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Weight loss for guys over 40

Evening fellas. The post about the home gym got me thinking about weight loss and working out in general. I would like input from other over 40 guys(under 40 is good too!)about how to maintain weight loss and break plateaus in weight. I am just a fraction under six feet and have a medium build. I can usually lose weight semi-easily if I put my mind to it and behave at the table. I weighed 225lbs last year and that is WAY too heavy for anyone but a body builder at my height. I dropped 25 lbs. in 2.5 months last fall and kept it that way for ten months. I've adde back ten and hate it. Even so, at 200lbs, I couldwear 34-36" waist jeans(at near waist level too mind you)and run about 46" in the chest. I am not horribly out of proportion but could EASILY do without 20-25 pounds of excess me. In fact, putting on the tenner makes all my clothes tighter than I like at ALL.

Okay, all that stuff aside, weight training has been recommended to me as a near must add-on to my cardio exercise. So this post is relevant to me. I have a two car garage for workout space and that's it. The elliptical is a great machine. I heartily recommend it for those who want the effects of jogging without the impact. I can do 3.5-3.8 miles in 30 minutes at between 150-160 heart rate. More than is recommended by physicians for my age group but if you don't keep cranking up the resistance, it feels like you're not getting a stout workout. I do this every other day and wold like the weight training for keeping up muscle mass in the "off" days. I can't see myself getting carried away with weight training so need to keep it sane.

My main objective is to burn fat and maintain some muscle mass. It's an overused line but it's critical for men over 40 to keep dense muscle mass. It goes a long way toward keeping yourself from looking like a hunched over hobbit when you're in your 60's. I am especially having troulbe breaking the 200 pound mark. This is aggravating. I can just "tell" I would have tons more mobility, agility, and a better looking wardrobe at 180-185Lbs! I try not to live or die by the weight scale because adding dense muscle can mislead you in the weight category. I am trying to also add the seat of the pants factor to this, literally. If your clothes become a good bit looser, then you're making progress. Just a couple of caveats. No pills, $50 a can wonder powders or any of that other rubbish for me. Vitamins are one thing, magic bullets are another. I'd rather take a longer, slower road and keep the weight down. I just need a good place to jump start the weight loss again. BTW, I don't smoke cigarettes(pipes a few times a year), drink in moderation, and have no recurring health issues. Some may have caught the heart surgery comment in the other topic but that's not a big issue. The docs went in an fixed a birth defect. It was called a "valve resection". When I was ten, it was discovered that I had this membrane that had grown in place over my aortic valve. It blocked about 90% of the aorta's passageway. Not good but nothing to be done for it in 1973. They wouldn't touch me. So, in 2000 I made them go in and cut it out. It had given me a murmur that only got worse as the years went by. The membrane forced the outgoing valve to "leak" back into the heart and this wore a bit on the cusps and made the murmur. It's not serious anymore but it's there. Doc says the arteries, valves and heart are in great shape(no plauqe at all)but that it wasn't an invitation to McDonalds! Anyway, I had/have sense enough to keep the sawbones posted about any troubles or miscues along the way. So far, no probs with the elliptical making me dizzy or lightheaded. I've done some real hoofing it on this thing going 3.98 miles in 30 minutes before without any ill effects. Still, I need something to kick start my metabolism again. I would really like to get to 180lbs and get the waist back to an honest 32 inches or so. I know it's going to be hard work but you've only got one body, right? Besides, I want to wind up like elderly gent that lives across the street from me. He's just shy of 90, mows his lawn 3-5 times a week, digs weeds out by hand, walks all over the place, travels with his wife in a fifth wheel camper(btw, he washes this by hand on a ladder whilst holding a bucket of water), and looks like he's maybe 70. A nicer gent you'd never meet and a real stud for an octegenarian.

I had an Italian girlfriend and she got me up into the 220s and maybe more. I jumped off the scale when I saw it racing past 223. I should weigh in the 180s for my body type etc.

Well a friend at work got me on the Zone Diet and the weight just flew off of me. Biggest things I cut out of my diet are bread, pasta, rice, corn. What a difference that made! I lost 50lbs in no time. About 7 to 8 pounds a week.

In order to maintain my weight I just don't eat as much of those things any more. Portion control becomes key. I can gain or lose 5 pounds very easily so I'm pretty happy with where I am.

