T Nation

Need Help 6-Week Program


Hi T-Nation,

I'm trying to change a few things in my life and get into the best shape I can over the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure if this is posted in the right forum, but I would really appreciate your feedback/help in this journey.


I'm 23 years old and have struggled with weight issues for most of my life (my family has insulin resistance issues and I did not eat very well when I was young). During college, however, I was able to drop almost 50 pounds by eating less and running myself into the ground, which has caused knee and joint problems.

My current state is as such (measurements made by scale, accu-measure caliper, and myotape):

Height: 5'6''
Weight: 162 lbs
BF%: 21%
Chest: 36.5 in
Waist: 34.5 in
Hips: 39 in
Arms (avg): 11 in

I have attached current pictures for reference


My goal is to decrease bodyfat to 15%, weight to 155 lbs, and waist to 32'' while maintaining past strength gains (moderate)

My major constraints are that I work demanding hours (60 hrs a week minimum), which mostly affects my ability to workout AND sleep for recovery. Also, I recently recovered from a torn lateral meniscus, which may affect my ability to lift heavy.


I read through many articles and forums on T-Nation, and have settled on the following 6-day plan over a 6-week period.

Day 1: Upper Body Workout - Pairs performed as super-sets, 3 Sets X 8-10 Reps for each exercise.
-Pair 1: Bench Press, Cable Row
-Pair 2: Lat Pulldown, Dumbbell Shoulder Press
-Pair 3: Dips, Upright Row
-Pair 4: Bosu-Crunch, Back Extension
-20-minutes of Steady-State Cardio

Day 2: Interval Training

Day 3: Lower Body Workout - 2 Sets of 10-12 Reps
-Leg Extension
-Leg Curl
-Standing Calf Raise

Day 3: Rest or Pick-Up Basketball

Day 4: Upper Body Workout

Day 5: Interval Training + 20 Mins Steady State

Day 6: Lower Body Workout

Day 7: Off


I plan to follow the "slow-carb" approach in the 4-Hour Body, mainly because of it's simplicity and the fact that it seems to adhere to most of the stuff on this site. The main rules are:

-No White/Simple Carbohydrates
-Simple Meals (e.g., Chicken Thigh, Broccoli, and Lentils)
-Don't Drink any Calories (e.g., beer, soda)
-No Fructose or Lactose
-One Cheat Day per Week (e.g., Saturday 12PM - Sunday 12PM)

For supplementation, I will use Protein Powder (optimum nutrition 100% chocolate). In additional i will take 1 multi-vitamin, 2400mg of Fish Oil (Kirkland signature brand), and 1000mg of L-Glutamin


In order to ensure that I stay with this program and track my progress, I will:
-Keep a Daily Food log
-Track Progress on Lifts in Gym (Have a printout with 6 weeks worth of columns for each lift)
-Take Pictures and Measurements every Sunday

Again, I would really appreciate any tips or advice that will improve my program. I'm really excited to get started and can't wait to see where this takes me.



just as an fyi - you have put more planning effort into the details of this first post, than i ever have in my entire training as a whole.

you plan on getting into the best shape of your life 'in a few weeks' ?


you want to weigh 155lbs at 15% bf? do you even understand what that will look like?

omgggg u work 60hrs a week with demanding hours? wow that's crazy man. i just sit on my mom's couch all day and watch tv if i'm not in the gym lifting weights. totally feel sympathy

here's an idea....ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING. prove you can do more than just regurgitate the information you read.

**edit - i do like your username though, i lol'd


Hi Macaroni,

Thanks for your quick response. I'm glad you saw the effort I put into planning a program, I wanted to come as prepared as possible so that I don't waste anyone's time. Also, people constantly get called out on the forums, even beginner, because they haven't read enough material or come prepared.

I want to get into the best shape i CAN over the next 6-weeks. I am relying on the people of T-Nation to help level-set expectations and assist in program creation. I guess I don't understand what 155/15% would look like, can you help me visualize?

I didn't intend to insult anyone or seek sympathy for my work schedule, I understand that there are people who are much worse of. I am just trying to say that working between 60-100 hrs a week won't allow me to both sleep and workout--which one is more important to obtain my goals (there are conflicting arguments).

I absolutely have DONE something about my weight (during college, mentioned above). I have attached a picture of myself from a few years ago. I feel that I have made great strides and am looking for more ways to improve and take myself to the next level.

And thanks! The username is from Tosh.0!


adding that 2nd picture absolutly gives you more credit, good job so far.

i don't have a picture of what that would look like, but in my opinion (my being the key word) that really wouldn't be impressive at all

that being said, as you can see from my avatar i currently prefer being big and scary than smaller and ripped up.

it will be hard trying to maintain whatever current levels of strength you are at while losing weight as well. i don't think you'll be able to see your lifting numbers going up while watching your weight go down.

if you are going to do an A and B workout twice a week, you should consider having two diffenrt set/rep scheme for your workouts.

personally, with it being winter atm, i would suggest you focus on getting your strength up and adding some muscle, all while trying to eat clean(er)

either way, i'd suggest focusing on one specific goal and meeting that. if you put your efforts into 3 things simultaniously, you'll end up getting no where on any of them.


Thanks for the feedback, Macaroni.

That's great news, maybe I can shoot for something a little more aggressive, then, like 155 @ 10-12% bodyfat (the main point is that the tire has to go and I would like to see my upper abdominals, I know they are there because I can feel them when flexed).

Agree that it will be very difficult to gain strength while loosing; ultimately, I would like to have a functionally athletic body (Dwayne Wade would be the ideal goal).

I feel that diet will be 80% of my success/failure, with cardio to help cut and lifting to help maintain strength (not mass necessarily).


why only 6 weeks?


what is this 'functional athletic body'

i weigh almost 90lbs more than your current target weight. i am an officer in the army infantry. obstacale courses, 12mi ruck runs, 5mi runs, and combatives are common things. i do them fine.

i can also do a standing backflip.

there are people much more knowlegeable than me on this, but i'd suggest you put more effort into the kitchen than effort into cardio. as an example, my brother does little to ZERO cardio before his shows (natural tested) and makes amazing changes with just diet manipulation.

again, i wouldn't suggest you set such strict numbers in terms of weighing X lbs or having Y bodyfat.

if youre bodycomp is changing and u're feeling good, then imo those are much better measures of progress


@Bleach: from the material I have read, it seems like 6-weeks was a good starting point for the program. At the conclusion of the 6 week period, I plan to re-assess my goals, what worked, and what didn't work, then continue on accordingly

@Macaroni: I guess by "functional athletic" body I mean a level of fitness that allows me to play semi-competitive sports at a higher level (e.g., basketball). That's pretty awesome that you can do all of those things, I hope to be able to do that too someday (the back flip may be impossible)!

I've heard about diet manipulation, like carb-cycling, and that will be the biggest change for me. I've read articles here that say that specific types of cardio alternatives, like intervals or complexes, are good supplements to a lifting routine for accelerated fat loss. I would say that my goals are MUCH more around body fat% than weight. Honestly, anything below 15-16% would be a win in my book.

Thanks for all your help


Where you are going to be losing the majority of your fat weight is going to come from your conditioning and your diet. You seem to have a general idea of what it means to eat to lose weight, but I'm interested to see what you mean by "interval training," especially if you're training to have a functional, athletic physique.

I would suggest that you look at these articles:


Barbell Complexes:
And there's a great threat going on right now in the conditioning forums about people's favorite BB complexes.

If you have access to Prowlers, dragging sleds, or even just a hill to run on, try to bust your ass running sprints (sprinting on hills is much lower impact that sprinting on flat terrain, especially concrete. Try walking down backwards to minimize knee strain).

And finally, since you have a history of joint pain in your knees from running, and because it sounds like you're seriously undertaking the endeavor of getting yourself in shape, do not underestimate the importance of being cognizant of recovery.

Try hard, but don't over-train.
Eat less, but don't under-eat.
Lift heavy weights, but don't neglect the silly girl stuff like yoga and contrasts baths.

I wish you the best of luck man, but it doesn't seem like you'll need it. If you have the drive, you can make it happen.


Thanks man, I really appreciate the advice!

In the past, I have done interval training primarily on a treadmill with a 30 sec ON/ 30 sec OFF cadence. My sprint would have been 12mph, my active rest would have been sub-3.5mph. Tabata was a revelation -- I tried it on a stationary bike and almost threw up after 3 mins of work -- I want to graduate to front squats and then complexes over the course of my training.

Also: I have another question. I read CT's "Destroying Fat" article (http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/destroying_fat_war_room_strategies_to_maximize_fat_loss). Can I incorporate this thinking into my routine, for example:

Day 1: Upper Body Heavy + Tabata
Day 2: Lower Body Heavy + 20-30 min steady state cardio
Day 3: OFF
Day 4: Upper Body Circut/Endurance + Tabata
Day 5: Lower Body Circut/Endurance + 20-30 min SS Cardio
Day 6: OFF
Day 7: OFF