I was making a bullet point list for a book I was going to write; Old But Strong Nutrition. Then, I thought each point is as sharp as it comes and gives you all you need. No fluff – just the information. Sod the book – I will post this on my site, more people […]
Everything about food including preparation
TOTAL STAGE PREP MANUAL
THE NO NONSENSE APPROACH TO BODYBUILDING COMPETITION
By Ian Duckett
NATURAL, BRITISH, EUROPE, AND WORLD CHAMPION
51 and still killing it(and loving it)
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from Ian Duckett
This book is presented for information purposes only.
Ian Duckett and BodyIndesign assumes no responsibility in the correct use or incorrect use of the information within.
Always consult your Doctor
Bodybuilding, weight training, and lifting weights, has been my foundation of life since the age of 14.
Everything I have had, owned, are, and am today is because of bodybuilding.
It sounds very one dimensional and maybe it is, but that said, I could tell you all the good this sport has brought me in life, I have made and built my whole business life around it. I have seen so much of the world through competing, and due to my success in the business, been able to afford really amazing holidays for my family.
I have made some incredible friendships – forged in the iron, brothers and sisters that lived the lifestyle, worked hard, and overcame great odds all because of this thing called bodybuilding.
This book is for those who are looking to taking their training and nutrition to the next level. Maybe even the stage.
You may be thinking about it – running all those thoughts through your head…“am I good enough?” “can I do it”, or maybe you just don’t know how the hell to start this journey.
By the time you have read this book you will know everything you need to know. Then the ball is in your court.
Some of you may be seasoned competitors, or just working your way up the ranks.
For the seasoned bodybuilder – there is always something to learn and pick up to ‘improve’. You should never stop learning and improving. