T Nation

New Member - 36 Yrs Old


Hey everyone, first post here, have been lurking for quite some time however. Question. I'm turning 37 in July and want to be in my best shape ever. I'm basically a tall skinny guy that's added some muscle consistantly since I was 19. When I was 18 I was 6'2 and weighed 160 lbs. (Yeah, that skinny.) Current stats are:

Height: 6'2
Weight: 223.5
Body fat (20%, a bit of a guess here)
Waist: 39
Arms: 17.5
Neck: 15.5
Chest 45
etc... (won't bore you with the rest).

Cleary I'm carrying too much fat based on my 39 inch waist. My goal is to be just under 200 lbs, possibly even 195 by my B-day with all the lost weight having been fat. I know what to do, diet-wise, subscribe to 3 different BB mags and even built a home gym in my garage. I'm doing heavy compound movements, perfect form, weight enough for 8-10 reps.

What I'm struggling with here (per my body fat reading) is sticking to a clean diet. It weird I can lift 2X a day and do cardio, no problem, even when it's 110 my my garage. (I live in PHX AZ.) However when it comes to diet, even though I know exactly what I need to eat, I make great progress for a few days, then basically fall off the wagon.

For those of you that have dropped some substantial weight (fat hopefully) while kept your muscle mass, how did you stick with your diet consistantly. Did you do visualizations, flashcards, some type of reward system? What techniques did you do? I have the mental discipline, certainly when it comes to lifting but I can't quite stick with it when it comes to a super clean diet, especially when I need to create a caloic deficit of about 300 calories daily.

If I can just stick with what I know is a clean diet, I can achieve my physical goals by my B-Day.

Completely open to advice here and thanks in advance.


Lift heavy things over your head.

Eat more than you think you need to.



Oh, and do whatever EDT Charles Staley recommends.

I'm 44, and only returned to the gym less than a year ago after a 20 year lay off, surpassed by college aged best, attained several life goals, and am in the best shape of my life.

So far.

Be sure to keep us updated too!


Thanks for the reply Iron John. I will post my progress here, but don't worry I won't post any pictures of myself asking you all to guess my body fat while holding a shoe. (Laughed my ass off reading those this evening.)

Just have to apply the discipline I already have as when lifting, to keeping on a clean diet.



Just some random thoughts on the diet thing...

Two things to avoid though are getting bored and getting hungry. Either one will push you off your path if they catch you by surprise.

Another thing that might help is making a big thing over a weekly cheat meal. It gives you something to look forward to if you find things luring you off track. It's not that hard to just say "Saturday" to yourself when some craving comes along.

Finally, one tricky issue, given that you live in a warm location, is air conditioning. There is a direct hunger response when you are "cold". You might find if you keep moving enough (stay "warmed up") or if you wear some extra clothes, that you can stave off some cravings.


Thanks for the input, good advice. Another questions for you or anyone else here. As I'm trying to create a caloric defecit of 300 or so calories daily, is there a way to calculate how many calories I burn at rest?

I've heard of a machine you can blow into and it calculates your daily calorie requirment for just existing, not gaining or losing weight.

Unfortunately I don't have access to this sort of equipment so is there a mathmatical formula (perhaps based, on heigh, weight or age) I can use to get a rough idea of how many calories I need daily to nether gain or lose weight? Knowing this will really help as we all know even if you eat cleanly, but still exceed your max daily intake you will gain weight.

Much appreciated!


Two things. One, keep a log of all the stuff you eat for a week or two, to get an idea for what you're maintenance level is. Two, the T-Dawg Diet uses a baseline of 15 x bw - 500 to get a dieting daily caloric intake.


we really need to change this site name to Over 45 Don't change anything while you are in your 30's please. Mid 40's is when the modifactions start to occur. Then it depends on how long you have lifted I do believe ZEB, Dan John and others over 45 would agree.



I tend to agree on the age issue. I'm coming up on 47, and have never really taken an extended break from lifting. I have however shifted my focus and goals at different times.

