about 3 years ago, I decided to drop a couple weight classes and go all in on healthier practices. I booted the cardio WAY up, I corrected diet, I quit drinking entirely. I made sleep my number one focus other than training. The effects of these interventions far outstripped any steroid cycle I'd tried. ...I added a very little bit of PED's to this mix and had fantastic results.
BD, I know I said last question but I lied. This part was sticking in my head. What did you do to go "all in on healthier practices"? What kind of cardio? How much? Diet? And did you stick with it? Or did you slide back into your wicked, wicked ways?
Huge question. this was over the course of 2 plus years. Initially, I was motivated by stress related illnesses including shingles and real bad chronic insomnia and GERDS. . I worked with my PCP to tackle
Weight, and Body comp.
More deliberate recovery methods
So the first big step was to quit drinking. This started as ZERO and then over the course of 5 months I arrive where I am now. I don;t "Drink" ...I have a alcohol maybe once a week or so. No more than 2 drinks typically at a sitting. This was a huge bang the buck.
Nxt step was to specifically drop weight classes., from the 245 range to between 205-15. I hired a nutrition coach. Money very well spent t. As I cut, several of my lifts improved. I was rarely maddeningly craving anything, and i felt fantastic during and after the cut.
This approach was carb cycling, calorie controlled and high in protein but not insanely so (1-1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass) I dropped to my lowest at 205. I've maintained this body composition since, visible abs are always 10 pounds away. BF measures 12-14%..moderate really...A couple times since I started I have dropped lower down. Doesnt; seem to help anything as much as just getting the bulk of sloppy weight off.
Once I had stabilized at a weight that was good for me in terms of lifting weight class wise, I have just maintained. In early 2016 I began booting up the cardio as a recovery method. Initially this was walking, 3 to 4 day a week for about an hour. This brought my BP and HR down a bit and really really helped with recovery. In 2017-early 2018, I went a little crazy with the Rucking got after it hard (55 plus pounds in pack, holding as close to -pace as possible. ) Some of the IG rucking experts were super helpful in getting a practice set up, diling in an Alice pack etc. This is I really enjoyed and could ruck for about 8-10 hours a week without having it impact my lifts at all. I threw in time on the bike and running sporadically as well.
The wheels came off the bus a bit this spring and I got nerve damage from rucking too heavy. That recovery process is nasty..different longer story but highlights that there is always an upper limit where things are fun but detrimental.
That's the basic template. Less booze, focus on sleep, moderate calorie controlled diet, TRT doses only. (I did and still do use a number of drugs recreationally from narcotic pains medications to edible cannabis and mild stims. I have experienced zero sides effects from any of the above save for the rucking, which was an error of enthusiams.
Currently I'm at about 212-220, my cardio currently is very minimal (trying to put on some shoulder mass due to the injury causing atrophy. ) I woudl guess I get in unweighted walking around 4 hours a week now. Not my preference, simply schedule and other goals.
BP and HR are holding well, when I cycle PED's for a meet (about 8-12 weeks), the doses are stupid low, sleep is still a one that needs work but all in all I do well. My recovery at nearly 50 is better by far than it was 4 plus years ago at a heavier weight. I'm still very large for my height and even though BF is well within moderate and even lean levels check, I would not be adverse to getting to 200 over time , once I am done with PL>. I have a slew of other goals I'm clicking off but all in all, the process of making observable health markers lead the way has been hugely performance enhancing. That is the biggest surprises and maintain that progress has not bee challenging. Honestly the only real ongoing problem is one of making enough time to hit all the minimum effective doses of weights, food, cardio, etc. and learning when and where to flex.
That was not specific enough probably. If you have a specific question I'm happy answer...everything except sources.
Wow. So much of what I have observed in the past four months can be echoed in what BD wrote above.
I had shoulder surgery last October (two anchors put in place in my left rotator cuff's subscapularus and superspinatus); I was physically limited for much of the spring and my weight got out of control. I got near 300 pounds. My BP was high. Everything else was in check. I had continued the HRT doses and not titrated up. I finally decided that I needed to drop weight. So I started doing cardio for the first time in years. For me, what was sustainable was walking on a treadmill at an elevated incline; at a relatively slow pace. I also managed to kick a habit I've had throughout my life - nighttime eating. IN hindsight, my diet was shit; had a great deal of refined sugar in it, a good deal of wheat and too much dairy. I managed to drop about 15 pounds through this process fairly quickly but I stalled. Then I started suffering repeated hamstring injuries. This was aggravating for my sport where one event requires me to bend at the hip. In any event, weight went back up to around 300 as I was trying to get myself ready for the largest event in my sport; training around injuries and, in some instances, training through injury. My feet and ankles started aching. I just felt miserable. At the end of the weekend where my largest event was held, an endurance based race was held which put me in a place I've never felt - thought I folded space time for about 30 minutes, my wife thought I was going to stroke out - but I didn't. I eventually came too. Didn't win, but made the top 4. Was the oldest participant by 15 years.
At that point, I made a life change. My wife had done the whole 30 diet the previous month, so I joined her on August 1. Oh my god it was hell. I never realized how much of an emotional eater I was until this experience. The whole 30 is basically no dairy, no wheat, no refined anything and most abundantly no refined sugar. The only exception I allowed myself was some protein shakes made with a mixture of casein and whey. Over the first 30 days, I lost 18 pounds. Joint pain subsided substantially. BP went down. I wasn't satisfied; I kept on plugging. Over the next 30 days, I lost another 12 pounds. Energy levels kept improving. Arthritis issues in feet and ankles kept improving. My performances in my sport actually improved. Never went above my standard HRT doses. BP also improved. All blood work came back good.
I've stayed this course and added fasted training over the past two months. The weight loss has grown a little stagnant, but I am getting substantially leaner. So now, I train fasted 5 days a week; I then eat before my event training on weekends. The event training is about improving my vo2 max while working on technical issues at this stage. The training during the week goes in the following sequence - lower body (squats/deadlifts/accessories), Upper body (overhead/close grip bench/pull ups/accessories), an hour on the treadmill followed by tornado ball, plyo movements, rotational focus. I also do med ball plyo movements before my upper body strength training. Over the past four months, I've lost a good 8" off my waist thus far and the amount of room that has given me with my swings and strokes is substantial - so I must change things technically to take advantage of increased range of motion.
All the while I've done all of this, I continue to do Yoga and tai chi at least twice per day.
I'll likely increase the dose of the HRT this winter somewhat for 16 weeks to see what I can do to get leaner through this winter. I'll report as it progresses but for now, I feel good. Just refuse to go quietly into that good night. I see this as a life change. For the first time in forever, I've not had an off day in over 8 weeks. Haven't had the need. I never was able to do that even when I on cycle many years ago and almost 20 years younger.