T Nation

Help with Current Diet

image Hey so I’ve been lifting and working out for about 4 years effectively. 3 Years before that was just a waste of time. I’m spinning my wheels at this point and not really sure what to do exactly. Im trying to get to 10% body fat and have good abs; without doing so much cardio.

Currently I’m 174# (5’9")

My training is a PPLx2 so; Push,Pull,Legs twice a week (obviously). I keep compound movements in the 4-6 rep range then add weight once I get to the 6 reps for all sets.
I also do 60-80min of 130-140bpm cardio 5x a week. Usually just 13% incline @3mph on the treadmill. I try to do an hour fasted then the rest after my workout but it doesn’t always work like that.

Current diet is;

1,480 Kcal. 101g carbs, 27g fat, 206g protein.

I have it broken down into 5 meals and can post the full diet if that will help.

Sleep is 8-10 hours a day. Currently working from home so other than gym not a lot of activity. I average 20-25k steps a day.

My main issue is; I don’t want to keep doing 80min of cardio or more a day its terrible. I’m also not sure if I need to up carbs or cut them further to get to a lower weight before adding them back in. Every other week I will have a cheat meal and skip cardio for one day.

How long have you been at that calorie intake. Post screenshot of full MFP day.

Been with this diet for 3 weeks.

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Before This I had another meal of 16oz egg whites and 50g avacado that I removed. I increased cardio by 20min.

Sorry if I missed it but do you have a weight log from last several weeks?

I was 177# April 1st. I just started a real log this week.

4/30 - 174.8
5/1 - 175.0
5/3 - 173.8
5/4 - 172.8
5/5 - 173.8
5/6 - 173.5

I was down to a low of 158# Last september before bulking up to 182# around end of January. Also I believe diet fatigue may be an issue here? I’ve been doing 40-120min of LISS for at least 2 years now 5-6x a week. I have no idea how to reverse diet and unsure if that may be what I need to do next. At this point my lifts are still increasing however I’m definitely feeling the workouts more the next day.

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I’ll let @jskrabac handle the diet advice, because he’s really sharp on it.

What’s your end goal? Are you trying to reach a weight or a look?

This:

Plus this:

Looks like everything is going the right way though?

Ha! I’m actually pretty stumped on this one. I agree the trend looks good, but where the hell does one go from 1500 cal and that much cardio?

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Got pics from when you were 182?

this was 180#

this is 159#

Yes a look is my goal. I really just want to be low body fat exact # is whatever just want nice abs lol. I know this is superficial but I used to be a fat boy so I just wanna be that guy for a bit.

As mentioned my main issue is where do I go from here? The cardio is killing my motivation; I’d almost be willing to cut out more food if I could do less cardio. It’s not that it’s hard it’s the time it takes.

I spend 90min working out sometimes a bit longer if I need to wait for equipment. Add 80 min of cardio and driving time I’m at 4 hours a day. Not that I am not willing to continue doing this but my girl is about to kick my ass hahaha. “You never wanna go out to eat” “You’re never home” etc :expressionless:

This is 210# to 165# over 4 or 5 months two years ago. This is when I first found out how to meal plan and do cardio. Before that I just ate everything cause I thought that’s how it worked. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Thank you for all replies so far! Any advice or insight is much appreciated. I still have a lot to learn.

Does anyone think I should reduce protein and increase carbs or fats or maintain this current diet? What should I remove next once weight loss stalls? Or should I go to maintenance for a bit?

I made this a few months back and I think it’s a good reference. When Your Cut Stalls

The only thing I think that applies to you though is your starting point for cardio (wayyy too high) and it seems like you started way too low on calories too. You haven’t really given yourself much room. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it–your calories are scary low right now for your activity levels. I don’t believe you’ll be able to get the look you want this round. I’m gathering you’re in no rush here and open to focusing on the long game, so I wholeheartedly would encourage you to work on getting that metabolism humming again. Like 2500+ cals/day, less than half your current cardio and not gaining any fat. (Endgame though…not suggesting you just start here tomorrow.)

