T Nation

Longtime Member Looking for Help


Edit: realized the T-Cell area isn't very active, so posting here.

I haven't posted or visiting T-Nation in a long time. I was introduced to this site over a decade ago by my father and for several years, this was one of the only sites I visited. I chronicled my struggles with Anxiety and thanks to this awesome community, I was able to get into the best shape of my life, and even found the courage to train in BJJ and Muay Thai and competed in some BJJ grappling tournaments.

In 2008 I began having GI issues and that started my move away from activities I loved like lifting weights. I just felt like crap all the time and didn't know why. Outside of some gastritis, doctors said I was fine but yet I still felt like crap. Eventually through some trial and error, I discovered that I am gluten intolerant (not Celiac). While I changed parts of my diet, other things (soda, fast food) were becoming staples in my eating habits.

In January I started a new job, a job where I sit at a desk for 9 hours a day, plus night and weekend work when required. For seven months, I commuted an hour one-way for this job. I've since moved, but my desire to go to the gym still has not been found.

I convinced myself that I was burned out from years of lifting, that my job was too demanding and that running and mountain biking would be enough. While I like both activities, I do not like what my body has transforming into ... I have become soft. Muscles (I was never Professor X big ) I spent years building are deflating. I've got some love handles (I always was lean in the midsection) and have a bit of a gut.

My anxiety is back, too. My job is stressful and I'm not doing anything to relieve that stress.

I'm tired of the excuses. I am ready to get back and start rebuilding myself.

My question is, how do I do it? I feel like I'm starting back at square one and don't know what to do. Total body work 3 days a week? Upper-Lower splits 4 days a week? I'd stil like to run and bike once or twice a week. With my job, I'm probably limited to 30-40 minute workouts during the week and can go longer on weekends. What about diet? How do I break the bad habits I've developed? I go a day without caffeine and the next day I have a headache.

Thanks for listening.


Sorry to hear about all that but welcome back.
What should you do?
Well that depends on your goals, your available time and what you enjoy doing.
3 days a week TBT is a pretty solid idea for getting back into the swing of things.
Go for jogs, ride your bike or play some pick up basketball a couple times a week on the side.
You'll be good to go.
There are tons of threads about different routines so a quick search should leave you with a lot of good reading.




Thanks for the links. I was a big fan of Chad Waterbury; used TBT and a lot of his MMA-themed workouts with great success. I may have to give TBT another go. It sounds like what I'm looking for in my re-introduction to training,


Just ease back into it slowly. You may want to dive right in like you never stopped lifting, but should take it easy for a few weeks. You don't want to hurt yourself. Don't over analyze everything. Total body training and a decent diet should be enough to get you moving again. You will have lost strength after such a long hiatus, but don't get discouraged. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing, and you'll be back to your previous level soon enough.


I have battled with Ulcerative Colitis for about 4 years now. Lots of issues from inflammation. But I seemed to have been able to climb out of it and off all meds.

You might want to check out my training log for some ideas. I have been able to get back going while dealing with all the issues I had. And I was starting from a depraved, starved state of sorts.

Regardless, main thing is to get back in the gym and spend some time there. Hit that 1st domino and the rest will follow.

I used the SCD diet to help get my eating back on track. Im not the most disciplined when it comes to diet, but it did help me go through a trial and error of what helped and what didnt.

Good luck.


So what you're saying is... you've got some "'how to train' questions"? :wink:

Really glad to see you back, man. No doubt you'll get back into the swing of things soon enough. Don't try to change everything overnight. It took you a while to get out of shape, so you need to start the momentum going again.

Diet-wise, again, small changes that add up over time. If you've added some fat, I like this as a solid step-by-step plan to get things in order:
Nothing drastic, not dropping carbs to zero and living off tuna and diet iced tea. Just changing one thing at a time, getting back into consistent training, setting some goals for a few months from now, and simply getting there.

Solid choice, especially if you've done it in the past. But if time is really tight and sessions have to be brief, maybe consider Dan John's One Lift a Day, just to get that momentum of doing "a little" lifting everyday. After a month or so, then move on to something else.


Thanks, Chris. Nice to hear from a familiar face. Thanks for the links, too. Always appreciated.

It's funny because it's not that I don't know what to do in terms of lifting, but because I have so much built-up information that I feel overwhelmed with how to get started back again.

The One Lift a Day article is one I need to re-visit, too. I was also thinking of just doing a push-pull-leg 3-day split for a month or so to get into the swing of things. Keep it simple and around 30-40 minutes.


From someone who recently did the One Lift a Day thing very recently I would really recommend it. A fair warning, squat day will be like a religious experience.


Well, there's two ways to take that; guess I'll find out which one you mean if I do the program.


Just read the One Lift A Day. I remember reading it back in the day. Squat day ... yeah, that sounds very painful.

A couple of questions:

-What do you guys use for rest periods?

-The 5th day DJ (my initials, too) has listed as Deadlifts, Curls, Whatever Day. Is that more of a free-form day where you can do say, Curls and Dips, or are you still just picking ONE LIFT and doing that for 45 minutes?


I'm with you.

I deal with these same issues myself. I've developed increasingly severe reaction to gluten. Anxiety comes and goes. Z12 helps though i haven't bought it in a while.

You've decided you want to feel better and that's step one.

First, get rid of the sugar and obviously the grains (see below video). SCD is a good plan to follow - Body ecology diet is an even better option as it heavily stresses fermented foods, and discusses the connection between gut and brain. If you can learn to ferment your own cabbage your gut will be in tip top shape in no time - this is basically non-pasteurized (raw) sauerkraut. Plenty of how-to's on youtube. I won't say it's easy, but after a little trial and error you can get it.

Feeling better takes the realization that you can't eat like the average person, and the attitude and determination to make a change.

I've found foam rolling (and even more intensive trigger point therapy) to be invaluable when getting back into the swing of things. I don't know if this is a gluten thing, or what, but I have insanely tight muscles. I think it comes down to dealing with and controlling inflammation from foods. It's the inflammatory nature of the carbs that cause the gut and brain issues you face, and I would venture to say probably tight muscles, lowered testosterone, low vitamin d status (digesting gluten decreases blood Vit D.... this lowers Testosterone as a result), impaired immune function, mood, and recovery, and malabsorbtion issues to boot (all tightly inter-related, no pun intended). All of that depends on the severity of the condition, but you likely suffer to some degree from many of these. It really pisses me off that others can largely eat gluten and get off scott-free, but I digress.

Here are a few training and nutrition tips:

1) I have to do a very thorough warmup on leg day regardless of my overall fitness/conditioning level. I usually prefer to do a warm up consisting of 5 min light cardio followed by 20+ minutes of intense soft tissue work. This alone makes me feel pretty great.

2) Eating right and training gets me the rest of the way to feeling awesome... assuming I can find time to train and cook the foods i need to stay healthy. Speaking of which, minerals. You need minerals and vitamins. I'd bet you have inadequate levels of many and would benefit from elitepro or the like. Supplements are not critical and you can do it with whole foods, if your digestion is better. Supplements only supercharge the process.

3) I don't like total body training as each session doesn't allow for enough volume, or gets too lengthy. Similarly, traditional body part splits can be a bit too intense to recover from, especially for someone with a compromised immune system (sorry, but if your gut is damaged, your recovery will be hindered). My split I like is push, pull, lower. My advice in this paragraph is probably the least important, as I feel any program you like and stick to is what will work best. What worked for you in the past?

4) Coconut oil is my best friend. Calorie and energy-wise, it replaces/displaces a ton of traditional carbs, and is also great for the immune system. Without as much carbs, and by incorporating fermented foods, your gut has a tremendously better chance at healing. I can give you more nutrition advice, but I would honestly say displacing the carbs that cause your condition with healthy fats would be #1.

A lot of great info summed up in this video "Loren Cordain - Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health Implications for the 21st Century" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dw1MuD9EP4#t=3048

PM me or reply here if you have any questions. Best of luck.


Welcome back man, your log where you dealt with your anxiety really helped me when I was going through the same thing.

Have you thought about something like 5/3/1...does not get any more simple than that.


Thanks! Glad my log was helpful to you; that was part of the reason I went public was to help others dealing with similar issues.

Yeah I have considered 5-3-1. I'm still leaning towards TBT. One Lift A Day is a great program, but not for me right now. That squat day would likely do me a lot of harm mentally and physically, so I'll just amp up the intensity on my own.


Wendler has a really good 2x a week program he has been doing himself.

That might be an option if you have a time crunch.

Also he has 3-4x programs that he has released lately.

Good luck bro!


@ Bulletproof: thanks for the post! The anxiety-digestive connection makes sense, and I know that is a part of it. When I had my anxiety under control (CBT was big), I didn't have any issues with diet.

I don't know about that sauerkraut stuff, though. I can't stand the smell of it, so even though it may help me feel better, I don't think that's an option for me.

I will try and make some time to watch that video.


Fermented foods in my opinion are huge to gut repair and improving the gut-brain connection as well. I'd recommend finding some form of fermented foods to get into your diet. Also some good info from Dr. Hyman on gut repair "How to Cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a Few Days" Yes, his name is Dr. Hyman. http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/09/17/cure-irritable-bowel-syndrome-days/


I just wanted to add this: Nothing's going to make you feel better than moving frequently, IMO. At least initially as you get rolling back into the swing of things. Focus on optimization later. There are supplement and dietary tweaks you can do which help a lot, but nothing is as magical or immediate as this, IMO. I know this sounds weak, but I'd suggest 2-3 daily ~10 minute power walks for starters. This can have a profound impact on your mental health, which is where everything stems from. Doing this for 2 weeks will do loads for you. Starting and sticking to something, anything, is a proven key to finding success in something. The other major factor for continued success is accountability, so I would suggest to start a log here (but only once you've got the ball rolling). The other way would be to surround yourself with fitness minded people, or get a fitness coach/trainer/workout partner. Keep us posted with how this all works out for ya. Best regards. BT


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I take my dog for a walk every day. I do run 2-3 times a week and ride my hybrid or mountain bike once a week, I just have not lifted in several months.

Getting into a gym is important. I work a job that calls for a lot of hours, including nights and weekends. I am surrounded by some really unhealthy people and they do not take care of themselves at all. I refuse to live my life that way, so that's why I'm pushing myself to get out of this mental funk and get back to kicking ass in the gym.

You are right about being consistent with exercise and how that will help cure a lot of ailments.

I may indeed start a log up once I get rolling.


Thanks, Push. Hope all is well.