T Nation

Uhoh, another

I have embarked on a transformation from flab to fab. I have tried before, but this time I will succeed.
I have already lost about 15 pounds through reducing my food (too much calorie restriction, I think), and exercising regularly and intensely. I know this will take a long time, but the time will pass regardless, and once it does, I will either look great or not; it is up to me.

So any critique would be appreciated. This will be long, but I want to be as specific as possible; both for me, and for any feedback anyone would be willing to give. I have read just about every back issue of T-Mag, so if I have made a glaring error, it is not for lack of trying.

My stats: Current weight 205. Height is 5’8"; body fat: way too much. I am 35 years old. I have no specific weight loss goals–I’ll know when I get there–but probably about 40 pounds is reasonable: I’m a muscly girl.

Nutrition

I am going to use a T-dawg 2.0 diet, and shoot for 2000 calories a day on non-lifting days, and 2000+Surge (split into before and after servings) on lifting days. I also plan to incorporate half a cheat day—healthier snacks from 3:00 p.m. on, and a dinner of whatever I want—once a week. I could be more strict, but I need to design something I can stick with for the long haul.

Sample menu:
*2T ground flax, 1/4 cup milk, splenda
*Protein bar; greenbeans with whipped butter (.5 T) and 1/4 cup parmesan
*6 egg whites, 1 apple
*Two Boca sausages, two small lowcarb tortillas, two slices fat free cheese
*6 ounce ribeye steak, heap of greens with .5 T whipped butter
*1 cup cottage cheese, 1 cup blueberries

Total calories: 1990, 83 g fat, 65 g carb (net), 190 g protein (42%, 15%, 43%)

Training

Lifting: I’m working with a trainer (mostly because it forces me to show up), who hasn’t said anything out of line with what’s here yet. We’re working on big compound movements, with heavy weights/fewer reps, but also spending time working on my grip/forearms/trunk muscles—I’ve been sedentary and doing a lot of computer work the last 20 years, and it shows. I lift twice a week, which unfortunately is the way it will probably stay given my schedule.

Cardio: I do 20-25 minutes of HIIT 3-4x a week (plus a total of 10 minutes warm-up/cooldown), and only one of the sessions is at night. I mostly either run on the track or use the elliptical trainer. Since I’m not terribly fit yet, I alternate running at a good pace with walking. I generally drink a glass of milk before morning cardio.

Supplements

Month 1: 4 caps Hot Rox, 400 mg 5-HTP, Methoxy according to label instructions
Month 2: Same
Month 3: Remainder of my old MD6, T2
Month 4: Hot Rox, 5-HTP, double-dose Methoxy
Month 5: Same
Month 6: T2 plus T2 Pro
Throughout: Folic acid, Surge (pre and post workout), psyllium as needed

Some questions:
Does it sound like I’m generally on the right track?
If I start to add 15-20 minutes of cardio directly after lifting, do I have my Surge after or before the cardio?
Are there any other supplements I should consider?
Are 2 T of flax seeds (ground) daily enough for someone my size? I do also eat salmon once or twice a week.
Do I need to cycle off flax seeds, in order to maintain a favorable Omega 3/6 balance? If so, how?

I really appreciate any help: I want to put together a specific plan and really focus on it.

Cheers!

hey lisa…congrats on starting the t-dawg. i’m sure tampa-terry will have something to post on this one :wink: her input helped me a lot back in feb/march when i was on the t-dawg. and i had great results although i wasn’t working out as much as i’d have liked.

i’m back on it now also and am around your size – 5’8, 185lbs (and muscly, its under here somewhere i swear ;)-- i was successful on 1700-1800 cals a day made up mainly of protein shake(s), oatmeal, cottage cheese, tuna, lean meats, and nuts, and big salads :slight_smile: it’s a great diet…good luck on your journey.

btw, what kind of results have you had with methoxy? since we’re around the same stats i thought i’d ask :slight_smile: i was thinking of snagging some but i’m not really sure if i need it. hot roxx is out of my budget at the moment :wink:

good luck!!

