T Nation

Nothing Works: Ideas Please


Graduated high school 10 years ago 6' 130 lbs, 4 years of the Marines and I got to 225 lbs not a ton of it muscle. After years of lazines I decided to get back in the gym last Nov. I've put on some muscle and made some gains and altogether got down to 205. I am happy with my mass gains but really need to drop a lot of fat...

today i do a 3 day full body workout, on the adrenaline diet getting about 200 g protein/day and about 2,000 calories, and while strength is going up i have lost no weight and visually at least no fat. I have read hndreds of the articles and figured the AD was best but these low-carb diets i've tried in the past and currently never give me any fat loss results.


I know nutrition is a huge part and after reading hundreds of various articles i devided on the Velocity diet, i've been following it for three weeks getting about 200 g of protein HOT-ROX and post-workout Surge and maintaining about 2,000 cals/day. My arms and chest have gotten bigger but i notice no fat loss, my waist and other measurements are about the same and i weigh exactly the same. Anybody have any suggestions? I want my 6-pack back!!


jmbundy, you just have do what the rest of us did. Review the articles on this site as far as nutrition and exercise. It takes a little time and effort, but hey, anything worth while in life does.

Its hard for us to guess what you need. Do the research first, there a ton of it available here thats all great.

Then if you have questions, you will be more knowledgable and can be more specific and know what to ask.

"I want to drop a lot of fat" is what 2 million Americans are asking also.


weight loss is the result when energy intake is less then energy expidenture.

in other words, if you want to lose weight faster, during the 3 days your not lifting heavy, do cardio, move around more at work, anytime you can make a daily task physically harder do it. The more energy you use, the faster your body will need to use the fat to compensate for an energy defisate.

You said your getting 800calories from protein, where are the other 1200 coming from? Also do a search on GPP, they are good articles on strength specific cardio/conditioning for your off days.


At 205 lb. and 2000 cal. your body probably thinks there is a massive famine happening, therefore it will not build additional LBM. It will actually DECREASE your LBM to meet the calories coming in. It will also store fat until the famine is over. Read Berardi's article here, "A New Look at Energy Balance".



I am not so sure about the famine concept. I believe the male body can survive and thrive on less.

It all depends on your current objectives. For example, if you want to get lean, and I am thinking you probably want to drop another 15 lbs or so, then you must expend more energy than you consume. That's simple math. I also believe you can do it on 2000 kcals/day, if done right.

I am personally entering a "lean" phase. I am 47 yrs. old and am 6'2" I want to drop 15 pounds, from 215 to 200 in six weeks and another 10 lbs in the six weeks following that. If it costs me some LBM, so be it, but history has proven, for me, that won't happen. My goal is to maintain a strict diet of no more than 1800 - 2000 kcals broken down thusly: 60% carb/20% protein/20% fat. I will complete 5 intense workouts every two weeks. The workouts are geared to burn fat and build muscle. They will last no more than 30 minutes each.

I began 4 days ago, have worked out twice and have lost 4 pounds (that pace will not continue, I am sure). I have plenty of energy and I am trying to get 8 hours of sleep/night. I drink at least 4 litres (quarts) of ice water/day and have cut out coffee (what a headache that was). The only supplements I take are digestive enzymes and Salmon oil.

Many will call me crazy, but I used the same system to go from 235 to 210. Again, it works for me.



How can a guy that is 200lb + gain muscle on 90 to 100 gr. of protein a day??????????????? Can't be done.

If you have 150 lb. of LBM and only supply enough "building materials"
to maintain and repair 100 lb of LBM, your body will cannabilize your muscle and reduce it to meet the calories available. Body fat does not need calories for maintainence. It just sits there.

You may have lost "weight" in the past, but was it BF or LBM? Did you read that Berardi article? Study the numbers in the 3 case studies he presents. That will convince you.

I weigh 145 and I would die on 1800 cal/day.


Allow me to address your post paragraph by paragraph.

First, my issue wasn't so much gaining muscle, but losing fat. However, having said that, I began skinfold measurements along with a simple nomogram to measure my BF. I began when I was at 218 and went down to 208

At 218=>28%BF (61 lbs Fat) => 157 LB Weight
At 208 => 22%BF (46 lbs fat) => 162 LBW
That was after 6 weeks following the same workout schedule and eating plan as mentioned earlier.

100gr of protein is over 25% more than my RDA and if you know the history of the RDA for protein, that is usually plenty for what I want to accomplish. Again, I would prefer to lose weight first, then build muscle mass. Much more effective physically and mentally.



Those 4lbs were water, my friend!

Whenever you cut down calories drastically the body responds by flushing fluids.

If, on the other hand, you have found a method to lose 1lb of fat a day, then write a book and become a millionaire.

I hope you give T-Nation members a discount.



The RDA is gay.

Eat more protein. If dieting, you don't need as much, but I'd still shoot for about .8 grams per pound of bodyweight to save your muscle while losing fat.

How do you figure that it is more effective physically and mentally to lose weight first than build muscle mass? And your focus should be on losing fat and maintaining muscle size and strength. It can be done. Keep reading the articles and learning how to eat properly and train properly.