I think that as you get older your metabolism just doesn't process those kinds of foods as quickly. The joys of getting older, I guess.

Good luck with your program.
Indeed, your metabolism slows down making harder to loose the weight. I'm at 5'11 205 and that's too much for me. I play amateur baseball, this is not senior pitch and giggle, mostly college and ex-pros. Even with all that excercise, 2-3 games a week, I still can't break 200. I just watch what I eat, dont eat anything after 7:30 pm and portion control. As long as I can get out there and play at that level I'm happy.

Jim, Rafael. Thanks for the replies. Though it's a bummer for you guys too, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one at the 200 wall! Indeed, at a smidge under six feet, even 205 is about 20-25 more than I want to carrry. At least as fat. If I could pack on ten to fifteen in lean muscle then I wouldn't sweat staying in the 190's. Even then, it's hard on mobility. Dang I'm starting to sound like a geezer.

Jim, the Zone Diet sounds good for weight loss. A couple of questions though. Realise I'm not being a smart ***(we'll save that moniker for Randy, LOL)but I wonder at all the cutting of bread and cereal grains? Just past eighty years ago, no one had refridgerators and buthcered meat maybe twice a year. Fall and sometimes early spring. Most of this meat was smoked, salted, cured with brine or air dried into jerky. It only lasted so long and the bulk of these folks diets was bread, corn, rice, and pasta! They practically lived on it along with vegetables. Of course the pasta was homemade and so was the bread. Still, they lived on this stuff and if you look at those pictures of old ranchers and farmhands, they weren't fat! I suspect they worked a LOT harder than we do and ate less too. Meals were meals. Snacks would have consisted of cold biscuits(scones) or bread. Maybe some fruit in season.

I only know a bit of this based on the odd situation with my mom and dad's families. They were both children of older parents. My dad was born in 1935 and mom 1937. Both their parents were born in the late 1890's. What's even more interesting is that BOTH of my granddads were youngest sons of older parents. My greatgrandfather(my dad's side) was born in 1859 and mom's in the mid 1860's. So as a tiny child in the 1960's, I had grandparents approaching 70. They told me many things about their times. Including moving to the midwest in covered wagons. They had first hand knowledge of crops, bread baking(by hand), butter churning(I've done it a number of times), shodding horses, butchering meat, prepping wild game for the table, and lots of other things I'd never thought about. Anyway, sorry for the side tangent, I was just trying to get an idea of what started the "bread is bad" thing. Humanity has basically subsisted on it since Abraham. Can you elaborate on what you eat instead of the bread and grains? I loved steamed veg and can eat lots of those so that's not a problem. Thanks for the help.

Regards, Todd
This is gonna be a rather long reply but anyway, here's what I know about properly losing weight in a durable and not hard manner:

A few key things in order to properly lose weight and keep at it without much trouble:
- drink lots of water a day. An adult body easily needs 2 to 2.5 liters of water a day. If you drink coffee or tea, drink a glass of water before and after that coffee or tea (those are water drifting products meaning your body drifts the water out instead of taking it up). I can't stress this enough. The human body mainly consists of water and if you don't provide your body with sufficient water, your metabolism slows down. Your muscles need water as well. If you're doing muscle intensive or body intensive exercices, always drink extra water. If you're doing a one or two hour workout, your body easily needs 1 to 1.5liter of extra water, right before, during and after the workout. This is crucial for your body.
- drop the alcohol and sugar based sodas. These are one of the main weightgain items. If you want to drink a soda, drink a light one but no more than one and preferably during the day.
- drop all the sugar, candy, chips, whatever items that contains much sugar or fat. If you want to eat those, eat them during the day so theres much more chance of them being digested. Eating those at night will give your body not the chance to properly digest them, so they become body fat. Eat these in small portions, do not overeat yourself. The eyes are more hungry than the body.
- eat small portions every 2 to 3 hours instead of 3 portions every 4 to 5 hours. This will give your body a more constant stream of food to convert to energy which will be used in a more efficient way than doing it only 2 or 3 times a day. Top sport athletes eat every 2 to 3 hours because of their quick metabolism. This is what we're trying to achieve.
- eat on regular timestamps and don't eat too late, neither in the morning and not in the evening
- always eat breakfast in the morning as soon as you can. As long as you don't eat something, your digestion system is not working (never noticed that when you eat something in the morning, you are more hungry at noon than when you didn't have breakfast in the first place?)
- do often toilet/bathroom visits. People that don't go to the toilet/bathroom at least twice a day typically gain more weight than those that do regular toilet/bathroom stops.
- do some sort of sport on a day or two daily basis. This can be simple fitness, some gym, running, riding the bike etc. A decent fast walk every day of a half an hour to an hour will already get you to lose weight. By slowly increasing your muscles and accelerating your metabolism, your body will digest food and other items much quicker, therefore you will be allowed to eat more than you would do now.
- lookout as to what you feed your body on a daily basis. You don't have to leave out everything you like since alot of the products contain essential fibres, proteins and other key elements your body needs to properly function. Drop most (not all) of the red meat and replace it with white meat.
- don't hunger yourself. Okay, you will lose weight quickly but this will not be in a durable way. Contrary, you will be losing too much muscle fat instead of body fat seen the fact that muscle fats tend to break down easier than body fat. Hungering yourself drastically slows down your metabolism which is the adverse of what we're trying to achieve (acceleratre the metabolism). Hungering yourself cannot be kept in a durable fashion either so seriously, drop this idea should it play in your mind.
- you can do the occasional "exception" by eating a few things which are really not healty for your body, but don't make a habit out of it. Don't think "ah well, today I'll make an exception so everything that strucks my path will be eaten" cause this will bring your diet down in no time. If you want exceptions, allow yourself but do it in a controlled way. One exception at a time instead of a complete day of exceptions.
- make a timeline for yourself and certainly think in terms of months instead of weeks. If necessary, think in terms of years. Both your body and you need time to adjust to a new lifestyle, this is not something that is done over night.

I'm not saying that this is the holy grail in losing weight and people may correct me where necessary, however I think that this in general is in my opinion the most natural, healthy and durable way without affecting the way your body works. Contrary, it will improve your inner workings of the body and you're likely to feel much better.

My first key aspect was the importance of water. I cannot stress this highly enough. You can never drink too much water for your body. If you drink too much water, that's really not a problem since you will water it out on the toilet. It gives a nice additional bonus that your urine will become transparant and will not smell anymore, meaning your body is become pure without all the bad or unnecessary sustances. Okay, you will have to go to the toilet every 2 hours but the advantages of this are much more than the disadvantages. An extra advantage is that by drinking lots of water, you "clean" your body of any unnecessary substances residing in your body, just like I mentioned two sentences above. A simple comparison: drink one bottle of 1.5 liters of water in a four hour period and the day after do the same with some sort of soda (whether it's regular or light, doesn't matter). There's a very big difference in your stomach because you won't feel it anymore that you drank 1.5 liters after one or two hours but the soda, I can assure you that it will weigh down on your stomach.

Always remember: if you want to properly lose weight without gaining it back easily over the next few months/years, then you need to change your metabolism, eating habits and lifestyle in general. Doing some form of daily exercise (you don't need to do heavy lifting etc, but sufficient general exercise), combined with healty food on regular timestamps, big amounts of water will change your metabolism and the way you feel about yourself.

The first month it's rather hard to get used to all this but after a month your body's addiction to sugar has been lowered tremendously and you'll have it much easier to stay away from those products.

Edit: just adding something. I know alot of people for whom the above mentioned tips work and while I am thinking about adding a YMMV I'm not going to. I'm not a diet, body or food specialist so I cannot comment in a professional way should you have any indepth questions (i advise you to look up on the Internet just like I did and do a quick visit to a diet professional but chances are high he/she will tell you the same story as I did here above). I know what works and what doesn't. Diet products etc to lose weight in a few weeks time are all rubbish. They may help you in the short term but they will never help you in the long term. Don't become dependant on any of those products and do it yourself by changing your lifestyle. I am now inventing a new abbreviation: YMMNV in this case (Your Mileage May Not Vary) seen the fact that the human body works in approx the same way for every human, and this is simple and proven natural body science).

Anyway, I'll stop my rant and stop preaching. If you take into account only a couple of my tips on a daily basis, you'll already start noticing difference on your body after one or two months time, and this achieved in a healthy and natural way!
Ashe's recs are spot on. One other thing by the way that is important for weight maintenance believe it or not is sleep hygiene. Make sure you are getting your 7 or 8 hours a night. Americans are very unhealthy sleepers!

