T Nation

SB's Journey to 8%

nutrition
bodybuilding

#1

Hey everyone! New to forum thought i’d start with a log detailing my journey to 8%! Really hoping Brickhead and Stu get in on this thread!

Background: 6 feet on the dot, 205.5lb (Currently, 11.5-12% BF).22 years old. I Worked out from 17-20, and got to 220lb at 11% BF. Unfortunately got caught up in heroin use and ended up in jail. Got out at 180lb and 16% bf, and started working out again about 7 months ago. Just started PED use again with 250mg/ test E/ week about 5-6 weeks ago. I plan on blasting and crusing for life with low doses to start, bodybuilding is my life passion. I’m NOT looking for comments on my life decision to be ON permanently, and NOT looking for a PED discussion. I know I Am young to make these decisions, and I know what i’m getting into. I only mentioned these things so that I Am being honest and not misleading people about my progress.

GOALS: To get down to 8%BF, so I can bulk up to 10-11%, cut back to 8%, and repeat.

So far I am two weeks in. I started at 212 14.3% BF. I was previously bulking on 4500 calories, with 600 carbs, 100 fat, 300 protein. I Immediately dropped to 50g fats and 350g carbs, which brought me down from 4500 to 3050. 4 days later I dropped to 2750, 3 days later to 2400, and two days ago I dropped to about 2300. I started with 1 hiit session a week, and now I am doing a LISS session for 20min post workout 5 days a week, and an hiit session once a week. Today I am starting to add 20 min fasted pre breakfast walks. I am doing a higher carb day every fourth or fifth day. Yesterday was my higher carb day, and I consumed 2630 calories, with 290 protein, 300 carbs, and 30fat. My low days are 2255-2300 cals which works out to 325 protein, 160 carbs, 35-40g fat. I consume 7-8 meals daily and APPROX 40g protein per meal.

My protein sources are : Liquid egg whites which are my main source (3-4 of my 7 meals a day and I drink em raw), ground beef(Super lean), protein powder, and fish.

My carb sources are: Brown rice pre workout 70g carb, White bagel post workout 90g carb

My fat sources are: Trace fats in already mentioned foods, 10-20g fats from olive oil daily.

In the last two weeks I am down from 212 at 14.3% to 205.5 at about 12%. I eyeballed the 12% (14.3 was callipers), but if anything I’m a lil leaner than 12% so 11.5%-12% currently.

Would love suggestions, comments, criticisms, anything from anyone really. I’m really hoping to get Stu’s support and suggestions/critiques and hoping to get Brick in on the thread as well.

I am brand new to the forum and just wanna say thanks for having me guys, I have exhausted the knowledge of other forums and am so glad I have found my way here, this is the beginning of something beautiful!! Can’t wait to hear from everyone!!


#2

My workout schedule is a four day routine repeating with NO rest days as follows, muscles listed in order of how much they are focused on during session.

Day One: Chest, side and front Delts

Day Two: Back, Rear delts, Traps, Abs, Calves

Day Three: Biceps/Triceps, Forearms, Calves

Day four: Legs, Front and Side delts, Abs.

I DO NOT take rest days. However, I have a 3-5 hour nap post workout (sleep for two and a half hours, wakeup to alarm, eat premade meal, return to nap for another 1-2 hours), and I Sleep 8-9 hours at night on top of that. So I’m looking at 12-14 hours of sleep every 24 hours, which is more much than your average bear :).

I do high volume workouts, 3-5 sets per exercise, with the compounds between 8-12 reps and isolation’s between 12-25 reps. I find muscles such as bis, tris, quads, and shoulders respond extremely well in the 16-25 rep range for me.

I don’t do any two a day workouts while cutting.

I usually take three entire 4-day rotations (so a 12 day period) every 3 months or so for strength training where I reduce my reps to the 1-6 range and focus on strength.

Yes. for those of you who are wondering, I am currently in un-employed, and living in a different town from my fiancé and daughter. I really miss them! It gives me a lot of time in the gym and time for naps though which is a bonus, but i’d much rather have them here.

IF anybody would like me to add any info just let me know, and ALL comments and questions are welcome!!! I will try an get a picture to go with the thread, but I have no means of taking one at the moment (don’t even have a cell phone) besides my webcam and the quality is much too low to be worthwhile.

Thanks a bunch, really hope to get some good conversation going here. I Don’t mind the debate of theoretical weight-loss and or contest prep principles and methods in this thread! Feel free to post away!


#3

Not much to add here, but I’ll be following along.

Just a couple random comments:

  • I know I wouldn’t be able to handle the ‘no rest days’, but you know your body more than anyone.

  • Your food choices look good, but I’m no expert on calories/macros so I’ll leave that alone.

  • Pictures will definitely help. Folks can help point out strengths/weaknesses and point you in the right direction to whether adding mass or stripping some fat should be your primary concern.

