T Nation

Body transition help

4 weeks ago I started dieting and hitting the cardio hard. My starting stats were 231 and 17.3% BF according to a hand held body fat analyzer. Before these 4 weeks I seldom did any cardio, and generally lifted weights about 4 to 5 days a week.

I started out doing the fat fast diet and I lost a lot of water weight to start, but after 10 days I decided it wasn’t working since my BF% wasn’t dropping but my weight was.

At this point I switched to basically a T-Dawg diet where I was taking in 100-150g of carbs around my workout and pretty much 0 the rest of the day. On non-workout days I was taking in 50-100g of carbs with the majority coming in the morning. My total caloric intake has been between 2500-3000 a day and I take in about 1.5g of protein per pound of LBM.

My cardio for these 4 weeks consisted of 2 - 30 minute HIIT sessions and 2 - 30 minute steady state sessions (about 84% of Max HR).

I also lifted 5 days a week, doing chest/back twice a week (one heavy and one light) and legs once (heavy). Each of these sessions lasted around 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Since I have had trouble lowering my BF% in the past (I can lose weight, but not BF%) I decided to try MAG-10 and Tribex this time. So for the first 2 weeks I took 3 Mag-10 a day (half the recommended dose), and for the second 2 weeks I took 2 Tribex, 2x per day.

This weekend I did not follow the diet and basically had a carb up and refresher (probably about 4000 calories a day for Sat and Sunday with plenty of carbs). Before the weekend I’ve been fluctuating between 225-226.

Now after 4 weeks of this my stats this morning were 229 @ 16.8% BF. Hardly seems worth it with all the cardio work, supplements, and dieting.

Sorry this is so long but any suggestions you might have would be appreciated.


Hey, there, rasmns! Let’s talk about the Mag-10 first.

I’d actually recommend that you save it for bulking, and let’s you and I focus on your diet. Once you get to about 200-210, you can shift gears, and I’ll make recommendations on how to use Mag-10 to put on a little muscle while dropping BF further.

What you do have going for you is you have quite a bit of LBM. LBM = 190 lbs. Remember that number. It’s what we’ll be using in our calculations.

Protein requirements = LBM x 1.5g. You need to take in 285g of protein per day. I’d like to see you eat 6 meals per day, 3 hours apart, and take in one middle-of-the-night protein shake. You should be taking in 40g of protein every feeding/meal.

Fat requirements = LBM x .4g. You need to take in 76g of fat per day. That number should be roughly, equally divided between your P+F meals.

Carbs. I’d like to see you follow the T-Dawg numbers precisely. Take in 100g on days you work out (50g for Surge and 50g in the next meal or two after that). The meals leading up to your workout (and after the 2 or 3 P+C meals) should be P+F meals.

On days you don’t work out, take in the 70g of carbs you’re supposed to take in. Make sure the only carbs you’re taking in are of the green veggie variety. No bars, no dairy (a personal prejudice), no fruit. Just green veggies. Remember on the days you don’t work out your body is still making repairs to the muscles you worked out. Your body, your muscles, need those carbs, even if you have the discipline to go without carbs entirely.

The numbers I’m giving you still come in less than the 2,500 to 3,000 you were taking in.

Additional recommendations. Chew as much of your protein as possible.

Go ahead and limit your cardio to 3 HIIT sessions per week, done on days you don’t work out; i.e., lift weights. My recommendation is that you do 5 minutes of warm-up and 7 sprints. A sprint is all-out for 30 seconds, 90 seconds to recover at a lower level of intensity. You’ll be done in 20 minutes (or 25 if you cool down for 5 minutes).

Weigh yourself once a week. I recommend Friday. This is the only number that counts for purposes of determining your progress.

Have a 6-hour cheat meal on either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The day can vary. This way you have something to look forward to. You can go out on a date. You can go to a family reuninon or a birthday party. Do NOT skip your cheat meal. It’s for physiological as well as psychological reasons.

Give your body two weeks on the new and improved program and get back with me. the goal should be to lose roughly 1.5 pounds per week. More than 2 is a bit too much and less than 1 will feel like it’s taking forever.

