T Nation

New User, Trying to Lean Out


So after years of being the chubby guy, I've finally decided it's time to do something about it. My plan as of now is to lean down before trying to add size later.

I've never had arm, chest, or leg fat... but I have always had that stubborn belly fat and love handles. I've never eaten a lot of sugars, and I've always avoided High Fructose Corn Syrups. Basically my diet consists of eggs, cheese, meat, potatoes, veggies, and breads.

I've done a lot of reading on here before posting this, and I think it's pretty clear if I want to cut down the body fat that I am going to have to give-up the potatoes and breads during the week.

I am planning on cutting my carbs to under 40g a day, and relying on fatty foods for energy to try and get my belly to stat burning the fat off.

For the last five days I've been slowly cutting out all the carbs from my meals and I think I'm finally ready to start my actual diet. For the past three days my daily menu looked like:

Breakfast (7:30am): 3 eggs, 2 slices of cheese, 2 pieces of bacon, 1 fish oil pill, 1 multivitamin, and a small glass of milk.

Snack (10:00am): 1/2 baked turkey or chicken breast, 1 slice of cheese, and a fish oil pill. (I cook 6-10 breasts of meat and then fridge it so that I always have a pre-made snack on-hand in case I don't have time to cook)

Lunch (12:30pm): 1/2 turkey or chicken breast, small salad with no dressing/ or celery with peanut butter, and a fish oil pill.

Snack (3:00pm): Small hamburger patty or chicken/turkey, 1 mozerella string cheese stick (love my cheese, can't you tell), 1 hard-boiled egg, and a fish oil pill.

Dinner (6:00pm): Some form of meat (steak/chicken/turkey/fish), broccoli/spinach/green beans, 1 slices of cheese, and a fish oil pill.

Snack (9:00pm): Celery with peanut butter, 1 slice of cheese, a small piece of chicken if I'm really hungry, and a fish oil pill.

So far I've been keeping track and seem to be averaging around 1900 calories per day. I'm averaging between 30-40g of carbs per day with my peanut butter/milk/veggies. The fish oil pills I am taking are the Double Strength from Origin Dietary (720mg EPA/480mg DHA per pill) and the multivitamin is just a run-of-the-mill men's once a day pill.

I've always been a pretty active person, but I've decided to focus more on cardio and for the last week my schedule has looked like:

Monday: 30 sit-ups in the morning, 30 minutes of jumping rope in the afternoon followed by a 30 minute walk to cool-off, and 30 sit-ups before bed.

Tuesday: 30 sit-ups (I do these when I wake up and before bed every day, always have), 40 minutes of various dumbbell exercises (only using 25lbs, but I'm not worried about getting huge just yet... just trying to lean down), and 30 sit-ups before bed.

Wednesday: 30 sit-ups, in the afternoon I will go out for an hour and run/jog for as long as I can stand it, then walk for a few minutes, and then go back to jogging, then walking, etc until I've finished the 4-and-a-half mile loop around my townhouse complex. (I've been slowly starting to get back home sooner and I'm not jogging for the full hour anymore, so I may have to start adding more distance to add more time to my jog) 30 sit-ups in the evening.

Thursday: 30 sit-ups, 45 minutes of dumbbell exercises, and 30 sit-ups before bed.

Friday: 30 sit-ups, 30 minutes of jumping rope and my 30 minute walk, and 30 sit-ups.

Saturday: 30 sit-ups, 15 minutes of jumping rope, 15 minutes of light dumbbell work, 15 minutes of 15 rep push-up sets (go for as many full sets as I can do), and 30 sit-ups before bed.

Sunday: 30 sit-ups, 30 minute walk in the afternoon, 30-sit-ups before bed. (basically my take-it-easy day)

All-in-all I've been doing the exercises for a week now, and I finally think i have a meal plan I can stick to. I'll be buying a gym membership in the next week or two so that I can add some more versatility to the weight training, but a trainer is out of the question due to monetary... inconveniences...

If you see any glaring faults in my diet/exercise routine, please feel free to point them out. Constructive criticism is always welcome, even if it's a little harsh.

Stats right now are:
5' 9"
168 lbs
31" waste
Pot-belly and love handles

We'll see how it goes in the next 2 weeks.

(By the way if this belongs in a different section or would get more input from somewhere else, feel free to move it... I figured that this was the right place)


I almost forgot a very important question. I have read that alcohol inhibits your liver from processing fat.

But, but... I love my beer. I've been able to cut-back to one or two Michelob Ultras per day, but do I have to cut it out altogether?

I'm willing to if it's necessary, but it will be a sad sad day...


You said your goal was to get under 40g of carbs, beer has carbs.


Also, what are your stats?


Sorry for the multiple posts, apparently Michelob Ultras have 1 carb per serving.


1) The carbs weren't what I was worried about. I'm under my carb limit everyday and have already calculated them in. I was interested in the "you can't burn fat with alcohol in your system" line of thought.

2) My stats were listed in the original post:

5' 9"
168 lbs
31" waist
Pot-belly and love handles :frowning:

Still looking for any other feedback/criticism. Blast away folks... I know I'm probably doing a few things wrong, or at least not doing them well-enough, so I won't be taking anything the wrong way.

Thanks again everyone...


You know that situps will do absolutely nothing about stomach fat, right? If you're capable of doing more than a dozen, then they're a crappy form of cardio, nothing more. You'd be better off doing proper cardio (run or bike or swim) along with a good weight routine.


I think you should train as if you are trying to gain muscle now. You don't have to eat a huge caloric surplus yet, but get to a gym or get more equipment for your home besides just 25 lb DBs. You need to train to get stronger and that's pretty tough to do if you only have one pair of DBs.

