T Nation

Lose Weight, Gain Muscle


Hello all, my first post. Will try to make long story short, I used to lift ... had back problems (scoliosis) and stopped ... 2 years at a chiropractor to fix me up, and then a few years later I quit smoking ... got fat. I don't like fat.

Began to diet and exercise again (that was a year ago) ... lost 65 pounds, down to 170. Then started lifting - I regret that I didn't lose more fat first. I've gained some muscle and shape, but I just can't get rid of that last inch or so around the belly so my abs will show.

And so, the big question ... how can I lose weight and gain muscle at the same time??? I'm pretty sure my diet is the problem, and I am hoping some kind folks here can look over it and pin point the biggest problems so I know where to start and can gradually fix all the problems. Here goes...


2 eggs
2-3 Morning Star Farms "breakfast strips"
Sometimes on wheat toast with low-fat cheese


Chicken, broiled in water with BBQ sauce
Bush's Vegetarian Beans or rice
1 Serving stove-top stuffing


Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich with double (triple?) serving peanut butter and 1/2 serving jelly

I also eat 2-3 Protein Bars throughout the day. I drink decaf iced tea, yoo-hoo, and water. I allow one cheat day, and will change up lunch once a week with either a boca-burger or salmon.

I try to drink protein shakes, but I have difficultly stomaching them ... I seem to drink them in phases, a week I will drink them the next week I won't. I've tried 3 brands, thinking I need a new flavor or something.

Exercise: I have a home gym, I was working out 3 times a week ... been under the impression two days of rest would be better so now I am working out every 3rd day, mostly work the arms shoulders and chest.

I also ride a bike. I was riding a bike 2 miles a day over the summer, now I ride 6 miles once or twice a week as the weather allows.

Ok, so I hope that is enough information that hopefully someone can advise me. I can pinch at least an inch and half around my waist and I want that gone, that is my goal.

Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed a lot of progress and am very pleased with the results I've achieved so far ... for a 38 year old man, I think I look pretty good. I feel like my progress has slowed down lately and I'm hoping I can figure out how to get back on the fast track.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this,


Well no offense but you're diet is crap and you aren't doing enough physical activity. You should try to be eating every 2-3 hours and if you want to lose fat and gain muscle it needs to be high protein and low-med carb meal. 3 meals a day and snacking on protein bars won't cut it.

You're dinner alone is probably responsible for putting on more excess fat. Eating bread, jelly and peanut butter right before bed? Come on now you know better than that. You are giving you're body a lot of carbs, sugar, and fat and you aren't going to burn it off, it will be stored while you sleep. A good substitute is this: 6 scrambled eggs and about a 1 1/2 cup of broccoli.

Whenever I diet, after 7 pm I try to only get my carbs from fibrous veggies as they are more filling w/o as many carbs and aren't as prone to be stored as fat. I also like to throw in a casein protein shake right before I go to bed, slow releasing protein coats your stomach curbing appetite and releasing amino acids over a 7 hour period. Its good stuff.

Now about your exercise. Once you stick around this board for a while you will learn that most of the members here who have good physiques are exercising 6-7 days a week. I take maybe 1 off day a month myself. Obviously you will have to work up to this but working out every 3rd day will get you no where.

And for your cardio, I'd stop measuring miles and go for time on your bike. DO interval training, ride normally for 60 seconds and then pedal as fast as you can for 20-30 seconds. Do this for 20-30 mins twice a week. It has been proven to be the most effective fat burning method, big mistake if you choose to do cardio that isn't interval training when you want to burn fat.

Hope I helped, and remember age 38 isn't old, so don't use that as an excuse to not work your ass off.


You train 7 DAYS A WEEK ???

Wow !

Dude the best thing you could do to gain size is to STAY away from the gym for 1 whole week.

Eat as normal but dont do ANYTHING.

If your doing all that every day, your body will supercompensate like frigging crazy 1 day off a MONTH ?


For the Original poster, im a big believer if your going to critizise someone offer them a way to change.... so here it is.

Your "diet" is without doubt holding you back from going ANYWHERE, congrats on the weight loss and i mean that but to go any further you will have to tighten up ALOT more than you are:

So without further ado here are the 7 Tips from the Nutritional Guru Mr. Berardi that for the rest of your life you shall follow be it gaining or losing weight:

Habit 1: Eat every 2-3 hours.

Habit 2: Eat complete, lean protein with each feeding opportunity.

Habit 3: Eat vegetables with each feeding opportunity.

Habit 4: Eat veggies/fruits with any meal. Eat "other carbs" only after exercise.

Habit 5: Eat healthy fats daily.

Habit 6: Don't drink beverages (soda, beer, etc.) with more than 0 calories.

Habit 7: Eat whole foods whenever possible.

Ok theres the 7 tips, now i COULD make out a program for you but another adage i believe in is give a man a fish feed him for a day...... TEACH a man to fish feed him for life.

So you must be able to put the plan into action tomorrow ? not next week, not next month, not next year. It has to be so easy and so complete that you can begin it with your very next meal, and continue it with every meal thereafter until the habits that will sustain your progress are in place. And thats all there is to it HABIT once learned habits are a nasty thing to get rid of, which if you have good ones are REALLY beneficial.

Complex formulas, supplements, macronutrient ratios, micronutrient content, or even (gasp!) calories are all things that you needn't concern yourself with initially. Now before you stop reading in utter disgust, consider why would i give you applied maths if you couldn't do maths..... learn to walk before you run.

So tonight, make out LOTS of meals as many as possible using those rules.

Then choose 6 every day, i use the same template and change every week, some people do it every day, whatever floats your boat.

Then i want you to print out your meal plan and post it in visible places.Commit to eating according to the plan whatever the meals are for at least 6 weeks. From that meal plan, build a grocery list and purchase all the food you'll need for one week.

Prepare as many of the meals in advance as possible. Don't miss meals because of inadequate preparation and planning.

Now here comes the important part. 6 meals a day * 7 days a week is 42 meals. MAke out a chart every meal you eat give your self a tick, every meal you miss or screw up its an X. Count your misses (misses = meals that break the rules, or missed meals).

Now for the good news.... you get 4 MISSES a week, that means at LEAST 38 meals MUST be perfect.

If you survive monday-friday with no misses then PLAN a miss have a pizza, some ice cream whatever....... their YOUR 4 to miss enjoy them :slightly_smiling:

If however you screw up then unlucky no cheat meals :slightly_smiling:

When thats done for 6 weeks THEN you can move on to more advanced stuff untill then FORGET everything else.


For a program, do i understand you wish to go lower in the bodyfat scale or do you wish to build muscle and GAIN size ??

Pick ONE and if you say both ill beat you with internet speak !

Untill i know i cant really help :slight_smile:


hehe my body can handle it, I am continuing to gain size and weight but thanks for the concern.

I run a 5 day split so I'm not over training anything. People hold themselves back by worrying about all this over training nonsense!

/end hijack

GL OP, you got some good advice here, use it!


Such great advice, I really do appreciate that you have both taken the time to help. I figured it was my eating habits holding me back, just not exactly sure how ... at least they are a lot better than how I used to eat.

300andabove: I want to go lower on the body fat scale. I have a little less than two inches of fat covering my abs that I want removed. All I really have left is belly fat, and it seems to be the hardest to lose. I am willing to lose muscle to lose the fat if I must, but (naturally) would prefer to just convert the fat to muscle which seems harder to do than I initially thought it would be.

It was my intention to return to dieting to lose it, and then rebuild the muscle I lose. But I thought it might be better to ask here before I do anything rash and drastic.

It sounds like I'm eating too much bread, so no stuffing with my chicken from now on. The bread makes me feel "full", so without it I should be hungry again in two hours.

Instead of toast for breakfast, I'll switch to a bowl of oatmeal ... an hour or so after my eggs.

The breakfast strips - good or bad? We're talking 60 calories 4.5 grams of fat 2 grams protein. Main ingredients: eggs whites, soybean oil and textured soy protein ... I could live without them if they are not helping.

I'm going to have to think about what to eat for dinner ... perhaps peanut butter and jelly isn't the best choice for a last meal. Maybe turkey? More chicken? I should split it into two meals, maybe some green beans with one of them.

Should I reduce my intake of tea? I use 2/3rds a cup of sugar per gallon, which is down from 1 and 1/3 cups six months ago ... I drink decaf so I can share it with my bird, but I understand caffine would speed up my metablism?

I can't give up the yoo-hoo - they are the only way I can stomach a protein shake. I have a bad stomach from the side effects of scoliosis (ie: 2 years of daily nausea). I'm not sure why I have such a problem with them, lactose maybe??? They do nothing to coat my stomach, they make me want to hurl. Water milk juice ... doesn't make a difference.

OK, more veggies more fruit.

300andabove ... are you saying I should be eating different meals daily? I've been trying to keep it simple by eating the same thing every day. I'm not the most organized person with things like weekly schedules; this way I don't have to worry about what I am supposed to eat on what day.

waylanderxx: No offense taken. I would love to ride longer harder, but my age and health are not just excuses; the doctor tells me I shouldn't lift more than 50 pounds due to my back, and while I would prefer to run, the stress fractures in the feet require a lower impact exercise.

My 45 minute ride on the bike already results in numbness in the arms from the pinched nerves, and I am barely able to walk on my left knee afterwards. None-the-less, my rides up the coast are still my favorite thing to do and if I could do it more frequently I certainly would. Gloucosamine/Chondritin/MSM has helped a lot in the joint department, its getting easier.

I already realize I will never be able to put into what you and other members of this forum do, I can live with that ... I just don't want to become another fat lazy American.

Thanks again,


Okay ... originally my plan was to reduce fat and increase protein, I never considered carbs. I've spent the last two hours researching everything I eat and redesigning my menu into 6 smaller meals.

Not counting the ice tea and protein shakes, here is my daily total - I don't know what the optimal value should be ... should I reduce carbs? It seems high yes no?

Calories: 1519
Fat: 40.45g
Sat. Fat: 9.45g
Carbs: 253g
Protein: 118g

If you want the gory details:

1: 2 eggs 2 breakfast strips

2: oatmeal and banana

3: chicken and beans

4: protein bar and peach

5: ham sandwich tomato onion cheese

6: 3 egg whites and beef jerky

Let me know what you think, thanks again


I'm truly speechless.


Read this and read through the Elitefts Q&A section with Shelby's responses to peoples questions. Alot of bodybuilders and powerlifters are using this advice not just MMA which the article implies



you cannot convert fat to muscle. either burn fat, or build muscle. If you try and do both at the same time, it will limit the success of both.


Taking in excess sugar is going to sabotage your fat loss. Cut it out totally if you can. Do it gradually if you have to. I would also suggest switching over to green tea (unsweetened, of course). It is better for fat loss than regular tea and is full of antioxidants.

If you can eliminate the sugar over time, you may find that you'll no longer need the Yoo-hoo to make the protein shakes palatable. Which can only be a good thing.

P.S What brand of protein shakes do you use?


Did you not read the 7 RULES :slight_smile:

Its completely up to you what meals you eat, just more hassle buying multiple ingrediants for a weeks shopping if your picking and changing every week.

And no bacon is not ok, anything to do with the pig is generally not that good nutrition wise.

So here is more rules:

Regarding your carb allowance, heres the Master himself on the issue:

Look for carbs: Breakfast -- blueberries or raisins both have evidence they improve short term recall.

Other times: GREEN veggies and LOTS of them.

Postworkout: Other veggies buy a steamer, best invention EVER cooking/boiling veggies for too long start degrading the mineral content of the veg's.

Protein: Any whie or bloody meat. ANY fish AND MORE THE BETTER, pig not so much. Eggs also are good

Fats: Buy Flameout, best fish oil bar none :slight_smile:
Along with that get coconut oil, extra pressed virgin olive oil, MORE nuts the better, omega 3 supplement, egg yolks, and lots more.


Erm HOW much chicken, or beans and NO PROTEIN BARS ! Whole foods are your friend when dieting. Ham sandwich ?


Look to give you some hints here is my daily schedule:
10oz Red Meat
20 Whole Almonds
Some green Veg.

2 Tubs Cottage Cheese
4 Scoops natural Peanut Butter
1 Tub Blue Berries.

8oz Any Fish
Lots of green veg and other assorted veg.
5g Flameout

4)2 hours before workout:

10oz Chicken
3g Evening Primrose Oil, 4g Omega 3 Capsules.
More vegtables.

5)Pre workout shake
BCAA's during workout
Post workout Shake

6) Post workout Meal.

1 Tub Blueberries
10 oz Red Meat.
3 Omega Enriched Eggs

4 Omega Enriched Eggs
3oz Chicken
2 Scoops Natural Peanut Butter

8) Before Bed;

1 Tub Cottage Cheese
4 Scoops Natural Peanut Butter.

Now thats mine, if you want to copy it fine do so, just reduce the amount of food :slightly_smiling:

I weigh 270 odd pounds and attempting to get bigger so excuse the amt of food.