Thanks for sharing more photos for reference. From the looks of it, you’re definitely depleted and seem to be carrying alot of stress/water weight…not surprising given everything you’re throwing at your body.

I’m happy to walk you through the reverse dieting process if that’s something you’re willing to give a shot. If you have the discipline to dedicate 4 hr a day to lifting+cardio all the while suffering such an extreme deficit, I have no doubts you have the meticulousness to properly “heal” your metabolism.

In the meantime, I would suggest a cheat meal or a refeed day once a week. I’d be curious to see what happens if you change nothing else for a few weeks but just pick a day to either do an evening cheat meal or a refeed day. Personally, I’ve always started implementing them when I hit your current level of leanness and find them essential both physiologically and psychologically to get me to next level abzz. We natties need to find our own tricks since we can’t cheat with all those creatinez and drugz :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’d cut back. Cut back on cardio and workouts while keeping the diet the same. To me it seems you’re in an overtraining state right now

Thank you for the replies! I should cut cardio by 50%? I’m definitely interested in the reverse diet. Yeah I’m all about this for the long game. I was going to create a new diet plan split 40%carbs 40% protein 20% fat. Does this make sense?

For the cheat meal/refeed? What is the protocol for that? I know this sounds dumb but I really do not want to be fat again hence why I’m prbly in this spot to begin with. As stated in one of my earlier posts I usually do a burger and fries but could I eat until I am full for a single meal? I used to get a medium pizza with cheese bread and wings but I thought that was too many calories.

I really appreciate all the help. I’ve been losing my mind over this. I had a physical job but due to covid I’m sedentary and that has warped my mind about my TDEE and fat gain.

I definitely agree with carrying the water weight I’ve considered cutting out some sodium to possibly counter this. I’m not a noob but you guys have extensive knowledge over me.

EDIT: also in my op I forgot to add the supplements I’m taking I will add those and the dosages I’ll add those 2marro.

Hey! Mind if I chime in too?

First off, CONGRATS man. You’ve got some solid progress going on from the looks of your photos.

I’d definitely agree with this. OR you can slightly increase calories, cut back on cardio, and add in maybe 1-2 days for weight training OR you can keep cardio and weights the same and increase calories a bit more OR drop cardio significantly and ramp up the weights while also increasing calories a bit more. And I’d suggest trying all those options for a bit just to see which yields better results for ya.

It’s really dependent on the individual. A lot of people usually devote a cheat meal to eating pretty calories dense foods. Pizza, ice cream, fatty foods, sugar heavy foods, etc. Some people employ cheat meals as simply eating an extra serving of their favorite meals, having one extra meal, etc. some people do refeeds by upping their carb intake for a certain amount of time, or for a specific day, etc. It’s really up to you, but I’d suggest employing a cheat meal/ refeed in such a way that it’s not going to either derail your progress, or upset your body/stomach in any way.

If a cheat meal is going to cause you to binge, or if it’s going to turn into a cheat week or cheat month, I’d say just don’t even go with a cheat meal, and instead work on a slow increase in calories. Adding in another meal would be the simplest way I can think of to start.

I too am experiencing something similar to what you’re going through. I’ve managed to drop my calories to a pretty low sub 1,200-1,300 and it was a bit surprising to see you’re at 1400 because that’s hella low for guys.

But all in all I think you’d do well just upping your calories to say 1600-1700 playing around In that range, see how you respond, and adding in another weight training day, and maybe giving yourself 2-3 or 1-2 days dedicated to cardio.

How is your training set up? As far as your PPL scheme. Do you have any strength goals or anything? Are you interested in possibly doing other strength training setups? Maybe that’ll also give your fat loss a good push in the direction you want for it to go?

Hey man, can’t really comment on the diet much—I’ve got my own issues I’m trying to figure out—but I did want to say: really nice work in terms of your transformation. We’re of a very similar build, and I’ve dropped from about 208 in Jan 2020 to my current 170 (and have been as low as 164 during that time). You’re looking great, and you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

FWIW, I’d take what the folks here are saying to heart—they know what they’re talking about and have provided lots of great advice here.

Best of luck, MrDaven!

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