T Nation

Really Need Help with Everything


A few months ago I had a somewhat traumatic family incident occur in my life, which in turn took a massive mental toll on me. According to the doctor I am now chronically depressed and have sever anxiety. I dont want to hop on meds just yet, i want to use the gym as much as i can for therapy (like i used to)

Long story short i fell off the gym and diet train, my self esteem and confidence a long with my energy and desire is basically at a -1. So, i come to T Nation for help. I want to start over and pretend i dont know shit (which in reality i dont).

Diet wise, im not sure what kind of “diet” to run. Me and carbs arent friends, what so ever. I find I feel great on a keto diet. Now with that being said what is the difference between a keto diet and a low carb diet? and is it possible to run a keto diet with carbs solely focused on pre and post?

training wise, i havent touched a weight in 4 months and really dont know what kind of training to do anymore.

My goals is to drop weight, at least 20-30lbs, but would like to add some muscle.

So please, what should i run in terms of diet and training?

Also, would REALLY love it if someone could figure out my macros. Il even pay someone to set me on the right path to success.

Oh wow, I remember you.

This is always a great way to frame nutrition

And this is a solid approach to base your training around



I just want to offer encouragement, not knowing what happened, that you can do it. Just being in the gym will help with the mental even if you do not lose a pound.

My son (23) was killed by a drunk driver on July 16th and it has taken me six weeks to get back into the gym. I know I need to lose weight as well, but damn it swinging weight just feels good.

My only words of advice are to go back in a measured way after the break you have had. In other words forget what you used to lift and start fresh and smart.

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I cant really begin to imagine what this would be like but I’m very sorry to read about it. My deepest condolences to you and your loved ones, I hope you have access to great support.

Damn. Very sorry to hear that. I hope you find peace in a time like this.

All keto diets are low-carb, but not all low-carb diets are keto (a ketogenic diet specifically implies that you’re going into ketosis). I don’t think it’s really possible to run a keto diet with boluses of carbs because, well, that would probably take you out of ketosis (which is kind of the defining point of a ketogenic diet).

However, I do think you can (and should) eat a low-ish carb diet with your carbs focused around pre- and post-workout. That’s essentially what most of the fine folks here at T-Nation recommend, and I think it’s perfectly sensible. For whatever my advice is worth…I train in the morning, and here’s a typical weekday:

6AM coffee
7AM train
8AM smoothie (coconut milk, protein powder, spinach, berries, peaches)
12PM big salad (spinach, carrots, dried cranberries, walnuts, 4-6 oz meat)
6PM dinner (8-12oz meat + big helping of vegetables + small portion rice/potatoes)

Sometimes I sip on a little fruit juice before/during the workout for a little extra carb boost. Most of the “carbs” I eat come in that post-workout shake. I do have a little bit of rice and/or potatoes with dinner, too.

Personally, I think that “low carb” has become kind of a loaded phrase because our nation’s definition of a normal diet has gotten so fucked up that anyone who eats a “moderate” carb diet is considered “low carb.” My menu above probably still has 150-175 grams of carbohydrate daily, maybe even 200 grams if I have a second helping of rice or potatoes at dinner. That’s really a moderate-carb diet, but I guarantee that many friends of mine think that I eat “low carb” because I don’t hoover down plates of pasta or I pass on the toast that comes with an omelette.

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jackedsquirrel, I cannot fathom what you are going through but it speaks volumes about the kind of person you are that you would focus reaching out to encourage someone else in a time like this to try and help them along. Good on you sir, and I will say some prayers for you and yours.


I don’t know what your specific situation is, but I do know how bad it can get when these family situations happen. It messes with absolutely everything in your existence. You can absolutely do this. Belief is first and foremost. Many people can change–I’ve changed my body, aspects of my personality, attitude, all the rest–but it takes believing that you CAN do it for it to become real in time.

I think diets are individual–use the healthy diet you feel best on. Since that is low carb, do that. I agree with Activitiesguy on low carb diet with bolus carb doses around the workout time. I believe there is in fact some preliminary study on the ketosis re-entry phase after carb bolus doses around training and if I recall correctly it may be possible to immediately re-enter ketosis laster the same day, but its been a while since I looked into the research studies so I wouldn’t quote me on it.

