T Nation

How Does My Plan Sound?

Hey Guys…

I’ve been plugging away for a couple years now, not very disciplined in the diet, hopping programs (from Blood and Guts, to Mountaindog training and everything in between), and haven’t made much progress. So, I’ve decided to give Riptoe’s starting strength a try… just wanted to get some experienced eyes on the nutrition and supplementation protocol I’ve laid out for myself (below) to see if there’s any room for improvement.

I’m 34 years old, 5’11" 205lbs mid to low 20% body fat range (my bathroom scale says 22-25 any given day)… by end goal is to be around 200lbs in the 8-12% range (read: something resembling big and lean). Aside from training, I’m a desk jockey… who leans towards being as sedentary as life will allow. Recently got back shitty bloodwork (high total cholesterol with low HDL, hence the aversion to dietary sugar and all the good fats I’m squeezing in)

Thanks for your help guys!!!

----current protocol—
Diet Guidelines: Min 200g protein, Target 100g fat (slightly lower on training days), max 30g Sugars (aim for single digits)… all clean sources. Carbs consumed periworkout. Cals ~2000 non training, ~2300 training… avg ~2130 weekly.

Morning sup 1: ProBiotic 50 billion, 500mg Curcumin 95
Meal 1 ~7am
1 tbsp Coconut Oil, Coffee
8oz liquid eggwhites, 1 oz s/f coffee creamer
Morning sup 2: Multivitamin, Magnesium 250mg, C 1g, B complex
Meal 2 ~9am
8oz liquid eggwhites, 1 oz s/f coffee creamer
Meal 3 ~10am
Concoction Bowl (rice, nutbutter, s/f syrup)
Peri Sup: MD’s GDA, Fatburner, Peri Shake
Meal 4 ~12:30pm
6oz Grassfed Beef and veggies, ½ cup potatoes/rice (workout days)
Meal 5 ~3pm
1 can tuna, handful nuts, 1 avocado
Pre Dinner sup: Digestive Enzymes, Red Yeast Rice
Meal 6 ~6pm
Fish 6oz, Veggies, grassfed butter
Snack ~ as wanted/needed
Raw/Steamed Veggies
Drink ~ as wanted/needed
Water, Plain Tea/Coffee (3 cups max daily)
Evening sup: fish oil 2.4g, Niacin, Magnesium 250mg
Peri-workout Shake: 33% HBCD, 67% Protein
Lift: 3x weekly (MWF) Riptoe/Starting strength/3x5
Cardio: 10 min HIIT followed by 20 min LISS 2x weekly (ideally TT)
Stretch/Meditation: Nightly
Rest: aim for minimum 8hrs (ideally 9+)
Rx: 50,000 IU D3 weekly 12wks, 200mg testosterone cypionate every wk (IM), Niacin TR nightly
OTC: Rogaine 2x daily, Bronkaid/Fatburner as needed (ONLY if I’m really dragging ass)

Polite version: what did your last plan (or 3) look like?

Dick version: I’d put more effort into planning how I’m going to be consistent rather than putting this grand idea into place and hoping that something magical happens this time and everything somehow just sticks.


From the diet perspective very similar (200g protein, 100g fats 20% reduction in TDEE)… the primary difference has been cleaning up sources (i.e. boxed food/drive thru) and cutting sugars.

Last workout plan I was on was a selfdevised- 4 day machine only high volume split (2 mos), the plan before that mountain dog KBD (3 mos), the plan before that Blood and Guts (6+ mos).

I can’t complain too much… as I started the year at 220lbs upper mid twenties… but as your “dickish” advice would suggest, my biggest pitfall is going off the rails (drinking, binge eating) on occasion.

I guess the most disheartening part is that I’ve not added any lean mass (which I guess is to be expected when cutting)… but I’ve secretly been hoping for some of those “newbie gains”.

Just dont eat obvious crap for a year or two, lift 4-5 times a week and I think that would fix the issue. This website has many good plans and articles

Stop wasting money on crap eat like Godzilla at a Japanese buffet. And lift heavy, so many people over complicate stuff and think with this magic diet my muscles are gonna explode… I’ll just do these 50000 rep leg presses today.

oh my god that is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m getting that tattooed on me.

Yes, that is funny shit… but if I’m interpreting properly… your advice is simply lift big, eat big… correct? Even starting out as a relative fatty? Because, I’d be on board for that plan for real.

I just keep hearing everywhere (from top coaches) that you can’t grow muscle (optimally) with bodyfat above the low teens.

Seriously, I don’t give two fucks about abs (my girl is a chubby chaser anyway) I just wanna get big. Obviously, I don’t want to be a big fat butter ball, but if I ended up looking like a power lifter (read: more muscular than fat)… I’d be happy with that.

I have to admit that as much as I love that piece of advice, I don’t think it’s such a good idea in your situation. “Lift big - eat big” is a great soundbyte for skinny teenage bedwetters, but an overweight, fully continent grown up such as yourself needs different advice.

I would say “eat healthy - look amazing” is probably a better mantra for you.

Your main focus for the time being is to fix your disorganised eating habits. No more eating shit (well, maybe once ever couple of weeks) and drinking (again, every now and then is ok). The less you do those things the better you’ll look.

And your diet plan is very impressive. I particularly like how you’ve told us you’re using Rogaine.

Pity you won’t stick to it, eh? I’m not saying that to be rude (and I apologise if that’s how it’s come across) but, in my experience, people in your situation suck when it comes to a diet plan as regimented as that. You need to develop good, instinctive eating habits so they become second nature.

I would personally like to see you:

-Eating animal protein every meal. Shoot for 200g a day but it’s not such a big deal if you don’t hit that. Try and average out about 180g if you can.
-Veggies with every meal
-A serving of rice or potatoes before and after the gym. That’s all your carbs for the day.

I would also like to see you get rid of:
-The liquid eggwhites. Eat a few whole eggs
-That ridiculous bulletproof coffee you’re drinking is just nonsense extra calories
-the nut butter - too calorific
-the nuts - also too calorific

I think just having a basic framework like that would make it easier for you, rather than trying to stick to a rigid plan, but that’s just my opinion and you are very welcome to completely disregard it. I won’t be offended.


Not offended at all man, in fact, I appreciate someone weighing in with clear, concise advice… it’s not that I have trouble sticking to the diet, I stick to it (for the most part) just fine… it’s the horribad day at work, the passing of a parent, the epic fits of my autistic child (all which have happened in the last 30 days), that send me to the corner for a six pack (and along with it a bag of chips and/or candy bar). Again, it’s been a really shitty month, I’ve been “off the rails” on several occasions… yet my avg calorie intake… 2512, average protein consumption, 193g (yes, I log literally every bite and caloric swig that passes my lips). So… I’m cutting closer to 5% than my goal of 20. Sure some times I miss a dose of supplements (or rogaine, sorry I drew this up for my doc)… (and on weekends I do swap the whites/bullet proof coffee for whole eggs), sometimes I miss a meal and make up the protein with a shake at the end of the day… but overall, I don’t do too terribly at bad following my plan. In fact, I tend to stick to it so well that my little lady (a nurse) seriously wants me evaluated for Orthorexia. Then again, she may just be salty because she like’s tubby guys.

I mean, I guess I should be patient considering I started this journey 2-3yrs ago at 260lbs/40%+… fat is coming off slowly, the lean mass is holding… it’s just been a lot slower than I would like… and again, no increase in strength or muscle mass to speak of.

Let me rephrase eat big “amounts of meat” and then “lift large amounts of weights” then “eat more meat” or other animal protien lol. But my word isn’t the best to go by

I’m a 6’3 265 20% bf power lifter I eat more than I should and my wife also likes to point that fact out…

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man, I get it. It’s hard as hell not to let shitty life stuff derail you. I guess the thing to remember is that shit is always going to happen so you just have to get back on the straight and narrow as soon as possible after it does.

If following an exact plan is working for you, then that’s great! And really, although the slowness of the weight loss is frustrating, it’s way more sustainable than if you just dropped a bunch of weight on a crash diet, fucked up your metabolism and ended up worse off than when you started.

