16 Mar Drop and Rebuild
By: Dan Dalenberg
At the beginning of 2015, I made a big change in an effort to build a denser, better put together self. A few years of eating to be large and strong had built a fair bit more fluff than I was comfortable with and it was time for a change. I had a lot of reasons for doing it and believe that in the long run I will end up much stronger and overall in better shape.
Where I Started
At some point in college I decided I wanted to be much larger. I knew I wanted to much stronger and had set some aggressive goals and felt that a good way to get there was to get bigger and bigger. So I started eating my way up. Keep in mind; I’m not exactly the tallest guy around at about 5’6”.
I started out at about 210-215 and increased my calories significantly. Up to that point I had always ate fairly clean and stayed pretty lean. I had a teacher in high school who was an amateur bodybuilder and had helped me a lot with diet and eating. As a result, I was pretty lean, but not nearly as big as I wanted to be. I started adding carbs to every meal and eating 5-8 times a day. I carried food with me to class (and work post-graduation) and was almost never without some sort of food or shake. It worked well. I saw my bodyweight come up to about 250 and my total grow very quickly. I was excited about how strong I was and enjoyed being really large, but realized I was also pretty fat.
The Decision to Change
I was way out of shape. Though super strong during my prep for RUM8, I was also short of breath and had no cardio-endurance. I was tired a lot of the time and knew I needed to change. I also wasn’t happy at all with the way I looked. Yeah, yeah, I’m a powerlifter, no it’s not “hardcore” to care about looks.. Whatever. Send the hate to Brian please.
I was also just a couple months away from getting married. I should add, on a beach in Florida and then 7 days in Mexico, resulting in 12 days of being on a beach with no shirt on. I really didn’t want to be Captain Bloat Face in my wedding pictures and wanted to look better for my (soon to be) wife.
To add on top of that, I was really tired of training for meets. I was in contest prep from June 2014-Feb 2015. My body was beat down and I was mentally exhausted. I desperately needed a change of pace for a bit to let little nagging pains heal and to give my mind a break. So it was time to drop some weight.
What I Did
I’m really good at getting big and bloated. I’m also pretty good at training to be a Powerlifter. However, while I know how to lose weight and get in better shape, I needed help and someone to push me. I needed someone to force me to do things I wouldn’t do and keep me accountable. Thankfully, Scott Paltos was willing to help me out.
Since he wrote everything up specifically for me, I won’t share everything that he had me do. It was customized for what I need and for what I was trying to do. But I will give a basic overview of how we got the weight off.
The diet was very basic and quite simple. The idea was to keep carbs as low as possible during the day and only eat carbs right after training, basic carb back loading style. It worked very well and very quickly for me. I was able to have three meals a day and two protein shakes. Training days added in an additional shake and carbs after training. So I stuck to eggs, chicken, fish, lean beef and lots of veggies throughout the day. On training nights I would add some pasta, maybe some whole grain bread and a bowl of cereal.
I like to call what Scott had me doing “crosspowerbuilding.” Lots of “swole” work as he would refer to it. Each training day consisted of multiple barbell and dumbbell supersets with very little rest, followed by either 20 minutes of brisk walking or 8-15 minutes of HIIT. I still did lots of power lifts. I squatted, deadlifted, pressed and did tons of rows. I just did them very fast and for a lot of reps.
I’m not quite to the end yet at the time of writing, but I am getting close. I started out at 253 and came down to 231 with 5 days remaining before I take off for Florida. I am in much better shape and feel great.
The Long Term Goal
I don’t plan on staying this light forever. I want to back over 250 again before I compete in late summer. However, I want to do it the right way and will continue working with Scott. Our plan is to slowly rebuild and do this much leaner than my bloat up to 253. The end goal is to be in 255-260 range, but considerably leaner.
I’ve done drops and rebuilds in the past with a lot of success. I always come back bigger, stronger and a little less fat. I have never taken one nearly this far though. With Scott’s help I am confident that I can look better and be much stronger up at 255 than I was at RUM. I’ve set some Powerlifting goals for the next couple years and I know rebuilding myself will help me get there much faster and more effectively.