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weight loss - desperate improvement

okay. some of you may remember me from my posting the other night about wanting to lose about 8 pounds for my upcoming wedding in march. i received some fantastic advice and would like to thank you all for it - it has been invaluable

basically to recap - my present workouts had kind of brought me to a full-stop. to give a brief overview, i am 35, 128 pounds, 21.6% bf. i posted on here to get advice on how to drop these few pounds (and bf) and in doing so basically raised a number of issues, most importantly the nature and intensity of my current workout, my trainer and to a lesser extent my nutrition. there seemed to be a general consensus in the feedback that i received that i should aim for a workout either like or not dissimilar to “meltdown”

i know there will obviously be questions surrounding my need to lose weight for my wedding - mostly because this is a serious site and because people on this board have a much healthier attitude towards body image but please remember that it is a special occasion, i do want to look my best and i know that people who post here really know what they’re talking about.

so. down to the new workout. i spoke with my trainer and discussed what i had learnt on this board. i also gave him copies of “meltdown” and “meltdown II”. i hope this is okay for copyright purposes by the way. he was pretty impressed and said he had wanted me to do similar sorts of programmes for ages but that i had resisted (which is true because the squats used to really hurt… pathetic). anyway. without any more ramble… here is the workout he has now designed. this is repeated 3 times each session and will change in six weeks (we may add in an extra circuit). please forgive me too if i use the wrong terminology: squats to the floor with barbell and then pushing with it (please tell me what the correct words for these are) x20. barbell rows x20. dips off the parallel bars x 20. standing lunges x20 each leg. deadlifts x20. close grip push ups x20 and regular pushups x 20. chin-ups x 20. okay. i bet this is really easy for a lot of people but frankly i thought i was going to die. my old routine incorporated lunges and pushups and i never had any problems, but this time round every rep was exhausting. i finished the workout and had the most fantastic surge of energy afterwards which was really weird because i don’t usually get that.

does this sound okay? those who know please tell me. i’m following this with 20 minutes cardio (fast walking). i’m also going to do HIIT twice a week on off-days so i’ll be training monday, tuesday, thursday, friday and saturday. i also work at night so this messes up my nutrition a bit (start at 5pm and finish at 2am, in bed at 4am). it has been suggested to me that i may not be taking in enough carbs so i’m experimenting with putting in an extra meal in the evening. so. breakfast = metrx, banana. then workout. post w/o = 2 cups wild rice, 1.5 grilled chicken breast. 2 hours later = vegetables or spinach salad with teaspoon oil and some lemon. 3 hours later = 1 tin tuna, 1 cup rice. 2 hours later = 125gms low fat cottag e cheese. does this sound okay?

please get back to me with ANY advice, criticisms, changes, etc. please remember too that i don’t know everything and if i make mistakes (or i seem like a lycra-bunny) it’s not through lack of trying but because i don’t have the information - i’m willing to learn… thank you in advance!! :wink:

Didn’t Meltdown Training list 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise? Why the need to increase to 20 reps?

I second Patricia’s response. You’re still trying to go for the “tone”: higher reps thinking that will give you a leaner look. Just the opposite is true. As good as Meltdown is, I still think a 5x5 routine would work best - it’ll make your muscles denser (smaller), not bigger (which is exactly what your new routine is going to do). I think if you are doing the cardio/HIIT, then 5x5 would work great. Bottom line: pick a T-mag workout and do it EXACTLY as it is laid out.

As for diet, I think you’ll still be better off by following the Cheater’s Diet. You said yourself that you noticed you looked better after pigging out a bit. You already know it works, so why not try that?

Good for you to try to learn about nutrition and exercise! I’m just curious why you are paying a trainer, but then second-guessing his/her advice and asking others for their approval and/or suggestions. Do you not have a more knowledgeable trainer in your area you can get training and advice from? It sounds like you know what to do and are doing it, so why waste your money on a trainer whose advice you don’t trust or want to follow?

Nicky, be careful where you’re going with this new “Meltdown-style” workout. To be honest with you, it looks like a sure-fire recipe for overtraining and rapid burnout to me. Do a search for a “Don Alessi’s Response to Meltdown On Low-Carb Diet” thread and read it. One of my favorite debate threads ever!

  1. Along with Patricia, I’m wondering why you’ve upped the reps. Did your Trainer do this because you’re ‘female’? If so, say adios now. (Besides, if you’re a woman who can do sets of 20 in the dips & chins, do you really need his help anyway?)

    2. While I tend to suggest low-volume strength training while people diet, I think that Meltdown (as opposed to 5x5) is a better option here. You’re at a point where you don’t have to worry about extreme muscle loss. (Which comes from dieting from a reasonably low BF to an extremely low BF) As a rule, the leaner one gets, the more strength training should be used. Besides, you only want to loose what… 8lbs? Meltdown is your best bet, I think.

okay. thanks for the responses. i wasn’t intending on meltdown specifically as there are a number of problems with this: firstly, i do have a trainer and i would feel a little odd printing out a routine and giving this to him and telling him to follow it to the letter (he is a professional after all). this doesn’t mean i’m dissing either this site or this board - i wanted to get his input.

the other problem is meltdown calls for a day 1 and a day 2 to be repeated twice a week which i calculate at being four days. which is fine except i only see him twice a week. now i could give some realistic thought to actually asking him to do the programme as it is laid out (because it is very good) and then doing the other two days on my own… hmmm… worth thinking about…

if i go ahead with that then i have a couple of questions: i pointed out the lower rep thing to my trainer and his response is that higher reps build leaner muscle. is this wrong? what tyler said makes more sense but this is a coda i’ve always believed; that shorter reps, more intensity = larger muscle gain… i would appreciate some clarification on this as i’ve always lifted in the higher rep range

also: what is 5x5 training? i have done a search for it on the main page but i can’t find any reference to it. in terms of cheat dieting - well, i think half the reason i cheat on my eating is because i’m not getting enough carbs in the earlier part of the day. hopefully this will be addressed by the small carb meal in the evening that i’m now adding. thanks for the advice tyler - i think i might just stick with this small modification for a few weeks and then change it if it doesn’t work. i was eating almost no carbohydrates before at night (which is really my afternoon) so this might explain why the occasional cheat meal (not all, please note!) would have a lean effect

thank you for the continued advice and support, you guys! i know there are alot of questions, but i’m psyched that from that one post on monday night i’ve had a really productive day and i feel very motivated… haven’t had that feeling for a while!! :slight_smile:

To quote Joel:
“Muscle tone is simply the resting tension of a given muscle, and can only be altered through heavy, high tension training.”

Let me explain what I believe a trainer’s primary goal/objective for their clients are: To fortify their clients with the proper information (form/technique/reasons behind) on weight training for their individual needs. Therefore preparing these clients for THAT DAY when they (clients) become “self-reliant” in the gym.

SO, there will be one day where your trainer won't be there. With that in mind, you need to perform Meltdown as how it was written/created. How you going to know for sure if this program works? And in a sense, "lean muscle gain" IS saying "larger muscle gain" - just different symantics. Muscle is naturally, sleek and more compact than fat. It ain't bulky. Okay...here, let me put it this way: you saw my picture, right? Okay. NOW, let me say that for the last 5-years I've been training in the rep range of 6-8 and sometimes I just do 1-5 reps. My squats average around 225-245lbs, my deadlifts 245-285 (next session, I attempt a 290lb dead). My boyfriend and I train side by side - we perform the exact same routine. I ain't bragging. Just proving a point. Cuz, I ain't "big and bulky". You said at one point in your first post, that you wish you could get a third of my gains. NOW, you know exactly how.

Don't tweak what you haven't even done yet. Don't worry about NOT using your trainer. Your trainer should be happy that you're willing to take "the reins" and map out your own plan of attack. For the 5x5 program, use either "Joel Marrion" or "Ripped, Rugged and Dense" as your search words.

Nicky -

You said “i do have a trainer and i would feel a little odd printing out a routine and giving this to him and telling him to follow it to the letter (he is a professional after all).” You’re too worried about insulting this guy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling him how you want to train (you’re the one paying him after all). Unless he is opposed to it because he thinks there’s a good chance you could injure yourself and he has a moral dilemma with it, I think he should be ok with you at least trying it for awhile. And believe me, there are so many “professionals” out there that dish out bad advice day after day that most of them could stand to do a little research (I’m not saying anything about your trainer, though :wink:

As for 5x5, it’s just doing 5 sets of 5 reps with compound exercises (squats, deads, chins, etc.). It’s a real strength builder. The search engine here is a little temperamental, so that’s probably why you couldn’t pull it up. As for Meltdown, even though it’s a 4 day per week plan, you can always do MWF and just put the next workout (#4) on the following Monday. Some people find doing it this way a little easier to keep overtraining in check.