As you can see, the amount of crap carbs doesn't exist, lots and lots of good food.

I took a tip also from Mr. Berardi, shoot for 90% compliance as above, i have 56 meals (pre/during/post as 1) if i get 50 meals spot on then if i feel the need i go eat anything i want for a meal.

Hope that better explains the way to set up your food choices.


OP; read this and then figure your shit out.


don't waste your time chasing your tail.


More really good help and advice, this thread has been a motivator for me and I'm working at it harder than I otherwise would. Thank you all for your time.

Roybot: Sometimes we need someone to point out the obvious, and 'sugar dependency' should be obvious to me. I had basically put myself on an all-sugar diet in order to quit smoking ... which worked very well actually ... but after a couple of weeks I realized what I was doing to my teeth and have been weening myself off ever since.

I'm going to try to cut sugar out totally ... no sugar tea yesterday, I'm drinking nothing but water. I've tried to do this before, as far as I'm concerned there is no debate - sugar is a drug.

I've tried "Six Star Muscle" (whey), "Body Fortress" (whey), and "Vitamin World" Premium Soy. The soy seems to be easier on my stomach.

300andabove: bacon is not ok ... you mean the breakfast strips? They are not bacon, they are vegetable textured protein made to look like bacon. From what I understand, they are a source of 'meatless protein'.

I can replace the ham sandwich with turkey next week when I run out, from reading the packages the ham has pretty much the same fat/carbs/protein that the turkey did ... does lean ham make a difference, or turkey is still better?

Yesterday was the first day on new and improved diet, seven smaller meals. I felt 'hungry' most the day, watching the clock for the next meal time. Kept telling myself that's just my body letting me know its burning fat ... I now see that if I give myself enough carbs to meet my energy demands, then my body has no motivation to burn any fat.

I found myself sleepy - I went to bed about 3 hours earlier than I usually do. I also feel like its working.

I think the protein and carbs should become more balanced???

Calories: 1460
Fat: 34
S.Fat: 11
Carbs: 153
Protein: 118

1: omelet (2 eggs, 1/2 slice cheese, ham, tomato, onion)

2: oatmeal

3: boca buger w/ cheese pickle tomato onion

4: 4oz grilled chicken greenbeans

5: protein bar peach egg white

6: ham sandwich w/ tomato onion pickle

7: strawberries banana beef 1oz jerky



Day #2: Not as sleepy, was up till my usual 5am. Learned that oatmeal is actually good when you add 1/2 cup of strawberries.

Calories: 1770
Fat: 60
S. Fat: 13.86
Carbs: 164
Protein: 130

1: Omelet (2 eggs, 1/2 slice cheese, tomato, onion, mushrooms)

2 oatmeal strawberries

3 4oz salmon greenbeans

4 4oz chicken 1/2 ear corn 1/4 cup sunflower seeds italian ice

5 boca burger strawberries

6 2 eggs on toast with breakfast strips and protein bar

6 was after my workout, was hungry. I need to buy more fruits and veggies.



Day #3: Three days without sugar tea and my sleeping is all out of whack. I weighed in a few pounds under 170 so I am losing weight. Diet is getting better, yes?

Calories: 1640
Fat: 42.77
S. Fat: 7.47
Carbs: 194
Protein: 116.5

1: Omelet (2 eggs tomato onion mushrooms), OJ

2 oatmeal, strawberries

3: 4oz salmon, pear

4: turkey sandwich, strawberries banana

5: 4oz chicken, green beans, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

6 4oz chicken, broccoli cauliflower banana

7 egg white weight watchers muffin



Day #4: One would assume 'diet' means eating less food thus spending less money; in reality, diet means more money, more time, and more dishes to wash. Good thing I can afford all those...

An active day, painting the house ... 30 minute bike ride ... 45 minute workout. Still think I need to lower carbs and increase protein:

Calories: 1587
Fat: 38.45
S. Fat: 10.6
Carbs: 170
Protein: 135.5

1: Omelet (3 eggs, tomato onion mushrooms ham)

2 oatmeal strawberries

3 4oz salmon banana

4 4oz chicken greenbeans 1/2 ear corn

5 boca burger (tomato onion cheese mushrooms pickle) strawberries and banana

6 4oz chicken broccoli/cauliflower 2 egg whites italian ice



have you considered trying milk and egg protein powder? It would probably be a better option than the soy...