T Nation

Introduction and What I'm Doing


#1

hi, all

just joined this site...wanted to introduce myself and get some feedback on my situation

my stats:
44yo (45 in 2mos)
5-11
224lbs (24% bf == 170lbs lbm + 54lbs bf)
40inch waist
15inch r-arm
14.75inch l-arm
17inch neck
24inch r-leg
23.5inch l-leg

this is where i'm torn: cut to drop fat or eat more to get stronger

i don't like carrying 55lbs of fat...ideally, i'd like to drop to around 200lbs and go from there...so, i've been lifting this past month eating around 2000cals on lifting days and around 1700 on off-days...this is, basically, turning out to be a re-comp...scale's not going anywhere

i setup 2 days of food tracking on MFP and, basically, i stick to that through the week...weekends are a bit of a crapshoot

anyhow, i've only been lifting for the past 2.5yrs-ish...most of that time was sidelined due to injuries - most severe was a deep bone bruise on my left shoulder...for a while couldn't even get my arm back to do squats...only now am i really feeling good enough to get back under the bar

over this time, on-and-off i've felt ok enough to lift here and there...when i have been ok, i've followed a basic SS program...however, every time i'd get started i'd rush something and tweak something here and there...so, that's why it's taken over 2.5 yrs to get well enough to continue lifting

current numbers:
205lb squats
115lbs bench
225lbs deadlift
85lbs ohpress
75lbs clean

as you can see, i'm very much a beginner...i have learned a lot about fitness and nutrition over the last 4+ years; but, not a lot about strength training...sometimes i feel like i cause myself paralasys by analysys: do this, don't do that...eat this, don't eat that...lift this way, no try that

yeah, so much wrong yet so much potential

and, therein lies the rub of why i'm here

i'm thinking continuing the basic SS for a few months is the best course of action right now, for lifting...for nutrition, i'm going to up the intake by a couple hundred cals/lifting day, mostly adding a big-ish ass salad at lunch

then again, who knows what i'll read this next week that'll cause me to want to change everything

anyhow, i'm looking forward to learning a lot from this group...any thoughts as to my situation/plans are appreciated

thanks for your time

Erik


#2

the fact that you have a weight goal and no strength goals tells me you really want to cut.

Your cals seem too low, even for cutting.


#3

My thought is this: The older you get, the harder it is to lose bodyfat. So, if your long-range goals include getting/being lean, I would suggest you do it sooner rather than later–or at the very least, don’t add any more fat that you’ll have to lose when you’re older still. Best of luck reaching your goals.


#4

Eye doc is right, but you also need to figure out a way to get stronger without getting hurt and you do need to get stronger. Can you afford a good trainer at least for a bit to learn the form? You should not be getting hurt that frequently from lifting with those numbers if your form is even decent. Something is wrong if you keep getting hurt.

On diet: If Chris C chimes in, he’ll ask what, exactly, you ate yesterday. I don’t care so much, but my guess is you are focusing on the wrong food.

Don’t drink any calories unless its a protein shake. Drink only things like water, coffee, and unsweetened tee. Avoid alcohol, sugar drinks, and diet sodas.

Focus on meat and eggs and more meat and green leafy or fibrous veggies and good fats like avocados and nuts and maybe some cheeses or cottage cheese. And more meat. And more eggs.

Avoid carbs except immediately post work out.

Especially avoid sugar, sweets, bread, etc. (except maybe immediately post workout).

Maybe once a week blow out a stack of pancakes one meal to keep you sane.

If you focus on the right foods and cut out sugar and shit carbs like bread, you should be able to get significantly stronger while still cutting fat and without starving yourself if you lift smartly and regularly.

Walking in the morning pre-meal and at night is also good for fat loss.

Size 40 waste is too big. Shoot for size 36 or less pant size. If your waste line isn’t moving, then you are not eating right and you need to make adjustments.


#5

If you’re tweaking things often, it’s probably because you jumped in without proper technique or instruction.
And constantly getting hurt WILL leave you with nothing but paralysis by analysis.

The truth is, you will have to learn to lift before you embark on any program.

And 44 is not old.


#6

You seem like a complete beginner yet you have trained for 4 years. My advice is start all over again.
Get off Starting Strength immediately. Forget it ever existed.

You are injury prone so you must train accordingly. Dump Bench Press for Dumbbell flat and low incline press. Your shoulders will thank you. Stop training solely in the 5 rep zone. Surely you have heard of periodisation. Do it. Low rep one week high rep the next. Forget about how much you can lift. Who the hell really cares??? Train to make gains. You want to put on some muscle and lose fat, well then train that way.

You also have no idea how to eat. How can you eat a maximum of 2000 calories and still remain fat? You must be eating junk.
Avoid sugary foods and trans fats. Never walk into a bakery again.
Start eating protein regularly. At least 3 times per day try and add protein.
Eat more eggs. However many you are having now add more.
Stop drinking milk immediately. Yeah I know Wendler and Ripp said to drink milk. Well you’re fat so just stop now.
Eat vegetables and lots of them.
Your main carb source should be rice.
From now on you don’t eat bread. Ever.


#7

good morning, nation

thank you, everybody, for the feedback

a couple things i didn’t mention that were called out

first, regarding the"4 yrs training"

in january i’ll be 45 and 5 yrs clean/sober…when i quit drinking in 2010 i was around 250 and 35%, probably more, body fat…i quit drinking and started getting healthy…this included a round of P90X in May-Aug that summer…yeah, P90X is kinda lame, as i look back on things now, but, it was what i needed then…it sparked the fire

a couple months after that, i almost died from a respiratory infection…that took me about 9 mos to get feeling good myself again…at this point, we’re around aug/sep 2011 (21mos)…here i find paleo and lifting heavy…starting nov 2011 i start SS…by march 2012 i’m down to 190lbs and not sure what % bf, probably around 20%…this is now 27mos “training”

this is when i shredded my l-shoulder…bad dr advice (cortisone shot, keep going) and by sept 2012 MRI shows the deep muscle bruise…it’s now 2 yrs since that MRI and we’re coming up on 44mos “training”

that’s what i meant by “4yrs training”…haven’t been lifting/training as much as trying to eat right by not eating crap

second, regarding food and drinks

the only things i drink are water followed by yerba mate with the occasional coffee in the morning…once in a blue moon, i’ll have some part of a mtn dew…had one this weekend and prior to that was probably some time over june/july, if that…anyhow, i drink between 1-2gallons/water a day

the big problem i did to myself while i couldn’t lift was, for a while i kept eating like i was lifting (approx 2500 cals/day)…that put on 10-15lbs before i took notice…that’s not the worst of it…i spent 12mos or so going through an iced chai fix…that hurt my efforts badly…so much fat and sugar…don’t drink them any more; but, the damage has been done

i don’t eat a lot of crap…most junk is m/w/f post-workout and even that is not a lot…i try to have a cheat day on fri afternoon/sat morning where i can eat what i want…going to re-think that…maybe just go with my donuts fix during my men’s group saturday morning

i think my worst offense, eating-wise, is not eating enough…as Venuto says in his book ‘Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle’, you gotta feed the muscle so you can burn the fat

for starters, will look at adding 500cals/day somehow w/out breaking the bank/being stuck in the kitchen every free moment

third, regarding lifting/form/etc

the only training i can afford right now is free, mainly youtube/bodybuilding.com/etc videos – and that is why my form on things like cleans is pretty bad

i feel good about my squats and deadlifts form…bench form could be a little better but not terrible…ohp is ok but cleans is pretty bad…that’s why i’m only working with such low weights for both those lifts

anyhow, gotta get going for work…i’ll check this later today and add some more thoughts later

thanks again for your input

Erik–


#8

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
Get off Starting Strength immediately. Forget it ever existed.
[/quote]

what should i do if not SS? i want to do something, especially if i’m going to up the calorie intake

thanks,


#9

A few tips based on your history:

  1. Get the 5-3-1 e-book if you can. It has good general lifting tips as well as good programing advice. Lots of 0-35 guys run 5-3-1 with good success. One advantage to 5-3-1 that can’t be understated is that lots of guys run it, so it is easy to find advise on programing tweaks, both in the 0-35 section and in the Wendler forum.

  2. Log in the 0-35 section. If you keep a log, feel free to post form vids in it and ask for feedback and you will get good general feedback there. Its a good group. Lots of strong guys with lots of training experience log there.

  3. Congrats on you 2010 life change and success with the weight loss to date. That is a big accomplishment. Now keep it going and good luck!


#10

Lots and lots of great info so far. Really glad to hear you’ve come through more than a few obstacles so far. You clearly do have guts and balls and determination. It’s just about channeling that towards a productive plan.

I’ll just add that, yep, I’m wondering what, exactly, you ate yesterday. Not what you told MFP that you ate. Much-much-much more often than not, when somebody has too much bodyfat (or too little muscle), they simply are not eating as well as they think they are.

Secondly, I agree that you should drop having a cheat day each week. Harsh truth, at your current size, you don’t deserve a cheat day. If anything, maybe “earn” a cheat meal (singular, as in one meal that takes place over an hour or less) once a week, usually after the ballbustingest workout of the week.

If you decide on donuts on Saturday morning, then understand that you need to be dialed in from Saturday afternoon to Friday night in order to really see physique progress. But in general, I like people to build momentum with trackable results for at least a few weeks before introducing a cheat meal (or occasional cheat day, depending on several variables).

