T Nation

Comments on diet & workout

Ive been surfing around T-Mag for over a month now and am still a bit overwhelmed by the quantity of excellent info. While still going through each of the programs & diets (including back to the 1st issue) Im not sure I am any closer to becoming an expert at this stuff.

Am 215 w/ around 13% BF. Max bench 275 (goal 315). Was a collegiate swimmer and bench was never a focus. Would like to gain LBM.

In regards to diet, the T-Dawg makes sense. Though, Im not a huge fan of excessive cheese & burgers. Possible to replace the fats with Omega 3s and traditional steak? Have kept the proteins close to 200g and lightened the carbs dramatically (premium beers). Will try and get to 30 off and 70 on for carbs.

Also changed the workouts a bit:
Day 1:
Bench/Pullups 301 x 8 sets
Dumbell Press/Seated Rows 301 x 6 sets
Wide grip flies 3-4 sets

Day 2:
Narrow grip bench/curls 301 x 8 sets
Flat Tricept ext./seated curls 301 x 6 sets
burnout w/cable curls

Day 3:
Squats/leg extensions 301 x 6 sets
Lunges/leg press
Calf work
*Incorporate abs 2/3 workouts
*Cut the cardio to 2 x 20 minutes per week

Specifically, Any thoughts on the diet? Would a certain diet/supplement program screaming at me and I haven’t caught on to yet? Thoughts on the workout routine? Cardio?

Anxiously awaiting your good advice. Thank you all.

Maybe I’m missing something here, but you want to gain LBM and you’re going on a diet?!? Seems to me like you need to define what you want to do a little more clearly…

Not one of the “experts” on this site, but thought I’d give you my opinions and try to help anyway.

As far as the diet goes, what you’re proposing sounds good. I have not done the T-Dawg, but the postings on this forum suggest it works well. In fact some posters have even claimed increases in LBM despite losing a good amount of fat. It is also conducive to sticking with it, as the carb restriction is not extreme. Yes, the changes in fat type you suggest would probably be fine. Remember that some saturated fat is good with regard to Testosterone levels. However the steak you’re suggesting would supply this.

As far as the workout is concerned, looks pretty good wrt choice of exercises and overall balance. However I would suggest you swap day 2 (arms) and day 3 (legs) around- otherwise your triceps and biceps are going to be fried 2 workouts in a row (most people forget BP is primarily a triceps exercise, and back work (chins and rowa) will work biceps a lot). This is of course presuming you are working out 3 days a week (MWF), with the weekend off. This will give your arms a chance to recover between workouts. You can try to up-the intensity by taking shorter rests between sets (say 45-60 secs), and not worry too much about lifting maximal weights. This will help with fat burning to a cartain extent (will increase your metabolism) for the next 12-24 hours.

However IMO you should up the cardio too. Face it, its easier to get lean and lose fat if you’re burning more calories whilst using your muscles. Just take it step by step, losing a little at a time, as per T-Dawg. This way you’ll keep most of your muscle.

If you really find cardio tedious, I would guess you’re one of those gym hamsters on the treadmill, or stationary bike. Cardio’s much more effective IMO if you approach it in a different way. My three favourites would be:

  1. GPP a la Coach Davies. This is a series of stationary exercises in circuit fashion. More advanced members use weighted GPP. Check out his forum (Renegade revolution), and read the articles. It works!

  2. Jump rope! Awesome full body workout, and tougher than it looks once you master it. (Check out coach Davies rope article).

  3. Rowing machine (Concept2). Some other posters here may knock me for saying this, but I think the Rowing machine is the only worthwhile cardio exercise machine. It gives you an awesome whole body workout, and really helps create a nice body shape (V-shape). I like to work Faartlek style sprint efforts for about 20 mins if I use this machine. Of course if you’re not in a better gym there may not be one available. The other thing is that it’s quite taxing, so may not be suitable if you easily suffer from overtraining, and want to use it in the off-days from weights.

