T Nation

My job/diet/training (long)


Who can help me with some advice on my training and diet?

I’m 27 years old, my height is 5’9" and I weigh in at 191 lbs, 22% bodyfat or 148 pounds of lean mass.
I was born and raised in Belgium and am currently employed as a scaffolder.

Early in 2003, I’d say february/march, I weighed about 210 pounds, with no clue of my bodyfat and spend my days infront of the computer, since I was unemployed.
My goal was to lose enough fat so that I could see my abs. :wink:
I made some changes to my diet, started working out and did cardio to the following schedule:
Monday: weights
Tuesday: 1 hour running
Wednesday: weights
Thursday: 1 hour running
Friday: weights
Saturday: 1 hour running
Sunday: day off
I started sleeping more, and the weight began to come off, quite quickly, not uncommon for somebody who’s very overweight.
My diet was based on my own protein mix (fat free yoghurt with soya protein powder mixed in, probably more then was necessary) and low carbs.
As the baseball season started (hence my nick), my schedule included 3 practices and 2 games weekly.
After about 3 months, I bottomed out at 180 pounds, and could not get it any lower, or I simply lost patience.
When my knee got inflamed from all the running, I became demotivated and gradually stopped with the weights.

Before I ask my question, there is something I need to explain first, as a scaffolder, my work is at times very intense and at times very slow, with no predictability.
It consists of handling pieces of heavy material.
Yeah! We’re finally getting to the questions. :wink:
How do I combine lifting weights with my job? How do I avoid overtraining? How do I avoid burning up my muscles while staying on a schedule?
My job allows me breaks, most of the time. So eating 5 to 7 times a day is not a problem, I just don’t know what to eat.
Do I eat carbs to get through the day? Do I go low carb/high protein and lose muscle mass?
My goal is still the same, getting low enough bodyfat to see my abs, with a small addition, becomming stronger so that it’s easier to do my job.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
I’m willing to do anything, just don’t know what at this point in time, so much information out there.


  • Hardball

PS: Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!!!


First thing is drop the soy. The stuff flat out isnt good for ya.

Next thing for you to do is some research on the site. I can suggest a few places to start.

A great article in last weeks E-mag, by John Berardi. The 7 basics article is a good place to start.

Next you can go to the frequently asked questions section on the home page. It has links to many diet and training articles that will do you good.

Check out the “Diet Manifesto II” it is loaded with diets that have worked for many people on this site. One in particular that has worked for many and is quite popular round here is the T-Dawg 2.0 diet. It is moderate carb and if you follow it works great.

Another area with a large amount of good info. is a thread here in the training/nutrition forumn that is still ongoing. “Should I change my diet, a bit long” You might check that out.

1 other thing I would like to address is your comment on low carb and losing muscle. I think you are a bit mislead in that area. Just because you are going low carb doesnt mean you are going to lose muscle. A few around here actually use a low carb diet while bulking with good results. The thing is that you try and minimize the loss of lbm that is going to come with any hypocaloric/fat loss diet.

Last thing. Read up, pick 1 diet plan, 1 training plan, follow them to the T and you can expect results. It is when people start toying with these plans that they dont get the results that were intended by the folks that constructed them.

So read up, choose plans and come on back with any ?'s on your particular programs.

By the way, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year back at ya.


Hardball, also check out my on-going thread, “discipline help,” for more info. My thread is a spin-off of the one that Phill mentioned, as I am getting started doing things the t-mag way.

Hey, there, Hardball. Welcome to the forum!!! I can see you’re trying to do all the right things and willing to work your butt off to get results. I’m awfully glad you found this site. If you’re willing to self educate yourself, you’ll find it to be an incredible resource.

I’m going to try and address a few of your questions while you get familiar with T-Mag; i.e., reading the Training & Nutrition forum, reading past/archived articles and using the search engine to search the forum or T-Mag for items of interest (Just change the drop-down box in the search engine to the left of your screen).

  • How do I combine lifting weights with my job?

Some people that workout have sedentary jobs. Others have extremely physical jobs. The important part is to eat enough (but not too much) to support your particular level and type of activity. How you eat after training will take care of itself, as you will be taking in post-workout (PWO) nutrition to help with recovery, promote protein synthesis and reduce cortisol.

That’s the eating part. As far as lifting goes, I will assume that your body has adapted to the physical labor to some degree. There will be days you don’t feel like lifting in the gym, but do your best to follow your workout routine once you’ve selected your program.

I would recommend that you focus on compound multi-joint exercises, what are called “the basics,” lifting heavy weights at higher sets, say 8x3, rather than your higher volume, traditional 3x10 hypertrophy program.

Lifting weights is an important component of trying to lose BF. The reason for lifting weights while dieting is to preserve lean body mass (LBM). What you do at work is not enough. Protein synthesis is a response to challenging your muscles with a load it has difficulty handling.

  • How do I avoid overtraining?

Follow a well-designed program here on T-Mag, one with a lower volume. Eat to support your activity and listen to your body. You will know when you are starting to get overtrained. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, use the search engine to the left of the screen and search for “overtraining” (without the quotes) on the forum (the default) and the archived articles (change the default in the drop-down box to T-mag).

  • How do I avoid burning up my muscles while staying on a schedule?

