T Nation

Negative Results?!


#1

Hi All,

I was hoping to get some advice on my particular situation. I'm sorry for the length of this post but I'm at my wits end and figure more detail is better.

Over the years I have relied on insane amounts of physical activity to keep lean. A morning and evening session at the boxing gym was typical and worked very well. The problem ... well, the rest of life happened.

Between family and work I had to cut out the boxing gym and my activity levels haven't been kept high enough. So I balloon back up to 180'ish from around 150 - almost all in my middle as I can still see separation in my shoulders and thighs. My waist is currently at 39", when in fighting shape it is around 33" (I am barrel shaped).

This shouldn't be an issue. Adjust diet and exercise until things situate, right? However my body just is not responding to whatever I try. It seems as though w/o the super high activity levels my body just isn't cooperating.

It is as if in the past I was able to force it past whatever was the problem. Now, with a moderate calorie deficit and the re-addition of exercise things just aren't moving at all.

I am consuming about 2700 calories per day (~500 at breakfast, lunch, dinner and ~300 at 4 different snack meals in between). Some days a bit less as I am getting tired of eating so much.

I do a full body gymnastic workout on rings 4 days a week - maximal strength oriented and have also added in some KB swings and joint prehab movements in the morning.

The issue is my weight has gone up since I have been doing this and so has my waist size (so it wasn't muscle gain AFAICT). My waist prior to all of this was 37.5". It is as if everything is backfiring. I have been strict with diet and workout for the last month and reasonably strict the month and half prior to that. I got real strict for this last month when things weren't going as they were supposed to, only to have it go even further south.

I am so frustrated. My normal diet before any of these changes was pretty low carb, because of food preferences. However I do have a sweet tooth. I have kept that sweet tooth in check while attempting to get my waistline under control. But, it seems as though whatever diet I have is moot. My weight stays right around 180-190 regardless of what I consume.

Unless I carve out the multiple hours to go to the boxing gym - in which case I eat whatever I feel like (I have to in order to stay that active) but my weight and waistline do come back down in that scenario. I have gone through this once before and solved it with crazy amounts of time in the gym.

Currently, my life just isn't going to accommodate such extremely high levels of activity despite how much I wish it could. So I am trying to do all the right things to keep weight/fat in check ... but thus far no positive results. I have an appointment next Tuesday to get some lab work ordered, but I am not even sure what to ask them to look for.

I tried supplementing with Rhodiala Rosea for a few months, thinking my cortisol might be screwed. But that hasn't had any affects thus far. I also ordered some ReceptorMax in case my problem is one of Insulin Resistance. But it really feels like I am just shooting in the dark.

What can or should I do? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Chris

===================
Here is a sample of the last couple days meals and supplements:

Day 1:
Morning
3 BCAA
3 RezV
2 Rhodiola Rosea

            Breakfast
                    1 Serving Superfood
                    1 Serving L-Leucine
                    1/2 Cup Oatmeal with 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil and brown sugar topping

            Morning Snack
                    2 Slices Mozzerela Cheese
                    1 Banana

            Lunch
                    1 Serving L-Leucine
                    Half Rack Beef Ribs

            Afternoon Snack
                    3 Sausage Links

            Post Workout
                    6 BCAA
                    1 Serving Superfood

            Dinner
                    1 Serving L-Leucine
                    7 oz Ribeye

            Bedtime
                    3 BCAA
                    4 Flameout
                    1 Celery Stick With Peanut Butter

Day 2:
Morning
3 BCAA
3 RezV
2 Rhodiola Rosea

            Breakfast
                    1 Serving Superfood
                    1 Serving L-Leucine
                    1/2 Cup Quinoa with 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil and brown sugar topping

            Morning Snack
                    2 Slices Mozzerela Cheese (~2.5 oz)
                    1 Banana

            Lunch
                    1 Serving L-Leucine
                    8 oz Tri-Tip

            Afternoon Snack
                    3 oz Beef Sausage
                    3 Small Mandarins

            Post Workout
                    6 BCAA
                    1 Serving Superfood
                    2 Rhodiola Rosea

            Dinner
                    1 Serving L-Leucine
                    1 Chicken Breast - Pieces Breaded And Pan Fried in Olive Oil

            Bedtime
                    3 BCAA
                    4 Flameout
                    1 Celery Stick With Peanut Butter

#2

Sorry if this sounds brief and to the point, but you need to eat a lot more.

