I want to give you the information you want.
Objective, science & evidence based, non-biased information.
I want to do that, and I want to give it to you for free, in a way that’s understandable, relatable, and valuable.
Here’s an entirely free training and nutrition program, of which I describe the why’s, when’s, how’s, and in’s and out’s for you to understand, and take for yourself.
This is Timmy:
“Hey Cody, I’m reaching out for some advice. I’m 30, I’ve been training for a few years – albeit without much true structure – and I’m really looking to dial things in. I want to lean out, not concerned with weight, but maybe drop 5-10 lbs of fat. I’m currently about 210 lbs and 5’11.5”. Really wanting to see a change in 6 months. I want to look great, and after I’ve gotten this part complete, I want to focus on picking up a new hobby within fitness like you recommend. For now, just train hard, eat as needed, get my physique where I’m happy with it, and really get myself into this “lifestyle” as it’s referred to. I have full gym access, with every piece of equipment that would be needed, and diet-wise I’ve been tracking my food kind of haphazardly for about 6 months, but that’s no trouble for me. I’m maintaining my weight around 3000 calories. I always go way over on the weekends, trying my best to keep the numbers close, I’m just a weekend warrior I guess. I’ve been training full-body semi-regularly, focusing on the big 3, and other big movements, and feel like more effort and structure is needed. I’m 100% committed, and excuses won’t be present.”
Let’s do it, Timmy.
First and foremost, Timmy’s mindset is where it should be. He knows changes have to be made, he knows structure is necessary, and he knows what he wants, and he’s not approaching this due to a negative perspective of himself.
It’s time to take some pictures.
Find an area with good lighting, in a place the photos can be duplicated, preferably on a windowsill or in front of adequate natural lighting, but a mirror will work just fine as long as the photos can be duplicated.
Pictures will be retaken every 2 weeks!
Take some measurements.
This is optional, really. It all depends how many metrics on yourself you’d like to have, but I don’t recommend become neurotically obsessed with the numbers.
Re-measure monthly if you decide to go this route.
We want to look at the weekly trends of weight. This is educational, because Timmy will notice the wild fluctuations from the day-to-day, but overall, week to week the trends tell all.
We want at least 3 weigh in’s a week, with one of those being on the weekend. Optimal is daily, but we don’t want Timmy obsessing, of course.
*It’s not always recommended to weigh in so frequently if one has a negative relationship with weight, and body image, so it’s not mandatory, but I do want to stress that this can educate a person past that point of negative fixation on weight.
He’s maintaining his weight of 210lbs with around 3000 calories as a daily average. That means he’s metabolically in a decent place to begin a fat loss phase. If he were 5’10” and 210lbs, but maintaining weight around 2000 calories, that’s quite low for someone of his stature, and I wouldn’t recommend delving into a fat loss phase, taking more calories away, and potentially setting him up for hormonal fatigue, difficult adherence, and low quality of life. At that point, it’d be recommended to reverse his calories up, but that’s a conversation for another day.
1lb of fat is roughly 3500 calories, so reducing intake by 500 calories a day would theoretically result in one pound of fat loss a week (500×7=3500). Timmy has a time frame of 6 months, so there’s no rush to do everything all at once, we want the process to be sustainable, and non-compromising to his quality of life, while keeping his gym performance up.
For Timmy, I would recommend the 5-2 method of calorie splitting, which would essentially mean he’ll spend 5 days in a deficit, and 2 days at maintenance calories. Since he’s a weekend warrior, Saturday and Sunday at maintenance would help his dietary adherence a ton, and he’d still be in a calorie deficit of (500×5=2500) 2500 calories weekly, which will still result in smooth, consistent loss of (in theory) 2.8lb of loss monthly.
Calories Monday-Friday: (3000-500=2500) 2500 calories (500 calories is the number we’re taking off his intake on deficit days, just to add up to the weekly deficit of 2500 calories, putting him near, but just below 1lb loss/week)
Calories Saturday-Sunday: 3000 calories *we will drop this number a bit as we get further into the diet phase, because he will be losing weight, and therefore his maintenance calorie intake will drop)
Setting Up Timmy’s Macros:
First and foremost, protein.