How does that sounds, rasmns? Questions? (grin)

You may be like me. I do not do well on low carb diets at all. As a matter of fact when I have attempted T-dawg-esque type dieting in the past my fat loss came to a stand still. This is what works for me. By the way I am 23 - 236lbs - BF% I am guessing now to be in the 15% range.

Alot of people won’t flow with this but it works for me

3500-4000 Calories Daily (workout days)

300 - 450 carbs depending on my workout day

  • Below 300 on non workout days

Typically this huge amount (well 252 of them)of carbs is taken in during my workout and afterwards. I got a sweet deal on ABB XXL Drinks. Again thats made for hard gainers but for some reason it’s helping burn of my belly. I only use that during the heavy days
Otherwise I either use SURGE or ABB’s MASS recovery also this may be weird and not exactly what other people do but I always bring a cup of applesauce with me and chug it mid work out.

Of course besides the drinks and apple sauce all other carbs are HEALTHY.

250 - 300 protein

  • below 250 on non workout days
    All my protein comes from 95% lean chop meat - Chicken Breast or canned chicken. Except of course for the previously mentioned drinks.

50 - 60g fat

  • mainly from flax oil/olive oil used in cooking or salads.

I am not a super accurate calorie counter type person as you can tell. I am just not good at it.

*Typically I will have one GROW! shake per day. Never more than that. And if I don’t have GROW! as an MRP available - I just plain don’t have an MRP that day.
It’s all solid food for me.

My workout has mellowed out and finally fallen into an actual routine (it’s about time!).

Monday - Heavy
Warm up:
Side Bends with Dumbbell -5x5
Decline Sit ups - 3x10

-Box (ok so it’s a milk crate) Squat
-Incline Bench
-Power Clean

Tuesday - Medium
Warm Up:
Side Bends with Dumbbell-5x5
Roman Chair Leg Lifts-3x10

-Box Squat
-Power Clean to Overhead Press
-Supinated Pull Ups - Sometimes I’ll throw on a set of ankle weights (3-10lbs range) since I am nowhere near being able to use any substantial amount to make pull ups even more challenging.

Friday - Light
Warm Up:
Decline Situps- 3x10
Roman Chair Leg Lifts- 3x10
(sometimes I’ll stick a medicine ball between my ankles and pull it up as I do leg lifts)

-Push Press
-Hack Squat
-Sup Pull Ups
-Zercher Good Mornings
-Push Ups - only one or two sets though never get near failure - this is mainly just to keep my shoulders loose.

If you notice I am not deadlifting. There’s a reason behind that - if you want to know why pm me and I’ll explain.
Also be sure to check out articles on shoulder health! CoolcolJ gave me great ideas on keeping shoulders in tip top shape look for my old post titled “overhead pressing help”.

I didn’t include any set or rep ranges for the main movements because I feel compound movements are very tempermental and effect each person differently. Make up your own sets and rep ranges read CT’s article “money movements” or something like that. I
forget the exact name since I just lost
all my bookmarks…grrr. stupid aol.
Obviously though be reasonable when using compounds they are killers!

Anyway this is what has been working for me. I am going to take a before and after pic. I’ll post it in 3 months or so (hopefully I’ll be posting my 240 overhead press pic as well!!).
I have been burning fat and building alot of muscle. This is mainly becuase I never really trained my upper back before. So I guess you can say it’s newbie gains.
“Bigger engines burn more gas”

Also of course you must adjust your diet as you gain/lose muscle! I am getting stronger AND losing fat by doing this program and diet. This won’t make you get down to like obscenely low bf% but I like keeping things real and manageable anyway. And this will definetly get me down in the 11% - 12% range.

The only supp I may use other than protein powder may be creatine in a month or so. I have bottles of MIT, MAG10 and Masterdrol but I want to see what I am capable of on my own right now. The fun stuff will come later =)
Hope I gave you some new ideas.

