T Nation

My Life Truly Sucks

Ok…I’m 18 years old. I am a freshman in college, and I am unhappy. When I was a freshman in high school, I was 5 ft tall, 225 pounds, and 32% body fat. I was the clinical definition of obese. And then I began to run. I ran 40 minutes a day, coupled with 500 crunches and 100 pushups. Needless to say, in about six months, I dropped down to 150 pounds. I then hit a couple of growth spurts, and I decided to hit the weights. I am now 5"11, 180 pounds, 14% body fat. However, I am still unhappy. I have put on some truly tremendous strenght gains, and I am definitely stonger than I have ever been, but I still look like shit. I have tried almost every legal supplement on the market, minus Biotest products (prices are a little too steep for me right now), I have altered my workouts and my cardio, I have vamped and revamped my diet several thousand times, and yet, I STILL LOOK LIKE SHIT. Someone, please help. I know that in this weeks issue, TC talks about real problems and that people need to stop complaining and people need to “Just fucking do it. If you can’t, and you’ve no underlying medical problem, you’re just weak willed.” And believe me, I am not weak willed. I have all the determination in the world. I am on T-mag every day looking for answers. I hit the gym six days a week, I just don’t know what else to do…

I congratulate you on your successes! Very good.

So, what, in terms of weight training, are you doing? You had provided some info on background, weight/height/BF% (thank you), but the routine was vague. AND what do you mean by the "look like shit"? Do you still want to lean out more? Have your gains halted? And you wish to gain more LBM? AND if that's the case, six days a week in the gym may hinder that particular goal.

Have you tried any of the hundreds of training program available on T-Mag? Renegade training? Tried Westside (Dave Tate)? EDT? HST? Do you even incorporate any of the big compound movements (bench, squat, deadlifts)?

What I think, right off? You may want to consider 5x5. It's a three day a week program, which I think right away, you'll see definite strength gains. It'll also prepare you for something like EDT or Renegade training.

If you have revamped your diet thousands of times, you probably haven’t stayed on a diet long enough for results. Stick with it. Read everything on here by Berardi and look at his site. Don’t Diet is the best approach I’ve found to moderate cutting, and I am currently using it with great success during wrestling season and still performing well. I don’t like T-Dawg, but it is a great diet. Six times a week at the gym is too many. If you’re going to use Don’t Diet, I would recommend Fat to Fire. Fat to Fire is my personal preference over Meltdown, but I would never try Fat to Fire if you are going to use an extreme diet like Fat Fast. Save your money on supplements until you learn more about your body. Use protein when you can’t have a meal and use Surge post-workout. Save your money and buy Biotest products.

Nine times out of ten, cases like yours boil down to diet. Can you break your diet down for us?

Do you keep a food log? How many calories are you consuming each day? Many times, when I am at a sticking point in my training I go straight to my training/nutrition log and make some changes. I beleive it was Chris Shugart who wrote an article titled “It’s your diet, stupid.” As blunt as that may be, most of the time it is true. I agree with Patricia, 5x5 would be a great program for you. I am using it now, with the addition of one back off set per bodypart and it’s still low volume, setting up for a nice transition into EDT or any other higher volume method. I use a low volume to high volume ratio of 3:1, utilizing three to four week training phases. The main thing you need to do is have patience with yourself. Don’t train to look like someone else or get a mindset that you aren’t successful until you are “x” amount of lbs. Look at it as you are different from most people, you care about your body and care what you put into your body. Have fun with it. People from my gym ask me, “How can you come in here and never lose focus?” It’s easy, I love to do it. Give us a bit more information on yourself, and with the level of knowledge floating around this board (we even have WONDERWOMAN!) you will be back on track in no time.

Examine these areas a little closer: diet; training intensity; postworkout nutrition. Sorry for the stop in progress, but this is something all go through. The best find a way to break through. I would bet though it is something fundemental in your diet or training practices.

For a guy in college, your really stupid. You got nothing out of TC’s rant. You “LOOK LIKE SHIT”, well too bad. I know exactly what the problem is, your an impatient spoiled brat. Instead of taking the time to sit back and see what you’ve accomplished and adjust your eating and training, you come here to cry. Well tell your story to my best friend. His two year old daughter is severely retarded, will never walk, talk, or eat without assistance, plus she needs to be heavily medicated so she’s not in pain on a daily basis. This guy would do anything to be in your pitiful shoes. Good luck with your goal of “LOOKING BETTER”, it breaks my heart that you look so terrible.

Define “look like shit”. Bodyfat? If so, then as was pointed out, if you’ve revamped your diet 1000 times, you’ve probably not been consistant enough with one. If you want to loose fat, get on a quality diet (T-Dawg), start a strength training program (5x5), and give that a go.

6 days a week training?well,i have learned that training less is better.i thought this to be odd when someone told me this too but i tried it anyway.i currently lift three days per week.my advice is to hit it real hard inthe gym three days a week.in and out of the gym in under an hour.get in ,work hard and get out.let the body rest and grow on the other days of the week and throw in some cardio if need be.i use to be on a four day lifting schedule,2 hours each session and thought that ,more would be better.i was wrong.i do almost all freeweight work with the primary lifts being the squat,bench press,military press.hope you find a program that works for you.RUSS

First off, thanks to all that replied, even Rougerat. Ok, we’ll start with my diet. I consume 2500 calories a day on average, with the majority being from protein. I drink skim milk like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll break down my meals for you:
2 hard boiled eggs
1 cup corn flakes with skim milk
1.5 cups OJ
1.5 cups water

2 cups lettuce
.5 cup tomato
.5 cup cucumber
.5 cup green pepper
.5 cup mushrooms
1 tbs ranch dressing
6 0z Tuna
Bowl cottage cheese
1.5 cups skim milk
1.5 cups water

1 roasted skinless chicken breast
1 cup mashed potatoes
.5 cup cooked carrots
2 cups water

Throughout Day
Skim milk or water when I’m thirsty
Apple or banana if i’m hungry

Thanks again for your replies…

First off, I didn’t mean to offend you in any way whatsoever. I too have had my fair share of heartache, as I’m sure your friend has also. I was very reluctant to post as I knew there would be someone out there to critize me in some way. I got a lot out of TC’s rant, and I posted on the forum to ask for help in changing my techniques regarding diet and training. Not to cry.

P.S. The word “your” implies ownership, as in “your book” or “your pen.” The word “your” would not work when trying to tell someone that they were stupid. The word you were looking for is “you’re.”

Body image problems are very real and very damaging to lots of people. Just because they don’t rank ahead on the absolute misery scale of, say, having a retarded daughter doesn’t mean that they don’t cause very real misery for lots of people. The psychological impact of not measuring up to society’s aesthetic ideals is real, and you should not be so quick to dismiss it.

One day - Hate to tell you it’s in your head bro. Don’t give up. You are all you have to rely on. 6 days is a bit much. Try 4 with a lot of intensity. In other words vary your workouts. Most off all keep the faith. Don’t stop because you didn’t get results, on your time line. Work your plan. YOu will make it if you want. Also your young enough to fail, several times over, and still come out fine. Learn from the mistakes. Remember no matter how tough you think you have it now, how hard the profs are etc. Your boss will be even more difficult when you get out in the real world. You’ll also have a family to look after instead of just yourself. It’s the hardest job in the world…and the best one. We all do it for free! Enjoy it now. Work your plan and don’t give up.

OneDay, I see a lot of good things you are doing. I see discipline, thought control and motivation. And you’re awfully, awfully close.

  1. Diet. At 180 pounds, you need to be getting 180 to 270g of protein divided into 6 MEALS.

  2. Just as a test, would you be willing to try something for me? Try dropping the skim milk and all milk products for two to four weeks. Let me explain why. Milk is made up of a type of sugar that preferentially fills LIVER glycogen stores (not muscle glycogen). If liver glycogen stores are topped off and the sugar cannot be used for energy, it ends up being stored as fat. Yogurt and cottage cheese are mainstays of body builders. It’s good food, but annecdotally, there are a number of people who start dropping subcutaneous fat once they cut out milk products. We’re all unique. Milk and milk products negatively affect some people’s body composition goals, but not other’s. So just as a test, I’d like to see you replace the skim milk with Low-Carb Grow. It tastes awesome, like a milkshake.

  3. Until you’ve achieved your body composition goals, I’d like to see you drop the OJ. Though fruit is better than juice (a no-no), keep your fruit intake low. You should be getting your carbs from dark green leafy vegetables; kale, collards, broccoli, asparagus, Swiss chard, peas, green beans, etc. Another problem with OJ and carrots is that they’re high glycemic, meaning the spike insulin. If insulin is present, fat mobilizing hormone is NOT present. If insulin is absent and you’re slightly hypocaloric (underfed), then your body is able to draw on fat reserves.

  4. Drop all supplements immediately. As has been posted by others, save your money. They’ll not help you achieve your body composition goals, not even the fat burners. For the time being, stock up on GROW and Surge and just think of it as food. It is. You’ve come so far at this point, that it’s the tweaking of your diet and your macronutrient percentages that are going to help you achieve your body composition goals.

