T Nation

Transformation TIME!!!!!


Went to the doc and was diagnosed with Pneumonia, strep, and sky high cholesterol. Weighed in at 312 lbs @ 6'3. My my LDL was 194. He gave me 2 weeks to decide if I wanted to go on STATINS - any thoughts on STATINS?

I am going to cut carbs for and saturated fat for a couple opf weeks to clean out the system and get it used to burning stored fat. I am going to pop plenty of Omega 3's in the form of Trader Joes Fish Oil caps.

My appetite is throught the roof and hard to control - I used to use te ole ECA stack back in my late 20's but now that I am 35, I am a little leary of going back to the stack - anything that really kills appetite? I have never tried HOT-ROX and saw that someone recommended for Wastecoat on his diet.

I guess I am just really looking for any type of advice and/or supp recommendations from people my age. Of course, I am getting back in the gym and eating 6 smaller meals a day. I also wanted to just drop in and say "hello" as a long time lurker and recenet poster. I am an X-Collegiate football player and one time personal trainer (12 years ago!)

Thanks guys


Welcome back.

Several months back, my cholesterol hit 250, and I appealed to the Nation for advice. Below is the link to that thread.

If, in fact, your current state is the result of a horrendous diet of fast food and complete lack of exercise, then ANY exercise and healthy food will create an immediate benefit.

I am by no means an expert on any of the many topics involving nutrition that you no doubt need to address. I must say, however, that the statement about cutting out carbs might not be the way to go. True, you can shed a lot of weight in an Atkins-esque fervor (and DO search Chris Shugart's weblog for the Velocity Diet, which you might want to try in order to shed some weight fast), but keep in mind that fruits and vegetables right now will provide you with excellent nutrition and help bring down the cholesterol, if they are replacing fast food.

I think you'll hear a LOT of feedback here about NOT using statins. And you do NOT have two weeks: your doctor can't force anything on you. But clean carbs are a must. Especially if you have pneumonia and strep! Your body NEEDS nutrition desperately! Eat plenty of good food until you're over the illness, THEN think about drastic reductions in caloric intake.


Good luck!


If you've been out of training for long enough, you'll have to start out at a reasonable pace and let your body adjust to it.

I'm presuming by your numbers that you aren't huge and muscular, but instead that you've accumulated a sizeable spare tire.

While you are sick, relax and spend time reading up on the nutrition articles here. Once you get over the acute illnesses, I'd suggest easing your way into some GPP/cardio style sessions.

Nothing too strenous to start out. It sounds like you are horribly out of shape and will be coming back from illnesses that can take a fair amount out of you.

I wouldn't worry about sophisticated supplements at this stage. Get a base of good health first. A good multivitamin, some fish oil, low GI carbs only, consuming P+C or P+F meals, and so on.

I know, you said you were doing these things, but as someone who was into sports before, I'm guessing you might try to hurry on into the supplements and heavy weights and so on. It's not a race... and at your weight I'm worried about your cardiovascular system.

Eat right, do GPP/cardio for several weeks, then slowly work your way into your routine of choice. Preferably, work with your doctor with respect to getting back into the gym. You haven't mentioned whether you are discussing this option with your doctor?


Thanks guys. I need to clarify that I am over the Pneumonia and Strep and the Doc gave me an OK to start excercising again. My Doc is leaving the STATIN issue up to me - he sent me artoicles both pro and con regarding statins. He asked that I keep a food log for two weeks for him to evaluate - started that today.

My total cholesterol was 271 - sounds really high but have recently heard worse. Yes, I have a spare tire and am wearing 42 inch pants (thank goodness for Old Navy).

I am going to add low GI fruits and veggies to my diet in the form of P+F or P+C - thanks for the advice. Thanks for the Cholosterol thread as well.

I have used Low-Carb Grow! in the past - anyting in proetin powder that may not be good for high cholesterol?

I am going to walk with the wife every day for 45 minutes to an hour until next week (due to just getting over Pneumonia). I am ready and fired up to get to feeling better! thanks for the advice thus far and please keep it coming!!!


I think you'll hear a LOT of feedback here about NOT using statins.

Thanks TShaw - read the entire thread - very informative. I am still thinking of giving the statins a show and slowly weening off of them


Hey bro ... I agree with the others about starting out slow ... believe me ... your body will thank you later. The great thing is that, after a long lay-off, doing pretty much anything will bring quick results. You may want to check out vroom's newest beginner thread: http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=640350. It's great to reread articles and revisit ideas, even when you already "know" a great deal. Don't look for the silver bullet - choose a plan that you can stick with.

I started out at a HUMONGOUS and out-of-shape 290 lbs. I developed my work threshold through brisk walking, GPP, and four brief workouts/week (3-4 sets/10-15 reps, all done with dumbbells when possible):
Day 1: Squat
Day 2: Bent Row
Day 3: Bench Press
Day 4: Deadlift

Hope this helps ... good luck!

PS - If you have trouble getting motivated for those walks, I recommend using audiobooks ala Shugart's V-Diet protocol. If you're not walking with the wife, get a few mystery and suspense audiobooks from the library and don't let yourself listen to them unless you're out walking. If you pick the right books, you'll never allow yourself to miss a session.


Hey Flip

Here's my experience. At 47, I was 250, on the verge of Type II diabetes. I took a year+ to get down to 180. I used low-carb, something I had my doubts about, but it worked. I was always careful not to go crazy with the fat protein sources, and ate lots of veg. Since I was eating a lot of protein, I returned to lifting, a former hobby. I couldn't do much aerobics, bad hip. I started very easy, to avoid injury. Eventually I added some interval cardio.

When I got more serious about building muscle, I found T-Nation. Check into the great programs here. I like the simple ones, like Dan John's.

During this entire process, I've been on a statin drug, but because of vastly increased fitness have been able to decrease dosage. My family has high #s, part of this issue is heredity. Point is, the statin drugs might help protect you during the long process of losing the weight. When you get back in shape, you might not need them at all!

Be patient, and good luck. You da man.


I just play a doctor on TV, but:

If you do all the above working out + healthier diet, then eating saturated fat will be a non-issue. Have your steak.


My my LDL was 194.

Well finally, here's a thread where I'm right at home; mirrors my history.

Last October, my total cholesterol was measured at 312. Triglycerides were 535 (have been over 1000 a couple of years earlier - yes really). My Doctor basically suggested I get my Will up to date. He also prescribed "Tricor" to me. I reluctantly took the bloody stuff, as I knew I was not in very good shape, but for me, it was the catalyst I needed to make some life-style changes.

In January, I had the blood-chemistry remeasured - Total Cholesterol was down to 139 and Tri's were 79. Hoohah, as the Marines might say!?

What happened? Well the drugs must have helped, but to quote my Doc - he's "never seen anyone's blood chemistry improve by that much in such a short space of time". Here's what I did over and above the drugs:

  1. I became a hampster - I ran up to 35 miles a week on a treadmill (including three half marathons).

  2. I lost a lot of fat and some muscle - couldn't do one pull-up (can now do 12, and I'm still working this).

  3. Never fear, I am a Bowflex owner, so in addition to the running, I did some "weight training" (no don't laugh, it really was better than nothing!). I regained some strength.

  4. I started eating healthy (per Mens Health magazine, and every darn book and web-link I could find) - to say the least, my knowledge of nutrition was turned upside down!

  5. I came of the Tricor drugs at Doc's suggestion in January, by the way.

In May, my Doc remeasured my blood: Total Chol = 168 (up a little), Tri's 93 (up a little). Both are still pretty good. Blood Pressure went down from 130/80 to 108/66 (now that was the result of real weight training - not the Bowflex).

I also now have a power rack, Oly bar, lat tower, blah blah etc. and the Bowflex is for sale :wink:

Running is also down from last year - I aim to keep what little muscle I have and am trying to build more.

For weight-training ideas, see what the experts here have told you - for cleaning out your blood, my experience at age 44 (then) is quite relevant me-thinks. :slightly_smiling:

Clearly, Cardio can murder cholesterol and Tri's, but the diet is at least 50% of the equation - everything you need to know is on this web site.

Good luck!



Thanks guys - I am so fired up to my fat ass back in shape! I have followed TC and the gang since the old MM 2000 days back in college! I was glad back in the late 90?s to discover that they had started T-Mag and have been checking it out ever since. I was in great shape until around spring of 2002 and that is when it hit the fan for me. Wife had a baby - stuck in a job that was awful - blah blah - pity me! I now have my own technology company and I have no reason not to get back in the best shape of my life - I took before pics and will show them in about 10 to 12 months hopefully (along with thee after pics!) I was really glad to see that this over 35 section started as the young guns have different issues at times.

Iron Mike: You started at 290 - where are you now? Thanks for the Audio books idea, that is an awesome idea I plan on using.

Richie: I may go the same route you did and see if I can come of the Statins - my dad is 75 and walks 18 to 36 holes a day, is a vegetarian, and weighs about a buck 55 at 6 feet and he has a total cholesterol of 200 to 220.

WIZlon: Thanks for the info! Wow, you make me feel better after reading your old numbers. what were your beginning and ending stats on fat loss? Also did you cholesterol go down that much from Oct to jan as in 4 months or 16 months?????

I plan on using a ton of Low Carb Grow - why do all protein powders have readings for Cholesterol - even stuff like ISOPURE which has such little fat? Do they still put tropical oils in the mix? I am reluctant to add fruit to the diet - any one lese have thoughts? May add just Oatmeal with blueberries and maybe a grapefruit with some protein for a mid morning snack and then on to veggies and protein for the remained of the day???


ha ... I actually just back from a walk ... I'm listening to Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy. Anyway, I am now at 200 and I really wish that I had taken some before and after pics (I don't know my BF, but my waist has gone from 54 to 38). I do, however, have lots of "before" clothes that I will be donating to the obese homeless. I followed the plan that I outlined above until I to around 275, then I started the Beginner's Blastoff Program (a program that I think is overlooked WAY too much ... it's simple, brief, and based around the main compound movements). Since then, I've just been having fun experimenting. I've done T-Dawg throughout (close to a year) and tried High Octane Cardio, the Bill Starr's Original 3, and the Next Big Three ... all of which were great programs. As soon as I hit 10-12% bodyfat, I'll start reintroducing more carbs and spend at least 6-8 weeks adjusting before trying to bulk up. I wish you all the best man ... just stay the course and remember that consistency beats all!


WIZlon: Thanks for the info! Wow,
you make me feel better after
reading your old numbers. what were
your beginning and ending stats on
fat loss?

Starting weight: 196 LB.
"Ending" weight: 159 LB

I now weigh about 165LB because the strength training has added some lean back (and I have lost even more fat), but 159 was my low point.

Also did you cholesterol go down
that much from Oct to jan as in 4
months or 16 months?????

4 months. Believe ot or not, it was actually 3 months, because I also had blood tests in December as part of an annual health screening program - they were in line with the January data, but frankly, I didn;t believe them. It was only when my Doc confirmed the numbers that I actually accepeted them. As I said: the Doc was also mighty impressed.

I am reluctant to add fruit to the
diet - any one lese have thoughts?

During the first few months of my transformation, I ate a lot of fruits (especially blueberries). Fruit is good - just go for the healthy kind (low GI and all that). I had zero (as in zero!) bread, pasta, potatos of any kind. I had zero junk food (that's still true even today). I ate a lot of fresh and dried fruit (makes you fart! My poor wife...), lots of nuts, Oatmeal, Olives / Olive oil, fish & chicken by the ton, and virtually no red meat. I kept this up 'til beyond Christmas. I now eat steak occasionally, and also whole-wheat bread, but pasta, potatoes, white flour and processed foods are still out. Worked for me! :slight_smile:

May add just Oatmeal with
blueberries and maybe a grapefruit
with some protein for a mid morning
snack and then on to veggies and
protein for the remained of the

Sounds good to me. :slight_smile: I'd add some fresh protein sources too - canned stuff is probably OK, but fish (especially), chicken and lean red meat are excellent choices. Lots of veggies - cooked and raw.

Whetever you do, good luck. :slight_smile: