T Nation

EyeDentist, How Do You Train?


#481

Hi ED,
I have been following your thread for long, and I am trying to take lessons from your dieting methods.

I am nearly 35, have been working out for 8 years, and was recently diagnosed as a pre-diabetic (blame my genes for that). I am trying to set up a diet plan for myself that helps me increase my body’s insulin sensitivity.

Since it is hard for me to completely skip carbs for 16 hours a day (i.e., your type of intermittent faTTing), I have drawn up the meal plan below. With your knowledge and experience, can you let me know if it will help me in my goal?

7:30 AM- A heavy breakfast with around 100 gms carbs and protein, with a majority of carbs coming from fruits.
12:00 noon- Lunch with minimum carbs, 20-25 gms at most, lots of protein and veggies.
5:00 PM- pre-workout meal- around 50 gms of carbs (with majoity carbs coming from in the form of direct sugar via a Sports drink) along with BCAAs.
5:30 PM to 6:30 PM- workout
7:00 PM- Post workout meal (also, last meal for the day)

In my opinion, since I am injesting little carbs during lunch, my body should not generate much or any insulin, thus helping me increase insuling sensitivity. Is that correct?

Also, will the fact that I am consuming simple sugars before workout reduce the body’s insulin sensitivity?

Thanks a lot for your time


#482

Hi nirvana, thanks for commenting. If I may, a few questions:

  1. What’s your height/weight, and how much bodyfat (percentage-wise) would you say you are carrying?
  2. You’ve been “working out” for 8 years. What sort of training do you do? (eg, powerlifting; bodybuilding-style; strongman, CrossFit, etc.) How many days per week? How consistent are you in your training?
  3. You say you’re ‘pre-diabetic’–has your doc started you on any diabetes meds?
  4. Why do you say “it is hard for me to completely skip carbs for 16 hours a day”? That is, in what sense/way is it hard?
  5. What has been your typical diet for the past few years?

#483

Thanks for the response ED. My comments are below:

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
Hi nirvana, thanks for commenting. If I may, a few questions:

  1. What’s your height/weight, and how much bodyfat (percentage-wise) would you say you are carrying?
    I am 5’8", 176 lbs. Around 18% body fat.

  2. You’ve been “working out” for 8 years. What sort of training do you do? (eg, powerlifting; bodybuilding-style; strongman, CrossFit, etc.) How many days per week? How consistent are you in your training?
    It is bodybuilding style. I have been fairly consistent, only taking 3 months out in 2013 due to a broken bone in my foot. I work out 4-5 days a week.

  3. You say you’re ‘pre-diabetic’–has your doc started you on any diabetes meds?
    My fasting blood sugar level was 105. 110+ would put me in ‘diabetic’ category. No medications as of now.

  4. Why do you say “it is hard for me to completely skip carbs for 16 hours a day”? That is, in what sense/way is it hard?
    Well, I really carve for food in the mornings. Cannot stay hungry. If I don’t eat in the mornings, I feel groggy.

  5. What has been your typical diet for the past few years?[/quote]
    I come from a vegetarian family, and when I was living with my parents, my diet consisted only of carbs. I have made several changes in the past few years, and currently, I do eat poultry and fish. Still, carbs form a predominant part of my diet. (Hence the desire to replace grains with fruits to the largest extent possible.)


#484

You are right to be concerned about developing diabetes–that is a burden you’d like to avoid if at all possible. (As an aside, I assume you have a genetic predisposition to do so; ie, that you have family members with it.)

First off, it should go without saying that anything you do (both exercise- and diet-wise) should have the blessing of your physician.

There are a number of non-pharmacologic things you can do to increase insulin sensitivity. I focus on four of them. The first two are fairly noncontroversial:

  1. Lose bodyfat.
  2. Gain muscle.

#1 requires running a clinically significant caloric deficit for a clinically significant amount of time. #2 requires consistent hard work in the weight room.

These last two are more controversial:
3) Decrease carb intake. For me, this comes in the form of carb cycling (ie, eat carbs on lifting days; avoid them on nonlifting days).
4) Limit carbs to the peri-workout window; ie, on lifting days, refrain from carbs until just before working out, then finish taking in carbs in the few hours after working out.

