T Nation

Reaching Out for Help Here...

Hey there gentlmen,

I am really having a hard time with fat loss. Back in 2011 I was at 190 and about 9pct body fat. I was able to squat 2.5 times my weight and bench 1.5 times my weight. Over the past year, due to personal reasons and quality of life control, I lost a little muscle. Not much mind you. Only enough so that my legs trimmed down a bit and that I could actually fit into jeans.

The problem is my career is getting in the way of my body. I work as a kitchen chef and I am on my feet for about 9 hours a day (11-12 if you count gym time). What this means is that everything I pretty much read online is wrong for me. It all seems to be geared to people who are in an office most of their days and then spend the hour or two in the gym. Good for them, bad for me.

As of now I am 199 (which my body seems happy at when I am not trying to cut fat) but I don’t want the little belly fat. Granted I can see half of my abs so I don’t have too much body fat but I do want to cut a little bit more.

Here is a typical day for me:

Gym (usually a 4 day split, Push, Pull, Legs, Cardio/abs with abs and cardio thrown in most days. I have been doing 15-12-10)
Work from 2-11 (almost always the case)

Now the problem I have, realistically, is eating properly. My body does not respond well to carbs and I have recently cut all chicken and red meat from my diet. I have been pescatarian for a month and I really enjoy it. I never eat processed foods aside from whole wheat bread (which I know I will have to cut out while cutting). I eat very clean, I just don’t eat enough so I feel like my metabolism is taking its sweet time and not being a furnace that it should be.

When you work in a kitchen you have maybe 2 minutes to eat something. This equates to me grabbing a hand full of pistacios or almonds since I dont want to eat the rice or mashed potatoes. I used to be very obese (275 at the age of 15) and I never want that to happen again.

I train in parkour once a week with my group and I hit the gym 3-5 times a week. Sometimes 6 times a week if I miss my parkour session. I work out a lot.

Now I just need the training advice and food advice a chef can take and put into practice. I am willing to wipe the slate clean on this one. The only supplaments I will take are vitamins if needed and whey protein. I understand that not eating chicken can be a protein issue but I hope to make up for it with fish and whey if needed.

Any help would be appreciated.




I was a chef for almost 20 years and can understand the “not eating enough” syndrome.

I learned over the years to: Love the shake (ever had a chocolate whey scoop in your coffee? yummy mocha), taste everything, take one 15 minute break every day (smokers take 4 breaks a day but we don’t??), one pot cooking, find at least one item that you can eat day in/day out (for me it was a wrap and/or nachos).

If MAG-10 would have been out back then, I would have drank that, instead of water.

As a chef, I can tell you that you are shooting yourself in the foot by restricting food items. Roast beef shaving, dipped in jus, tastes like heaven while working a four hour shift on the line or the ends of the rack of lamb or the end of the pork tenders…

I also always had two solid meals a day. Breakfast and before going to bed.

Have fun with that.

[quote]c2 wrote:
Hey there gentlmen[/quote]
Hey. Do you know your last thread here was exactly three years ago to the day. If that’s a coincidence, that’s freaky. If that was on purpose, it’s a little freakier.

Am I misunderstanding this or are you saying that you’re in the gym for 2-3 hours at a time?

There have been a few threads about training with manual labor jobs. Check the Search feature and see what info you can carryover.

What does your cardio look like?

Also, when you says you’re doing “15-12-10”, is that per exercise, per bodypart, or what? A little more detail on what your workouts look like would help, but I get the feeling you could definitely benefit from a better training program. There are plenty in the Archives.

What about eggs and dairy?

If you’re training up to six days a week plus working 9-hour shifts on your feet all week, and not eating enough, then of course you’re not going to see the results you want. You’re freaking your body out with lots of “calories out” and not enough “calories in”, so it’s panicking and not dropping weight.

What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

If you’re trying to drop fat, focus on protein-rich snacks instead of calorie-dense foods like nuts. Hard-boiled eggs, jerky, or a shake like JFG said are good bets. You could even do something like shrimp.

Im sorry I was not very descriptive with my OP. I was writing it with my tablet heh. The post thing is pretty awesome, isnt it?

I am usually at the gym for around 2 hours. Half hour warm up, usually 15 min of walking then 15 min of light stretches followed by an hour of lifting then 30 min of cool down/stretches.

Yesterday my day went like this.

Morning breakfast:

Greek Yogurt with cantalope and a little sunflower seeds.
Large glass of water

Gym time
5/3/1 sets (saw an article on it and decided to try it)

20 min at 4mph

It was leg day
Seated calf raises
Romainian Dead Lifts
Front Squats

15 min on stairs
15 min cool down stretches

Post workout was 2 scoops of whey and water

got to work around 3pm
Ate 4 hard boiled eggs and salad
Next meal a few hours later I had a smoked salmon salad, oil/vin
Dinner was greek yogurt, few fresh berries, slivered almonds.
When I got home I had more greens and some greek yogurt sauce I had made.

Now that I think about it I more than likely dont take enough protein. I might have to start logging it all.

Seeing it laid out like this is a bit sad…I used to be good about this but I might have to supp with whey at the very least.

