How 'Ice Cream Fitness' Helped This Guy Lose 7 Percent Body Fat – Men's Health

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The popular Reddit weightlifting program helped him get motivated.
Charlie D. is a 33-year-old filmmaker from Chicago, IL. Motivated by a desire to look and feel healthier, he didn’t have a specific weight goal in mind. After discovering a weightlifting program gaining traction on Reddit, here’s how he managed to lose body fat, build muscle, and feel good.
After years as a high school athlete, my lack of fitness in my late twenties was something I always planned to fix, but had trouble getting started. I stopped working on my fitness entirely. I paid no attention to my diet, and ate or drank pretty much anything I wanted, which included

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a lot of beer. When I was wasn’t working, I was sedentary. Whenever I tried dieting and exercising, even making some visible progress, I couldn’t maintain it. It wasn’t until I installed a home gym in my spare bedroom at age 29 that I got really motivated. I had reached a point where I was sick of feeling and looking unhealthy.
Inspired by subreddits like r/brogress, r/fitness, and r/bodybuilding, I discovered so many amazing body transformations, some more realistic/attainable than others, and so much detailed information on workouts and diet that really pushed me to make a change. At the time, I had a rough ballpark of being fairly strong and lean in the mid 170s where I was, and that I would have to do a few bulk and cut cycles to get there.
I started by cutting alcohol for several months and giving myself a lifting minimum of three days a week. My routine consisted of 5×5 bench press, pullups, straight bar curls, skull crushers, leg extensions, and hamstring curls. I would alternate the 5×5 bench press with 5×5 shoulder press every other workout. This was all based off of a workout routine I found on Reddit, called Ice Cream Fitness, which I modified to fit the equipment I had. I kept this workout for about a year.
When it came to diet, I figured bulking was a better place to start with the physique I had. I ate a lot of steamed chicken, rice, frozen vegetables, hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt, and whey protein. Protein and calories were really the only macros I focused on, eating about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and about 200 calorie surplus.
I kept up my bulk for few months before I decided to cut, working with 1600 calories a day while maintaining my protein needs. The first two weeks of a cut are very uncomfortable, but my body got used to it. Intermittent fasting helped a lot; I would work out fasted in the morning, and just take a protein shake after that, saving any meals for the late afternoon and evening. During this time I went from about 175 to 155 in about three months or so. This was the first time I had seen my abs since my teens. I didnot have a bunch of muscle or strength, but certainly way more than when I started.
After a year I started working with a trainer to finetune my routine. After three session with him, I was on a standard push/pull/legs split, six days a week with way more lifting. It was then, I started seeing more progress in my strength and physique, particularly my traps and shoulders.

I threw in some cardio by adding in running a few times a week, anywhere from one to three miles, usually on a treadmill. I also joined a climbing gym and would go one to three times a week. Around this time I started bulking again. It was a lot, but as long as I ate enough protein and got enough rest, I seemed to be adding strength and muscle. During this time my strength shot up, I went from a 160-pound bench press to 200 pounds.
When the pandemic hit in mid-2019, I just kept working out harder, and continued to bulk. It was a good combo because I was eating a lot because of stress and boredom, but lifting heavier and heavier. Around September of 2020, I started to cut again, fairly aggressively. I was doing about 1800 calories while weighing about 172.

After about three months, I was down to about 158. I was fairly lean and had retained a decent amount of muscle. But my strength had cratered.
Overall I felt pretty weak compared to the peak of my bulk and my squats suffered a lot. I was at roughly 13 percent body fat and couldn’t get that number any lower without feeling terrible, so I decided to bulk back up. I also started taking a creatine supplement at this time. After a month of upping my caloric intake and taking creatine, my strength rebounded like crazy, and my muscles filled back out while still remaining fairly lean. This is where my final picture in July 2021 at roughly 13-14 percent body fat but much more muscle, strength, and overall happiness.
At this point, my workouts were the most satisfying they’d ever felt. Whereas before working out had been somewhat painful and arduous, it now became extremely satisfying to push myself hard. I have since continued to bulk and I have cycled off then back on creatine. I plan to bulk through the winter and do a several month cut starting around March 2022.
As someone who ultimately remained at their start weight, there are some crazy transformations out there that are just not realistic for most people. So it’s important to have realistic expectations, especially when you are only a year or so into working out. Take your time. Every little change you make takes weeks to start seeing results, but be committed to making it a lifestyle. I knew the real satisfying results would take three to four years of working out, and they’ve definitely shown up.

Friends and family all seemed to notice and give compliments very early on. The biggest positive side effect of my journey is just feeling strong and healthy, and having more self respect. The whole experience has been simultaneously humbling and motivating.
As far as future goals, I want to finish my bulk and do one more cut, which should put me at the four year mark since starting working out. I hope to then switch back to lifting three days a week, and maintaining my strength and physique as long as possible.

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