When going into a diet, you’ll need more protein per lb of bodyweight to account for the added need for protein as a potential energy source when decreasing total intake, and more importantly, to preserve muscle mass.
Science, and evidence shows the sweet spot to be in between 1.0-1.2g/lb of bodyweight daily for protein. This is a constant, protein is the common denominator in this equation, this macro we most likely won’t touch for the length of the diet phase. *If you’re quite overweight, or obese, then that recommendation might be ridiculously high. In which case it’s recommended to use your height in cm to determine protein range (as long as you’re not ridiculously tall, or short) simply multiply your height in cm by 1-1.2.
Timmy weighs 210lbs – 210×1 (to keep it simple, and because Timmy isn’t a seasoned trainee, we can keep protein right at 1g/lb) = 210g protein daily, which is 840 calories (210×4 because protein has 4 calories per gram)
Setting up the fats:
Fats should be set up before carbs, as they are an essential macronutrient (while carbohydrates play a huge role, they aren’t technically an essential macro – damn technicalities) and play a major role hormonal functional, day-to-day energy, and brain function.
Timmy eats rather regularly, and doesn’t stick to a higher fat diet, so he’ll fat into the general category of 20-30% of calories for fats during a diet phase. Nothing wrong with it being higher, but since Timmy is training regularly, we want to keep his carbs up to promote his recovery and performance, especially since he generally consumes more carbs than fats already.
We’ll use the middle 25% of calories for fat intake – 2500x.25=625 calories (fats have 9 calories per gram) /9=69.4 which we’ll round up to 70g of fat, and a total of 625 calories. Fat will also be a constant, because on the weekends when Timmy is at maintenance calories, we’ll want his caloric increase to be mostly from carbohydrates (maybe some protein or fat) to help his recovery, and save him from the negative hormonal effects.
Now, the remaining calories for Timmy’s deficit days are (625+840=1465, 2500-1465=1035) 1035 calories. We take those calories and divide by 4 (4 calories per gram of carbohydrates) for 258.75, which we’ll keep to 260g of carbs.
Timmy’s Calorie & Macro Profile:
*Timmy has been cleared by his doctor, has gotten his blood panels checked recently, and received annual physicals and is in perfect health, these are just general recommendations based on literature, and available information 🙂
Monday-Friday (Deficit Days)
Calories: 2500 calories (2505 here actually, but there’s no need to obsess over single digits, round up to the nearest 5 to avoid neuroticism)
Protein: 210g (840 calories)
Fats: 70g (625 calories)
Carbs: 260g (1040 calories)
Saturday-Sunday (Refeed, or Maintenance Days)
Calories: 3000 (will adjust this down monthly, according to his rate of bodyweight loss)
Protein: 210g (840 calories)
Fats: 70g (625 calories)
Carbs: 385g (1540 calories- 840 cals from protein+625 cals from fats=1465, 3000-1465=1535, which we round up to 1540)
*Carbs might seem high, but if he was overeating on weekends this is likely a small step down anyway. If Timmy was getting real tired of tracking, and it was becoming another stressor, I might give him a tracking break on weekends, and have him keep track of total calories, and protein only.
Adjustments going forward:
Nothing is set in stone, of course. It should always be based on individual biofeedback, such as sleep quality, stress levels, hunger and cravings, recovery, mental fatigue, and etc. But, for the sake of this we’ll say things go according to plan, but down the line say in 2 months, Timmy’s rate of loss fizzles out.
This is very important: Make 0 changes until 2 weeks of absolutely no progress is recorded. There are many factors that come into play when progress halts; it could be high stress levels, high sodium, poor sleep, poor recovery, less micronutrient content in foods, eating out, not eating as wholesome for a short stint, little bit of boozin’. All those can halt progress, so we don’t want to over adjust if that’s the case.
If after 2 full weeks there is no change in the weigh in’s, and gym performance, and biofeedback is good, we’ll pull about 5% of total calories on deficit, and refeed days from carbohydrates, or a little from fats as well, depending on how Timmy’s eating.