The workouts you’ll find on this website are backed by some pretty solid research and, even more importantly, TONS of success stories by those that have used them. That’s not to say that every workout here will work for you, but I’m sure there are tons that will. Anyway, good to see you’re so willing to try new things! Whatever you decide to do, just keep after it and keep us posted on your results. Best of luck!


thanks again! my apologies. i must have some weird connection because i don’t see the responses all the time so most of you have replied to my first posting (except for patricia who must work at t-mag because she gets me pretty much straight after i’ve posted!)

alrighty. point taken. i will tell my trainer that we are doing meltdown as it is given. just for clarification, he did help me today both with the dips and the chins ups and even tho’ i did struggle through these, i probably could’ve done a better job at lower reps with more focus. so ten reps it is with three circuits as specified. this means i will be training tuesday, thursday and saturday (thanks tyler, that’s good advice, i will start with 3x a week and see how i go). i will then do my interval training on monday and friday (sprint) which doesn’t give me much rest time between 2 and 3 but i’ll play it by ear. over-training is something i’m acutely aware of. to be very honest tho’, i had a really great time today: i felt like i had pushed myself to the limit and i’m enjoying the challenge

if i do this tho’ (and i’m sorry if this sounds like a stupid question) what will i do when i’m finished the programme? do i go back to my old routine or should i carry on with a variation of compound movements? is this a question for my trainer - remember i want to keep lean for march which is still a fair way off (i sense i’m going to get shot down for this question, but i’m asking it anyway)?

in response to the question as to why i have a trainer, i guess the answer is that he is very motivating: he treats me more like a man and respects my efforts (not like some trainers i see down at the gym who treat their female clients like they might break in half at any minute). i know that he goes for the high rep range but if this is wrong (as in my last post) please let me know… i will definitely share this information with him if its suggested that i will do better by going smaller. funnily enough, i find these points on rep range very interesting - considering the work i put in at the gym (and i know it’s nothing compared to some people) i should really be a lot “harder” and it might have something to do with the weights (i’ve always worked between 15 and 20 on everything). the downside is we tend to go at loggerheads a lot of the time because he tries to make me lift heavier and i argue with him on this point. i am beginning to think that i may have been wrong (you see!! this site was the best thing that ever happened… it’s turning into more than just an 8 pound weight loss thing!!)

by the way can someone also suggest a thread on sprint interval training - i can’t find one either. the version i do now is 3 times a 10 minute cycle but it isn’t working as well for me as it used to. can i also get some feedback on my nutrition? i do appreciate all your responses and feedback. don’t hesitate to tell me what i could do better or differently… :slight_smile:

thanks chris - i can’t find the link tho’… can you point the way for me. or let me know what the gist of the debate was. ta! :wink:

I third(?) Patricia’s answer. Nicky, I don’t think Patricia is working for t-mag but when you’re Wonder Woman, you get some lightning fast reflexes…well, that’s what is boxing coach told me last night(nahh, I’m kidding Patricia, about the coach I mean:o) )

P: As far as HIIT protocol, why don’t you search for the “Cheater’s diet”(t-mag #233-234 I think). You should find an answer.

P:Ok, I’m out and happing hunting!

Here is the link for 5x5. This would be a good choice after Meltdown.


You wrote: "… i pointed out the lower rep thing to my trainer and his response is that higher reps build leaner muscle. is this wrong? "

Yes, your trainer is wrong. So wrong it makes me wonder how much he really knows about training. Really.

You wrote “…what tyler said makes more sense but this is a coda i’ve always believed; that shorter reps, more intensity = larger muscle gain… i would appreciate some clarification on this as i’ve always lifted in the higher rep range”

Okay, clarification coming up! There are come basic rep ranges that produce basic results. 8-12 is generally what’s considered optimal for hypertrophy (getting bigger). Anything below six reps per set and you’re looking more at strength training. (These ranges have to be qualified as a bit of an over-simplification; training age, muscle fiber make-up and other factors will determine how a given rep range affects any particular individual, but as a general rule…) So your idea of lifting greater weight for fewer reps making you bigger, while a common misconception, is just that: a misconception.

Also, if you’ve “always” been lifting in the same rep range, any change will be benficial. (This is another point that makes me worry about your trainer…Why has he let you stay in one rep range for eight years?!??) After Meltdown, I agree that 5x5 would be a good choice. Heavier weights, fewer reps, longer rest periods, a nice shock for the body - and when it comes to making physique changes, shocks are what it’s all about.