It’s around these four principles that I have fashioned my eating habits.

The thing you wrote which jumped out at me was the following:

“Well, I really [crave] for food in the mornings. Cannot stay hungry. If I don’t eat in the mornings, I feel groggy.”

The thing that puzzles me is, why do you feel your AM food has to consist of carbs? Have you actually tried eating a noncarb breakfast?


#485

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
You are right to be concerned about developing diabetes–that is a burden you’d like to avoid if at all possible. (As an aside, I assume you have a genetic predisposition to do so; ie, that you have family members with it.)
Well, both my maternal grandparents had it, my mom and ALL her siblings have it, and my mom and a sister of hers are now insulin dependent.

First off, it should go without saying that anything you do (both exercise- and diet-wise) should have the blessing of your physician.

There are a number of non-pharmacologic things you can do to increase insulin sensitivity. I focus on four of them. The first two are fairly noncontroversial:

  1. Lose bodyfat.
  2. Gain muscle.

#1 requires running a clinically significant caloric deficit for a clinically significant amount of time. #2 requires consistent hard work in the weight room.

These last two are more controversial:
3) Decrease carb intake. For me, this comes in the form of carb cycling (ie, eat carbs on lifting days; avoid them on nonlifting days).
4) Limit carbs to the peri-workout window; ie, on lifting days, refrain from carbs until just before working out, then finish taking in carbs in the few hours after working out.

It’s around these four principles that I have fashioned my eating habits.

The thing you wrote which jumped out at me was the following:

“Well, I really [crave] for food in the mornings. Cannot stay hungry. If I don’t eat in the mornings, I feel groggy.”

The thing that puzzles me is, why do you feel your AM food has to consist of carbs? Have you actually tried eating a noncarb breakfast?
Now that I think about it, I have never tried a non-carb breakfast for a long period of time. Another issue is that due to religious reasons, I do not eat eggs and poultry (my only ‘real food’ sources of protein) twice a week.
[/quote]


#486

“Now that I think about it, I have never tried a non-carb breakfast for a long period of time. Another issue is that due to religious reasons, I do not eat eggs and poultry (my only ‘real food’ sources of protein) twice a week.”

Have you tried/considered eating natty PB for breakfast?


#487

EyeDentist,

I just stumbled upon this thread and am amazed by all the great info you are giving out and thank you for sharing such intelligent insight into fitness.

I am a 33 year old male,6’3", 205# and have been lifting for about 5 years. I’ve mainly alternated between the Leangains RPT format and the Dorian Yates Blood and Guts workout. The strength/lift heavy routine has only left me with hemorrhoids and sciatic issues and little in terms of hypertrophy.

I’m not really concerned with strength and am looking to try my first BB workout with a focus on appearance. I eat IF style and do all my carbs post workout.

I’ve designed a workout based on a lot of what you’ve said here in this thread and was wondering if you could tell me what you think of it. I am going to do a PPL routine with 3 on 1 off. Below, the RPT/Intense means RPT style with last set using dropset or something else.