As regards supps., it depends on your budget. Using a fat burner/metabolism stimulant wouldn’t do any harm, and possibly some MRP’s/whey protein to ensure you’re getting enough protein (within the realms of the T-Dawg diet of course). Anything else is really a matter of personal choice- I would only resort to other stuff if you’re trying your damnest and still getting nowhere (unlikely by the sounds of yor motivation).
Hope this helps? SRS

Hi, Kevin. Welcome aboard. I’ll make a few comments on your diet and allow others to critique/comment upon your workout.

First off, I’d like to have you read the T-Dawg Diet Version 2.0 in Issue 243. There were some very positive changes made to the original version. For one thing, you’ll be able to up your carbs to 100g on workout days and 70g on non-workout days without affecting fat loss. The increased number of carbs will allow you to incorporate Surge as your post-workout recovery drink, which I STRONGLY recommend, by the way. If you’re not Surging or don’t see the need for it, please read up on it, both on the forum and past articles. The search engine on the left-hand side of the screen searches the forum, and the search engine on www.t-mag.com searches archived articles.

Cardio. You don’t need to do a lot to keep your ticker healthy and complement fat loss. Three times a week, 30 minutes. For your situation (High Intensity Interval Training) HIIT would really fit the bill. Once again, this is a searchable topic.

My feelings are that T-Dawg would be a great day-in-day-out, way-of-life diet. But I’m a bit carb INsensitive. Others feel that you need more carbs to put on muscle. I have two recommendations for you. 1). Take a look at John Berardi’s Massive Eating Diet, or 2). Use T-Dawg to drop 5 or 6% BF and then start upping your calories a bit, incorporating TWO carb refeeds (emphasis on higher carbs and as-low-as-you-can-get fat) per week.

Yes, you can use your good fats instead of saturated type fat. I don’t eat cheese or cottage cheese or burgers. I eat lean meat and fish and eggs and add in EFAs like Udo’s Choice, flaxseed oil and high-dose fish oil.

I would like to see you up your protein a bit. I calculated your LBM and multiplied it by 1.5g (the amount of protein you should be getting per pound of LBM) and came up with 280g of protein per day. Try and get in 7 meals a day, about 40g each time. You need to be eating every 2.5 hours.

Okay, Kevin, those are my thoughts on the diet portion of things. Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. And as I said, it’s good to have you aboard!!!

Wow. Thank you SRS & Tampa. Tampa, I was hoping you would respond. Reading some of your other replys you seem to be an encyclopedia on the topic. Curious if you have a site or are a consultant of some sort?

Will do the Surge. Any thoughts on incorporating cycles of Mag10 & fat burners? Currently using whey protein (when I cannot eat over 200g naturally), creatine, and an Omega 3 oil.

SRS, that totally makes sense on the sequence of workouts.


Kevin, I just finished reading SRS’s post, and you’re right. You got some great advice. That guy really knows his stuff.

My advice re Mag-10 – which is really awesome, BTW – is to drop your BF first. Focus on fat loss and maintenance of LBM, maybe even incorporating in a 5x5 strength program. You won’t grow, but you’ll build strength, which would prime you perfectly for a Mag-10 cycle.

The reason for dropping BF first is that if you’re really lean and put on one pound of weight, most of it will be muscle. If your BF is higher (or high) and you put on one pound of muscle, a much higher percentage will be fat.

The trick with Mag-10 is to eat like a horse. You need to read up on the topic, everything you can get your hands on, archived articles and forum both. Lots of protein, lots of carbs. And my preference on this one would be to do VERY low fat during the Mag-10 portion of the cycle. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong advocate of EFAs for health. My day-in-day-out diet runs about 40% fat. But in this case, during the Mag-10 cycle with high carbs, you’ll be spiking insulin, and insulin causes all fat floating around the bloodstream to be IMMEDIATELY stored in fat cells.

A couple of other things quickly. Go ahead and drop the creatine when you’re cutting fat. Save it for your bulking/strength cycles. It works against T-Dawg a bit.

Fat burners? There are a lot of people who use them, and they are effective. I’ve used them in the past. But once I got my diet right, I found I didn’t need them to get the results I was looking for. The biggest problem I have with them is the fact that they’re so hard on the adrenals and that I got a addicted to them. On the weekends when I would cycle off, I got terrible headaches. I didn’t like that. But that’s just me.

