T Nation

Help with Long-Term Training Plans


#1

Hey CT! I’m in a bit of a mess right now. I’ve suffered from severe lower back pain for 6 months now and I’m in the process of getting a diagnosis and treatment for it. It limits my lower body training a lot and upper body training to a degree as well.

Since I won’t be able to train for powerlifting for a while now, I was thinking I could give bodybuilding a shot and for once, actually get lean. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. I have used two forms of protein sparing modified fasts successfully in the past and I’m going to use it now as well to drop from 95,0kg to 85,0kg. To preserve muscle and upper body strength, I’m thinking of utilizing some form of The Layer System which I found pretty damn interesting. The problem is that I will be on little-to-zero carbs on 5 days of the week, have one free meal on Monday and a re-feed on Friday so I will be training with no carbs on some days. So the question is, how would I utilize The Layer System to maximize muscle preservation since I am unable to do any kind of squatting, deadlifting, pulling or rowing from the ground or put a lot of stress on my lower back? I understand that depletion of muscle glycogen is something to avoid at all costs so I’m guessing I won’t be able to utilize some parts of the layer system because of that.

  2. Moving to maintenance after a diet has always been a huge problem for me be it a keto diet or a regular one. I was a fat fucker for 21 years of my life and it seems that after a diet, my body absorbs calories to fat like an Estonian prostitute absorbs semen. It seems that even on very low calories for someone of my size (like 2000-2500 calories), I still always seem to be able to get fatter again. I have been checked for thyroid and hormonal issues multiple times and according to them, I’m golden on that aspect. Any ideas on how to approach this issue and continue to get leaner after I hit 85kg?

  3. I know little-to-shit about bodybuilding methodology. I have always grown extremely well with powerlifting techniques even while avoiding failure like the plague. I’m thinking of running the I, Bodybuilder program after the diet since many of the techniques used there are pretty close to how I used to train in the past. My main concern however is to find a way to be able to get the right amount of calories or finding the right type of diet solution to be able to continue after the diet without having to drop another 10-15kg again after 6 months.

Sorry for the wall of text guys but I’m really starting to lose my nerve over this shit.


#2

Actually the layer system is about the worst idea for any kind of caloric restriction, even worst for something as drastic as protein sparing fasts… in fact why are you using that diet at all, it is a horrible idea for anybody who value muscle. I understand that it can lead to rapid results but it is only “protein sparing” in people who do not train hard. It will be very catabolic for someone who does. Very bad idea… 10kg isn’t that horrible to lose. You should be able to do it in 10-12 weeks of moderate dieting and by doing it slow you an do it without losing muscle, you may even gain some since you will completely change your training stimulus.

But if you go with that dumb diet idea, you should follow my advice in the thread about what type of training to use on a caloric deficit posted a tad lower in the forum.


#3

If what you did in the past were “crash diets” or very restrictive diets (keto being one of those highly restrictive diets, especially if you do it the dumb lifter way of having proteins too high and fats too low… but even a regular diet with a large caloric deficit is highly restrictive).

If you lose fat gradually it is much easier to stay leaner. You just have to reverse diet; meaning that you VERY gradually reintroduce carbs/calories in your diet. Something like 25g per day (around workout for the first 75g added) every week or two to evaluate at what level your body can stay lean… by doing it this way you also allow your body to rebalance itself and recover from the stress of the severe restriction. I recently dieted down for a photoshoot, went from 99kg down to 92kg in 8 weeks (see taking my time… didn’t lose any strength or muscle) then in the 5 weeks after the shoot I went back up to 96kg but almost as lean as at 92, my goal is to get back up to 100kg and pretty much as lean as I am at 96 which is almost the same as 92 (still veins on my abs, but a little bit of fat on lower back). I did it by VERY gradually increasing carbs and calories.\

It requires more discipline but it’s better than having to diet down again a few months latter.

Another thing, I find powerlifters/strongman to consume a lot more calories than they think they do. I analysed one of my powerlifting friend’s diet when he decided to get leaner… he thought that he was consuming around 3750 calories per day and he was in SHOCK to see that he was close to 5000/day.


#4

Read my post on how to train on a caloric deficit. Any program design to “build” will likely be too much work to recover from and will lead to muscle loss.

When you diet down HARD it is quite possible to LOSE MUSCLE BECAUSE OF YOUR (excessive)TRAINING… not just because of the caloric restriction.

A lot of people do waaaaayyyyy too much volume when dieting down. This is both because they want to burn more calories and because they are so afraid of losing their muscle that they want to do more and more work “to be sure”.


#5

Thanks for the reply! So let’s say I ditch the fasting method of fat loss then. I have used a crash diet only once before. When I first started training at all and weighed 112,5kg, I used a regular caloric deficit and ended up weighing 82,5kg, eating 5000 calories daily with Intermittent Fasting layout and my weight staying the same. After some time my weight started going up even though I dropped calories to 3000 eventually. Soon I weighed 100 again, used a caloric deficit to go from 100 to 93 and eating 2000 calories per day.

If I am to use a caloric deficit again, (as the layer system isn’t a viable option) would the I, Bodybuilder program be any better? The layout and body part priorization would suit my needs since my leg training is very restricted right now. I can do leg presses, extensions and curls mainly and I’m already built like a Tyrannosaurus so they are not that much of a concern to me. I am familiar with calorie counting and everything I eat either goes through a scale or I remember exactly how much of everything is there.

When training either on a deficit or a surplus, I’ve mainly been a low-ish volume, high intensity, high frequency trainee. I would MUCH rather do one absolutely destructive balls to the walls set with strict form than continous and redundant 3x8-12 or 5x5 sets. When I dug into the I, Bodybuilder program, it doesn’t seem like too much volume for a very slight deficit especially for one with good recovery capabilities.