T Nation

Starting a Body Transformation

Hey-I’m Matt, and I’m new to the forums, but not to T-Nation. I’ve been following the articles on here for several years, and lifted for a few years as well before I got injured. I pulled something in my hip about 3 years ago, and never quite got back into regular training. I’d always start for a few weeks, then just fall off the wagon after a while.

So I continued to be stupid and eat like I was training, and managed to balloon up to 345lbs as of Christmas. Since then, I’ve managed to drop about 10lbs, and would like to drop a total of 150lbs by the end of the year if possible. I’m also trying to avoid a repeat of my performance in the October 2011 Tough Mudder, where I injured my leg coming out of the second obstacle, and had to drop out. I’ve got another ‘Mudder’ scheduled in May, and I’d like to be able to finish this one.

As I mentioned earlier-I’m coming from a de-trained status, my nutrition has been pretty crappy, and my sleep schedule has been shot to hell. Typically I’m falling asleep around 0500-0700 and not waking til mid-afternoon, but I’d like to be able to be getting up around 0700 instead. No job at the moment to schedule around, though hopefully that will change soon.

I’m trying to work my way onto a 1/2 carb paleo-zone hybrid a la Robb Wolf’s performance menu article. I’m trying to get back into lifting regularly as well-I’ve got a decent home gym setup, barbell & power rack, but no bench. I’ve also got a pullup bar and a few other goodies.

I’ve read on here that it’s better to tackle the lean-down portion first-would anyone recommend a ‘strong’ day to bring my lifts back up to a reasonable level, or should I stay away from those for now? I’m assuming basic hypertrophy would be the rep range I’m working towards, correct? As for cardio, I’ve got several options available-just a matter of getting out and doing it.

Any thoughts?

I would lift heavy 2 or 3 times per week. From personal experience I know that when you’re in a calorie deficit it’s easy to lose muscle and strength. In the past I lost about 40 pounds of fat. About half of that I did so via pretty much just diet. I thought I would leave the weight training for later, but that idea cost me. I ended up losing some muscle. In terms of rep range I would lift in the strength range (1-5). You’re unlikely to put on much muscle in a calorie deficit, the point of the weight training is so you retain what you got. The heavier the weight, the more vital your body will see the muscle.

In terms of cardio, for me the number one concept to keep in mind is Newton’s second law of motion. Force = Mass * Acceleration. The more force you generate the more calories you burn. If you’re doing bodyweight cardio than you can increase Force by increasing Acceleration. For that I would sprint and skip rope. Martial arts are great as when you spar you are continually starting and stopping, and at a very fast pace. Also try to increase the amount of walking you do. Walking won’t burn a lot of calories but it accumulates.

Now I realize I might be wrong about stuff. I might have a concept inverted or twisted. All I know is what worked and didn’t work for me. So take it with a grain of salt, but give a shot.

definitely pick a diet to follow. any sensible one will do at this point.

I also wouldn’t be too picky with a routine, as probably any well-designed one will get you stronger and shed fat as long as you keep rest periods down for the time being. just stick with it for 6-12 months and re-evaluate from there.

Speaking from direct experience, the way that i got my weight problems under control was :

1.Dealing with the things that was pushing me ever further into being soft,fat and weak. A lot of this was related to problems at work but where i was coping by adding more and more hours to my working day (nights) and at the same time living on coffee and high carb snacks.
This actually meant backing off from work and ealing with the consequences of claiming my own time/life back.

2.at the same time i simply started initially just cutting back on the high carb treats and gradually re learning to eat properly ie proper meals with basic foods.

3.The most major thing i did was simply stopping driving to work and just walking every day, after a few months i started adding in more miles/hours out trail walking and only after about 6 months of that did i ramp things up with basic ‘cardio’ ie easy running.

4.After a year of basic stuff like the walking programme i was fit enough to start a weight training programme .

In brief : each stage has led me onto another stage, now i eat well (actually eating more than i have ever done) training at least 6 days a week and draw clear lines between what is work and what isn’t.
Furthermore i really enjoy the feel of moving towards a much stronger, lighter and fitter body, although i am gaining weight now it is lean muscle and i am still losing fat.