Avoid the simple and refined sugars and grains--whole grains are more the way to go. Also you gotta bring your own snacks to work raher than what usualy pops it. Great snacks to me include low sodium veggie juice and those little baby carrot things. Avoid restaurants--portions are just outta control.

While I myself am a string bean (I graduate college 6'0" and 128#) I now find at age 40 the weight goes on in unhealthful distributions without great care.
Very long post, I give my opinion and share what I have learned about exercise and eating.

A few pieces of information from me. First off, the time of day that one eats does not matter. If you eat a piece of cake, it is a piece of cake, regardless of the time of day eaten. Calories are calories and the body does not differentiate the time of day eaten. That means, if you eat it 2 minutes before bed, it will effect your body the same way as if you ate it 2 minutes after getting up in the morning. Cutting out the breads, or at least eating them within reason, will help your triglycerides and with control of your triglycerides your LDL will be better able to be controlled. The above information is from my doctor. I lost a significant amount of weight on the zone diet, but much like the Atkins diet, the weight drops fast due to the lack of carbs. But, to start eating carbs again, the weight comes back just as fast. The best way to lose weight is the old fashioned way, eat less and exercise more. If calories in are less than calories out, then one will lose weight.

Someone else mentioned the importance of dropping the high sugar sodas and such, and that is very true. One can of cola can have as many as 200 calories. A container of iced tea can contain 2 or 3 servings, each with 100 to 150 calories. The liquid calories can sneak up on you fast. Most of us can watch our food when we eat, but the drinks, (juice, soda, alcohol) will sneak up on us. One glass of orange juice, either frozen, fresh or out of the containers in the dairy section, can be equal to 2 or 3 oranges. You are better off to eat the 3 oranges then drink them.

Now, on to exercise. I used to run, use the eliptical, stairclimber and bike ride (both stationary and on the road). Now I mainly row on a Concept2 rowing machine. Rowing is one of the best low impact activities one can do. For a piece of home gym equipment it is relatively cheap (~$900) and is very easy to keep maintained. On the rower one uses most of the large muscle groups, low impact on the joints, and, increase the heart rate to whatever level you want. I am 35 and can get my heart rate up to the 180s. I can row every day for 10km or more. I try to get to 40 to 40 km per week. The worst part of the rower is that one can't cheat on it. It is hard work. On a review of best pieces of home cardio equipment the eliptical was first, the rower was 3rd I believe if I remember correctly. The reason the rower was not first was the fact that most people admit it is too hard (again, the lack of being able to cheat like you can on most pieces of equipment such as leaning on the handles of a stepper, stepping off a treadmill yet it keeps running). If you stop rowing, you stop rowing. Concept2 has a training forum, much like this one in that people will post questions and such. As well, there is a computer program that allows one to row either live via internet access or to download rows from other users that allow you to row against someone else, stroke for stroke, whenever you want.

I am trying to eat more healthy, no fancy diet, keeping breads and grains in my diet. Yes in the past our forefathers ate that way, but they were also very active, much more-so than most of us. I walk 3 miles, round trip, to work 4 days a week. Plus rowing and other walking, is a good plan but does take work to accomplish it.

Sorry so long!

No problem for me with long responses to this topic. It literally is not something you sort out over a doughnut(cough cough)and a cup of coffee. As to the water thing, I'm a HUGE water drinker. Probably several litres a day. I also drink coffee by the scads but it is 99.9% water. Soda? No problemo. I don't drink it as a habit. A year's consumption is about 20-24 cans. Alcohol is minimal and I shan't be giving up my Guinness anytime soon. So harder work is in order. Good ideas all around gents. Keep it up.

Regards ,Todd
Wow, great thread and lots of good ideas! However, I'm with Todd, not gonna give up the Guinness anytime soon! =)

You have had some lengthy replies, so I don't have too much to add except the following:

Be careful with your heart rate during exercise. The numbers you mention are high for someone of your age. It may not feel like you are working out hard enough, but if you keep it a bit lower it will be safer and will do the job just as well

Mixing weights and cardio is a great combination. Building lean muscle mass will help burn calories while you are not exercising.

Concentrate on the quality of the foods you eat as much as (or more) than the quantity. Eat stuff that is good for you - real foods not laden with high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, fats, etc. Eat tons of fruits and veggies and lean protein - there is no reason to be hungry.

