T Nation

MD 12 Week Program

This is just a public log of my 12 week progress to keep me on track.

Starting pics under “Mertdawg cutting”

Initial measurements

2-19: Weight: 214.2; Bodyfat: 19.2%; Non-fat mass: 173.1; Fat mass: 41.1

Here’s my goals for the first two weeks:

  1. Average just under 2500 calories/day with 200+ grams of protein and less than 200 grams of carbs. (I will keep a record of my diet and avoid junk and starchy food as much as possible and increase low calorie vegetables to accomplish this)

  2. Add at least 90 minutes of energy system work per week. (While doing a general total body workout, heavy, but in the 8-12 rep range)

From here, I should be able to tell where to go with diet and energy systems after two weeks.


I’m going to post my calorie breakdown for the first week on saturday morning. I’ve got my 90 minutes of energy system in for the week and instead of starting with a total body workout, I decided instead to do a split routine first where I hit my whole body once per rotation. I ended up doing this because its totally different from what I’ve been doing for the last 3 years (total body, multiple sets of 2-3 reps). I also wanted to post pics (if allowed) of what I did in the period leading up to this. The pics include 1 from 13 weeks ago, and one from 3 weeks ago. In other words, basically 10 weeks of powerlifting type training. Looking back, I was especially suprised by the leg mass gained. In the first I weighed 198 and in the second 215 so I did put on 17 pounds in 10 weeks. Some of that was in coming back to squats, but I’d only been squatting for 5 weeks when the second pic was taken and I had trained regularly during the 4 months between surgery and the first pic, just not heavy squats and benches. It also was my highest ever mass. (I had consistently been 205 for a couple years before my injury).

Here’s my first rotation split training routine and the number of work sets in parantheses(not warmups).

Day 1:
A) Reverse grip barbell compound shrugs (shrugs+arm flexion)with isometric hold at top(3)
B) Behind the neck barbell press (2) with slow eccentric
C) Lean away lateral raises (2)
D) JM Press with bands (2)
E) Tricep Dips (1)
F) 1-arm reverse grip tricep pressdowns with peak hold (1)

Day 2:
A) Single dumbell row to waist (3)
B) Chest support dumbell row to shoulder (2)
C) 1 Arm pulldown with truck contraction (1)
D) Extra wide negative chin (3 max time negatives)
E) Medium reverse grip negative chin (1 max time negative)
F) Seated goodmornings with bands (3)

Day 3:
A) Low incline dumbell flyes (4)
B) Low cable crossover (2)
C) Low incline dumbell press (2)
D) Concentration curl (2)
E) EZ Preacher curl (2)
F) Low incline curl (1)

Day 4:
A) Lunge (3)
B) Romanian deadlift (3)
C) Leg (compound)pull (2)
D) Standing calf raise (Breakdown sets for 30 total reps)
E) Seated calf raise (Breakdown sets for 20 total reps)

Peak contraction, slow eccentrics and loaded stretching whenever possible

First week nutritional goals:
Average of 7 days
Calories: 2546
Protein grams:270
Carb grams: 163

My weight dropped from 214.2 to 206.0, a loss of 8.2 pounds. It’s a lot-much more than I expected for 2500+ cals, but carbs were pretty low so probably lost some water. I don’t really put stock in the first week weight loss anyway. Week 2 weight loss should tell if the nutrient numbers and breakdown are good. 2 pounds weight loss for week two would probably be perfect, with 1.5-2.0 being in the ideal zone. If I lose around 1 pound, I’ll probably add a little cardio, and cut cals a tad. If I lose more like 3 pounds I’ll probably eat a few more carbs early in the day.

I’ll accurately test bodyfat at the end of week 3.

Feel great, sleeping better, 7-9 small meals/day.

Typical day:
7:00 Coffee+1 cup 2% milk
8:00 2 servings Low-Carb Grow!
12:00 Oatmeal+Low-Carb Grow!, or lowfat meat Chili+cottage cheese (full fat), or just 2 cups cottage cheese.
3:30 2 servings Low-Carb Grow!, coffee and a cup of milk.
4:30 Workout
5:30 Surge
6:30 2-3 servings Low-Carb Grow!
8:00 Meat/Fish: 6-8 ounces+fresh Veggies, say 2 bell peppers.
10:00 2 cups cottage cheese and a pear, and or walnuts.
And if I DO wake up around 1:00, something like 8:00 or 10:00 meal, or 2-3 Low-Carb Grow!.

Scattered fish oil capsules, maybe 10 throughout the week and counted into the calories and I probably have 5-6 pieces of gum which are also factored in.

If I feel like a little more fat, I’ll use full fat cottage cheese in place of Grow! anywhere above. Probably still need a few more veggie. If I’m eating Chili for lunch, 1-2 pieces of fruit and maybe 2 raw veggies/day (peppers, tomato)it seems OK.

Also, carbs varied day to day: 220 grams one day, 90 the next, 160 the next etc. Zinc, and multivitamin.

I will post my dietary breakdown for week 2 tomorrow morning. Went well, but I may not have lost all that much because I started growing off the higher reps. Also felt like I lost water last week and maybe rebounded a little this week.

For workouts this week, I upped the volume quite considerably. First I switched from a 4 way split once/week/bodypart to a 3 way split (chest/back/abs, shoulders/arms, legs) and hit everything 2x, second I added back in a few heavier sets of power moves at the start of the workout to prime the CNS (but no power benches, squats or deads) and third, I increased the number of higher rep sets considerably. I’m shooting for a little overreaching this week, and plan to drop way down in sets and stick to only the basic 3-4 exercises per day next week.

Also, got in my 90 minutes of energy system work, but started sprinting instead of cycling (running for the first time since surgery-felt good!-but sore!)

Second week nutritional goals:
Average of 7 days
Calories: 2670
Protein grams: 244
Carb grams: 174

This week my weight dropped from 206.0 to 204.6.

I had decided that I wanted to lose at least 1.5 pounds in week 2, but again, felt that I started growing a bit of muscle from the higher reps (6-12) and rebounded a little water weight after the first week of controlled carbs.

Food choices stayed all good, similar to week 1. I did eat a pound of prime rib for my birthday, and last night had 4 whole egg omlette with cheese, but I would consider those to be reasonable choices.

Three diet keys so far:

  1. No 1/2 gallon of milk every day! Milk is good, but I need a little more protein/carb ratio right now, so I choose cottage cheese (about 4.5 times the protein for the same carbs) of Low-Carb Grow!

  2. No bread, pasta, sweets, potatoes: Well almost none. In two weeks I had a 1 piece of bread and 2 small baked potatoes. No juice. Some beans, tomatoes, carrots and fruit though and I don’t set a limit as long as I’m on track for my weekly goal of less than 200 carb grams/day. Also have been taking Surge post workout and it is still easy staying within the carb goals for the day.

  3. No late night/early morning feeding frenzy. Again, I estimate that I used to get about 1000 fairly empty calories when I woke up at 2-3 AM, just to get back to sleep. I really think that the post workout Surge, as well as 50 mg magnesium before bed has helped me get to sleep quicker and waking up less frequently. When I do, Its a 2 cups of cottage cheese and 1/2 a piece of fruit, or 2 scoops Low-Carb Grow! mixed thick with cold water.

Just to summarize workouts:
In week 1 I did a 4 way split hitting each muscle once and about 12-15 hard sets/workout starting with a 12-15 rep max and adding weight over 1-2 sets to about a 6 rep max. It was very tough to make this transition after heavy triples for so long, but look how fast the body adapts!

In week 2 I went to a three way split hitting everything 2x (legs once as I was also running). This week, I typically did 6 heavy sets of a power move (Incline press, T-bars, JM presses) for 3-5 heavy reps AND increased from 12-15 higher rep sets to 18.

I’ll see what happens this week, but I’m thinking of cutting back for week 3, going back up in volume in week 4 and then taking week 5 mostly off as it will be spring break and I’m taking my daughter to Disneyworld. Then I get back with 7 weeks to make history!

OK, got through week 3 energy system work-now I’m running again! Will post diet breakdown and weight tomorrow morning. My calories are down a little this week just naturally as I cut back on my volume and upped the intensity (8-9 total all out sets over 3 workouts, each bodypart only once). This coming week is going to be pushing the volume to the limit while trying to keep up my intensity because I’m going on a one week vacation the next week, and looking for a little planned overreaching. No drop in muscle measurements thus far-arms were 16 3/4 measured strictly this morning, and thighs at 26 on the line. Waist is definitely smaller though.

Week 3:
Average of 7 days
Calories: 2151
Protein grams:171
Carb grams: 153

Bodyweight down to 203.2, 1.4 down from last week. 11.0 down total over 3 weeks.

Calories just came down naturally as I cut my workout time significantly this week. Loss of 1.4 this week and 2.8 over the second two weeks is pretty much on track. Would put my at 190 by the end of the 12 weeks, although I probably would put back 5-7 when I add back more carbs and fill up.

This week, a little more cals, a bump-up in volume-then a one week vacation-from work of course, not my nutritional plan.

Week 4:
Average of 7 days
Calories: 2804
Protein grams:201
Carb grams: 197

Bodyweight down from 203.2 to 201.1.

Interesting results. I ate more this week, and set out to train harder as I am going on vacation for a week, however I ran out of my first trial of Surge last week, and this week I just didn’t have it in my workouts. Got a little cold too…but still lost 2.1 pounds.

Week 5 will be a one week break to kind of re-set. I will be going out of town for a one week vacation, and won’t workout or keep a diet log this week, but I will bring a new cannister of Low-Carb Grow! Lots of walking, swimming and sleeping. Then I come back with 7 weeks to push it.