Sometimes, people adjust quickly, and need a larger 7.5-10% adjustment, but a 5% adjustment is usually the sweet spot.
Timmy has been training full body, so we want to continue with that for simplicity.
It’s important we keep training quite simple, and focus on performing as optimally as possible. The nutrition will do the fat loss for the most part, we want to be sure we get Timmy an adequate training effect to ensure his muscles are being stimulated, and we maintain absolutely as much lean mass as possible.
He’s been training full body, 2-5 times a week, and he’s been performing 1 HIIT workout pretty much every week, as well as 1 or 2 20 minute cardio sessions, on a machine of choice.
Timmy’s warmup will be simple:
|Movement:||*1 round, 2 if feeling compromised||Notes/Description:|
|Cardio @ 55-65% max heart rate||5 mins||Increase your core temp (warmup, duh) walk, bike, row, elliptical, move!|
|Shin-Boxes||10 total||Movement should be CONTROLLED. If needed, you can hold onto a rack at first to help stabilty. Draw the navel in, contract the glutes, and breath as your coming up into extension. These HELP!|
|Arm Swings Forward & Reverse||10 each, or 15-20 total||Simple – get some blood flowing, increase your body temp, bring the shoulders through full ROM.|
|Cross Body Arm Slaps||10-15 slaps||Simple – open up your chest, get the shoulders mobile, get some blood flowing and increase your body temp.|
|Leg Swings Forward & Back||10 each||Grab onto a rack, bench, or something sturdy. Swing your leg out in front of you opening up your glute, hamstring, and calf, and then swing and kick it back behind you opening up your hip and quad.|
|Leg Swings Side to Side||10 each||Grab onto a rack, bench, or something sturdy. Swing your leg across your body opening up your glute, lateral hamstring/hip, and IT band. Swing it back across and open it out to the side, opening up your inner thigh and hip.|
^That’s a super simple warmup. It covers all bases of basic mobility, heart rate increase, joint/muscle prep for exercise, and overall movement preparation.
Is it oversimplified? Maybe. But, Timmy was not warming up at all prior to this, so chances are it’s boring, monotonous, and not engaging to him. This is a big step up, and we’ll build on this in the future to ensure his longevity in terms of injury prevention, mobility, and performance.
To The Program:
|1. Bench Press||5×5||9||75-80% max|
|2. KB RDL’s||4×8||8||3-5 sec negative, using band around hips if available|
|3a. TRX/Ring Rows||3×12||8||Control down, power up, focus full ROM and retraction|
|3b. Walking Lunges||3×20 total||8||Take angled steps out to the side for comfortability, and be sure to keep the front foot flat – Add weight via KB front rack if possible|
|4a. DB Curl Variation||3×15||9||Posture up, no cheating with shoulders or hips –|
|4b. LLPT Plank||3×5 breathes||9||Keep hips “tucked” like scared dog, gluten tight, core braced – big inhale through nose, powerful exhale through pursed lips, aiming for 3 sec inhale, 6 sec exhale|
|1. Squat Variant||5×5||9||75-80% max|
|2. Neutral Grip Chin-ups||4×8||8||Full ROM, no “rounding” shoulders over the bar, focus retraction – can assist, or weight if necessary|
|3a. Overhead Press||3×12||8||Variation that’s most comfortable – Full ROM, strict press|
|3b. Swiss Ball Ham Curls||3×12||8||Hips in extension, navel drawn in, point toes|
|4a. Close Grip Pushups||3xMax-1||9||Elbows tucked to side of rib cage – go to near muscular failure, not technical failure – we don’t want to engrain bad movement patterns|
|4b. Hanging Knee Tucks||3xMax-1||9||Control the motion, use abs, not hip flexors – no swinging, kipping, or lumbar extension – muscular failure, not technical|
|1. Bent Over Rows||5×5||9||75-80% max|
|2. KB Front Rack Squats||4×8||8||Can elevate heels for more quad focus – control down, power up|
|3a. DB Chest Press||3×12||8||Control down, power up – neutral grip at bottom, rotated to pronated (like a punch) as arms extend|
|3b. DB Staggered Stance RDL’s||3×10/side||8||Hold DB’s outside of legs, one foot flat in front, rear foot positioned just behind front heel, and staggered off to the side, in a calf raise position – RDL|
|4a. DB Lateral Raises||3xMAX-1||9||Rotate pinkies up as you raise – muscular failure, not technical|
|4b. Half Kneeling Pallof Press||3×10 each||8-9||Outside knee will be the up knee – use cables, or bands – focus on bracing core, and resisting rotation|
|1. Deadlifts||5×5||9||75-80% max|
|2. DB Incline Chest Press||4×8||8||Control down, power up – neutral |
grip at bottom, rotated to pronated (like a punch) as arms extend
|3a. DB Reverse Lunges||3×12 each||8||Can elevate front foot to focus quad and glute more, with less knee strain|
|3b. DB Kroc Rows||3×12 each||8||Full ROM, let the DB “pull” your shoulder blade down, pinch down and pull, and pull elbow low as if your gliding it into your back pocket|
|4a. Bent Over Reverse Flies||3xMax-1||9||Posture focus – control of weight, no flailing around – muscular failure, not technical|
|4b. Heavy Suitcase Carry||3×40 yards each||9-10||Posture focus, squeeze the handle, resist rotation and bending to the side – Breath!|
Just like that, Timmy’s all set up.
He starts each day with a strength focus, to maintain that CNS stimulus for strength, and total muscular recruitment.
He then moves into the next major compound movement of the day, focusing a little more on volume, and hypertrophy stimulus.
Followed by a superset, focusing on completely different muscle groups to not allow his fatigue to prevent him from completing reps, and to increase his total output – ensuring the workout will have a higher caloric expenditure, but still training in the hypertrophy range to retain muscle mass.
Finally, he wraps it up with an isolation finisher, paired with a core exercise, of which we have a different variation for each per workout.
In full body training these are the movement patterns we need to hit:
- Upper Push (bench press variants, pushups, overhead press)
- Upper Pull (DB kroc rows, bent over rows, chin-ups, TRX/ring rows)
- Lower Quad Dominant (squat variants, lunge variants)
- Lower Hip Dominant (deadlifts, swiss ball curls, KB staggered RDL’s, KB RDL’s)
- Core (plank, knee tucks, pallof press, suitcase carry)
If all of those are hit per session, you’re golden.
Timmy’s considered still quite novice in terms of lifting/training age. How we will progressively overload over the next 6 months will be based upon his progress.
Ideally, he will deload every 6th week, which would mean we’d pull his volume back about 30%, which subsequently will lower his intensity as well to help manage his total fatigue.
We’re going to stay in those rep ranges, but for exercises 1-2 especially, try to increase the weights used, reps performed, or total output and performance.
For exercises 3 and beyond, they can be completely shuffled out every third or fourth week to switch it up. For example, bent over reverse flyes and suitcase carry on day 4 can be swapped for face pulls, and heavy farmer’s carry. We can swap exercises, we just want to keep the movement pattern.
In terms of cardio, I would see how the workouts are going, how the rate of loss is shaping up, and I might wait until he has hit that plateau to add any extra cardio in.
At which point, I would base it off of him. Is he wanting to do cardio? Would he rather implement some cardio, than subtract more calories? We would determine based on him, because remember, he (the dieter) runs the show.
If cardio would be the route we went before dropping more calories off, I would add either a HIIT workout, or low intensity steady state session, based on whichever tickles his fancy.
4 total body workouts, he’ll be training roughly 45-60 mins for each workoutx4=180-240 mins – we won’t exceed half of that training time with cardio. So, at absolute max he won’t be doing more than 120 mins of cardio weekly.
Thanks for reading!
Use some of the principles and methods I’ve outlined here, and reach out and I’d be happy to help tailor it to you.
Next week, our female gets a free full training and nutrition program 🙂