Good luck!
stropmegently said:
A few pieces of information from me. First off, the time of day that one eats does not matter. If you eat a piece of cake, it is a piece of cake, regardless of the time of day eaten. Calories are calories and the body does not differentiate the time of day eaten. That means, if you eat it 2 minutes before bed, it will effect your body the same way as if you ate it 2 minutes after getting up in the morning.
Hi Darren,

Is there a chance that what you wrote here is incorrect? There's a clear difference in eating a piece of cake right after you woke up and right before you go to bed. If you eat it in the morning or during the day, chances are much higher that you have burned the calories because of the activities during the day. If you eat it late in the evening, those calories tend to not get burned that quickly and eventually get transformed into body fat. If you eat this at dinner and you're planning on extensive exercices later during the evening, then chances are high they will get burned as well.

Again, I could be wrong since I'm no specialist.
I dropped carbs out of my diet (under 20 at first, now under 40) on July 1, 2006 at 235 lbs. Today, August 24, 2006, I am at 205 lbs.
I drink about 1 - 1.5 gallons of water each day, and take a multi-vitamin plus extra potassium to ward off leg cramps at night. My wife and I (she has been on the same diet - with lots of cheating for her :)) both drink coffee and have continued to do so. We also enjoy a before dinner cocktail and have not given that up.
I walk everywhere I can, park at the farthest parking spot from the store, bicycle about 20 miles a week and jog 2 miles twice a week. Each morning I do stretching exercises and crunches.
I am 6' 2" tall, was walways very thin until my wife put me on Burger King when we were dating to "flesh me out." That was... 1989.
There's no specific weight number goal once I get under 200, but I am watching the mirror and plan to stop when I don't see any more places on my body that look flabby. Simple eh? :) The firs thing to go was my seat! Gone!
I am 43 years old.
Ashe said:
Hi Darren,

Is there a chance that what you wrote here is incorrect? There's a clear difference in eating a piece of cake right after you woke up and right before you go to bed. If you eat it in the morning or during the day, chances are much higher that you have burned the calories because of the activities during the day. If you eat it late in the evening, those calories tend to not get burned that quickly and eventually get transformed into body fat. If you eat this at dinner and you're planning on extensive exercices later during the evening, then chances are high they will get burned as well.

Again, I could be wrong since I'm no specialist.

I thought I had heard something saying the time of day was irrelevent... It is still more to do with calories in and calories out. I did a quick search online and see the following BBC article for the "official results" of some scientific study.

Well, I'm almost 40...

I found the Abs Diet Book to be very useful in helping me control the tire that started to form around my mid-section after I turned 35. The book does have its cheesy commercial aspects, but it was very good at describing a diet (I mean everyday eating plan, not dieting) that I could comprehend in terms of foods and portions.

Its a balanced diet of healthy carbs and lean protein along with basic weight training and interval cordio training. So any given day I might eat something like this:

8am - 1/2 Cup Irish oats w/ a handful of frozen blueberries, 1 egg nuked, 1 small slice whole wheat w/ 2tsp of natural peanut butter, 1/2 grapefruit, 1 cup skim milk, water.

11am - apple and small handful of unsalted almonds

1pm - smoked turkey on whole wheat with 1 slice of low fat swiss, 6-8oz serving of low fat, lower sugar yogurt, some pickled veggies/roasted peppers, etc.

4pm - 1/2 cup or so of broccoli nuked and 1/2 cold chicken breast or low fat string cheese.

6pm - smoothie with fruit, skim milk, a little whey powder.

6:45pm - weight training 30-45 minutes 3x/wk

8pm - grilled chicken breast and big salad w/ veggies and homade vinaigrette.

You do have to drink a lot of water and watch out for high fructose corn syrup. Gotta run to a meeting now, but this worked for me. Give the book a shot. Its very manageable.

I stand corrected then. I can't proof my statements as these were just based on what I have been told by other people and my own assumptions. I also did a quick readup on the Internet about this and indeed, it seems there are a lot of mixed opinions.

My apologies for the wrong info in my previous post. This is the exact reason why I love these forums, every day you learn new things. Even when you think you know a bit about a particular aspect of life, there's always a few other people who can give you more or other insight into the same matter.

Thanks for pointing it out both Darren and Adam, now I know that too. :001_smile

If there's anything else that may be wrong in my post, please comment on that as well. I don't want the members here to have incorrect information from what have always thought was correct.

