T Nation

Dieting and Excessive Soreness


Awhile back I took some of Chris's advice ge posted in a thread I made. In about a month and a half (don't remember when I made that post) I went from 264lbs to 259lbs as of this weds. I'm being pretty conservative eating between 2600 and 3000kcals a day.

Now that I'm eating less I am noticing I get more sore and take a little longer to recover than usual. Any tips to combat the soreness that don't involve pain medication? If this keeps up I'll either have to reduce training volume or increase rest days between workouts.


I am using set progression medium to high volume at moderate intensity, fyi.


What does your weekly routine look like? How close are you pushing to failure? Are you grinding reps? Are you drinking lots of water and have you tried any active recovery methods? Are you getting enough rest? Have external stresses changed?

I have found using a PVC pipe and theracane for myofascial release has helped tremendously for reducing soreness. It helped with recovery when I did really high volume work as well. Maybe it was a placebo effect but I'll take it haha.


Kind of like German volume training (it isn't really, but I based my routine off of it and saw really great progress in strength, size and endurance). I know low volume high intensity might be better, but I find it is harder to progress long term using those routines. I also get really bored of 5/3/1.

3 Days a week routine, looks like:
Day 1:
Squat, GVT
RDL 3 sets

Day 2:
DB Press, GVT
T Bar Row, GVT
Farmers Walks, (3 sets as far as possible)

Day 3:
Overhead Press, GVT
Face Pulls, (3 sets 10-15)
Rope Pulling (This is hard to describe, but I basically load a sled, attach it to a 50ft long rope (about 2" thick) and pull it towards me for 10 reps for each hand, alternating hands.

Current phase:
work up to 10x10 (you don't actually make it to 10x10) with about 1 min rest/set. For example let say you wish to use 185lbs for the squat, week 1 might look like
But week 2 might see an increase in 6 total reps

and week 3-5 or 6 see a similar progression or continue until less than 2 more reps are achieved for the total workout.

Come to think of it, maybe I am pushing myself too close to failure.

Phase 2 sees a reduction in volume, increase in intensity, increase in rest period, and one additional workout per day.

Phase 3 sees a further reduction in volume, another increase in intensity, an increase in rest period, and a second additional workout per day.


What did you sacrifice to get down to 2600 calories?

My Magic-8ball tells me you need to eat more. Probably carbs. Good kind, not bad kind.


I think your caloric intake is fine if you made progress and weren't very sore during the first 1.5 months. If you feel close to stalling or going backwards it might be a good idea to lower the intensity before you get past the point of no return and start losing strength. With that type of training it seems you need to be disciplined to know when you should push and when not to. Make sure that you're not grinding through reps and leave some reps in the tank, especially in those last sets. Grinding to get 6,6,4,4,2,2 and barely getting by is going to be a lot more taxing than finishing with something like 4,4,4,3,3,3. There is an optimal point when you have induced enough stress to make gains and all the reps after won't help you get stronger. I'm not telling not to push yourself, just to learn to train smart because more isn't always better. Being in a caloric deficit means you have less room for error if you want to continue getting stronger.

Edit: I searched GVT since I'm not familiar with it. It shows that the lower body work should be done using 10x6 instead of 10x10. Is there a reason you chose to do higher volume? I also read that GVT is intended for growth and not weight-loss. That doesn't necessarily mean it can't be done but for sure means that you can't be pushing that hard on it while cutting.


Just a few thoughts on the nutritional side of things:
- Vitamin C can help. Not as low as RDA numbers, but multiple grams of vitamin C a day. I like at least 3g a day when recovery becomes an issue.
- Electrolytes matter: sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium. Make sure you're getting enough of each.
- A 20 min soak in an Epsom salt bath after lifting, or even just once a week, is a good way to get magnesium and for overall recovery.
- Get enough water, with flavorings as needed.
- Having a lot of carbs and amino acids in your bloodstream while lifting helps. Whether that be from a hearty meal a few hours before you lift, whey/carbs an hour or so before, or something like Plazma or a 1:2 Peptopro/HBCD mix pre/during. I like the pepto/hbcd route myself (Plazma is a more thoroughly formulated version of that idea), and I think it's a lot easier to adjust quantities to your actual lifting.


Peri work out saved my ass a few years back. Made the world of difference (Anaconda days).

CT had an article not too long ago that people should not cut peri, even when loosing weight.


Good start on the weight loss so far. I think it was your thread from the end of Sept. that talked about getting you dialed in and back on track, so just about 6 or 7 weeks, yep.

I'd actually say to consider protein and/or healthy fats, if anything. To grossly oversimplify, protein and fats are "recovery macros" while carbs are a "performance macro." But either way, it'd definitely help to know what Aero's current diet does look like.

Also important to keep the nutrition comparable on non-training days vs. lifting days. The only real difference would be the lack of peri-workout nutrition on rest days. (Which goes without saying, if you don't have any peri-workout nutrition in place, make room for it on your training days ASAP. Having the right high-quality nutrition before and during lifting is day and night in terms of DOMS and overall recovery.


So, the common theme I am gathering from the advice based on my training currently is

1) I need to eat better before I workout
- usually I just eat lunch around 11 (500-1000 cals) a second small lunch around 4 (500-800 cals), get out of work late around 6 or 7 (damn 10 hour days the past two weeks), then don't eat anything and drive straight to the gym. After words I eat whatever I can get my hands on, usually chicken, carbs like potatoes, and sometimes a protein shake.

