T Nation

Getting Back on the Horse

One of the more depressing before and after photos you will see.

2018

2021

Must be the gym lightening.

With the risk of sounding too cliché on the 2nd day of 2021, it’s time to sort my shit out. Looking to improve overall health so getting back in the gym will be essential. Would value any thoughts on some topics, more specifically with type of training, diet and general tips on getting back consistently in the gym.

Training
6 days a week.

Thinking of a pure cardio approach, mainly IHT for a couple of months to lose excess fat. However, not sure whether to incorporate a few hypertrophy weight training sessions (2 times a week). 4 sets, 8 - 12 reps. No strength training.

After which I will look to develop a more balanced weight training schedule. That being said, I then need to set some form of target to move from the more cardio intensive to weight training, which I am thinking of using either a X amount of weight lost or % of body fat.

Diet
Best results I have had previously for fat loss has been low carb intermittent fasting. With advancements in my career and therefore massively different time constraints, I just do not believe it is sustainable and fear if I try and cannot sustain, I will fall back in shitty habits. Given this, thinking of low carb, calorie deficit diet but having the 3 traditional meals a day.

Eggs, spinach (and most other green vegetables) chicken, lean beef, brown rice, yoghurt. Any other must haves that you would include in or remove from the above?

Multivitamins and fish oils. Any thing else you would consider essential?

Tips
In 2018 I had a pretty militant mindset and the question was not whether I was going to the gym but at what time. Anyone else on here that has a similar experience to me and successfully got back in the gym? If so, any mental tips you can share or rules you put in place to get you back into that mindset?

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Have you seen the 2021 T-ransformation thread!? It’s got you written all over it!

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I had not. Thanks for the heads up! Is there a way to move my post into there and delete this one?

Hell I’d leave this one up. You might get some great incite that you’re after.

Another thing I’d looooove formyou to do is start a training journal on here! We have a section just for that. You can also add the t-ransformation2021 tag in your journal when you create it.

In the mean time grab that up to date picture and go post it in the challenge thread and you’re set!

:+1:

Will definitely look at starting a training journal.

Fully committed now!

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Good on you for starting again. It’s great to be fired up, however, I’d start with 3 sessions a week and sustain this first for a few weeks and then built from there instead of going from the couch to 6x week without rampup. But that might be just me. Some ppl are all in or nothing.

The food selection looks good as a starter. Calories in vs out is more important than the amount of carbs/any food group.

And yes, most definitely include weight sessions next to cardio.

My suggestion would be to lift some weights and do cardio rather than just cardio. You mentioned that maybe you would do 2 days a week of lifting, amd if that is all you want to do for now i would suggest full body 2x a week plus a cardio routine.

Diet wise, you can probably get it done on 3 meals a day, but i also like using whey protien mixed with water a couple times a day to help with getting my protien where it needs to be, but it also helps with satiety (feeling full) and for me personally that really curbs cravings.

Not a bad shout Cheiftain, I want to avoid setting expectations too high, not meeting them and giving up. That being said, I want to try and develop that brain link as soon as possible so it becomes a habit. Even it means just going to the gym and going for a slow and steady bike session. I think I will aim for 6, but at least a minimum of 3 for the first few weeks.

Bigdaddi, would you recommend more than 2 lifting days a week?

The habit is going to the gym as planned regardless of number of sessions. It will be a habit with less than 6x too. Why not go every other day for 2x weights and 2 x cardio across 8 days? Do this for a month and go from there. No need to rush.

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Well it all depends on what you want to do, what you think you can handle and so on. Thats why i answered the way i did. However, even lifting 3x a week and balancing cardio with that could be very effective, you could still do 6 days a week if you want and theres many ways you could put together a training split.

One thought i had was mon wed fri full body split and then tues thurs sat could be cardio based but it was just a rough idea. Theres a lot of ways to set it up if you wanted to go the route of lifting more than twice a week.

Don’t do this. If you want to get back to your before picture then you need to lift weights now. Lifting weights can burn as many calories as cardio. Lifting will build muscle. Muscle requires more calories to sustain meaning your base metabolic rate will rise.

I suggest doing super sets during your lifting sessions to sneak in a bit of extra conditioning.

From what I gather, you’ve been doing nothing?

Not lying, if you were my client I’d start you training 3 days/week and doing ZERO cardio. There’s no reason to add it yet.

You need to establish a foundation first. Cardio is just another tool and if you start off doing too much, where do you go from there when your progress stalls? Looking at it another way, if you can kick start your fat loss journey in the right direction without any cardio AND simultaneously building muscle…why wouldn’t you?

I can guarantee that, while you may lose weight fairly quickly on 6 days of cardio, you won’t be happy with how you are looking. You’ll be a smaller version of your current shape. Then when you suddenly switch to weight training, you’ll have to drop cardio if you want to progress, and you’ll gain weight back fairly quickly since your body has adapted to high level of caloric output from so much cardio.

Thanks all. Will initially start training by lifting as opposed to a cardio approach, with this being introduced at a later stage. On this point, any ball park figure or measurement suggestions on when this should be introduced?

jskrabac, in terms of plateau you mention with training, would this be similar on a nutrition front? What I mean is that my diet has been shocking. Going from such a high fat, high salt & sugar etc. diet to a healthy calorie deficit one, will be body adapt and thus I will need to further restrict calories to lose fat? Or, is the main focus each day to ensure calories in < calories out? I fear I am just trying to rationalize a burrito bowl this week.

By plateau, he means your weight loss will stall. Your body will get tired of burning its reserves (excess fat) and it will try to hold on. That’s when you do something different. In your case, that’s when you should add a day of cardio.

You don’t want to do all the things because it leaves you little to no options when you stall. You want to do the bare minimum to lose weight so you can spread out your tools and take advantage of all of them.

Yes, absolutely. I know some of the great guys/gals on this site may endorse a much more gradual/lifestyle-change approach, but I tend to be of the belief that fat loss is best done as quickly as possible without losing muscle. I.e. best to keep momentum going to avoid adaptation. When cutting, if weight freezes, or goes back up at any point, I’ll either cut carbs and/or add cardio depending on how severe the stall is. I would especially endorse a more aggressive approach in your current situation. Just getting to the gym consistently and changing the diet will do wonders for you, and I wholeheartedly believe you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time if you just stick with it.

If you’re looking for more specifics, I kind of go into more detail in this thread from the summer breaking down a week by week tracking of my cut from last spring: Full Body or Circuit?

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Wow, seriously impressive cut mate!

I decided to go with your approach regarding no cardio, just getting back in the gym first and adding this in once stalled.

I started a training journal on here so if you ever get the chance to look over, let me know what you think/adjustments I should be making.

https://forums.t-nation.com/t/the-road-to-the-before

I mostly agree with everything here, but I would caution against both cleaning up your food quality and purposefully limiting calories from day 1. I think you’ll burn out/ cheat more and it’s unnecessary. Cleaning up your choices will tend to reduce calories anyway, so I’d eat enough that you’re not hungry. I’d probably also keep some track of what the calories are during that period, so you have a baseline when you do stall and know what to drop from there.