Thanks for the encouragement, KC.
Since I just started with the Methoxy, I don’t have an opinion yet, but I will definitely keep you posted.

Did you play around with different calorie levels with you did T-Dawg? I am wondering if 2000 is too much for me. I guess all I can do is try, and see how that works.

LS

To Lisa:

Try 2000 calories for 2 weeks and if you don’t lose any bodyfat than lower you calories maybe another 200 calories for a week or so. If that doesn’t work lower a little more. But you don’t want to go too low… Hope this helps.

A few more things. Lose the butter and milk before your HIIT. Replace the butter with some olive oil and replace the milk with maybe 10g of a low carb protein shake. Healthy fats are always a better replacement than saturated fats. The only saturated fats I get are from the meat I consume. And milk is not a good choice for cutting. Milk primarily restores liver glycogen and not muscle glycogen. Your liver can only store so many carbs and the rest is converted into fat. Muscle cells are able to store a lot more glycogen. Hope this helps again.

Also, you may want to change your training to something like Meltdown I, as you want to accelerate fat loss while keeping LBM. If you are doing heavier weight/lower reps, you won’t be getting the same effect.

Hey girl- WTG on the primary weight loss :). Compound movements are good for ya!
My two cents- don’t forget a good multivitamin and a calcium supplement. Especially if you’re working out hard, I found I would get bad restless leg syndrome if my calcium gets low.

Lisa,

I’d consider adding fish oil to your diet. Also are you counting the milk you drink before cardio when you count calories for your daily total?

There’s no need to cycle flax as far as I know. I’d add some olives (or olive oils). I’d also eat some nuts rather than butter to get enough fat grams.

I don’t know why you wnat to use T2 and T2 Pro at the same time. It seems to me that it’s overdosing on thyroid-affecting suppelement, and you do need ot cycle T2.

Good luck! I’m quite sure other T-vixen veterans such as Patricia will give you more and better guidance than I. :slight_smile:

Stella

Sounds good really. I agree with dropping the milk and butter. I would also suggest fish oils. Capsules aren’t as absorbable as an emulsification supposedly. Capsules are way more convient though and may insure you get enough since you can take them with you anywhere. I would also suggest dropping the MD6. I have a half empty bottle around here… it has its uses but Hot-Rox/Methoxy-7 was by far the most effective fat loss with minimal side effects, I have ever used. Besides that it seems you have taken this seriously. That is awesome! Keep it up!

I agree w/ Natedogg, for keeping lean mass and dropping fat, the mid-rep range tends to work better. cut down rest periods and throw in a pause in the contracted position. Maybe a rep tempo of 2-1-2. And remember before cutting calories down, try to increase workload, extra set per movement or few more mins or cardio(energy systems work as CT calls it)

hope that helps , Guru X

Lots of great advice here, L-Girl! It takes guts to step out of the shadows and lay out your plan for the public to critique. It’s not just me, but a lot of us here are really proud of you!!!

Thoughts? First off, I love T-Dawg 2. It’s probably my favorite diet. I’d like to see your carbohydrate intake at 100g on the days you work out, the majority of them being taken in post workout. Surge would provide you with 49g of carbs, leaving another 50g to be divided up during the day. If you’re able to I’d try and eat mostly P+F meals during workout days, with Surge PWO and at least one good power-packed P+C whole-food meal after that.

On days you don’t work out, take in 75g. This is all per T-Dawg, by the way.

Do me one very, very big favor, if you would. And the reason I ask is that it’s time consuming (in the beginning), but will set you up for success. Keep a food log. That’s the single most important thing you can do.

BTW, I want to congratulate you on the fact that you have very obviously done your homework. Great job, girl!

Back to my thoughts. I am 100% in agreement with JasonL. Get rid of the cheese, milk and cottage cheese (except in VERY small amounts). The galactose in milk is responsible for subcutaneous fat storage. Body builders cut it out of their diets pre-competition for that reason alone.

