T Nation

Tampa-Terry Advice Needed

I posted this earlier, but we have not seen much of a change since I did so I figured I would ask for your advice. My girlfriend has been trying to lose some weight (10lbs) for the past 9 or so weeks. She is 5’6" and 140lbs. Week 1 we started her on 1400 calories a day and just 10 minutes of cardio every other day coupled with 20 minutes of weights every other day. The cardio was intervals by using a box to step up on. For 1 minute she would go up and down off the box (one foot at a time, like going up stairs except it is just one stair) at a moderate pace, and then for 30 seconds she would go all out, repeating this until 10 min. was up. The weight routines were high rep (15-20) and circuit in fashion to keep her heart rate up. All muscle groups were trained. The diet consisted of 100g protein, 65g or so from fat, and 100g from carbs. All meals were eaten according to P/F and P/C combinations. The carbs came from 2 pieces of low-carb bread and the rest were from raspberries, cherries, strawberries, and blueberries. We weighed each of them to make sure of the amounts. Proteins came from GROW!, eggs, chicken breast, roast beef, low-fat cheese sticks, and beef jerky. The fat came from 3g of DHA/EPA Fish Oil and mixed nuts, and whatever was in the eggs or other foods. At the end of week 1, her measurements were all the same and so was her weight.

We repeated the same protocol for week 2, but still no change in measurments or weight.

Weeks 3-4, we went to 1200 cal/day. The protein and fats remained the same, but we cut the carbs in half for a total of around 50g a day, still coming from the 1-2 pieces of low carb bread and the fresh mixed berries. We increased the interval cardio to 15 minutes every other day, and increased the number of sets performed during the weight-training circuit sessions, so that they now ran about 25-30 min. every other day. Still no change in measurements or weight.

Weeks 5-7: We went to 1000cal/day. She only has 1-2 pieces of low-carb bread a day, steamed veggies (broccoli), and mixed greens totaling 25g of carbs or under. We also dropped her fat down to 55g or so and have kept the protein around 100g. She upped the cardio interval sessions to 20 min every other day, and the weight training has stayed the same every other day. We have switched some exercises and rep schemes, but I would imagine her total energy expenditure from the weight workouts has not changed much since week 3. Still no change in measurements or weight.

Weeks 8-present: During week 8, we added in the ephedrine/caffeine stack (1omg ephedrine/100mg caffeine twice a day) as well as Biotest’s old T2 at 3 caps/day. Her exercise routine is basically the same as weeks 5-7. Over the course of these two weeks, she has dropped from 140 to 138. Her diet continues to consist of around 100g protein, 25 or so grams of carbs (from the low-carb bread in the morning, steamed veggies, mixed greens, etc.) and 55g fat. In addition, she has now added one of those darn low-carb bars (220cal) by EAS to get her chocolate fix if she needs one, bringing her daily caloric intake to around 1200.

Although this is FINALLY a step in the right direction and encouraging for her, I was wondering why it took such awhile for weight loss to occur? Please give me your detailed opinion of how she has been dieting and training and what you think she might change to improve them.

Now, my girlfriend does work 50-60hrs a week, and I would consider what she does to be moderately stressful on a daily basis. Is there any way that her stress would be causing her cortisol to rise so high as to not allow fat loss? I would not think so but wanted to run it by you first.

How about her hormones…could they be outta whack? Her thyroid?

In addition, she is on the pill: ortho tri-cyclen low. Her gynecologist told her that it is notorious for hindering weight loss, but I was under the impression that it would be the best choice out there because it has the lowest dose of estrogen. Is it just not that simple?

I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you!

Hey Legolas,

I know I’m not Tampa Terry. Sorry if you don’t get the PM reply I sent.

What was your fiancee’s previous training experience? The last 10-20 lbs can be the hardest. Also the birth control pill can be having a significant impact on weight loss abilities.

During this time have you noticed any change in definition? If she is just starting up she could be adding some muscle while losing some fat.

I understand she has a busy schedule for work, but the cardio if done at 70% max heart rate wasn’t long enough to hit steady state - that takes at least 12 mins then you should spend 20 ins in steady state to affect calorie burning.

What I did with my wife - 3x3min rounds jump rope. 10 min jump rope burns as much calories as 15 - 20 running.

Weights compound exercises, 2-4 sets in the 6-8 rep ranges with about 50% max focussing on speed of bar movement. I recommended 45 secs rest between sets she wanted to circuit train.

Her workouts were 35 mins or less, her request since we have three daughters. She did the above 3 times a week, jumped rope and did some dumbbell swings on the in between days for recovery, and dropped from 168 post partum to hanging around 120lbs, she is about 5’2" she hit a plateau then and said she could be happy where she is but knows it would take hard work to get to 110lbs. It is easier to maintain than to lose.

I don’t think she is realistic in her goals with the volume the way it is…you noticed changes once more volume was added. High reps don’t really build muscle which burns fat at rest. I also think the higher weight though fewer reps requires more energy use.

I also think her protein is on the low side too by about 30 grams.

How often is she eating?


Hey, there, Legolas! Sorry, but I don’t have time for a detailed critique right now. I’m getting ready for Hurricane Ivan.

What’s your GF’s BF%? I need to know LBM.

What exercises is she doing? Emphasis should be on compound, multi-joint exercises. Male or female, a set of DLs or squats is going to do more for her body comp than a set of ab crunches, biceps curls or calf presses.

Is she lifting heavy? If she’s cutting, she’d do better with something like 5x5, no more than 4 exercises. Hypertrophy Specific Training (HST) would be complementary to her goals.

Lots of good dietary choices, I see. I don’t like the very low carbs. Part of improving body comp is preserving muscle while dropping fat. Carbs of the right type, properly timed. and in the right quantity will help her to work out harder (and build/preserve muscle?). They’ll refill muscle glycogen stores PWO and support/complement protein synthesis.

When doing lower-intensity cardio, she needs to increase duration to 45 minutes. Walking is fine. She could even split it up, say two 25-minute session in the AM and PM; two metabolic boosts, so to speak.

She absolutely, positively needs to drop the bar. Most bars are garbage. She needs more protein, as was stated above. I’d rather see her spend the calories on a huge spinach salad or more protein. Have her try 5-HTP for cravings.

She should be drinking water, too; about 1/2 ounce per pound of TBW.

I’ll make more dietary recommendations once you get back to me with LBM. If I get absentminded, give me a few days and drop me a PM. If you don’t hear from me at all, it will be because I can’t get online. Ivan is supposed to hit the Tampa Bay area on Tuesday.

Thanks for the help! Her bodyfat is 22-25%, depending on the 3 or 7 sites, putting her LBM just above 100lbs…thus my recommendation to her for the 100g protein. How much more do you recommend? Personally I have never had a problem with holding on to LBM while taking 1g/protein per LBM, and I have been through every rigorous program you can think of.

Her exercises consist of nothing BUT compound movements: squats, box squats, barbell hack squats, good mornings, stiff leg dls, snatch grip dls, sumo dl, conventional dl, bench press, the floor press, the bear. I am a competitive powerlifter (I have done 555sq,308 Bench, and 551dl at a bodyweight of 163) so I stress the compound movements and perfect technique. Lately we have been doing only 4 or so exercises per workout, varying between 3-4 sets and 6-8 reps.

She already takes 150mg of 5-HTP for cravings, but oddly enough she really does not have them. She has a chocolate craving every other day or so, which is where the dreaded bar comes in.

She has at least 100oz of water per day, sometimes more.

We will give the extended cardio a try, but I have always seen better results in men and women with 20-30 min of interval training as opposed to 45 min of 70% MHR cardio. Do you think a mix of the two would be best?

In her case, time is always of the essence. We want to get the most bang for our buck, which explains alot of how she trains right now. I am open to any and all suggestions as what we have been doing has clearly not worked all that well.

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you again!

T-Ren: thanks for the input! We have incorporated something similar to your jump rope program. It involves the GPP that Renegade Davies wrote about, in that there is a circuit of 4 different exercises, all of which involve jumping in some fashion. You do each of these 4 for 30 seconds, for a total of 2 minutes, and then repeat for the desired number of sets. How does that sound? How much rest did you give your wife in-between her jumprope sets?

In addition, my gf is using Ortho Tri-Cyclen low birth control. Her gynecologist told her that it is notorious for weight gain (or hindering it), but I was puzzled at this because the way I understand it, this is the lowest estrogen-dosed pill on the market. I thought the lower the estrogen the better? Am I wrong?

She eats 5X/day, usually every 3-4 hours depending upon work.

Let me know what you think.

Hey Legolas,

I could be wrong but my understanding of why the low dose is better is that it uses less hormone therefore not having such hormone swings that maybe present with other dosings.

The GPP is great I had my wife doing that too. Jumping Jacks, shuffle jacks, burpees, chinees. We varied the number of sets during the week 3,5,4 then added a set to each day for three weeks then in week four take two sets away per day that week and then added again for three weeks then stayed there.

The jump rope was three rounds of three minutes with one minute rest I also for variety had her do 4 rounds of two minutes with the same rest pattern. During the rest I had her do, 30 secs of exercise push-ups, chinees, v-sits, jumping jacks and on days I was feeling particularily masochistic she did mountain climbers.

Especially in light of how much she works, I think the more she worries about the weight loss and gets concerned about it not coming off…the harder it will be to come off. Visualization may help. Have her start and finish the day in bed envisioning her at her desired weight and definition. If she is good have her do it in stages and feeling good the whole time.