So on the subject of fat burners, experiment. I don’t see anything wrong with your using them. But if you get your diet right, you might just not need them.

Thanks for the kind words. No, I’m not a consultant. I’m actually just a “regular Joe” with a slow metabolism who couldn’t lose weight. I learned most of what I know here on T-Mag, so read, read, read your little heart out, and you’ll be posting messages like mine in short order. (grin)

Well thank you Tampa- praise indeed from a man such as yourself. Good concluding post. I would just add for Kevin that IMO the Mag 10 might be saved for emergencies/when the need for an extra boost is felt, rather than jumping in if everything is going swingingly. Like many people experimenting with steroids, the first cycle is often the best, and as Mag 10 is so similar, would be a shame to tap into this resource if you were gaining well anyway. Anyway that’s just my 10 cents. Tampa, I don’t think Kevin should worry about the fat intake side of things too much. The Massive Eating plan figures the Insulin response into the structure of the diet- so you are never eating carbs and fat together. This should help ensure minimal fat gain, whilst stimulating anabolism to the max with sufficient protein, and calories (which are increased greatly by those fat sources). SRS

By the way, Tampa (or a mod?) how do you get those separations between your paragraphs. As I seem to ramble, my posts always look like a school essay assignment, and are very difficult to read when all bunched up together. Thanks! SRS

If you are really interested in raising your bench poundages, look into a westside style training program. They work unbelievable for adding strength. In addition to adding supplements when you reach a plateau in your training I would HIGHLY recommend jump stretch bands. You can buy them at elitefitnesssystems.com You can utilize these bands in virtually ny excersise. They add such a tremendous amount of tension, and really cause your central nervous system to recruit more muscle fibers, making you much much stronger. I was able to go from 275 1RM to 335 1RM on the bench, at 5’10, 175lbs with this style of training and the incorporation of bands. Give them a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

If you are really interested in raising your bench poundages, look into a westside style training program. They work unbelievable for adding strength. In addition to adding supplements when you reach a plateau in your training I would HIGHLY recommend jump stretch bands. You can buy them at elitefitnesssystems.com You can utilize these bands in virtually ny excersise. They add such a tremendous amount of tension, and really cause your central nervous system to recruit more muscle fibers, making you much much stronger. I was able to go from 275 1RM to 335 1RM on the bench, at 5’10, 175lbs with this style of training and the incorporation of bands. Give them a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

Atrain nice results, time frame?

SRS, if you want a paragraph, you can get them in two ways. One way is to put the letter p in angle brackets. The “p,” of course, stands for paragraph. You can also get a one-line break by putting the letters br in angle brackets. Two “break” symbols, one right after the other, will also give you a paragraph.

And if you want to REALLY get fancy, search for the phrase “HTML tags” on the Internet, which will teach you how to bullet, bold, italicize and include links into your text. Rob Fischer is the master of HTML tags here on T-Mag.

Okay, re the fat on a Mag-10 cycle, you picked up on a subtlety, there. Here’s my logic. Fat has a pretty good/long half-life in the bloodstream. Until there is an insulin release, fat floats around and is available for the manufacture of hormones and the building and repair of cell membranes and the myelin sheath of nerve cells. When insulin IS released, insulin, storage hormone that it is, sweeps fat out of the bloodstream and into fat cells. Of course, on a positive note, insulin is also refilling glycogen stores and shuttling amino acids and nutrients into the muscles.

So on the one hand, when doing Mag-10, you want all the anabolic benefits of insulin, while keeping fat storage to a minimum.

What say ye?

Believe it or not, only 16 weeks. I’m telling you, this was the best money I’ve ever spent with regards to training, supplements etc. These things also work great for hypertrophy-focused programs, as they provide an incredible amount of tension…just my 2 cents.

Tampa Terry- I’m afraid I do disagree with you on this one. Here’s my reasoning: [br] You said (I quote) [br]
“Until there is an insulin release, fat floats around and is available for the manufacture of hormones and the building and repair of cell membranes and the myelin sheath of nerve cells.”- NO!- NOT IF THERE"S NO BETTER ENERGY SOURCE; THE BODY NEEDS ENERGY CONSTANTLY!

