T Nation

Testimonial and Advice Request--and a Thank You


#1

T-Nation,

First, just wanted to thank you guys. I found this site last year, and it has been a big motivation when pursuing my athletic goals to see a group who pursues these goals intensely and intelligently.

Now, I hope you guys might suffer me a brief background so as to understand my circumstances, and then give me input on my current plan:

Currently: 5'10; 156lbs fasted. Low body fat. Low upper body muscle as well.

Background: 23 year old male. Started lifting weights when I was 12, which continued until I was 19. At my biggest, I was 250lbs. Lifting-wise, my highest bench press was 315, power clean 305, and squat 400. I honestly never got as serious about the whole thing as I should--no access to a larger community interested in it kept me from optimizing in any meaningful way (i.e. crap diet, decent but lacking routine).

From 19-22, I switched to running. I dropped in weight to 160, and two years in I ran a 3 hour marathon and was running up to 100 miles a week.

At 22, I got severely depressed for complicated reasons. Ended up dropping in weight to 135 last March. In some ways, I feel like weightlifting actually might have saved my life--got me caring about my health and body again.

So from March to late October, I hit the weights. Hard. Think "Jacob wrestling with God" Hard. Went from 135 with little muscle and no fat to 175 with no fat gain but lots of muscle gain. Inefficient gains because I was running too much at various points. Went from not being able to do a dip to doing dips with 80lbs tied to my waist and deadlifting 300lbs. I know that's not a big deal for most of you guys, but for me it was huge. Was running an hour a day, lifting two hours a day every day by the end, which was way too much. In retrospect, there are many things I would have done differently (e.g. I bulked pretty dirty up for the first few months of lifting, I was running too much, I was piling on instead of maintaining intensity, and I wish I had started doing deadlifts and weighted dips earlier on).

Long story short, in October something happened. I decided that I had to give running one last full shot to make sure that bodybuilding is the direction that I wanted to head long-term.

After the high mileage, I found myself a week ago at 155 pounds and realized that I need bodybuilding, and that running is not what I want to do. I will always run, but just casually.

Honestly, I feel extremely disappointed in myself, but it's motivation at this point. I'm extremely weak right now, but I'm approaching each day with intensity, focus, and drive. But moreover, I don't want to repeat any of the mistakes I made last time.

So I want to run my training/nutrition plan by you guys. This is 7 days a week. I know that's not recommended, but I just don't take off-days. I just don't. It works for me....or at least has in the past.

As I start over again, I want you guys' advice right off the bat to make adjustments to my plans. My immediate goals are strength-centric, but once I recover some lost strength, I want to focus on BBing.

So, here's the diet routine. I should add: on weekdays, I'm planning on running at 3:45am for 30 mins, then lifting from 5:45-7am and then downing food immediately after before work. I'm an early morning exerciser. I would love any input you guys might have:

The diet strategy is a ketogenic fats and protein-based diet. That said, I'm ramping up the protein, especially initially. I guess it might be more accurately described as the "GreenFace" diet. Here was my day of eating yesterday:

5am: can of tuna; .5 serving of almonds; 3 fish oil. 200 cals.
8am: 2 eggs; 3 egg whites; spinach&celery. 200 cals.
1.5 servings of nuts: 200 cals.
chicken breast and 1 cup cottage cheese: 350 cals.

Post Workout:
4 scoops whey protein--480 cals.
1 string cheese-60

Lunch:
1 egg+3 whites, spinach, 2 stalks celery--200 cals
broccoli--100 cals
small piece of chicken and .5 of cottage cheese-probably 130 or so

2:30pm: string cheese-60 cals
nuts-300

Dinner:
8oz or so of chicken--240 cals
1 serving cottage cheese-80
broccoli--200 cals
2 egg whites and peas--100
5 fish oil-50

Daily total: 2950 calories. So, I'm right at 3k.

I've been waking up slightly hungry. Then, I run 4 miles, immediately down some food afterward, then hit the gym for weights an hour after the end of the run. Does that seem reasonable? Like I said, I'm fresh into the diet (only two days), and I feel fine but am open to making tweaks right now.

Also, any food recommendations? I'm planning on having lean meatloaf some days of the week. I'm wanting to bulk, but perhaps a bit more slowly than the "eat a pizza covered in olive oil" manner that I often see heralded, ha.

Thank you guys,
The3Commandments


#2

Keep it constant. Don't have days of 3k cal that then go to 2k cal the next day. Consistency in diet will do more for bulking or cutting than any fancy thing.


#3

Thanks for the advice. Consistency and drive are my primary assets, particularly at this point. The eating is indeed probably my biggest point of worry. I know my body and like hard work; my primary thing at this point is just thinking in terms of optimizing, especially on the diet front. I can keep to whatever diet I make out for myself, but it's just about experimenting and finding the optimal one. I've never gone quite this low carb before, but I'm hoping that it will give me better results than my past 'dirty' bulk last year. That, and I'm going to try cutting back on number of exercises and really focusing hard on making every set and every rep count. And then rest like a champ for the rest of the day to grow :).

For anyone interested in following along (shameless plug)--I'm going to keep a log of this excursion that's in the training log section. I've never actually kept a log before, which is another innovation for me that I'm making this time around. It's a mundane one right now, but I think that over time I'll put together something that might be worth reading. I hope to put a 'starting' pic up sometime soon, once I figure out how to black out the face.


#4

If your goal is to gain size (again), your effort would be better spent on the weights than running. I would drop all of the AM running and switch to much lower volume cardio after your weight lifting sessions.

If you really want to keep running, dedicate a single day to it.

Your training history is downright bipolar, you're all over the place. Despite this big testimonial it doesn't sound like anything has really changed in that sense.


#5

Also, if your diet is supposed to be ketogenic, why the fuck are you eating egg whites? Your fat choices are pretty seriously lacking...almost no saturated fat or cholesterol, bad idea. Whole eggs, beef, pork, lamb, butter, coconut oil, salmon, sardines, mackeral....eat stuff like that.


#6

Add a pound of beef in there and you might have enough calories.
Why run before you lift? It's going to restrict your strength/size gains. Always do what your priority is first.


#7

Your comment about the bipolarity of my training history is definitely well-made and well-taken. I definitely understand that bulking is difficult for me because of my 'former fat guy' hangups--fatophibia and whatnot. I'm really trying to work around those. The running is just a 'I like clearing my head' activity. Maybe I can relegate that to the afternoons as a casual thing, while lifting in the AM. During my time lifting last year, I did it the other way around, but I do think that I work better in the AM than the PM.

I guess running is just something that I can't imagine not doing, if that makes any sense. It might need to be a necessary sacrifice for the time being while I focus on getting stronger and building mass, though. If they do turn out to be mutually exclusive, then I'll definitely make that sacrifice.

I didn't mean the post to come across as a big testimonial about all the progress I've made so much as a testimonial to the fact that the users on here have created a website that has helped a guy out.

As far as the fats, I'm planning on having ground beef twice a week for dinner, and I'm going to go buy some salmon and such soon. Like I said, I'm looking for advice mostly because I'm just starting out this sort of routine and am still getting my legs as far as what the lifestyle should look like.

Beyond the meats, are there any other suggestions you would make regarding the primarily ketogenic diet? As I said in the OP, although I thought I made significant progress last year, I also felt that some hangups really got in the way. I would like to continue running if I can while really working towards my goals.


#8

As an ancillary question, atg, are there particular tweaks to the low carb approach to bulking that you would recommend? Or would you say to abandon the whole low carb thing altogether? I'm doing it as something of an experiment, I suppose--just to see how my body responds to it. But I'm definitely not wedded to the idea of having a diet like this one.


#9

If you're going to do a low carb diet you need to consume plenty of quality fats. Like I said, whole eggs and fatty meats and fish should become staples of your diet not after thoughts. Low carb and egg whites should be mutually exclusive terms. Eat the yolks dude.

If I was doing a keto diet my staple foods would be whole eggs, butter, ground beef, bacon, salmon and mackeral, broccoli, cabbage, spinach (and other leafy greens) etc.

You will likely find it very difficult to make substantial progress with the setup that you're describing, both in terms of nutrition and conflicting fitness goals.

If you need a morning wake up go for a low intensity walk. Save your running for after the gym, or preferably for it's own day. Do not run fasted. That is a terrible idea if your goal is to build muscle.

If your goal is to build muscle you also need to eat enough to account for both your weight lifting AND running as well as daily activity while remaining in at least a slight caloric surplus. 3000kcal ain't gonna cut it.