Tate Gets It Done

Have you ever met a person who simply does whatever it takes to be successful at whatever he puts his mind to? Sure, we're all taught that we can do whatever we put our mind to, but it's the rare person indeed who makes good on this promise – a person who actually gets it done. Over the last ten weeks or so, Dave Tate has proven to me that he's one of those rare people. Dave Tate gets it done.

In mid-February, Dave contacted me for some nutrition advice. (See Part 1.) Specifically, he came to me weighing in at about 300 pounds and about 18% body fat.

A very big Dave Tate

Now, this in itself wasn't such a big deal. This is actually a solid physique for Dave's chosen sport of powerlifting. However, according to Dave, he needed to make some major lifestyle changes and had two reasons for doing so:

  1. The orthopedic reason: Dave's long-standing shoulder problems have gotten so bad that they're almost beyond repair.
  2. The health reason: Dave's blood work has worsened over time and things like his blood lipids need to be brought back into their normal ranges.

With these two major issues going on at the young age of 38, Dave realized it was time to make a change. In fact, let's have Dave describe exactly why these reasons were so compelling and why he was so motivated to make this change.

The Orthopedic Reason

According to Dave: "I competed and trained for powerlifting between the years of 1983 and 2005. I totaled my first Elite in 1987 and continued posting lifts that were in the top 20 for my weight classes (broke the top ten a few times) for the rest of my career."

Big Dave Deadlifting

"Unfortunately, my injury total has also been accumulating. Here's a brief summary of all my major injuries, starting with my first one in 1986. I'll begin with the calves and move up. Also keep in mind that these are just the major ones that left me immobile for more than a week:

  • Calves: I've torn both of them, leaving a huge indentation in each.
  • Right Knee: Back in the late 80's I strained my ACL and that left me on crutches for two weeks. I've had three other similar strains since that time.
  • Right Hamstring: I tore this hamstring so badly that I nearly needed surgery to fix it.
  • Left Knee: I've partially torn my patellar tendon. This wasn't bad, pain-wise, but it did mess up my squatting for four months.
  • Quad: I pulled my right quad in the early 90's. It was so bad that it turned my entire leg black.
  • Groin: I've injured my groin on both the right and left sides. This was a year of hell where there was nothing I could do to get it fixed. So I just wrapped it up and dealt with it. After a year it got better.
  • Lower Abdominal: I tore my lower abdominal muscles seven years ago. I did this while squatting and it was perhaps the most painful injury I've ever had.
  • Spine: The following discs are herniated: L4, L5, C4, C5. C4 and C5 left my hand numb for a few months. L4 and L5 occurred over 14 years ago and required me to take two months off training
  • Intercostals: I've strained two on each side over the past ten years.
  • Left pec: I tore this muscle at the tendon and needed surgery to repair it.
  • Right pec: I tore this muscle in half but decided to not have surgery since the tendon was still attached.
  • Both pecs: I've torn each at least 20 times and each time caused the entire pec to turn black and blue. All of these happened before the above pec injuries.
  • Right shoulder: I've had a torn supraspinatus, bone spurs, and now have arthritis. I had this shoulder cleaned up with the AC shaved down to allow more movement, but am now experiencing almost all the same ailments in the same shoulder. Doctors are talking replacement.
  • Left shoulder: This one also has arthritis, but isn't as bad as the other."

Wow. Are you shaking your head in disbelief? I was too when I read this for the first time. Dave goes on:

"Outside of one injury, I never took time off for any of them. I'd take painkillers and wrap the injury tight and keep pounding away. Now, I don't say this to brag. Instead, I'm pointing all this out because I feel most of my injuries could've been avoided if I would've taken some time off to rehab them. Wrapping them up and pounding away probably lead to what I'm facing today.

"You see, my right shoulder has already been worked on twice, and now my arthritis has gotten to the point where I've been given three options (from three different doctors):

Option 1: They go in and clean up the shoulder. This would have a low success rate and would likely lead to a total replacement within 12 months.

Option 2: A partial replacement. This would likely buy me five years before a total replacement.

Option 3: Cut back on the heavy pressing, change my training and focus, and improve my mobility. This could buy me 10 to 15 or more years.

"I've come to a place where the cost of an injury isn't worth the price I have to pay to continue my time on the platform, so I've chosen option 3. The biggest deciding factor came down to my kids. They are 2 and 4 years old and I'd hate to not be able to train with them when they get older. This isn't about being hardcore or seeing who has the biggest set of balls or who can last the longest. This is about leaving a legacy with those I care about most.

"Many of the most important lessons and values I ever learned happened in the gym. And while my kids will do what they want to do, they'll learn many of the same lessons in many of the same ways I did – in the gym. I know this because I'll be there."

Of course, having a bum shoulder wouldn't necessarily lead to Dave not being around to help his kids in the gym, although it would prevent his lifting with them. However, another issue has also concerned Dave.

With a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (very high body weight, high body fat, high blood cholesterol with a poor HDL/LDL ratio, and high triglycerides), Dave not only wants to be there in the gym, he wants to be there period. And this leads directly into Dave's next reason for wanting to make a change.

The Health Reason

As Dave's desire to keep his weight high for his sport lead to some bad nutritional decisions, Dave became aware that his blood profile was getting pretty darned bad. So he tried to start eating well.

"My goal was (and is) to take my weight down, but keep (and build) as much muscle as I can. I have a minor in nutrition and spent years bodybuilding, so dieting is nothing new to me. I set my course of action and began my diet.

"I found that my body was rejecting healthy foods. I was physically getting sick each time I tried to clean up my diet. I've spent the last 8-10 years force feeding myself to keep my weight up. I have a very high metabolism and need a very large amount of calories to maintain my weight and even more to gain. To do this, I ate as much junk as I could. This was the best and easiest way to get the calories I needed.

"Was that right? Maybe. Did it work? Yes. As a matter of fact, it was the only thing that worked for me, so I see it as the right thing to do. My weight went up, my lifts improved, and my blood work stayed in check – until recently.

"Now, with my inability to clean up my diet and my blood work not looking so good, I needed to find some help. Over the years, I've had wonderful opportunities to meet and network with many of the best trainers, lifters, coaches, doctors, and other people in the fitness and medical fields. These people have offered great advice over the years, and so I turned to them when I needed to find the best nutrition guy for my situation.

"Among this group, John Berardi's name kept coming up. Now, I met John at the SWIS Symposium last fall, and I remember him saying that if I ever needed anything to give him a call. Given the situation, I really only had one option..."

Dave's Goals

As I discussed in Part I of this series, I was a little shocked when Dave contacted me to help him with his own nutritional program. However, after some lengthy discussions on the phone and through email, Dave and I decided to begin working together. Here are the top three outcomes we set out to accomplish:

  1. Lose 50 pounds: Dave didn't want to have to force-feed 10,500 calories of junk every day simply to stay 300 pounds when he's no longer going to be competing. So we decided to bring his body weight down to a lean and more athletic 250. Of course, Dave wanted to accomplish this without the loss of any (or much) lean body mass.
  2. Eat less junk and more nutritionally sound foods without becoming sick: Each time Dave tried to clean up his all-junk diet, he'd get sick – throwing up and having diarrhea. He wanted to be able to eat better without going through this sort of junk food withdrawal. I saw no reason why he couldn't do just that with the right kind of GI support and the right food selections.
  3. Improve blood profile: Dave's blood test results had been less than stellar and he wanted to bring most of his unhealthy numbers into the ideal ranges. Here are some of his initial numbers:

Blood cholesterol: 320mg/dl (Ideal range 100-199mg/dl)
Blood triglycerides: 300mg/dl (Ideal range 30-150mg/dl)
HDL cholesterol: 16mg/dl (Ideal range 40-60mg/dl with >60mg/dl as optimal)
LDL cholesterol: 250mg/dl (Ideal range 100-190mg/dl with >190mg/dl as very high risk)

With these goals set, it was time to get to work. However, with Dave's initial diet, it was clear that we had our work cut out for us. Yet work we did, and about eight weeks later, the results speak for themselves.

