T Nation

Story of My Life - Getting in Shape


Hey T-Nation,

I find myself posting today for a few reasons, but before I get started I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. Hopefully it will allow you to get a better understanding of who I am, where I am coming from, my goals etc. and will allow you to give me better advice.

My name is Eric; I'm currently a 21-year-old junior at Penn State studying finance. All through grade school I played my fair share of sports - Soccer (7 years), Football (3 years), Lacrosse (2 years). Near the end of high school I slowly began to just tire from constant commitment of sports. It's honestly been about 4-5 years since I have truly been "active".

Last summer I did have a little something going, but when school began I didn't adapt. I find myself slowly but surely beginning to spiral.

I'm a very humble person, and I'm a realist. I understand that I am probably one of the fattest people to have posted on these forums. "If you can't beat them, join them." -- I carry that mentality to these forums 100%.

I've been reading T-Nation for about 6+ months now, and I believe that there are many people here who have a greater understanding of health, exercise, and just overall lifestyle then myself. I also understand that working out is a lifestyle change, not a temporary fix to solve a problem.

It takes hard work, determination, and effort to achieve something. At the end of the day, you just have to do it. I find myself making a lot of excuses and I'm just sick and tired of it. Not sure how many readers have had a chance to read any of the transformations, but every time I need motivation I look at the "Transformation of Bartl". I as well as him am just growing angry and fed up with myself. I'm ready for a change.

Now that we aren't 100% strangers, let's get to some facts.

Age: 21
Height: 6'4
Weight: 290
Body fat %: ~28 (I'm not 100% sure on this, but I would guess higher then lower, probably between 25 and 30% BF)

Years training: In my later years of high school I worked out every day for a strength and conditioning class, mostly focused on upper body (yes, high school boys are ignorant and dumb when it comes to working out properly). I did actually max out at 300 when I was a junior in HS. I weighted about 220 give or take at the time.

Aside from that if you can even call that training, I had about a 7 or 8 week little training program I put myself through last summer. You will be able to see a picture of my workout sheet. All things aside, compared to most people on this forum, I'm as amateur as it gets.

What are my goals? Honestly, I'm not here to be a bodybuilder. Hopefully that doesn't upset anyone, but I'm not going to lie to you. I'm here because nutrition/exercise/health is a science. I'm out of shape dumb beginner who needs some advice and direction. My goal if I had to give you an image would probably be of Chris Bartl's after picture (from the transformation) seen below.

This leads me to my next question. Currently I do not have a membership at any local gyms or recreation centers. I currently have this in my basement.

Aside from that, a bicycle (I ride bike everyday for class and fun), and a few jump ropes. Will I be able to create an effective spreadsheet like I had during summer?


It helps me a lot to go to the gym with that piece of paper. I then just start going through the workout one by one, helps for me to see what I've done. Some people just go into the gym and wing it; I'm as far from that as possible. I would also like to be able to build an Excel sheet like that for food intake.

I really need someone to tell me what to eat, when, and how much and I'll do it and can mark it off as I go. Call me OCD or whatever, but shit just doesn't get done if I don't map it out.

All that being said (hopefully I didn't drag on too long, I wanted to take my time and be as in depth as possible) - maybe it's any indication that I am very serious. What advice can you give me, what should I do, where should I go from here?

Also I know nothing about supplements. I read through most the transformations, including Bartl's day-to-day log. He was on a few supplements/vitamins etc. I am very uneducated in those, and when I try to read about them most of it goes over my head anyway.

PS: Is it worth signing up for the Physique Clinic Bartl went through?? I'm hesitant to do so.

Thanks in advance.
And I appreciate any effort/help you put into helping me.



Hey Eric,

I had to post after reading what you had to say. I know Bartl would be thrilled to hear he's a part of your inspiration and goal, so I'll pass the message along :slightly_smiling: He's put on some size (muscle) since then and I think he looks scrawny in that pic compared to now but I'm allowed to say that :smiley:

It's great to have a plan (I was a finance major as well and have some OCD) and I find I'm totally useless if I don't know exactly what I'm doing when I walk into the gym, or if I don't know exactly what I'm eating if I'm dropping weight.

I can't offer a ton on training. You do have limited equipment - is getting a membership at the school rec center an option? I know when I was at school it was fairly cheap as a student. You really just have to dig in and get started. Start going for a walk every morning when you wake up. You'll likely find you have more energy during the rest of the day.

As far as nutrition, here's an article called Nutrition for Newbies (http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/nutrition_for_newbies_part_2). Or, why not follow what Bartl was doing when he started? All of his training and nutrition is laid out in his log. I've also directed people to it before when they've been trying to drop weight and they've had success.

In summary: Do it. No more excuses, just anger and doing it. If you happen to make a poor choice and slip up, pick right back up where you were before. You're young... make the change now :slightly_smiling:


Fall inlove with your jump rope


Getting a school membership is not a problem. I plan on purchasing one regardless, I was just seeing what I could make do with what I have in my basement. I'll probably won't be using it much - as I realize is it very limited.

All I am really interested in is getting a structured routine going from someone I can trust. Whether it's in an excel sheet or not for workout to diet. It is hard for me to follow a workout plan if I don't trust they know what they are talking about. Especially trusting myself since I don't know what I'm talking about. I look at someone like Christian Thibaudeau, since it's obvious he knows what hes talking about. If he told me to eat 2 scoops of dog crap everyday I'd do it.

I've been looking at Physique Clinic and V-Diet systems. Is it even possible for me to just copy cat someones workout/routine/diet from supplements to vegetables?


Yes, just grab a routine, take someone elses diet, but modify in accordance with your nutritional/caloric needs, slap some cardio in there and come back to blow us all away :slightly_smiling: good luck


I'm giving just a little progress update: I'm just an average man right now with a more then average amount of dedication and motivation to do the right thing.


and pic #2.

This is at about 60 days, let's see what 120 can do.


shit dawg, good progress. Good fourth post.

What does your diet and training look like now? What are your stats?


I'll try to answer several of your questions, even though they're from a little while ago.

First off, no one will harp on you for not wanting to be a bodybuilder. T-Nation is host to many BBs, but there are tons of us who are here just as recreational lifters, or are applying the knowledge to any one of many sports.

I think one particular thing that will help you start out, just as it helped me start out, is a book called The New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove. Schuler is a guy who, while not a self-proclaimed trainer, is still very knowledgeable in the field of lifting, and a very good writer. Cosgrove has made enormous strides in fat loss and training for both average Joes and athletes alike, and has even contributed a lot to this site.

The book details a lot of fundamentals of weight lifting, programs, and how to be successful at it. Personally, I used programs from that book for a long time before I started designing my own. It also talks a lot about nutrition, which is definitely something you'll want to focus on. You can't out train a crappy diet, after all. The book is also pretty cheap too. I think paperback copies are like $15 at Barnes and Noble.

As for supplementation, most of that is for guys that are already really familiar with weights. You'll make enormous gains right off the bat, and while supplements could help, it's hard to say how much; you'll probably get more bang for your buck by waiting a little bit and introducing supplements as you think they're necessary.

You'll notice, though, that I said "most" at the beginning of this paragraph. I think that everyone that lifts weights should at least use fish oil, a multivitamin, and whey protein (never soy, soy is highly estrogenic in males). As you get stronger and your "beginner gains" start to drop off, you should experiment a bit with other supplements and see what works for you.

As for the Physique Clinic, if you have enough income to comfortably allow for it, that might be a great way to at least start out. You definitely don't NEED it though.

If you have any other questions, post them! This is the thread to do so. You can also PM me, if you'd like.

Best of luck, OP! Looking really good so far.


Right now I am sitting around 258. Doctor recommends 208 would be out of the "over weight" category. I personally only struggle right now keeping my carbs under 50-60g a day. EVERYTHING has carbs in it. Can't even eat Yoplait yogurt, Chewy Granola Bars, Rasin Brand Cereal - you name it. 1 cup serving is like 25-40g of carbs from that alone.

Any ideas on what is best for me right now? I mean it sounds like keeping the carbs down is the best way to improve from where I stand.


Nice job so far. For 2 months progress, that is a pretty huge difference.

You honestly don't like you have 50lbs left of fat to lose. You may actually be carrying more muscle than the doctor realizes. He was probably going by BMI when he said 208 was the cut off for overweight. The BMI formula doesn't account for muscle mass, and being 'overweight' by BMI because of muscle mass is not a bad thing.

I agree carbs aren't going to be your best friend for a bit, but getting some clean carbs in post workout will not kill your progress. It may even help add some muscle and keep your metabolism revving as you get the rest of the fat off.

Otherwise, a wise investment is a veggie steamer. Meat and veggies is a pretty standard recommendation for fat loss and general health.

Here is a list of veggies that you may want to experiment w/ trying.


jaja, i know what you mean, for me low carb diet has worked very well, and yes, it's very hard to find a menu than is not repleted with carbs, but it's doable.

First i would recommendyou to read CT articles, like Refined Physique Transformation


man, at this pic you're at 258??


yeah I honestly dont see how he could weigh that much in that pic.


exactly, i went down from 264 to 248 and i have a much larger waist.

to the op, man what are your lift? (DL; SQUAT, BP)


I'll try and answer all the questions in one post here.

For clarification, in the first picture I was at 295 pounds. Which is pretty close to the worst I've ever been and plan to ever be. My eating habits were shit, I wasn't active, I sat on my ass and played video games all day. I ate at night, I ate only large portions 1-2 times a day. The worst you could be.

In the second picture, I was exactly 260. A little neuron in my brain sparked and I've done a full lifestyle 180 and haven't looked back. I adopted one of Chad Waterbury conditioning regimes. I lift 4 times a day. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. On Mond/Fri I do 8x3 at ~85% 1RM. On Tues/Thurs I do 3x8 at 75% 1RM. My % of 1RM isn't perfect but I get close to it. I try to up my weight by 2.5 or 5 pounds when I feel I can handle it without too much stress.

I warmup with a 5 minute bike ride until sweat is on my forehead. That way I know the oxygen and blood is moving. It takes me about 45 minutes to do my lifts. After my lifts I will cardio for another 20-30 minutes. I try to keep low impact with elliptical/bike until I lose more weight because I do run but it can hurt the knees/ankles. I do that 4 times a week.

On top of that 6 times a week I ride my bike for about 1-2 hours depending on the weather and heat. I replaced video games and eating snacks with road biking. Road biking is my new drug, and hopefully you'll see me in the Olympics one day :slight_smile:

I have some of the most disciplined eating habits I know of anyone right now. I try and eat 5 times a day, smaller portions. I don't eat many processed foods if any at all. I eat LOTS of vegetables (I seriously prefer steamed broccoli over a brownie and ice cream).

I eat a salad before every "main course" dinner. I do have a protein shake with Muscle Milk whey every now and then. If I can get natural proteins from chickens/steaks etc. I will opt for those before the shake.

As far as my lifts? I have not maxed out for a long time. If I were to guess? 300 BP, 350 Squat, haven't even a close guess for DL. I can only base those guesses off my current routine right now. I have another 4 weeks left in my cycle. That should bring me to about school starting again. I plan to re-engineer a entire new routine for myself when school starts - really looking forward to that. Most of my fat is still on my ass/thighs/gut.


You used to eat snakes? Badass.

BMI can be somewhat mean to taller or musclier people. Work on getting a bodyfat %


For shits n' giggles, here is the latest.


First picture is about 300, second picture is about 260, and third is about 230. I'm hoping to lose another 25 or so then I'll try and put on a little more muscle.


Well done, glad to see you've made a ton of progress