  5. As has been suggested by others, do a search on Berardi and start reading EVERYTHING the man has written. John Berardi’s writings have changed my life and allowed me to take control and start losing weight again. I had tried for five years with very little success. And I, like you, had all the discipline in the world and the work ethic to boot.

  6. Okay. Here’s the really, really hard part. You’re working out six days a week and not making progress. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting the same results. I know what you’re thinking: you’re not happy with the results and you’re trying to figure out how you can work harder. But “working harder” isn’t going to give you what you’re looking for. You need to tighten up on your diet JUST A LITTLE BIT and make some changes to your workout. In other words, you need to work SMARTER, not HARDER.

    The advice to look at Joel Marion’s Ripped, Rugged & Dense program is an excellent piece dof advice. It’s what’s called a 5x5 program; five sets of five reps. It’s a strength program, and you would only use it for a month, alternating that program with another, back and forth.

    Here’s the beauty of RR&D. It’s full of the BIG exercises, dips, squats, overhead presses, chinups/pullups, deadlifts. You’d be doing exercises that use your largest muscle groups. Let’s take the deadlift. It stretches your calves, works your hamstrings and glutes, your lower back and if you do the shoulder retraction, it even works your upper back. Heavy weights, you’re improving your grip and forearms. One exercise, and I can’t tell you how many different muscles you’re working. And I’ll tell you one thing, I’m a girl. I never did any of these exercises in my life. I read, I studied and I asked questions. I looked at the pictures and kept modifying, improving, building and trying. If I can do it, you can too.

  7. Last and final bit of advice, (repeating), read, read, read, articles and on the forum, both. Ask questions if you can’t find something. Start a food log. Repeating, START A FOOD LOG. Buy a nutritional desk reference ($17) and track the number of carbs, fats, protein and calories you take in each day. I do, and it’s allowed me to post very precise information on my macronutrient breakdown, calories, etc. It will allow you to tweak and fine tune your program. At this point, that’s all you’re talking about, tweaking and fine tuning. At 180 pounds and 14% BF, you’re only carrying 25 pounds of BF. If you lost half of that 25 pounds, you’d be at 7% BF. Egads, guy, that’d be AWESOME, and you’re not that far away.

    Good luck to you!!! Don’t despair. A lot of us here are fighting the same battle and traveling down the same road. You’re in good company.

I agree with Tampa-Terry, you do not seem all that far off from your goals. (and everything else she said… great post). You have come to the right place here… I have been training for something like 25 years (more or less) and I learn something new every time I read the forum here (as well as the website). Recently I learned from reading this site and experimenting, just how poorly I tolerate simple carbs, and my body has responded dramatically. You are already doing all the hard stuff- hitting the gym and monitoring your food. You just need to tweak some things and work a little bit smarter, and you will be rocking. What SHE said!

train cardio using High Intensity Interval Training, cut carbs, floow the protein fat, protein carb guidelines. Don’t overtrain in the gym. laters pk

First off, I’d like to say congrats for losing 50 pounds and growing almost a foot.
Second, I think you may be too hard on yourself. I’ve made a transformation in the past year myself, and still think I don’t look great. But last nite I was at my school’s semi-formal and it was getting damn hot in there with all the dancing, so I unbuttoned my dress shirt all the way. I got so many compliments on my body, I’m not even joking. I had two of my buddies girlfriends saying how good I looked and they were groping my abs and chest when we were dancing. I guess I don’t look as bad as I thought after all, and you prolly don’t look as bad as you think either. The person who is going to criticize you the most is probably going to be you.
Just follow the advice of the people who responded to your post and the FREE information here at T-mag.
Props to you man, and don’t give up.

Way to go, Zev!!!

Oneday, congrats on finding my gramatical errors. My secretary had the day off and was unable to proof read the post. The reason I wrote in is because you made your little problem seem like it was the end of the world for you, when it’s not. If you’ve read this magazine for any length of time you would know how to adjust your diet. Like a few of the other guys said, start a Massive Eating style diet, worked for me and probabaly will work for you. And to Zev, I’m not trying to down play this guy’s problem, but if his “body image” is that much of a problem then he needs to volunteer some time at the local children’s hospital. Have him tell his problems to all of the parents with sick kids. Hell, go hold a sick child for one minute, a child that will never walk, talk, play, or lift weights. It brings everything in perspective. I guarantee if anyone does this, all of life’s so perceived problems do not pare in comparison. One last thought, Oneday, if you do have a body image problem, volunteer some time at your school’s pysche department for treatment, you’ll thank me later when you see how many hot girls take up pyschology for a major.

Um, actually, I’ve seen the question, but not the answer. What’s the current problem with your physique? I’m also 14% bf, and I look pretty good. Are you trying to lean out? Are you trying to get bigger? They’re very different things.