For years one of my annual goals was “lose weight”.  After I hit 40, I started to struggle with fat gain and energy loss quite a bit.  It wasn’t until last June (of 2016) that I really kicked things in.  I signed up with a personal trainer and began a new journey.

My biggest challenge was to try to forget what I thought I knew. My goal was to figure out what works for ME.

I’m not going to go through my journey up until this point, however, I have started to see some great results.


Let me first give you the spoiler. Abs are made in the kitchen.  Period.  Strength training has helped me be stronger and build more muscle – but it is what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat that has allowed me to lose inches around my waist.

How Much Should I Eat? My BMR + TDEE

First I calculated my BMR. I thought this would be easy and straight forward. Nope. There are like 10 formulas with a lot of variance between them all.

The one I ultimately went with is the Katch-McArdle version.  A list of other ways to calculate BMR can be found here:

My BMR is 1812.  So, I need 1812 calories just to live.

Next I calculated my TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).  Again, rocket science with a wide range of different formulas.  I made it simple and use a multiplier I found based on my activity level.  I simply multiplied my BMR by 1.35.  This means, for my weekly activity level (what I do during the day beyond living – taking into account my job and the number of workouts I have) I need to get 2447 calories a day or so.

My goal was to “cut” (reduce body fat) while minimizing any muscle loss.  For this I wanted to be at a proper caloric deficit.  In doing research and lots of experimentation I combined the fasted workouts with the zigzag model combined with intermittent fasting.


I do strength training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and Saturdays.  I mix up the workouts a LOT and have a personal trainer for technique on complex and heavy lifts. I do as much combination lifts as possible.   I try to cycle between accumulation and intensification styles.  Accumulation is high reps, short duration between sets, and 4-5 sets per exercise.  Intensification is HIGH weight, low reps (like 4) – long rest between sets.

Tuesday and Thursday and Saturday I do Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) for 30 minutes then High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for 30 minutes.

My Diet and Workout Schedule

Back to diet… Zigzag when cutting – I do this so that my metabolism doesn’t crash and so I am eating a bit more to help feed the muscles after strength training days.

I try to keep the following zigzag and workout pattern

  • Monday (Chest, Shoulders, Core, Calves) : 1850 Calories
  • Tuesday (LISS+HITT): 1600
  • Wednesday (Complex Legs and Back): 1950 Calories
  • Thursday (LISS+HITT): 1600
  • Friday (Push / Pull, Core): 2150 Calories
  • Saturday: 2600 Calories (Arms, Core, LISS, HITT):
  • Sunday: 1600 Calories (Rest, or Stretch)

I keep both my protein and fat the same every day

  • 1G of protein for every lb of body weight: 195grams x 4 Calories per gram = 780 Calories
  • .3g of fat for every lb of body weight: about 60 grams x 9 Calories per gram = 540 Calories
  • The rest of the calories are low glycemic carbs for that day (which I vary day to day).

As an example, on 1600 days I eat 280 calories of carbs – or 70 grams.

Now.. intermittent fasting.  I do this because, well apparently, it helps with metabolism as well – and helps with insulin sensitivity – and all the cool kids do it.   I do this twice per week.  Monday starting at 7pm and then I don’t eat for 16 hours at least.  I try to last until noon the next day.  I do this Wednesday and Thursday as well.

Do I Really Do This?

You are probably asking yourself.. “does he really follow this?”

The short answer is.. well… I try.  Here is where I screw up..I travel.. I drink alcohol. When I travel – nothing works.  I don’t work out enough (if at all) and I eat like crap.  When I have alcohol… well, that screws up my willpower and my macros. I will have 1 glass of wine.. and then all bets are off.. chips, cheese, more chips, more wine (or Jack Daniels), then more chips.  Especially when we have movie night.  I too easily sabotage my success.

What I am Modifying Now

My goal is to feel good and look good but to also be athletically fit. I’m happy with my progress, but I’m never happy enough to stop improving and experimenting.  I’m going to start by augmenting my current workout with the following:

  • Yoga and Stretching: I’m going to try to incorporate at least 1 day of yoga per week.  I do a little yoga every morning to loosen up – however, I really do need a solid hour to really get the benefit of it.
  • Circuit HITT: Instead of only using treadmills and elliptical, I’m going to add 1 day per week of Circuit based HITT exercises.  Box jumps, ropes, bag slams, etc.
  • Spin HITT: I am finding I’m liking cycling and I’m going to try to take a spin class every week.
  • Circuit Strength Training: On days I do heavy lifting, mix together circuit training with strength.  I’ve been researching a few varieties and I kinda like Fusion for this.  Here is a handy link to a few more options:

I’m not going to do much to my diet other than try not to travel and drink any alcohol.  However, I figure I workout so that I can have a few drinks without feeling guilty right?  We all have to live a bit!

What I’m Contemplating

Keto:  I did keto a few years ago with great success.  My body is not made for carbs.  I’ve done a huge amount of research and have many colleagues who have become experts in the field.  I’m holding off because, well, I don’t think I have the will power to do this yet.  There is a LOT of research that shows just how good Keto is for you – but I just don’t think I’m ready for full keto yet.

Joining Taekwondo:  My youngest son is a black belt.  My wife is a blue belt.  I really have no excuse.  The school they go to is literally the best school in Canada.


I’m not suggesting you follow what I’m doing.  I’m not giving advice in this post.  I’m only sharing what I do.

You may also be very critical of what I’m doing and why – and if so, I’d love your feedback.  What I can say is that I’ve been experimenting quite a bit and what I’ve landed on seems to work for me – rapidly getting the results I was hoping to see in not only measurements but also endurance and strength.  However, I’m always up for trying new things.  Here is a graph that shows my weight (only one of the measures that I track – but not really the most important one). I chose this graph because it really highlights the very moment I figured out better ways to refuel with food.

Fitness Journey
Fitness Journey