Push Day

Chest
Activate - Flyes 4x20

HyperT - Incline DB 4x8-12 RPT/Intense
Decline 4x 8-12 RPT/Intense

Stretch - Machine Bench 4x12-20

Delts
Activate - Machine OHP 4x20

Hyper T - Lat raises 4x8-12 RPT/Intense

Stretch - Band Lat Raises 4x12-20

Tris
Activate - Pull outs 4x20

Hyper T - Push Downs 4x8-12 RPT/Intense Last

Stretch - DB Hammer Ext 4x12-20

Pull Day

Lats
Activate - Lat Push Downs 4x20

Hyper T - Neutral Pull Downs 4x8-12 RPT/Intense Last

            Bent Over Rows 4x8-12 RPT/Intense Last

Stretch - DB Pull Overs 4x12-20

Delts Pull

Activate - Band Face Pulls 4x20

Hyper T - Bent Over DB Lat Raise 4x8-12 RPT/Intense Last

Biceps
Stretch - Cable Curls 4x20

Hyper T - EZ Bar Curls 4x8-12 RPT/Intense Last

Incline Hammer 4x12-20

Legs Day

Activate - Leg Ex and Leg Curl 4x20 Each

Hyper T - Seated Squat 4x8-12 RPT/ Intense Last

Stretch - Leg Press and SLDL 4x12-20

Coming from a strength program, I have always tracked my numbers and go up 5lbs once I hit my reps. I’ve been pretty linear this way, but with low volume high intensity, I never really feel a MMC (similar to what you experience with upping the weight on lats). Do you still track your lifts and aim to go up on a hypertrophy routine like this? To me, it makes most sense to track only the middle “main course” 8-12 exercises in each day and push those, while leaving the others for stretch/feel. Thoughts?

Thanks!


#488

Hi osiris, I’m so glad you found this thread, and that it was of benefit to you. A few thoughts on the program you’ve proposed…

As you know, I’m a big fan of 3 on/1 off. Likewise, I think PPL (I prefer PLP, to give the upper body a break) has a lot going for it. (More on this below.) However, the upper-body component of what you’ve laid out is not what I would call P/P; rather, it would more accurately be described as
Day 1: Chest, Front & Side Delts, Tris; and
Day 2: Lats, Rear Delts, Biceps

For me, this is not just quibbling over semantics. I divide exercises into Push and Pull on the basis of the arm linkage involved; ie, if the movement involves the biceps, it’s a Pull exercise; if the triceps, it’s a Push. IMO, the key advantage of a ‘true’ P/P split is that it is tendon-friendly; ie, the biceps/triceps tendons are each stressed only one day in four (on a 3/1 split). Your setup is not consistent in this regard. For example, you have Flys on your Push day, but Flys are definitely a Pull exercise–just ask Tom Platz, who tore a bicep doing them.

Other examples of exercises similarly mis-allocated in your proposed program: I categorize Lateral Raises as a Pull exercise; DB Pullovers as a Push (despite the name); Lat Pushdowns are a Push; and Bent-Over DB Raises as a Push (unless they’re performed in a rowing fashion, which some people do). So by my lights, these exercises are on the wrong days if you’re going for a P/P program.

Don’t get me wrong–with a couple of exceptions (explained shortly), there’s nothing wrong with your split/exercises as currently laid out. I’m only pointing out the lack of P/P fidelity on the off-chance that, like me, you’re concerned enough about tendon health to let it guide your programming. If you’re not particularly worried about your tendons, I’d say your program is good to go as is.

As for the exceptions:

  1. If done with DBs, Flys are not a good Pec activation exercise, because you have to go deep into the stretched position before they start hitting the pecs. (OTOH, if you’re talking about Pec-Deck flys done in the contracted position, it’s all good.)
  2. You start your Biceps work with cable curls (which is fine), but label it as a Stretch exercise. I assume this is simply a misstatement, and that you meant to label Incline Curls as your biceps’ stretch exercise.

On the subject of tracking strength–or even just being concerned about actual weight at all–I agree with your assertion that this makes sense only for the main exercise for each bodypart. As for whether you should concern yourself with it at this time–given that you are making the leap from strength to BBing-style training, I would say no. Instead, when you get to your main-course exercises, do a few warm/ramp-up sets, then (in RPT fashion) jump to the heaviest weight you think you can do for your designated rep range. At this point, I don’t believe you should worry too much about whether today’s weight is a little more (or less) than it was last time; rather, just find the ‘sweet spot’ weight that lets you feel like you’re getting some good hard work in.

Hope this helps, and do keep us posted about your progress.


#489

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:

Don’t get me wrong–with a couple of exceptions (explained shortly), there’s nothing wrong with your split/exercises as currently laid out. I’m only pointing out the lack of P/P fidelity on the off-chance that, like me, you’re concerned enough about tendon health to let it guide your programming. If you’re not particularly worried about your tendons, I’d say your program is good to go as is.