2) I hope this isn't a dumb question, but what is "peri-workout" nutrition? I see it thrown around a lot but never bothered to ask. I've always assumed it is just what you eat before you lift.

3) I actually haven't changed my diet much other than cutting out sugars, adding more protein, not eating as much bread. I also stay away from red meat. The latter is not because I hate it, but because I noticed a big improvement in my digestion and overall well-being avoiding it. So in a nutshell, I try to keep the rules as simple as possible:
*Stay below 3000kcal (to lose 30lbs in 8 months requires 2600kcal/day, which I feel might be too ambitious for weight loss without losing muscle. Keep in mind I had to starve myself to get to 185lbs at 5'9" when I was in college.)
*Avoid sugary foods
*Avoid unnecessary bread
*Enjoy beer once in awhile
*Whenever hungry go for a protein or healthy carb like fruit or veggies (really love cherry tomato's)
*Eat a slice or two of beets before going to bed (no idea why, this has helped me sleep and feel better overall)
*when in doubt, imagine my coach is Georg Hackenschmidt

4) I still could afford to eat healthier, my diet from yesterday is below. Today was..bad... there was a support the troops hotdogs+pizza lunch at work and well...I needed to support the troops!

Meatball sandwich (800 cals)
Chicken tenders (400-600cals)
Ate half a Rotisserie Chicken - I sliced the meat up, warmed it up more with some really good apricot sauce, put it on top of a bunch of Italian greens and those tiny orange tomatoes.


Oh and to answer this:

"Edit: I searched GVT since I'm not familiar with it. It shows that the lower body work should be done using 10x6 instead of 10x10. Is there a reason you chose to do higher volume? I also read that GVT is intended for growth and not weight-loss. That doesn't necessarily mean it can't be done but for sure means that you can't be pushing that hard on it while cutting. "

I respond very well to this type of training. Especially in my legs. I also enjoy the challenge during my workout. I know the program is meant for size gains, but I have increased the intensity and lowed the achievable reps per session. 10x10 is an ambition I know I wont achieve, but I like seeing how close I can get each workout. It just works. I don't know why, but it does. With that said, I have noticed progression through reps/sets instead of weight can be more "fine tuned" quickly and is easier to gauge...for me anyway.


Makes sense. If it works just continue learning how you respond.


Stop focusing on calories and more on meal timing...


If you're trying to lose weight and doing GVT, then that probably explains your soreness.


Yes and no. Peri-workout nutrition is more specifically about the shakes (liquid nutrition, which is absorbed/digested faster than solid food) that you have immediately before, during, and/or after training. Technically, I think "peri" is during, pre would be before, and post obviously after, but some folks use "peri-WO" as more of a catch-all.

Fast-acting carbs/protein taken at those times can have dramatic and noticeable results compared to solid food/no shakes.

The setup you described, having 3 or 4 hours between your last meal and your lifting, is definitely a flashing red light as to why you're feeling sore. Something as basic as Surge Recovery right before and/or during training would be a better call.

Not sure why it seems to help with your sleep, but beets are a natural source of nitric oxide and may help with circulation/blood pressure.

Ha, nice.

To be honest, this looks like two days in a row of eating like shit.


I hadn't really noticed this.

My guess is you don't really cook. There are good things that are easy to cook, and better things that take more time and/or work to cook, but cooking for yourself is going to be the cheapest way to get good food. A sharp knife, a skillet, a pot, and a baking pan will get you a long ways.

But you can get good food eating out, it's just either really bland, or really expensive. A $30+ meat-based entree at a nice place will usually pretty flavorful and good for you. Anything less than that and it's usually either bland (but good for you), or flavorful (but not very good for you).


Stretch hard immediately post workout.

Get Plazma or MAG-10, if on a budget sip an amino drink mid workout. Adding Leucine to postworkout shake/meal also another cost effective option


I do cook, fwiw, and I enjoy it quite a bit. However, I have a thing about "leftovers". Without going into the details, when I was growing up my family never threw anything away. Our house was disgusting and the refrigerator was no exception - we'd have food months old just sitting there uncovered (last year I found a Slimfast can in my parents house that expired in 1996...).

So now I get sick at the site of anything over a day old and I end up not eating it... Sounds dumb, it is something I need to get over. So what I do is buy a small amount of groceries and cook when I need too. 2 nights ago I made some amazing chopped chicken livers (flavored them with Agave nectar and it worked really well surprisingly).

What is a good cheap supplement that'll do the job? I cant afford to lay out $100 on fancy stuff and I don't want anything with questionable chemicals (ie "steroids" or "steroid-like"). I am already too aggressive as it is...


Fair enough. Sorry to hear about your hang-ups, but I agree the sooner you can address them, the better. Even keeping 1 or 2 dozen hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for a ready-to-go snack could be useful.

Not bad, but I'd try getting away from things like agave, apricot sauce, and other straight sugar-based ingredients would be an easy way to shave down daily calories.

Surge Recovery is like $50 for 16 workouts-worth, even less expensive per bottle if you get more than one jug at a time. 2 scoops per workout, start sipping on the ride to the gym finish it by the end of the session, would be a good start.

Plazma is the highest-end workout formula, for you it'd be like $130 for almost 7 weeks-worth (at 2 scoops per session. 1 before training, 1 during). Whether or not it fits your budget is totally your call.

But, again, [i]any[i] workout nutrition will be better than your current plan.