T Nation

Looking for Diet and Training Guidance

How’s it going everyone? I’m struggling a bit right now trying to figure out a diet and workout plan that is right for me. I’ve done what feels like an endless amount of research and tried to absorb and learn as much as I can, but the more I read the more contradictions and confusion I seem to find.
I’m 25 years old, 6 feet tall and 235 pounds. I would assume around 20-30 percent body fat. I am currently in Afghanistan so I have plenty of time to workout, which I try to 6 days a week.
My main goal is to lose fat, particularly around my midsection and to build as much strength as possible.
So I suppose what I am asking is for any advice anyone is willing to throw my way. Any help would be appreciated. Since I have all this time here before I go back home I want to make sure I go back looking better than I ever have.

Thanks in advance everyone.

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Do you have access to a full gym or are you limited on equipment? Do you feel comfortable posting a body picture? Also if your military avoid eating MRE’s if you can :roll_eyes: so bad for you! Good luck!

I do have access to a pretty nice full gym. I’d have no problem post a body pic as soon as I can and I do not have to ea MREs. I’m lucky enough to be able to control my diet fairly well I’m just not sure what my diet should be exactly lol.

Thank you for your response

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@ActivitiesGuy @duketheslaya @Irishman92 @anon50325502 @Yogi1 @Frank_C hey guys I pulled you over to see your thoughts on this. I know you all are awesome at this kinda thing and give hardcore honest opinions :grimacing: …help please and thank you!

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Cheers, but I’m pretty dodgy at anything fat loss related :joy:

@dillonrc I’m assuming you are on active duty?

I’m sure you know what are decent foods to eat and what to avoid, do you know how many calories you are getting in each day?

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So as you can see I’ve asked some friends for help as I am not good with this type of thing. Hopefully they can point you in the right direction and others will jump in too. I appreciate you having manners and not being big headed so that’s why I jumped in.

@Irishman92 :joy: bahaha well you can also be here for moral support! I figured why not add the Irishman for luck :shamrock:️ on getting help over here.

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I’m a private security contractor. But yes I generally know what to eat lol. As far as calories I try to keep it as close to 1700-2000 as possible. I’m trying to maintain a pretty large deficit.

First, I’d suggest you use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your food for 3-5 days. Eat normal. Measuring the amounts you eat without a scale can be tough but just do the best you can. There are references online such as a deck of playing cards is equal to four ounces of beef/chicken (I don’t remember which). The goal is to just be consistent. The measuring part is to just get a baseline so we know if you need to eat less (probably) or more compared to that.

Once you figure out your baseline then we can adjust from there.

This happens to all of us. The reason you see so much information is that different things work for different people. People share their success but then people searching for information see that Bill ate low carb and lost 50 lbs, but Steve ate high carb and lost 50 lbs as well. Bill did nothing but steady state cardio. Steve did nothing but lift weights. Well, crap… which one is right (by the way, those are just goofy illustrations)? The answer is neither. Part of this process will be figuring out what works well for you.

There’s a fella around here by the name of @littlesleeper that goes low carb when he’s trying to stay lean or cut fat. Carbs cause him to look (or actually be) fatter than he’d like. I, on the other hand, eat tons of carbs. I’ve stayed pretty lean on a diet consisting of 300g per day. By the way, @littlesleeper is shorter, more muscular, and stronger than me. I point that out so that you can see that low carb (or lower) can still have good results.

Now I’ll address training. There are a ton of programs out there. You’ll see people here shout at you to do 5/3/1 and just follow the program. As a beginner it will be best if you pick a program and follow it. I would point you towards CT’s stuff though. I think he’s had more experience in terms of manipulating body composition and he writes more stuff for bodybuilder-minded people (and I just use that term for people who want more muscle and less fat as their primary goal).

I had a buddy who was deployed but his work day was 12 hours long. He didn’t have much energy left to train. I’m not sure how much time per day or how many days per week you can hit the gym but I suggest picking a program that fits that. If you can go six days per week then try CT’s Best Damn Workout for Naturals. If you can only train four days per week but a little longer each day then I’d suggest The Complete Power Look program or one of his other programs written for physique improvements (there are a lot).

Don’t like CT? Try Paul Carter’s stuff… or anyone else you like. The point is to just pick a program and run it as written. Don’t change anything unless you have an injury or you’re missing a particular piece of equipment. Run the program in its entirety before dropping it and picking something else. I write programs for co-workers and friends but I still try the programs that I see written by the pro’s. I learn best by doing and after experiencing other people’s stuff I can add the good things to my toolbox and expand my programming. If you have the time (and you do), run multiple programs from this site in their entirety to see how you respond to each type of training. After a few years you’ll know exactly what to do to achieve the results that you want.

