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From Fatty to Fabulous - The Live Journey

I am 39 years old. Been overweight since I was in my teens. At my heaviest, I was 290 pounds. Years ago, I began jogging and, over about a years time I had dropped down to about 180 pounds. I kept that weight for quite a few years. But then settled into a career and relationship. Somehow I stopped caring and over the years I put a lot of the weight back on.

Last June (2016) I was 251 Pounds. And my 10 year relationship ended. Being single is a BIG motivation for wanting to look good again. Here’s a few fun facts on how it began:

In 2015, I was diagnosed with low Testosterone and put on Test Cyp injections. After about 8 to 12 months, without doing any exercise, I noticed a change in my body. I was actually sitting on the toilet (isn’t that where all the best revelations come?). When I went to stand up, I had my hands on my thighs and I felt something . . . was that muscle? My thighs had become meaty with muscle. It was not like that before - and very noticeable. Just guessing, but I assumed it HAD to be the Test injections.

It was then and there that I decided to take advantage of the higher levels of Testosterone in my body. That day I went to Walmart and bought a cheap bench and some varied dumbbells. With the help from sites like this one, I created a new life for myself.

In June of 2016 (That’s the before Pic), I began working out my biceps and triceps. Really didn’t know what I was doing but . . . I read a lot online and created a simple routine doing dumbbell curls, hammer curls, skull crushers and a few other basics. I worked out 4 times a week for about 35 minutes per day.

Between June 2016 and June 2017, my weight dropped from 251 to 241. I had not made a lot of changes to my diet, which was poor. But my body WAS changing. My biceps and triceps were growing very fast. It was very noticeable and I LOVED it.

In June 2017, I added in Pecs (again . . I was a novice and not really sure how to create a full body building routine and was kind of ashamed to go to a gym and all. so I just 'fiddled"). I also began a super low carb / high protein diet. Creating a caloric deficit (eating about 1,750 calories per day), where I kept my carbs under 30g per day and Protein at around 200g. Now my body started to really change. By August, I had dropped from 241 to 209.

I recognize that I still have about 50 pounds of fat to drop, but now I am ready to up the workout and get focused. I have seen many great transformations here on T-Nation - and they are motivating.

In August, I finally joined a gym, and have a personal trainer that I work with once per week. I work out 5 times a week and now incorporate a FULL Bodybuilding routine that my trainer created.

I also have changed my diet. I have added a bit more carbs for fuel and some good fats. I still try to create a slight caloric deficit . . while getting my 210g of carbs per day. And I eat clean, healthy food. I rarely cheat. One of my favorite things is an egg white omelet with onions, peppers and ham. Less than 200 calorie and almost 30g of protein.

In short, I try to give my body 30g of protein about every 2.5 hours or so. Eggs, protein shakes, chicken, shrimp, fish, etc. Some greens each day, etc.

My Goals

I am looking for bulk over strength. Certainly some strength will come as I build volume. And that’s an added bonus. But I honestly just want to lose the fat and bulk up really big. I am trying to get those monster pecs - and I think I have the genetics to achieve it. I work Pecs twice a week, as it’s my focus. And all other muscle groups once per week.

I have some before and after pics to share. I am not looking to be judged as a bodybuilder. Lord knows I am so far away from that yet. But just wanted to give you an idea of my starting point, and where I am today - to better understand my goals for the next 12 months.

As this is just my introductory . . .I will keep posting with my work out routines, diet and progress. I am new to this and learning. But I am super dedicated and not afraid to work hard. I WILL do the work. This is about me.

My hope is that some of the more experienced guys can provide some insight and guidance along the way. And who knows . . I might even inspire someone to make a change, the way others here have inspired me.

Torso - Before and After

Biceps/Triceps Before and After

Biceps Current

Legs Current

Like, I said, I have a long long way to go. But I have achieved some great accomplishments so far. And keeping a log will be a helpful way for me to see my progress and seek help from the community.

Tonight’s workout is Biceps/Triceps. I will post today’s diet and routine tomorrow.


Given your stated goals, I suggest you do a search for “German volume training.”

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Thanks for this, Paules. I did a quick read on German Volume Training.

Using Dumbbell Bench Press as an example:

This is what I currently do:

15 reps 45lb dumbbells
12 reps 50lb dumbbells
10 reps 55lb dumbbells
8 reps 60lb dumbbells

From what I understand about the German Volume Training, I would switch up to do

10 sets of 10.

I am guessing that I would keep on the lower end of the weight (say 40lb) for the entire time, so as not to burn out before completion? I don’t think I would last 10 sets at 50lb ++

Would I be keeping same weight for all 10 reps or increasing as I work through sets?

Yesterday’s Diet

Breakfast: Protein Shake (30g) . . . on my way to work at 6am.
Morning Snack: Greek Yogurt (15g)
2nd morning Snack: Protein Shake (30g)
Lunch: Egg White Omelet (20g)
afternoon snack: Protein Shake
Pre Workout Snack: 1/2 all natural peanut butter sandwich on 1 slice grain bread. And 1/4 cup natural granola.
Post Workout Recovery Shake: fast digesting carbs (30g) and Protein (30g)
Dinner: LARGE egg omelet (34g)
Evening Snack: 1/4 cup granola
Late Snack: 1/2 cup cottage cheese

In short, I consume about 1,700 - 2,200 calories per day - (2,200 is my maintenance IF I was not working out). I try to create a small caloric deficit each day.

Yesterday’s Workout . . .

(Note: This is not my typical workout. I am battling a cold and did not quite feel myself yesterday - and I made the mistake of arriving when the gym was packed, so I did a much smaller routine than usual . .and threw in a pec exercise on arms day . . which I never do)

Reading up a little about the German Volume Training . . I decided to experiment last night.

Seated Bicep Curls

10 sets of 10 reps @ 30lb (I bumped to 35 lb on last two sets)

I usually do 4 sets (15 reps @ 40 lb, 12 reps at 40 lb, 10 reps at 45 lb, 8 reps at 50 lb)

The difference: On the 10 sets of 10 last night, My first 5 sets certainly felt easier with the lower weight . . but by set 7 I was starting to run out of gas. By the last set . .my arms were exhausted. I actually really enjoyed that feeling.

Then I did Incline Hammer Curls
4 sets (15, 12, 10, 8) @ 30lb and 35 lb - trying to really focus on the squeeze.

Here, I would normally move into triceps . . . . but I just wasn’t feeling it with being sick. I almost wished I had taken the night off to rest. But then . . the pec deck machine caught my eye and . …it was available . . . I have never done the pec deck . . always worked with weights. But everyone raves about this machine being good for pecs (my biggest focus). . so I got on.

I did 4 sets (15, 12, 10, 8) increasing weight each time from 45 to 100. And I threw in one extra set at 120. This machine felt reallllllly good. REALLLY good. So, I am glad that I tried it and will now incorporate it into my Pec days (2 x week)

I am not sure what is going on . . but last three weeks I have gained 7.5 pounds. And it’s scaring me just a little. I want it to be a muscle gain . .but that seems like too much too fast (Although I am cycling on T . . which is a whole new chapter I will address down the road). Today I feel bloated . . . even though my sodium intake is not high. Could it be water retention? As since I started working out with a trainer and applying a whole bodybuilding routine . I am working all muscles (some I have never worked before).

Anyway - that was yesterday. Today is an off day from work out because I have a swim lesson this evening (I am one of those few adults who never learned to swim, and it’s time I tackled that). I will closely keep tracking my diet though . . . until I figure out what is causing my weight gain so fast.

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Your weight gain is considered newbie gains… It’s normal now that you gain muscle because you are seriously training your whole body and providing it with a solid nutrition plan. Enjoy these gains while you can man…

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Any reason why there is so many protein shakes? and not protein food sources? just curious, dunno if i jumped past a part saying if you don’t eat certain things.

I understand that ideally, most of the protein should come from clean whole food. Ideally.

  1. Budget. I can down a protein shake for a few dollars and be on my way. My budget can get super tight at times, and buying real food can add up quickly.

