T Nation

What Have I Gotten Myself Into...


New guy here, Over the last two years I've acquired a taste for beer, and crappy, late night, junk food which in turn has blessed me with a beer belly. haha - I've been an avid soccer player, but I've noticed my speed & agility has gone down substantially since then. I want to get back into shape, and look better while I'm at it. Really didn't know where to start but here.

I tried developing a plan, and sticking to it, but there's so much misinformation out there, I couldn't tell what was true and what wasn't.

My Measurements:
Age: 23
Weight:179 lbs
Hips: 32"
Forarm: 7 1/2"
Wrist: 5
Resting Hear rate: 51 BPM

Goal: Get cut, I want to lose the beer belly. Have a nice set of abs. I haven't set a time frame, because this will be on going - a lifestyle change

Things I've done:
- Cut out beer /liquor
- No more fast food (or any sort)
- Preparing meals at home to take to work (helps avoid junk meals)
- Cutting portions in half
- Eating every 2 hours (ish)
- Drink 3 liters of water a day

Basic Daily Meals:
- 8:am 1 bagel with cream cheese and tea (minimal sugar 1 tea spoon)
- 10:30am eat fruit (portion is size of palm) (cantaloupe, orange, banana, apple, strawberries)
- 12:30pm eat a lunch, bean salad or tuna straight from the can, nothing added - and chicken soup or pasta
- 4:00pm eat a small meal, usually just tuna from the can
- 8:00pm eat dinner - what ever is prepared at home, usually chicken or some cut of meat

Things I'm doing:
- I play soccer 4 times a week, competitively
- I've began the 'Insanity' workout - I'm on week two
- I cycle about 30 - 50 miles on Sundays

My question is- what am I doing wrong, or what else should I be doing? I am completely new to this and this is what I began doing just from picking things up from here and there.

Also - would supplements benefit me in anyway to reach my goal?


You don't need supps, but they can help speed progress by helping recovery and providing easily usable energy for your workouts.

If you don't lift, you should. In the long term, it's THE best way to lose fat. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn every second of every day. It's a cumulative effect. Also, heavy lifting is a great way to increase your EPOC, once again meaning more cals burned.


You need to be on a lifting program unless you want to look like a waifish little girl. Playing soccer and cycling is more than enough cardiovascular activity. Bail out of the Insanity bullshit and get to a gym - and I mean a real gym, not a 'fitness center'. If the cardio bunnies have the courage to set foot in the place, don't bother - it's not a real gym.

I eat the amount of food in your 'meal plan' in two sittings. Really. More protein and more fats (from good sources, of course) would do you a hell of a lot of good.

Looking good is about more than just abs. If you don't have any muscle to go along with it, you'll just look like Christian Bale in "The Machinist". Nobody wants to see that.

Besides, lifting heavy shit is a hell of a lot of fun. The heavier I lift, the more I look forward to my workouts. You really are missing out.


Buddy, your diet is a mess. Not trying to be harsh but you really need some help nutritionally. You need to start basing each meal around a protein source. I would suggest things like whole eggs, chicken, lean red meats, and fish. I'm not big on carbs from grains, especially for someone that is trying to drop BF but I would incorporate oatmeal or maybe quinoa on your soccer days and the days you cycle. I like to get most of my carbs from fruits and vegetables. You also need plenty of healthy fats from things like nuts, seeds, avocado, eggs, coconut and olive oil. For now I would drop the Insanity and look into a good strength program to get the basics down and build a good foundation. Look into a program like Stronglifts 5x5 or Starting Strength ( google these and you'll find tons of info). As far as supps go I would get a good multi, a good fish oil like Flameout and a good greens mix, like Superfood. ( these are Biotest supps and can be found on this site). Learn to eat right first before you start with all the supplementation.

Here's an example of my daily diet. This works for me, not saying it'll work for you but it's just to give you an idea. I've experimented a lot with my nutrition throughout the years and found what works for me and thats really the trick, finding what works for you through trial and error.

Meal #1
4 whole eggs cooked with organic spinach in coconut oil and 1 large grapefruit.

Meal #2
Chicken, beef, pork, or fish, steamed vegetables, piece of fruit and nuts ( almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts)

Meal #3 ( preworkout)
2% greek yogurt and an apple or banana with nuts

Meal #4 (post workout)
2% greek yogurt and 1/4 cup organic raisins or 2 bananas

Meal #5
large portion of beef, chicken or fish with steamed vegetables ( kale, spinach, or broccoli), nuts ( almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts)

Every few days I'll throw in a higher carb day or two by adding in oatmeal or maybe grabbing some sushi.
It's pretty simple and has allowed me to get pretty lean and maintain decent size and strength. Good luck.


^ Excellent post.

I think it should be noted that this is a cutting diet, not the one you used to get bigger in the first place. I imagine the diet that built your foundation was quite a bit higher in calories, and not quite so 'clean'.


As for your training, lift weights more! Take out the cycling and replace it with 2 weight training sessions. For starters, do a simple Upper-Lower split.

3 sets of 6


Barbell Rows
Bench Press
Lateral Raise


Ab work


I know that this is just an example, but this program is very shitty. There are lots of great programs on this site find one and do it.


Lots of people do 4-5 day splits, hitting every bodypart atleast once a week.
For example I do
Shoulders and arms (shoulders, triceps, biceps)
Legs(Glutes, quads, and calves)
Chest and triceps
Backs and biceps and calves and hamstrings
I do biceps, calves, and triceps twice because im lanky


Fuck me, it took me about 6 forums, to get an answer like this, thanks - this is exactly what I was looking for, a critique and an action plan to start with. My goal at the moment is to lose my beer belly, and then work on gaining about 10lbs of muscle.

