V-Diet or

Hi Chris,

Former fat boy turned current fat boy here. Stats below. To give you a bit of history, I weighed up to 330 pounds by the time I hit 19 (guessing 40-45% bf, but didn’t measure at the time). After finally getting fed up with it, I busted my ass over a year or so to get to around 195 with ~12% bodyfat.

I stayed in a holding pattern around that composition for about 9 years. I even did the V-Diet twice. Then about 3 years ago, I let it go.

Now I’m 260 and about 30% bf. And I want to get more ripped than I’ve ever been. Previously I had abs, but they weren’t rock hard abs. I had biceps, but I couldn’t see the veins. Nothing to laugh at, but not what I wanted when I initially started the journey. I think I was so focused on losing fat that I didn’t spend enough time building muscle.

So my questions:
How should I tackle this thing? Should I focus on building muscle or burning fat first?
Are there a few solid articles / regimens you’d recommend for the beginning bodybuilder?
How do I build the muscle awareness that lets me know which groups need work and which are compensating for other groups?

I don’t think I’ve ever followed a true bodybuilding regimen. Just mixed and matched various workout programs. I don’t want to do that again. Like I said, it got me good results. But I want f***in awesome results. I’m not looking for quick fixes, just a solid path.

Current stats
Age: 33
Wt: 260
BF: 30%
Height: 5’11"

I know you’re a busy guy, so any help you can offer is extremely appreciated.


Good questions, Craig. First, I always think that if someone has a significant amount of fat to lose, that should be the main focus. That’s simply an issue of diet and a little conditioning work, no “cardio” in the traditional sense. My guidelines here:

A dieter should still lift heavy of course to preserve and even build muscle. The eating plan takes care of the fat loss and the training is about muscle.

Since you’ve gone down and up a couple of times, I assume that means you can “diet” just fine, but you can’t make that transition to lifestyle: i.e. you have to be “on a diet” to eat clean and when you’re not you eat crap. The big scary truth is that if you want to reach your goals you’re going to have to eat clean for life, whether you’re “on a diet” or not. Stop bullshitting yourself with “refeeds,” cheat meals etc.

Without knowing more about you, my general advice for that is to get rid of foods that trigger overeating and cravings, primarily wheat and liquid milk. No wheat, period, for life. (Here’s a good summary as to why: Alcohol is also a problem for many. These suggestions are not a “diet” - they are things you need to adopt for life.

As for training programs, anything by Thibaudeau or Meadows in our archives. The Reactive Pump plan for example.

Good to know - really appreciate the quick and thorough response, Chris. At what point should someone switch their focus from burning fat to building muscle?

As for the diet:

“Since you’ve gone down and up a couple of times, I assume that means you can “diet” just fine, but you can’t make that transition to lifestyle: i.e. you have to be “on a diet” to eat clean and when you’re not you eat crap. The big scary truth is that if you want to reach your goals you’re going to have to eat clean for life, whether you’re “on a diet” or not.”

This, wholeheartedly. The longest period I went for was a year before I slipped. At the time I intended it to be a lifestyle change, but it’s not a lifestyle change if it isn’t for life though, is it?

I rarely drink alcohol, so that’s not an issue. If I need to make it never, that’s an easy switch. Personally anything sweet usually triggers cravings, to the point where I needed to limit the number of protein shakes a day if it’s a sweeter flavor. Now I usually just buy vanilla or straight whey and mix it into other things.

If you’ve got any other specific lifestyle changes, or have a few links to point me to, I’d appreciate it. There’s a lot of bullshit out there, and if I’m going to follow an eating plan for life, I want to know from someone who’s lived it.

  1. To me (and many of our top coaches), the focus when lifting is always on building muscle. You never lift with a focus on losing fat, although it obviously helps.

As for diet, too many people think that adding muscle is about greatly overeating, packing in calories, and generally eating like a pig. While you do need some extra calories for muscle gain, you don’t need that many. You don’t have to get fat to get big; extra fat gain is just spillover from overdoing it.

And with the right workout supplements, you can lose fat and build muscle at the same time. (I’m thinking <a href=""target=“new”>Plazma in combination with <a href=""target=“new”>Indigo-3G, something that helped me gain 17 pounds of muscle in a year while getting leaner.)

Same with fat loss. It doesn’t have to be mean very low carbs and very low calories. That can get you started, but it often comes right back since too few cals and carbs for too long is unsustainable and not exactly fun.