Also, what people should know is that the metabolism doesn't change over night but over a longer period of days/weeks/months.

Thanks again!
Scotto said:
Todd, Be careful with your heart rate during exercise. The numbers you mention are high for someone of your age. It may not feel like you are working out hard enough, but if you keep it a bit lower it will be safer and will do the job just as well.

Scotto, you are absolutely correct. I was listening to the local sports talk station a few weeks ago and a fitness pro said exactly the same thing. It wasn't that it would automatically "hurt" you, it's just that after a certain heart rate, the body ceases burning fat and gets into other modes. The gist of it was that high heart rates were not always in line with weight loss and could be dangerous. Now before anyone thinks this is all the same for everyone, it's not. For safety's sake, listen to your DOCTOR, before you start in with stout cardio exercise. Especially if you have heart issues like I did/do. It wasn't an impediement for me but it may be for YOU. Thanks again for all the input.

Regards, Todd
something i learned....

soda has 40 grams of sugar...that is all the extra sugar you are allowed in your diet....

guess what...

some flavored yogurt have 35 grams of sugar...uh oh...i thought yogurt was suppose to be good for you...well it is...i checked yoplait light the other day and it was very low in sugar.

another thing would be to get plain yougurt and add your own fruit...

second thing...i am not a big oatmel fan....however, i started using brown sugar (instead of the process white stuff) sliced bananas and drizzle honey over that...honey is a natural sweetner and an energy boost, too.

I had my cholsestoral checked and that is why i am on a stricter diet plan....i have to add some physicla activity for this to really help.

I was at 202 in January and now I am at 188...not a big loss, but just a gradual one....my daughter complimented me the other day, that i don;t have the belly i used to have...


we need to support one another in our endeavors...

mark tssb
Also I think it should be said that 40 is not some kind of death sentence. You can still eat well and have fun.

I ride a mountain bike and the best rider we ride with is 53 years old. He is an animal! He crushes guys in their 40s, 30s, and 20s regularly. It's particularly funny watching him go by 20 year olds who think they're in great shape.
Thanks for clearing up the eating at night myth. Now as for what MTSSB said about grams of sugar. The sugar is important yes, but an understanding of glycemic index values of food might be worthwhile. The glycemic index explains how fast the particular food you eat causes a surge in insulin production (insulin production helps to store the food, as fat). Now, when one eats a meal high in carbs that are also high in glycemic index, the insulin production is boosted and then one tends to feel more hungry quickly (note the way MOST people feel after eating chinese food, or rather more Westernized chinese food). If you do not include a lot of vegetables or other sources of fiber to help slow the digestion process, hunger will come on sooner. Fats and fiber are what make us feel full and they slow down the digestion of simple carbs (breads, pasta, rice, etc).

So, the 40 grams of sugar in a can of soda is different than the sugar in an apple. The apple is bound with fiber as well as being a more complex sugar, thus raises your insulin less (in theory).

A search online should reveal a bit about the glycemic index stuff, very interesting.

There's some great advice here, so I'll try to add to it.

First, if you haven't already bought equipment for working out, I'd suggest that you not, and join a gym instead. Gyms are great because I think they motivate you more (once you're there of of course) and have a variety of different equipment so you can change up your excersizes (and breach those plateaus of yours).

Second, weight training is essential. Resistance training does more than just build up muscles, it really helps your overall health and metabolism. I don't know how much you know about weight training, but if you are a beginner, I would suggest a personal trainer if you can afford it. If not there are other great sources of information out there. Muscle and Fitness is a great magazine that I still get lots of useful information from.

Third, nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. I want to echo the above post which recommended eating smaller portions more often, rather than the more traditional three meals a day. Also never (this tip has worked wonders for me) keep unhealthy products stocked in your house. That way, if your in the mood for potato chips you'll actually have to go out and buy them.

Also don't pay attention to fad diets. Generally they're crap, and sometimes not very healthy. Just use common sense. Eat complex carbs early, more lean protein at night, and stay away form saturated fats (but don't completely ignore red meats, they do have benefits).

Ok supplementation. I know you said you don't want magic powders, so I'll stay away from them. I would suggest adding multivitamin and some whey protein to your daily diet. I use a Optimum Nutrition's Gold standard protein. I use it before and after I workout. It mixes better then anything else I've used and it only about $25 for a five pound container on gold card days at GNC.
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