[quote]ErikM wrote:
this is where i’m torn: cut to drop fat or eat more to get stronger[/quote]
We can’t tell you what your goals “should” be (though I do agree with EyeDentist about the fat loss), but check these for some insights on laying out a good plan:


TNation has an exercise library on Youtube with a ton of video instructions from Christian Thibaudeau. Also, you can always video yourself and post a “form check”-type thread in one of the forums. Plenty of folks here are good at giving useful feedback as long as the video is decent (from a good angle, shows enough, etc.).


#11

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
I’ll just add that, yep, I’m wondering what, exactly, you ate yesterday. Not what you told MFP that you ate. Much-much-much more often than not, when somebody has too much bodyfat (or too little muscle), they simply are not eating as well as they think they are.
[/quote]

Agree 100%. OP, I can say with certainty that you are averaging FAR more calories/day than you think.

Here’s how I know this. At a bodyweight of 224#, and using a cals/lb/d of 12 for off-days and 15 for workout days, your weekly caloric expenditure would be roughly:

4(12x224) + 3(15x224) = 10750 + 10080 = 20830 cals (avg 2975 cals/d)

Meanwhile, your reported caloric intake is:

(4x1700) + (3x2000) = 6800 + 6000 = 12800 cals (avg 1830 cals/d)

So, if your reported intake were accurate, during your month-long ‘cut’ your average daily caloric deficit has been:

2975 - 1830 = ~1000 cals/d

Given a daily deficit of 1K cals, you should be losing weight at a rate of about 2#/week. Even if we assume a ‘re-comp’ lean gain rate of 1#/month (a VERY generous assumption for a 44 y.o., calorie-deprived natty), it doesn’t explain why you haven’t lost the other 7 lbs.

I’m telling you all this because you’ve said several times that you’re planning to increase your intake, and that you think you’re not eating enough. If you increase your intake by the 500 cals/d you’re talking about, you’re going to get fat(ter).

Before undertaking an intentional increase in your cals, an honest/accurate assessment of your true intake is in order.


#12

When you eat snacks, what do you usually snack on?


#13

afternoon, folks

lots of good info and questions…i do appreciate it

chris, et al, here is what i ate yesterday:
2 breakfast burritos @ approx 595cals/ea == 1190cals
1 donut == 270cals
2 servings dark chocolate cashews == 315cals
5-6oz baby back ribs == 630cals
1/2cup mac and cheese == 185cals
a lot of water, 1-1.5 gals == 0cals

holy crap sticks…that’s almost 2600cals

actually, a little more with 2 cups coffee and the dry creamer/sugar

yesterday was an anomaly, not the norm because normally, i don’t pound down 2 burritos on a normal sunday…same with the cashews…they were holdouts from the cheat day…doesn’t mean i don’t count them yesterday; but, normally, they are not there…same with mac/cheese

but, 1 burrito, the donut and some kind of chunk of protein plus a shake would be a normal sunday

as i look back at what i thought was clean eating i realize although it may have been pretty clean; but, eating too much of clean eating is still eating too much

starting last monday i cleaned things up a bit…that’s when i setup on myfitnesspal with the 1700/2000 cals plans…i was very good at sticking to the plan until my cheat day started with dinner friday

regardless, point made and point taken re: not being honest with the numbers for the past couple months up through this weekend

started last week and moving forward, my workout days are going to be as close to the 2000/cals plan as i can get, if not lower…i have attached the snapshot from MFP - hopefully it’s there…if not, the total is just over 1600 but the protein is way low

speaking of macros, the gist of what i know i should be doing (obviously, not what i have been doing) is 1g/pound lbm (170) to maintain…75g carb rest day, 150g (or so) workout day, fill in with good/clean fats (avocados, eggs, etc)

anyhow, will keep this post short(er) than it was originally

got the 5/3/1 ebook today and been going through it

want to get a little lifting in this evening before it gets cold(er) as it’s already dang cold out…i workout in my garage where i have a power rack but no heat…bonus: there are no lines, but sure is gonna be cold these next few months…haha

gonna get a space heater, but that’s neither here nor there

thanks again for all the insight and info

E–


#14

[quote]LoRez wrote:
When you eat snacks, what do you usually snack on?[/quote]

generally, i don’t snack much…cashews if i get them but normally not a big snacker outside of cheat day


#15

finished my OHP workout and post-wo food

updated MFP and these are the final numbers for the day…this includes the salad i had for lunch and updated dinner info

E–


#16

Salmon and cereal? Too whacky for me…


#17

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
You seem like a complete beginner yet you have trained for 4 years. My advice is start all over again.
Get off Starting Strength immediately. Forget it ever existed.

