Shit or Get Off The Pot Part II - Start Eating or Stay The Hell Out Of The Gym
By: Kelly Baggett
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What Have You Done So Far and What’s Your Excuse?
Let’s start by evaluating what you’ve accomplished so far
in your muscle building efforts. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your gains
you probably have one of 3 excuses. Either you haven’t been training long
enough or haven’t acquired all the knowledge you need to accumulate the muscle
mass you desire (which is valid), muscle mass gains don’t come easy for you, or
you simply haven’t done what you know is necessary to gain at the rate
that your genetics will allow you to. What I’m getting ready to rant about
covers all of these excuses particularly the 2nd and 3rd,
which are, for all practical purposes, cured by the same solution.
If Muscle mass gains don’t come easy that might mean you
think of yourself as a hardgainer. Now, back when I first started
lifting, hardgainer’s had a very strict definition. They were defined as
chronically stressed beanpoles with long limbs, metabolisms like hummingbirds,
with a capacity for physical work so low they could simply look at a weight and
overtrain. However, over the years the hardgainer definition seems to have
evolved to include just about everyone. Hell, I've heard some people classify a
hardgainer as anybody who isn’t black and doesn't take steroids, but let’s cut
through the bullshit and get to the point, - the common theme any “hardgainer”
has is a "perceived” difficulty in making bodybuilding gains.
I’ve found that most of the time it's “perceived”
difficulty moreso then “real” difficulty and here's one big reason why: As much
as anything else, the reason people fail to make gains is because they're guilty
of paralysis by analysis. Yeah there's a time and a place to worry about the
benefits of macronutrient percentages, linear vs undulated periodization, meal
timing, box squats vs front squats, the merits of monounsaturates vs
polyunsaturated fatty acids, high rep vs low rep training, galactose vs glucose,
high volume vs low volume, which of the 5000+ available supplements are worth a
damn, and about a billion other things, but when it comes down to it a lot of
people just need someone to come up to them and say “Son, it’s time to shit or
get off the pot” “You know what you need to do just do it.”
So Where Do People Screw Up The Most?
Probably THE one simple thing that causes more
people to screw up and spin their wheels is diet. Regardless of how you definite
it, the reality is, MANY
people think they are hardgainers or don’t build the muscle they could because
they eat like birds. That’s mainly what I wanna talk about today.
If you had a young 1000 lb bull in your back yard and
someone offered you 1 million dollars to get him up to 1500 lbs I bet you’d find
a way to get it done wouldn’t you? I also don’t think many people would have a
difficult time figuring out the most basic and important thing that you do to
get him there and that’s tie on the feed bag. (I know what you juiceheads are
thinking but even those Fina and Synovex implants aren't gonna work unless he
gets plenty to freakin eat).
Big Muscles Need Big Nutrition
At it's most basic foundation increased size requires
increased energy intake. Big muscles require big nutrition and big nutrition
requires big eating. Big eating is difficult when your obsessed with
maintaining the lowest possible body-fat percentage and your diet revolves
around boiled chicken breasts, tuna, and egg whites. Why do you think you never
see powerlifters, football players, or throwing athletes that have difficulty
putting on body-mass? Here’s one thing you can learn from them:
Muscle With No Fat Ain't Phat
The only people who can gain decent amounts of muscle
without giving a little in the fat gain department are teenagers, complete
newbies, guys with freaky genetics, and steroid users. For about 90% of the
training population the absolute quickest way to make sure that you don't make a
single gain in muscle mass over the next 6 months, 2 years, 5, 10, or
even 20 years is to try to gain pure muscle without accepting a temporary bit of
fat gain in the process. Most people don't want to hear this but out of all
the people you see that lift weights consistently on a weekly basis that don't
make gains this is the number one reason why right here. Yes, many people do
train like crap too but even the most horrific training program will produce
marginal results with enough nutrition. (If that weren’t the case then no
teenager in the world would ever make a single gain). Now, any newbie can
quickly throw on an easy 10 lbs of muscle mass, yet once you get those initial
gains things become a bit more difficult. What typically happens is people do
most everything right with regard to training and diet yet as soon as they see a
little fat gain so they freak out and stop eating. That is a big mistake and
Food Is Your Most Potent Weapon For Mass Construction
Did you know that just sitting on your ass and eating
excess food by itself can stimulate muscle growth even without weight training?
Studies done on overfeeding consistently demonstrate that at least 35% of the
weight sedentary people gain when they do nothing but overeat 1000 extra
calories per day of crappy foods for 100 or more days straight is lean
In fact, underneath all that fat mass, the biggest sumo wrestlers on average carry more muscle mass then the biggest bodybuilders.
The biggest of the big sumo wrestlers have an estimated lean body mass of 500 pounds. Yeah, they carry a lot more fat too but their goal is to get big and fat by
eating junk and doing very little. Now, surely if
a completely sedentary individual can gain 1 lb of muscle for every 3 pounds of
fat eating crap and sitting on their butt you could do a lot better then that
with more of a bodybuilding style diet and good hard training couldn't you? What would happen if you ate a crapload
of decent high protein “bodybuilder” friendly foods and trained big with a goal
of building as much muscle as possible while staying relatively lean?
What would happen if you ate and trained your way up to a 50 lbs bodyweight
increase with a 3:1 muscle to fat gain ratio? That's a humongous 37.5 lb muscle
gain vs 12.5 lbs of fat. Have you ever met a person who couldn’t lose 12.5 lbs
of fat? Me neither. Sound good? Here are some tips to get you there:
Make The Decision To Do It
First off it starts with a decision. You won’t find an
advanced natural trainer who packs on a significant amount of muscle who didn’t
make a solid decision to push his muscular bodyweight up. Twenty, 30, or 50
pounds of muscle ain’t gonna come knockin on your door asking you to carry it
around. Make that decision and decide that you’re going to build that muscle
and commit that this is what you’re gonna do.
Get Your Diet Right
John Parrillo used to say that a bodybuilder should match
his training to his diet instead of trying to match his diet to his training. I
couldn’t agree more. Devising a complex training scheme without a solid diet is
like building a house on sand. Your eating is your foundation for muscle gains
and without it nothing happens. Get your support system in place first.
It Starts With Protein
Multiply your bodyweight by 1.5 grams. That's the minimum
amount in protein grams you need to shoot for each day. Get a watch with a timer
and set it to ring every 3 hours. From the time you get up until the time you
go to bed you better make damn sure that you eat or drink a protein meal within
each 3 hour time-span not including your post-workout drink. Whether you go high
carb, high fat, moderate carb, moderate fat or whatever with the rest of your
food choices is up to you but regardless of what type of diet you’re on, protein
intake is a must. No excuses.
How Much Food Do You Need?
So how many calories should you eat per day? A good
starting point is bodyweight x 15 for maintenance and bodyweight x 20 to gain.
Keep in mind metabolic rates vary and those scientific metabolic prediction
equations can be off by 30% or more in either direction, which means 2 sedentary
people can weigh the same yet have a 60% difference in their energy
requirements. If in doubt here’s a simple and accurate way to tell how much you
need to eat: Look at the clock right now and then go get on the scale. If, by the same time next week that scale is not at least 1 lb heavier then it is today, you're not eating
enough. Very simple. If that’s the case add at least 500 calories per day to
whatever you normally eat. Whether that means you need to eat 2500, 3000, 5000,
or 10000 calories per day depends on you as an individual. If you're not
gaining weight you're not eating enough food and it's that simple. Before you
worry about quality of weight gain you better damn sure make sure you're getting
enough calories and nutrients to promote weight gain in the first place.
Having Trouble Eating Enough?
Someone smart once told me that the word protein comes
from a latin word that means "comes first". I don't know if that's true or not
in the real world but by-god I can tell you it's true in the muscle gain world.
