diet advice as I approach the big 40 please?

Discussion in 'Diet & Nutrition' started by Brixtonian, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Active Member


    Long time HST-er here.
    Over the years, I have had some great success with HST - thanks for the advice Bryan (and Bob Evans, Vicious, Lol etc..)

    Unfortunately, over the last year or so, I have got a bit slack - I blame the kids - and, my training and diet has been a lot less consistent.

    Consequently, as I turn 40 this year, I was hoping for some diet advice to get me back in shape - considering the age factor.

    I am currently 280lb, at about 25% bf (or just over :() I am also 6ft 1in.
    I am using HST exclusively, aiming for 30 reps per set, so 2 X 15reps, 3 X 10reps & 6 X 5reps, for about 5 exercises, Mon, Wed, fri, and occaisonally 20mins light cardio on Tues,Thurs.

    Anyway, basically, I am finding that when I increase my cals, to build muscle, I put on a lot of fat - particularly around the mid section (belly) and when I cut cals - to lose fat - I lose muscle and shape too, even though I keep protein high?

    I was just wondering if anyone could offer some advice?

    Should I be trying to lose fat, or should I bulk up a bit - as I've lost some muscle size - and then diet, so i dont lose so much muscle?

    Thanks in advance for any input?

  2. CDB

    CDB New Member

    First thing I'd recommend is a physical. Just make sure everything is working and in line and that you're healthy. As you get older - me I'm 35 - I put more store in making sure there are no actual problems before I look for any solutions to my day to day issues. As for your specifics, more details. When you diet, what type of diet are you doing? When you bulk, same question?

    One thing I'm learning from a few friends I've helped train and myself as I've hit pre middle age is that as you get older, sometimes hard, heavy, and very brief is the workout of choice. Especially while cutting. I've been doing that for the last few weeks, went from a standard 5x5 routine to a very simple template I stole/adapted from the LeanGains site of Deadlift, Pull ups one day, Bench and Triceps Extensions the next, Squats and Clean and Press the next. No more than two exercises per day, no more than three sets per exercise, one warm up and two heavy as hell work sets, weight increases when possible. Heavy as hell being relative of course.

    Personally I've found this helpful because I have way too much going on in terms of regular work life type stuff that the time I was devoting to exercising was wearing me down. So I drastically cut volume and upped intensity and it became far more workable. So that's one approach I could recommend vis a vi your workout. Your diet, well it all depends on what you've done. What your goals are are up to you, what your approach to those goals ends up being is something you can get some help on here.
  3. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Active Member

    Hi CDB,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Yes, a physical check up is always a good idea.... I did have one a few years ago, and will probably do so again, this coming year. I dont forsee any particular problems though. My resting pulse is pretty good, and nothing aches that much!

    My routine has been exclusively HST since 2002 - prior to that, it was HIT and superslow.
    Having been weight lifting for nearly 25 years now, my body is pretty well conditioned, hence I have upped my reps to 30 per exercise, but reduced the number of exercises. So far, I am happy with this.

    My diet - which I have researched from Lyle MacDonald's excellent website, is (bulking) bwt X 16 = 4400 cals, with about 390g protein (bwt X 1.4) and 20-25% dietary fat, and the rest carbs (approx 500g)
    This is a lot, and a pain to eat sometimes.

    My 'cutting' diet is bwt X 12 (3300 cals) with protein high (to minimise muscle loss) at about 1.5 X lean bwt (315g) 0.33 X bwt for fat (approx 92g) and the rest (about 300g) carbs

    How does this look? If I reduce my cals any more, I lose too much muscle and shape.

    I have a job where I need to be big! So I dont want to lose too much size, but I do want to lose this damn belly!


  4. k_dean_curtis

    k_dean_curtis Member


    I am turning 50 this year, so have been where you are now. There is a high likelihood that you have an under active thyroid. Before your next cycle:
    - find a good endocrinologist: get testosterone, estrogen, thyroid (T4 and T3) checked
    - start taking 3 tbs coconut oil per day; for MCTs and ups T3
    - use ashwagandha (1/2 tsp / day); buy in bulk, is way cheaper
    - cut the carbs to 1 gram per pound, zero junk food
    - sleep 9 hours per night, EVERY night; cut the TV, etc. If you are not at work or working out, you should be with your family or sleeping.

    At our age you will not lose fat (and maintain any muscle) if these are not followed, unless you are lucky enough to have great hormones in your middle age, which is very rare in modern society.

    Related, find Old n Grey's old post "Building Muscle, Four Essential Element". Below is his first post in the thread.


    A lot of new people seem to have come onto this site recently and quite a few have lamented about their lack of results. They are hoping that HST will provide the magic bullet to suddenly transform them into the Incredible Hulk. It won't. If you have not been gaining muscle on other programs, chances are you won't gain a whole lot more with HST unless you have never deconditioned your muscles before. Chances are you have other problems. That's the bad news.

    The good news is that building muscle is not rocket science either. For what it is worth, here is a quick summary of what I have concluded after almost a half century of lifting. I just wish I had known most of this a long time ago.

    To get the type of body you want, four basic elements need to be present in the following order of importance, in my opinion:

    *Enough testosterone production to build muscle,
    *A good diet
    *Enough rest
    *A good exercise program

    There is absolutely no reason not to meet criteria #1 in today's environment. Take a simple blood test and if you come out low, see an endochronologist. Don't equate this to 'taking steroids'. If you are low in T production, you will be given enough medication to bring you up to normal levels. Under the worst case scenario, the amount of medication given will be about 1/10th of what a minor league steroid user takes. However, if you don't have enough T production yourself and correct that situation, I can give a 200% money back guarantee that you will never see satisfactory gains.

    Diet is just common sense. Eat enough protein and good fats to help build muscle. Trans fats do not build muscle and can lower your T levels even more. So can alcohol. I never gained muscle when I drank a lot. I merely staved off the beer belly. Carbs are the only debateable food group. If you are more than 10 pounds under the weight you want to be, go for them. If not, I think one is better off limiting them to under 200 grams per day. If you want to count calories and content, and you should (within reason, of course), try the counter at FitDay.Com. It's pretty good.

    Rest includes more than sleep. It means being as reasonably stress free as one can expect. Stress produces cortisol which raises havoc with building muscles. Cortisol is much better at building fat. Find ways to lower stress in your life. We all have our own unique stresses in life but very few of us know how to limit their detrimental effect. Learn to live with managing stress or stay small.

    Any exercise program that doesn't lead to injury is beneficial. HST makes the most sense to me since Bryan took the time to condense hundreds of studies down to a few basic principles. Follow these principles if you want to maximize growth. Don't get hung up on finding the perfect workout routine. It doesn't exist as our bodies are constantly changing. Stick with basic compound movements and throw in some isolations for arm, calfs and traps if it makes you feel better. Spend the time you do now contemplating the benefits of incline bench over flat bench on planning your meals for the day. And keep in mind that, unless you have extremely high T levels, i.e., above 1500 ng/dl, less sets is usually better than more sets. 60 sets per week is my absolute maximum per week and actually half that volume produces the same results for me. Once you get that 'pumped up' feeling in your muscles, doing more will only create the need for a longer 'rest' period when what you really need is more frequency. "DOMS is for Dummies." Sorry Vince! Despite what some people will say, you don't have to "pay your dues" by working out 2-3 hours per day, 5 to 6 days per week.

    Lacking any one of the four will cause you to fail or, at best, have frustratingly slow gains.

    To summarize:

    *Check T production
    *Eat well
    *Manage stress
    *Exercise sanely

  5. grunt11

    grunt11 New Member

    I just started using it in capsule form with good results, I haven’t looked around but where are you finding it in bulk?

    @ Brix - I recently turned 50 and a couple of things I’ve found are keeping it simple like CDB said. Can’t comment on loosing weight as mine is the opposite problem. Since you’ve been around here much longer than me I’m sure you’ve seen Fausto’s thread “Keep it Simple and Win!” So far it’s worked great for me just doing one push, one pull and one leg exercise at least 6 days a week. I’ve read here that daily exercise may help nutrient partitioning and in 10 weeks I’ve gained 10lbs and my bf is at or below 8%. The other key has been to closely watch my calories ensuring that when I’m “bulking” I only get about 500 above maintenance. At our age it’s harder to get away with what we did in our 20s, but attention to detail seems to be paying off. Right now I’m making better gains than I did when I was 35.

  6. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Active Member

    Dean & Dean (?)

    Guys, thank you for your replies.

    Appreciated. Certainly something I hadnt really considered... I guess its difficult to accept that we all get older!

    I am still increasing my weights lifted each cycle, and do appear to increase my muscle, when I bulk? I also do have good definition when I cut, its just that the fat seems to come on round my waist very quickly. It does come off quickly, but so does the muscle.
    I currently occaisonally have coconut oil already. I will try and increase that.
    I have just started a new cycle - cutting - yesterday, but will try and get a blood test done in the next week or so. I'm not sure if British doctors will prescribe Test medication? I will have to see.

    I will also look into the 'ashwagandha' as I have never heard of that.

    Thanks again

  7. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Active Member


    I have just looked up ashwagandha on wikipedia. It is a herb, is that correct? Is it effective - I tend to be a bit sceptical about herbs sometimes, but am prepared to give anything a good try.
    Is it similar to tribbulus - which I have tried before? I dont recall much from that, though I was younger, so it may not have been as effective then?

    Seems like I have plenty of research to get on with now!

  8. grunt11

    grunt11 New Member

    I use it to help reduce stress which from what I have read can increase a mans storage of abdominal fat not to mention other bad effects. I’m finding it does help to take the edge off especially on days when I can’t work out which is also a stress reducer for me. Really anything you can do to reduce stress should help.