You are injury prone so you must train accordingly. Dump Bench Press for Dumbbell flat and low incline press. Your shoulders will thank you. Stop training solely in the 5 rep zone. Surely you have heard of periodisation. Do it. Low rep one week high rep the next. Forget about how much you can lift. Who the hell really cares??? Train to make gains. You want to put on some muscle and lose fat, well then train that way.

You also have no idea how to eat. How can you eat a maximum of 2000 calories and still remain fat? You must be eating junk.
Avoid sugary foods and trans fats. Never walk into a bakery again.
Start eating protein regularly. At least 3 times per day try and add protein.
Eat more eggs. However many you are having now add more.
Stop drinking milk immediately. Yeah I know Wendler and Ripp said to drink milk. Well you’re fat so just stop now.
Eat vegetables and lots of them.
Your main carb source should be rice.
From now on you don’t eat bread. Ever. [/quote]

This would answer 90% of “how’s my routine” “I want to lose weight” questions
Sticky worthy.


#18

Maybe I missed it, but you still haven’t stated your short term goals. You mentioned you were going to increase the food before realizing you’re higher than you thought, does that mean you’re focusing on muscle gain? recomp?

If you’ve been eating 2600 cals, jumping down to 2000 (1700 in this case) is not needed. You can probably get the same effect by just eating cleaner and/or jumping down to maybe 2400.


#19

[quote]ErikM wrote:
yesterday was an anomaly, not the norm because…[/quote]
Not to single you out, but again, when people do an honest assessment of what they’re actually eating, it very often comes with an asterisk along the lines of “But that’s not how I normally eat. No. Really.” It’s simply what I’ve seen, time and time again.

Like I said, and like you’ve seen, you really do need to address the food intake and make better choices consistently.

So that’s all you’d eat on an actual normal Sunday? That’s nothing, quality or quantity-wise. Basically the worst version of a cheat day.

Good stuff.

2000 calories is already relatively-low for a 220+ pound guy who’s training hard. But again, determine your specific goal and arrange a plan that works towards it. Like 1Man said, dropping calories too much and/or too quickly will stall progress before it even starts. There’s certainly such thing as “eating too few calories” even for fat loss, and “your bodyweight x 10” is a general rule of thumb to keep as a minimum intake, especially when lifting and training hard.

[quote]want to get a little lifting in this evening before it gets cold(er) as it’s already dang cold out…i workout in my garage where i have a power rack but no heat…bonus: there are no lines, but sure is gonna be cold these next few months…haha

gonna get a space heater, but that’s neither here nor there[/quote]
Space heater would obviously be a great choice. I often lift in my garage during NY winters (not as bad as some places, but still legit cold). I like those cheapass gripper gloves from the dollar store (with the grip-beads all over them). They’re not very thick, but help prevent freezing to the bar.

Also, doing a thorough warm-up (obviously) with lots of bodyweight movements and wearing layers. I’ll start with a fleece and then drop to just a t-shirt as the session progress. It’s not bad as long as there’s no drafts/wind. The other “trick” is to stay moving doing something as much as possible. Supersets and/or active recovery fillers between sets, instead of standing around resting, is simple and preferred.


#20

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:
Maybe I missed it, but you still haven’t stated your short term goals. You mentioned you were going to increase the food before realizing you’re higher than you thought, does that mean you’re focusing on muscle gain? recomp?

If you’ve been eating 2600 cals, jumping down to 2000 (1700 in this case) is not needed. You can probably get the same effect by just eating cleaner and/or jumping down to maybe 2400.[/quote]

that’s a good question…so many things to consider

part of me can’t get past where i was…i’m constantly struggling with my self-image…i keep seeing the person i was and not accepting where i am now

i would really like to get down to around 200lbs because in my head that’s a good number for me…but, is it? i don’t know…before i tore up my shoulder in 2012 i was at 190lbs and that felt good seeing that number on the scale, compared to 245 or whatever

i also know i want to be really strong…i’ve seen some of the numbers, 2xBW for squats/dl…1.5xBW for press, etc…i can only imagine that kind of strength…however, any kind of real strength is going to be part of a long-term goal

but, to answer your question, i want to get my nutrition dialed in and stick with it…i want to get this 5/3/1 program going

so, for november, for nutrtion, my goal will be to dial in eating to around 2400 cals/day, every day…weekends are going to be a pita with no structure/routine as i have during the work week…but, i’ve done this before so i know it can be done

for strength training for november, just keep learning more about 5/3/1 and follow that…i’ve done the first 2 days yesterday and today…i’m enjoying the change away from SS…got a long way to go…just need to not rush anything

as i start building successes with these goals i’ll be able to come up with more specific goals for december and beyond