T Nation

Quick Program Eval/Nutrition Advice


#1

First a little about me. I'm 22, 6'2, 216 lbs, 18-21% BF, and a naturally big guy. Obviously the goal here is to drop BF and transition into a healthier lifestyle.

So I've lurked here for ages and tried a few different workouts/diets and I've got a pretty good understanding of the fundamentals. My problem, like many others, is that I tend to fall off the wagon after a few weeks. With my most recent program, I've finally been able to stick with it and most importantly been able to get right back in the gym after any slip-ups instead of becoming discouraged.

Here is a quick breakdown of my training schedule, based off Waterbury's Big Boy Basics with most exercises consisting of compound lifts

S: OFF
M: Upper body- Chest, Rows, Pulldowns, Presses 3x8 60 sec rest. 30 min low-moderate cardio
T: Lower body- Squat variation, Core work, Deadlift variation, Core work, Calf variation all 8x3 w/ 90s for squat/deads and 60 secs rest for others. 30 min low-moderate cardio
W: Off
T: Upper body- Chest, Back variation, and two arm iso lifts 8x3 90/60 rest as above. Cardio also repeated
F: Lower body- Identical to Tues except 3x8 w/60 sec rest
S: Off

Loads increased every two weeks and lifts are rotated every month.

As of the beginning of the fourth week, I've dropped around 8 lbs and almost two inches off my chest and waist. I understand that in my case a circuit program might work well but it'd be very hard in the gym I go to.

Now my major issue has been nutrition. I'm in college and have a loaded schedule so convenience/cheapness is key here. I have little time for food prep/cooking. Based off my reading on here, I've been trying to follow a low-carb/high protein plan with one or two cheat meals a week and have experienced moderate success. My staples have been chicken and broccoli dinners and low carb lunchmeat wraps but I need some alternatives. I also seriously need to figure out some options for breakfast because I can only eat eggs/veggies/lunch meat for so long and usually end up eating something small or nothing at all.

I understand that my progress will eventually plateau and I'll need to start tracking macros and become stricter in general with nutrition if I want to continue to see results. What I was hoping for by posting this is just some validation from experienced guys that there aren't any major holes in my program. Any eating tips from other college kids/busy people would also be very helpful!


#2

How exactly is a wrap low-carb? If it comes wrapped in a tortilla, it's not low carb. (Btw, any store-bought wrap is a cheat meal, so there's +7 cheat meals a week).

The fats you're taking in should be HEALTHY fats - olive oil, fish oil, nuts, avocadoes, etc. - hopefully your chicken is white meat so you arent loading up on animal fat. Wraps can have a lot of "bad" fat too. Can't you bring some lunch out to classes? You have a good start but if you really want to get lean, improvements can be made.

The college diet is tough, but if you want to get leaner the formula is pretty simple: Cut Calories and carbs. It sounds like you aren't eating much so if you're really only having those 3 meals a day and not losing much weight, either that "wrap" is packing a wallop or you're gorging on cereal. I have a feeling there's some missing pieces in that daily diet description. Do yourself a favor and carry a notebook one day and write down every single thing you ingest - including drinks - and there may be a bunch of small crap that adds up.

As for breakfast, try canadian bacon or lean turkey bacon with the eggs. Not the watered down shit, it should have ~5-6g protein per strip (instead of 1-2). Not as good as real bacon but I really like it.


#3

Dunno how you define busy, but I work 9-hour days and keep a strict diet. 2-3 times a week I cook a few pounds worth of lean meats (variety of cooking styles / seasonings) and eat that over the course of a few days.

Roughly, if you really want to get serious, you should be taking in 300-330g protein, 100g fat, and NO carbs (other than pre/during workout) outside of greens and the trace carbs in Nuts etc. Zero grains, zero sugars (drink diet soda).

Yes, it sucks, but you WILL see vast improvements in body composition, no ifs ands or buts. There's no easy way or secret trick to get lean - it's strictly a matter of whether it's important enough to you to make diet changes. Everyone has priorities.


#4

Thanks for the quick reply. I should have clarified with the wrap. The tortilla itself is low carb, I think one tortilla has only around 5 g of net carbs. The rest of the calories are strictly meat and green veggies, plus a little low-fat mayo. In a typical day I probably take in around 70-80g of carbs max, sans the cheat meal days. I've gone the keto route before with less than 30g of carbs and had good results but with school I'd prefer to take in a little more to avoid feeling like shit all day.

I'm a big fan of turkey sausage and frequently include it with eggs so I will have to try out the turkey bacon as well. The chicken is white meat and my fluid intake consists of only water and green tea. My biggest issue I see is not eating enough meals per day and not eating enough per meal and I think once I get an idea of the meal options for my situation I'll be able to correct that.

I forgot to mention in my first post but I have been between 230-200 most of my life and usually the weight loss is a lot more dramatic at this point then what I'm experiencing now, although so far its been adhering to the 2 lb/day standard. I suppose this may be due to some muscle gain but thats hard to believe with the lack of calories I'm taking in.


#5

2 lbs/day? You should not be losing 2 pounds a day for any length of time - it's possible to lose water weight etc for a few days but 10 lbs/week is not a realistic goal. It sounds to me like you aren't eating enough. Given a huge caloric deficit you will be losing as much muscle as fat. Up the calories and you'll strip similar levels of fat without losing muscle.

One thing is a lot of the newer studies have shown the only benefit of frequent feeding is apetite control, so for fat loss purposes it doesn't matter if you have all your calories in 3 meals or 6 (personally I can't go 3 hours without eating anymore, but that's just me). If you can only eat 3x a day, you can reach your goals packing all your calories in then.

I know it sounds anal but try to eat lean meats - turkey sausage (at least the kind I see) isn't as lean as you think, and the meat in that wrap, if it's bought commercially and not home-made, is probably low-grade. I suppose you could do worse if that's your only option, but it's slowing your progression as it's an everyday staple. I would definitely shoot for <50g carbs though, <25 if possible (not counting peri-workout carbs or greens).