Starting on the 1st I am going to reintroduce poultry into my diet.

I am guessing I intake about 2kish calories a day…which is obviously not enough. I am going to also up my cardio only a little bit since I randomly go to open gyms and practice jumps, acrobatics etc when I am bored. Maybe my caloric intake is why I am tired half the time.

My goal is to drop from 199 to 190 and keep it there. Yesterday I was able to put up 365 up on squats for 2 sets without much of an issue. I was also able to flat bench press the 110 dumb bells a few times. I think I want to keep my maxes around there. I don’t really need the muscle much but I do want to increase my cardio a little bit. Say, run 5 miles in 40 min without much of a problem.

[quote]c2 wrote:
Maybe my caloric intake is why I am tired half the time.



Eat a much bigger breakfast/preworkout meal and introduce lean beef back into your diet.

Depending on budget, try get some Plazma/MAG-10/Surge workout fuel somewhere peri-workout.

IF you cut out the red meat for moral reasons, cattle are generally treated better than poultry in the production process and have been messed with genetically a lot less… Though, they have a larger environmental impact.

[quote]JFG wrote:

[quote]c2 wrote:
Maybe my caloric intake is why I am tired half the time.[/quote]
On that note, maybe the Titanic should’ve turned a little sooner. Just thinking out loud here.

C2, dude, of course you need more food. You’re just eating snacks all day long, I didn’t see one single actual meal. Yogurt and fruit or some eggs and a salad aren’t exactly prime fuel for long-ass days of work and training.

This statement is grounds for Man Card revocation.

Maybe you don’t want to build a bunch of muscle and look like a pro bodybuilder. That’s fine. But you always need muscle, especially when cutting fat, otherwise you’ll end up small and flabby with jiggling parts.

Also, I still think you’d benefit from choosing a training program from the Archives and following it. Not to undervalue stretching, but I think you’re overdoing it - A fair amount of cardio, then stretching, then lifting, then more cardio, then more stretching. Unless you have some physical issues that require that much attention, you can definitely pare down the warm-up, cooldown, and stretching to trim your in-gym time.

For example, read up on “fillers.” Basically doing mobility work during the lifting session (instead of before and after) to save time without sacrificing performance.

thanks for the advice guys.

I think I came out wrong saying I don’t need the muscle. At the time I started wanting to cut I was squating 500, benching 365 and deadlifting 405. What I had meant to say is due to my career I wanted to cut down on the size of my legs so I could actually wear jeans and suits when needed. I also had really bad shin splints and an old back injury so I like to stretch a lot. Its more of a countermeasure and a way of letting myself know that I am ready to work out.

Being on my feet all day at work also seems to take its toll on my leg strength. The other day I put up 365 on squats for a few sets but it felt rough. That is a far cry from the 500 I used to do but I know my cardio has been better as well as my agility and flexibility so I will take it.

What I want to do is build total body strength. I know that muscle definition will come with it but I have never bothered with wanting to look like a body builder or model. I was considering looking for a 3 day/week lifting session that is mostly compounds and full body then the other 2-3 days I would do cardio or tumbling/parkour.

Are there any full body compounds I could look at besides the basics? Squats, deadlifts, bench etc.

I really appreciate the help guys. I have been focusing on eating more this past week. Now its usually 5-6 eggs in the morning, mostly whites, with veggies, yogurt and coffee. Post has been whey, caesin and a mix of chia/flax seeds. Eating a ton of eggs actually as it has been my lunch at work along with chicken. As far as beef goes, my body feels very lethargic afterward so I tend to stay away.

Egg whites? 16 calories each? That’s your idea of more calories? And with all the running you do, no carbs?

Sorry, but you are not getting the message.

3-4 eggs, 2-4 egg whites with veggies, sweet potato, yogurt and coffee. That’s breakfast.

Don’t want to eat meat, fine, chicken, pork, turkey, eggs, fish are all great substitute.

You got “weaker” as you went away from full strength to adding running. That is to be expected. If it is discouraging scatting “only” 365, then you need to change your goals or your perception.

As for programs, so many where mentioned and a quick search will give you everything you want.


Sounds about right.

From what research I have done I think I need around 2600 calories to maintain. I have never been good with carbs but I am going to bump them up to about 30-40pct of my caloric intake per day with the other 40-50 being proteins and the rest being fats.

I will try my hand at a lean meat diet with carbs thrown in for a month and see results. Hopefully they will work out for me. Going to assume I need almost 500 calories per meal if I eat 5 times but with my carbs being before or after a workout without having them for nightly meals.

Now to do some work.

So I am back. I bought a fitbit a few weeks ago just out of curiosity.

I average between 12-15k steps per day with my lowest being 10k and 23k being highest.

Ive added a lot of carb to my diet, nearly half, With protein and veggies to follow. I’ve eliminated most fats from my diet as well. Of course it’s the holidays and my diet isn’t perfect.

I have not gained or lost any weight Since last I posted. I just wanted to get an idea of what you guys think my caloric intake should be to start dropping weight.

Maybe around 3k calories? Maybe even more?

Not sure on this one.