My Transformation...

Hello all,

I’m beginning to plan a personal transformation over the next six months. I’d like to use this thread to post ideas, get feedback and document my progress. My fiance is likewise going through a transformative process, so we will be acting as each others coach and encouragement. I’ll post a link to her thread once she’s started it.

Brief bio. I started lifting 9 months ago at 146lbs (yep, I was a skinny bastard) utilizing a full-body, primarily compound, EOD regime. I’d like to move towards a more advanced and focused training structure while getting my diet under strict control.

I have no doubt that changes in my body composition will be significant with strict adherence and dedication. I’ll be starting the transformation in about three weeks, once I’ve had a chance to plan my diet and training schedule. This week I’m keeping careful track of dietary intake to develop a plan of attack from a diet standpoint. I’ll post the diet info and plan once I’ve completed the week of tracking. I’ll also put some focus into what supplementation I’ll use.

Money is a bit of a consideration, I already spend an inordinate amount of money on food so I’m guessing it’s going to be limited to whey, casein, creatine and udo’s perfect oil.

Current stats: 31yo, 6’, 168lbs, <10% bf (unsure of exact, but I have definition, striations and abs are showing)*

Goals: 185lbs, <8% bf*

  • is there anyway/where to get an accurate but inexpensive assessment of body composition and fat percent?

There’s one issue that is going to make this a wee bit more challenging, but all the more motivating and powerful in the process of overcoming it… I have crohn’s disease.

This means that diet, protein absorption/utilization and cortisol response all come into play a bit more than normal.

I’ve been largely in remission for the last few years, with one brief flare a couple months ago that required me to take a short course of prednisone. I’ll be off in two days. Leading up to that course, I lost 10lbs dropping from 172 down to 162 due to abdominal pain and reduced food intake. In the last month I’ve gained back 6lbs to sit at 168.

And finally, my left leg has a peripheral neuropathy caused by a misplaced epidural during a bowel resection for the crohn’s. I’ve gained quite a bit of strength back and don’t limp anymore. The only significant effect is that it makes squats a bit more difficult, as my right leg has to compensate somewhat and the flexibility is limited due to foot drop. You’ll notice that I can deadlift a lot more weight than I can squat.

It’s not an excuse and I’m not looking for sympathy. It does, however, have an impact on my diet, training and progress. What does matter, is that I have a goal and a series of challenges to overcome.

Each day that I push a little bit against those challenges and climb a little higher is day that I can look back on with a smile and sense of satisfaction knowing that I can shape my will into a weapon.

OK, enough of that… let’s layout the plan of attack. I’d like to add some lifts that I haven’t done before, so for the next few weeks I’m using minimal weight and attempting to focus exclusively on neurological adaptation and good form. I’m doing this even on lifts that I feel relatively comfortable with, primarily to ensure that my form is spot on before moving back into heavy lifts. I’m not sure what effect this is going to have on my strength, but for reference my basic lifts are currently at:

Bench press: 120lbs
Squat: 135lbs
Deadlift: 185lbs

I’d like to utilize a 4-day split routine with one day of active recovery. I’ve considered using a 4 or 5 week periodization, but don’t really understand enough about it to make an informed decision. I welcome input from everyone on how best to frame and implement any aspects of my training plan. This is what I’m proposing so far.

Monday - Back & Biceps
Pull up
Chin up
Bent over row
Cable row
Incline dumbbell curl
Reverse preacher curl
Wrist curl

Tuesday - Chest & Triceps
Barbell bench press
Incline barbell press
Dumbbell press
Cable push down
Reverse wrist curl

Wednesday - Thighs
Good morning
Barbell hyper-extension
Power clean
Cable hip abduction

Thursday - shoulder, Calves & Abs
Military press
Standing calf raise
Upright row
Lever seated calf raise
Lever rear delt row
Dumbbell push crunch
Dumbbell shrug
Weighted incline twisting sit-up

Friday - Off

Saturday - Active recovery

Sunday - Off

I’ve tried to mix each muscle group, muscle heads, lift type and power curves (i.e. free, lever cable). No doubt I’m over-thinking the whole thing. However, I am investing a huge amount of time and effort into this part of my life, from diet to planning and execution, so I might as well make it the best it can possibly be.

I’ll take some photos and measurements and post them soon so that my progress can easily be charted.

I’m amazed at what I’ve accomplished in the last 9 months on my own, now I’m looking to this community for guidance and feedback. Help me hone the tools I’ve developed to completely reshape my life.

– F (my real first initial…)

Here’s some diet work-up…

BMR: 1583.2
Activity level: moderate (low activity job + 5 workouts / week)

Total adjusted for activity: 2453.96kcal

I’m not entirely convinced this is accurate. I need to complete the food log for this week to have better idea of what my steady state consumption is to maintain weight. If the food log indicates that I’m consuming more than the ~2500kcal the Harris-Benedict equation suggests, I may adjust my target calories up.

