T Nation

New Guy Saying 'Hi'


Hey there, guys and gals.

I have been lurking around here for the past couple weeks, but this is my first post, and hopefully there will be many more to come.

I am not quite sure what information you folks will or will not want to hear, so I am just going to jot down everything I can possibly think of. I suppose you are all old enough to decide what you care to read and what you do not care to read.

About me
22 years old
Youngstown, OH
20% body fat, according to the calculator I found here...
Bench- 195 1rm
Squat- 260 1rm
Deadlift- Not tested

Training History
I played baseball in high school, and I have never been in better shape than I was during those 4 years. Before then, my diet and exercise habits were shit, and my body showed it. After I graduated, and made the (very bad) decision not to play in college, I put far too much emphasis on partying, and far too little emphasis on my health. Although I have never been the best-looking, most buff guy, things really went downhill for me at that point, and I ballooned up from an average-looking 200 lbs to a disgusting 290 lbs.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to start a completely misguided attempt at getting in shape. I had absolutely no knowledge of how to accomplish this, so I made a couple terrible decisions. I bought a copy of Muscle & Fitness, and I went to GNC to buy some supps. I guess somehow I thought "supplements" were a "supplement" for hard work. As you might expect, this course of action led me to nothing but disappointment and frustration. It did not take long before I put the supps in the cupboard, put down the weights, and gave up altogether.

So, 8 months ago, a girl gave me the motivation to take another run at improving my physique. She loved/loves me just the way I was/am, and I appreciate that a great deal. But she is a beautiful, sexy, intelligent, wonderful woman, and I think she deserves better than she has right now. She does everything necessary to maintain her body, and she looks fantastic...So, I want to do everything I can to make sure she is with somebody who looks as good as she does.

I got started on my road to a better body, but I left the supplements in the cupboard. I made simple changes to my diet, and started adding some cardio and simple lifts. In the past 8 months, I have lost 55 lbs to go from 280 to my current weight of 225. Up to this point, however, I have had absolutely no structure to my nutrition or training, and I have been using absolutely no supplements. About a month ago, I started checking out the message boards on M&F.com. Around the time I realized that there was not much to learn there, I noticed a couple posts which described T-Nation as a much more hardcore environment. That sounded good to me, so I checked it out, and I like what I have seen so far.

I have not been following any kind of strict diet. My progress has simply been a result of making simple healthy choices in place of the past horrible choices. But, since I know I am likely to get at least one person asking to see a sample diet, I will type up an average day for me...

1 banana
1 cup orange juice
1 slice whole wheat toast

1 cup pineapple

1 can water-packed tuna
1 hard-boiled egg
2 cups mixed greens salad
2 tbsp vinegar/olive oil dressing

8oz chicken breast
1 cup brown rice
2 cups fresh green beans

Training Splits
Sunday- 60 mins cardio
Monday- triceps/biceps followed by 30 mins cardio
Tuesday- chest/back followed by 30 mins cardio
Wednesday- legs followed by 30 mins cardio
Thursday- shoulders/traps followed by 30 mins cardio
Friday- 60 mins cardio
Saturday- 60 mins cardio

These are the items I have available to me right now. Save for the tub of protein, fish oil, and the Carnitine caps, all of these items were purchased over a year ago...When I was completely ignorant about every possible aspect of training, nutrition, and supplementation. Clearly, I am not exactly a pro BBer right now. But, at the time I made these purchases, my supplement knowledge was limited to what I "learned" from the Ads in Muscle & Fitness and the salesman at GNC.

Six Star Pro Nutrition Whey Protein Plus "Elite Series"
-52g protein per scoop

Nature's Bounty L-Carnitine
-500mg capsules

Spring Valley Omega 3 Fish Oil
-1000mg capsules

Nutrex Lipo 6 Black
-Thermogenic Fat Burner

GNC Pro Performance Amplified Creatine 189
-1250mg Creatine Hydrochloride

GNC Mega Men Sport Vitapak
-TONS of ingredients...I will list them if necessary

GNC Lean Shake Meal Replacement Shakes

Why I'm Here...
I'm looking to find several different things during my time here, including, but not limited to...
-Advice on improving my nutrition to promote fat loss
-Advice on training to improve my aesthetics and overall strength
-Advice on Supplementation to aid (not replace) my hard work and clean eating
-Motivation to stay on the right course
-Friendly, interesting conversation with individuals who share common interests

Also, if anyone is interested in seeing my progress thus far, I have (reluctantly) posted a couple pictures in my profile....Please don't be tooooo harsh.