Dave's Body Composition Progress

Everything with Dave's program is going very, very well. Let's go ahead and look at this eight week progress report.

Initial Body Measurements:

February 20, 2006

Body Weight: 296 pounds
Body Fat Percentage: 19%
Lean Mass: 239.8 pounds
Fat Mass: 56.2 pounds

February 2006

2 Month Check-Up:

April 23, 2006

Body Weight: 272 pounds
Body Fat Percentage: 12%
Lean Mass: 239.4 pounds
Fat Mass: 32.6 pounds

April 2006

So, as you can see, Dave has lost a total of 24 pounds (23.6 pounds of fat) and is looking considerably leaner. In fact, with his top row of abs popping out and his face starting to get chiseled, we're soon to be sending his pics to Men's Health magazine.

Dave's Training

Now, you're probably asking yourself just what kind of crazy thermogenics, strict bodybuilding diet, and endless cardio routine Dave is following to make these types of changes. Well, none of what he's doing is crazy, strict, or impossible for the average lifter to do.

Let's take a look at his training first. I'll let Dave describe his thoughts on this aspect of his transformation:

I'll touch on each phase of the training program I've been following during this process. To get into all of the specifics would likely take an article per phase, so I'll just give you an overview here.

First, I want it to be known that my shoulder is what put me in this situation. What do I mean by this? As you can see from this limited glimpse into my medical and injury history, I've endured my share of injuries. Of course, when you compete in any sport you'll get beat up. Compete for ten years and you compile quite a few problems. Compete for 20 years... you get the point. That being said, my shoulder is trashed.

I've spent the past two years doing everything I know to make the shoulder work and to continue doing what I love to do. I've been to over 20 doctors and have tried every therapy and rehabilitation training known to man. In the end, I'll still likely require a total replacement. However, if I cut back on my heavy loading, I can push this replacement as far back as I can.

Now, keep in mind that a total replacement means you're pretty much done – for good. Now, I'm not saying that you'd be done bench pressing. I'm saying that you'd be done doing any weight training with intensity. Since training is more important than my max bench, I decided to back off.

Now, for those morons who feel this is being a coward and not "manning up," think on this before you pass judgment. I've had one knee surgery and then came back to break squat and deadlift PRs. I've torn my pec tendon (surgery again) and came back to bench over a 100 pound PR. I've had two shoulder surgeries and came back to bench a 25-pound PR. And don't even get me started on the back injuries I came back from. 

At this point, I'm pretty damn sure I could find a way to bench another PR if I really wanted to. But, this isn't my choice. My choice is to extend my shoulder health.

Also, I feel 100% certain that it wasn't the training the caused the majority of these injuries. Westside Style training made a huge difference in extending my career. No, most of these were caused by my not backing down, by driving harder and harder. Shoulder hurts? Screw it! Inject it with saline and peroxide and let's get back to business. Knee hurts? Wrap it up and load the bar. Pec hurts? Put knee wrap around my torso (or duct tape) and let's get back to business.

I did what I had to do to keep training. This may not have been the best thing to do. But we can't change the past, so we move on. With this said, when I embarked on this journey, I knew where my training had to be. I've been thinking of ways to mesh Max Effort, Dynamic Effort, and Repeated Effort workouts into a hypertrophy based program for some time. So I pretty much knew what I wanted to do, but had one problem – I had to get into the right condition to do it.

