T Nation

What Is Your Formula?


I’d really appreciate feedback from those of you that maintain <10% bodyfat for extended periods of time. I’m really interested in your complete “system”. This would include supps, diet, and of course training (everything from weight training to walking). And of course any little tricks that you’ve come across.

I’m about 11% right now and looking to get under 10% and stay there. Thanks in advance to all that reply.

That’s a pretty broad question, but okay…here ya go:

Supplements: Low-Carb Grow! and Fish Oil

Diet: Based on the “Massive Eating/Don’t Diet” principles with a bit of carb/calorie cycling mixed in. I generally eat every 2-3 hours, my first 3 or 4 meals being mainly P+C, the last 3 or 4 P+F. More carbs and calories on lifting days, less on other days. I probably average between 2500 and 3000 calories/day (I weigh 190 lbs at 5’11"). Every once in a while I’ll drop down to 1800 cals for a day, or maybe go up to 3500 for a day. As far as food choices, I eat super clean about 90% of the time…maybe 95%. No booze at all.

Lifting: 4 days/week with a wide variety of splits and rep/set parameters. I do lots of 1-arm snatches, weighted pullups and dips, squats, hang-cleans, push-press…all kinds of stuff.

Cardio (or ESW or whatever the term of the day is): One or two days a week, I do something athletic. For example, I’ll play hoops for a few hours or play in an all-day volleyball tournament. I’ll usually throw in a few 45-minute low-intensity, fasted morning cardio sessions or a few HIIT-style cardio sessions (bike sprints, rope skipping, treadmill, etc.) I’d say I do about 2 cardio sessions/week. I take a day off about once every 5 or 6 days.

Tricks: Nothing too tricky about it. I spend lots of time preparing food: big batches of chili, homemade protein bars, baked chicken breasts, etc.

You can probably succeed by following the advice of any of the expert contributors here…just don’t fall into the trap of adopting something new every time a new article comes out. Pick the best of everything, design your own program, and stick with it.

It also helps if you destroy any kind of bad relationship you have with food. A while ago, I read some stuff about a technique called Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT). This really helped me figure out a way to view food as fuel.

Just another quick 2 cents to add: If staying lean year-round is your goal, you need to focus more on the big picture and less on the little details.

If you’re diet is clean, if you are training hard and spending enough time being active, then you are 95% of the way there.

Of course, that’s IF you are doing this with consistency over the long-term. If you don’t have all that stuff nailed down, don’t even bother worrying about things like fasted morning cardio vs. tabata vs. HIIT.

Similarly, don’t waste your time designing cycles of HOT_ROX, Alpha Male, Carbolin 19, etc.

A quick-fix mentality won’t help you with the long-term goal you are pursuing.

Thanks Serge. Yeah, I know… pretty broad but I didn’t want to narrow it down and miss something important.

I guess if I did have to focus on a specific area, it would be cardio.

It seems like everytime I read something stating that you’ve got to do 30 minutes a day, I turn around and read something stating that short (~12 min) intense sessions 3x a week are the way to go. Or that cardio should be avoided most of the time because of it’s effects on cortisol levels.

[quote]titojones wrote:
Or that cardio should be avoided most of the time because of it’s effects on cortisol levels.

Some of that depends on how much muscle you want to carry. If you want to be huge, then you probably would worry about things like cortisol and losing too much muscle.

It sounds like you want to be more on the lean and muscular side. If that’s the case, you really don’t need to worry…a little cardio isn’t going to cause you to waste away.

Bottom line, though, is that you can’t listen to all of these different viewpoints. For starters, there are just too many approaches out there and they all have their merits.

Also, everyone has different goals, so make sure you’re not taking advice on how much cardio to do from a guy who is trying to get as huge and strong as humanly possible.

Decide on an approach. Stop reading articles for a few months while you stick with this approach. See your results and take it from there.