Oh man... You should really know better than to trust the government's RDA! 100 gr of protein is not enough to prevent muscle catabolism when trying to lose fat (as someone further up noted). Trust us on this one.

From a personal note, I can tell you that I never managed to lose weight until I increased my protein. A calorie is not just a calorie when it comes to weight loss. I can either maintain my weight, or lose weight, on a 2000 cal diet (I'm 176lbs) depending on the ratio of protein to carbs in my diet. I know this because I've done it.

If you think you can survive a 2000 cal diet, then do this:

Protein: 200gr = 800cals
Fat: 30% = 600cals = 67gr
Carbs: 2000 - 800 - 600 = 600cals = 150gr

Remember that carbs and protein provide 4cals per gram, while fat provides 9cals. In short, these are the amounts you should be eating on a 2000cal diet:

Protein: 200gr
Carbs: 150gr
Fats: 67gr

And remember to make most of those fats unsaturated too.

If I were your size, I wouldn't drop my calories so low, but that's up to you to decide. There are plenty of fat-loss articles on this site, and they've all worked for the people that have been consistent with them.

If you're looking for something drastic (and you're brave enough!), do a search for the V-diet. Many T-(wo)men swear by it.

Best of luck, mate!


As I mentioned, and as you quoted, I AM SURE the pound / day will not last. The millions will have to come from somewhere else. But, yes, I would have gladly given T-Nation members a discount, but I thought most wanted to PUT ON weight, not lose it.

As for it all being water, not so sure, as I consumed at least 4 litres of water yesterday alone. A gallon of water weighs what, 8 pounds. Of course, I spent a lot of time relieving myself.

Was it all fat? Don't know, don't have my calipers, have to wait for my buddy to get back so I can do skinfolds.

Further to all of this, I wouldn't say I have cut calories down drastically. Substantially yes, dratically, no. Again, the only supplements I am taking are Salmon Oil and enzymes.

If you want, I can let you know how I do for the rest of the week.



Your body is not stupid. Why would it burn fat instead of cannibilizing LBM?
It knows the most efficient way to survive, and that is by reducing LBM to meet the incoming calories. It will also slow your metabolism down to accomodate the decrease of incoming fuel. Just like when there is an oil shortage - turn the thermostat down.

I've always found it more accurate to base your protein needs on LBM, not BWT. 1 gr. of protein/lb. of LBM for bare minimum maintainence. 1.5gr./lb. of LBM if you want to see any progress.

What did you think of that Berardi article??????



Can't find the Berardi article...could you post a link, please? I would certainly like to read it.

As for the intelligence of the body: the body utilizes all the macronutrients for energy. Carbs (glycogen) and fat are utilized first. Then, if required, the body will utilize protein.

You are right, though, the body is not stupid and I believe you answered your own question. That is why it DOESN'T cannabilize itself and when it can burn fat. With a very high intensity workout, both resistance and cardio, lots of fat gets burned. Lots of glycogen, as well. Glycogen carries with it a certain amount of water, so I believe some of the loss may be due to water, hence, the 4+ litres of water and other fluid.

As for protein, I have found that anything over 150gr makes for expensive urine.

With metabolism, I eat at least 5x per day, including 3 main meals and 2-3 healthy snacks. I have found, however, that if I really want to rev up my metabolism, intense workouts do far more than eating many timse per day. Either way, I am covered.

Bottom line, my diet isn't anything new, nor is my workout, although I have made some serious modifications to enhance fat burning.



And where do you think it will turn when your glycogen stores are depleted and you are comsuming less than your body needs to maintain body weight? It will use protein from muscle tissue as energy as well in greater amounts unless you increase your protein intake and LIFT WEIGHTS. You are severely turned around. What's worse is that it seems we are arguing with you about it as if you don't understand that.

Also, 3 main meals and 2 snacks does not equal 5 meals a day. Someone lied to you.


"With a high intensity workout, both weights and cardio, lots of fat gets burned." WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Low intensity burns fat. Sleep burns almost entirely fat.

If your theory is correct,(about the body burning fat before cannabilizing muscle) why is it that anorexics/bulemics, still have body fat? I had a teenage girl in my weight training that was both and still was 22% BF. A simple blood test or urine test will tell if your body is in a catabolic state (muscle tissue breakdown). The nitrogen from the muscle protein will be excreted in your urine. Your urine will be dark and have a strong ammonia-type odor.
Don't train while in this state - you'll just be eating more muscle.

I don't know how to do the link thing for Berardi's article but I'll go look for it for you.



May 11, 2005. "A New View on Energy Balance" John Berardi.




I agree with this. I'd suggest you keep a food log for atleast 3-4 days then post it here and we'll help correct meal timing and food choices for you.

You wanna try to keep a balanced diet even when your dieting (unless pre-contest prep, but thats a whole nother story), just work hard, eat healthy veggies and fruits plus Post WorkOut drink for your carbs. flax oil or fish oil/ natural peanut butter / cottage cheese - for your fats
and Whey protein would be a good choice for protein because its highly saturated with essential amino acids compared to other sources. More saturated your proteins are with what is needed by your body, the lesser ammount needed, which could free up some calories from protein for calories for carbs/fats to get more energy and fullness.