The strength/muscle mass thing will come in time. Make the fat loss the priority for now

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Again, I allow for reasonable substitutions (i.e. fuck up and forget my food, I’ll get some meat and guac on a bed of lettuce from chipotle)… it’s an average day for me, on average it works fine.

I’ve been at it for a while, and know that if I dip below 20% (i.e. for a while I was as aggressive as 1400 cals) the lean mass starts to fall as quick or quicker than the fat… and I’m not interested in being skinny (did that as a teenager)… so I take my time.

Thanks again for the advice!

I’ll stay at the fat loss… slow and steady like.

One more question as far as:

Again, looking to push the good fats up (hopefully to raise my HDL in turn)… am I going about it wrong?


Well, i guess that is going to depend on what you consider optimal but I wouldn’t agree with this statement.


Well, if all else fails, you can always go keto or maybe even something crazier like the Lyle McDonald’s Rapid Fat Loss diet, haven’t tried it personally but it seems to work.

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Yeah that’s a good plan, however remember that you’re still trying to get into a calorie deficit so calorific shit like this you can drop without much effort is a great thing to get rid of.

Considering you’re eating whole eggs, grass-fed beef and avocados, I think your healthy fats are all good and your HDL should improve as you get healthier anyway.

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Go to a powerlifting meet or watch worlds strongest man on TV, then get back to us on this.


Not trying to bash you or anything but for the most part this advice seems to be coming from internet fitness gurus and they love to spout about “nutrient partitioning” and stuff like that. I’m sure there’s some truth to it but I would say it’s probably partly personal biases with the individuals who promote it as they seem to like staying lean year round.

No insult taken… I’m here to learn. I have heard a lot about nutrient partitioning… insulin sensitivity etc, and yeah I’ve been drinking the koolaid pretty hard. I’ve exclusively been following the advice of bodybuilding gurus (because in my mind who knows more about getting big and lean?).

In all fairness… I think lean is a relative term too. I mean, I don’t give a shit if I ever see single digit body fat. The low side of average (read: no gut, where my middle is smaller than my upper body), would suit me just fine…

No doubt, these guys get big… but in all fairness, how many rival top bodybuilders? i.e. Thor Bjornsson’s legs will never be proportionately as big as Big Ramy’s. Not that I’ll ever be in the realm of size that any of these guys (or even most amateurs) achieve… but I think it’s fair to say bodybuilders have the edge when it comes to training for hypertrophy.

you say that, but actually when these strongmen are lean they absolutely do rival bodybuilders. Big Ramy’s kind of an unfair example because he’s pretty much the most muscular human being who’s ever lived.

Check out this pic:

See that massive dude? That’s Brian Shaw he was (and maybe still is; I can’t be arsed to check) World’s Strongest Man. See that tiny dude next to him? That’s the current Mr Olympia Phil Heath…

As for being lean to build muscle, well insulin sensitivity is very much a real thing, and will in most cases go hand in hand with being lean, so yes, being lean does make it easier for your body to build muscle, but if you are eating the HUGE amount of calories a strongman is then you’ll build plenty muscle no matter how fat you are.

That said - unless you actually are a competitive strongman or powerlifter then there is no reason to ever be a fat bastard. Get lean, get sexy, get muscular.

Life’s better with abs.


Never thought I’d be defending Phil Heath… but here goes…

Brian Shaw’s Arms (at 6’8") 25 in
Phil Heath’s Arms (at 5’9") 23 in

Using simple height to arm ratios in inches (Brian 80:25, Phil 69:23)… Phil would be pushing 26.67 in arms at Brian’s height, and Brian would be at 21.52 at Phil’s. Granted, it’s only really about 1.5 inches relatively… but since I took the time to google (and do the maths) I thought I’d share. Read: Phil is relatively bigger… especially when you consider Phil’s relative leanness (which is way too much work for even a nerd like me to undergo).

P.S. No doubt Brian would have my money in a bar fight though
P.P.S No doubt he’s relatively stronger too
P.P.P.S And admittedly more impressive overall
Read: sigh can’t believe that’s our Mr O… and that I said something relatively good about him… relatively :slight_smile: