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From Extreme Fatty to almost 10% Bodyfat, My Progress Over 7 Years

woodswise

woodswise

TID Board Of Directors
Apr 29, 2012
4,091
1,018
#1
Starting in 2000 or so, while training myself, I read a book about putting on some serious muscle while doing heavy squats, and was inspired to eat a lot more, and to see how much muscle I could gain over a couple of years. I went from about 200 lbs and fairly lean with no belly, to 250lbs and just plain fat. In the process, I hurt my back and had some chronic joint pain, so I stopped lifting for about 4 years and started feeling sorry for myself, thinking I was just getting old and would never be lean again.

I got tired of feeling sorry for myself and in 2009 I joined a karate school and started lifting weights on my own again. I ended up with a second degree black belt after about 4 years. Though I had regained most of my strength (to a level that now seems pretty pathetic) I was still pretty fat, but in much better shape overall.

In 2012 being tired of little progress in the gym, and thinking I might make one last try to get the physique I have always wanted, I hired my present coach for personal training. I started out significantly overweight, at about 250 lbs (I am only 5'9" so 250 lbs is hippo sized for me). I discovered to my dismay that I really knew almost nothing about putting on muscle or about dieting even after reading dozens of books on the subject and after training myself all those years. My coach was very patient with me. He got me on the right track with both lifting form and intensity as well as diet.

My goals with him have been to add mass and strength, while I gradually leaned out slowly so I would be make a permanent change. In the process, he convinced me to compete in strongman, and in 2017 I won a Master's lightweight US title.

My first serious diet around 2013/2014 was not tight, but I lost about 30 lbs over a year, most of it in the first six months. Then i hit a plateau and my weight loss stopped for a while. Since then I have dieted down once to 206#, then another time on a water cut, to 200#, though in between times I bulked back up to 240#, then 220# and more recently to 230#.

Over that time, with my coach's encouragement I have tightened up my diet quite a bit and finally after a lot of urging, about a year ago decided to get as lean as I can slowly and to not let myself get fat ever again.

In my latest cut, I am not eating much junk at all. If I take a day off, I am merely eating more of the food I eat on days I diet (i.e. salted oatmeal, rice, chicken, rice, fish, cottage cheese on carb days, or eggs with cheese, lean meat for lunch, then chicken thighs for supper). The key to consistently hitting my goals, has been weighing and measuring and logging everything I eat into my food log. I use fitday.com which does a pretty good job for me.

Never having had more than a hint of a six pack for a brief time, this time around, I am starting to see my six pack better than ever before. Assuming I continue this slow progress, I hope to be at 210 lbs and about 10% bf before summer, then 200 lbs in single digit % bodyfat before the end of 2019.

What I have noticed with my fat loss, is that I leaned out first in my extremities and am losing the fat slowest and last in my body core. So while I have veins popping on my forearms and calves, I have slight fat on my biceps and upper arms, and quite a more on my chest, belly, around my waist and on my back. I am thinking I probably won't lose the last of my body core fat or my remaining small belly until I hit single digits in % bodyfat.

Once I hit single digit % bodyfat, I hope to switch to a very slow bulk. To do that, I'll try to hold my body weight close to the low point while eating maintenance calories for a few months, then I'll increase my food intake slightly until I gain 1 lb or less bodyweight per month going ahead. If I get over 10%, I'll diet back down to my single digit %bodyfat at least once per year going forward.

I hope this long post didn't put you into a coma! Thanks for taking the time to read it. Cheers! Ww.
 
Lizard King

Lizard King

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 9, 2010
11,066
2,829
#3
That's a long encouraging journey @woodswise shows nothing is not attainable if you put your mind to it or get some help to dial things in.
 
tommyguns2

tommyguns2

Senior Moderators
Staff Member
Dec 25, 2010
4,391
1,614
#4
Good work Woodwise. Sounds like your latest trainer was the right person for you. He/she educated you, and encouraged you, and helped you see the big picture and stick with it. I think the slow and steady progress is the best way to go and easier to maintain the progress you've made. Will be interested to hear how this year goes for you.
 
macgyver

macgyver

TID Board Of Directors
Nov 24, 2011
1,372
628
#6
@woodswise sounds like a great plan. That is pretty much the journey I have been on last 5-6 years. The last 2 I stay in the 10% range and at times, I dip down even lower.

For me, I wanted to preserve as much mass and strength as I could and therefore I did not do the cut all at once. If I had, I dont think it would have been as effective either. I would just cut until i had decent abs and then reverse. Each time I cut, my skinfolds would get smaller and smaller. When I reversed, I would do so in a moderate way. I would keep an eye on my fat gain. What I found is you can go back to eating a small surplus and keep the fat gain limited to mostly VAT for 4 months +/-. Monitor skinfolds and you will notice when you start picking up sub-q.

Sub-q is MUCH harder to lose since it has such poor blood flow and does not mobilize like VAT. VAT comes and goes very easy. The key is to pull back before you start laying down excessive sub-q. When I first started cutting my thigh used to be 15+mm. Now, even when I bulk, my thigh skinfolds wont go above 5mm. Same for the waist. As I have dropped more and more fat the skinfolds stay down.

If you take the fat off over 3-4 cuts you can hold on to pretty much everything without have to cut 'too hard'.

Now maintaining my composition where I am is pretty easy. I can eat pretty sloppy at times and still stay where I want to be.

Good luck. I'd be happy to offer any thoughts if you think they can help and definitely will give my support!. I will add that getting AND STAYING in shape has been the most rewarding part of my 20 years of training. I wish I would have figured out sooner how attainable it was and I feel like I finally look like the effort I have put in over the years.

Good luck!
 
woodswise

woodswise

TID Board Of Directors
Apr 29, 2012
4,091
1,018
#8
@woodswise sounds like a great plan. That is pretty much the journey I have been on last 5-6 years. The last 2 I stay in the 10% range and at times, I dip down even lower.

For me, I wanted to preserve as much mass and strength as I could and therefore I did not do the cut all at once. If I had, I dont think it would have been as effective either. I would just cut until i had decent abs and then reverse. Each time I cut, my skinfolds would get smaller and smaller. When I reversed, I would do so in a moderate way. I would keep an eye on my fat gain. What I found is you can go back to eating a small surplus and keep the fat gain limited to mostly VAT for 4 months +/-. Monitor skinfolds and you will notice when you start picking up sub-q.

Sub-q is MUCH harder to lose since it has such poor blood flow and does not mobilize like VAT. VAT comes and goes very easy. The key is to pull back before you start laying down excessive sub-q. When I first started cutting my thigh used to be 15+mm. Now, even when I bulk, my thigh skinfolds wont go above 5mm. Same for the waist. As I have dropped more and more fat the skinfolds stay down.

If you take the fat off over 3-4 cuts you can hold on to pretty much everything without have to cut 'too hard'.

Now maintaining my composition where I am is pretty easy. I can eat pretty sloppy at times and still stay where I want to be.

Good luck. I'd be happy to offer any thoughts if you think they can help and definitely will give my support!. I will add that getting AND STAYING in shape has been the most rewarding part of my 20 years of training. I wish I would have figured out sooner how attainable it was and I feel like I finally look like the effort I have put in over the years.

Good luck!
MacG: Thanks for the feedback. I have been thinking once I got lean it might work like that, but wasn't sure, so it really helps make me know this sometimes frustrating approach is better than a hard cut all at once. I am the leanest I have ever been and weigh in around 220 to 222 on my heavier days, and have reached 218 once in the past two weeks. My weight goal is to continue taking 1 lb per week off or slightly less, until I reach 210 as my high. If it all goes according to plan I will be around 10% bf at that point. I figure I won't lose my thicker belly folds until I get below 10% to maybe 8% or even lower. Then I'll start bringing it up slowly. I can't wait!!!
 
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