As much as you possibly can, get your carbs from green veggie sources. Here’s why. If you were trying to get roughly 25g of carbs for a given meal and you were trying to decide between rice or broccoli, you could have either have 1/2 cup of white rice (23g Carbs) or you could have 2 POUNDS of raw trimmed broccoli (23g). The later choice is going to leave you feeling a lot fuller and more satisfied. On a low-carb or limited-carb diet, carb choices are extremely important.

Caloric intake. Once again, I agree with JasonL. I think the 2,000 number is a bit high, based on my experience. Myself, I like to use a multiplier of 11 for women, and I like to use a goal weight rather than current weight. I picked 150 pounds as a number. Multiplying that by 11 gives you a caloric intake of 1,650. Go ahead and try the 2,000 calories per day, but if you’re not dropping 1.5 pounds per week, you’re going to have to drop your caloric intake a bit. This is why a food log is going to be so darn important to your success. A food log will allow you to make subtle adjustments. Dramatic adjustments result in loss of LBM and are bad, bad, bad!

Your cheat/refeed plans sound good. Joel Marion (and the archives on cheat meals/refeeds) will be a great resource to you. He is extremely helpful and knowledgeable in this area.

Re fat (in general) and EFAs, I tend to be stingy with my fat so that I can take in more health-promoting EFAs. My recommendation is that you get 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil or fish oil high in EPA/DHA per 50 pounds of BW. So you need 4 tablespoons (60g) of EFAs total per day. My favorites, in order of preference, are high-dose fish oil (6-10g of EPA/DHA) in capsule or liquid, flaxseed oil and olive oil.

Along the lines of my recommendations about EFAs, I notice that you tend to choose fattier protein sources. Give some consideration to fish, skinless chicken breasts and lean ground beef. I love rib eyes myself, but end up selecting something like a NY strip because of the lower fat content.

Protein bars. L-Girl, go with quality protein every chance you get. Protein bars are great for an emergency or if you’re about to break down and get something bad-sweet instead. But a lot of them are nothing more than a candy bar with a little extra protein added. Overall, I know you’re making improvements to your diet, and you WILL lose weight if you work your plan. But remember, if you follow it long enough, a diet becomes a lifestyle. Go for the quality protein and quality carbs every chance you get.

I’d need your LBM numbers to accurately calculate protein requirements, but once again based on my experience, 190g is a bit high. I’d go with 25-30g six times a day. Your protein requirements are probably closer to 170g per day.

Re your cardio, the 3 to 4 times a week of HIIT looks good. Do those sessions on your non-lifting days to give your metabolism a kick in the butt. On weight lifting days, just do a 5-minute warm-up to get the heart pumping and blood flow to the muscles. 5 minutes of cardio post workout is optional. When it comes to cardio, more is not better. Do what you need to do to achieve your goals, but not an iota more. To much cardio results in LBM loss. You want the benefits, but need to minimize the negatives.

Surge should be taken on weight-lifting days only. Start sipping the first liter when you start lifting, and drink the second liter PWO.

You do not need to cycle off of your flaxseeds. 2T of ground flaxseed is roughly equivalent to 1T of flaxseed oil. The benefits of ground flaxseed is that the fiber will help with regularity.

Okay, L-Girl, are you sorry you asked me to stop by and comment?

One last thing, Stella is dead on about not taking T2 and T2-Pro together. They are meant to be alternated. And neither are superior to Hot-Rox. If you can afford it, stick with Hot-Rox for the duration. I’d also hate to see you cycle off of the 5-HTP, which will help with cravings, mood and sleep.

hey terry :slight_smile: great advice as usual :). but i got a question about the cottage cheese. will it really hinder trying to lose a lot of weight? like 20-30lbs? its one of my staple snacks during the day so i must ask :wink: i usually have lowfat cottage cheese w/ almonds in the afternoons. thanks! :slight_smile:

Hey, there, KC!!! Thanks for the kind words, BTW. (grin)

Re the cottage cheese, it’s highly individual. A surprising number of people are intollerant (not allergic) to milk, and it hinders the process of reducing one’s BF%. Others it doesn’t affect one bit. I’m down on milk and milk products especially on carb restricted diets because it refills liver glycogen stores, doesn’t refill muscle glycogen stores, and galactose is easily converted to triglyceride if liver glycogen stores are full – oh, yeah, and galactose doesn’t enter the Krebs cycle.

