T Nation

Starting a Better Life

I was diagnosed at 16 yrs. of age in 1997 with Lymphoma, in what they called the “Death Stage” at the time. This coming September, I will celebrate 16 yrs. remission, and this year I’m making a change. I have lifted weights on and off since high school, but never really took it 100% serious, and dieting was the last thing I wanted to do. You would think beating something so horrible would be the only wake up call a person would need, but I’m stupid.

I see people’s health failing all around me and I don’t want to be another American Health Statistic, and with a 6 yr. old son, I owe it to him to make that change. I’m in the gym 4-5 days a week depending on what kind of split I’m doing for the routine, and I’m actually taking dieting serious. I have lost about 20 lbs. since starting, putting on lean mass, and actually enjoying the way I feel.


The above picture was the beginning, this one was 8 weeks in with no serious dieting


8 weeks in

Congrats on what you’ve done so far, in the gym and in life.

The pics definitely show that you’ve dropped some weight already. What does your current training (weights and cardio) and nutrition look like? Maybe we can tweak it for even better progress.

If you’ve got any other particular questions, toss them up.

Breakfast : 8-10

Breakfast: 7 egg whites 1 whole egg w/ tablespoon of low sodium salsa or hot sauce
Snack: 24 almonds or 3 egg whites
Lunch: lean meat with complex carb, vegetable or leafy greens
Snack: 24 almonds or 3 egg whites
Lunch: lean meat with complex carb, vegetable or leafy greens

Monday: upper body
Dumbell bench 4s/8r
Tbar row 4s/8r
Dumbell shoulder press 4s/8r
Hammer curls 4s/8r
Rope single tri pushdown 4s/8r
Dumbell shrug 4s/8r
Forearm rollers

Tuesday:lower body
Front squat 4s/8r
Deadlift 4s/8r
Lunges 4s/8r
Hamstring curl 4s/8r
Seated calf raise 4s/8r
Tib raise 4s/8r

Wed. Cardio and core

Thurs. Upper body
Incline dumbell bench 4s/8r
Pull ups 4s/8r
Barbell shoulder press 4s/8r
Front/side/rear delt raises 3s/8r
Dips 4s/8r
Barbell shrugs 4s/8r

Fri. Lower body
Back squat 4s/8r
Stiff legged deadlift 4s/8r
One legged press 4s/8r
Hamstring curl 4s/8r
Standing calf raise 4s/8r
Tib raises 4s/8r

Sat. Cardio and core

Sun. Rest

Supplement with creatine, bcaa’s, whey and casein protein and a pre and peri workout drink

[quote]MyzterT wrote:
Breakfast: 7 egg whites 1 whole egg w/ tablespoon of low sodium salsa or hot sauce
Snack: 24 almonds or 3 egg whites
Lunch: lean meat with complex carb, vegetable or leafy greens
Snack: 24 almonds or 3 egg whites
Lunch: lean meat with complex carb, vegetable or leafy greens[/quote]
Couple things: “Low sodium” anything is unnecessary, unless you do have hypertension and are specifically on a low sodium diet. It just doesn’t have any serious impact on fat loss.

“24 almonds or 3 egg whites” are pretty much polar opposites in terms of being substitutes. One is calorie-dense and provides fats and some protein and carbs, the other has about one-thrid of the calories and is just protein. Not sure how you decide which is which during the day. I’d probably go for the almonds, or 1 or 2 whole eggs, or one whole egg and one piece of fruit.

Overall, your diet is pretty low protein for a guy your size who’s lifting weights several days a week. Low protein means your body has no way to preserve or build muscle, so you’ll end up smaller but flabby. It’s also pretty low fat, which I’m not really a fan of. This article talked about the pros and cons of different diet plans, including low fat diets:

Basically it can help you cut calories, but you’re sacrificing a lot of the benefits of healthy fats and you can run into blood sugar issues (frequent spikes and drops).

Healthy fats are actually a decent source of calories and they’re super-useful to the body. So stick to whole eggs, and if you’re having lean meats, use things like olive oil, coconut oil, or avocados to bump up the healthy fat content.
Some reading that might clear things up:

Your general training template is solid, I’d just tweak some of the exercises and sets/reps. There’s just no need to be working something as small as the tibialis twice a week, or doing two kinds of shrugs when we don’t have much other back work, for example.

And one cool way to maximize hitting bodyparts twice a week is to do one set/rep scheme the first day (say 4x8, like you’ve got), and a drastically different set/rep pattern the next day, like 10x4. It’ll affect which exercises you can choose (we’re not going to do 10x4 on something like lateral raises or hamstring curls, for example), but it lets you train heavier and work the muscle with a bit more variety in stimulus. Chad Waterbury has several plans with this type of set-up. Just something to consider.

All in all, if it’s working stick with it, just make sure you are headed in the right direction and getting closer to your goal.

I appreciate the input Chris. I try to get at least 1.5g of protein per lb. of body weight in, and supplement with flax and fish oil but have put olive oil and coconut oil on my list of stuff to get today per your advice. I pulled the program off another site and just started it this week because I like to change routines about every 6-8 weeks but will incorporate the suggested changes. I eat the eggs and almonds at different times if that makes sense, just so I get the protein and change it up so I don’t get bored.

I eat 3 eggs 1st snack, then 2nd snack I’ll eat the almonds. I’ve stayed away from a lot of carbs because I wanted to trim down, tired of being the fat guy. I don’t know if anything I’ve added will change your advice, but if it does, please let me know so that I can make necessary adjustments.

I do have to take testosterone injections and thyroid medicine because of the cancer treatments, but the levels are good now, just trying to get rid of the flab and keep my muscle. Thanks again Chris, and I look forward to hearing back from you

[quote]MyzterT wrote:
I try to get at least 1.5g of protein per lb. of body weight in[/quote]
I don’t know how big a serving your lunch and dinner proteins are but based on that diet template, I just don’t those numbers adding up. Definitely be conscious of it and consider 1g per pound the bare minimum.

Gotcha, but I wouldn’t consider the almonds (or any nuts) a significant protein source. Yeah, it might have X amount of protein per serving, but it has to do with the protein quality and the efficiency with which your body can use that protein to build/repair muscle.

Not to complicate things, but 6 grams of protein from almonds isn’t “the same” as, say, 6 grams of protein from eggs or steak.

I don’t know if there was a copy/paste issue when you posted your diet, but another easy tweak would be to ditch the complex carb serving from dinner and move it to breakfast. You’ve probably read that having carbs later in the day isn’t ideal for fat loss, so having them with your first meal of the day is preferred.

Glad to help. Stick with it.

Thanks for the help Chris, making changes today