  • I’m jealous of your napping schedule.

  • Out of interests sake what are you current strength levels on the big 4? (Squat, Deadlift, OHP, Bench) This is by no means a pissing contest, just genuinely curious as you’re a decent-sized human.


#4

I will try for pics as soon as I get a camera. I’d like to have people asses my weakness’s for sure. I KNOW my goal should be to lose fat right now as I feel that bulking is much more effective when under 10% bodyfat, especially when using PEDS as I am/will be, albeit at much much lower doses than most at the time being (trt level doses).

I’ve been up to 230lb at 11% BF in the past, before my heroin addiction. Basically started over in the gym about 6-8 months ago from 170lb 16% bf.

My lifts are quite weak for my size, I’m bigger than most guys who lift 150% of my lifts. I don’t do 1rm’s as I focus on high volume but here are my current lowest volume PR’s.

Bench: 205 for 4 reps
Deadlft: 275 for 3 reps
OHP: 115 for 3 reps

I don’t do Squats at heavy weight because a) my knees suck and b) I’m very glute dominant so it doesn’t hit my quads too well. When I do squats its 15+ reps per set and I generally don’t go heavier than 170ish honestly.

Keep in mind I’m sure if I pushed myself I could increase these numbers probably by about 20%, I train with higher volume, focus on a mind muscle connection and muscle squeeze, and a big focus on using the targeted muscle(s), not moving the weight with explosive movement and this seems to work best for me.

I Know these lifts are surprisingly weak for my size, and I frequently see un assisted athletes who are considerably smaller than me lifting much more. Does this signal that I have GREAT genetics, and that if I am this big with such small lifts, imagine how big ill be when my lifts do progress? That’s how I like to look at it. That being said, I honestly couldn’t care less about my lifts and i’m focused entirely on bodybuilding and aesthetics not on powerlifting.

Again, the goal is to hit 8-9% bf, so I can do a good effective bulk and stay under 11%, then cut again, and never pass 11% bf so all my bulking is as efficient as possible. I have huge ambitions to compete at all levels!


6 Unwritten Rules of the Gym
Intervention, The T Nation Edition
#5

Even when I Was 230lb 11% bf, I could barely bench 2 plates a side. I’ve never been a strong guy, always got big quick though!

Both my mother AND biological father were bodybuilders back in the day and both competed at fairly high levels and did over 20 competitions each! So hopefully I got them genetics!

The one way my genetics are superior to almost anybody ive seen near my size is my thickness! I am EXTREMELY thick through the upper torso, with a smaller waist than average. I have some high level competitive friends, male and female and they all say my genetics for thickness are nuts and they are jealous. Arms are weak point for sure but aren’t lagging much anymore due to extremely high volume.


#6

Did I miss it, or are you not doing any cardio yet? If you’re down already to 205 in 2 weeks, perhaps your higher volume no-rest days will take care of everything for you. I wouldn’t always count on getting to the finish line of a cut without any cardio, but some guys do manage to skate by with very little while others are constantly looking for non-stressful ways to add in any bit of caloric burn to their daily routines.

S


#7

Oh you missed it bro, thanks though

I am doing a fasted first thing in the AM LISS walk for 30 min every day, right after taking my ECA stack.

I am also doing low to medium intensity interval training post workout. I will Do something like this: Farmers walk (medium intensity) for 1min, Treadmill walk on MAX incline and 3.5-3.8 speed (medium intensity) for 3-5 min, then treadmill walk 10 incline and 3.0 speed (low intensity) for 5min, and ill do that twice.
Sometimes I just alternate maximum incline and higher speed with lower incline and lower speed. My calfs get insanely pumped from max incline high speed walking! On these max incline high speed walks I have the speed as high as possible without jogging and or falling over.

So that’s basically one 30min session per day of liss, and one interval session of medium to low intensity for 15-20 min post workout. I also do ONE HIIT session per week, when I hit 10% I will make that 2-3 per week.

I also workout daily with 0 rest days. I would add a 3rd LISS session but I am afraid of being too catabolic and overdoing the liss. I do actually enjoy it so I would love to add another LISS session if you think its a good idea. People always say its bad to do 2 hrs of LISS a day, but is that cause it just isn’t needed, or its actually harmful? cause id love to up it from 50 min to 90 or so.


#8

UPDATE #TWO

I have a Leg/Shoulder workout today guys!!

Shoulder exercises will be:

Lateral raises
Front raises
Upright rows
DB shoulder press

Leg exercises will be:

Leg press
Deadlift
Feet close together squats
Quad extension
Hamstring curls
Calf raises

Will do 20 min of low to medium intensity interval cardio post workout.

Just took my second ECA stack dose of the day (Ephedrine, caffeine, acetaminophen). I only take the acetaminophen part of the stack the 1st dose of the day, not with the second and third dose.

The energy is coming on now so ill be off to the gym in 15 or so!


#9

I definitely did too much ephedrine/ caffeine today… not going to repeat that mistake again!! Still BUZZING at 920pm!


#10

I read through your “2-a-days” post in the bodybuilding section. Really good stuff. I use a lot of those techniques, but now I’ll have to check out the Pulkaski info you shared so I can learn some more.

I’ll be following.


#11

Thanks bro! Ben taught me a LOT of stuff that really helped me bring up the more “Slow twitch” muscle fibers based muscles.


#12

I’m of the “do as little as needed” school." Granted some people need the cardio to offset higher food intake (so that they can get through their workouts as well as daily routines). Now typically LISS isn’t as strenuous as HIT in terms of cortisol levels go, BUT, there are plenty of intangibles, and let’s be honest, even very easy paced walking, for hours a day would have some effect of wearing me down a bit, even if just mentally.

S


#13

Thanks for your opinions bro, I hope you comment on my threads as often as possible because each comment is much appreciated when it comes from you!


#14

UPDATE #3

Just about to head out for that pre breakfast fasted cardio, its so nice having an Olympic size track and field walking track literally a 2 min walk from my bedroom!

Today is Chest/Front and Side Delts
(This is the order I will perform in)
Incline BB bench: 5 sets
Upright rows: 5 sets
Machine chest press: 5 sets
Lat rows: 6 sets
Dips: 4 sets
DB seated shoulder pess: 4-5 sets
Dumbell slight incline flies 4 sets*
Front raises: 2-3 sets
Cable pec flies from top/bottom/middle angles, 4-5 sets per angle

*Performed with someone pushing my arms away from each other near top of reps, really helps keep tension on chest when normally tension wouldn’t be there at that range of the rep!

Lately the post workout cardio has been Incline 15 with speed 3.5 for 100 calories burned, then 10 incline 3.0 speed for 25 calories burned, back to the higher intensity for 50 cals burned, back to lower for 25, back to higher for 50, back to lower for 25. This way I’m burning 275 per session PWO in about 20 min.
Doing the 15 incline and 3.5 speed is surprisingly hard! Not actually “hard” per say, but more intense than jogging for sure! So I call this MIIT (Medium intensity interval training). Any interval training is shown to have an after burn affect (Albeit to varying degrees based on intensity) that LISS just doesn’t have, as much as I love LISS.

I may do a 4 minute “Tabata” jump squat HIIT session tonight too, which would be 20 seconds of jump squats with maximum intensity and effort, alternated with 10 seconds of rest for 8 sets, totalling 4 minutes.

If anyone is actually following along, feel free to comment!! I’m currently at 200.3lb and just under 12%bf. I will be updating this thread every day or two until I hit 8% as measured by hydrostatic tank! I love the support, and all positive comments, criticisms, suggestions, and questions are encouraged!!


#15

Following along, looking forward to the progress. As many have mentioned, if you have a thread on reaching 8%, which is pretty insane for someone who is not competing, love to see some pics.

IMO doing that much LISS should be completely and 100% only if it’s absolutely necessary, otherwise it’s much better to break it up into multiple smaller sessions. Your body adapts to LISS very quickly, so if you start out doing that much, you’ll only have to add on even more down the road. Also really wears down the legs especially if you’re hitting them hard during the week. Before my last show I was doing about 90 minutes of cardio a day, with 60min in the AM and 30min post weights. even 50 minutes for the start of a cut is a LOT, I typically start with one or two HIIT sessions, and LISS is no more than 20min. I was able to get to 9% body fat with one HIIT workout a week and a daily 20min LISS session post weights. Once I started adding an additional 20min LISS session first thing fasted every morning, I got down to 6% pretty quick.

Hope this helps!


#16

I am aiming to compete in the next couple years. I plan on putting up pics when I get an available method, I’m really excited to start an Instagram and stuff to so I will be doing that soon!

I am cutting to 8% because AAS is so much more effective bulking from low bf, I plan on getting to 8% ish then bulking to 10% ish and staying under 11% at all times.

I’m really putting my main focus in life on bodybuilding (Aside from family), I have big ambitions regarding competing and getting my pro card! Really excited to see how far I can push my body and how much I Can achieve! My dream would be to have a career like Stu Yellin or something like that. I’m NOT trying to belittle what he has accomplished or taking it lightly and saying “I could do that”, I’m saying that would be my DREAM!


#17

Good stuff, thank you for sharing. Just so I get this right… we’re you doing 20 minutes LISS followed by 60 minutes of “cardio” every morning after adding the LISS?

How intense was the 60 minutes?

How long after your cardio was your first meal?

Was there also any major macro tweak or calorie drop during that last phase?

I’m hovering in the high single digits, making a push for a bit more leanness, so I appreciate any thoughts. I’d rather NOT pull the trigger on major additions of cardio…so far I’ve made it quite far with hardly any, but it is starting to look like it’s time.


#18

No, I must not have been clear enough.

I am currently doing 30 minutes of fasted LISS first thing in the morning after just drinking water and taking my fatburner.

I also am doing 20 minutes of medium intensity interval training POST WORKOUT, basically incline walking on maximum incline (15) with the highest speed I can actually walk (3.7) without holding on to the treadmill. I spend about 5 minutes on this speed/intensity, then switch to 2 minutes on a lower speed and intensity until I hit 20 minutes.

Some people might call that low intensity, but at that incline and speed it definitely takes more out of you than jogging does! I consider normal “Speed walking” LISS, so I have dubbed this “MISS”.

I also incorporate “Tabata” style jump squat hiit, but only once a week in the evening on my leg days! It’s just 20 seconds of maximum intensity effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, for 8 sets. The whole thing takes 4minutes and there its lots of research supporting short HIIT sessions done in “tabata” Style, try googling it if you aren’t familiar with it!


#19

@Serge_A_Storms you’re welcome man, happy to clarify! At that time it was just 20min LISS after my weight workout. So, the majority of my prep was like this:
-Weights 5 days a week, and after each weight session, I did 20min LISS on the elliptical.
-1 weekly HIIT session of 8 intervals followed immediately by 20min LISS. Intervals were 30 seconds HIIT followed by 2min steady, repeat that 8 times.

At 4 weeks out of my first show, I added an additional 20min fasted LISS every morning. So, every morning before breakfast I’d do 20min on the incline treadmill in my basement, then workout in the afternoon and do another 20min LISS on the elliptical as usual.

After my first show I had 7 weeks until the second show. I followed the same method, keeping in 20min LISS every morning, and eventually had to bump it up until it got to 60min LISS every morning, still with 20min LISS after weights every day. There were a few days I also added a 45min walk outside in the middle of the day.

LOW for sure, especially since I was already at basement level calories and I was doing cardio before breakfast. I always wear a heart rate monitor on a prep to make sure LISS is in the zone of 110-130 BPM, I’d usually try to keep it around 120. Towards the end of the prep if my HR got too high on LISS I’d start feeling dizzy, so I really had to keep it slow and steady, just burning cals.

ASAP. When I was doing cardio at home on the incline treadmill, I’d go upstairs and make breakfast right away, so I’d wind up eating about 15min after cardio was done. Towards the end of the prep, the treadmill broke and I had to go to the gym. So, I’d wake up, drive to the gym for 60min fasted cardio then drive home. Once that started, I actually prepped my breakfast the night before so I could eat as soon as I got home. Overall if you’re doing cardio fasted in the AM, I’d recommend eating 10-15 minutes after you’re done.

Yes, I had to drop carbs and raise protein. For most of my prep, carbs were pretty moderate and I was able to eat about 180g per day until 4 weeks out, and protein was about 160g. I had to bump protein up to around 180, and carbs got low, first down to around 100g, then at the end down to 50g a day, with a 120g every 4th day. Once I did drop the carbs and added the morning cardio, the last bit of fat melted off pretty quick.

Good for you man, that’s awesome! Without knowing what exactly you’re doing, and have been doing, if you’re hovering in high single digits and want to break the wall, it’s going to be uncomfortable. 9-10% is pretty achievable without really inconveniencing yourself or feeling uncomfortable if you have the discipline. If you want to get to like 8% and below, you’re going to have to be willing to put yourself through the ringer a little bit. I wouldn’t make any significant adjustments right away, but dropping carbs, even if just on some days, adding some more LISS or another HIIT session or something might be warranted. If you can post what you’ve been doing to get this point, I’d be happy to give some suggestions on where to go from here. One thing I can say is if you’ve been able to get away with minimal cardio and are already lean, when/if you do add more, you should see solid results fairly quickly since your body isn’t used to the cardio, it should respond well.


#20

So you can get an idea of what I’ve done…

I started at 2600 cals aprox with cardio post workout 20mins LISS only.

After a week and about 1% bf drop I switched the post workout to medium intensity intervals, and added 30 min fasted liss first thing in the morning. I also added ephedrine/caffeine at this time, which has been the BEST move this cut that I have used! Dropped the cals to 2400 shortly after this!

Recently dropped to about 2235 cals, added one hiit session per week (tabata style). I am currently just under 12% probably about 11.5% and am still dropping 1/3 to 1/2 a lb daily… My diet is the EXACT same meals every day except for refeeds so my sodium and water don’t really fluctuate, really helps me to see daily progress.

I also added a refeed when I dropped to 2235 cals, my refeed is adding in 140g extra carbs and dropping 10g fat and 30g protein, so I end up adding 350 cals total.

My current macros are 290 protein, 190 carbs, 35 fat