Having said all that (and just loving to play devil’s advocate with myself), I’d say that if you’re losing weight, keep it; if you hit a plateau, try replacing it with an alternative form of protein.

It’s your call, KC. It just boils down to whether you’re getting the results you want.

I would also like to hear from Terry about low fat cottage cheese. I also use 1/2 cup skim milk in my oatmeal. Should I also get rid of this?

Oh, and also what about low carb Grow? Isn’t it made from milk? Damn I’m pretty anal aren’t I?

I never eliminated cottage cheese when I was trying to get leaner, but I did eat smaller portions. I usually eat 16oz at a time. When I was getting lean, I ate 8-12 ozs.

I’d keep it in your diet plan, personally. It is a great protein source, especially when dieting and wanting something before bed to help prevent catabolism.

Also, I wouldn’t combine cottage cheese with almonds. Cottage cheese already has some carbs in it, and depending on how large your serving size is, you may exceed JB’s recommendations of a P+F meal. I use cottage cheese as a P+C meal or by itself. Just my thoughts.

By the way, when it comes to dairy, I only consume cottage cheese, yogurt and some cheese (small amounts). I stopped drinking milk about a year ago, and I noticed the difference right away.

Wow—this feedback greatly exceeds by my already-high expectations; you guys are terrific! Let me see if I can distill what I’ve learned and what I’ll change:

No milk, butter or cottage cheese (perhaps I’ll play with adding cottage cheese back in small amounts later, and see how that works).

Incorporate higher-reps/increased workload training.

Keep the supps simple—stick with Hot Rox, 5-HTP, Methoxy and Surge and vitamins. Also add in calcium.

Limit myself to one serving of fruit, and stick to veggies for other carbs.

Start with 2,000 calories a day, but be prepared to drop them soon if necessary.

Clean up my protein sources: In reality they’re not as bad as my sample indicated—I put up foods I questioned, to get feedback. I do eat a fair amount of fish. And while I don’t like chicken much, I’m learning. :slight_smile: I’ll save the ribeyes for cheat meal and get some flank steak for regular consumption.

And the dreaded EFAs…I know I’m weak in this area, and that I should just suck it up. If I need the equivalent of 4T of flax or fish oil, can I get at least two of them from the ground flax seeds? The seeds are not a bad breakfast. Two additional tablespoons in liquid form I could handle. Losing a required tablespoon of flax oil is great motivation to lose 50 pounds! :slight_smile:

What about fat free cheese? Is a little bit okay, or does it fall into the dairy category?

I have set up a food log with fitday.com; I love that site!

Post-workout meal: I weight train from 6:30-7:30 p.m., and am usually in bed by 9:30. If I take my Surge at 7:30, should I eat my next meal (P+C) before I go to bed? What are appropriate P+C meals post-workout when the workout is so late in the day, and one is on a carb-restricted diet? That has always confused me.

Again, thank you so much KC, Jason, Nate, Elveneyes, Stella, RS, Gurux and, of course, Tampa-Terry!

Michael, it’s not about the fat that’s in cottage cheese, it’s about the type of sugar (galactose). I hope by now my response to KC has appeared on the board. That should answer your question.

The bottom line is that we’re all biochemically unique, and each of us is responsible for sorting through all the wisdom, dogma and traditions that surround the manipulation of body composition to find what works for us. In my case I found that certain types of food caused me to plateau, cottage cheese being one of them. Calories always stayed the same (I keep a food log), but weight started dropping again once I eliminated cottage cheese from my diet.

Re the LC Grow, I’d keep it. Once again, it’s not about the fat; it’s not about the protein; it’s about the galactose (a sugar found in milk).

Along with Nate, Boxer Al is another guy here on T-Mag that seems to do well with dairy – and that at ultra-low BF percentages.

It’s all about experimenting and enjoying the journey. As has been said before, it’s all good! (grin)