A LOT more.


#3

Why do you say this? He's eating 2700 Calories per day and he's trying to lose fat. He also weighs a fat 180. You really think he needs to eat MORE than 2700 Calories per day? Not everyone out there is the super-musclar Calorie destroying machine that many people on this site like to assume.

Now, you could actually be right IF he really ISN'T eating 2700 Calories per day but is, in actuality, eating far less. From the diet he has posted, it looks rather low in Calories, but without specific amounts of some of the food choices listed and Calorie counts, hard to say for sure.

I still think, regardless, for the OP's size, 2700 is too high. Hell, I can lose moderately on that amount and I'm 240+ and a lean 210.

OP (Chris), the first thing I would tell you would be to make sure all your meals are about the same size in terms of macronutrient breakdown and Caloric content. You can refine further after that.

Also, make absolutely certain you are, indeed, eating 2700 or so Calories. If you are, and aren't losing fat, bump them down another 300-500, since you are unable to increase your activity to levels high enough to lean down while eating this amount.


#4

Yeah, I'd suggest the OP enter his diet into FitDay. If that is 2700 calories I'll shit myself in public and eat it.


#5

Fair enough. When I looked through the dietary plan, it just looked really heavly (perhaps unneccesarily so? to be debated) on supplementation, but pretty skim on the diet.

I know it's not for everyone, but the first time I lost a large segment of weight I did it in a similar fashion and felt simply horrible the entire time. I know the guy doesn't have a whole lot of time to incorporate cardio and stuff, but if he can find time to do at least 30-60 minutes of fasted morning cardio, that can probably add a good 300-600 calories for the day while still seeing results.

Anyway, listen to New Damage, not me! The guy knows what he's doing.


#6

Thanks for the input guys.

For clarification, yes it is around 2700 calories on a typical day - at least it was when I was consistently checking the labels. The last meal of the day has been a bit less these last few days (again, I am getting tired of eating so much). Where does it seem low aside from that - each snack comes out to be ~300 calories and each main meal ~500? I could see maybe my fried chicken not quite making it, but the tri-tip lunch that day would have come out a bit over.

As for supplements ... I keep up with them in hopes that benefits will start happening at some point due to accumulation. I am not using any to replace food with the exception of the Superfood, however I never ate vegetables on a consistent basis prior to this so I don't really consider this a replacement. Do you think I should cut them out?

What I am having the hardest time understanding is this same kcal amount was maintining my weight around 185 with a 37.5" waist with no workout routine. The difference was I would have all my food around lunch, with an occasional steak for dinner. Since cutting out most all processed food, integrating fruit on a daily basis, breaking it up into multiple smaller meals (the supposedly better approach), and adding in the workout I have gone up to 192 and a 39" waist. This is what makes no sense to me.

  • Chris

#7

After thinking it over some, I am going to aim to get another 200 calories at each main meal as that will be the easiest for me to integrate and see if it helps out. If things go up further then I'll know it was the wrong direction, right?

I also feel like complete crap - depressed, low libido, etc. But that has been going on for some time now even before my conscientious attempt to address my waistline. It has been going on since last summer - diet prior to then and even after was exactly the same so I don't see where it could be related to food intake.

I'll look into creating an account on FitDay to verify this stuff too. I weighed the banana, cheese and mandarins this morning so I should have a good idea by the end of the day if I am accurate with my assessment or not.

Any insight into why similar calorie levels in one huge and one smaller meal were serving me better?

  • Chris

#8

Yep!

That's odd. Perhaps have some blood work done? Had a check-up at the doctor in a while? It might NOT be related to food.

Well, in your original post I don't think you mentioned the fact that you ate the same, with no activity level, and yet maintained your weight. That is odd.

My first guess would be that you were simply eating less than you are now when you had the majority of your Calories at lunch, followed by a later dinner.

I could be wrong, obviously. You don't SOUND like you're misjudging your food intake, but so many people do, that its the first thing to address for many.

After that, you could try dropping your carbs again.

Are you having any cheat meals? ANY? Any day where you just eat a whole pizza or something? Even if you do it infrequently, it CAN mess your progress up.

Do you have an actual macronutrient breakdown? Carbs/Protein/Fats ?

Anyways, good luck, keep us updated.


#9

I can't speak for your gymnastic training, but unless it's more like cardio and less true gymnastics your not going to lose weight. People use cardio for a reason.

You don't have to do 2 a day 2 hour sessions.

An intense run for a fair amount of time will help you lose. Your getting older unless you workout more intensely you will gain.


#10

Your cortisol IS screwed - and so is your insulin sensitivity (these two go hand in hand). You are depressed because all you eat is a ton of saturated fat red meat with no vegetables and no carbohydrates.

Your libido is down because you have virtually no leptin and that correlates with insulin increases. Carbohydrates raise leptin the most.

You are engaging in excessive physical activity on a very low-carb diet. This is a colossal mistake. Have you ever heard the term: Burn the fat, feed the muscle?

It applies to EVERYONE. You gave the answer to yourself when you said lots of activity and eating whatever you wanted allowed you to whittle down the waist line. Have you considered, perhaps, that you are not one of the types who needs a low-carb diet to get lean?


#11

So to recap...

-you weight around 180ish/190

-gymnastic ring works 4 days a week, some prehab stuff

-eating 2700 calories per day (still need a true macronutrient breakdown)

-no cardio

ksommer, the OP has mentioned having to exercise LESS than in the past. I don't see how what he is doing is excessive. I do agree that, based on the diet he posted, it looks severely lacking in meat variety and fat variety - should see some more monounsaturated fats in there for sure.

Personally, I still think the OP is simply eating too much based on what activity they are doing.

Adding in more activity, dropping Calories, or a combination of both, should help get things going in the right direction. However, as of now, he is going to do the opposite, and add 200 more calories to each of his three main meals.

This is counterintuitive to me, but stranger things have happened I suppose.

Based on my own experience (though I acknowledge people have differences in metabolism) I never got lean until I dropped Calories enough for MYSELF.

Lots of stuff out there preaches "you gotta eat more! your metabolism is slowing down!" but I think that fools many people into eating more than they need to when trying to lose bodyfat.


#12

I guess the first thing to put out there is I have always eaten red meat with no veggies as my main diet. This was prior to my depression,libido issues. My dislike of veggies is the reason for the Superfood, I figured I would try to get some of the benefits, since eating them isn't likely to happen.

I have considered that last (about not "needing" a low carb diet). However, my low carb leaning is from food choice mostly. When I was eating everything in sight it was usually processed crap, yet very high activity levels canceled that out. At least that is my guess. Is it possible my body actually needs the higher carb diet - should I just ignore the sources for the most part?

  • Chris

#13

The recap is basically correct. My current weight this morning was 192.

I just realized my diet posting was missing my preworkout snack. That consists of an apple and nuts or a granola bar in most cases. Damn copy/paste. Sorry about that error.

I figure adding in the extra 200 cals per main meal would be easier than trying to cut into smaller portions at the main meals (and I didn't want to cut out the snacks at all).

  • Chris

#14

I scheduled an appointment with a doc at Kaiser to try and get some ordered. I have never done this before so am not quite sure what to ask for nor if they will even do it without too many hoops having to be jumped through.

Sorry, tried to include everything in the main post yet keep it relevant and not ramble. I am definitely sure I was eating the same on most days and much more on others - especially the weekend. On the weekend I would typically consume much more than I am now since I have been staying strict as of the last month or so.

  • Chris

#15

For Day 2 that I posted this is what FitDay came up with:

Calories 2,551
Grams Calories %-Cals
Fat 136.7 1,207 47 %
Saturated 53.8 475 19 %
Polyunsaturated 14.6 126 5 %
Monounsaturated 55.0 487 19 %
Carbohydrate 166.8 652 26 %
Dietary Fiber 15.1
Protein 167.2 695 27 %
Alcohol 0.0 0 0 %

That is without the Flameout - so that would bring it to 2,600. However, I had to fudge the chicken breast fried in olive oil as that is a homemade item so getting exact nutrients were tough. I ended up accounting for 6 oz of chicken breast, 3/8 cup of bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil. I think it could reasonably be a bit higher but not too likely that it was lower.

As I mentioned to NewDamage I forgot my preworkout meal of an apple and nuts (on that day). I didn't include it in the total since you were commenting on what I listed. So although what I posted may not have quite made the 2700 mark, my total food intake for the day definitely did. At least we won't have to see any public scat displays. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the site though, I wasn't aware of it.

  • Chris

#16

Well ok, according to that you are getting some more monounsaturates..good deal.

Again, I just think you're eating too much. Granted, you are 5'6" so 180-190 at that height is pretty decent siae assuming you're not a complete lard-ass (pretty sure you aren't.)

Based on THOSE numbers I'd personally drop the carbs to less than 30, bump fat to about 150 and protein to at least 200. Should put you around 2300 or so Calories. I'd do that for 2 weeks and see where I ended up, and adjust accordingly.

Anyways, go ahead and add 200 to your meals and let us know what happens in 2 weeks. I'm interested to see if it gets you back on track or not.


#17

Nope not a lard ass. Just have gotten a belly on me from too much work and laziness and not enough useful work (e.g. gym). It sucks because it is easy to convince yourself you aren't getting fat when you can look in the mirror and still see good muscle tone/shape.

I have been trying to only get in my carbs for breakfast and at dinner after my workout. With the exception of fruit. If I end up cutting more cals should I cut out that fruit so my carbs are lower?

Any suggestions on what to ask them to look at when I try to get some blood work done?

I had hoped to simply cut calories a bit, add in a bit of activity and call it good. It shouldn't be this hard to get a few inches off my waist.

  • Chris

#18

As far as blood work I'd look into:

total testosterone
free testosterone
cortisol
estradiol
Complete Blood Cell count with differential
Comprehensive metabolic panel
Thyroid panel

Could even check for Epstein-Barr as that is often involved in fatigue, feeling lousy


#19

The last thing I would recommend for this person is a low-carbohydrate diet.

I was diagnosed with low testosterone last summer after months on a low carbohydrate diet. I added in healthy carbohydrates and I am leaner, heavier, stronger, and have a HELL of a lot more sex drive. Essentially, my life is just better. Keep in mind I decided to do this after Charles told me I was born moderately carb tolerant.

I have just been where he has been. I am more concerned with the guy's health than anything. I am not necessarily saying his workout routine is excessive - it is just excessive for his diet, and maybe for his body type.

Insulin tends to free up bound testosterone in the blood... and it sounds like his testosterone is low. 1/2 of oatmeal or quinoa is not enough to release the SHBG. For sure, I'd recommend some PWO carbs.


#20

Well, the thing is, I had basically the opposite result of you.

I keep my carbs low, less than 50, and routinely test in the very high end of both total and free testosterone. Granted, I am fairly young (24) but low carbs have never resulted in me having lower testosterone, and I've done very long periods of low carb dieting.

Again, I kept my carbs next to nothing, getting carbs only from green vegetables.

Diet is highly individual; as of right now, he's eating a sort of odd high fat (47%) moderate carb, moderate protein diet. Obviously, what he is eating is not working. Now its time to start experimenting.

Perhaps dropping the fat, and upping the carbs is what he needs. Perhaps dropping the carbs and upping the protein/fat is more beneficial. Gotta try it and see.