T Nation

Starting a Strict Transformation

Hi everyone. I’ve weight lifted and been active before but I always stop because of nagging injuries or lack of motivation. This time I’ve been at it with great results for about three months but I know I can do better, so I want to start a hardcore diet/lifting program. If you can take a look at what I’m considering and offer some suggestions that would be awesome.

Stats: 21 yrs old, 5’11", ~188 lbs, i estimate around 20-25 % BF but I don’t know for sure. My goal in the short term is to lose the fat down to at most 14% while maintaining as much muscle as possible. also, as a beginner I understand that I’ll be able to build strength due to beginner gains, but you can school me on that. If a slower, steadier cut can help me lose fat while maintaining as much muscle and strength as possible, I’d rather do that. Here is my workout plan I’m thinking of, but I have some questions…
Monday: Legs
Leg Press ( I have trouble with squats due to some injuries)
Leg curls
Lunges
calf Raises

Tuesday: chest and triceps
bench press
incline dumbbell press
tricep pull down
skull crushers

Wednesday: Back and Biceps
Lat Pull Down (again, left elbow problem prevents me from doing pull ups)
Vbar cable row
Up Right Row
Bent Over Dumbbell Row
Barbell curl
Forearm curl

Thursday: Shoulders
Military Press
Lateral Dumbbell Raises
Front Raises
Rear Delt Fly

Now, heres the issue I have with cardio: I’ve heard that doing steady state cardio is best for losing fat while keeping muscle, but a lot of people also say that HIIT should be done all the time and doesn’t hurt muscle/strength maintenance or gains.

This latest article I read ( http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_diet_mass/shredded_at_last_1le ) says that both should be done, but I think this article is describing what to do for fat loss without regard to keeping strength/muscle. So my plan right now is to add HIIT on Friday and Sunday. the article advocates doing SS cardio right after lifting before the PWO shake. this doesn’t seem right, it would be robbing my muscles of nutrients, no? So i need advice on when to do cardio and what sort to do. Also, i need advice on the diet side of things. This is what I’m considering right now:
for my size and weight and my goal of losing fat, I think I need something like
2400 calories a day, ~190+ grams of protein, ~210+ grams of carbs, ~40 grams of fat

10 AM Whey Protein Shake, Multivitamin, omega 3
1 PM grilled chicken w/ a wrap or chicken and whole wheat pasta
430 PM grilled chicken and pasta, chicken on whole wheat bread or tuna
6 PM pwo shake, protein + dextrose
9 PM chicken and pasta, rice etc
11 PM cottage cheese / tuna

does this diet seem alright? any alterations I should make? I don’t feel like carb cycling right now though I do eat more on heavy lift days on occassion. Sorry for the long post, hope i get some good advice.

First, welcome to the Nation.

Second, if you haven’t read the stickies at the top of the beginner forum, put that on your ‘to-do’ list. It’ll answer a bunch of questions you don’t know you have yet.

Your diet looks about right. I’d drop some of the carbs and replace them with healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, avocado, flax meal, things like that), because fats don’t raise your insulin levels (carbs do), and that can increase your fat loss by keeping you in a fat-burning state.

Throw in vegetables, especially spinach (salads are great), broccoli and cauliflower. Veggies keep you full, add fiber to your diet, and have a host of health benefits (anti-oxidants and vitamins). I recommend at least a couple servigs a day. More is probably better.

You probably need more fiber. Theoretically, you’ll be getting enough with the sheer volume of whole wheat you’re consuming. I wouldn’t trust that. Add some black or pinto beans. Beans are almost entirely fiber, have good protein, and vastly decrease the insulin response of a given meal, which is important when you’re dieting.

Without reps and sets, it’s difficult to accurately critique your program. I’ll point out three flaws in your thinking, though.

  1. You do not need to be worried about muscle wasting. So long as you consume enough protein, lift intensely, and don’t have hideously elevated levels of stress, you won’t lose muscle mass. Most of that ‘prevent muscle mass while dieting’ is for advanced trainnees who have a lot of extra muscle mass. The rest is just fear-mongering to sell a product.
  2. Working out four days in a row, without rest, is probably a mistake.
  3. Both steady state cardio and HIIT works. You are not at a position to need to worry about which is more effective. Regardless of which method you employ, your fat loss will (should) be between 1-2lbs/week. The point is to keep it working, by slowly progressing (adding time, speed, laps, or difficulty).

Really though, use the search feature (top-right hand side of the page) to find the ‘Waterbury Summer Project’. Follow that training program. It’s balanced, and it has a proven track record of acheiving resuults. And really, if a top athletic coach makes a program public knowledge, why go about re-creating the wheel?

Good to have you, and use this thread to post the next several questions you have.

[quote]Otep wrote:
First, welcome to the Nation.

Second, if you haven’t read the stickies at the top of the beginner forum, put that on your ‘to-do’ list. It’ll answer a bunch of questions you don’t know you have yet.

Your diet looks about right. I’d drop some of the carbs and replace them with healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, avocado, flax meal, things like that), because fats don’t raise your insulin levels (carbs do), and that can increase your fat loss by keeping you in a fat-burning state.

Throw in vegetables, especially spinach (salads are great), broccoli and cauliflower. Veggies keep you full, add fiber to your diet, and have a host of health benefits (anti-oxidants and vitamins). I recommend at least a couple servigs a day. More is probably better.

You probably need more fiber. Theoretically, you’ll be getting enough with the sheer volume of whole wheat you’re consuming. I wouldn’t trust that. Add some black or pinto beans. Beans are almost entirely fiber, have good protein, and vastly decrease the insulin response of a given meal, which is important when you’re dieting.

Without reps and sets, it’s difficult to accurately critique your program. I’ll point out three flaws in your thinking, though.

  1. You do not need to be worried about muscle wasting. So long as you consume enough protein, lift intensely, and don’t have hideously elevated levels of stress, you won’t lose muscle mass. Most of that ‘prevent muscle mass while dieting’ is for advanced trainnees who have a lot of extra muscle mass. The rest is just fear-mongering to sell a product.

  2. Working out four days in a row, without rest, is probably a mistake.

  3. Both steady state cardio and HIIT works. You are not at a position to need to worry about which is more effective. Regardless of which method you employ, your fat loss will (should) be between 1-2lbs/week. The point is to keep it working, by slowly progressing (adding time, speed, laps, or difficulty).

Really though, use the search feature (top-right hand side of the page) to find the ‘Waterbury Summer Project’. Follow that training program. It’s balanced, and it has a proven track record of acheiving resuults. And really, if a top athletic coach makes a program public knowledge, why go about re-creating the wheel?

Good to have you, and use this thread to post the next several questions you have.[/quote]

Great post! Not much to add after that.

But I do have a few suggestions, you should move your wenseday and thursday lifting days, to thursday and friday. This will give you a much needed break in the middle of the week.

Also, when I was leaning out I used the Metabolic Pairing’s from one of Christian Thibaudeau’s articles a couple months ago. These were extremely effective and hard as hell.

Otep gave you a great advice on the diet. Hard to give you alot of advice on your training program given you have not mentioned sets/reps.

I haven’t had a chance to review the stickies since I’m in the middle of finals but I do appreciate the advice you guys have given so far. As for sets and reps, I typically do 3-4 sets and 8-10 reps, though when I increase the weight for the first time my reps drop down to 4 or 5. again, thanks guys.

I’ve read the christian thibaudeau articles posted in the stickies. most of it I knew, only I was surprised to read that fat is encouraged over low GI carbs for energy.

so i was wondering, what are the healthiest fats to consume for someone looking to get lean ( on top of the ones you’ve already suggested, which don’t seem like enough to cover the caloric needs i’ll be looking at)? i’ve been pretty skeptical about increasing my fat take.

also, I understand that being super precise for a beginner doesn’t matter, but I would like to be anyhow. to that end, I was wondering what a perfect diet would look like for me.

at 187 lb and 5’11", it seems like my BMR with moderate activity will be around 2500, so to start losing fat i should drop down to 2200 or so.

is it wise to begin my day with a protein shake like i have been? on top of that, ill have a PWO shake of protein with dextrose, and then meals in between consisting of either protein and carbs or protein and healthy fats. im estimating my daily protein intake should be 210 grams.

as for my lifting plan, i want to keep with the one i laid out at the beginning, with each lift at 3-4 sets and 8-10 reps, unless anyone has any comments to make on that. also, i was wondering when and how often to add cardio to that plan?

specifically, what is the maximum amount of cardio i can add to that lifting plan without hurting my muscle gain goals? thanks for all your help guys. i’ve been looking at a lot of T-Nation articles but they seem to offer some contradictory stuff, so I hope I can get the answers here ( i hope these questions aren’t too obvious )