T Nation

It's An Endocrinology Experiment


I just recently turned 35. So, I am an "at least slightly Over 35 Lifter." Hopefully, that qualifies me to post here on this forum. Anyways...a little background; I once had an endocrinology professor who used to be something of an athlete in his youth. During a lecture on some sort of lipogenic hormone (most likely insulin,) he stated (while rubbing his Buddha belly) that after the age of 35, he found it impossible to keep "the weight off."

So, now that I've turned 35, I've decided to conduct an experiment on myself utilizing my knowledge of nutrition and its effects on hormones to see how low I can get my body fat percentage in the span of four weeks.

 Be forewarned, I do not train for aesthetic purposes. I am not planning on entering any bodybuilding competitions or prancing about downtown in a thong. I am doing this solely to test some theories and satisfy my innate curiosity. That being said...I will be posting pictures of my progress, but I am not looking for critiques of my physique.

So, you can tell me that I need to "bring up my infraspinatus" or how my "pubococcygeus muscle rocks," but I don't particularly care (or, at the very least, I don't plan to have my ego bolstered or bruised by the random comments of anonymous strangers.)

 Well, that's a fair bit for you to read at this point. Later, I' ll be discussing what I'm doing as far as training, diet, and supplements. If you've managed to wade through all of my ramblings, then I thank you for your time. Either way, here are some low quality, "before" pictures that I took with my camera phone (someone borrowed my "real" camera without asking me; future posts should have higher quality photography.)


For some reason my pics didn't insert into the initial message correctly. Here's the other one.


Sounds interesting.


Is it knowledge or experimental theory?

When does your book come out?


Where's the blood work? The mirror will tell you about body fat but where's the hormone part of this deal?


 I didn't mean to imply that this was an official, funded, university study. Besides, it would be relatively pointless to collect data on a test population of one (we could make you the control group though, and, then, we would have some numbers to crunch!) It would be pretty cool to have blood work and microarrays and all of that stuff done, but I don't have the resources to do that. Sorry.

In the future, I am intending to examine how intermittent fasting affects metabolism. Specifically, I would like to look at how the increases in Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, IGF1, insulin sensitivity and action, as well as other growth factors and stress proteins resulting from intermittent fasting affect overall tissue repair, growth, and function (especially, in conjunction with training.)

But, for now, I am simply applying my studies of endocrinology and the evolution of the hominin diet to manipulating my body composition (yes, I did mean hominin before someone corrects me.) As the only extant, predatory primates humans react in many novel ways to dietary deprivation, overfeeding, and composition (the other chimpanzees really aren't all that predatory; problems processing cholesterol, etc.)

Taking these and other factors into account, I intend to restrict my caloric consumption to a carefully planned 4-8 hour window surrounding training (this will vary to some extent.) Although a lack of funds prevents me from enacting my ideal dietary protocol, I will choose foods based on rates of assimilation and other properties to get the most bang for my buck.

I will also be diverging from the typical, modern diet (post-Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions) by taking in more fiber (25g/day minimum) and ensuring proper sodium/potassium, fatty acid, and acid/base ratios. I don't want you to be misled into thinking that I equate natural with optimal.

In fact, I believe that the manipulation of naturally occurring mechanisms via stimuli that weren't common to our evolutionary history is a really under researched area of science with great potential for enhancing performance and overall health. On the other hand, I also believe that it is necessary to counteract the deleterious effects of modern life. Just some things to think about. I'll keep you updated.

 Oh, by the way, I'm not writing a book (maybe, that was a joke because I have a tendency to ramble.)


Hey Nancy Boy, just a head's up from a relative newbie who's put all sorts of stuff out there and made some mistakes along the way.
First, if your goal is to just lose bodyfat while not preserving muscle mass, nobody on this whole site will give a damn.
Second, you sound very scientific, but how scientific is a quest without numbers? What's your starting bodyfat percentage? Using scale, calipers, what? No money? Use a tape measure.
�?'m not trying to "bruise your ego," but I've learned to respect the readers demand for intellectual discipline. Doc


Sorry for not posting some sort of quantitative measurements sooner. I work every day and I don't get a lot of free time.
The entire point of doing this is to see if the data gleaned from studies done on relatively untrained subjects will carry over to trained subjects (or at least just me.) My little experiment seeks to maximize the abilities of muscle to act as a storage tissue (hence preserving muscle mass) while simultaneously dropping significant amounts of body fat.

I should have probably hyped this better in my initial post, but I'm used to writing for "just the facts ma'am" scientists.
Initial Stats (utilizing a measuring tape with measurements in inches, bodyfat calipers, and a scale)

Height: 6'0" (I imagine this won't change)
Weight: 200 lbs
BF%: 10.0
Thigh: 25.0
Calf: 16.5
Chest: 42.5
Upper Arm: 16.25
Forearm: 12.6

Hopefully, that satisfies the need for some numbers. Like I said before in a "real" experiment stats from one subject wouldn't be accepted, so I didn't place much emphasis on them. I'll try to cater to my audience better in the future. And, thanks for the tips Dr.PC


How is your bodyfat being measured, scales calipers?


The initial body fat measurement was taken with calipers using a six site equation. Throughout the diet, I'll be monitoring my body fat using a simple three site equation. And, then at the end, I'll utilize the more accurate six site method for the final reading.


Much better, now I'll keep reading. I hope you discover something new and useful, because my spare tire is bigger than yours.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Quick Update:
Here are my stats (in inches) after the first week of the diet:

This is a loss of 8 lbs in one week. It's the new miracle diet! I'll be pimping it on late night TV by the end of the month. Actually, if you look at the early data set, then you'll see that this is a loss of 3.1 lbs body fat. Oh my god! that means you lost nearly five pounds of muscle! No. Judging by how "flat" I am, I would say that I lost a lot of water along with cutting carbs (most of you are probably familiar with this phenomena.)

My original intent was to compensate for this by refilling my muscle and liver glycogen stores on Sunday (at my size this works out to roughly 500 grams of carbs,) but I ended up working all day, which made the plan difficult to execute. I did manage to take in roughly 300 grams of carbohydrate and about two gallons of water. This has resulted in more muscle fullness and higher energy today (Monday.)

Next Sunday, I will attempt to plan for the unforeseeable better; assuming that's possible. In addition to the carbs, I also ingested a lot more protein and calories than on my usual "diet" days (approximately 290 grams of protein and 3200 calories rounded off.)

On my normal dieting days, the caloric consumption varies between 45% and 65% of this figure with the protein content still fairly high but the carb content very low. The ingestion of fatty acids remains fairly constant on all days.

 Oddly enough, my scale weight on Monday morning was down an additional pound. The reading should have gone up due to the extra water being pulled in with the carbohydrates. Of course, as I stated earlier, my plan did not come off as planned. Today is a rest day and I may still see the effects of the muscle and liver glycogen (by scale weight) tomorrow. We'll see.


How long ago were your initial stats?


Initial stats were taken on Sunday, September 30th.


My muscle glycogen finally pulled in the extra water as originally expected. Or, at least, I'm assuming this is what happened because the scale weight is up slightly and my muscle bellies are more full. I promised to provide details on the training and supplementation that I'm utilizing for this project. So, here it goes...

My intent is to maximize GH, testosterone, and fat loss. With that in mind, I am training heavy twice per week and performing complexes three times per week. For my heavy training sessions, I'm using a self-regulating method similar to Chad Waterbury's Maximum Recruitment Training protocol (basically, aiming for a set total of reps in good form, rather than attempting to do a particular number of reps for a particular number of sets.)

I'm using "big" exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench, cleans, etc.
Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I'm also borrowing from Alwyn Cosgrove. Basically, I'm using a program of progressively difficult complexes as in his article Complexes for Fat Loss. Because my recovery abilities are lowered due to the lowered caloric intake I'm not performing a full series of complexes per week as he advises in the article.

