T Nation


All righty, folks. I am in need of a different perspective, preferrably from a man of large stature in height and weight. I’m 6’6", 330 pounds. Probably about 25% BF. Fat. Obese. Slovenly. Call it what you will, that’s me. However I have a deceptive Super Power. I am able to run long distances, which has proven effective for me in shedding fat in the past. I am currently giving serious consideration to returning to my half-marathon training in addition to starting Meltdown Training. Here’s what I and fellow T-Man Jon have come up with so far.

A rough approximation of the T-Dawg diet on the nutritional end. Red meats, chicken, eggs, fish (including fish oil caps), low fat mozzarella cheese, Tuna, oatmeal (these last two really test my will on a consistent basis), various vegetables, limited supply of fruit (I enjoy bananas, mostly). Attempting to limit Carbs to 50 g/day on non lifting days, 100 g/day otherwise. Low-carb GROW for post-workout drink. I’ve been using Stacker for an energy boost and to stave off cravings. The problem nutritionally is that it works “too well”. While on this T-Dawgish diet I struggle to get to 2,000 calories a day, which we all know to be near starvation.

As far as training, I haven’t lifted in over two years, so I intend to get a month or so under my belt of “reacquaintance” before doing a phase of Meltdown training to see what happens. My end goal for body weight is at most 275 pounds; I’d like to see something closer to 250 if it’s at all possible. As mentioned before, I have the ability to run long distances and enjoy it throughly (there’s nothing like getting a look from someone on the road that just screams, “WTF does this guy think he is?!”). My thinking was, when applicable, to do the main workout of Meltdown and then run in place of the second part. Ah yes, 500 mg Vitamin C 3-4 hours pre-run, a post-workout drink after longer runs (8+ miles, say).

I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts as to the effectiveness of all this for someone of my composition. I’m awaiting a knee injury to heal before beginning the physical training (from football, not LD running) so I thought I might throw this out to the dawgs and see if anyone had some tricks that may have worked for them? Especially in caloric intake. Thanks!

I can’t answer your questions. But I would like to say “Don’t force yourself to eat stuff you really don’t like” (oatmeal, tuna in your case). There is nothing magical about tuna. Or oatmeal, as far as I can tell. And I know you’re tired of hearing it, but WOW a guy your size, who’s a good runner… far out!

I am in the same shoes so to speak on your whole situtation. I am 6’4" tall and 305lbs. My bodyfat I just had measured at the gym today is 14%. That is not great by no means, but being as in July of this year I was at 29% I am happy with my results so far. I started with my diet with 10 times my bodyweight for daily calorie intake, with 40%Protein, 40% Carbs and 20% Fat. Then when I came to a sticking point I began to drop 10% of the total daily calorie intake for the week until I notice a drop in bodyfat. I measure bodyfat twice a month and also tape my waist, neck, and chest.
As for the long distance running if it works for you go for that. Everybody is different when it comes to workouts and diets. I found it helpful to do timed runs for long distances and follow it up with sprints. Right now I am doing cardio 5 days a week on the following program: 3 mile times run 21 minutes, followed by 10-10 yard sprints, 20-20yard sprints, and 30-40yard sprints. I do these consecutively from start to finish with a 15 second rest between each sprint. And follow the sprint routine with a one mile walk (for a cool down). This is done on an empty stomach ASAP after I wake in the morning around 10am. I will take a ECA stack before I start. Then come home and shower and eat my first meal of the day. I am using Iso Pure shakes for three of my six daily meals. Then I do my weight workout when I get home off my shift at work around 11:30pm and try to be fininshed and in bed for the day before 2am. I do this 6days a week Mon-Sat with Sunday as my lazy day and if I need to kill a food craving for a junk food I do so on this day also. Its hell on us big guys to drop the weight once it has added up over the years. But watch your diet and do your cardio faithfully the bodyfat will come off. Good Luck to you!!! Be Persistant!

Hi, Scattershot. Things aren’t so bad or desperate as you might think. Running the numbers, dropping 50 pounds of body fat would put you at 10% BF. That’s a good number to start with. Lower BF numbers are achievable, of course, but will require an even tighter diet and a higher degree of discipline.

So, 50 pounds. Say you set a reasonable goal of no more than 2 pounds per week. Any faster and you’ll jeopardize your lean body mass (LBM). So you’re talking roughly 6 months. Are you willing to work six months for the body you want? It’s really not that long a period of time in the overall scheme of things.