But all that said, you may need to drop 20 to 40 pounds (depending on body comp of course) before you think about another “mass” plan. The training may be close to the same + conditioning, but the diet will differ. So to answer your question more directly, if you’re fat, your focus should be on not being fat anymore.

  1. We’ve all gone through those false starts with lifestyle changes. It’s tough for a long time before it gets to be easy and habit. I do think that getting rid of foods that act as exorphins and trigger overeating and cravings is the biggest physical factor involved. That would mainly be wheat, and milk too to an extent. But those are pretty easy to replace these days with the gluten-free trend and almond milk. I’ve had pasta and hot cereal this week, it was just made out of rice instead of wheat. So there’s not much suffering involved. You can eat the foods you want if you make them differently. Some people go through physical withdrawals from wheat. It sucks hard, but only lasts for a few days. Anyway, getting rid of those things can make it easier to make it a lifestyle thing, because you’re not always wracked with cravings and false hunger signals. It puts you back in control. And it’s probably why the V-Diet works for so many: it’s free of those things if your HSMs are on track.

  2. Look into Indigo-3G if you haven’t yet. Since it’s a nutrient repartitioning agent and repairs dysfunctional fat cells and nutrient uptake mechanisms, it’s usually the one and only cure that works for people that always battle with going up and down in body fat (I include myself in that.) If that’s not in the cards right now, then definitely get rid of the wheat, sugar, fruit juice and milk (which is sugar basically) and let your brain heal from all those exorphins messing with it. I helped my father in law remove just wheat from his diet and he dropped 40 pounds in a few months without training. So it’s a good first step, assuming you ate it to begin with.

Awesome stuff. Indigo and Plasma will be in the works in the next few weeks. Any tips on other supplements? The only thing I have a problem with is HOT-ROX, and that’s probably because I drink coffee like water. The two of them together do bad things to me.

#1 really hit the nail on the head for me. Pretty sure that’s why I spent 10 years around 200 pounds and 10-15% bodyfat - I was focusing on losing fat and not building muscle. I was getting so desperate at the end I even started doing cardio against my better judgment (I hate cardio). If I’d just lifted the weights, the other part would’ve taken care of itself.

So there’s just a handful of common foods that f*** with your body’s craving mechanisms? Good to know - when I first started losing weight, I went straight meat and veggies. It was hard, but worth it. After being on that for a few months, I was literally scared to try anything processed / manufactured. I’d been a fat kid my whole life and I never knew how much my diet was controlling my mind. Even though I eat like shit now, I always thought I’d go back to the meat / veggies lifestyle. It’d be good to know there are a few safe foods outside that realm.

Anyway, I really appreciate your responses man. This helps immensely. If I don’t catch you before the weekend’s over, have a kick ass Memorial Day.

There’s really no need for HOT-ROX when you’re using Indigo-3G. I honestly haven’t used it since using Indigo, which fixed all those underlying issues I’ve always had (I was always a chubby kid too.) My favorite part about Indigo-3G was how it allowed me to eat for muscle (adequate carbs, etc) without it all turning straight to fat like it always did before when I tried to “bulk.” And for fat loss, it makes it faster with less diet restriction. No need to go keto or full Paleo or anything.

As for other supplements, I think the combination of Plazma and Indigo-3G have you covered. I’m also a big fan of protein pulsing via <a href=""target=“new”>Mag-10. And you can get all three of those in a discount package at our store if you decide to go that route. If not, then Indigo-3G, Plazma for lifting, and a good diet plan will be great for your goals. You can also start a log in the Indigo logs section and I’d be glad to help you tweak your eating plan for your goals.

Sounds awesome, man! I’ll grab those and get my eating plan in soon.

Hi Chris,

I just got a pretty big surprise bill this morning and funds are going to be really tight for the next few months. It looks like Reactive Pump is pretty much meant to be done with Plazma and Indigo-3G. Is there a different program you recommend in the meantime or should I stick with Reactive Pump and a good diet?

Also, my gym doesn’t have some of the equipment for the Reactive Pump exercises (Chain Squats and Chain Bench are the first that come to mind). Where can I find substitutes for these?

Reactive Pump almost can’t be done without Indigo-3G and Plazma. It’s just too tough to do without them. But you could probably do it if you cut back on some sets here and there or overall volume. You can ask John Meadows about the best subs in his forum here: <a href=""target=“new”>John Meadows Forum

Tons more programs in our archives though. Anything by Thibaudeau is solid too.

Awesome - really appreciate all of the quick responses. I’ll follow up on the forum and look into Thibaudeau’s programs, and post back here when I pick up the I3G and Plazma.

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