Just saw this after I finished everything above… That’s pretty low for a guy who weights 235 lbs. I currently weigh 222ish and I cut from 233 to 218 on 2800 calorie a day. I started two days after Halloween (for obvious reasons) and cut through December 20th (when I had hip surgery). 2000 calories for guys our size probably won’t give you enough fuel to train properly. On top of that you won’t have anywhere to go when you stall… and you will stall. Your body is used to you being 235 and it will not like it when you lose weight. It’ll be fine for awhile but eventually your weight loss will stall and that’s when you throw something new into the mix. If you’re already killing yourself in the gym and you’ve bottomed out your calories then what can you do??? Nothing. Lowering your calories will make things worse.

A simple formula is BW x 15 for maintenance calories. That’s 3525 for you. That might be high so maybe try 2800 or 3000 per day. I’m a carb guy so I try to eat my bodyweight in grams of protein (235g for you), and 40-50% carbs, and the rest is fat. You don’t need a ton of fat but you don’t have to restrict it either (remember, we’re all different). I think I read that all we really need is 85g per day and that’s in meathead terms and I think it had something to do with how it affected testosterone… I don’t know; I’ve read a lot (like you) and it gets jumbled up in my head. If you use a basic macro counter then it will tell you a preset percentage of each macro. Increase the protein so that it matches your bodyweight (or close) and decrease the fat to make it balance. If fat drops below 85g then decrease carbs too but that probably won’t be necessary.

Follow a program as is for awhile. No need to run a new program while adding a fancy new high intensity conditioning program at the same time. When your weight loss stalls with your current calories and training then you can drop the calories OR add some cardio/conditioning to your training. Just change one thing at a time so that you have more tools available down the road.

Last point…


Should I type it again??

The dietary changes you make now to achieve your goals will be come the new normal for you. You can’t go crazy while on deployment and come back looking like Captain America and then go back to your old eating habits. With that in mind, does it make sense to adopt something super strict and aggressive??? No. This has to be sustainable so keep that in mind. This is a lifelong journey. Even if you reach your goals in six months you’ll still have to do something to maintain it.


Thank you very much for all the useful info. I work 12-14 hour days but I always make time for 2 ours in the gym if it’s needed (as I usually have a workout partner). At 235 I’m by no means fat and I have been working out for the last 4 months. My weight at the beginning of my deployment was somewhere around 260. So I’ve made a good amount of progress especially strength wise. I’m just really trying concentrate on cutting and toning now. I really appreciate all of your input and it gives me a lot to think about in addition to everything else I’m trying to sort out lol.

I’m a big fan of massive calorie deficits while dieting. Why fuck around trying to keep your calories as high as possible when you can just rip the fat off as fast as possible? I’d rather have 8 weeks of hell than trying to watch my portions for 6 months.

That said - you’re under (bodyweight in lbs x 10cals) which is pretty low, and hard to sustain. I’d go up to 2300 and maintain that for as long as I could. Every month or so I’d use my new weight to work out my cals x 10, and eat that way for another month or so. Do as much cardio as you can stand.

The diet itself should be high protein, which means at least 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight per day, less than 100g of carbs and fill in the rest from fats. Once every 2 weeks have a cheat day where you can eat what you want but still try and keep it reasonably healthy and don’t be a dick about it (don’t eat like a huge pizza for breakfast, 12 doughnuts for lunch and a wedding cake for dinner, or whatever).

I’d recommend taking a full diet break after 12 weeks of dieting, lasting 2 weeks. During this time you should eat maintenance calories (bodyweight in lbs x 15) and get at least 150g of carbs a day.

That’s how I’d approach it if I were you. Good luck!


So generally this is what my breakfast looks like
Any input ?

I’ll update my meals theoughout the day. It’s pretty much the same day in and day out

So generally this is what my breakfast looks like
Any input ?

Looks like a lot of sugar to me. I don’t see any reason for orange juice if you’re trying to drop weight. Which route are you trying to go? @Yogi1’s advice of losing fast or keeping your calories higher and going for a longer time? I think that will guide any feedback.

Cut out the orange juice, the bread, drink regular milk, not chocolate milk, and I honestly would eat whole eggs, or at least 2-3/5 whole and the rest whites. Just my opinion though, if you’re trying to lose weight.