Eating Optimally for Massive Size and Strength

If one were to poll strength trainees nearly all of them would tell you that testosterone is the most important hormone for size and strength.  Testosterone’s importance cannot be argued, but insulin rivals it in terms of results in the gym and plays an even more crucial role in overall health. 

Insulin’s association with blood sugar is generally well known, but what is less known is its ability to mediate protein synthesis and thus skeletal muscle recovery and potential growth. 

Insulin sensitivity, or the body’s receptiveness to its effects, is key to optimal health and results in the gym.  While insulin can be taken exogenously (from outside of the body), its management via dietary manipulation is the method of choice for optimal long term results (in healthy individuals).  Insulin management to maximize protein synthesis and thus potential and actual muscular growth will be the focus of this article.

Eating Specifically for Hypertrophy

Whether you are trying to gain body mass for athletic or aesthetic purposes, the end goal of eating for size is to add as much lean muscle mass as possible while mitigating increases in body fat.  Make no mistake; optimization of lean muscle accruement necessitates the addition of some body fat. 

In order to foster optimum growth, the body must have the nutrients necessary to do the job when needed.  This translates to essentially a continuous need.  Why?  Muscle growth does not follow any exact timeframe.  It is nigh impossible to assure the correct nutrients are in abundant supply at all times without consuming an excess of calories.  Interestingly enough, even without training, a percentage of excess caloric intake will be stored as lean muscle tissue.  The addition of resistance training can greatly increase this percentage, and the combination of an excess caloric intake and resistance training is the only way to truly optimize the addition of lean muscle mass. 

Eating a lot is important, but there is a limit to the benefit derived from excess caloric intake.  Too many calories for too long of a period of time results in an unacceptably high increase in body fat and the potential health problems associated with it (depressed testosterone, insulin resistance etc.).  How does one consume a surplus of calories in order to foster optimal muscular hypertrophy, but avoid excess deposition of body fat?  The key is nutrient control and timing.

Carbohydrate Control and Nutrient Timing

Insulin has a tremendous effect on hypertrophy, but is also a potent promoter of fat storage.  It is released in response to any foods consumed, but sugars and starches (complex carbohydrates) generally elicit a greater insulin response than other foodstuffs.  Timing, quantity, and form of carbohydrate ingestion are very important when one is trying to optimize the addition of lean body mass. 

Carbohydrate consumption should be limited to roughly 25-30% of total caloric intake.  Fibrous carbs in the form of vegetables (corn, lettuce, broccoli, carrots etc.) and legumes (dried peas, baked beans, lentils, lima beans etc.) should constitute roughly 20-30% of total carb intake. 

Studies have demonstrated that insulin has both an active and permissive effect on protein synthesis, but this effect is only optimized in the presence of amino acids (1).  Nutrient intake should thus both spike insulin release and provide ample amino acids.   This means that simple or complex carbs should be consumed with quality sources of protein. 

Spiking insulin allows for enhanced muscle protein synthesis (MPS), but chronically high levels of insulin and excess caloric intake can lead to insulin insensitivity and this should be avoided at all costs.  Insulin spikes should therefore be deliberately induced a controlled number of times daily.  This is where it gets really interesting, and is the basis of my current theory relative to proper eating for athletes.  Studies have shown that postprandial (after a meal) MPS remains elevated for roughly 2-3 hours (longer with a high fat meal) (2).  Ingestion of more amino acids, or another protein containing meal within 4-6 hours will not renew or further enhance MPS (this blows the traditional bodybuilding idea of eating protein every 2 hours out of the water) (2).  Of extreme interest to me (perhaps kind of a unifying theory of nutrition) is that the 2-3 hour period of postprandial MPS elevation closely mimics the timeline for postprandial insulin elevation (2)!  Ahhhh, now we are getting somewhere!  We know that optimized protein synthesis is only possible in the presence of insulin and ample amino acids.  We also know that spiking insulin too often is counterproductive and potentially harmful to one’s health. 

Finally, we know that MPS can only effectively be stimulated once every 4-6 hours…  Soooo, what to do?  The answer is deceptively simple.  Consume meals with simple or complex carbs and quality protein every 4-6 waking hours, or 3-4 times per day.  This allows for maximized protein synthesis throughout the day with a controlled limit on insulin release.  

Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition 

As with everything relative to human physiology, nutrient timing is not quite as simple as stated above for those looking to optimize performance.  The primary exceptions are pre and post-workout nutrition. 

Recent studies have demonstrated that pre-workout (PW) nutrition may have an even greater effect on post-workout (PWO) MPS than PWO nutrition (3).  The theory behind the potential increased benefit of PW nutrition is that the muscular contractions during exercise may drive a greater amount of amino acids into the muscle cells thus providing for a greater availability of said amino acids for MPS (amino acid availability is considered a rate limiting factor in MPS) (3). 

PW and PWO nutrition are unique in that they do not follow the rules of standard nutrition.  Nutrients consumed at these times, within reasonable limits, are used almost exclusively for anabolic or performance related purposes.  The insulin spike elicited by PW & PWO nutrition is essentially only anabolic in nature as the likelihood of fat deposition is slim to nil. 

With the above said, on training days when one is incorporating both PW and PWO nutrition, care should be taken to limit spiking of insulin to 2-3 other times during the day. 

Calculating Your Caloric Needs and a Sample Diet

Many authors and gurus provide exacting formulas which they purport everyone can use to calculate their caloric needs.  This is pure bunk.  The unique physiology and life circumstance of each individual preclude such formulas.  With that said, it is possible for me to provide you a framework with which you can calculate an initial caloric intake geared to maximizing size and strength. 

Assuming your body weight is currently relatively constant, the best way to come up with a starting intake for your new diet is to keep a food and beverage log for a period of one week.  Be sure to record ALL calorie containing foods and beverages and do your best to record accurate serving sizes.  I recommend www.fitday.com to then calculate the total number of calories you consumed in the 7 day period.  Once the total is obtained, divide it by 7 to come up with your average daily intake.  Take this number and add 500 calories per day.  This will be your initial daily intake. 

Adjustments to this figure should be made in 300 caloric blocks (either 300 more, or less, calories daily) every 2 weeks depending on progress in the gym, body weight, and body fat deposition.  In other words, if you find you are gaining too much body fat too quickly, reduce your daily intake by 300 calories for a period of 2 weeks and then revaluate your needs.  Conversely, if you feel that you are not adding excessive body fat and your total body weight is not climbing, adjust your daily intake upwards by 300 calories.  Continue this process until you have reached your goal, and or decide to pursue other physical goals.