You stated that fats have a long half-life in the bloodstream. I would say is highly variable dependant on type of lipid, and primarily the anabolic/catabolic “state” of the individual. [br]

  1. With regards to the Massive Eating diet, when fat is taken in, it is with protein, NO carbs. In our highly trained individual, with consequential high protein turnover, the body wants to utilise the protein for muscle synthesis. For this to happen, it needs energy. This is where the fat comes in. [br]
    *It is important to remember that fatty acid breakdown is a MAJOR PRIMARY source of cellular energy. In the absence of glucose (carbs), this will happen even more, and more efficiently. The body glycogen store stays in the cells (muscles) for when it’s needed during exercise, and the FAT does the courier work for the protein![br]
    2)The hormone milieu in this P+F scenario we are producing i.e. moderate insulin (from the protein), some glucagon (due to the absence of carbs) is actually conducive to fat utilisation/breakdown, and INHIBITORY to fat storage. I could go into the mechanisms- enzyme /hormone inhibition etc, but people would get very bored.[br]

  2. As you know, we NEED fat in our diet. It’s a GREAT macronutrient, as it’s vital for cell structure/synthesis, is in invaluable, very concentrated energy source (leaving protein to do what we want it to do), AND it not only forms the main structure of all anabolic steroids, it also stimulates an increase in these hormones concentration (T, IGF, GH) in it’s presence.[br]

Science (and subsequently Mr Berardi) have allowed us to manipulate fat’s potential, and utilise the good points, whilst minimising the bad. Hence my conclusion to LEAVE THE MASSIVE EATING PROTOCOL AS IT STANDS!! SRS [br]

By the way, it would be interesting to hear JB’s thoughts on this if he’s lurking, don’t ya think?

SRS, fascinating reading!!! I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be bored one bit if you were to elaborate on enzyme/hormone inhibition. (grin)

Just quickly, to get a line break, use the open angle bracket (like a less than sign) and a close angle bracket (like a greater than sign). I think you’re using the open square bracket and close square bracket. To get a paragraph, use the letter p instead, which will give you TWO line breaks. You’ve 'bout got it! (Grin)

Back to my favorite topic, fatty acid metabolism. I was doing some additional reading and immediately started to second-guess myself in one regard. All hormones are made from fat. Low-fat diets cause a reduction in testosterone, which would be counterproductive to a Mag-10 cycle.

But first off, I agree with most of what you’re saying. Yes, absolutely, fat is used for energy, and yes, the consumption of fat causes the release of enzymes that mobilize stored fat. I’m a strong advocate of fat in general, and as I said, it provides me with 40% of my daily calories in a cutting phase. Additionally, I have to tell you that I am strong and passionate advocate of P+F and P+C food combining.

But here’s what I’m chewing on. Let’s say that our highly trained individual (who happens to be hypocaloric) had a P+F meal, and some of the fat was utlized for hormone production, repair and rebuilding AND energy requirments to process the protein. And further, let’s say that fat intake was in excess of all those requirements; i.e., there’s some triglycerides floating 'round the bloodstream (not a bunch, but let’s say “a little”). The next meal is a P+C meal. There’s an insulin response, and insulin, storage hormone that it is, stores the fat that’s floating 'round the bloodstream.

On a day-to-day basis, with normal Massive Eating protocols being followed, NBD. Our athlete’s hypocaloric as it is. But on a 2-week Mag-10 cycle which is running 2g of protein per pound of LBM, 3g of carbs per pound of LBM (and getting a nice insulin response as a result) and being hypercaloric (1,000+ calories, in most cases), if you’re taking in fat at 20 to 30% of total calories, there’s even greater opportunity (and liklihood) for fat storage.

My inclination is (passionate fat advocate that I am) to carefully stick to P+F & P+C food combining but lower fat (to what degree, I have no hard numbers), knowing that you’re going to get some fat with your eggs, more with any meat you take in, with protein powders, etc. Heck, there’s even a small amount of fat in oatmeal! (grin)

SRS, I’ve really enjoyed kicking this 'round with you. I’m not saying I’m right. And I’m definitely not walking with the crowd, so to speak, on this one. It’s just something I’m chewing on.