Once you’ve gone through these programs and seen what rep manipulation can do for you, try checking out tempo prescriptions… :slight_smile:

hey char-dawg… thanks for the feedback. i can see i’m obviously in trouble. i’m glad i came on this site. there are a couple of other trainers down at the gym and i will have a word with them and then think how best to change my current one. this is going to be difficult for me as i like him very much but i’ve clearly not been given enough information and i’m quite mad actually thinking about the amount of money i’ve paid and the frustration i’ve had at not getting the results i’ve wanted. it seems to me that i don’t even know the basics which is really irritating. you have all been fantastic and i very much appreciate the advice. i will keep posting and let you all know how i’m doing. thanks! nic :slight_smile:

It sounds like u r doingur homework. However, since u goal is to trim the fat while possibly gaining some muscle, I would strongly recomend u use the bodybuilding range of 8-12 reps as 20 reps is pure edurance training - look at marathon runners, are they muscular? No, they have low body fat, but they're as skinny as an anorexic girl. However, different things work for different people, so u might get good results wth that kind of program. 
On to your diet - Have 6 meals spaced no longer than 3 hours apart with 25 grams protein each meal ( this will give 1.5 grams protein pe lb body weight needed to mintain and build muscle. Minimize carb intake. Make ABSOLUTLY SURE u eat only low glycemic carbs such as oatmeal, brown rice, barley, geens. Have no carbs whatsoever on ur last 2 meals. Prior to your workout have a bit of OLD FASHIONED OATMEAL with 7 egg whites instead ( skip the yolk). Imediately ater ur workout have a shake with WHEY PROTEIN and abou 30 grams of simple carbs like maltodextrin and dextrse. If u dont know where to get these, 1 1/2 tbsp honey should do the job or something sweet with littl or no fat and with NO fructose (th purpose of these carbs is to stimulate insulin release to bing protein immediately to your muscles before they break down and to restore glycgen stores. it wont add an ounce of fat. However, fructose does NOT stimulate and noticeable insulin release at all, and will only restore liver glycogen - leaving ur muscl deprived of this glycogen, and itll take much longer for protein o get to the muscles. Not to mention the fact that this will speed up metaolism when it has a tedency to slow down.). DONT have fruit eithe before or after ur workout. Itll affect ur performance at the gym. Hope this helps!

If you only have to lose 8 pds, I would focus on a clean, strict diet. You might even consider L-Carb, but I have no idea how you would respond to it. After all, the water weight you would lose would be at least 5 pds. Concerning training, I would look into 3 total body workouts a week, with 2-3 HIIT sessions. Possibly am-fasting sessions as well. Just educate and apply. It’s all here at your disposal at TMAG. Good luck, and yes, I fully understand and appreciate your desire to look awesome on the big day. Set your mind to it.

Fire the trainer. Quit complicating things so much. Cut back on the carbs. Use a low carb meal replacement three times a day and a good thermogenic like hydroxycut. If you’re already on it take one extra capsule for each of the three sessions. Fill up on steamed vegtables first and eat tuna steaks with wasabe to rev the metabolism. Drink water until you feel like you are living in the bathroom. Not only will you look great on your wedding day, you will have gotten rid of a lot of toxins and feel refreshed. Don’t expect to be able to lift maximum weight on a low carb diet though; your lights could go out after depleting glycogen that ain’t there.
Don’t think so much. Stress causes cortisol and keeps you from losing weight. Go out to get coffee every few hours instead of vegetating between workouts.
Have a great wedding. Nick

Just noticed that you requested some feedback on nutrition. While it is true that you will lose a lot of water weight very quickly if you go on a low-carb diet, it is also true that a lot of people don’t do too well on them. There’s no way to predict what’s going to happen in your case, so if I were you I’d experiment with low carbs well before your wedding day (assuming that you want to experiment at all) and see how it affects you. Then you can see what you want to do from there.

But if I were you, at this point I’d worry more about my macronutrient profile (the relative overall percentages of carbs, fat and protein in your diet). Since you’ve got some time still, my approach would be to get to a more or less iso-caloric balance (where each macronutrient makes up about a third of your overall calories), then just cut calories a bit at a time to reach your goals. You should be able to take off a couple of pounds a month like this without much problem (but read Joel Marion’s Cheater’s Diet article!) - and not run the risk of messing your head up with a ketogenic (low-carb) diet.

Finally, there are a lot of posters on this forum, with varying degrees of knowledge. A lot of people know what worked for them - but that doesn’t mean that it will work for anyone else. If you take a look above you might find a post or two that falls into that category. (Patricia, however, definitely knows what she’s doing!)