T Nation

Looking for Help



Sorry for the life story, but I think the background is necessary before I ask my question.

I've been away from T-Nation for a long time. I used to throw, first shot and discus in high school, then later, highland games heavy events. About 10 years ago after a couple of injuries I took the doctor's advice and quit weight training, started practicing karate(he did not specify karate, any cardio would have done) and lost 80 pounds (half muscle half fat by my estimation). I also lowered my cholesterol and blood pressure enough to make my doctor happy.

I had flat stomach and under a 0.9 waist to hip ratio and healthy in a cardio-guy sort of way until 3 years ago. I started running out of gas easier and easier despite training harder and harder. I tried various things with my doctors, they found out my thyroid had failed, so meds for that helped for a bit, but overall I have just gotten worse. Back in January I got to the point where I could not finish an hour and a half karate class. 10 minutes of playing soccer with the kids or 2 rounds on the heavy bag and I am done for the day. Once I push myself that hard it will take a day or so to recover, and I will be half asleep at work.

The doctor sees no reason why I can not lift, and would prefer it to me sitting about, so last month I found I can indeed hit the weights. I have had no problems as long as I leave adequate rest time between sets. I started out light, and am alternating squat, bench, row one workout with dead lift, press, and pull up the next with workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This has been getting me moving again, but I want to set up some goals and move on.

I have a full squat rack and bench with a cable pulley attachment that I have dragged in out of the garage and several hundred pounds more weight than I can currently handle. I had the Olympic lifts down 10 years ago, but they are rusty and my C&J was 150 kg, now it is more like 150 pounds. I am 41 years old. I am finding most calorie recommendations I have used in the past are too high, maybe thyroid, maybe because I am older than last time I tried to lose weight. I can put in an hour workout any day but Tuesday or Thursday, but I am not sure how recovery time will be necessary.

Given the above parameters, I am looking for help for a diet/exercise routine to get lean, and then pack on some muscle. I am trying to be healthy, and I think lean and muscular would be healthier than I am now, and give me something positive to focus on, as not being able to do half of things I used to do for fun is sort of depressing.



What's your bodyfat now? Has the doc determined your thyroid has stabilized, or are there still issues? Any other hormone problems?

Generally, athletes will pack on muscle, then lean down. Do you believe the opposite will be productive?


I've gotten myself up to 22% from my usual 15%. I weighed 285 last time it was that high. These are both just using an anthropomorphic calculator and a tape measure, so accuracy is not that high,

The doc has left my thyroid prescription stable for 8 months, and he has my TSH consistently just above or below 1, so it should be stable. To the best of my knowledge my other hormone numbers are good, but I am only getting the numbers back when he decides they are off normal. I am getting a lot of tests done each time I go in, and he is screening for me.

The lose fat first and gain muscle second is mainly because I am fatter than I have been in some time, and ignorance of the correct order of doing things. My diet knowledge is weak and I am having a little trouble catching up. Basically my first 30 years were an open ended bulking cycle, then a 2 year cut without concern for lost muscle, and 8 years of eating whatever I wanted as long as I didn't go back for seconds.



Welcome aboard man. I feel for you with issues that are a little out of your control. With that being said lets get to work!

What is your current weight and height?
What does your diet look like roughly?
Do you drink/smoke/drugs ?
How much water you drink a day?
Have you had your Test levels checked and if you had what are they? Ask for the results and don't let your Dr. say they are fine you want to see them.
How many hrs of sleep a night?


Hi, apologies for the big blocks of text. I'm wordy...

I'm 6'4" 240 pounds, 40" waist

I've put myself on a fairly strict diet, but I am not sure it's not strictly awful. My blood lipids were OK, but my triglycerides were high before the thyroxin, now they are OK as well, but I'm on a low fat high carb diet anway. I decided to aim for a 20% fat, 20% protein, 60% carb diet anyway. I'm aiming for about 3300 calories. Through the day I make a nutrient rich slurry from fruit and vegetable juice, protein powder and ground flax that should work out to 2200 calories, 110 g protein, 45 g fat, 352 g carbs in 2 l of fluid. I then try and hit the other 1100 calories in supper, a post workout shake and a snack later in the evening. I am not terribly strict on the macronutrient breakdown on the evening meals, if I go higher fat and lower in protein I don't worry as long as I am hitting my calorie number. I end up falling off the wagon at least once a week if my wife brings home chips for movie night or the teenagers make pizza.