As for the exceptions:

  1. If done with DBs, Flys are not a good Pec activation exercise, because you have to go deep into the stretched position before they start hitting the pecs. (OTOH, if you’re talking about Pec-Deck flys done in the contracted position, it’s all good.)
  2. You start your Biceps work with cable curls (which is fine), but label it as a Stretch exercise. I assume this is simply a misstatement, and that you meant to label Incline Curls as your biceps’ stretch exercise.

On the subject of tracking strength–or even just being concerned about actual weight at all–I agree with your assertion that this makes sense only for the main exercise for each bodypart. As for whether you should concern yourself with it at this time–given that you are making the leap from strength to BBing-style training, I would say no. Instead, when you get to your main-course exercises, do a few warm/ramp-up sets, then (in RPT fashion) jump to the heaviest weight you think you can do for your designated rep range. At this point, I don’t believe you should worry too much about whether today’s weight is a little more (or less) than it was last time; rather, just find the ‘sweet spot’ weight that lets you feel like you’re getting some good hard work in.

Hope this helps, and do keep us posted about your progress.[/quote]

Thanks for the reply and the clarification on push/pull regarding tendon health, that helps a lot.

Can you talk more about tracking vs no tracking weights? I’ve always been a meticulous tracker (carrying my log sheet around the gym, pushing my numbers) and see a lot of BB guys that are way bigger than me who never track anything. I figured they just remembered all of their numbers. So how do you gauge what you are doing each day weight-wise without tracking and how do you progress using this? This is one aspect that is new to me.


#490

The issue of how an aesthetics-focused weightlifter should measure progress is a tough one. The obvious-but-facile answer is that s/he should simply look in the mirror. Unfortunately, absent significant pharmaceutical assistance, most lifters beyond the noob stage will not experience increases in muscle mass that can be appreciated on time scales shorter than months (at best). That’s just the way it is. This puts the natty aesthetics-focused lifter in a real quandary–how is s/he supposed to know whether their current workout regimen is effective?

Some (like you) are tempted to use changes in strength as a stand-in for changes in muscle mass. This idea has intuitive appeal; surely (the thinking goes) if I’m getting stronger, I must also be getting bigger. However, there are several drawbacks to this approach that, to my mind, render it less than ideal.

One such drawback is the variability in main-lift strength levels that is inevitable when one employs an Activation exercise before performing the main lift. Some days, activation will require more weight and/or reps than will other days, which means you will go into the main lift with ‘less in the tank’ on those days. As a result, your main-lift volume (ie, weight x reps) will likely be lower those days. Does that mean you’re weaker, which (in turn) means you’re smaller? Of course not.

And the last thing you want to do is cut short your Activation phase in hopes of hitting a certain volume on the main lift. But this is precisely the trap you could fall into if you get too focused on main-lift volume.

Which still leaves us with the question, How do you know if your aesthetics-oriented program is working?

The answer is, you can’t know, at least not in the short term like you can with a regimented strength program. And because you can’t measure aesthetics outcomes in the short-term, you must fundamentally alter your lifting mindset thus: Instead of focusing on outcomes, focus on process. In other words, make sure your diet is on-point. Empty your tank in the weight room. Get as much sleep as you can. Focus on these things every day, and have faith–if you do them, you will build muscle.


#491

EyeDentist, thanks for this amazing thread. There is an amazing amount of good info that has accumulated here!

As a middle aged (almost 39) lifter, I am a bit disheartened by your views on gaining mass for the older natural non-noob. Unfortunately you are right about the difficulties.

I wonder if you have any thoughts on “shocking” a few more kilos of mass onto your body by going above baseline calories and doing short bursts of different training on top of the main lifts? I have tried doing complexes with sandbags, heavy carries, Smolov (with only a bit of upper body work), heavy dumbell crossfit style circuits etc. Could fat bar training or barbell complexes work here? Or do you think guys at a certain age have hit the plateau and that is really it- in which case should I just eat less, train less and spend time on other things?


#492

Hi BenJman, thanks for the kind words. Before answering, may I ask what’s your training history, and what are your goals?

Also, I would point out that, at 38, you have many potentially productive lifting years in front of you, so no need to break out the shuffleboard set just yet.


#493

Just checking in to say hello. How are you doing since your show? At least tell us you’ve gained a couple of pounds back. :wink:
How’s the shoulder holding up?


#494

Hi PP, thanks for stopping in and prettying up the place!

I’ve gained weight–about 10 lbs or so. Cut way back on the cardio; loosened up on the diet; upped the poundages in the gym. Am happy to report I’m stronger than I’ve been in a while; unhappy to report that I’m fatter than I’ve been in a while. (The 10# weight gain was mos def not all prime beef–lots of marbling in there.) As a result, I’ve embarked on another cut. Hence I can once again be seen plodding slowly around the neighborhood.

The shoulder is meh. Shortly after I posted about how good it felt, the aching returned (the lifting gods, they are a fickle lot). However, it’s not as bad as it was, and I’m fairly adept now at working around it. Seeing’s how my orthopod refuses to repeatedly shoot me up with corticosteroids, my choices are The Workaround, or The Knife. Workaround it is.

Here’s hoping things are going well for you, in both life and the gym! (Confession: I rarely look at your log anymore, now that you’ve started out-lifting me–it’s just too much for my fragile male ego.)


#495

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
Hi PP, thanks for stopping in and prettying up the place!

I’ve gained weight–about 10 lbs or so. Cut way back on the cardio; loosened up on the diet; upped the poundages in the gym. Am happy to report I’m stronger than I’ve been in a while; unhappy to report that I’m fatter than I’ve been in a while. (The 10# weight gain was mos def not all prime beef–lots of marbling in there.) As a result, I’ve embarked on another cut. Hence I can once again be seen plodding slowly around the neighborhood.

The shoulder is meh. Shortly after I posted about how good it felt, the aching returned (the lifting gods, they are a fickle lot). However, it’s not as bad as it was, and I’m fairly adept now at working around it. Seeing’s how my orthopod refuses to repeatedly shoot me up with corticosteroids, my choices are The Workaround, or The Knife. Workaround it is.

Here’s hoping things are going well for you, in both life and the gym! (Confession: I rarely look at your log anymore, now that you’ve started out-lifting me–it’s just too much for my fragile male ego.)[/quote]

Ok, I like knowing that you’re just a little bit fat. :wink: I wondered if the shoulder injections were going to be ongoing, or how that was going to work for you. Good that it’s better than it was, right? Oh, I agree about avoiding The Knife. Only as a last resort, and even then…

As for lifting more, that’s very, very funny. I got kind of excited that I could flat bench again, but I think I’m done with entertaining ideas of any minor PLing glory. The Mister would not be happy if I got even more into lifting than I already am. Understandable. And I just feel happier when I write my own programs and train for myself. Honestly I’m not strong in anything but bench. Plus I don’t want HUGE triceps making my delts look smaller than they are. Priorities. :slight_smile:

Otherwise, life is really good. Funny thing, when they showed the Katrina Anniversary footage on the news the other day I thought for a moment that it was real time news. I was happy to see that New Orleans wasn’t under water again. Have a good weekend, you!


#496

Thanks for replying. I have been training since age 15, powerlifting into my 20s. I injured my back windsurfing at about 22, and my career (skin dentist I think you might call me?), kids etc. meant that I was missing a lot of sessions and only really training upper body into my 30s- I didn;t squat for a decade! I was fat-ish (perhaps 17-20% BF and skinny, 67kg at 170cm). At 35 I discovered crossfit, I will cop the hate, but it got me excited about training, in the gym regularly and doing a lot of posterior chain work. I credit the latter with resolving the back issues which nagged for more than a decade.

After a year of crossfit I was loving being back in the gym, but light (67kg at about 8-9% BF) and still very very weak (Back squat max 85kg). I decided I wanted to get stronger (not powerlifting strong, but at least not be the weakest guy in the gym), so I started Wendler 531, mostly with BBB assistance (i.e. 5 sets of 10 on the main lifts at 60-70% 1rm, plus a lot of weighted chins). After almost 2 years on this I am currently 75kg, around 11-12% BF and a bit stronger- (back squatted 120kg with no belt last week, so not strong amongst strong people, but better). The reality however is that all the gains I made came in the first 6-8 months.

