Flab to Fab: a 2024 log

Trying to get back into shape in 2024.

I’ve been following 5/3/1 twice a week and going to OrangeTheory twice a week (it seemed gimmicky at first but I started going with my wife and found it helps me stay consistent with cardio)

Biggest issues have been diet and staying consistent in training when work is busy (working in accounting and near deadlines end up working a lot of late nights) I don’t really have a specific competition or lift number goal right now but I think I have room to regain strength, improve cardio and drop fat without going really changing my workout schedule so long as I stay consistent on the workouts and limit alcohol and junk food.

Hoping this log and you fine folks at T-nation will help me stay accountable

I’m 39 now, in terms of training history:
-Started lifting weights in 9th grade age 14, did wresting and track and field (throwing events) in high school but was pretty average at both
-played rugby for short time in college then got into powerlifting, competed from 2004 to 2010, RAW wasn’t as big then so tried to learn bench shirts and squat suits, competed raw the last 2 years
-My best RAW total was 1390 (505 squat+335 bench+550 deadlift) at around 255 pounds (I’m about 5ft11) - I can’t remember my exact equipped total but it was only slightly higher since I sucked at using gear
-kind of burned out on powerlifting, got involved in martial arts around 2012…Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Muay Thai - was OK at Judo and BJJ in local tournaments but never really got the hang of head movement for kickboxing - could give most guys trouble in sparring (took a few ass whoopings too lol) but never got to the level of doing amateur MMA fights.

-Kept lifting during that time but wasn’t really prioritizing it - between Martial arts classes and work schedule lift numbers went backwards
Cardiovascular fitness and body composition improved tremendously though - typically walked around at 220-230

-Took a break from martial arts in 2019 due to work, school near me was closed off for a while the next year or so due to COVID, always thought to go back but never did - considering going back to BJJ later in 2024 or 2025


Welcome mate, and good luck with nailing your goals in 2024. Check out the transformation thread, this might be an opportunity to make yourself accountable (see what I did there) and keep you on the right path. Consider throwing up a photo and get on board.

In terms of diet, tagging in @QuadQueen who is all over the food stuff and always super helpful. If you have any more specific diet based questions she may be able to help.


Just let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!


Thanks for the kind words! That’s a great idea, need to take photos - off work Friday and will do so.

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Much appreciated, thank you!

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Will add starting pictures since I have these up on my phone starting weight is 254.8 height 5ft11

Aiming to get back to around 215 by the end of the year and stay there that was my weight in 2019



Jan 2.
Trap Bar Deadlift - 240x5 275x5 310x5 (belt on last set)
Overhead Press- 100x5 115x5 130x10

Push ups- bodyweight (BWT)x15x5 sets
TRX Pull ups- BWTx10x5
Air Squats-BWTx25x5

OrangeTheory Class -
920 calories burned (I suspect this overestimates calories burned but will post for reference anyway to gauge relative intensity)
13 “splat point” - you get a point for each minute over 85% max heartrate for age

Red Hall: “Do you supplement your training with any aerobics or jogging?”
Lee Moran: “A sea turtle lives to be 500 years old and never jogs anyplace . .” .


Squats- 195x5 225x5 255x5 (belt on last set)
Bench Press- 145x5 170x5 195x10
For now doing “5’s progression” on SQ/DL and plain vanilla 5/3/1 for Bench press/overhead press
Using “Olympic” style squat and trap bar deadlift
Figure since focused on fat loss and running twice a week doesn’t make sense to go for crazy rep maxes

(5 sets x 3 exercises) in 19 minutes
Push ups- BWT x15x5 sets
TRX pull up- BWT x10x5 sets
KB swings (obvs…) 55x25x5 sets

Doing assistance exercises as a “superset” for now - try to alternate a different exercise each minute then rest the 4th minute so get through 15 sets in 19 minutes

Dying during 3rd round through but seemed to get a “second wind” and finished strong

“That’s my opening attempt, 650. That’s 650! That’s like 8 of you! What are you, like a buck-ten?”
-Ted Arcidi in “Donald Cried” (2016)

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Orangetheory class - Heart monitor battery died so not sure on total calories etc
Legs dying on rower portion

Getting extra cardio in whether I like it or not walking my dog Baloo, about 1-1/2 years old pit bull mix and just a ball of energy

Trying to cut back on internet use in general for 2024 but will update this log at least weekly with workout info and body weight

“You can lock your wife in the trunk of your car and lock your dog in the trunk . Open the trunk and your wife will be pissed at you but your Dog will still be happy to see you.”
-Louie Simmons


Trap Bar deadlift- 255x5 290x5 330x5 (belt on last set)
Overhead press 105x3 120x3 135x8
Same assistance as last week- push ups, TRX pulls, bodyweight squats

Orangetheory class - 1024 calories, 26 splat points

Squats 210x5 240x5 270x5 (belt on last set)
Bench press- 165x3 185x3 205x8
Same assistance as last week - push ups, TRX pulls and kettlebell swings

Orange theory class- 1029 calories, 17 splat points
weight was 247.6 this morning - down 7.2 pounds but assuming a lot of that is water weight fluctuation

“Come on … let’s get serious”
-Arnold Schwarzenegger


Following along with you and must say your volume is insane Orange theory puts me out of the count for at least a day or two.

If you can - do the V-Diet to jumpstart your progress - might need to chill on some of the activities, but PMSF type stuff is great for jumpstarts IMHO - you’ll drop a lot of that inflammation real quick.

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Thanks for your reply!

I took a look at the V-diet and I don’t doubt its effectiveness. I guess I am hesitant about this for 2 reasons:

  1. I’ve been really bad about having an “on diet” “off diet” mentality. So for example the past couple of years I’ve just been losing and then regaining the same 20 pounds lol. I’m worried this might happen on the v-diet, so first want to focus on establishing better and sustainable diet habits.
  2. This is the busiest time of year for me at work and I’m not really sure how this diet would impact energy levels/focus etc.

Would this v-diet work as an “ace in the hole?” For example I’d like to walk around at 215 but in the past I’ll get to around 230 and really, really struggle with losing further weight.

Maybe once I’ve established good habits this can help me lose those last 10-15 pounds that are hanging on for dear life lol

Trap Bar deadlift- 275x5 310x5 350x5 (belt on last one)
Overhead press- 115x5 130x3 145x5
Same assistance - push ups, TRX pulls and air squats

Orangetheory class- 1015 cals, 17 splat points

Squat- 225x5 255x5 285x5 (belt on last set)
Bench press- 170x5 195x3 215x6
Same assistance as last time- push ups, trx pulls, kettlebell swings

Orangetheory class - 897 cals, 17 splat points
Weighed in at 245.6

Going to do a “deload” next week - not recorded in this log but started training back up in late November so feels like a good time for one.

Will increase training max after the deload but try to push assistance to 7 sets instead of 5. This is another Jim Wendler suggestion for anyone doing bodyweight exercise as assistance - I like the idea because when I try to just increase reps too quickly form goes to garbage.

Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, but don’t nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weight
-Ronnie Coleman

Deload week one OT and two light weights sessions
Nothing worth mentioning did 40% 50% and 60% of training max on each major lift for a set of 5 of each major lift then light calisthenics

Got a bit off the diet weight was 247.2 this morning

Need to keep snacks out of the house going forward - trouble sticking to one after dinner etc

Back to the grind next week

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Another week of training. Decided to keep total sets of assistance as 5 sets for now but increased Kettlebell swings from 55 to 70 pounds for 25 reps

Orange Theory 883 calories, 16 splat points

TBDL - 245x5 285x5 320x5
Overhead press- 100x5 120x5 135x10
Same assistance- 15 push ups, 10 TRX pull ups, 25 air squats for 5 sets each

Orange Theory - 932 calories, 13 splat points

Squat- 200x5 230x5 260x5
Bench press- 155x5 175x5 195x5 - shoulders killing me, didn’t go for extra reps (did burpess in the Orange Theory workout the day before)
Assistance - 15 push ups, 10 TRX pull ups, kettlebell swings- 70-lb x25 reps for 5 sets each
Weight in morning 245.8

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Orange theory - 772 calories 18 splat points

Trap bar deadlift 265x5 300x5 340x5 (belt on last set)
Overhead press 110x3 125x3 140x9
Dips- 3x10 reps body weight only
Assisted chin- 5,5,4 used band assist guessing it takes off 30-40 at the bottom nothing at the top

Squats 215x5 245x5 275x5 (belt on last set)
Bench press- 160x3 185x3 210x8
Push ups, TRX pull ups and kettlebell swings assistance

Squats feeling better - the first couple of weeks form was all over the place. Depth was good but had a bad tendency to lose tightness at the bottom and “good morning” the weight back up

Orange theory 922 calories 24 splat points
Weight was 243.8 this morning


Feels like off to a good start so far but still a looooong way to go

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Trap bar deadlift- 285x5 320x5 360x5 (belt on last set)
Overhead press- 120x5 135x3 150x6
Push ups, TRX rows, bodyweight squats assistance

Orange theory
919 calories, 17 splat points

Squat- 230x5 260x5 290x5 (belt on last set)
Bench press- 175x5 195x3 220x4 (probably could have gotten 5 but no spotter)
Skipped assistance
Off day - everything felt super heavy and slow

Orange theory
937 calories, 15 splat points

Throwback photo to meeting Brian Shaw at the 2011 Arnold Classic

I was around 260 here but felt like a midget next to Brian lol

Ranger Rick was in the neighborhood just looking full as a house…

Usually cuts after his winter bulk but trying to talk him into peaking for a push pull meet this spring. Could probably challenge some records at Super-heavyweight

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Trying the “boring but big” for upper body lifts

Trap Bar Deadlift- 250x5 290x5 330x5 (belt on last set)
Overhead press- 105x5 120x5 140x8 85x10x5 sets
Superset with pulldown (overhand) - 115x10x5 sets

OrangeTheory- 832 calories, 19 splat points

Squat- 205x5 240x5 270x5 (belt on last set) - trying to channel Clarence Kennedy and go deep as possible
Bench press- 155x5 180x5 200x8 135x10x5 sets
Superset with Kettlebell row- 55x10x5 sets

OrangeTheory - borrowed a heart rate monitor but won’t bother listing as I doubt it was accurate (heart rate it reported fluctuated way more than normal)
They had us do dumbbell presses which was not fun after yesterday’s workout lol…
Weight was 242.2 this morning

Surprisingly challenging with light weight by the 4th and 5th set. Tried to keep rest periods short maybe 1 minute between exercises so 2 minutes or so between sets of the same exercise.

Might switch between “boring but big” and bodyweight exercises as my assistance work every few weeks for the next few months and see how far I can “milk” the basic 5/3/1 set up before switching to something else. I don’t think it’s the silver bullet or anything but just an easy way to stay consistent with weight training with basic compound movements.

Working for a deadline April 15 probably doing 70+ hours/week until then, will try to keep current pace and stay away from junk food - do find myself stress eating at times but try to stick to pieces of fruit, 100 calorie bags of almonds and sugar free gum.

In prior years this was kind of my Achilles heel and basically would erase any progress - would start skipping workouts and stress eat - gained around 40 pounds over COVID - every year I would lose some of it but then just regain it during busier time at work. Two major deadlines April 15 and October 15.