There's a lot of information to absorb and everyone has their ways of doing this and that, I just need to learn the good fat, from the bad, and what to eat when. A lot of terminology and acronyms - confuse the heck out of me.


Great fat= fish, nuts, olive oil, other sources
Bad fat= Mcdonalds, KFC, etc.
Good fat= beef, chicken, pork
I say good because fats from beef, etc. are very improtant for building muscle and keeping hormones working. These fats are often called bad because retards eat tons of them without exercising and end up having heart attacks.


Actually this is pretty much the way I eat all the time now. I found that when I raised my calories and carbs too much I just gained to much BF. I actually have found that by manipulating my training more so than my diet I will make changes in my physique. I learned a while back that that counting calories and grams of protein didn't really work for me. I tried a whole lot of BS "bodybuilding" diets along the way though. THe bottom line though is that if you eat good quality foods and you are getting proper nutrient absorption, focusing on heavy compound movements, staying properly hydrated and getting enough rest you will progress nicely. Learn to lift right and eat right and don't be afraid to think outside the box. Many would look at my diet and say it's not enough calories or protein, but I still continue to add strength and size while dropping BF and keeping it off. You have to learn to listen to your body and knowing what you need when you need it. Somedays I feel hungry all day, so I eat all day. Somedays I'm not hungry at all so I barely eat anything. It's also taken me almost 20 years of training and nutritional failures and successes to get to this point though and I'm still constantly learning and experimenting.


Inkscreep as after Memorial Day I'm going to hone in a bit on my diet and try to maintain the calorie count but with lower carbs and better quality foods I'm interested in the timeline you've got going.

Meal 1 I presume is breakfast
Meal 2 would the be lunch
Meal 3 would be before a workout

Do you work your own hours or something or what if anything do you eat between these? For example I eat breakfast at 7:30am, get to work at 8:30am, have a protein shake at 11:00am, lunch at 1pm and by 3pm I'm usually hungry again but I work till 5pm. Maybe my lunch is just too small? A pretty typical lunch for me is either meatloaf (turkey), baked chicken, or baked fish with a salad of just romaine lettuce, some croutons and cesar dressing.

So lunch is at 1 and if I don't eat until I go workout thats around 6:30?


What I really meant was that if you had eaten this way in the first few years, you likely wouldn't have built the mass you have now. Lots of newbs try it and end up spinning their wheels for a long, long time (I was one of them).

I don't pretend to know why, but it seems like after you've built a solid base of mass, you can switch to a diet like yours and still gain, but you'll get nowhere if you eat like that from day 1.


I'm Police Officer so I have a pretty flexible schedule as far as getting my meals in, but I don't buy into the whole "eat every 3 hours " thing. Contrary to what supplement companies and various gurus will tell you, your body will not eat away muscle tissue if you don't eat every three hours and your metabolism will not slow down.

Actually incorporating intermittent fasts have been shown to actually increase fat burning, insulin sensitivity and GH production. So if you have to go 4-5 hours before eating again it will be fine. A handful of almonds and an apple will do wonders for you if you just have to eat something and can't sit down to a meal.

With your work schedule you could focus on getting a good quality breakfast with plenty of protein and healthy fats along with a carb source (depending on your goals), a good lunch and a good dinner. I'm sure you get small breaks throughout the day, if you have to get a small cooler and bring some greek yogurt , nuts and fruit to snack on throughout the day if you need to.

Look at what you can do and how you can make it work and take the appropriate actions to do so. I've been a cop for 11 years now, but before that I hid in the bathroom at many jobs scarfing down a chicken breast if I needed to, lol.

Another good option is getting a high quality BCAA mix like Xtend and sipping on that throughout the day to flood your system with quality aminos. Look at the Anaconda products as well.


Yeah, I think a lot of it comes from muscle memory which I realized is a VERY real thing. Once you get big, it's easy to get big again and once you get really lean it's easier to get lean again. Not sure if it's really a physiological thing or that you just know what works. I've been up to 230lbs with a 32 inch waist and a few years later I was still 230lbs but with a 40 inch waist. I've been down to 160 at about 4% BF. I've been a fat slob that ate like shit and drank and partied every night and I've been an obsessive shut in that weighed and measured every morsel of food that went in my mouth. Right now I hang around 175-180 at about 6% BF. I've found that this is the most comfortable for me and it always seems to be the set point that I can eat fairly normal and train the way I want. At this point if I just adjust my training to heavier low rep stuff I'll start adding size and strength without changing my diet at all. If I cut out the cardio I add more size and strength, it's pretty cool to finally know exactly what works for me. But then again, I have never competed or anything like that. I just train and eat to be healthy, strong and look good. Once you get into bulking/cutting and contest prep it's a whole new animal that I'm not even going to pretend to have extensive knowledge of.


If you're trying to lose some fat then try doing long distance running. I use to have a bit of fat myself but after running for a while your abs will really show up, even moreso if you have been working on them in your workouts. Running a few miles every other day should get rid of most of your fat so long as you have a good diet with it.


These are also a good read for starters



The archives on T-Nation are a wealth of information. Plus you know your learning from experts and research/experience based facts instead of a bunch of "Bro-science".


The guy plays soccer 4 days/wk and cycles 30-50 miles on Sundays. I'm not sure he's lacking for cardio volume.