T Nation

Trying To Not Be Fat

Hey guys,

So I’ve been stuck for a while in trying to lose some fat. I’m not too concerned about how much I actually weigh, I don’t care to be at pro BB’er levels of body fat, and I’m not interested in completely starving myself and not being able to eat the foods I enjoy. I do know that I could be leaner than I am now, and would like to get there.
I read articles on T-Nation every day, and honestly, am just confused when it comes to planning my nutrition. I’ll read from some of the most popular and well-repsected guys on here and they all seem to agree on some things, and contradict each other on others. Some even seem to contradict themselves in different articles. I don’t know - maybe I’m just dumb.eat 3 meals a day, or 6 meals. Use this supplement 1 hour before your workout, and use this one a half hour before. Sip this during it, and drink this or eat that afterwards. Don’t eat these foods if you want to lose fat, but do eat these same foods if you want to boost testosterone (which should help lose fat?), and so many other things.

I get the general gist of things - eat protein, don’t eat shit, or at least too much, drink water, etc. But I’m looking for just some more specific ideas of how I should eat.

I’m 17 years old, and right now I’m training twice a day, about 4 or 5 days a week. I haven’t noticed any signs of overtraining, I’m not getting sick, I’m still continuing to build strength, I’m still getting faster (I’m a track athlete), I’m sleeping as much as I can (I wake up at 4 AM for my job, so I don’t always get the 8-9 hours I need; it’s usually more like 7), and I’m building muscle. I don’t kill myself in my workouts, and I really just go so often because I just plain like it. It’s fun for me, it keeps me busy, and I like it better than drinking or getting high, which is what most of the guys I go to school with fill their summer with. And I do take days at a time to rest, or at least back off the weights. I don’t go fullblast nonstop. My opinion is that this will all change in a few years, as I age, and I’ll have to back off then, but I’ll worry about that when it comes.

I’m 200-ish pounds, and I think around 20% (?) body fat. I’ve got pretty big and muscular thighs, butt, and upper back, but I’ve got a gut, and some love handles, and my chest and arms never seem to be very “defined” which I guess could just be my build, or possibly some excess fat. I don’t know.

I typically just eat a shake after my morning workout, as that’s all I have time for (I work, then workout, then eat before I take some college classes and go to my second job). I usually throw in a couple bananas, like 4 raw eggs, flax seeds, peanut butter, plain Greek yogurt, and milk. If I have them around the house, I’ll throw in spinach leaves and avocados. And maybe some oats. It tastes good, it’s quick, as far as I know it encompasses the food groups I should have, and yeah…I like the taste.

For lunch, it’s usually just a couple PB&J’s, or meat and cheese sandwhiches, or tuna sandwiches, and a big glass of milk (I love milk). That’s usually all I can think of to eat, or have time for.

Dinner varies - whatever my mom makes, which could mean a lot. Hispanic foods, Italian foods, casseroles, brats/burgers, or whatever. If we don’t cook it’s probably gonna be some pizza. I tend to get home around 6, and just want to eat something quick before I go workout again and then come home to study.

I’ve considered trying supplements - I don’t know what, and I’d prefer to not spend money on that, but if people recommend that I guess I’d be open to it. Jim Wendler and Mark Dugdale both have listed shakes they ate after every meal as teenagers, and they’re similar to my breakfast one, and I don’t mind the idea of getitng bigger or weighing more, but maybe that’s counterintuitive if I’m trying to lose some fat. It’s not impossible though.

Anyway, just looking for some tips as far as meal planning goes and what to eat, or if supps are recommended, which ones. Does that breakfast shake after a lifting session sound good? Should I try to incude more fruits/veggies, more protein, more…whatever? I try to stay away from sugar, but give in occasionally.

Appreciate any info or help I get. Thanks

Just my humble opinion. I keep it simple. Count calories. If I eat 1500 calories a day to put myself in a caloric deficit it doesn’t matter what it is or when i eat it. Whether it’s 1500 calories worth of good stuff spaced through the day or 1500 calories worth of Reese cups all at once. Im still at the same deficit. But you will feel better if you eat a balanced diet rather than trash.

My point is don’t sweat the little stuff. Don’t worry about supps and number of meals and all that. Just eat how you feel like and put down the fork if you need to lose some.

By training twice a day, do you mean both weight sessions or a weight and a cardio session?

Roughly count your calories every day for about a week. After you have that number calculate your maintenance calories (usually bodyweight in pounds x 15) and put yourself into a small deficit. Every couple of week drop a couple hundred calories if your weight continues to stall.

Instead of reading 100 articles and trying to use all of that info, pick 2-3 (for training and nutrition) and give it a go for a couple of months. If they don’t work for you, than move on to another strategy.

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Right now I’m doing C.T.'s East European Bodybuilding, or whatever it’s called. Before that I was doing pretty similar stuff. I don’t really “do cardio,” besides when I’m in track. Off season I just add 5-10 minutes of conditioning at the end of my workouts and try to make it to the track for some sprints just once a week.

OK - I’ll give that a go. Is that going to help me lose some flab or lose weight? I’m more concerned with looking like I lift than having a smaller number on the scale. I’m guessing that if I keep working out I’ll keep the muscle and lose some fat.

By sitting just under maintenance (in a calorie deficit) you should be able to lose a bit of fat while adding a bit of muscle to your frame. The scale may not move much but you should end up with a better body composition (more muscle less fat).

Just be sure to get good protein around and after your lifting sessions.

I’ll tag @MarkKO and he may put up an article regarding losing fat while maintaining/building muscle.

Here you go

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Awesome your a champ! I really like that article for nutrition because it is a series of guidelines not a food plan. I find food plans annoying as there is almost a guarantee that at least one of the foods will be not liked/unavailable/expensive etc.

A big + is that you have used it as a template so it’s even effective in practice!

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As mentioned you have to pay attention to how much goes in. I’m 32 and coming off two surgeries and trying to lose 10-15 lbs. rough counted one day and realized why it wasn’t working. For example your shake in the morning. What you listed for ingredients plus whey protein would go close to 1000kcal. Throw in two more normal meals and a snack and you’ve hit your number. Something else I’m finding helpful is HIIT workouts. A low weight
Compound movement for reps, sprints or jumps or something else all out, a n accessory movement and an active rest movement like a mid weight farmers carry or a jog. The EMOM and AMRAP workouts are good examples.

I completely agree on the importance of calorie counting.
But when it comes to getting rid of body fat efficiently I’d recommend trying to figure out the most important numbers for a certain (initial) timeframe (i.e. approximate energy expenditure, energy intake and macronutrient ratios) until you become comfortable with estimating how much you need to eat for your goals. Your numbers should reveal why you aren’t losing those stubborn pounds, in consideration of energy intake vs. energy expenditure. If fat loss is your goal, then you could maintain a caloric deficit (e.g. 15-20%) and continue lifting heavy in order to shed your excess body fat. Please don’t forget to eat enough protein (preferably in every meal). In other words, take care of your macronutrient ratios too!

After all, in my opinion this shouldn’t be an excuse to completely neglect food quality as far as a caloric deficit can be maintained and macronutrient ratios are met. I’d argue that it’s O.K. to have an occasional treat (e.g. pizza, sugary meals etc.), but I’d limit that to planned cheat days and rather concentrate on whole, unprocessed foods and products 90% of the time (exception: sugar-free protein powders in terms of practicability). Include e.g. vegetables, lean red meat, nuts; avoid e.g. pastries, sausages, full-fat cheeses.