Regardless, it is kind of a moot point–even if you are not technically in ketosis after workout carbs, you’re still reaping the benefits of the lower carbs in many other ways.

I would also look at magnesium supplementation and vitamin D. Both have the ability to improve insulin sensitivity, and are cheap. And also are typically useful for immune system and your body as a whole. I would take them with food of course.

Training wise I like 5-3-1 or a standard upper/lower split focusing on the basic compound exercises. Basically at this point the specific plan is less important than getting after it with single minded focus and a bit of a chip on your shoulder. I ended up getting into Westside training after about 3 months of basic training and I am pretty sure nobody here considers that a beginner sensitive plan. It taught me valuable lessons even if it wasn’t the best plan at the time, and I stuc with it for most of the next 6 years and reaped the benefits.

The take home message is that I WOULD, however, pick a pre-made plan and do it as written, maybe add in daily walks or somthing. Do not try to make your own. This saves mental effort and confusion and allows you to just work hard. 5-3-1 is good.

Thanks for the in depth post. I really appreciate it.

In term of the 5-31- training being a strength/size training program. Wouldnt one want to eat a lot and not lose weight with this pogram? seeing as size and strength come with a heavy clean diet.

I have improved my lifts on 5/3/1 while losing weight on many occasions. However, if you are unable to that, use one of the variations that focuses on conditioning or bodyweight work.

All good training programs–for any goal, size, strength, fat loss–have a strength and size component to them. The old “light weight for high reps to cut” thing is bad advice and a myth to boot. The only huge difference is the volume, frequency, and rest intervals. You still try to get stronger, you still push limits of what you can handle (properly).

No, one would typically not pick 5-3-1 as a fat loss specific program. On the other hand, for newbies the most important thing is to cover the basics because fat loss and strength gain tend to happen together in untrained people who pick up any serious program. Hell people can lose weight on Westside powerlifting splits if they watch their diet and maybe make some basic tweaks to the template. Is it the best for fat loss? No. But if your goal is to get stronger at competitive lifts and drop a weight class? Sure you can make it work.

If your goal is to drop a significant amount of weight, then you have to eat at a sensible deficit. Too much and you can’t recover, not enough and you won’t drop weight. If your primary goal on the other hand is strength/size, then yes a clean diet and not losing weight on the program would be the big goals if you want to do a gradual recomp.

I respect your courage and from it looks like you’re going to find some helpful and great support here.

I don’t have much to say on your post as I’ll leave that to the more experienced, but to keep on track and keep the support rolling your way, you should definitely start a training log. This will help keep you motivated and accountable to update us each gym session…

So which one in that case? sorry. i just really want to get specifis down and get started. I did some condition work yesterday and forgot how much i missed the gym and how much it helped.

Gotcha, your advice has been superb. Thank you.

Now a mega noob question. How does one figure out his macros? This time around i really dont want to half ass or eyeball anything. Id like to keep a full detailed log of it all.

The one I posted in my first reply would be a great place to start. You could also do 5/3/1 for beginners.

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Sound advice, thank you kindly.

Every 2nd week im on call at work and i usually have to visit oil rigs and crash in shitty hotels in the middle of no where. My question is, if im doing 5/3/1 for hardgainers and cant get my monday workout in; do i move monday to tuesday, or just follow the schedule?

I am not qualified to answer but I having been doing 5/3/1 for hardgainers for a few months now. My work is weird so sometimes I have to adjust. I throw squat and bench on the same day or DL and OHP on the same day. I am sure this is not ideal, but… I am stilling gaining strength.

If missing Monday is likely and regular then consider Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or some schedule that would work for you.

If any combination of 4 days is going to be a bugger and results in cutting into your recovery because you have to cram it all into 4 days instead of 7 then it’s time to think about 3 day programs or even 2.

Basically choose a program that you can realistic fit into your priorities rather than hope your priorities are going to magically make way for your training.

see thats the problem, i dont even know my schedule. the week im on call i might not go anywhere at all, i might be gone one night out of the week, its wonky and messed up.

Train what you can when you can. It’s what I did in your situation.

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Yep, better imperfect than nothing at all

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