One last piece of information that might give you some insight. This is just me. I put fat and carbs on a see-saw. When I lower my carbs, I increase my fat. When I do a carb refeed, I increase my carbs, and I lower my fat. Protein is a constant in my diet, day in and day out. Even calories don’t vary wildly. I just play with carb and fat ratios for the reasons I explained above.

If you’re not getting tired of me yet, where do you think I’m missing the boat? (grin)

TT- Yeh, I just worked out when I saw all my posts with [p] and [br] that I was not getting it. Everyone must think I’m a dork (at least I’m not a computer geek!). Here goes-

Hope it worked.

Anyway, I’ve got to go out now, so short reply (SRS short reply!?? Never!) is that we arer probably BOTH right. I just think my way’s safer than yours. If our trained individual JUST SO HAPPENS to EXACTLY meet his requirements with the diet you are recommending, using basically P +C, then great- optimal LBM gain, and very little BF. However, without continual energy balance checks every day, he won’t know for certain. Mag 10 is expensive! Wouldn’t you like to be slightly ahead of the game vs slightly behind it.

What I’m trying to say is a little extra BF (especially if we have already been on a reduction cycle) is not going to be a big problem to shift after. However getting your calculations wrong, and not getting enough fat or calories by going low fat, may mean overall poor gains and a wasted cycle. See what I mean?

BTW thanks for the help, geek! :slight_smile: SRS

Tampa & SRS, I am forever indebted to both of you for the detail of advice. I had absolutely no idea I would get that quality of information and attention to detail in the response. Im obligated to the both of you and will post progress in 4-6 weeks. Thanks again.


No problem Kevin- you did us a favour by bringing a good topic to the forum. I’m pleased you thought this has all been helpful, as I was beginning to think it was an SRS/TT tag team contest.

Just a few things else I’ve been chewing on (Tampa if you’re still awake and interested!?).

  1. You presume in your last post that the athlete is HYPER caloric. In a sense, yes, if we consider his “normal” requirements. However, remember, he is on a Mag10 cycle!. He NEEDS those extra calories for the INCREASED muscle synthesis. So, in essence, he’s just keeping up with needs. As the original Mag10 advice stated- “Make hay while the sun shines”.

2) Regarding the Testosterone/Dietary fat connection. - If I remember rightly, I think the majority of studies show a correlation between HIGH fat consumption and DECREASED T levels, post prandial and for several hours after. Chylomicrons appear to inhibit T synthesis. However, I don't think the same can be said for a very low fat diet (in an otherwise healthy individual; protein-energy malnutrition will of course affect all androgens). So it's probably fine to go with a low fat diet in this respect.

  1. I think if I remember rightly also though, that a certain amount of SATURATED fat is necessary for adequate T production, and this can’t be reproduced by feeding mono- or pu fats.

Tampa, perhaps the best way ro solve this conundrum is to have a guinea pig. He would take 2 cycles of Mag10, for 2 weeks each, and 2 weeks apart. He would weight train fairly intensively, and take in larger amounts of calories as per Mag 10 advice. The DIFFERENCE would be that in these ISOcaloric diets, they would either be moderate (say 30%?), or low (say<10%) in fat.

I DO think that the low fat diet will be difficult to do, considering the increased AMOUNT of food needed to make up the calories without the fat.

What do you think? Got a volunteer? SRS:-)

SRS, it WORKED!!! You’ve got paragraphs in your posting!!! (No, you didn’t look like a dork. You looked like you were trying. Don’t be so dag-blasted hard on yourself.)

Re moderate fat vs low fat, actually, I have to tell you that I wasn’t hoping to be right. I was hoping YOU’D be right and that I would learn something new. (grin) You know, honestly, we’re all so biochemically unique that we have to find what works for us. Some things are constant, but what works for one guy many times doesn’t work for the next. That’s what keeps life interesting.

Kevin, you’re right. This was one heckuva thread. What can I say: You brought the best out in SRS and me. I look forward to hearing about your progress. And, in the meantime, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. See you on the board!!!

You said “These things also work great for hypertrophy-focused programs, as they provide an incredible amount of tension…just my 2 cents.” Were u simply referring to the Westside methods and protocols of training?