For the complexes, I am basing my weight selection on a volume per minute formula; aiming for 900-1000+lbs/min. This number is calculated by multiplying the total number of sets by reps by weight used and dividing that number by the total time. For example, performing 5 sets of 5 exercises for five reps each with 100 lbs in 12 minutes and thirty seconds would equate to a volume/min of 1000lbs ((5x5x5x100)/12.5)

The form of training I perform after the complexes alters every other time they are performed. So, if I performed a block of complexes followed by auxillary exercises like concentration curls, shoulder "pre-hab," or calf raises for example, then the next time I performed a block of complexes I would follow up with some cardio.

I personally like running hills. I'm fairly certain the Marine Corps brainwashed me into enjoying this though.
So a typical week would be...
Monday: Heavy
Tuesday: Complexes+Arms
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Complexes+Cardio
Friday: Complexes+Calves/Shoulders
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Heavy

I realize that this seems like a lot of total volume during a diet, but the complexes tend to act as a form of active recovery for me. Also, the auto-regulatory features of both protocols give me a quantifiable measure of my status. If the weights start to get too heavy or my volume per minute drops too low, then I know to ease off.

I'll cover my supplementation, which really is mostly supplemental to my diet, in a future post. I'll also be taking (and posting) some pictures from the mid-point of the diet sometime next week.


Sorry it took so long for me to post again. I've been really busy at work.

These are mostly nutrients that may be missing or in short supply in my diet; I'm taking some Grow!, ZMA, a multivitamin, some supplemental potassium if I'm low that day, EFA's, a creatine/glutamine/taurine product, and some psyllium fiber. As far as non-essential supplements, I'm currently taking HOT-ROX Extreme.

Next week, I will begin using transdermal nicotine to aid in the conversion of thyroid and inhibit neuropeptide Y and aromatase (possibly raising leptin also; the scientific community is still uncertain about that last one.) I'm sort of surprised that more people don't utilize nicotine while dieting. Oh well, I suppose it's because nicotine is one of those "bad drugs."

It does inhibit apoptosis, which is one of the reasons that tobacco use can cause cancers distal from the directly affected site (e.g. lungs,) but I don't intend to use it for long enough that I'll be at any risk.


Here are my stats after week 2:

Waist: 33.0
Thigh: 23.75
Calf: 16.25
Chest: 41.75
Arm: 16.0
Forearm: 12.5
Weight: 189
Body Fat%: 7.8

I lost three pounds and another 1% body fat this week while maintaining muscle mass (as determined by my relatively stable measurements and comparing the change in body fat percentage with the change in scale weight.) This week, I start using the nicotine patches (14 mg strength.) Today, I'm doing my carb/protein/potassium/creatine/water up. I'll post my mid-point pictures tomorrow.


At your age, your T will crash if you try to lose so much in 4 weeks. You'll then gain back all the fat, and more, the following month.

You need some Epistane or Rez-V, along with either Alpha Male or some Cyp.

One 'benny': if you crash your T with this, have your doc test you. He may put you on TRT, if that's a goal somehow of all this.


I agree that there most likely will be some decrease in testosterone levels. But, I am taking measures to minimize this.
The nicotine will inhibit aromatase. There will also be some inhibition due to the large quantities of spinach and broccoli I'm eating.

Additionally, I'm taking ZMA to keep T levels up. The nature of my training (alternating heavy and lactate inducing) will also help to elevate testosterone (along with GH and IGF's.) I believe that the intermittent fasting protocol will also aid in testosterone production. There haven't been any studies on this effect directly, but it can be inferred that T levels are raised by taking in a large amount of calories in a short period of time even if those calories are reduced from normal.

After all, this method of eating is more in keeping with our evolutionary history. The body is not a linear system. It doesn't make sense to treat it as such. In fact, I believe that excursions into physiological extremes can result in supraphysiological responses. This is the basis for familiar mechanisms like carb loading or the over consumption of water and sodium followed by their cessation to eliminate subcutaneous water.

 On another topic...I know I promised midpoint pics, but my new computer isn't compatible with my camera. I'll probably just take some low quality pictures with my phone tonight and try to work out the compatibility issue later. For now, the pics are basically "trapped" in my camera.