    Another supplement I’ve seen recommended here is CLA:

    I’m taking it but since I haven’t done any with/without experiments myself I can’t say if it’s having any effect. But since it is recommended here and this place is based on the science of training I figured I’d give it a try.

    Yes I’m the other Dean. ;)

  9. CDB

    CDB New Member

    Take a cortisol blocking supplement and then tell me what aches. Not being a smart ass either. Fat gathered around the gut, especially viceral adipose tissue, is associated with elevated cortisol. Now you can't make a one to one cause and effect claim, but I did try a cortisol blocking supp once and my knees started screaming, but my VAT did seem to go down and my waist line certainly did. That's what made me lower my workout volume in fact, because I figured I had to cut something because I was over stressed. Time being the tightest factor in my life, I sacrificed volume for intensity. So far I'm feeling and sleeping better and eem to be making steady weight loss gains.

    I'd recomend cutting the carbs a bit more if you can while cutting. Maybe even go with a cyclical or targetted low/no carb approach or something along the lines of intermittent fasting. The ashwaganda everyone else recommended isn't a bad idea at all, from what I hear it helps a lot with stress. The **** part about stress is even if you don't think you're stressed, you can be ultra stressed. Try some ashwaganda or some other stress/cortisol reducing supps to see if that has a marked affect. USP labs might be bringing back their VAT attack product, from what I hear that was a good stress/cortisol herbal product. Ashwaganda is another, and Lean Extreme from Driven Sports is another as well that I personally have tried. If the aches and pains in my joints were any marker, it sure as hell worked to lower cortisol.
  10. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Active Member


    Thanks. Am strongly considering the ashwaganda. I have used CLA before. I dont recall any particularly noticeable effects, but then again, maybe I didnt take it for any real length of time? I cant remember. I dont like to get too bogged down with too many supplements.
    Is tribbulus any good?


    Cheers. I dont feel stressed much, but, that said, I have two young children, I work shifts as a front line Police officer, and I'm always running late... so yeah, I guess, I could be!
    I will look at the cortisol blockers... if I can find some quality ones.

    I have tried carb cycling before, and likewise, a metabolic diet (no carbs) last year.
    The biggest issue I had, was a huge loss of energy and strength, particularly during my workouts. I found the diet easy to follow, and did lose a lot of waistline... but I also seemed to lose muscle and shape too. Maybe my protein or cals were too low.
    It also wasnt that practical for me, as quite often, I have to eat on the go. It is something I would try again, in the future, but I felt that the negatives outweighed the positives, tbh.

    Thank you all for your very useful input

  11. grunt11

    grunt11 New Member

    I’ve heard people claim it is but never seen anything scientific to support it. Never tried it myself.
  12. k_dean_curtis

    k_dean_curtis Member

    get Ashwagandh here

    Brix, All,

    Glad to help, just passing on what I have learned. That is what is so great about the HST site and community, just here to help others and learn myself.

    I get Ashwagandh from

    Take amount shown on package. There are significant studies to back it, I have almost gotten off Synthroid having taken it now for 12 months. It and the coconut oil has kept many people off the Rx altogether. My dose is only 75 mg so it does work. Some claim it helps with T levels, but the research is not conclusive on it, current consensus is it helps with recovery which in turn can trigger more T (less cortisol, et al).

    Also, for recovery, immunity, performance, possible testosterone boost:
    Kaiser Farms Wisconsin American Ginseng
    1 gram / day.

    My endo. has me on clomid for testosterone level, arimidex as an estrogen blocker. All are very low dose, I skip days now and then. IOW, I take just enough to keep my levels at normal. I was a defensive back for LSU back in the day; like so many ex ball players and boxers, the blows to the head caused my pituitary / hypothalamus to shut down in middle age. My endo. says it is very common. Since starting the ginseng, my last blood test (taken every 3 months) showed T was slightly high, so I might even be dropping the clomid altogether soon, as I am on the lowest possible dose already, 12.5 mg.

    Do not underestimate the problem of estrogen dominance as men get older. If you just take T, all you do is aromatize it to more estrogen (E), making your problems even worse. Some post andropausal men can have E scores higher than a woman. Do not try to increase your T levels without decreasing or blocking E. Shippen's book "The testosterone Syndrome" is a good reference. He is not correct on soy, stay away from it, but everything else in the book is still valid today.

    You have to be specific in what Tribulus you buy, most capsules in bottles of dried herb are useless. If you can find it in bulk, just the raw herb, from Siberia, it can boost T some what. I do not take it, have not been able to find a trusted vendor.

  13. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Active Member

    Thanks again.

    I have been looking up the ashwaganda, as it isnt as cheap over here in the UK, but have found some, so will give it a try.
    I've also heard some good (and mixed) reviews on tribulus, so might try that too?

    I'm also looking at CLA again.

    I will sort out finding an endocrinologist too. Here, I would have to go private, I think. Expensive!



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