Good question, HardBall. The answer lies in your nutrition. You need to get adequate protein (1.5g x LBM). The 6 or 7 meals you are getting is excellent! Fat requirements also need to be calculated and met (.5g x LBM). Carbohydrates are a little tricky. I’m not worried about your working out. As I said you’ll be taking in PWO nutrition that will take care of everything. But as far as your scaffolding work goes, you’re going to have to experiment. Higher carbs on days where the work is more physical and/or if you’re feeling “weak.” Lower carbs on days where the work is less demanding.

I’d recommend that you start off at 1g x TBW (Total Body Weight) and see how your body responds and whether you can keep up with your work. There are no two ways about it, but you’re going to have to track your food, count, weigh and measure, so that you know how many carbs you’re getting and how your body is responding.

So homework assignment number two is that you search for Chris Shugart’s article on food logs. It’s called the Missing Link or the Missing Ingredient.

  • My job allows me breaks, most of the time. So eating 5 to 7 times a day is not a problem, I just don’t know what to eat.

As Shiggy said, go ahead and read the thread he started called “Discipline Help.” Click on his hyperlinked (underlined) name, which takes you to a screen with a hyperlinked “List All Posts,” which will list all the threads he’s participated in, including “Discipline Help.” In that thread I made recommendations on what we consider “clean” food, the protein, carbs and fat you should be taking in for health and for improved body composition.

  • Do I eat carbs to get through the day?

As I said above, the amount (and type and timing) all need to be optimized. You’re right that you need enough carbs to lift heavy weights (in the gym and at work). Start reading, searching and re-searching on carbs and glycogen. Follow the advice I gave you above, and as you put some structure into your diet, I’d be glad to help you tweak things along the way.

My single, biggest recommendation to you about carbs if your goals are to protect muscle and have enough energy to do your job and to lift weights is that you make the switch from bread and sugar and sweets and anything in a box to your green veggie type carbs. You’ll get the energy you need to get through the day, and they won’t negatively affect your body composition. In other words, they won’t increase the amount of FM (Fat Mass). In fact, choosing green veggies will actually have the opposite affect. They will have a slimming, (fat) reducing affect.

  • Do I go low carb/high protein and lose muscle mass?

Don’t worry about this right now. Start reading. Get the protein your body requires. Select and settle into a workout program. Start tracking your food intake. And choose predominantly from the green veggie category, except for PWO, when you should be eating starchy carbs and taking in something like Surge.

Once again, welcome to the forum. And before I sign off, let me just say “Excellent advice by Phill (as usual).” Listen to what he said about the soy and yogurt, and ditch it. There are far better protein sources.

Hi again,

After reading your replies, keeping my goals in mind, I have a couple of followup questions.

  • I do not want to go a gym right now. That means that I need exercises I can do at home, with free weights. So I’m looking for a good book, with lots of pictures, that helps explain/show how exercises are done in good form. Any suggestions?

  • What can I do to flavour up Tuna? I had a can of it yesterday for the first time, it wasn’t bad, just awfully dry. Mixing in some mayonaise would defeat the purpose, so if you have any ideas, feel free to share. :wink:

There probably will be more questions as I continue my homework (;-)), thanks for any help you want to give. :slight_smile:

Hardball, you’re severely limiting yourself if you don’t want to work out at a gym, don’t have free weights and bars and only want to do body weigh exercise. Not that you can’t make progress, especially if you focus on your diet, but your approach is not optimal.

Having said that, there a number of body weight exercises and articles on body weight exercises if you use the search engine. I’d search the forum and the archived articles, both (by changing the default in the drop-down window to the left of your screen).

Since you’re handicapped to some degree with your current workout situation, I’d recommend that you focus on diet. Take a look at T-Dawg 2.0 and read all the articles you can get your hands on that discuss nutrition and diet.

As an example, nutritionally, even though you’re dieting, you should be meeting your fat requirements. There isn’t any reason you can’t have some mayo, so long as it doesn’t cause you to go above your calculated daily fat requirements.

Also, don’t forget to get in your cardio.

It seems like I didn’t convey properly what I wanted to say.

Indeed, I do not want to go to a gym, they’re expensive, and they take travel time. Time I don’t have, so I prefer to do my workouts at home. I do have free weights and some equipment at home, and am going to spend some money for a decent setup, so I will do more then bodyweigh exercises.

This site is full of exercises and training programs, I love it. However, I don’t know what they are, they have coolsounding names and such, but I need something that describes them in detail, preferably with pictures, so I can copy the form, and have my workouts, as limited as they are, to be as effective as they are.
There are explanations of them to be found on the net, but I have found that if I leave my computer on during workouts, it takes away from my intensity as I get easily distracted.

Hope this cleared it up a bit. :slight_smile:


  • HB

Hardball, most of the articles that talk about bodyweight exercises usually have pictures. That’s why I was suggesting that you type “bodyweight” into the search engine, which allows you to search the forum or search the archived articles by changing the default in the drop-down window. Christian Thibaudeau wrote a creative article just recently. And there’s been lots of discussion over the years on the forum, too. Everything you’re looking for is here, waiting for you to pick and choose.

Thanks for your reply! I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to answer some of my questions. :smiley:

I have free weights, and use them.

However, I have limited knowledge of the exercises mentioned here at T-mag.

A good book is something I’m intrested in, for three reasons:

  • It shows me proper form, to avoid injury
  • My computer doesn’t need to be on, when it is, it’s a distraction, lowering the intensity of my workout.
  • It’s close by, for easy referencing.

Does anyone have a suggestion for this sort of book?


  • HB