So these last 16 months were spent on rehabilitation and mobility. I worked with Alwyn Cosgrove, Mike Hope, Dr. Eric Serrano, Buddy Morris, and many others while working through these issues. Throughout, all my training was centered around these issues and these issues only.

This type of training sucks so I dreaded going in the gym. I hated it! On a good week, I would train twice. The average was once per week. Now, by training, I mean really training. I wasn't counting the rehabilitation and mobility work (which was almost daily) as training. 

Fortunately, a majority of my issues were corrected. Unfortunately, the shoulder problem remained. Next, I began to focus on my blood work and body weight (namely body fat). If I wasn't going to be competing then why would I need to carry around 300 pounds at close to 20% body fat?

You know the story. I contacted John and began the process. However, my training plan was already in place before I contacted him. At the time, I was already in phase two. I'm now approaching phase five.

Each of the first five training phases lasts three to four weeks and each was designed to achieve specific goals. Each goal built on the last to bring me to the point I'm at now. Currently, I'm finally ready to start building mass with the program ideas I spoke about earlier. But remember, it did take a few phases to get to this point. Here are the phases:

Phase 1

My Goal: Increase training volume and re-educate my muscles

The goal of this phase was to get my total training volume up. I didn't care how much weight was used. The main goal was to keep adding sets and movements to the program until I hit my established benchmarks for the next phase.

I also wanted to place the focus back on the muscles and not the movements (Alwyn Cosgrove will love this one). In other words, I've spent the last year training movements with little regard to muscles. Now I needed to teach my muscles to do the work.

Here's an example: Previously, when I bench pressed, my focus was always on technique and bar path. Nowadays I focus on getting my pecs to fire and I concentrate on the muscle contraction. In other words, I've been putting my mind in the muscle and not in the weight. This also meant increasing the range of motion for all movements and slowing the repetition speeds down.

Also, while in the beginning stages of this phase, I used a lot of sled dragging, prowler pushes, and farmer's walks to build the training volume. As the weight room work increased, these movements decreased.

Phase 2

My Goal: Test what's going on

In this phase my goal was to push the intensity up every other session to see if I could get my body to react. When I changed my focus from the movements to the muscles, I found that I was very weak on many exercises. No question, the technique change and slower rep speeds took some getting used to. But rather than just blasting away and going back to "movement based" training, I continued to mix it up.

At first, it was a disaster and I was pulling muscles, cramping, and having other issues. However, in time, things began to click and I knew I was ready to start training hard. This is also the same time I emailed John and told him my calories would need to go up because my training just locked in.

Phase 3

My Goal: Maximize the repetition method

The driving methods of training I've used for the past 12 years were: a) the max effort method and b) the dynamic effort method. Very rarely, during this time, was the repetition method pushed hard enough to develop muscle and keep it while trying to lose fat.

With a new set of goals in mind, I used this phase to push the repetition method at a higher intensity. During these weeks, five training sessions per week were used and the exercises stayed the same week to week (all five sessions had different movements).

My goal was to push the weights as high as I could for 8-12 reps over the span of these three weeks. My repetition strength on most movements took off. Many of the weights and reps during this phase were higher than they have been in eight years. Now, I never pushed these exercises, weights, and reps in this way before, but it was good to see the strength developing.

This phase allowed me to add back some of the muscle I lost on the first phases of the diet. As John will describe below, I actually picked up a couple pounds of lean body mass during this phase. These contributed changes (and the dietary changes) lead to a bodyweight increase of about seven pounds during this phase.

Phase 4

My Goal: Get ready for all methods

This next phase consisted of three weeks of wave training. The volume and intensity was adjusted in waves as follows:

  • Week 1 was moderate volume, moderate intensity and consisted of four sessions per week.
  • Week 2 was high volume, low intensity. This week included five training days per week (all single leg or single arm movements).
  • Week 3 (where I currently am as I write this) is low volume, high intensity. This week will have three to four sessions per week (depends on recovery) and will be 100% ass busting, using many max effort methods and movements.

Phase 5

My Goal: Begin the real hypertrophy program

As I stated earlier, I'd like to begin meshing Max Effort, Dynamic Effort, and Repeated Effort workouts into a hypertrophy based program very soon. Depending on how this week goes, I'll either have to repeat phase 4 or I'll begin the template for the hypertrophy program I keep talking about.

Okay, that's the overview of what I've been trying to accomplish with my training. I may write a few articles about each of these phases in the future. However, for now, if you're interested in learning more, I've set up my training log and do try to keep detailed notes of what's going on. You can check it out here.

Dave's Nutrition and Supplements

Alright, with Dave's training discussed, let's look to his nutrition program. Of course, as Dave's training has been changing regularly, so has his nutrition plan. We made these changes to his intake for the following reasons:

1 – Finding The Calorie "Sweet Spot"

To really customize Dave's diet, we had to first figure out what his calorie range needed to be in order to stimulate fat loss without losses in lean body mass. To this end, we started Dave out with about 4700 calories per day. This was working great, although Dave was dropping weight much too fast (at a rate of about 4-5 pounds per week).

Next, we titrated his calorie dose up, bumping his calories up to about 5700. After about two weeks, Dave actually gained 5 pounds. Although Dave thought most of this five pound gain was lean mass (he said he looked leaner although hadn't taken his body fat numbers yet), our goal of getting Dave down in the 250-260 range lead us to drop his calories back down to about 5100 per day.

This point, the 5100 calorie point, for the time being, seems to be Dave's sweet spot. It's enabling him to drop about 1-2 pounds of fat per week while preserving lean body mass. Of course, our work isn't done. As his body changes and his training changes, we'll have to tweak his calorie intake in order to make sure he keeps moving in the right direction – but not too quickly.

So, as you can see, one doesn't just choose a single meal plan and follow it indefinitely. Rather, as outlined in my Precision Nutrition Individualization Plan, one has to keep tweaking the plan in order to keep the results coming.

2 – Improving Digestion and Food Tolerance

After a few weeks on the diet, things were moving along smoothly. But after the following email, I knew we had to make a few changes:

Dear Dr. John,

My farts are Prime A grade right now. A huge PR for me. They all smell like burnt shit today. As you can guess, my wife loves it.

Dave

Hmm, couldn't he have just said "gastrointestinal distress?" It turns out that despite the healthy bacteria we've introduced to Dave's GI tract through the Greens+, the enteric coated acidophilus supplements, as well as the fish oil supplements (which actually help improve the bacterial profile of the GI), Dave wasn't handling dairy all that well. I suspect it was a lactose problem. So, to help with this, we've switched to fewer dairy products and have chosen only lactose-free varieties.

Also, Dave seemed to be having difficulties with certain protein powders. After we experimented with a few different ones, we found a few that didn't bother him. Now, we rotate through three of them on a regular basis – Metabolic Drive®, Pro Complex and Ultra Size.

I bring these issues up because GI distress is about more than personal and familial discomfort (those poor kids). In fact, GI distress can impact everything from stress hormone production to brain health. That's right; there are some powerful links between GI health/function and the health/function of the entire body. For a great read on this very topic, check out my friend Dr. Alan Logan's book, The Brain Diet. It's a great read and will open your eyes to a lot of new research on how nutrition, gut health, and brain health are intimately related.

3 – Adding Variety

Dave's diet has lacked variety over the last few years. Sure, he did eat a lot of different foods; however, the fact that most of them were comprised predominantly of saturated and trans fats as well as a variety of sugars means that the body wasn't exactly benefiting from a variety of nutrition. To this end, I've rotated Dave through a variety of different foods within each food group, making sure that when I recommended avocadoes, Dave didn't end up just chomping in and eating them like a pear.

At this point you're probably wondering what Dave's new diet looks like. Wonder no longer. Below, I've included Dave's basic dietary template, which has changed about three times already. Again, try not to read too much into the meals as this is just a template from which we're working and doesn't precisely define Dave's intake. In fact, as I said, Dave's nutritional intake has changed as often as his training.

First Meal

3 whole omega 3 eggs omelette, 1 piece of favourite type of cheese
2 slices whole grain bread with either 1 tbsp butter or 1 tbsp peanut/cashew/or other nut butter spread on the bread
1 piece fruit
1 cup tea (1 bag peppermint and 1 bag green)
1 glass water

Pre-Workout Snack

1 energy bar
1 piece fruit
1/4 cup mixed nut blend
1 glass water

Workout Drink

3 scoops Biotest Plazma™ in 500-1000ml water and ice

Post-Workout Super-Shake

Supershake #1 *
Daily supplements * *
1 cup tea (as above)

Lunch

10 oz lean turkey sausage or other lean meat
1 small bowl of whole grain pasta or brown/wild rice
2 cups of veggies
1tbsp olive oil
1 glass water

Snack

Supershake #2 *
Daily Supplements * *
1 cup green tea (as above)

Dinner

10 oz extra lean beef burgers/other lean meat
2 cups of veggies
Olive oil and vinegar dressing
1 whole avocado
2 servings fruit
1 glass water

Pre-Workout Snack

1 energy bar*
1 piece fruit
1/4 cup mixed nut blend
1 glass water

Snack

2 InStone Protein Pudding
1/4 cup mixed nut blend

* Note on Supershakes: The Supershake is a complete meal replacement that consists of the following ingredients:
Protein (from yogurt, cottage cheese, pasteurized egg whites, and/or protein powder)
Fruits (usually frozen berries, banana, pineapple, mango, or other fruit, depending on the shake)
One serving of Superfood (equivalent of multiple servings of fruits and veggies)
Good fats (from flax seeds, flax oil, mixed nuts, natural peanut butter or other nut butter, and/or olive oil; depending on the shake)
Fiber (from flax seeds or oats, depending on the shake and when it's ingested)
Creatine

Also, Supershake #1 usually contains oats or some other higher carbohydrate ingredient (as it's ingested shortly after training), while Supershake #2 avoids using higher carbohydrate ingredients (as it's ingested later in the day). Finally, please note that the Supershakes regularly change based on Dave's calorie needs and in order to add some variety.

Dave is particularly fond of the "Turtle Supershake." Although I'd love to take credit for it, this recipe was submitted by "Gregger," a member of my Precision Nutrition support forum. Here's the recipe:

Turtle Supershake:

1/2 cup water
2 scoops chocolate flavored Metabolic Drive® Protein
1 oz pecan halves, chopped
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 serving Superfood
1 cup egg whites
1/2 cup ice cubes

Here's what Dave had to say about this shake:

"I'll now say I feel much better after finishing one of my new Supershakes, the Turtle Flavor. I have no idea how John or anyone comes up with this stuff but they need to get some type of award. This drink tasted unbelievable. Now I'm sure after drinking close to 40 of these over the next four weeks I may feel different."

* * Note on Supplements: Dave's supplement schedule regularly changes but has included the following (taken twice per day with each Supershake feeding.)

300mg rALA
3 capsules of Genuine Health's Abs+ (EGCG from Green Tea and CLA)
4 Capsules of Biotest Flameout™ (Fish oil and CLA)
1500mg glucosamine/1200mg chondrioton
4 capsules of OmegaZime (Digestive Enzyme)
2 capsules of Enteric Coated Acidophilus (Good Bacteria)

It's important to realize that these supplements were all chosen with Dave's individual goals and baseline testing in mind. They're not necessarily for everyone trying to lose fat or improve their intake.

My Comments on Dave's Progress

If you read Part I, you'll know that not only myself, but many of Dave's close friends had some serious concerns about Dave's willingness to make the necessary nutritional improvements. However, as I said in the introduction, Dave is just one of those guys that, as Mike Robertson and his Midwestern cohorts say, "Gets 'er done."

Truth be told, I've never, ever, had a client with as much discipline and commitment. It's absolutely been a pleasure working with Dave (well, despite the "burning shit" emails) as there have been no complaints, no negotiation, no excuses, no fumbling around with the new habits.

Dave simply took the advice I gave him in his initial program guidelines (which not only included his dietary program but also shopping tips, restaurant tips, travel tips, cooking tips, food variety tips, etc.) and tackled a new style of shopping, cooking, and structuring his day – virtually overnight.

You see, most people require that I take it slow, helping them make one small lifestyle change at a time. However, for Dave, making the switch was like flipping a light on or off. He decided to make some improvements, I sent him his new program, and flip, he changed.

I'm guessing that it's because Dave never ate junk food because of laziness or convenience but because he ate it to be 300 pounds. He did what he thought it took to accomplish his goals. So now, he's doing the same with healthy foods.

It's funny, with the help of Gourmet Nutrition and Precision Nutrition, Dave's now thought of at home as "the guy who cooks." In fact, I'm sending him a Martha Stewart apron for his birthday. Can't picture Dave in a Martha apron? Think again! Martha's hardcore, folks. She was in jail.

Also, the cashiers at all the local grocery stores are finally getting used to not seeing soda and a plethora of sugary foods coming down the conveyor when Dave steps up to the checkout. However, I don't think they'll ever get used to all those fruits and veggies in his cart.

Has Dave sworn off fast food? Heck no! The teenaged employees at Dave's local Wendy's and McDonalds still get the pleasure of seeing Dave at their drive-thru. Yet they continue to be surprised when he orders chicken salads, chili, and fruit cups instead of Big Macs with extra mayo, fries, large sodas, and fruit pies.

And yes, Dave does still get to eat his favorite food – pizza. However, instead of eating it whenever he feels like, he's adhering to the 90% rule. This means that he eats according to the plan for 90% of his meals while saving his "cheat foods" for the other 10% of his meals (about four meals per week).

Latest Blood Work

I know some of you may be wondering when you can get a look at Dave's blood work. So here ya go:

Blood cholesterol (ideal range 100-199mg/dl)
Initial results: 320mg/dl
Current results: 299mg/dl
Change: -21mg/dl or a 7% reduction in total cholesterol

Blood triglycerides (ideal range 30-150mg/dl)
Initial results: 300mg/dl
Current results: 152mg/dl (-97%)
Change: -148mg/dl or a 50% reduction in triglycerides

HDL cholesterol (ideal range 40-60mg/dl)
Initial results: 16mg/dl
Current results: 30mg/dl (+88%)
Change: +14mg/dl or an 88% increase in "good" cholesterol

LDL cholesterol (ideal range 100-190mg/dl)
Initial results: 250mg/dl
Current results: 239mg/dl
Change: -11mg/dl or a 4% reduction in "bad" cholesterol

Vitamin Status & Wrap-Up

Dave has also seen a 10% increase in B-vitamin status and a 12% increase in Folate status. These are important biomarkers that give us a peek into Dave's overall nutrient status, his adherence to the program, and also even give some clues into the function of other organ systems.

All in all, despite the remarkable reduction in triglycerides and amazing increase in good cholesterol (remember, all this happened in just eight weeks), I still want to see the total cholesterol and LDL numbers come down even further. Therefore our next nutritional phase will prioritize creating a reduction in total and LDL cholesterol.

So, next time you hear from me, I'll be reporting back with more blood data, new pics of Dave in the single digit body fat range, and some great Dear Dr. John content.

Until then, stop thinking about Dave and start thinking about your own nutritional intake. Are you doing the best you can to maximize your body comp, your health, and your performance? If not, where do you need to improve? Post your thoughts and questions below for discussion!