The reason I ask is that extremes are counterproductive if you’re wanting to drop BF and protect LBM; extreme cardio, extreme calorie restriction, extreme anything.

My quick thoughts and recommendations are:

  1. Get a BodyGem/MedGem test to calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (do a search on this site for more info) www.healthetech.com. That number will be roughly 80% of a sedentary person’s caloric requirements. Eat the amount of calories reported as your RMR, adopt a REASONABLE exercise program and I pretty well guarantee you REASONABLE results; i.e., a couple of pounds a week.

    Hitting it from a different direction, all you need to do is to calculate Maintenance Calories from the RMR number you get from your test. Subtracting 1,000 calories from your Maintenance Calories per day (via a combination of a food/caloric deficit and an exercise deficit) will give you the two-pound loss per week you’re looking for.

  2. If you really care, if you really want this with every ounce of your being, then everything you do must be done with cold calculation, not the heated passion of desperation. So with that said, I’m going to ask you to limit your cardio to four sessions a week, no more than 30 minutes. Beyond the four 30-minute sessions, cardio puts you into a catabolic state and works against your higher goals of preserving LBM and dropping as much BF as you possibly can. There’s solid science behind my statement. Once again, do a search for “cardio” on this site and come to your own conclusions. Please, Scattershot, the philosophy “if a little bit is good, more has got to be better” most emphatically does NOT apply when it comes to cardio. More cardio equates to more muscle loss.

  3. Give your knee a break. Let it rehab. consider supplementing with some glucosamine-chondroitin and MSM (at about 5g x 2/day). Do that for four months minimum. Glucosamine-chondroitin takes that long to make its healing, cartilage-regenerating benefits known.

    Also, please start taking a good multi-vitamin if you’re not doing so already. My favorite is made by the Life Extension Foundation at www.lef.org. Not cheap, but I call it a multi-vitamin on steroids; 67 different ingredients!

    Cardio should be done at 70% of your MHR if you’re doing a high-intensity anaerobic workout. You could do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on days you don’t work out, but never more than four 30-minute sessions! Buy a heart rate monitor. I consider it a necessary tool for those who are serious about weight loss.

    Re cardio, 70% is not that intense. Try different machines – treadmills, elliptical trainers – anything that puts the least strain upon your knee as possible. It doesn’t matter what you use to get your heart rate up. Cardio is just a tool, nothing more. And at that, it’s only ONE of the tools that’s going to help you achieve your objectives.

  4. Please read anything and everything written by John Berardi on this site. He’s a nutritional/weight-loss guru. I think the man walks on water. I’ve tried to lose weight for five years. John Berardi’s “Don’t Diet” diet (a hypocaloric version of his “Massive Eating” diet) finally put me on the road to progress. The best thing about his diet is that you get enough carbs (which means your energy doesn’t suffer and you can work out in the gym really, really hard) and NO cravings. And you lose weight to boot? Boy, life just doesn’t get any better.
  5. Because I really, really, REALLY believe in it, please read everything on this site that you can about Surge, which is a post recovery drink that I recommend. John Berardi designed the drink. I promise you, it’s better than what you’re doing currently and will better help you meet your goals.

  6. 50g of carbs is just too low to do Meltdown and run like you were talking about. Once again, more is not always better. To begin with, try 100g to 150g per day. You can cut that number down and play with carb refeeds down the road when you start bumping into slowed weight loss or plateaus. It’s an ace in the hole, another tool. No need to use a sledge hammer (low carbs) when a claw hammer (reasonable carbs) will get the job done. I know it’s not T-dawg, but not everyone does well on a low-carb diet. There’s nothing wrong with low carb, but my energy SUCKED because I was trying to do two hours of cardio and way too many weight-bearing sets per week. I know of what I speak when I keep saying, “More is NOT better!”

  7. I’m doing Meltdown and love it. But you only use it for four weeks or so. I’ll be switching to Joel Marion’s Ripped, Rugged & Dense program (a 5x5 strength program), alternating between the two every four weeks.
    I also think it makes a heckuva lotta sense to do compound, multi-joint exercises that emphasize the larger muscle groups. You tell me, what do you think is going to build/protect muscle mass more, a bicep curl or a squat. For me, building back, legs and chest is what it’s all about.

    Bottom line is, the program doesn’t matter. Get in there and start working out. Don’t kill yourself. Build up slowly. Read, read, read. Ask for help when you need it. The guys on the forum have been invaluable and have, thus far, kept me from killing or injuring myself. I’m only giving you a small portion of what’s been given to me.

    Scattershot, I really do wish you all the best. Like many on this forum, I’m traveling the same road as you.

Damn Terry, nice response!

Oh, yeah… the Scat-man forgot to mention his 50g postworkout also. (ie, 100g per training day).

All in all, though, excellent suggestions.

Thanks, Ike. I appreciate that. I wouldn’t be headed down the right path if it weren’t for T-Mag & T-Nation’s faithful following.

BTW, you put up some pretty good posts yourself.

 I wuld stay off bananas - They ARE high glycemic, hich meas they wll cause a decent insulin spike - meaning ur body will get in a fat storage mo, which is what you're trying to avoid. ON the other end, oranges are seem to be low glycemic, according to my resurces, and so are apples. Absolutely stay off watermelon- they have a high glycemic index of over 100. raisins have glycemic index oover 70 as well. If you need to find out the glycemic index of different foods, just type in 'glycemic index list' on aol, or other search engine. Hope this heps!

A lot of interesting points from all, and thanks for the responses! I have an admission to confess, however. I don’t just run because I think it’s going to make me/help me lose fat. I do it because I love it. I couldn’t really say why, except that there’s something that draws me to it. It’s a totally different experience than reaching a PB goal at the gym. People see you there, probably know you to some extent, and congratulate you or whatever after they see you do something amazing. I once attempted a 1,000 pound leg press at my gym, and while I failed, people saw what I was doing as I worked up to the 1k mark and a few started encouraging me. That was cool and all, but out on the road it’s just me. There’s no one there for support, encouragement, congratulation or anything. I’m the only person who knows when I’ve done something special or when I’ve failed miserably as a human being. :wink: Well, Ike’ll usually hear about it after the fact but I only tell him because I know he loathes my running.

So I’ll be honest and say that I can’t adhere to 4x30 for cardio. Mid-season form finds me out there at least 5 days a week, for an average of 6 miles. And please don’t misunderstand – I’m not “good” at it. The fastest mile I ever ran was 7:47, my best half-marathon time was 2:26:24, a little over 11 minutes/mile. I do it because I love it, and part of that stems from the fact that you don’t see too many 300+ pounders out there going long. But I’m not out there to impress anyone, I really don’t care about that. I like pressing myself in running at least as much as in the gym, and I’ve been quoted as saying perhaps moreso in the past.

All that said… BigPhil, I’ve actually had some success recently (pre-injury) on my little simplified version of the T-Dawg diet. I used to argue endlessly with people who claimed the high fat/low carb diets worked for them but now that I’ve tried it, I’m sold. I’m interested to see what it does for me in the long term.

Tampa… absolutely, a lot of great ideas. I didn’t break down my BF% goal into time like you did. 6 months certainly seems more than acceptable to obtain my 8th-grade weight again. As far as entering a catabolic state while running long distances, that has not been my experience in the past. Ike and I argue furiously over this, but my results speak for themselves. While both lifting and running religiously, I went from 320 to 295 and had significant strength gains in all major multi-joint movements in the gym. The interesting thing is that I paid no attention whatsoever to what I ate at the time, however I was only doing this for about 6 months, and towards the end of that I did start putting weight on again. Beer… the fat man’s worst enemy, as it takes more to get buzzed/drunk and the countless “empty” calories quickly transform into inflated fat cells.

A friend of mine told me shortly after my injury of a “pill” that people in my condition take to regenerate cartilage in the knee. I was skeptical at best, but if it indeed exists, awesome! The knee is feeling much better of late and will be tested in the next day or two.

Cardio is more than tool for me, as the above diatribe illustrates. It also seems to promote quadricep/hamstring muscle gains, believe it or not, for me. Ike reminded me a few days ago that running hills at my 330 pounds is more conducive to muscular gains than for the 180 pounder.

I totally agree with your compound-muscle exercise comment, and you’ll be happy to know that my biceps are by far the weakest muscle that I’ve ever trained, even proportionally speaking. They were neglected in my high school lifting program and it has shown very clearly in my adult life that curls and I were never good friends. I’m a big fan of the squat and leg press.

Assuming the knee is cleared for action, I’m beginning my overall training tomorrow (Monday) and will surely report in every so often with updates. I’d take before/after photos but I wouldn’t want to blind anyone with my hideously white body. Thanks again for all the input! Any additional thoughts or comments, even if to debate my love for the run, by all means.