About 20 years ago I was very thin for being 6' 4". I hadn't been working out for several years consistently. One day I was reading a fitness magazine and thought, "why not me." As in why can't I add some muscle and get more fit. I think I weighed about 165 pounds and wanted to get to about 200 pounds.
I started doing strength training six days per week. I also ate 6 meals per day to constantly feed my muscles. I slowly started to gain weight. I was consistent and enjoying the process. Since I was trying gain weight, I wasn't too concerned about what I was eating as long as it was fairly healthy.
Meat loaf, mashed potatoes and green beans were on the menu.
Chicken, rice and brocolli.
Scrambled eggs, bacon and toast were good also.
To supplement, I drank two shakes per day that had protein, peanut butter and banana.
Here is what happened. I was consistent about working out five to six days per week. Meal prep was a priority and drinking my shakes so I could get the necessary calories.
This went on for about a year and a half to two years. All was going well.
Time for a vacation and to go visit family. Normal right? I didn't workout for about 3 weeks. I kept eating what I normally would eat. Two shakes per day. Add to this all the usual vacation food and drink that added even more calories. Somewhat hidden calories I would say. I didn't really count calories too much, but it was probably about 3500 - 4000 calories per day.
When I got home, and noticed that my mid section was very large and that I was actually overweight This was not a good feeling to have. Yes I wanted to gain weight, but I wanted muscle weight.
I did two simple things. I began each workout in the morning with 15 minutes of exercise bike. My intensity was medium, not too intense, but definitely trying to push myself.
One aspect that magnified my results was the fact that I did fasted cardio. Doing any strenuous activity on an empty stomach can really torch your fat stores. This happens because body fat is the available energy source and it's the first to be burned.
When you workout later in the day after you've eaten several meals, fat isn't the first source of energy.
The next thing I did was to simply cut my carbs in half. If I would normally eat one cup of rice with my chicken, I would simply eat a half cup. It was a simple, easy to follow plan.
Nothing over the top. I simply increased my workload and reduced my calorie intake. That idea of "stretching" things going in opposite directions, was all I needed to do.
Since I was going by my appearance and how my clothes fit, I didn't weigh myself and keep track of how long this took. If I had to guess, it was about 12-15 pounds lost in 5-6 weeks.
No matter what I was eating, I simply cut back the carb portion. Depending on what I ate, I also cut back on the meat portion.
This is very easy to do. There was no counting or measuring. There was no trying to figure out a ratio and work it into a formula.
I didn't give up anything, I simply cut back. I didn't feel hungry or deprived.
There is a tendency to think about cutting back everything proportionally.
When I say cut in half, I mean half of what your normally eat. It's based solely on you and your habits.
Not effective: Cutting your meat portion and your carb portion in half. Your body still needs fuel and if you cut back too much, your body will not burn the fat.
Effective: Cutting your carb portion in half and leaving your meat portion that same.
If you don't have a workout program to follow or maybe you are looking for something new. I have developed a medium to fast paced program that is highly effective and adaptable to home or a gym. It is called 3 X 3 Matrix Training. There are three exercises in each matrix with three reps each and there are three rounds. Get it here.
I'm just an average 40 something guy with a family who wants to help people get fit and healthy. I have a bachelor's degree in Physical Education (UTEP 1991) and a Master's degree in Kinesiology (Sam Houston State University 1993) I became a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) in 1994 from the National Athletic Trainer's Association. I became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 1999. I have worked out (mostly) in some form or fashion since high school. I'm not super fit and I don't have a six-pack. I've don't Spartan and a few other obstacle races. I've done home fitness DVD's and worked out at gyms. I'm not a runner or a Crossfitter. I don't eat perfectly, but do understand it's importance. There are too many people who are not healthy and too many people who don't know how to enter the fitness world. There are too many personal trainers that are not qualified to work with people, especially beginners. There are too many false thoughts, gadgets, and expectations and I want to guide people down the right path so that they have success. If I share a product or service with an affiliate link, I either use the product or know the product. I don't know everything, but I know a thing or two.