TT, my current diet is almost exactly what you recommend. I’ll give you a typical run down of a workout day with a cardio session afterwards:

5:30 Wake up - 2 scoops whey protein (38g prot)
6:00 - 7:30 Workout - 16 oz Gatorade with water during workout and cardio (25g carbs).
7:45 - 2 scoops Surge (50g carbs, 25g prot)
8:45 - 1 cup cereal (35g carbs), 1 cup skim milk (12g carbs, 9g prot), 1.5 scoops whey protein (30g prot).
12:00 - 6oz. Chicken(42g prot), 1 fiber tortilla (3 net carbs), salad with one serving of fatty dressing.
3:30 - 1 oz Mixed nuts, 2 scoops infusion (31g prot, slow absorbing)
6:30 - 6 oz. Chicken (42g prot), 1 cup green beans, 1 cup asparagus
9:30 - 1 tbls Udo’s Choice Oil Blend, 1.5 scoops Pro Blend 55 (41 g slow protein)

In addition I throw in several capsules of fish oil throughout the day.

The totals come out to approximately 270g protein and 80 grams of fat.

The carbs are a little higher mainly because of the gatorade which I think I need when working out for such a long time.

On the non workout days, just take away the gatorade and the Surge.

Also, I often replace the pro blend 55 and infusion with beef jerky, or cottage cheese, so I’m not always drinking shakes :slight_smile:

I will probably drop the 3-4 lbs I put on this weekend in the next couple of days, but my bf% will just stay the same. I can easily lose 2lbs a week, I just can’t seem to lose fat!!

BAM, great contribution, there!!!

Okay. Let’s dig into it a bit, rasmns.

Agreed that we’re not that far apart, but I would suggest the following. I’ve found where T-Dawg is concerned that the devil lies in the details. Try a few things for me. Try them on faith for 2 weeks, and let me know what happens.

  • Ditch all dairy. Mix your protein powder with water and Splenda and use it as a milk substitute.

  • Make sure you’re getting 6-10g EPA/DHA first, before you get fat in anything else. It has positive nutrient partitioning benefits. I use Health from the Sun’s Ultra Omega 3 because it’s cost effective and is of high quality. But I have to take 21g of fat from fish oil to get 6g of EPA/DHA. That’s a chunk of the 76 you’re allowed, but get it in, even if you have to cut out fat in other areas.

  • Switch out the mixed nuts for raw nuts. Cooking/roasting them damages the fragile fatty acids. Almonds and walnuts are good choices. And remember, also, that you’re getting fat every time you eat meat. The fat adds up fast. Don’t forget to count the few carbs and proteins you get in your nuts if you do eat nuts.

  • Ditch the Gatorade. You don’t need it. Extra calories. To lose one pound a week, you need to create a 500 calorie per day deficit. That’s 20% of the deficit you need to create right there. Besides, it prevents you from burning fat during your workout because you’re spiking insulin.

  • I don’t think you’re counting everything. Most protein powder has a few grams of carbs and a few grams of fat. Count everything. The little things add up. Same thing with your cereal. There’s some miscellaneous fat and protein in there. There’s also fat in the chicken breasts you’re eating. I don’t see that you’re counting the macronutrients in the dressing either. (Sorry, sounds like a broken record, I know.)

  • Actually, instead of using a fatty dressing, try Walden Farms dressing 2T = 0 carbs, 0 fat, 0 protein. All these little things are going to add up to the deficit you’re looking for and results; i.e., weight/fat loss.

  • Except for PWO, make sure all carbs come from green veggie sources. They’re highly thermogenic, more so than the other sources from which you’re getting your carbs. That means as a test, skip the LC tortilla for the time being.

You’re awfully close to the ideal, rasmns! I see a lot of structure and good choices on your part. At this point it’s just fine-tuning.

Let me know how it goes, and if you have any questions . . . (grin)

Hey TT, thanks for the input. I think I might just have a different body type then CT and the fat fast guy seeing as they got amazing results doing about what I am doing.

I have followed the T-Dawg diet exactly before and I went from 232 to 220 in 6 weeks (2 lbs a week). But I also lost a lot of strength, and not more than half of the weight could have been fat since I didn’t have a noticable difference in leanness. This was also w/o doing any cardio.

A couple other comments.

I did include the fat and protein in everything in the list above in the totals. I just didn’t put everything in paranthesis next to it :slight_smile:

Also, I always mix my protein shakes with water :slight_smile: The only time I have milk is with my cereal. I can eliminate this completely, but I have done that before too hehe.