The current target calorie goal is 3500kcal broken over 6-7 meals per day. I already eat constant small meals throughout the day, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.

I also think that my current diet is relatively healthy, but the food log will be the proving ground of that. I work in a sedentary job (manage an IT department) and sit at a desk. On the plus side, I have plenty of freedom and opportunity to eat regularly throughout they day. I usually eat yoghurt, beef jerky, apples and bananas in between the four meals I consume during the work day. I generally don’t pay much attention to macro-nutrients, particularly fat, so there will surely be room for improvement.

I’m going to use Thibaudeau’s carb cycling approach with a slight excess of protein to compensate for the known issue of poor protein absorption due to crohn’s.

So here’s the planned low, moderate and high carb days:

Low carb day
300g protein
195g carbs
140g fat

Moderate carb day
300g protein
260g carbs
140g fat

High carb day
300g protein
325g carbs
140g fats

The division of nutrients will be:

Meal 1: carbs + protein
Meal 2: carbs, protein and green vegies
Meal 3: protein, fat and green vegies
Meal 4: protein, fat and green vegies
Meal 5: PWO => protein and carb drink
Meal 6: carbs + protein
Meal 7: casein drink

I’m also planning on consuming 5g of fish oil with each meal.

My goal is to hit 90% compliance with the diet. This will allow me a maximum of 5 cheat meals per week (7 x 7 x 10% = 5). My fiance and I usually go out to breakfast once a week on the weekend, so that will be one of them. 1-2 more will be taken up by social activities with friends and the remainder will be kept in reserve for unexpected occurrences.

I think the most difficult thing is going to be shifting from high-glycemic index carbs to low-index complex carbs, i.e. white rice to brown rice. I don’t eat much refined sugar, but the one no-no that I currently indulge is fresh squeezed orange juice. Knowing that, I’ve stopped drinking it as of yesterday.

I’ve begun compiling a list of foods that I think would be appropriate to use, additions are welcome!

Peanut butter
Almond butter
Chicken breast
Green beans
Sweet potato
Cottage cheese
Coconut milk
Whole grain bread
Whole grain pasta
Long grain brown rice
Olive oil
Fish oil

Thanks for reading… please post feedback, I’m not writing this to read my own words!

– F

Your diet work up seems fine although be prepared for some pretty smelly and lumpy shit if you go with 300g of protein.

Your exercises are good however placement and order has something to be desired. I would suggest you find a pre-made program and head off with that. Programs for could be Rippetoe’s SS, WS4SB, Stronglifts 5x5 etc. Something leaning towards core lifts like deadlift,squat,bench and military press to get your core working and your strength up.

If you want to build your own I suggest you look at Thibedeaus “how to make a kick ass program” which has some really good tips in it including exercises, order, sets/reps, rest etc.

I am no expert with your dysfunction but since you have put squats, cleans and deadlifts it seems that you have decide you can load it pretty hard.

The main thing is that this sport is slow and improvements come over time. You get no kudos for saying that you are going to be dedicated. Come back later for (1 year+) with your gains…

[quote]echelon101 wrote:
Your exercises are good however placement and order has something to be desired.

What exactly needs improvement in terms of placement and breakdown. I used basic structure and exercises provided by the American Academy of Sports Medicine as the template for the exercise program. And remember, I’m not entirely new… I have been lifting steadily for the last 9 months with fantastic progress, the emphasis entirely on compound and core, with bench presses, rows, squats, deadlifts, clean & jerks, military presses, etc…

I’ve hit a bit of plateau in strength/size gains and I’m looking for something a bit different to ‘shake things up’ and keep the steady progress moving forward.

I also didn’t pay any attention to diet, other than eating significantly more and introducing PWO shakes. My expectation is that a focused diet with a step up in routine will push me through the sticking point.

Wednesday - Thighs
Good morning
Barbell hyper-extension
Power clean
Cable hip abduction

Random one

Powercleaning after 4 exercises including deadlift and squat will be useless. Your lower back will be absolutely shot from the Sq, DLs, Hypers and Gm. There will be no hip drive because that will be spent.

Sorry if I seemed a bit arrogant but just try it if you are unconvinced. Yesterday I was testing out a new program that did

High Pull 4x6
Front Squat 3x8
Bench Press 3x5
Military Press 3x8

Looks okish on paper till I tried it, the Military press absolutely sucked because I had drained the pressing power on my bench.

Back on topic, it’s good that you are doing compounds and core. There is no real reason to switch to a splitish type workout. It’s possible that some Max Effort training will really get you going.


MONDAY ? Max-Effort Upper Body
TUESDAY ? Dynamic-Effort Lower Body
THURSDAY ? Repetition Upper Body
FRIDAY ? Max-Effort Lower Body