First, Relax. Next, read Dan John's Meat Leaves Berry Diet. If you can't find it I'll send it to you. It works and you can easily live with it forever. Third, set reasonable goals, a pound or two per month, max. In a year you'll 15 or 20 lbs lighter and stronger - probably where you want to be right? There are no true fast gains or fast loses. Set goals to be achieved a year from now. Work out regularly, better to under train than over train, and you'll probably achieve them ahead of schedule.


Fellas, time out. I appreciate your input, I really do. And although I noticed this is a "Beginners" site, I am not a beginner, both practically and theoretically.

First, I am not sure what the sexual preference of the RDA is, so I can't comment on what is gay or not.

Second, let me explain why I want to lose weight first then develop muscle. Losing fat is not rocket science. Take one part grade 4 arithmetic, add a pinch of nutrition 101, a dash of physiology/kinesiology 301 stirred in a base of hard work and you have fat loss. For me, and many others I know and train, it is motivating to see fat coming off and leanness developing in a relatively short period of time. While using high intensity resistance training, the body gets a good workout, muscle is developed and energy is expended. So fat is lost and leanness developed along with muscle mass.

As for the comment that low intensity cardio burns more fat than high intensity interval training, check the latest literature. HIIT burns nine times more subcutaneous fat than moderate intensity and you don't have to spend hours per week doing it. Increases of 14% VO2 Max and 28% for anaerobic capacity were shown. All round good exercise and only takes 4-5 minutes (referred to as Tabata Protocol).

Next, I stated that I eat 5 times per day, not 5 meals per day. No one lied to me.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow, I will be pretty much be following the type of eating plan. 2/3 of a cup of "Porridge Oats" (mix of oatmeal and a bunch of other whole grains) which gives me protein, fats, and carbs, not to mention fibre. This gives me enough in my stomach and I don't feel hungry (300 kcals). Mid morning I will have about 250 kcals of fresh fruit (a real big apple and a real big banana, or some melons, etc.).

Lunch will be a special salmon casserole that I make: 1 tin of sockeye salmon, 1 tblspn lite mayo, 1 tblspn of light ranch, 1 cup of corn, 1 cup of kidney beans, stir and consume.

Afternoon snack will include one litre of a special juice formula that I make: 1 bunch of spinach (that's a lot of spinach), 1/2 a bunch of parsley, 5 celery stalks, 5 large carrots and one large apple, all in the juicer. Looks ugly, tastes better than it looks, and fills me up. Makes for good recovery after a workout or just an overall good source of sustained energy boost.

For supper, 1/2 a chicken breast, 1 cup of brocoli, 1 small potatoe.

All day will be consuming 4 litres of ice water.

One the day before a workout, later in the evening, I will have a bowl of whole grain cereal.

The workout consists of 2 rounds of the Tabata protocol. I do this as part of some vertical jump training (serious leg action). This is followed by a fairly intense upper body routine consisting of, tomorrow, pulldowns, decline bench, incline fly, flat bench, seated rows, bicep curls, triceps extension, resisted ab work. One set of each is completed to Momentary Muscluar Failure and maintaining exceptional form with a 2/4 cadence: up and 4 down controlled.
This is followed by a resisted Tabata workout: 25 pound dumbells at my side, bend legs into a squat and on the way up, curl the dbls. Doing 10 sets, or five minutes, up from 8 sets/4mins. BPM have gone from 198 in the beginning (4 weeks ago) to 170 now.

On workout days, I will mix a frappe by juicing 1 big apple, 1 big pear, 2 peaches, throw it all into the blender, add 1 banana, 3/4 cup of yogurt, fill with ice and blend. I will forego the fruit a mid morning snack.

Bottom line, I get my carbs from veggies, whole grains and fruit, my fat and protein from fish and chicken and I take digestive enzymes and salmon oil as supplements. Junk food is out.

All in all, it works for me. Of course, on days that I work, my intake of kcals goes up,albeit minimally, as I have a fairly high stress job.

I will also try and get lots of sleep per night, aiming for 8 hours and resting as much as possible on non-workout days.

I know that most of this is quite contrary to what many on this site believe. Does that make it wrong? No. Nor is it exclusively right. There is plenty of room for variation. I will say that I keep a very up to date log of my workouts and measurements. I monitor BF and LBW almost daily,I monitor by heart rate pre and post workout, as well as my blood pressure. Haven't seen any catabolism in the past but this time I don't have my calipers until later tonite. It will be interesting to see the results.

Please don't think for a minute that I am ignoring what you guys are saying. I am not so stubborn and arrogant to believe I have all the answers. I think if we are all honest, we will agree that we still don't know all the questions. I have gleaned some very valuable information and appreciate the links to other sites.

TNT: thanx for the link, I will look it up right now.

I hope I haven't hijacked this thread. Sorry if it seemsthat way, it was not my intent.