Now, what I’m about to suggest I’m not recommending everyone do and I don’t want
you to use it as a copout just to give you an excuse to eat junk, but if you’re
currently stuffing yourself to the hilt with veggies, oatmeal, sweet potatoes
etc. and other clean foods as your prime energy sources and you find it
difficult to eat enough to gain you need to change something so here’s what I
recommend for some people:
Eat your protein first at each meal and as soon as you
slam that down your throat go ahead and eat whatever the hell else you want to
until you're full. When you sit down to eat go ahead and clear all the protein
off your plate first. Once you've done that go ahead and go your own way with
the carbs. One hundred calories worth of pancake syrup will build just as much
muscle as 100 calories worth of apples or potatoes. Yeah, I know the syrup isn't
considered "healthy" or whatever but screw it. If your limiting factor is how
much food you can get down your throat then you need to get more calories and if
that means consuming the junk carbs then have at it. Once you're eating enough
calories to get the scale creeping up in the right direction you can worry about
Back when I was a teenager I remember reading an article by
IFBB pro Dave Fisher that gave that exact advice. He would make sure he got
enough protein in at each meal but after that he’d go his own way with the
carbohydrate intake. That meant he'd go ahead and finish off his eggs, chicken, steak or whatever protein source at each meal, but after that he'd load up on toast with jelly, kiddie
cereal, pancakes, and anything else he desired. At the time I was stuck at 125
lbs bodyweight trying to forcefeed myself 3500 calories per day of ultra-clean foods. I was
either eating or cooking constantly and pissing off everybody else in the house
with my hostile takeover of the kitchen. The bad thing is I still wasn’t
getting enough food to gain weight. I started incorporating some of Dave’s
advice and got the scale moving up. The protein is what's gonna build the
muscle but it's gotta be supported with enough overall calorie intake. There’s
no way you can get fat unless you’re first eating enough calories overall to
It's a helluva lot easier to drink calories then it is to
eat them. Think about it. Even after you've put away that big ass meal you can
always make room for a milk shake. If you're having trouble eating enough, mix
up a protein shake in a thermos consisting of 6-12 servings of protein. Mix it
with milk, water, or whatever you want. Sip on it throughout the day. That
right there is an additional 600-1200 calories and 120-240 grams of protein. What type of protein you ask? Anything that tastes good and you can afford to take a lot of other then soy. When it comes to mass gains, protein quantity makes up for protein quality. A 100 gram helping of $50 per pound hydro filterated supro conjugated ion exchange whatever will get blown away by 150 grams of $5 per pound bargain wal-mart protein. Hell, if you're really poor just buy a big ass bag of skim milk powder and use that as a protein drink.
Steak and Eggs Rule
Don’t be afraid to go with more "traditional" Protein
choices- One of the reasons people usually lose weight when they switch to
bodybuilding diets and a big reason why other muscle seeking athletes like
powerlifters and football players rarely follow bodybuilding diets is because
the foods are so nutrient dense and bland it’s hard to eat enough. Think about
that. What's easier, overeating on buffalo wings or boiled chicken breasts?
Sauced up ribs or tuna? T-bone Steak or egg whites? Golden Corral or Subway?
Try putting the typical 220 pound + powerlifter on standard bodybuilding fare
and see how long it takes him to start complaining about strength and energy
loss. It can be difficult as heck for non obsessive compulsive people to eat
more then 2000 calories per day when their diet consists of "health" foods.
What about the people who need 5000 calories per day? Forget it. Those
bodybuilding foods can become a huge disadvantage for someone that needs a lot
of food to maintain or gain weight. I recommend IF you're having trouble
getting in enough food that you stick to easier to consume choices such as dark
meat chicken, whole eggs, steak, hamburgers, pork chops, and even an occasional
helping of shit like fried chicken. Screw this dried chicken breast and canned
I used to know a bodybuilder who would go to McDonalds
everyday and buy ten .99 cent hamburgers and carry them around all day and eat
at least 2 of them every 2-3 hours. He'd also mix 1/2 lb of protein with 1/2
gallon of milk, put it in an oversized thermos with ice and sip on it throughout
the day. That was in addition to his regular meals. You'd be more then amazed
what the pros eat during the off-season to push their bodyweights up. Suffice to
say they're not eating anywhere near as clean as what most people think. I
remember hearing how Dorian Yates polished off an entire 2 gallon tub of ice
cream at a guest posing in Australia and this was just a between meal snack.