None now. I stopped drinking shortly after I dropped karate, and have been dry for 6 weeks now. I was drinking heavily when my hypothyroid was un-diagnosed, my liver crunching away on the ethanol warmed me up and made me feel better, but that is a year and a half ago now. I'm in a drug tested job so nothing more recreational.

Lower than it should be 4-6 glasses. With my 2 litres of shake a day that is all I can manage. I was hitting 4-6 cups of coffee as well, but I have dropped that down to 2 as I am trying to remove anything that may be stressing my system. I metabolize coffee slowly and can't sleep for about 12 hours after a cup.

I had the both test and the sex hormone binding globulin test, but all I have is "fine" at the moment. I will try to squeeze number out of him, but it may take weeks, as I only get in once a month.

Usually 6-8 hours. I'm on call, but get less than one callout/month. I'm a light sleeper and have teenagers that get up making a lot of noise looking for ice...at least last night.



Current Workout:
This was my plan to get my strength back up and try and get the exercises down straight, any advice appreciated. I haven't lifted in quite a while.
My right bicep/elbow is a little sore from my last dead lift session, and I have decided to replace it with cleans, as I hope they will be less wear and tear. I have been adding 5# per workout until I hit the wall. My dead lift hit the wall at 320 and the planned 5x5 became a 4x3. I need about 2 minutes between sets to get my breathing rate down to normal dependign on the exercise.

So Workout A will be tomorrow:
Squat 5x5 125#
Bench 5x5 155#
DB Row 5x10 60#

Workout B on Monday:
Power Clean + Front Squat: 5x5 140# (I plan to reset the bar between each rep, so more like 5 singles then a break, I want to get my groove back)
Overhead Press 5x5 135#
Pull Ups 5x5 BW, not hitting all my reps yet, but I plan on adding weight when I do.

Warmup is 2-3 minutes of skipping or shadow boxing if I am feeling perky. That's as far as I can go at the moment. I'm not pushing enough weight that I feel I really need to ramp up the lifts to my work sets, but once again, any advice is appreciated.

I plan to do static stretching post workout. I usually forget. I hate static stretching.

Anyway, workout A +5# for next Wednesday, and workout B +5# for next Friday. I have my first Dr. appointment Wednesday since I have been lifting. I see the guy that did my test levels the week after.

Thanks again.


Change around your diet way too many carbs man. Go with at least a ratio of 40/30/30 protein-carbs-fat.

Really watch your "shakes" as well because you would be surprised on how many kcals hide in there.

120ozs min of water a day. Period. No arguments here. lol

Do steady state cardio 30 minutes a day to keep up your energy. Easy walking or treadmill.

Your workouts are fine.


One quick question, is 3300 kcal (I keep using calories, but you're right) too much? It seems like I am taking in a lot.

I'll switch up the percentages and try adding in a walk, and keep posting.

Thanks again.


Curious on your thoughts for using the stationary bike, Fisch. Being he's a bigger framed man, it may be easier on the joints, as they adjust to frequent exercise. And I know in my case, I prefer the bike to walking. I thought I'd ask in case that's corrmhona's preference as well :slightly_smiling:

Absolutely, 100% this.


Measured up on Sunday, BP 110/73 HR 64 BPM, so slowly creeping up without 6-10 hours of cardio a week....

Lost half and inch off my waist and 3 pounds, so my worried about 3300 calories being too much were way off. I will be fixing my macronutrient profile as recommended this week, so we will see how that goes, and then muck around with calorie adjustments after. So down to 237.

Did something to my elbow. It feels fine, but I can't bend it all the way or fully straighten it. I didn't notice until I tried to rack my first power clean. It really won't bend...but it doesn't hurt until I try and force it and then it feels just like a joint normally does when you try and bend it in a way it doesn't bend. I decided to skip the overhead presses for today so what I ended up with was:

Power Snatches 5x5 135
Pull Ups 5,5,3,3,3

The half hour walk is OK. Leaves my flat so I leave it to the end of the day. Gallon water is already making a difference.