  2. Trying to get 200g of protein in 2,000 calories and fat and carbs - can be hard with real food. 2 shakes and I have 90g of protein . . and then I try to get the rest from chicken, eggs, fish, etc

  3. Time. I am not a lazy person. But, I really don’t have a lot of time to cook. I work 2 full time jobs, of which one of them is a business I own and I must work some ridiculously crazy hours most weeks. Add in my hour work out 5 times a week, and the attempt to find time for a relationship . . and anything else that randomly comes up and my day is spent. I do cook once a week, and try to make as much of one thing as possible . but it’s hard to cook all that food for every meal. So, I do what I can. I used to grab precooked chicken breasts from Whole Foods Market. But they run about $8 for a good size one. A shake is much cheaper and more protein value. The shakes also keep me from grabbing bad foods on the go.

That’s it in a nutshell :slight_smile:

okay fair enough, just curiosity question into the food part as long as its working i guess.

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1st great work and dude just started lifting and already has better biceps than I do.

This is backwards. The 2 are extremely synonymous but gauging results on size is subjective and strength is the truth.

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Thank you!!! I focused really hard on biceps and chest . . but now I am finally starting to remember there are lots of other muscles in your body too and . . doing a full bodybuilding routine. . haha. I made the mistake of only targeting areas that visually needed it . . but now I have a better understanding that . . without strong legs and back, your chest will never get to its potential.


Looks like you’re on a good path and you’re very motivated, tip my hat off to you sir! Can’t wait to check in on this training log in a month and see where you are at!

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It is my understanding that you keep the same weight for each set until you can do ten sets of ten, and then you raise the weight a few pounds and keep at it until you can do ten sets of ten again.

Confession time: when I used German volume training for cable flies, I changed the angle each time, so for the first three sets I was pulling up towards my face level and for the last three sets I was pulling downwards, eventually towards a level below my chest.

LOL I am trying to think of a lift that I could do 10 sets of 10 with any weight…adding that to 2018’s goals.

9/25 Update

After reading through some of the recommendations here, I made a small adjustment to my workout routine. I talked to my trainer about the “German Volume Training”. He was very familiar with it and mentioned that he usually would work that into our routine . . down the road. But since I had a good base (from working out at home for a year), and was progressing well . .we would be okay to start adding some of that in. Which, I was very excited about.

On Arms Day, we did the following:

Barbell Curls: We used a very low weight of 10lbs total on a barbell and did
10 sets of 10.

This felt AMAZING. Although the weight was VERY low, and the first few sets were really easy. . . it got harder and harder as we got up to sets 7, 8, 9 and 10. With the short break of 30 seconds between each set . . and the hyper focus on form and squeezing the bicep - I totally burned out on completion of set 10. This is the feeling that I LOVE.

The rest of the routine was how we usually do it . . supersets of triceps and biceps . . . 5 sets.

This was the first time in a very long time that I walked away feeling that I had really pushed to the limit and was completely depleted. And the first time, in a long time, that I felt sore the next day - which I also love . . .

On Chest Day:

Dumbbell Press (15 reps @ 45lb, 12 reps @ 50lb, 10 reps @ 55lb, 8 reps @ 60lb)

Dumbbell Incline Flies (15 and 12 reps @ 25 lb, 10 and 8 reps @ 30 lb)

  • Peck Deck - 10 sets of 10 @ 85lb.

Kg Ball press for lower chest (4 sets of 20 @ 50lb)

Adding in the ten sets of ten on the Peck Deck - gave me exactly what I had been looking for. That complete burn out. And two days of that ‘good’ sore feeling in my chest. Previously I rarely felt exhausted on Chest Day. And I was pushing my current max on the 60 lb dumbbell press. But this was exactly the burn out I was looking for.

Going to keep doing this . . adding in one 10 x 10 for each muscle group . .and see how things go.

Side Note: I do look forward to the day that I can get up over the 100 lb dumbbells on the press. That will be a day to celebrate. But 60lb is not too shabby for a guy that just ‘fiddled’ for a year in his bedroom on a walmart bench and weights :slight_smile:

Here’s a pic of my pump, about 45 minutes after my Arms workout . . adding in the first 10 x 10. YAY . . my triceps are starting to take form too!

Been trying to eat more - but be super careful about WHAT I eat more of . . my current weight is 213.4, which I have been sitting steady at for about 2 weeks. Would like to see that number drop a bit . . but trying to make sure I eat enough to gain muscle right now. It’s exciting to watch them grow lol