Several years ago I greatly increased my running and dropped a little too much weight and it seemed to take more effort than I thought it would to regain mass. I won't make that mistake again.

As long as my knees are cooperating I find it easier to control weight and bf issues with running/jogging as opposed to worring very much about what I eat or when I eat. (within reason).


Thanks for this formula, helps a lot. I'm on the 3rd day of my diet, 6 small meals a day, lots of protein, super clean, even did 30 minutes on the treadmill this morning on an empty stomach.

I'm travelling for business all next week so that will really be the test of my discipline. Going to go by Costco today and buy a bunch of protein bars which should help.

Also I weighed myself this morning on the scale which also measures body fat through electrical impedance. Was 222.5 at 20% body fat. So based on this if I get down to 200 lbs, losing only fat I'll be at 10% and should have at least a 4 pack of abs.

Anyway thanks for everyone's advice, this support system really helps. I'll post a picture of me later when I've made some progress. If I posted it now, you'd all just laugh so I'll spare you that. :slight_smile:

Much appreicated!


Hi new member,i have been using Mr Waterburys methods for a couple of years now and have only the highest admiration for them.It is worth giving them a go ....good luck


Forget the protein bars, unless they're MD Bars. Most are useless when it comes to quality protein, and many contain significant amounts of sugar and saturated fat. You're better off packing a 2 pound tub of protein powder in a carry-on bag (or better yet, find a health food store in the destination city and buy some there).


Just an update everyone. Making good progress. Weighed 218 yesterday at 19% body fat so things are tracking well.

Continue to lift as heavy as I can doing compound movements with opposing muscle groups. At lunch today did Incline dumbell presses 75lbs each dumbell as well as incline flyes 75lbs each. I switched between sets with bent over dumbell rows, same weight, and still legged deadlifts at 125 lbs. Also did 100 sits ups.

I've eaten very clean today consisting of 2 cups of of coffee, a banana, one small yogurt, a baked potato plain and a P&B sandwhich. Been drinking lots of water as well. It's 1:30 PM PST a feeling good after my work out. I'll get some cardio in tonight as well and won't eat after 7:30PM.

Also on the advice of my sister I've found the joys of V8 Low Sodium vegitable juice. When I'm hungry, I just have a glass of that, it's only like 50 calories per glass, yet is extremely filling and low in salt. My sister is in fantastic shape in her early 40's even having a 4 pack which is very difficult for women.

Any things are going well and thanks for all your advice here. I'll post a picture next week or so when I get closer to 18% body fat and / or close to 215 lbs.

Thanks again.


Hey guys, question for you. I'm having a bit of trouble continuing to eat clean. Lifting is no problem, not even twice a day just dieting is.

I've been thinking of this long and hard and the only reason I can figure is I grew up through some hard times and we often didn't have much food to eat in the house despite my mom working her ass off for us. (Dad basically bailed on her and his 4 kids at home, and paid no support but that's another story).

For this reason I've formed a connection with food that won't let me eat super clean or even go a bit hungry which I need to do. It's really frustrating because I know exactly what I need to do for diet, but I keep on falling off the clean diet wagon!

If anyone has any motivation tricks, affirmation, visuals, goals, reward systems, I'd really love to hear what's worked for those that have successfully dieted for a contest. I understand there's no magic bullet here, but if there are any techniques that you've found to work pleaese post them.

Thanks in advance and if I fall off the diet wagon again, I really have no business posting here as I see it.


The only thing I can really think of is discipline and desire. I mean, I'm no paragon of virtue in this regard, but I don't have goals which require it.

That being said, careful use of diet aids, such as things that help control your appetite, may be useful. For example, I think both HOT-ROX and ephedrine will help curb your appetite.

However, I certainly don't know anything about getting "contest ready" so I can't help there.