I've seen bodybuilders sit down and polish off 2 large pizzas and then be ready
to eat again 3 hours later. The list goes on and on. Bottom line. To carry more
muscle mass then your body naturally wants and to push the amount of muscle mass
up and up and up requires a permanently increased nutrient intake which tends to
create a very fast metabolism. Your body tends to resist you as you push your
bodyweight up. Because of that you’ll rarely ever find a muscular guy who isn't
also a big eater. If you’re not a big eater now you better learn to be. You don't necessarily have to eat unhealthy though. You could always increase your calories by putting away half a jar of natural peanut butter and several tablespoons of olive oil per day
Work In Short Cycles
Unless you’ve ever tried eating 300-600 grams of protein
per day and surplus calories every single day for months on end it’s hard to
comprehend how difficult it can be. Trust me it is. Nothing sucks worse then
getting up at 3 am writhing in pain and stumbling into the restroom to puke up
an entire undigested meal that you stuffed down your throat with water
before bed just so you could get enough protein and calories in for the day.
Not only is eating so much protein for months on end tedious, but unfortunately,
the body adapts to a high protein intake by becoming more proficient at breaking
down protein and using it as energy. The solution is simple. Don't eat the
same damn amount of protein and calories all the time. Work in short cycles
where you really go for the gains for a short time and then back off for a while
and give yourself a break. (No, I'm not talking about that stupid protein cycling
bullshit where you intentionally cut all the way back to an amount of protein
that would starve a pigeon). I'm talking about maybe going from a protein
intake of 1.5 to 2 grams for a month or 2 followed by dropping down to maybe 1
gram per pound for a week or 2 while you take it a little easier at the dinner
table and in the gym.
Vince Gironda used to recommend a bodybuilder only try to
go all out for gains for short periods of 4 weeks. During this time he'd have
his guys consuming up to a pound of protein powder per freakin day, 3 dozen
eggs, cream, pounds of chicken, steak, and god know what else. They'd go all out
for 4 weeks really trying to push up the numbers in the gym and on the scale.
Hell, Larry Scott was one of Vince’s followers and never even bothered to train
unless he could take in a pound of milk and egg protein and cream per day in addition to his
normal diet. He knew he wouldn’t gain without it so why bother? This would then
be followed up with a 2-week diet where the calories and protein were lowered
and the digestive system was given a break. I recommend you do the same thing.
Get after it for anywhere from 3-8 weeks and push that bodyweight up a good
pound a week and then back off for a week or 2 and maintain. Use your back off
weeks to also back off in intensity with your training.
Don't Run Out Of Food!!
This might be the most important rule thus far. It should
come as a no-brainer but you'd be amazed at the number of people that get
sabotaged by this. Don't let yourself run out of food!! If you wanna make
gains you gotta plan out your dietary intake and have all your food ready to go
ahead of time. Nothing sux worse then running out of food in the middle of a
hardcore muscle gain cycle. I’ve ran across tons of bodybuilders and other
athletes who will save up and spend all their extra money on supplements or
steroids yet fail to save up any money to buy enough food to stock their kitchen
up with! They often end up losing about 5 lbs within 3 weeks and basically piss
away their money. So plan your food intake and purchase it ahead of time.
recommend you become friends with some redneck deer hunters or cattle farmers
that way you can stock your freezer with some deer meat and beef. If that won't
work go to the butcher and see about getting some steak, beef, chicken, etc. in
bulk. Purchase big bags of rice, oats, etc. in bulk instead of at the grocery
store. Go to Sam’s or Costco and purchase as many of those big ass containers of
eggs as you can. Buy all your supplements in bulk. In fact, go ahead and stock
your damn refrigerator, freezer, and cupboard as if you’re preparing for the 2nd
coming. Your body will eventually thank you. Pick one night each week and cook
up all your meats for the coming week and throw them in the freezer that way you
can thaw them out and consume them as needed throughout the week. That will
save you a lot of time.
Alright, that oughta give you enough to ponder for the time being so I'll shut up now. Next time I'm gonna talk about putting a plan together. In the meantime, get up off that pot, take your ass to the grocery store, and start stocking up that kitchen.
Tremblay “Genetic Influences on the Response of Body Fat and Fat
Distribution to Positive and Negative Energy Balances in Human Identical Twins.”
Physical Activity Sciences Laboratory, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Québec, G1K
2. Kondo, Takashi, Ikegawa,
Kawakami, Fukunaga. “Upper limit of fat-free mass in humans: A study
on Japanese Sumo wrestlers.” 1994