Recently I have tried changing up my assistance (variously adding in incline bench work, lunges, good mornings, standing DB press, dips etc, mostly in the 8-12 rep range). I breifly tried german volume training for assistance, but I am not sure if I saw results size wise and it defintiely brought on stalling in my main lifts quicker. I have tried dropping conditioning, adding short heavy conditioning,- nothing has really got me beyond where I got in 12 months of crossfit and the first 6-8 months of 531. So I am wondering, do you think there are any tricks to gain a little more muscle for us (slightly!) older guys (I would love to be 78kg at 10% BF), or should we just be glad to be injury free and having fun in the gym?


#497

[quote]BenJman wrote:
Thanks for replying. I have been training since age 15, powerlifting into my 20s. I injured my back windsurfing at about 22, and my career (skin dentist I think you might call me?), kids etc. meant that I was missing a lot of sessions and only really training upper body into my 30s- I didn;t squat for a decade! I was fat-ish (perhaps 17-20% BF and skinny, 67kg at 170cm). At 35 I discovered crossfit, I will cop the hate, but it got me excited about training, in the gym regularly and doing a lot of posterior chain work. I credit the latter with resolving the back issues which nagged for more than a decade.

After a year of crossfit I was loving being back in the gym, but light (67kg at about 8-9% BF) and still very very weak (Back squat max 85kg). I decided I wanted to get stronger (not powerlifting strong, but at least not be the weakest guy in the gym), so I started Wendler 531, mostly with BBB assistance (i.e. 5 sets of 10 on the main lifts at 60-70% 1rm, plus a lot of weighted chins). After almost 2 years on this I am currently 75kg, around 11-12% BF and a bit stronger- (back squatted 120kg with no belt last week, so not strong amongst strong people, but better). The reality however is that all the gains I made came in the first 6-8 months.

Recently I have tried changing up my assistance (variously adding in incline bench work, lunges, good mornings, standing DB press, dips etc, mostly in the 8-12 rep range). I breifly tried german volume training for assistance, but I am not sure if I saw results size wise and it defintiely brought on stalling in my main lifts quicker. I have tried dropping conditioning, adding short heavy conditioning,- nothing has really got me beyond where I got in 12 months of crossfit and the first 6-8 months of 531. So I am wondering, do you think there are any tricks to gain a little more muscle for us (slightly!) older guys (I would love to be 78kg at 10% BF), or should we just be glad to be injury free and having fun in the gym? [/quote]

Skin dentist–Ha!

It seems your goals have shifted from strength to hypertrophy, but your lifting regimen hasn’t gotten the memo yet. I’d wager switching to a Mountain Dog style of training (ie, programming of the sort I’ve discussed in this thread) would produce positive changes in your body composition. In this regard, it seems the challenge you face is the same one I discussed above in a response to osiris: Being willing to ‘let go’ of concerns vis a vis main-lift numbers, and focusing instead on those aspects of lifting that promote hypertrophy. To that end, I’d be happy to kick around some ideas with you, should you be interested.


#498

Very insightful about the changing goals without (much) change in training- so obviuosl when you say it, I guess that’s why we all love you. When I think about I still don’t actually do any direct arm work! Proabbly why I have a thick(ish) neck and trunk (at least for a weedy guy) but narrow shoulders and skinny arms! I will trawl this thread and learn about mountain dog training and hit you up if I have questions.


#499

Hello ED,
Sorry for my disappearance. Life has been keeping me busy. But I have tried and succeeded in skipping breakfast for past one week, thus managing a gap of 15 hours between my dinner and first meal of the morning. Hopefully, I will be able to carry it out for couple of months and observe some improvement in my fat level.

Thanks a lot for your guidance.


#500

[quote]nirvana07 wrote:
Hello ED,
Sorry for my disappearance. Life has been keeping me busy. But I have tried and succeeded in skipping breakfast for past one week, thus managing a gap of 15 hours between my dinner and first meal of the morning. Hopefully, I will be able to carry it out for couple of months and observe some improvement in my fat level.

Thanks a lot for your guidance.[/quote]

Glad to hear your weight-loss journey is off to a good start! Please drop an update in here every now and then, so we call all learn from your experience.