Thats 5 hours of cardio. WOW thats tough kid lol

How often do you use the protein shakes? as it looks like you have less than 100g of protein in a day looking at your diet.


Congrats on the progress so far! However, you still have a long way to go if your goal is to look somewhat good naked.

Your sample diet is shit. That was like 5 grams of protein per day (at least you were honest with it). To effectively shed fat, you need a LOT MORE protein.

What I would like for you:

6 scrambled eggs
1 cup of oatmeal
-Fish oil

1 cup pineapple
(How about some of your protein powder with it?)

1 can water-packed tuna
1 hard-boiled egg (1 egg? 1 egg???? make it a 6 egg omelet with some cheese and pickles in it if you like)
2 cups mixed greens salad
2 tbsp vinegar/olive oil dressing
Your vita pak is a multivitamin, right? have it with lunch

8oz chicken breast
1 cup brown rice
2 cups fresh green beans

Bowl of cottage cheese

When do you work out?
Make sure to include about 100 grams of protein in your peri-workout window.
Since you're a (former)fat boy you should go easy on the carbs, maybe a banana before and 30 grams of sugar right after your work out (quasi in the locker room) you can mix your creatine in your post- work out shake, too.


First of all, hello!

A couple of things. Way too much cardio. Fat loss comes from tightening up your diet. Check out this article, I wish I had read this years ago:


As for nutrition, there are plenty of good links on this site that will put you on the right track, check out some of the stickies in the nutrition forum. With that being said, I've had a lot of success with carb cycling, so that may be something you want to check out. But no matter what, you really need to crank up the protein.

With regards to training, personally as a beginner I wouldn't recommend a split like the one you are doing. I think focusing on the core multi-joint barbell exercises are the best for strength and fat loss. Squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, bent-over barbell row, pull-ups, dips. If those were the only exercises you did (and probably should be) then you would make serious progress. Starting Strength is a good program, as well as different variations of 5x5.

Personally, I'd hit the weight room 5 times a week, and fuck the cardio. Lift weights, tighten up the diet and you'll look like a king. Once the body fat drops a bit, maybe do some sprints a couple times a week, those are awesome for you but you can hurt yourself sprinting if you are carrying too much extra weight on your body.

Regarding the supplements, I personally would ditch the thermogenic. I think that's a supp that you should use when you are sub-10% body fat and really stalling on progress. As you probably know by know, most GNC brand stuff sucks. I wouldn't be spending money on supps aside from protein at this point, but you've got a ways to go before you really need to worry about supps in my opinion.

Anyway, congrats on the progress, and congrats on the excellent motivation. Nothing is better than sex for motivation. It's a good thing you've got the support of a wonderful girl. That was very helpful to me when I did my first transformation. Hope to see you posting on the Nation


All of this is good.


I haven't been utilizing anything that is listed in the "Supplements" section of Original Post. I listed those items because I do have them at my house. Part of the reason I'm here is to figure out what/when/why I should be taking supplements.


Yes, I'm aware that I still have a ton of work to do.

Your sample diet would be perfectly doable, but I do have one small issue with it. Although most of the food is stuff that I could consider very tasty, I absolutely hate cottage cheese. Are there any easy substitutions I could go with?

My workouts usually take place between midnight-4am. I've always been a bit of an insomniac, which I understand is horrible for my growth, but I haven't had any luck with fixing it.
For pre and post workout, I can definitely do that. 30g of sugar seems like a ton, though. Should I reach for the gummy bears, or do you have another suggestion? Oh, and the Creatine I have now actually isn't a powder, it's a HUGE capsule...But obviously I can simply swallow the capsule at that time.


I will definitely give that article a thorough read. I quickly read through the introduction paragraphs, and it seems as though the advice within the article is aimed more at the guys in the 10-15% bf range, rather than fatties like me....But I'll check it out anyway.

Frankly, I do understand that my protein intake is far too low, and I realize that I need to make changes. That's the reason I chose to join T-Nation to begin with. It seems as though there are tons of different diets which have given different people positive results. That's why I chose to put up my own thread, and get some opinions on my own personal situation, rather than just randomly choosing a diet that worked for some other random person. I figured some personalized advice might give me a better chance at choosing the right one.

As far as training goes, I think the primary reason that I haven't been focusing on the "big lifts" is that I'm a bit shy about doing them in the gym. At my size, when I put the kind of light weights that I can handle on the bar, and go to work, I just feel stupid. I'm going to look up the "Starting Strength" program, and see what it's all about. Is it the kind of thing I can use the Search Bar for, or do I need to go with Google?

You must have skipped over the opening paragraph of my "Supplements" section, in my original post. (Which I understand because there was a lot of text there). I haven't actually been taking any of the Supplements listed there. I was pretty sure that I read someplace that the Carnitine and Fish Oil would aid in my fat loss...That's why I bought them.

I do love this girl and I really do think about her quite often, while I'm working out. But, I wouldn't really say that sex is the motivator. We have a great sex, and plenty of it...Although I do think it will be a whole lot better when I get all ripped up...Notice I said "when" not "if". In the past, she has brought up the idea of making a little home movie...But I didn't feel comfortable enough with my body to do that. I can't wait to transform my body and tear that ass up on camera. haha

Anyway, you'll definitely see me posting on the boards, and I'll be happy to continue to update everyone on my progress, and post new pics whenever I see a noticeable change.


Congratulations on your progress thus far, as well as posting on this site. There is a lot of good info already, but I will reinforce a couple points.

More protein!!! You need it....

Back down the cardio. You should read the "best cardio article ever" that was posted recently. You don't need it to lose fat. Honestly, I just hate the term "cardio." People interpret it as doing boring shit like running on a treadmill or sitting on a bike for a specified amount of time. I do "recovery workouts" (primarily legs/compound lifts) which are high rep/low weight sessions that also include a lot of mobility work/stretching. I consider it cardio because it is pretty intense (despite the weight), and it also serves a purpose. You leave the gym more mobile, and better prepared for your next heavy session.

All of that being said,

Hard work and intensity trump all of the knowledge and expertise there is. So, if you put the work in, you will see results.


Good progress, and quite frankly guys, if he's not stalling, I think he should keep doing something pretty similar. A little more structure in the gym and in the kitchen. A little more protein. But keep up the good work!


Instead of cottage cheese, mix curd and unsweetened joghurt 50/50.

So you work out right before bed? In that case, no carbs for you!


Congrats on your progress so far. I am a lurker here, but I decided to register to encourage you to get over this. I started lifting in February 2010, weighing in at 168lbs and standing 6'3". Now I weigh 210 lbs and have increased my lifts consistently.

When I started back in Feb, I got on the Stronglifts 5x5 program. I had never touched a barbell before in my life. I was embarrassed when I went into the gym and bench pressed the bar (the program recommends starting with an empty bar on all the lifts) but I sucked it up and did it anyway. I'm really glad I did. No one really paid any attention to me and I'm sure the same will be true for you. In any case, you will quickly get up to 135lbs on bench and 225 on squat/dl and then you won't be embarrassed anymore. Good luck and learn the big lifts!


Yeah, somebody already suggested checking out that article, and a lot of it does make quite a bit of sense to me. And, I have been reading about some HIIT workouts that I am considering incorporating.

Hard work is definitely something that I have plenty of.

Thanks for the response!


It was great of you to register just to offer me some encouragement. I really do appreciate it.

Although I am already well above that 135 number on the bench, I think that is probably some pretty useful advice. I'll check out the workout plan you were describing.

And, in any event, it's good that you registered...I'm sure that posting here can be beneficial to both of us.


Yes, I often get my main workout in within an hour or two of bedtime. But, 3 or 4 times a week, I get an additional workout in at the gym on campus, in-between classes.


I don't know what you have to be embarrassed about then. Lots of people start StrongLifts 5x5 with the bar on all exercises and add 5lbs each session. The most embarrassing thing you will ever do in the gym is to squat 5x5 with the 2.5lb plates on each side. LOL.


I just feel like, for as big as I am, I'm a little bitch lift-wise. But, I'm getting over that, because I realize that putting that behind me is the only way to get stronger.

2.5 lb plates...That sounds horrible. haha


By the way, Dre...Do you have any good suggestions for sources of that 30 grams of sugar? Also, are there any particular types of sugar (Sucrose, Glucose, Fructose, etc) that are better than others, for this timeframe?


Dextrose or better Maltodextrin. But like I said before, if it's one of those late-night workouts, you can't have any, as this may slow down your fat loss. Only use sugar after your between-class workouts.


Major props to you for getting this far. The fact that you were/are doing 5 hours of cardio a week just proves that you have some serious motivation behind your efforts. I would honestly rather cut off a few toes then do that much cardio :wink:

I'll be following along to see how you are doing and throwing my two sense in. Good luck