I just stated it is folly to provide specific cookie-cutter caloric intake recommendations, but I also realize there will be many readers who do not wish to go through the complete process outlined above.  For those people, I am going to provide specific calorie counts for them to calculate an initial daily intake.  Due to the less exacting nature of this method, the first couple of bi-weekly adjustments take on an even greater importance.

Initial Daily Intake Formulation

  • Teen + (17-22 years old): 25+ calories per pound of body weight (ex: 170 lbs trainee = 170 x 25 = 4,250 + calories)
  • Adult (23-35 years old): 23 calories per pound of body weight
  • Mature Adult (36-49 years old): 21 calories per pound of body weight
  • Older Adult (50+ years of age): For this group I recommend that caloric intake is maintained at a more moderate level.  Follow the other tenets laid forth in this article, but keep caloric intake in the 16-18 calories per pound of body weight range.

Below is a sample approximately 3,700 calorie per day diet.  It includes both solid foods and nutritional supplements and incorporates the tenets laid out in this article.  The right nutritional supplements, while not necessary to gaining size and strength, are necessary to maximizing said gains.

Sample diet – approx 3,700 calories

Meal 1 (controlled high insulin spike):

5 fried eggs (whole)
453 calories – 34g fat, 3g carb, 31g prot

RESULTS (1 serving in water)
320 calories – 80g carb

ETS (4 capsules)
<10 calories – 2g prot

Total: 783 calories – 34g fat, 83g carb, 33g prot

Note: The 80g of dextrose in RESULTS stimulates a powerful insulin response.  Combined with the high quality egg protein, it is a perfect first meal of the day to jumpstart MPS.

Meal 2 (controlled high insulin spike):

Turkey breast sandwich (10 Oscar Myer cold cut slices, 2 x 1 oz. slices American cheese, 2 slices rye bread, 1 teaspoon mustard)
463 calories – 17g fat, 40g carb, 35g prot

Broccoli (cooked – 2cups)
181 calories – 10g fat, 19g carb, 11g prot

Total: 644 calories – 27g fat, 59g carb, 46g prot

Note: The carbs from the bread stimulate a potent insulin response, and the turkey breast and cheese provide the amino acids necessary to spike MPS.

Meal 3 (controlled high insulin spike):

Opticen (with 2 servings in water)
Total: 744 calories – 16g fat, 70g carb, 80g prot

Note: Simple carbs and high quality protein with a liquid delivery, another recipe for peak MPS.

Meal 4 (controlled, but more moderate insulin spike):

Chicken breasts (2 large – roasted)
867 calories – 34g fat, 131g prot

Green beans (string – cooked – 2 cups)
166 calories – 9g fat, 21g carbs, 5g prot

Black beans (cooked – 1 cup)
293 calories – 12g fat, 34g carbs, 13g prot

Total: 1326 calories – 55g fat, 55g carb, 149g prot

Note: Superior quality protein combined with complex carbs for a sufficient insulin response to promote enhanced MPS.

Meal 5 – Pre-bed Snack (carb free, relatively low insulin response):

Nitrean (2 servings in water)
220 calories- 2g fat, <4g carbs, 48g prot

ETS (4 capsules)
<10 calories – 2g prot

Total: 230calories – 4g fat, <4g carb, 50g prot

Note: High quality protein with virtually no carbs in order to minimize the insulin response.  This snack will provide a more muted MPS stimulus.

Totals:

  • Calories – ~3717
  • Fat grams – 135 – 33% of calories
  • Carb grams – 271 – 29% of calories
  • Protein – 358 – 38% of calories

On training days, meal 3 should be split in two and used for PW and PWO shakes.

Wrap

You need insulin to optimize protein synthesis and thus potential growth.  Too much insulin too often results in insulin insensitivity and a host of potential health problems.  Controlled daily insulin releases are the solution.  On non-training days a mix of simple and complex carbs should be consumed with a high quality protein for a total of 3-4 meals per day consumed every 4-6 hours.  Training days should include 2-3 simple and complex carb containing meals along with a pre and post workout shake which contains both protein and carbs. 

Written by Chris Mason

Discuss, comment or ask a question

If you have a comment, question or would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please do so in the following discussion thread on the Wannabebig Forums – Eating Optimally for Massive Size and Strength discussion thread.

References:

1. Roy, B.D., J.R. Fowles, R. Hill, and M.A. Tarnopolsky. Macronutrient intake and whole body protein metabolism following resistance exercise.  Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No.8, pp. 1412-1418, 2000.

2. Norton, L. Optimal protein intake and meal frequency to support maximal protein synthesis and muscle mass.  Available online.

3. Volek, J. Supplement Staples for 2009 – Protein is Primewww.wannabebig.com

An Inspiring Interview with Forum Member, Unholy

I’ve been meaning to write an article like this for a while now…

The Member Online Journals forum is probably one of the coolest things about Wannabebig.  Since the birth of the forum, we’ve seen over 3,200 journals created and nearly half a million individual journal entries and comments added by our members.

What makes it so awesome is that you can jump straight in by starting a journal, and fairly quickly, you’ll find that members will pop their heads in to offer encouragement and advice.  If that sounds a bit scary, it’s just as easy to browse around a little and find some journals that you’re interested in following yourself.  Whatever way you join in, you can guarantee you will go away more inspired and more knowledgeable than when you dropped in!

We have members with a huge range of experience keeping journals, from some of the most experienced powerlifters on the planet (Eric Downey, JT Hall, Ryan Celli, and Vincent Dizenzo, to name a few) to guys and gals just trying to get bigger/stronger/fitter/leaner for the first time.

So…. there I am, lying in bed at night (I’m not even joking!) thinking, what’s the best way to highlight some of our members’ great transformation stories as well as raising the exposure of the Member Online Journals forum a little?

And then it clicked…

We needed to publish an article that shares a member story with all of our readers!  Better yet, let’s not only share a success story, let’s also follow someone every step of the way on a current effort to reach a goal!

And that’s where Wannabebig forum member Unholy comes in…

This guy has not only gone from fat to buff, he’s already part of the way through a new mission to compete in two bodybuilding shows later this year – the INBF NYS Bodybuilding Championships on October 24th and the OCB NYS Championships on November 7th.

This interview will give you some background information on Unholy, bringing you up to speed on his incredible journey so far, as well as covering his goals for the next 17 weeks and right up to his first show.

We’ll also be publishing three further articles documenting his progress:

  • 10 weeks out from first show (INBF NYS Championships)
  • 4 weeks out from first show (INBF NYS Championships)
  • 1-2 weeks after the second show (OCB NYS Championships)

Ok, enough from me, let’s get into this…

Wannabebig: Paul, first of all, thanks for agreeing to take part in this series of interviews.  I’m really excited about sharing your story and current journey with our readers.