FWIW I think you are doing yourself a huge injustice by justifying training like a pussy because you want to get lean before you get big. Train as if you are trying to get big now, just don't eat like it until you get you BF under control.

Post some pictures, because your situation doesn't sound that bad. You've got a 31" waist, and are only 168 lbs. How fat can you be?

Sorry, saw you're joining the gym next week, but again don't just add "versatility" add intensity.


Kilo: I took your advice and didn't do my sit-ups today in favor of a 30 minute jog/walk before breakfast. It's going to take some getting used to... it just doesn't feel right leaving out my sit-ups :slightly_smiling:

Vanilla: I might be messing-up on the waist measurements. I am between 30-31" above the hips/below the belly... if you measure around my belly-button it's between 33-34". I'll also be getting pics up as soon as I get my digi-cam back from my brother-in-law. Bastard had to take it on vacation with him.

The main reason I am starting with the 25lb'ers isn't that I am trying to slack-off or take a sissy-route, it's that I have never really done much with weights and I am trying to get my arms used to lifting before slapping some weights on a bar, wrecking my arms, and having to stop exercising for a week to let them recover.

I have a set of 35lb'ers that I will be using at the end of this week/beginning of next after getting comfortable with the 25lb'ers. I'm just trying to get my arms in better shape before I:

a) hurt myself with too much weight too soon and have to take time off of my routine or,

b) have my form go to shit just so I can say that I am using 50+lbs in each hand.

Believe me, I can't wait to start a more intense training schedule, I am just trying to make sure I am ready before I do. I've never done much lifting, so I figured it's better to take it a little slower and be safe.

Besides, my wife can always use them later on if she ever feels like doing anything but cardio with her 5lb and 10lb weights :slightly_smiling:

Any thoughts on the diet? I figured 1900-2000 calories is a good place to start. I'll give it a week and see how I feel, unless someone can see something I'm doing wrong and I have to change it up before then.

Edit: Forgot to say thanks for the responses... Thank you guys


Build muscle.



dude, a 31 inch waist?

i'd hardly be worried about that


TNT: I plan to very soon. Just trying to lose this gut first.

Neely: I've had this belly fat all my life, and after 24 years, I've decided it's time to get my ass in shape and change my lifestyle to get rid of it.

The only fat I really have on my body is in my midsection and a little in my pecs, but I'm determined to get rid of the belly fat before I try eating extra calories to try building size. I'm just worried that I'll start getting even fatter from the extra calories, and getting even fatter than I am now basically worries the shit out of me.

I'm just worried that if I've never been able to get the fat off, if I add even more that it will be there forever.

As soon as I am able to get some pics up you will see what I mean about the belly fat. It's not that I am extremely overweight or anything, it's more of a "I've had this all my life and god damnit it's time to lose it" sort of thing.


The alcohol is not helping your goals. Maybe keep the beers to a couple on the weekends. Or as more people will probably say, just give it up for the duration of your cut. You are pretty small though so maybe you would be better served adding some muscle which would result in better body comp.


Yeah, that most likely won't happen.

See, the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns during all activities - even while at rest.

To be blunt, I couldn't read the entire post about your routine and diet because it was too long and complicated, therefore, it sucks.

You are micromanaging. Don't.
Keep it simple.

Carbs early.
Fats late.
Eat until you're not hungry. Then eat a little more.
Don't eat the bad food.
Start every day with at least a cup of oatmeal (before you add water).
Do compound lifts.
Push yourself.

Knock it off with the daily hour-long cardio sessions; you have plateaued. No more good can come from this unless you gain more muscle (ie: bulk) and you won't bulk while doing daily hour-long cardio without eating more than you would need to just bulk up without the excessive cardio.

Pick those 25 lb. dumbells up over your head and squat with them.

Your midsection will end up looking smaller as the rest of you gets bigger. It'll probably actually shrink too.


I know it's been two days, but work has been a bitch and I wanted to update you on what I have been doing.

First off, again, thanks guys. The help and advice really does help.

So per-Kilo, I've given up the morning/nite sit-ups in favor of a 30-minute walk/jog before breakfast and after dinner.

And in the last two days I've realized exactly how out of shape I really am. I took klown's advice and took my 35lb bells and started doing squats on my lifting days, 3 sets of 15 each since it wasn't much weight. Cardio be damned... squats are a bitch. I know, I know... I'm only using 70 lbs, but jesus christ my thighs were burning this morning...

So after realizing how weak my sissy-ass is, I've decided to start focusing more on my weights to try and strengthen up.

And this no beer thing is shitty... I can't wait for saturday :slight_smile:

Thanks again for the advice and support guys. If you have any other suggestions, throw them out there... I'm always open for improvement.


The soreness may not be due to weakness, just that it's a new rep range.


I was with you until 5'9, 168. Your midsection isn't too big, you're just too small up top.

Eat relatively clean but voluminously, train hard with a decent volume and do a little cardio and you'll get bigger without adding any fat, and probably dropping a little.

You don't diet down at 5'9, 168. But do what you want, I guess.



Scratch the situps.

Keep your cardio sessions short in time and high in intensity.

Since you seem to have limited equipment, look into complexes.

Also, I would suggest first and foremost that you set aside some time every night to read through many of the articles on this site. Most of the people on this forum will be hesitant to spoon-feed you info on how to shed fat and gain muscle when there are hundreds of articles here on this very topic, written by extremely well-qualified individuals.

Best of luck.


I always find body weight workouts the best for cutting especially if you cant get into a gym, stop the running and start doing 30min of pushups, chinups, squats and handstand presses as many as you can alternating between the four exercises not only will this help shed the fat but should be able to start building a bit of muscle aswell untill you can get in the gym and start lifting heavy stuff :slightly_smiling:


Oh yeah and if your really keen start doing burpie pullups