The best suggestions I can give for the eating habits are:

  1. Get all junk food/ favorite snacks out of the house.

  2. Have various prepared meals/snacks around. I usually have some chili in the fridge and some almonds and fruit on the counter. This will help get rid of the excuse of being in a hurry and grabbing something.

One other suggestion on the training. If you enjoy the cardio then fine keep it up, but if you're like me and don't actually like it, then take that half hour and do some weight training complexes (Alwyn posted an article with one the other day). These take about 20 minutes including the warm-up.

The extra benefit of weight-training over traditional forms of cardio is that it it has been shown to increase your metabolism over a prolonged period vs. cardio mainly only elevating your metabolism for the time the exercise is performed and shortly after. The weight should be light enough not to interfere with your regular training (after an adjustment period).

Good luck


Thanks Ruggerlife. We do have junkfood in the house and that is exactly what temps me. Not to blame my wife or anything, but she's preggo and buys this stuff to satisfy her cravings.

Problem is I end up eating it too! :slightly_smiling:

I'll work on having healthly snacks around that I can grab.

Thanks again.


I find you can stay pretty full eating regular small meals of clean food. For snacks, keep containers of walnuts, cut veggies, fresh/dried fruit, jerky, etc. conveniently available and you may soon find you prefer 'real' food over the processed junk you crave now.

Another suggestion is to learn to enjoy planning and cooking meals if you don't already. Get some new recipes off the net and modify them in healthy ways. Don't be afraid to experiment with new spices and sauces. Cook way too much and store the leftover meals in those little disposable tupperware containers. Bring them to work so you're not tempted to hit the fast food joints. If you travel, airports and hotels can be a problem. Pack your own meal for the plane and don't be afraid to ask for healthier choices in hotels. You'll find few places that won't broil instead of fry a piece of fish or chicken if you just ask.

Good luck on your goal.

BTW, if you don't feel ready to post a pic, that's OK. But how about one of your 4-pack packin' sister? Especially if she's single ;^)


Stay active. Do you golf or play softball? Here in Michigan, those sports are just starting up so that gives me an extra boost in activity. I wouldn't give up cardio. In fact, about a month ago I kicked my cardio up to 50 minutes and found a pretty big difference. you have to build your progress on top of each other. A solid week of eating clean and lifting perpetuates to the next week and so forth. It also depends on your goals. You can maintain your muscle and lose weight but it is harder to gain and lose at the same time.


Duh, yeah, another thought, keep a sweater on and turn the heat up. I've always found being "too warm" kept me from wanting to eat...


I would like to add a few things...

I see above that you do 100 sit ups. Time has proven that you need to work your abs like any other muscle. 8 to 12 reps on average for about 3 sets.

Here is a great routine that I started 4 weeks ago to get ready for summer:

Front squat to overhead press
Bent over row
Lunge (10X each leg)
Curl to press

This is one gigantic superset. In other words, do 10 reps of the first exercise, immediately proceed to 10 of the second, etc. Rest for 60 seconds after the final exercise (curls) and then perform 2 additional sets (if you can, lol).

Notice the above routine is built almost entirely of compound movement ( a key component of fat loss).

This routine will take you 40 minutes tops (I do it in 30). You'll be replacing your current program with one that is much more effective but takes no more time. I have noticed my best gains ever from this program. My fat is shrinking while my muscles are popping!

I also workout in my garage in Arizona. Go to Home Depot and get one of those giant, industrial floor fans. Position it in your garage so it faces you and towards the garage door. Open the garage door (to let the air escape) a foot and turn it on and you will hardly notice the heat.

As for diet, sounds like you got it down pretty good even though you're struggling a bit. My best piece of advice, and I know it's tough, but DO NOT have carbs with dinner. Every other diet error is [practically forgivable if you can stick with this one tip and you're exercising hard. My cheats have always been at lunch but I've balanced it with lean proteins and healthy fats at dinner (and no carbs) and my weight loss has not slowed. NEVER EVER have carbs with dinner as long as you're goal is weight loss.