Unholy: No worries. I’m pleased you picked my story to share with the Wannabebig members.  And, not that I really need it, but it’s going to be probably the biggest test of accountability I could ever wish for!

Wannabebig: Awesome, so let’s dive right in…tell us a bit about your background.

Unholy: Well…growing up, I was always a big kid…

Wannabebig: By “big”, you mean “fat” right? 🙂

Unholy: LOL, actually both!  I was usually the tallest and heaviest in my grade school and middle school classes, and went on to play high school lacrosse for two years.  It wasn’t until after I quit the team and started working fulltime my senior year that I discovered weight lifting.  I found Wannabebig on an online search for weightlifting/bodybuilding, and I was immediately hooked. 

However, when I went on to college, I replaced barbells and dumbbells with beer and fast food.  The “freshman fifteen” turned into the “freshman fifty” and before I knew it, I was 295 lbs and my waist measured a whopping 48.7 inches!  I had a realization that I was ruining my body and health and it was time to do something about it.  I started going to the gym again and watching what I ate.  After a few months, I was down to 275 lbs.  Here’s a pic, but it’s not for the faint of heart!

After a few months of hard work, down to 275 lbs

By following the WBB1 routine and a low carb/high protein/moderate fat diet over the following year, I managed to get down to 240-245 lbs by July 7.  Here’s another picture:

And down to 245lbs……

Wannabebig:  WOW…a drop of 35-40 lbs is no joke!  That’s a serious achievement.  It must have felt pretty good, huh?

Unholy: Yep, it felt great to ditch that weight, but I was only just getting started!  I lifted on and off over the next year but it wasn’t until October 1st 2008, this past fall, that I had clear bodybuilding aspirations.  Motivation was at an all-time high and I realized that the only thing standing between me and the body I always wanted was simply myself.  I rejoined the gym after a five-month hiatus, I picked a show for the following October, and got to work.

Wannabebig: You definitely don’t do things by half, that’s for sure .  Deciding to shed some weight or get stronger is one thing, but committing to a bodybuilding show is on another level!  Apart from requiring you to live a pretty drastic lifestyle whilst you prepare for it, some people may find it a bit odd that you want to get up there on a stage in front of others and flex your muscles.  What made you want to compete?  Where did that come from?

Unholy:  I’ve been a fan of bodybuilding for a few years now.  I have always had great admiration for those that had the commitment and discipline to get themselves into contest shape (3-4% body fat). I decided, “what better way to get into the best shape of my life than a bodybuilding show?”  It’s the ultimate test of willpower.  The more I got into reading about all the aspects of competition, the more intrigued I was and the more excited I got about the whole process.  Needless to say, I was hooked after I started seeing results.

Wannabebig: Ok, so let’s get back to October. You picked a show to compete in, so what next?

Unholy: Well, before I started, I took another couple of pictures to serve as ‘before’ pictures. Here’s  my starting point on Oct 1st 2008:

Before picture 1 – October 1st 2008

Before picture 2 – October 1st 2008 

With a new fire lit under my ass, I was scrambling to learn as much as possible about competitive natural bodybuilding as possible.  While I read and researched, I kept to a modified version of WBB#1 routine and kept a fairly clean ~3500 calorie diet.

I lowered my calories and cut carbohydrates slightly further and started training using a high intensity/high frequency/low volume approach and fell in love with it.  The routine was very similar to what I was doing before but with less volume and higher frequency.

Here’s a side chest shot from March 22nd, 2009:
 

Side chest shot from March 22nd, 2009

In the beginning of April, I started focusing on getting my metabolism revved up for my preparation. I slowly increased my calories and started hitting the gym even harder.  My strength was improving and I felt great eating at caloric excess once again, even for a short period of time.  I got my calories up to 5000 a day for a few days towards the end of April and then slowly started tapering down.  By doing this, I managed to gain size and lean out slowly.

On May 9th 2009, my 22nd birthday and my 24 weeks out mark, I started adding in cardio and once again controlling my carbohydrate intake and monitoring my calories more closely.  I started eating 3800 calories on workout days and 3600 calories on non-workout days for two weeks and I dropped a couple more pounds.  I then added more cardio in the form of mountain biking and also lowered calories a bit to around 3600 for workout days and 3400 otherwise.

Below are some pictures of me at 19 weeks and 5 days out, with my weight at 201-202 lbs.  These were taken June 8th 2009:

Side Chest – 19 weeks and 5 days out (201-202 lbs)

Front- 19 weeks and 5 days out (201-202 lbs)

Side on – 19 weeks and 5 days out (201-202 lbs)

Wannabebig: You’re looking absolutely great at 19 weeks out. I cannot believe that it’s the same person as that fat guy back at 245 lbs!  So, where are you at right now?

Unholy:  My height is 6’0” and I don’t think that’s going to change between now and the competition 🙂  As we speak  (July 13th 2009), I’m currently 190 lbs at ~9% body fat with a 32” waist and I’m 17 weeks out. I know you’re probably a bit sick and tired of looking at me, but I promise that this is the last picture you’ll see, in this article at least!  Here’s me at 17 weeks out, taken July 13th 2009:

Side Chest –  190 lbs at ~9% body fat with a 32” waist

As for my lifts, I’m bench pressing 95 lb dumbbells for 8 reps, deadlifting 315 lbs x 8, and doing pause squats for 275 lbs x 8.  I should mention that I don’t really lift for strength.  The mind-muscle connection, contraction, and full range of motion are much more important to me.

Wannabebig: And what is your next short-term goal?

Unholy:  To bring the best possible package to the INBF NYS Natural Bodybuilding Championships on October 24th 2009 in Poughkeepsie, NY as well the OCB NYS Bodybuilding Championships on Nov 7th In Syracuse NY.  The shows are two weeks apart and this will be my first time competing.

Wannabebig: Do you know what weight class you’ll be competing in?

Unholy: I am guessing I will be either at the top of the Middleweight or the bottom of the Light Heavyweight class.  These are tested events so conditioning is my main concern at this point and I want to come in absolutely shredded.

Wannabebig:  What’s your current training routine look like?

Unholy: My split is three days on/one day off:

  • Day 1 – Calves/Chest/Upper Back/Cardio
  • Day 2 – Hams/Quads/Abs
  • Day 3 – Calves/Shoulders/Biceps/Triceps/Cardio
  • Day 4 – Off (LISS or HIIT)

I train with maximum intensity using a low volume approach and I usually do two warm-up sets per body part and then proceed to do my heaviest set in the 6-8 rep range first followed by two more working sets.  The goal is to fatigue the body part enough to stimulate growth with these three heavy sets per body part and reaching physical failure on each set is a must

I usually do one exercise per body part with an exception for back and sometimes chest.  My back needs vertical and horizontal training and my chest is a lagging body part, so I throw in a little variety to get some more growth. 

As far as cardio goes, I am currently doing 3 x 40 minutes of Low Intensity Solid State cardio (130-145 BPM heart rate) and I just started doing HIIT 2 x 30 minutes a week.  I do both of these outside on my bike rather than in the gym. It’s just my personal preference to be outside rather than stuck in a gym.

Wannabebig: Is the way you are training now specifically different because you are competing?

Unholy:  My weight training routine is not much different from my off-season training. It’s important to keep intensity high to preserve Lean Body Mass (LBM).  I HAVE cut a bit of volume to avoid overtraining.  My cardio routine is definitely something new that I’ve started for contest prep. 

Wannabebig: What’s your current diet looking like?

Unholy: It’s a controlled carbohydrate/high protein/moderate fat approach.  My calories are around 3000 and my macros are:

  • 120 g fat
  • 180 g carbohydrates
  • 300 g protein

This is split into six meals a day, each meal consisting of:

  • 20 g fat
  • 30 g carbohydrates
  • 50 g protein

Every third day, my last meal of the day (every 18th meal) is a carb-up meal, which is roughly 150-180 g of carbohydrates and 30 g of healthy fat with only a trace of protein.  I don’t drink liquids during this one meal to avoid abdominal bloat and distension.

As far as food choices go, I try to eat clean at least five out of six meals a day. I always make everything I eat fit my macros, but occasionally I do eat out and get some fast food.  The biggest thing I have learned about prep diet so far is the importance of weighing your food.  I never realized how much I was underestimating my peanut butter intake by!

Wannabebig: Sometimes it’s hard to really come to grips with exactly what it takes to hit the total numbers and macros every day.  To give the readers some insight into your daily routine, what did you eat yesterday, for example?

Unholy:  

  • Meal 1 – 5 eggs, 1 slice double fiber toast, 2 oz. Salsalito turkey breast
  • Meal 2 – 2 scoops Nitrean, 1 cup chocolate calorie countdown
  • Meal 3 – 8 oz. Salsalito turkey, 20 spears grilled asparagus.
  • Meal 4 – 1 scoop Nitrean, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 100 g blueberries
  • Meal 5 – 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 peeled grapefruit, 6 oz. Salsalito turkey breast
  • Meal 6 – 5 eggs, 2 servings dark chocolate peanut butter

Wannabebig: Are you using any supplements right now?

Unholy: Yes, I am.  I didn’t supplement much in the off-season since I was well fed, and lethargy and recovery weren’t an issue.  Back then, I used whey, fish oil, and a multivitamin, but everything changes when you put yourself in a caloric deficit.  I realized that if I wanted the edge, it would help a ton to get some quality supplements.  I have been taking Nitor regularly for the past month or so. I can honestly say that energy levels have been great.  I know it’s working because if I occasionally forget to take it first thing in the morning, I’m quickly reminded by my lack of energy. 

Another supplement I cannot say enough good things about has been ETS.  I’ve tried everything for sleep from valerian root to maximum strength Unisom and nothing has given me the deep sleep and lucid dreams that ETS has.  Can’t complain about reduced DOMS either! 

Last but most certainly not least, I take Nitrean.  After switching from a cheap whey concentrate/isolate blend over to Nitrean, I will never go back.  I was extremely impressed with the taste and mixability.  Besides, who can argue with a three-source blend?

Wannabebig: It must be tough trying to understand exactly how to prepare for and compete in a competition.  Where do you start and is anyone helping you with your training, diet, and posing?

Unholy: It definitely is.  As with everything, there is a wealth of information out there on how to do your own prep as well as a wealth of misinformation that you have to try to avoid.

We all know how dieting can play tricks on the mind…you feel small weak and it’s hard to stay objective.  It always helps to have a prep coach or a trainer to assess your progress and make necessary changes to diet or cardio.  I sought out IFBB Pro Phil Hernon’s help a few months ago.  He was the one who worked with me to design the routine I am currently using.  He helped me find something to bring my lagging body parts up and work around my shoulder problems.  I have had great success since I began working with Phil and he’s a great guy.

IFBB – Pro Phil Hernon

Very recently, I’ve started working with WNBF Natural Pro bodybuilder Rob “The Reason” Moran. Rob is taking care of my diet and cardio for the duration of my prep.  I consider myself very lucky to be working with him as he has dialed in hundreds of natural competitors, including national level NPC competitors. 

WNBF Natural Pro Bodybuilder – Rob “The Reason” Moran

During my research into competing, I realized that being big and lean is not going to be enough.  If I wanted the competitive edge, I would have to learn how to pose and present myself like a true bodybuilder.  I know Gerry Triano has been working with competitive bodybuilders for over 20 years and has some great articles on posing and stage presentation. What I wasn’t aware of was that Gerry is from my neck of the woods!  I got in touch with him and we will be working together on my posing.  Gerry is a posing guru.  He is also a very amazing human being and coaches free of charge in honor of his late wife.

Wannabebig: Well, it looks as if you have some great help on your side! But, even with great help, it’s obviously not going to be plain sailing.  What have been the toughest challenges for you in the last three months, and what do you think will be the toughest from now through to the competition?

Unholy: The toughest challenge so far was getting myself mentally ready for 24 weeks of dieting. Natural competitors need longer to diet down to sub 5% body fat than our assisted friends do.  The idea of dieting for such a long time, especially after cutting since October 1st with very few breaks, was a hard one to get my head around.

Wannabebig: So…. I guess that means partying, drinking, womanizing, and all-you-can eat pizza buffets are benched then? 🙂

Unholy: I haven’t touched alcohol since my 22nd birthday at 24 weeks out. The biggest challenge I expect to face over the coming weeks is food cravings. I got fat in the first place because I like to eat!  Throw in a couple of hours of cardio a week and restrict my calories further and I might go nuts. But hey, “Never give up what you want most for what you want at the moment.”

Wannabebig: Great advice! And, you keep your own journal on Wannabebig – how is that going for you?

Unholy: It is very motivational and I feel more accountable for my actions. I hope to get more people interested in the sport of bodybuilding.  I also want to show people out there that you can compete and look great without anabolic steroids.  Not that I have a particularly problem with them, but I make the personal choice to compete naturally, and I believe that if you put the effort in, you can achieve some incredible results naturally.

If anyone wants to drop by, you can check out my journal here – My Road to the INBF and OCB NY State Bodybuilding Champtionships

Wannabebig: Ok, so we’ll leave it there for now, but we’ll be catching up with you in about seven weeks, when you’ll be ten weeks out from the INBF NYS Champ show. Where do you want to be at that point?

Unholy: Flirting with the 180’s for sure…I should drop another 2-3% body fat by then. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Wannabebig: Can’t wait to see your pics at 180 lbs, and if you carry on the way you’ve been going so far, I’m sure we’ll be just as impressed with your progress in the next seven weeks as we have to date. Good luck and see you soon!

Unholy: Thanks very much, and I’m looking forward to doing this again in seven weeks!

Note: You can read part 2 of this interview here: An Inspiring Interview with Forum Member, Unholy – Part 2

Written by Daniel Clough (with a little help from Unholy!)

Discuss, comment or ask a question

If you have a comment, question or would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please do so in the following discussion thread on the Wannabebig Forums – An Inspiring Interview With Forum Member, Unholy discussion thread.

Create your own Wannabebig Training Journal

Why not create a training journal of your own? Simply join the Wannabebig Forums (it’s free) and then create a thread in the Members Online Journals section. Then all you have to do is make an entry as often as you like! It’s a great way to receive extra motivation, accountability and advice from other members!

Q & A with Westside Barbells’ Louie Simmons

Louie Simmons is the owner of Westside Barbell and a living strength training legend! He is one of a very select group of powerlifters who have totaled ELITE in 5 different weight classes and Louie is one of only a couple of men over 50 years of age to have squatted 920 lbs or more, the first to bench both 500 and 600 lbs, and the only to have totaled 2100 lbs! (over the age of 50)

Louie has worked with twenty-five World and National Champion powerlifters, twenty-seven lifters who have totaled over 2000 pounds, and a World Record holder in the 400-meter dash. He is a strength consultant for the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and numerous college football teams.

We were lucky enough to have Louie answer some questions from our members. Read on, you’re in for a treat!

“Old School” percent-based training programs

Q: Mr. Simmons, I’ve heard of people having success with the following “old school” percent-based system (on what would later become DE Day):

SQUAT and BENCH

  • Week 1: 70% x 8×3
  • Week 2: 75% x 8×3
  • Week 3: 80% x 6×3
  • Week 4: 85% x 5×2
  • Week 5: 80%x2, 85%x2, 90%x2

DEADLIFT

  • Week 1 – 15 singles @ 65%
  • Week 2 – 12 singles @ 70%
  • Week 3 – 10 singles @ 75%
  • Week 4 – 8 singles @ 80%
  • Week 5 – 6 singles @ 85%

Do you still recommend these programs to lifters?  Why or why not? Thank you very much for your time and answers to my questions.

Louie Simmons: That is a very, very old template and I no longer recommend it to our athletes.   We found it to be too restrictive as it doesn’t allow for the lifter to expand his training on a given day based upon his needs. For instance, if halfway through a cycle the lifter realized he needed to do more low box squats because his form was falling apart in the hole,  a percent based system does not allow for the variance in training required to fix the problem.

The other concern with percent focused systems is that they essentially preclude the use of bands and chains.  The alterations in load due to the accommodating resistance of bands and chains makes it too difficult to accurately calculate percentages as they are meant to be used in such systems.  This is why at Westside we went to using max singles with the conjugate system.  It takes the calculation out of the equation. 

The program as you outlined above can work just fine for beginners, but it is not optimal.  Westside is a constantly evolving system of methods. We are always looking for something new that will take us to an ever higher level of achievement.  If you look at some of my older articles, and then information I am putting out now, you might see what appear to be contradictions, but in reality you are seeing the evolution of Westside training.   When you have a chance, go to www.westside-barbell.com and read the articles we have published.  They will get you up to speed with our most effective and current programs.

I have also recently put all of my knowledge together in one place in my new book, The Westside Book of Methods Here you will find a collection of information thru experimentation of some of the greatest lifters, Olympic sprinters and NFL Players.

Training athletes vs. full meet Powerlifters

Q: I have a question regarding your methods when training an athlete, specifically a football player. What methods or template do you use with these athletes?  How do you train them differently than your full meet powerlifters like Greg Panora and Tony Bolognone?  In addition, what kind of conditioning work do you use for athletes?  Thank you in advance for your time.

Louie Simmons: Great question!

First, athletes need to be powerful (generally speaking) in the same muscle groups as powerlifters, so their squat, bench, and deadlift training is very similar.  

Squat training for athletes will generally use more 3 rep max exercises such as good mornings, squats with bands, and squats with safety or buffalo bars.  These 3 rep sets are still max attempts like the maximum effort (ME) singles for the powerlifters.  Athletes will box squat, but we will vary the box height more often as it is imperative for them to develop maximal hip, glute, and hamstring strength at different angles so they can optimize their explosive power from the static positions they will find themselves in on the field of play. 

Deadlift training is done for singles. When doing reps it is very easy for the athlete’s form to slowly break down potentially putting them in a vulnerable position for injury.  In addition, we want football players to work on maximal explosiveness for single movements.  They don’t have to go up and down multiple times per play, but they have to execute play after play so we want to train them to be able to repeat explosive single movements with a minimal loss in power.   

Bench training for football players involves both single and 3 rep max sets depending on the exercise.  We include a great deal of assistance work for the triceps, upper back, and shoulders as well.  Shoulder work, especially for the rear delt, is imperative for the athlete in order to help avoid injury.  For dynamic days (DE), we have them use 5 rep sets instead of our more traditional 3 rep sets as we feel this encourages some hypertrophy while simultaneously working on speed development. 

Football players need explosive power in the lower body and nothing works that like jumping.  We include weighted jumps using ankle weights and or dumbbells in their regimen.  We have several athletes who can jump onto a 20” box while holding 2 x 70 lbs dumbbells! 

Trust me, when you get to being able to jump on a 20” box holding 140 lbs your unloaded explosiveness and jumping ability will be everything you want it to be. 

Many coaches seem to have things backwards and try to condition their athletes with weight training.  Unfortunately, this only has the undesirable effect of making the athlete weaker, slower, and thus more prone to injury.  At Westside, conditioning comes from general physical preparedness (GPP) work primarily via sled pulls and Prowler pushes. 

On average, a football player runs about 14 yards per play.  This precludes the need for using excessive distances for GPP work.  With that said, an athlete should always train to be able to exceed the on the field demands he will face.  We have found a distance of 40-60 yards for pushes and pulls to be ideal. 

GPP work is not always as intense.  If the athlete is beat up and tired we will use a lower intensity variation such as walking for 1-1.5 miles with ankle weights.  We use the ankle weights to increase the intensity of the exercise just enough to get some blood flowing which I believe aids with tendon and ligament recovery. 

Finally, we work on flexibility and mobility.  One cannot optimally harness their developed power and speed if they are tight and lacking in mobility.

Preventing injury and improving health of shoulders

Q: Mr. Simmons, I saw an article a while back about you having to have partial shoulder replacement surgery.  What do you recommend relative to bench press form injury prevention techniques?   A lot of us older longtime lifters have bum shoulders and would love to prevent further injury and or improve the health of our shoulders. 

Thank you so very much, it is a pleasure to have access to someone of your knowledge.

Louie Simmons: It’s great to hear from someone who wants to take a proactive approach to preventing shoulder injuries!

Bench form directly correlates to shoulder wear and tear.  I trained and competed without a bench shirt for many years and always flared my elbows when pressing.  In those days, flaring the elbows when benching was the accepted norm.  Unfortunately, so were shoulder injuries.  With the advent of the bench shirt, lifters were compelled to use a slight tuck of the elbows.  This equipment induced alteration in form had the dual effect of allowing the lifter to get more out of the equipment AND was better for the shoulders placing less stress on the joint. 

Rotator work, as well as a focus on rear delt training helps to prevent injury by increasing shoulder stabilization during heavy pressing.  The addition of proper stretching further protects the joints by increasing mobility.

My personal favorite exercises for shoulder pre and rehab are Indian club swings, kettle bell swings, and Bandable Bar presses.  All are available at www.westside-barbell.com

Indian Club and Kettlebell Swings

Indian clubs vary in weight from 25-45lbs (depending on the style of club).  I swing them under control over and around my head (see picture for an idea of how this looks – if you purchase them from our site they also come with an instructional DVD) for 2-10 minutes.  I normally perform 10-12 “reps” alternating hands every 30 seconds.  I try, and recommend to others, to mix things up sometimes swinging them both forward and backward. 

Kettlebells are excellent for shoulder health as an injury preventative and form of rehab.  I highly recommend the works of Pavel Tsouline for information on how to best use them.  My kettlebell shoulder exercise of choice is what I call “lazy kettlebell catches” which are a variation of a kettlebell hang snatch.  Instead of catching the kettlebell at full extension, I catch them halfway up at shoulder level.  I find this exercise to be excellent therapy for my shoulders.

 

Louie Simmons performing backwards swings with Indian Clubs

 

Louie Simmons demonstrating Indian Clubs

Bandable Bar

This unique bar is made from bamboo.   At Westside we hang kettlebells from the ends via mini jump stretch bands (bands and bar available at www.westside-barbell.com) and perform bench presses.  The combination of the highly flexible Bandable Bar, jump stretch bands, and kettlebells results in an incredibly chaotic movement.  This chaos makes it an amazing rehab/prehab exercise for the shoulders.  4-5 sets of 15-50 reps will work wonders for your shoulders.  See the video below to view this very unique movement in action. 

 

Bamboo Bandable Bar 

 

Bamboo Kettlebell Chaotic Presses

If you take the above advice, I am confident your shoulders will thank you!

Strongman Training

Q: Coach Simmons, how do you recommend one train for strongman?  Thanks so very much for your time and consideration.

Louie SImmons: We had a strongman visit us not too long ago.   He trained the same as our powerlifters with respect to the core exercises.  We had him do considerably more GPP work and varied his accessory training using some strongman specific movements (ex. Overhead presses after his main bench exercise).  

With weights, the bulk of his training was with low box squats, good mornings, deficit deadlifts, and band pulls.  We took him from barely pulling 500 lbs to 800 lbs!  We did not train deadlifts for reps with our view being that absolute strength will provide the strength endurance needed for his meets.  In other words, if you can pull 800 lbs for a single, you can pull 700 lbs for reps.  Conditioning should come from GPP, not the weights.  This is ALWAYS true and I cannot emphasize it enough.  Weights are for absolute strength and GPP for more generalized endurance. 

We skipped powerlifting gear with the exception of briefs.  He would not be competing in a suit so we felt that training with one would serve no purpose. 

Rehab for a herniated disk

Q: Louie, I am a coach and have several athletes at the high school level who have herniated disks as a result of poor coaching in the weight room. They haven’t squatted or pulled in a very long time and I want to be able to rehab them to the point where they can. What is the best way to accomplish this?

Louie SImmons: If you have access to a Reverse Hyper™, get them on it.  If not, get one.  This is not an advertorial for my own product; I truly feel it is THE key to back injury prehab/rehab.  I invented it after having broken my own back.  In fact, I have broken my back twice and rehabbed myself to the point of being able to set a record squat of over 900 lbs in my 50s! 

The beauty of the apparatus is it provides traction while strengthening the back.  Discs will not heal without traction, and strengthening the musculature is all-important to regaining one’s lower back health. 

Have them swing their legs forward such that they can see them prior to beginning the extension (this optimizes the traction).  Have them avoid over-extension at the peak of the movement. 

Use the Reverse Hyper™ on both DE and ME days.  Slowly return to squatting with box squats using foam on the box to reduce the impact.  Use chains prior to bands, and wait to use bands until core strength has returned to a significant degree.  Slow and consistent is the key.  

Written by Travis Bell (answers provided by Louie Simmons and edited by Chris Mason)

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The Turkish Get Up

Any strength den off the beaten path knows about this move. Gyms that subscribe to strength and performance first, where Kettlebells and bumper plates are ubiquitous but searching for a machine of any sort would prove fruitless. Where iron trumps fluff and the ‘smoothie bar’ is a water cooler hiding in the corner, these gyms know about the Turkish Get Up.

It was staple amongst the Physical Culture in counties a bit more to the East of ours, particularly amongst wrestlers and hand balancers about a century ago. But it proved to be hard work, and so, like a collection of great lifts that lost popularity, they all but disappeared in the commercial fitness market because they’re hard to sell.

“Well what body part does it work?”

Pick one.. It’s in there. Not only is this an extremely effective spine exercise, but it is particularly impressive for posture and shoulder rehab, not to mention those legs that play a big role.

So, how does one get up?

The Turkish Getup turns what looks like a simple task into a fun challenge. It is a deceptively difficult lift that keeps us young. The inner 7-year-old in all of us has to get involved. Don’t think, just do. Just grab a weight, lie down, and get up. Everyone has individual techniques on this one, and that is fine.

Important Notes:

  • Any tool will do (we’ve used everything from buckets of rocks to small children, and I’m not kidding)
  • Start light, get used to it and then have some fun.

The Classic Turkish Get Up

  1. Start from the ground with the weight straight out in front of you. Keep looking up at the weight throughout the exercise.
  2. With the leg on the same side as the weight, drive up onto the opposite hip (yep, you can use your free arm to help out)
  3. Tuck the opposite foot under the hips (notice the twist of the trunk, not unlike a windmill. This is important, or the weight will fall forward)
  4. Come up onto the opposite knee
  5. Stand up
  6. Reverse on the way down, still looking up at the weight (you know where the ground is, you don’t have to look at it).

Classic Turkish Get Up Visuals

The Squat Turkish Get Up

Squat Turkish Get Ups are easier for certain body types, particularly those who can naturally deep squat.

  1. Starts the same
  2. Drive straight up onto both feet, or drive onto the opposite hip and then get both feet under you.
  3. Stand
  4. Reverse

If the weight plummets forward, this version isn’t for you.  This is also a tough version for really heavy TGUs.  Good for reps, if you can do them, but for max effort Getups. Even the squatters might want to consider switching to the single leg version.

Speaking of Max Effort Get Ups, if you love a good Max Effort lift, the TGU has so many angle changes and position shifts that this might be the single hardest Max Effort lift there is.

The Squat Turkish Get Up Visuals

 

Video – The Turkish Get Up

Written by Chip Conrad

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Nutrient Timing – When Science and Marketing Collide

Whether you’re a bodybuilder, powerlifter, strongman or general strength athlete, there’s an established wisdom about eating and training which never fails – you need a high protein (roughly 1-2g/lb of lean bodyweight), nutrient-dense diet that meets the calorific needs of progressive overload training. 

The best training methodologies and diets weren’t created in a lab; they are intuitive and proven time and again by experience.

Sandow did it, Reg Park did it, Arnold did it, and every successful athlete before or since has done it. Some spread their meals, some ate three meals a day, some ate very little until after training and then gorged, but at the end of each day, they’d all eaten enough protein, carbohydrate, and fat to meet their individual requirements.

In short, they kept it simple and there hasn’t been a study to date to prove any of their approaches wrong, but have there been any studies to show a better approach?

Is there an optimal way to consume nutrients to maximise muscle and strength gains? Marketing hype would have you believe so, so let’s start with the most basic approach.

Three Squares a Day vs. Small and Frequent

The aim of any diet is to provide the macronutrients necessary to support the goals of the athlete whether that’s hypertrophy, fat loss, or strength. Determining the amounts is the tricky bit and it is highly individualized.

I hope we can all agree that protein should be roughly 1-2g/lb of lean body weight, that fat intake needs to cover your body’s requirements for essential fatty acids (to support a whole host of processes including hormone synthesis), and that carbohydrate intake should be proportional to your activity levels.

So what’s the problem with splitting it over three meals, the way mum and dad cooked for us?

Not a lot.

In fact, studies show that increased meal frequency has no effects on diet-induced thermogenesis, activity-induced energy expenditure, or sleeping metabolic rate. What does that mean? Increased meal frequency doesn’t speed up the metabolism (1, 2).

Is there a downside to Three Squares? Well yes, there’s one glaring issue and that’s trying to eat the number of calories required by some athletes in three sittings — it’s just easier and more comfortable to split them over smaller meals.

Is there such a thing as too high a meal frequency?

We’ve already seen that ‘speeding up the metabolism’ isn’t necessarily achieved through high frequency eating, but it does allow for easier consumption of the large amounts of food typical of the diet of most strength athletes. But is consuming protein often but in small amounts potentially limiting our gains?

Muscle protein synthesis has been shown to peak approximately 30 minutes after the ingestion of protein, remain elevated for 90 minutes, and then fall to fasting levels for four hours despite blood amino acid levels remaining at 70% above fasting levels through continual feeding.  It seems there is a cut-off point whereby muscle protein synthesis simply stops despite a continual supply of amino acids (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

So what to do? Nothing.  At some point common sense and compliance have to come into the equation; you have a set amount of food to eat during the day, and you’ve got to space it out in the way most convenient to you, without worrying about the little things.

It’s worth remembering that the biggest stimulus for muscle protein synthesis is resistance training, not protein, which leads us conveniently to the focus of most nutrient timing articles.

Pre, During and Post Workout Nutrition

The objective of any ‘Para’ workout nutrition protocol is to maximise muscle protein synthesis (kick-started by resistance training) and minimise protein breakdown. In other words, the goal is to increase anabolism and prevent catabolism.

Let’s start with the most talked about period, the post workout.

It’s a mantra now: post workout, you gotta consume fast-acting carbs and protein within the 30 minute window. This concoction will spike insulin and shuttle amino acids straight to your muscles.

Logically this makes sense, but unless you train on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, your insulin and plasma amino acid levels will still be high enough after your previous meal to prevent protein breakdown.  As little as 6g of amino acids and 35g of table sugar is enough to keep insulin elevated to 4x fasted levels for one hour post-exercise (9, 10). 

It is the change from fasting to high levels of blood amino acids that kick-starts protein synthesis, and there may even be some merit in the rate of change, or how quickly you go from zero to high (this is an expansion of Protein Pulse Feeding and we’ll touch on that later). Maintaining blood amino acid levels, as we saw above, isn’t necessarily going to do anything once muscle protein synthesis has shut down.

It is the pre-workout meal that deserves our attention, not the post-exercise meal.

A meal comprised of protein, carbohydrate, and even fat (which doesn’t affect insulin nearly as much as you’ve been told) consumed approximately one hour prior to training will provide the necessary insulin and substrates to both maximise anabolism and prevent catabolism (11, 12,13).

A common sense approach to the pre-workout meal would be an easily digested liquid meal such as AtLarge Maximus (weight gainer), Opticen (Meal Replacement) or Nitrean (protein powder), depending on your goals.

Similarly, a dilute version of this meal could be sipped during the session, or to ‘push the boat out’ (provided you can handle the additional carbohydrate and it’s in the context of your overall intake), you could take half a serving of Results, plus a serving of Nitrean and the same again during the workout.

About an hour after the session, when blood amino acid and insulin levels have dropped, take another shake to kick start muscle protein synthesis again.

Protein Pulsing and Advanced Techniques

We’ve got the basics covered: how we eat during the day and how we eat around training. Is there any merit in getting any more complicated? Should we be sprinkling leucine over our meals? Is it smart or just expensive to be taking BCAAs every 30 minutes? Do we need to worry about the relative merits of fast-acting versus slow-acting proteins and when to take them?

As much as leucine (one of the three branched-chain amino acids) by itself stimulates protein synthesis, that’s really only relevant in the fasted state, and the rest of the time, anyone eating large amounts of protein is getting adequate leucine.  That goes for the other two BCAAs (isoleucine and valine) too – roughly 30-50g daily . 

Most of the studies done on BCAAs have been done with the body in a fasted state and in the context of overall low protein intake – anything helps in that situation!

We touched on protein pulsing above as a way of kick-starting muscle protein synthesis. A further expansion of the idea of infrequent but high protein feedings is that between meals (and the further apart the better, as we saw above), blood levels of insulin and amino acids are low and so is protein synthesis. 

Quickly elevating these levels through a fast-acting protein like whey/casein hydrolysate and maybe a carbohydrate source (it can be done without; insulin is sufficiently elevated by amino acids alone) will stimulate muscle protein synthesis for maybe 90 minutes, after which it’ll probably be time for a meal, which will kick-start the process again.

The more of these little pulses you can get in throughout the day, the more total muscle protein synthesis over the year, and theoretically, the better your gains.

The problem I have is with the legacy that previous meals have on your blood amino acid levels: there doesn’t seem to be enough time elapsed between meals to allow a return to fasting levels, which would prevent spiking/pulsing the blood with amino acids in the first place. Leave it too long and there are just not enough hours in the day.

I also have another problem with the protocol; it’s too damned fiddly and the benefits (even if you could devote the effort and resource to timing your meals like this) are likely to be small.

 

Powerlifter Ryan Celli understands the importance of pre and post workout nutrition

Putting It All Together

So what’s the ideal nutritional protocol? The one you’ll follow, most importantly, but having determined your macronutrient intake, you can decide how best to split it.

Here’s a rundown that is tried and tested and that science hasn’t bettered:

1) Establish your daily needs – how much protein, carbohydrate and fat are necessary?

I’m assuming most of you reading this have established your daily requirement for protein/fat/carbohydrate, and that having experimented for a while, you know how you respond to each.

Anyone that hasn’t worked out what they should be eating should pick a goal, 200lbs at 10% bodyfat, for example.  Work out the maintenance calories required for that goal, regardless of whether you need to gain or lose to reach it, i.e., work out what a 200lbs and 10% bodyfat version of you would need to eat to stay at that weight and condition.

So for anyone thinking of calculating that, there are a few equations that require you to just plug in the numbers, and you can find them on-line.

Be sure to use formulae that use not just your resting metabolic rate but also thermogenesis through exercise and non-exercise related activity as well!

Remember that all of these equations are based on an assumption that you are ‘average’, so you may need to adjust the figure after a couple of weeks.  If you need to put on weight to reach your goal and you’re not, increase the calories by 250kcal and monitor for two weeks. Similarly, reduce by 250kcal if you need to lose weight and you’re not progressing by following your initial assumption.

2) Load your food intake to coincide with breakfast and the pre- and post-workout period.

3) Divide the rest into as many meals as necessary to hit your daily intake target and consume when convenient.

Protein shakes allow for a convenient and effective pre/post workout meal 

Ok, I don’t think it’s necessary to draw a table describing how to eat three times a day, but I will describe my timing for a training day in simple terms.

Now I train first thing in the morning, but that’s my bad luck! So in my example, my para-workout nutrition obviously coincides with my training session. If I get a break and work out late afternoon (when I actually prefer), my para-workout nutrition adjusts.

First, a little background before I show you my daily plan:

  • I need 28,000kcal per week to maintain my weight.
  • My para-workout nutrition gives me approximately 600kcal per training day.
  • I train four times a week, so 2400kcal per week comes from para-workout nutrition
  • I like four large meals a day, 28 meals per week, and because I like to keep things simple, I keep those meals the same size each day, training or no training.

To achieve this, I just take my weekly intake minus my para-workout calories and work out the quantities from there, i.e., 26,600kcal per week in whole food meals or 3,800kcal per day.

Training Session at 07.00

  • 06.00               1 Serving Nitrean 
  • 06.30               1 Serving Nitrean + ½ Serving Results
  • 07.00-08.00   1 Serving Nitrean + ½ Serving Results
  • 09.00               Meal 1 – Approx 30% Overall Calorific Intake
  • 12.00               Meal 2 – Approx 30% Overall Calorific Intake
  • 16.00               Meal 3 – Approx 20% Overall Calorific Intake
  • 20.00               Meal 4 – Approx 20% Overall Calorific Intake

On a non-training day, my schedule would look exactly like the above but without the para-workout nutrition. Similarly, if I didn’t have a para-workout protocol, and stuck to whole foods only, I’d simply add the additional calories to my meals.

Training Session 20.00

  • 09.00               Meal 1 – Approx 30% Overall Calorific Intake for the Day
  • 12.00               Meal 2 – Approx 30% Overall Calorific Intake
  • 16.00               Meal 3 – Approx 20% Overall Calorific Intake
  • 19.00               1 Serving Nitrean 
  • 19.30               1 Serving Nitrean + ½ Serving Results
  • 20.00-21.00   1 Serving Nitrean + ½ Serving Results
  • 22.00               Meal 4 – Approx 20% Overall Calorific Intake

Conclusion

We participate in a game of extremes – extreme development, extreme leanness, and extreme strength — so the term ‘moderation’ seems weak, but here moderation means common sense, not mediocrity, and the science doesn’t agree with the hype. With nutrition, you have to go with your gut (no pun intended!).

How you split your food and when you take it comes a distant second to hitting your daily total. Because you’re human and you have a digestive system, there’ll nearly always be an overlap between what you ate hours ago and what you’re about to eat now. The good news is that our bodies take care of the sophisticated nutrient timing all by themselves. 🙂

Written by Daniel Roberts

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References

1) Taylor MA, Garrow JS, 2001 Apr, Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord
2) Bellisle F, McDevitt R, Prentice AM, 1997 Apr,  Br J Nutr
3) Arnal MA, Mosoni L, Boirie Y, Houlier ML, Morin L, Verdier E, Ritz P, Antoine JM, Prugnaud J, Beaufrere B, Mirand PP,1999 Jun, Am J Clin Nut
4) Arnal MA, Mosoni L, Boirie Y, Houlier ML, Morin L, Verdier E, Ritz P, Antoine JM, Prugnaud J, Beaufrere B, Mirand PP. 2000 Jul J Nut
5) Arnal MA, Mosoni L, Boirie Y, Gachon P, Genest M, Bayle G, Grizard J, Arnal M, Antoine JM, Beaufrere B, Mirand PP. 2000 May. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab
6) Smeets AJ, Westertep-Plantenga, 2007 Dec 6, Br J Nutr
7) Bohe J, Low JF, Wolfe RR, Rennie MJ, 2001 Apr 15, J Physiol
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9) Tipton KD, et al, 2001 Aug,  Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab
10)  Tipton KD, et al, 2007 Jan, Physiol Endocrinol Metab
11)  Fox AK, et al, 2004 Jul, J Appl Physiol
12)  Burke LM, et al, 1995 Jun, J Appl Physiol
13)  Roy BD, Tarnopolsky MA, 1998 Mar, J Appl Physiol