T Nation

Help Breaking Plateau


I'm a 6'3" 235lb high school senior. I am joining the Army in April and need help getting my weight down. I don't have access to heavy weights or fancy machines. I'll I've got is a set of dumbells and a bench...not even a pullup bar or anything like that. I haven't been following any type of workout plan really.

I workout 5 times a week; Mon, Wed, and Fri I workout with weights and Tues and Thurs I run 2.5 miles. On top of this I usually do somewhere around 100 body-weight squats, 100 crunches, 100 leg lifts, and 25-50 pushups before bed each night. I am also going to start incorporating 5-7 mile walks with a 60-70lb pack soon though I think I'm not quite to that level yet.

My diet is decent though not great. Because my parents won't let me buy my own groceries, I don't have a whole lot of choice in what I eat. I try to keep a food log though and I tend to take in about 2200-2500 calories/day. Any help is appreciated.


Imo 75-90% of loosing weight is due to dieting - not exercise.

Here are a few tips to help shed some pounds:
1. Try to eat more freq. (5-6 small meals a day)
2. Dont eat fastfood, chips, candy or soda. < this tip sucks - sorry
3. Dont eat anything within 3 hours before bed
4. Dont eat carbs within 5 hours before bed.
5. I know ur a senior but try to stick to shots instead of beer at partys.

Here are a few tips to help u out in the Army: ( i was in for 5 years as an air traffic controller)

  1. I dont recomend any MOS that is not in the aviation field - unless u like being a GRUNT. < just my opinion tho
  2. Walking with a 40-60 lb pack is a great great idea.
  3. Try to work out your neck a little bit so it doesnt hurt so much from wearing that 12lb kevlar helmet.
  4. Work out your lower back! Being in the push up position for hours sucks.
  5. Do pushups every day. Do 1 more then the previous day, every day.(rest on the weekend tho)
  6. Mix a few 'core' workouts into your week.
    everything else that your doing seems to be good tho.


Looks like you are on the right track. If you are truly doing what you say you are, I wouldn't worry too much about your weight - it sounds like you have a decent amount of muscle on you. I'd throw in the pack right away, but go slow there. Don't go above 35 pounds in the next month, and start with a mile or two at a time. This close in to your shipping date, you are probably ahead of the average recruit.


How would you suggest that I fit more meals into the day with school? I usually wake up and eat breakfast around 7:30am, lunch at around 1pm, and dinner around 7-8pm. Sometimes I'll have a plain pb sandwich(w/ 4tbsp of pb) on wheat bread around 4pm. Second tip, sodas are what got me in trouble in the first place. I was up to almost 270lbs about 18 months ago and I've worked pretty hard to get where I am now. I dink only water or green tea, and avoid the sweets most of the time.

My MOS will be 19delta (cavalry scout). I went to MEPS back in February and they said that my BF% was 4% over the accepted so I am going back on 17 April to sign the contract and all of that. For the first 4 years I'm only going to be doing the Army National Guard so that I can go to college and they've got a program where I can do ROTC at the same time. Hopefully that way I can be an officer in the Active Army once I'm out of college.


Doing that much is incredibly hard for me right now and I'm ready to pass out after just about every workout, but I know I need to push myself so that I can be ready. I do have a decent amount of muscle, but I've also got a fair amount of fat. I won't ship until June or July, I'm only signing the contract and swearing in on 17 April. For my height, the max shipping weight is 217 so I've still got a way to go. I've been considering ordering some HOT-ROX to help get my weight down, but for now I've been doing it all natural.


I was in the 82nd Airborne for 4.

You need to square that diet away and run more. If you can, run in the morning and in the evenings. Get to the point where you can run 4 miles without stopping. On one day we ran 7.5 in one morning, so be prepared. Don't run the same path everyday.

If possible go run thru some trails in the woods, and try to change the route as much as possible. Stick with the pushups, and situps everyday. The stronger abs will help increase your endurance. If you concentrate on those three you will be miles above the rest of the guys in basic.

Hang in there and good luck.



Thanks, if I'm running both in the morning and in the evening how long should I run each time to avoid overtraining and shin splints? The path I run right now is rather grueling for me; it starts out flat then runs up the side of a mountain and loops back around. There's also a running track in the park here, but it is dead flat and isn't nearly as challenging.


I would start out with 2 miles per time. A method I used years ago was to go to that end point(2 miles) and before you turn around visually pick the next curve or the next mailbox, or the next big tree. The next day you run, run to that point, then pick another. You will run longer each time without overtraining, and mentally it gives you a target to acheive for that run. Clear?

Hoped I helped you.



Thanks, you are a great source of info. Should I use the strategy you provided the change the distance from the morning run to evening run or just from day to day but run the same distance both times each day?


no such thing for a plateau in a trainer who's under 35-40 years old, if you ask me.

pleateau in a young person means either:

a> he/she doesn't know how to train

b> he/she is overtraining

c> he/she isn't properly monitoring the important factors of training


No I would make the 2 runs different. You can go by the same plan, but just change the route in the evening.



I think is more of a mental thing more than anything else.



I would mix the distance, steady pace running with intervals. If you have access to a quarter mile track, jog on the curves, sprint on on straight and briskly walk on the other. We used to do that with wrestling and it would knock the weight off you but quick. It also kept us from getting gassed. On the distance runs, I agree with an earlier poster about not running on the same path.

You don't have access to chins? how about a sturdy door. grab ahold of it and pull up. Doesn't your schoolgym have a pull up bar? Remember, you are only at a plateau because you are burning as many calories as you are taking in. If you are already doing what you are posting, you will be light years ahead of most new recruits. best of luck to you