As for the gatorade, if I am just lifting weights, then I don’t drink anything but water. But when I’m working out, and doing high intensity cardio afterwards I believe I need something during that time. In order to burn fat you have to have carbs in your system. You never burn 100% fat. At the point when I am doing cardio I have had only had 40g of protein over the past 10+ hours. The small amount of gatorade sipped over the course of 1.5 hours should not cause any spike in my insulin and I don’t think it is hindering fat loss at all, considering I’m burning over 500 calories in the cardio alone.

I was using the dressing to get a chunk of my monunsaturated fats along with the mixed nuts (just plain with almonds, pecans, cashews, etc).

The higher carbs this time around, and the Mag-10 and Tribex were for the sole purpose of trying to hold on to my LBM and lose as close to 100% fat as possible.

Thanks again for your input.

rasmns, that’s helpful. Glad to hear you’re counting everything.

My only point, though, is that if you cut the milk, the Gatorade and carbs down to the numbers specified in T-Dawg, you will have cut your calories enough to create a deficit that allows for consistent weight loss each week. Combine that with a few sesisons per week of HIIT, and I think you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

You’re doing darn good for yourself. All you need to do is tighten up a tad.

Just wanted to post an update to say that the weekend weight did drop off and I was 223 @ 16.5% bf this morning. So I’ve lost 8 lbs in about 4 weeks, but only 2 of them are fat and the other 6 is LBM. Not exactly what you want…


You wrote: " As for the gatorade, if I am just lifting weights, then I don’t drink anything but water. But when I’m working out, and doing high intensity cardio afterwards I believe I need something during that time. In order to burn fat you have to have carbs in your system. You never burn 100% fat. At the point when I am doing cardio I have had only had 40g of protein over the past 10+ hours. The small amount of gatorade sipped over the course of 1.5 hours should not cause any spike in my insulin and I don’t think it is hindering fat loss at all, considering I’m burning over 500 calories in the cardio alone."

I believe your mistaken on several points. First, if your goal is truly body recomposition, than the 1.5 hours of cardio is excessive. As TT recommended, a better solution would be some form of HITT (or, as an alternative, you could do moderate cardio for 25-30 minutes).

I’m not trying to speak for TT–don’t pretend I could–but her recommendation is based on two important notions: 1) You do the cardio to set up a hormonal response that enables you to lose fat for several hours afterward, NOT to burn X amount of calories by virtue of the exercise itself 2) The shorter sessions allow you to avoid excessive catabolism, which allows you to slowly lose fat without concurrently burning up muscle tissue. This, in turn, keeps your metabolism at a higher level, as your body needs calories to maintain your muscle mass.

Given the above, you most certainly can ditch the Gatorade IF your goal is truly fat loss. If you like long bouts of cardio (nothing wrong with that), then you’ll just have to accept that you’re creating an environment that isn’t conducive to a muscular, lean physique (compare marathon runners to sprinters).

Oh yeah…and the fasting period prior to your aerobics actually works in your favor, as your body will very quickly need to turn to fat burning once you commence exercising.

And one last thing: you have it backwards regarding the need for carbs during exercise. If you ever want to sip some carbs during a workout, it should be during your lifting vs. your aerobics. Again, the goal is to preserve your muscle mass, and during/post lifting is a great hormonal window for carbs/protein.

The 1.5 hours is not cardio. It is a one hour workout followed by 20-30 minutes of steady state or HIIT. And I’m sipping the watered down gatorade during my workout :slight_smile:

I don’t think the cardio timing is the key, because I have had the same results when dieting with no cardio (still lost way too much LBM).

Okay, my bad. But I still don’t see how Gatorade is needed for that short an aerobic session.

Secondly, I think you’re missing out on a prime time to incorporate post-workout nutrition. Could you, instead, seperate your workout and aerobic days, or perhaps do an A.M. cardio session and a P.M. lifting session? This would optimize both the fat-burning session post-cardio and the anti-catabolic session post-lifting.

None of this is nit-picking, BTW. It looks like a tweak here or there is all you need (you certainly seem to have the motivation/dedication). Now all we need to do is find which tweak will do it…

Boscobarbell, excellent posts and explanations! I agree with everything you said. You can speak for me anytime! (grin)

rasmns, you asked me to stop by and critique your plan. In critiquing your plan, I’m not criticizing it or you. I’m only looking for opportunities to better help you achieve your goals. If I haven’t made persuasive argument or if you don’t buy into the things I recommended, like any of us, you have your free agency and can do as you please.

Either way, I wish you all the best!

Thanks for the comments and the encouragement :slight_smile:

I would like to seperate the cardio and lifting, but I just don’t have time to get to the gym anymore than I do :slight_smile: 5 days a week is already tough. If only I didn’t have to work, it would make it much easier!!

I’ll keep tweaking and hopefully stumble on something. I sure don’t want to drop to 170 to get 10% bodyfat :slight_smile:

If you have any other questions or suggestions let me know.

Thanks TT…I had a good teacher!!

TT, just got a quick question. How come hazelnuts(aka filberts) are never reccomended as a good nut source of fat? They are higher in monos and lower in polys/saturated fats than even the great almond yet I never hear them mentioned.

Also, isnt 8 grams of EPA/DHA excessive? I dont remeber the exact numbers but high levels of EPA/DHA(exceeding 4-6grams I beleive but it depends on bw) can have a negative effect on immune function and testosterone levels.

blam, generally our diet contains far too much Omega 6 fatty acids (sunflower, safflower, corn, peanuts, canola, etc.). If that’s the case, an imbalance is created that can only be corrected by supplementing with Omega 3s (flaxseed, wild salmon, fish oil).

Immune function in normal people requires a balance of the above fatty acids. A shift to the Omega 6s creates a pro-inflamatory environment. Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory. It is posssible that you could ingest too much/many Omega 3s, but it is unlikely.

Supporting T levels is best done by making sure you get some saturated fat (you do eat meat, right?) and some mono’s like avacado and olive oil.

The 6 to 10g of EPA/DHA were recommended by John Berardi for optimal health, endurance and athletic performance. You might also want to read the chapter on Athletic Performance in Barry Sears’ book, “The Omega Zone.”

In general, if you’re taking in about 33% saturated fat, 33% polyunsaturated fats (i.e., Omega 3s/fish oil), and 33% monos, you will have no problem with immune function and you will optimally support T levels.

Thanks for clearing that up Terry. I take in about 4 grams a day and considering the fact that I only weigh 135 pounds wet I imagine this is sufficient. Usually have about 4 RXOmega caps(65% DHA/EPA by volume) and a teaspoon or two of Carlsons Fish Oil. Would you increase this dosage anymore? I am also supplementing w/ sesamine which is purported to work in tandem w/ Fish Oil and lower ones daily EPA/DHA requirements some.

Interesting that I went up in weight today, but down in bf%. Today I was 226 @ 16.1% bf. I think I’m going to try and only weigh myself once a week so I stop stressing over it :slight_smile:

If anyone is interested, here were my 10 days on fat fast:

Date Weight BF% LBM FAT
15-Mar 231 17.3 191.037 39.963
16-Mar 228.5 17.4 188.741 39.759
17-Mar 227 17.6 187.048 39.952
18-Mar 226 17.3 186.902 39.098
19-Mar 226 16.8 188.032 37.968
20-Mar 226 16.9 187.806 38.194
21-Mar 227 16.8 188.864 38.136
22-Mar 226 16.5 188.71 37.29
23-Mar 225.5 16.8 187.616 37.884
24-Mar 224.5 16.8 186.784 37.716

And this morning after about 3 weeks of T-Dawg:
16-Apr 226 16.1 189.614 36.386

blam, 4 grams of EPA/DHA sounds good. Make sure you’re adding up the EPA and DHA, not total fat.

Just wanted to drop an update. I had to go on travel for 2 weeks, so I didn’t follow the diet during that time, but I’m back on it now.

The stats this morning were 220 @ 15.7% BF. Not exactly the drop I’m wanting in BF%, but it is still dropping slowly. It still looks like I’m going to have to lose a lot of weight to get where I want bodyfat wise though…

If anyone has had a hard time dropping BF% and has any tips for me, feel free to share :slight_smile: