oats
quinoa
bananas
kale
red bell pepper
grape fruit juice 9 (mix my fiber with)
kine bars after my am workout

occasioanlly ill hit up chick fillet…

so my typical day goes like this with variations inthe order of the foods. I dont track the macros

wake up 4:50 am
NO Explode then to the gym

after the gym
protein shake
banana
kine bar

about 8ish
4 whole eggs
4 pieces of bacon or two patties of sausage

about 10 4-5 oz gound beef and one red bell pepper

lunch
4-5 chicken tenders that I cook in olive oil and spices
quiona

about 3:0-4:00
1 cup of oats and protein witha banana cut up

5 gym time
i have NO Explode and a Carb Drink

Dinner ill have the lunch or mid morning meal again

then I sip on a protein shake until I go to bed.

Cardio is hard for me as I despise it sooooooooooooo much but I have added stadium stairs three times a week. I sweat my ass off and my quads get a nasty pump but not much for fat loss.

i also get up and walk around allot during the day. drives me crazy if I dont.

on the weekends I sneak my cheat meals in and I have a beer or two and some homemade wine.


#4

Sounds like you’re all over the map without much results. My recommendation:

  1. Pick a single diet, doesn’t even matter which
  2. Start logging your food every day, what you ate, when, calories & macros
  3. Start weighing yourself daily, take tape measurements weekly, write both down
  4. Pick a single workout program, doesn’t even matter which
  5. Start keeping a gym log every time you work out, exercises, sets, reps and any notes on how you felt.
  6. Stop changing things then come back in three months with your detailed notes and we’ll solve the problem for you.

#5

Um how do you know what your BF% is? what method did you use to test it? just eye balling it is garbage.


#6

[quote]bulldog9899 wrote:
Um how do you know what your BF% is? what method did you use to test it? just eye balling it is garbage.[/quote]

More like the look in the mirror method. I agree its garbage. I have the plastic calipers but if I look on 5 different sites I get five different readings. Thats why I took the safe route and went higher. I know when I look in the mirror im not lean. I like to pretend that the ribcage is the line for my upper abs lol.


#7

I too am getting on and don’t lose fat quickly. And I’m just another amateur.

OP, you haven’t mentioned what you’re doing in the gym these days. Your diet seems good and you’re sleeping okay, so look at the workout program. I don’t rate cardio for fat loss (not least because in my opinion cardio is for cardio). I get best results from intense effort. Heavy squat or deadlift days strip fat off me afterwards, judging from the mirror and scales. I recently began interval sprints and that did even better. Fat is falling now, despite me eating more to match the demand.

Worth a go, maybe.


#8

At a bodyweight of 193#, and with that exercise regimen, your daily caloric requirement should be well north of 3000. I can think of only two reasons why you would not be able to lose fat when your daily intake drops significantly below this level for a sustained period:

  1. You have a medical condition that impairs your metabolism (eg, hypothyroidism; low T); or
  2. you significantly underestimate your caloric intake; ie, you in fact have NOT sustained a significant caloric deficit for an extended period of time.

While everyone should discuss with their MD whether #1 is worth checking out, in my experience, #2 is vastly more common.

I would also add that I think you’re approaching re-comp from the wrong direction. Dropping fat is a function of diet, not exercise. Unless you expend calories at Tour-de-France-competitor levels, you cannot out-train a calorically-generous diet. In fact, increasing exercise often sabotages weight-loss efforts by making the individual hungrier, and thus more likely to overeat.

I am 52.


#9

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
At a bodyweight of 193#, and with that exercise regimen, your daily caloric requirement should be well north of 3000. I can think of only two reasons why you would not be able to lose fat when your daily intake drops significantly below this level for a sustained period:

  1. You have a medical condition that impairs your metabolism (eg, hypothyroidism; low T); or
  2. you significantly underestimate your caloric intake; ie, you in fact have NOT sustained a significant caloric deficit for an extended period of time.

While everyone should discuss with their MD whether #1 is worth checking out, in my experience, #2 is vastly more common.

I would also add that I think you’re approaching re-comp from the wrong direction. Dropping fat is a function of diet, not exercise. Unless you expend calories at Tour-de-France-competitor levels, you cannot out-train a calorically-generous diet. In fact, increasing exercise often sabotages weight-loss efforts by making the individual hungrier, and thus more likely to overeat.

I am 52.[/quote]

I dont think I have any issue with my Thyroid. I get yearly checkups and its never been an issue. Nobody in my family has a history of that either. I know thats probably not saying it couldnt be possible but it seems all good. It doesnt seem like I have issue with low T but Ive never been checked either. Maybe I do and just dont know it.

I recently read an article on Metabolic Damage. https://www.T-Nation.com/diet-fat-loss/truth-about-metabolic-damage

I think I may fit into this area and per the article decided to give the ideas mentioned a go. Im thinking this month ramp back up to 3000cals then month two move towards 4000 give or take a few. I was thinking of staying at 4000cals for 8-12 weeks. After that see how everything is going and work on cutting the fat. I sit behind a desk but train 2 times a day 5 days a week. I then either do hiking, Mtn Biking, or kayaking on the weekends. What are your thoughts on that approach


#10

[quote]Plato685 wrote:

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
At a bodyweight of 193#, and with that exercise regimen, your daily caloric requirement should be well north of 3000. I can think of only two reasons why you would not be able to lose fat when your daily intake drops significantly below this level for a sustained period:

  1. You have a medical condition that impairs your metabolism (eg, hypothyroidism; low T); or
  2. you significantly underestimate your caloric intake; ie, you in fact have NOT sustained a significant caloric deficit for an extended period of time.

While everyone should discuss with their MD whether #1 is worth checking out, in my experience, #2 is vastly more common.

I would also add that I think you’re approaching re-comp from the wrong direction. Dropping fat is a function of diet, not exercise. Unless you expend calories at Tour-de-France-competitor levels, you cannot out-train a calorically-generous diet. In fact, increasing exercise often sabotages weight-loss efforts by making the individual hungrier, and thus more likely to overeat.

I am 52.[/quote]

I dont think I have any issue with my Thyroid. I get yearly checkups and its never been an issue. Nobody in my family has a history of that either. I know thats probably not saying it couldnt be possible but it seems all good. It doesnt seem like I have issue with low T but Ive never been checked either. Maybe I do and just dont know it.

I recently read an article on Metabolic Damage. https://www.T-Nation.com/diet-fat-loss/truth-about-metabolic-damage

I think I may fit into this area and per the article decided to give the ideas mentioned a go. Im thinking this month ramp back up to 3000cals then month two move towards 4000 give or take a few. I was thinking of staying at 4000cals for 8-12 weeks. After that see how everything is going and work on cutting the fat. I sit behind a desk but train 2 times a day 5 days a week. I then either do hiking, Mtn Biking, or kayaking on the weekends. What are your thoughts on that approach
[/quote]

Of the stages mentioned in the article (Stage 1: Metabolic Compensation; Stage 2: Metabolic Resistance; Stage 3: Metabolic Damage), where would you place yourself vis a vis your current state?


#11

I’m thinking I’m a strong one on the verge of two. I realized today after ready a ton of articles that my problem is that I have maintained the same calorie range throughout all the dieting I’ve done. I’m trying to understand the whole zig zagging of calories. To be honest there are so many articles that contradict one another that it more or less confuses me. If I’m sitting at 193 and guessing that a lean body mass of 180, do I eat just below the calories to maintain the 180? If so then do I go over and under every other week or day? Also, when it comes to calories to maintain a body weight, I get different results depending on the site I calculate it in. Is there a easier way like 12 calories times the body weight kind of thing?

As far as the question about which between the three stages. I work out more and left the calories as is. I didn’t change anything diet wise. So thats why Im thinking 1.5 really…

I greatly appreciate all the direction


#12

[quote]Plato685 wrote:
I’m thinking I’m a strong one on the verge of two. I realized today after ready a ton of articles that my problem is that I have maintained the same calorie range throughout all the dieting I’ve done. I’m trying to understand the whole zig zagging of calories. To be honest there are so many articles that contradict one another that it more or less confuses me. If I’m sitting at 193 and guessing that a lean body mass of 180, do I eat just below the calories to maintain the 180? [/quote]

If you carried 180# LBM at a BW of 193#, you’d be sitting at 6-7% BF, peeled and stage-ready.

About that…How do you track your calories?


#13

Gotcha, then Im no where near that. Maybe its more like 150. Im tracking by reading the labels and googling items I cannot find any information on.


#14

I suppose I should get the old trusty calipers out and do some testing to get a definite number. Do you know of a site or link that has accurate testing sites?


#15

So you’ve been training 5 times a week for 1.5 hours. If that amount of training is mainly focused on legs and you don’t have much to show for you’re probably doing something that you’ve adapted to a long time ago (which also doesn’t require that much energy to maintain)

And now you’ve added a second training session and effectively doubled your training time to 1.5 hours for 10 times a week? No transition, no adjustments, just double the amount. Still mainly legs, although you mention some definition in your shoulders. Same amount of calories?
And you’re still neglecting your upper body with double the amount of training time? Not even some compound upper body work?

I’m very, very curious what your training actually looks like.

On the weekends you “sneak” your cheat meals and have your beers and wine. Sounds like a regular cheat weekend, not a cheat meal.

x2 on Eyedoc’s comments, I’ll leave it at that (he’s leaner than me now anyway)

My impression:

  1. Train smarter and train for muscle mass (incl. upper body) while eating for it. Do this in blocks of at least 3 months (with deload halfway) and don’t expect results in 3 weeks.
  2. Train smarter, train less (strength maintenance) and eat less. At least 3 months. Track your calories. No cheating the first month, sack up.

btw. 20 min of cardio is not much cardio. I’d say at least 30 min preceded by 5 min of HIIT would be a minimum. Be intense during the HIIT, mellow during the LISS.

Good luck.


#16

Sorry I did not say that correct. It goes as follows and my apologies for not making that clearer from the begining.

Monday AM: Shoulders|Tricepts|20 minutes of cardio. PM: Quads|Calves
Tuesday AM: Back|Bi’s|Forearms|Grip PM: Chest\Tri’s
Wed AM Chest|Tricepts|20 minutes of cardio. PM: Hams|Calves
Thursday Shoulders|Tricepts|20 minutes of cardio. PM: Glutes,Inner,Outers|Calves
Friday AM All Arms|20 miutes cardio PM Leg supersets.

I mix and match the upper body AM workouts and hit different exercises daily

The AM training only started a month ago. I didnt mean I never did upper body in the past. I certainly did but due to a torn Rotator cuff i was limited to what I could do.

Thats why my legs are oddly larger. My upper body is way behind. I spent allot of years “trying” to powerlift but managing to injure myself more than anything else. Then one day I was ready to give up lifting all together I decided why not just stop lifting heavy for me. The results were less pain and re-learning how to train the muscles instead. Im getting there and in all honesty im seeing small improvements. I just have never been good with the diet aspect. It confuses me. I know you eat clean food and try to hit your macros. I know that you need a great deal of water. What I dont know is how many calories I need each week. I read that you need to eat above maintenance to grow but know when to back off when you have met your requirements. Then eat below maintenance to lean out with a combination of cardio or some type of Compound movements. When I double up my food from 1500 calories to 3kish I look like a pot belly pig…

The carb up one day carb down one day calories high, calories low and carbs low. When your workout tanks add carbs but wait your on a low carb day… it drives me crazy…Im certain that Im just putting too much thought into it. There has to be an easy protocol to follow to get this right.


#17

If your lower body is so far ahead of your upper, why do you feel the need to train lower body 4 days out of 5?


#18

Maintenance, its not heavy. just reps


#19

Sounds like you’re trying too much. Pick a workout and follow it, maybe Stronglifts or Madcow. Big lifts (compound exercises) are better than small lifts. Perhaps throw in some assistance exercises-weighted dips and pull-ups etc. You may need a deload week or two during the three months. Lift 3 days a week, cardio and small muscles on off days. Your body need recovery time. One full rest day a week. One cheat meal maybe two if you make good progress.
Diet seems a little heavy on the meat, consider more veggies, legumes, nuts to substitute.
Stick with it for 8-12 weeks, measure, weigh and photograph yourself once a week.
Not an expert, but have been at this for a long time.


#20

Now I’m getting the impression that you’re doing a lot of apparatus work and that you’re phoning in your workouts a bit (“maintenance…just reps”). And you still haven’t really disclosed how you train. If you want better advice be prepared to open up about that.

The basics for leaning out in your situation are still pretty simple, alternate gaining muscle (while eating and training for it) with dieting and maintenance. This works for any reasonably healthy person. My impression is that you really haven’t done either properly yet.
Even if you’re slightly metabolically challenged the above is still the thing to do. If your metabolism is really fucked you’ll have to take a step back but that doesn’t seem to be the case here, I think you’re just all over the place with your diet AND your training.

I think it’s highly unlikely that anyone on this forum will create an extensive exercise and diet template for you (for free). You can however get great feedback if you’re willing to disclose more about what you’re actually doing (or plan to do).