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.