Hi there. Long time subscriber and fan of T-Nation.
I really need to change up what I’m doing and not doing training and nutrition wise. For the last 4-5 years, I’ve hovered at around 220 lbs at 6 ft, and while I “eat well”- meaning a good mix of vitamins, fruits and veggies, I manage to mix in several servings of alcohol and ice cream per week.
No more. Stop it, you shit head.
To quote a Paul Simon song: “…why am I soft in the middle when my life is so hard…?”
For a long time I knew this lifestyle is not sustainable health wise, but I lived it out of comfort. I’m approaching 40 quickly and am a dad, so I know my fat pile of excuses will just continue to grow.
I guess what I’m saying is…no time like the present.
Trying to get rid of all the crap food around so I can start a proper diet tomorrow.
I have no calorie tracking device or inclination to weigh my food, but in general, I’m going to establish a 5-6 meal per day plan to start, aiming for carbs limited to servings of fruit, rice, potatoes, and supplements. I purchased some supplements to boost the protein, vitamin and mineral front as well. I also intend to aim for at least 3 servings of vegetables per day. Flax seeds, Flameout, nuts, and olive oil will round out the fat intake.
I will play around with a split of protein every meal with higher carbs on workout days and lower carbs on non-workout days.
I took some tape measurements for a starting point:
Neck circumference (widest): 16 inches
Arm circumference (widest lateral head of tri): 15 inches
Shoulders: (widest): 49.5 inches
Fat belly circumference (widest): 41 inches
Calf circumference (widest): 16 inches
Congrats on the commitment to getting lean. You can do this. I know because I was at 6’1" and 220 about four years ago and am currently at 175 and 11% bodyfat.
I know you didn’t ask, but I’m just going to throw it out there - you make no mention of calories. You really need to figure out what your BMR is and how much weight per week you want to lose and then calculate your macros - especially protein. You don’t have to go crazy, but you should know your caloric intake per day and your protein intake (in grams - about 200).
If I may, I would suggest starting around 2500 calories per day, 800 of that from protein, 900 from fat, and 800 from carbs. That will put you about 30/40/30 and you should slowly lose weight on that. Once you get used to it, you can drop your calories from there - mainly from carbs and fat.I wouldn’t worry too much about high carbs on workout days yet, it’s too early in the game for that to really matter - getting a handle on your TDEE and your intake is much more important to start.
Sort of. I got down to about 190 on diet and blind ass luck training in the gym when I found this site. Dropped further to 180 and about 16% through improved diet and training, then changed up to do Starting Strength and gained back to 197 at 16% before switching to 5/3/1 and dropping down to 185 and 13%. Then took this Summer off and have dropped to 175 and 11%. BF percentages are based on an Omron hand held and are notoriously inaccurate - I’m probably closer to 15%.
I’d recommend focusing on the main lifts to add some lean body mass, which will help with your metabolism. Bench, OHP, Squat, and DL.
Diet wise, you’re probably a bit insulin resistant so avoiding white rice and white potatoes may help - brown rice and sweet potatoes mo betta, but not really that big of a deal.
TDEE is Total Daily Energy Expenditure and it includes your Basal Metabolic Rate plus your exercise level. There are online calculators that you can use, just Google TDEE calculator. They aren’t gospel, but they can help give you a starting point.
You can work out your macros from there if you want to get that far into it. I’d mainly focus on your protein and fats - a gram per pound of body weight for protein, and about 30% of your daily calories in fat - the rest carbs. MyFitnessPal is a free app and is pretty handy for tracking calories if you want. I haven’t tracked mine in months and I tend to eat less when I’m not tracking them.
The main thing you want to focus on is doing something you can continue to do so it doesn’t become a burden. Start slow and avoid injury and excessive soreness, things that will keep you out of the gym.
Later on, if you get into it, you can introduce carb cycling and intermittent fasting if you want, but ease into it first.
So I’ve decided to start with Paul Carter’s arm routine, because…why the hell not? It’s a hypertrophy focused plan, splitting a tough bi and tri workout with an almost more challenging leg routine.
I’m not trying to chase too many goals at once, but I figure with the high volume of reps I will be burning a lot of calories and stimulating a lot of fast and slow twitch muscle in both arms and legs.
The loads aren’t very high but are challenging for sure. Depending how I feel I may mix in some calf work on the arm day and some ab work on the squat day, along with light cardio or intervals. Shoulders and chest will take a back seat for a while, but that’s ok by me. I’d just like to make sure they’re some muscle under the flab I want to lose.
Today: (1-2 minute rest intervals, kept the weight pretty consistent for most sets)
Front squats (few warm up sets), 135lbs x15,(racked 30 sec) x5, rested 5 minutes, 115lbsx12, (racked 30 seconds), x6
A1)Breathing squats indeed. Not sure what my max is but 135 actually felt heavy after 8 reps. I think the advantage of the higher rep range is it will train technique and torso, arm stability to hold the bar so long.
B1)Straight leg deadlift: 135lbs x15. Hamstrings feel tight as always, felt like I was rounding my low back after the squats
C1)Inclined reverse sit-ups: 10x3 sets, knees bent
15 minutes of bodyweight walking lunges, counted about 216 reps in that period for both legs, resting as needed. I tried to knock out at least 20 at a time after 100, but I had trouble keeping upright and not losing my balance. I rested no more than 2 minutes.
15 minutes of pull ups, opting for shoulder width and pronated with a straight bar. Grip strength was of course an issue, and I rested for 2-3 minute periods quite a bit. I performed sets of 5 at first, followed by 3’s, 2’s and 1’s. I should probably start counting for real…
I’ve been struggling (slipping?) a bit with the diet, as it turns out I’m one of those a-holes that keeps the pumpkin spice latte people in business. On the other hand, my diet has been 90% in check this week, and I have refrained from booze.
I have been mixing in morning walks outside for about 30 minutes and a little bit of tennis as well for extra calorie expenditure.
Friday. End of the quarter. Post Bears thrashing last night. Pathetic play even after a rain delay.
A1) Front squats: 115lbs x18,(30 sec) x2. Rest for 5 minutes, 115lbs x12, (30 sec)x5, x3. I’m getting closer to completing 20 reps without racking the bar or passing out. I did drop the weight a little but that doesn’t matter to my lungs.
B1) Straight leg deadlifts: 135 lbs x15
C1) Reverse sit up on incline bench, x12, x10, x10
The struggle is real! I’m a fat, weak, near 40, middle class pud. Time to turn it around.
A1) Walking bodyweight lunges, 220 reps in 15 minute period
B1) Bodyweight pullups, 36 reps total in 15 minutes. Not thrilled with this, I can do 5 reps max right now with a pronated grip. I did a lot of 3 rep sets here. Might loop a heavy band for assistance next time.
Ok- been terrible at keeping up with the log, much like my diet.
I downloaded a few apps on my phone and I think I like the free Lose-It app the best. Pretty easy to use and neat features. I searched for Plazma in it’s food catalog and the macros per serving came right up…pretty sweet.
So now that I can track baseline calories per day, I should be able to accurately adjust calories and that slow (roughly)1 lbs per week weight drop I’m seeking. Yay.
I have been keeping up with 3-4 weight sessions per week, mostly AM, affording me about 90 minutes before I have to scamper off to work.
Unfortunately I got some blood work back from the doctor a few weeks back, basically ranging my free testosterone in the low normal range, around 300. I’ve been pretty tired most of my adulthood, maybe this is a sign it’s catching up with me. I have been reading many interesting articles on the subject of low-T on this very website. My doctors advice: lift more weights and lower the carbs. That second part might have been due to my relatively high glucose and A1C.
So basically my picture matches my blood work. I panicked a bit and bought a bottle of Alpha male.
The endocrine system is a complex mofo and docs aren’t always very well versed in TRT. You have low T. Just because you fit in the “normal” range, doesn’t mean your T levels are okay. if you have symptoms, and you do, you have low T.
Lifting more weights and avoiding carbs may help, but it’s kind of a shot in the dark. The TRT forum has stickies that are a wealth of knowledge and experience, and in my experience, better than mainstream articles.
I’ve been on TRT for over two years and it was/is, a game changer. I would try to fix it first, and certainly do not rush into t replacement, but you do need to address it.
BTW, most ranges show 300-1100 as normal, but those are based on studies that include 80 y/o men as well as twenty somethings. So 300 might fit in the normal range, that range applies to 80 year old men as well. At 40, you should not be that low, and it is low, and should be treated. Blood tests would help, not just free t, but also E2, thyroid function, SHBG, etc…
Anecdotally, I was 170 before replacement therapy, and typically run about 650 seven days post injection - it is a HUGE difference.
Not gonna preach, but if you want more information or have questions, tag me @The_Myth
The T-replacement is definitely on my mind, but for now I’m going to try a more natural route, and supplement with Alpha-Male. Never used it before, but I may have levels tested again in a few months if I’m feeling more, “manly”. Yeah I don’t even feel old enough to be saying this shit.
My fat and protein intake has been good. I have also supplemented with Plazma, Flameout, Metabolic Drive, EVOO, Curcumin, Vitamin D, Elite Pro Minerals, and a fair amount of milled flaxseed.