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Post-athlete syndrome

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  • Post-athlete syndrome

    Friends! Would love your support w/ a predicament. I am a 36 yo man. I played a sport in college. We practiced 5x weekly for 2-3 hrs per practice, lifted 3x weekly (we were usually trained until we threw up), and did separate conditioning 3x weekly. The results showed. But after college, I was so sick of it, I stopped working out completely. I went from a playing weight of 190 to a weight of 260 (!).

    I've had a few years in between where I committed to dieting and using HIIT programs with some real weight loss, getting to a post college low of 225. The pandemic kicked me in the pants though, and I am back up to about 250.

    I pledged to lose the weight and kitted out a gym in my home. After messing around with my own workouts, a friend tipped me off to BBM. It's been great. I'm on week 7 of General Strength + Conditioning, and loving it--and making great progress. eRMs = Squat @ 378, Dead @ 385, Bench @ 347. I haven't moved that kind of weight since college.

    But here's the rub. I'm desperate to lose the weight, which isn't budging. That said, my waist circumference has dropped 2 inches since I began.

    - I am eating 1615 kCal/day: 222 p, 63 f, 40 c which I measure and track on myfitnesspal. I have 1 cheat meal every week.
    - In addition to GSC, I'm biking 14-15 miles 2x/week, and using an assault bike for GPP HIIT after strength workouts for 20s/140s x 6-8 (usually burn about 125 kcal) 2x/week.
    - I also walk 3-4 miles per day at a 3.5m/hr pace 4x weekly.

    I worry that my metabolism was destroyed by years of training at the level I did in college followed by extreme sloth, which is why I'm not seeing the weight-loss I'd like. I've heard similar complaints from other folks with similar histories (extreme training followed by zero training). That said, maybe I'm just doing this all wrong.

    I have two questions:
    1) What do you recommend on diet?
    2) After I complete GSC, I was planning on running it again. But would there be a better workout for my goals?


  • #2

    Thanks for the post and congrats on getting back into the gym.

    I have good news and bad news for you.

    The good news is that your metabolism isn't 'broken' or even significantly different than it was when you were in college. We pretty much maintain the same metabolic rates until we're very old. Now that you weight more, you're actually burning more Calories per day at baseline.

    The bad news is that you're eating far in excess of 1615 Calories per day on average. Whether this be due to miscalculating what you're eating, the cheat meal, etc., that's what's happening. I'd guess you are consuming ~ closer to 3000 Cal/day on average.

    I recommend drop kicking the cheat meal/cheat day and basing your diet around lean protein and high fiber foods, e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, etc. I would try not to buy snack foods or keep highly palatable, ultra processed foods in the house. I'd also make sure to eliminate any sugar sweetened beverages (sodas, teas, etc.) and replace them with diet variants or water. Additionally, alcohol intake and sleep may need to be adjusted.

    You're doing more than enough exercise to meet the current activity guidelines, so I don't think you need to add anything there.

    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///


    • #3
      Thanks, Doc. Appreciate it.

      I could be more careful in measuring my portions. And I hear you on the cheat meal. But I'm not lying to you when I tell you my diet is pretty clean. I don't drink as a matter of course, don't drink SSBs. And as a physician myself, I'm rather conscientious about food choices (when I choose to be).

      If you were to adjust my macros (assuming I stuck to them), what would you recommend?

      Also, in terms of next workout, what would you choose? I've picked up your hypertrophy 1, strength 1 and powerbuilding 1 series. Which should I pursue next?

      thanks for your time!


      • #4
        Yea I can understand where you're coming from. Dietary change is tough and results take much longer to be realized than we want/expect.

        I'd try and get in ~ 200g protein a day from lean sources and 35g + of fiber from fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. I probably wouldn't advocate for managing macros more closely than this, but rather trying to structure each meal with a base of a lean protein (palm-sized portion) and 2 servings of fruit or veg (fist-sized). I'd have a protein shake before bed as well and let everything else kind of fall into place.

        I think if you're immediate goals are strength oriented, I would do Strength I. If you're more interested in hypertrophy, then hypertrophy I would be the one I'd advise. If you're between the two, Powerbuilding is my favorite template personally.

        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///