T Nation

Sick and Tired of Looking This Way


I'm 18 years old and I currently weigh in at 230 lbs. at 5' 11". Quite frankly, I'm sick and tired of looking this way. I diet for two weeks and quit. I work out for a week and quit. I quit smoking cigarettes for 3 days and start it up again. It's time for something different. It's time to start a change. I used to play football, and I was in much better shape. Don't get me wrong I still played line, but I was in much better shape than I'm in now. I want to get my body fat down, and eventually build slabs of muscle on. I want that athletic look. It's time for a change.

The biggest thing I need help with is my calories and macronutrients. I've been doing a bit of research, but to be quite honest it's all really confusing to me. I need to know what to put into my body to look the way I want to. If I had the money for it, I would do the Velocity diet, but the 600 dollar projection for me is a little too steep. So if there is any way that you guys could help me out with a resource to read over nutrition I would appreciate it. The number of articles on this site is just staggering, and I don't know where to begin.

I lifted for football, and as of about 2 or 3 months ago these were my maxes:

Bench: 250
Squat: 375
Incline: 215
Powerclean: 230

I need a suggestion on a workout. I currently have the built like a badass e-book from Joe Defranco. I like the way it's setup, but there's no cardio put into it. Is it ok to add in a day or two of HIIT? The program lifts upper body on Mondays and Fridays and lower body on Wednesdays. If there is a better program to work with, I would love to hear it. Keep in mind I want that athletic look.

All in all, it's time to change. But I need a little help getting the ball rolling. Any help will be greatly appreciated.


Do what you can for cardio, HIIT is fine. Eat well and do whatever program you want. I'm not familiar with that one but as long as it's focused on progression and building mass it should be okay.

Other programs that'll will be good while losing weight:

5x5 and its variants
WS4SB also by Joe D

To be honest you can train a lot of different ways but the main determining factor at this point will be how consistant you are.

Lifting is fun! Enjoy the journey and feel good about working hard at something constructive!


Yeah the majority of my problems don't lie in the actual program it's the dieting aspect. At this point in the game is it really that big of a deal to mess with macro and micro nutrients? The way I see it as long as I keep my protein high, eat clean, and cut my cals I should be dropping some weight.

Additionally, the built like a badass program is a progression to where at the end of the cycle you try for a new max. It's a percentage based workout.


Pretty much, yeah. As long as you're burtin' your ass in the gym.


The most important thing is how you approach different aspects of this program mentally. Specifically important is how you approach food. If your approach to food is to get that satisfying full sensation, or the nice taste of salt or sugar or alcohol, then your going about it all wrong. You need think function when it comes to food, you just need to eat enough to maintain muscle, thats it. That means no carbs at night, only veggies and protein. Good carbs for breakfast with protein. Protein, carbs and veggies for lunch. A mid morning and mid afternoon snack of almonds and a piece of fruit. 100-128 oz of water. Don't add salt to anything (or eat anything high in salt), dont drink alcohol, dont eat sugar. This will happen very quickly once you adjust yourself.

Usually if someone is cutting back in one area they will pick it up in another. For instance say you are eating very well except you have a bunch of dressing on your salad like Caesar or something. OK so you could really be losing weight but you take in all that sodium from the dressing, up goes your weight, it doesn't look like your making any progress and there goes your motivation. Same thing can happen eating hard candy to make it through. With a constant bump in blood sugar like that you can get fucked up pretty good.

You need to think for a second, if you really want to do this, are you stronger than eating unclean food or drinking, or whatever it is? THIS is the shit that is going to make a difference if you lift hard and do 20 min of metabolic work 6 times a week you are going to be sitting pretty. Dont for a second think you are ever going to overcome fucking up the food part of this with hard work. If your not going to discipline yourself on the food front, theres only one type of exercise that will work. A death march. Walk from wherever you are to Cape Horn and back. Take your pick.


And another thing. When you talk diet, it doesn't even really need to be like that. You really dont need to be hungry at all. If you are your prob losing muscle and your only going to mentally make it so far. Now if you want to get ripped you might have to deal with a bit of hunger here and there, but you should be able to get down to say 10-13 percent without being hungry at all. There might be times where you could eat more, and there definitely will be time you will crave carbs somewhat, but you have to be aware of that and the difference between hunger and these other two things.


I understand what you're saying but isn't there a certain amount of calories I should be taking in when i work out and when I don't? If so, how do I find that number?


Are you talking about the days you workout and the days you dont? If so and you really want to get technical, possibly, but reading your history of sticking to regimens, I think the simpler the better is the way to go.

No offense but where you are right now you only need to get so intricate with things.


No offense taken. How do I find out how many calories I should be taking in?


No offense taken. But how do I figure out how many calories i should take in?


If you're eating enough you'll be gaining 1-3 lbs a week on a bulk or losing it on a cut. If you're weight doesn't change you're eating at maintanence.

No calculator can take in account the differences between metabolic rates and diet history. Best way to figure it out is to dive in. If you want a number to try I'd start with 3500 and adjust from there.


Alright. Does keeping a food log really help that much?


Depends on the person. If you're winging it and fucking up then it might be worth it to see what you're actually eating.

I did for my first year but looking back it was unnecessary and kind of a pain in the ass to keep up for so long.


I think that keeping a food log is integral to making real progress. I think that whatever your goals are, knowing what you are taking in, more importantly, knowing the macronutrients, is very important.


I wouldn't count calories, really unnecessary at this point, you will learn alot more if you learn how to eat a reasonable healthy diet without counting calories. 10 oz protein at lunch and dinner with mid sized sweet potato, brown rice, ezekiel bread (40-50 grams carbs or so no more) and two cups of veggies. For dinner same thing but only veggies (have as much veggies as you want dont add anything aside from a bit of olive oil and vinegar).

Snacks like I said 20 almonds and a piece of fruit. Breakfast have Cheerios skim milk 4 walnut halves and a scoop of protein. Dont add anything to this just eat it. 20 minutes a day metabolic work (intervals, GPP etc..) 100-128 oz water. Get to sleep by 10, sleep 8 hours.

If you want to do a food log, go for it. It takes a massive amount of discipline and remember you are adding another step that can be more difficult than the eating itself. Like I said before, based on your history, I think its a much better idea to try to learn how to eat, I dont see you sticking with a food log. Most people that can stick with a food log wouldn't be in this situation because they are disciplined.

Don't make this harder than it has to be, just eat what I told you to above and you will do fine. If you want to change the above, go to calorieking and look to see how many carbs, protein fat are in each of the above so you know what to change to. Its pretty easy though. 10 oz fish, turkey or lean beef. 40 grams healthy carb at lunch, 2.5 cups of cheerios for breakfast with the rest I mentioned. When you workout you can have a post workout shake with 20 grams at least carbs and protein instead of one of your snacks.


You can get great results just by switiching to clean food sources. As people have said, you dont need to be worrying about macros etc a huge amount right now. Eat breakfast, eat after you workout, cut out alcohol, sugar (and all the other shit that you know is bad for you!) and start to lift some damn weight!

And good luck


Do you have an iPod Touch or iPhone? Then I highly recommend the LoseIt! application. So easy for calculating daily totals and macros.


For long term tuning of your diet, I suggest http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/tailormade_nutrition_part_i

Personally, I always start by just lifting heavy 4 days/week, do some cardio, eat lot of protein and veggies and then whatever else. If that gets me good enough gains, I do not bother tracking more, but if you need to be systematic and/or the simple approach doesn't get you sufficient gains (and eventually it probably will not) then a food planner (not just a log) will be very useful and that article series is great for that.

EDIT: Also, on the workout side, I advocate for Wendler's 5/3/1, probably using the Boring But Big template, but you could also pick accessory lifts that you can superset. Wendler also discusses integrating jumprope work before workouts and things like hill runs after lifting and/or on off days. That said, I imagine Joe D's program would work well once you get the diet in line, and you can always add some HIIT and/or steady state work as needed to keep the fat coming off.

EDIT: For keeping on track, you may want to set some reasonable goals for 6 months or a year and bet someone you hate a shit ton of money that you will achieve your goals (e.g., a certain body weight, bf% and/or powerlifting total). I suggest writing a formal contract, and note that it does not require any of their money to be on the line, just a damn lot of yours to give you extra motivation from fear of losing your money and hatred of who would get it. The more money and the more you hate them, the better. Every day you think of just drinking beer and eating pizza on the couch, just remember that you are risking thousands of dollars and it would go to those bastards, then go for a good run.


if you make all your own food, and are lifting hard, i'm going to guess that it'll be pretty hard NOT to lose weight.

as for built like a badass not having cardio built in... most of his finishers involve complexes or timed mile runs, which give you that HIIT action. on the other days, i'm sure you could get away with more HIIT or cardio and you'd be fine. after all, the purpose of the 3 day a week program is to allow time to play your sport as well.


That article was pretty helpful. The problem I have with it is eating the second meal of the day. I wake up at 6 everyday and eat right after my shower. This is around 6:15 or 6:20. The next opportunity I have to eat is inbetween first and second period. First period ends at 8:18, so that's right around the 2 hour mark. The problem I run into is that I only have 6 minutes inbetween classes. It seems as though getting in a full meal with vegetables, lean protein, and fruit would be rather hard. After this, however, I have lunch at 10:21. Once again, good timing. After this, I go to work after third period and getting the meals in would not be a problem whatsoever.

Also, what are the so-called healthiest fruits and vegetables? I'm going with the recommendation of this article by not starting with counting calories right off the bat, and simply getting the routine of eating 6 times per day down.

I completely forgot about the finishers get-it-done. I think im gonna throw in two days of hiit too. Anybody think that would hurt more than help?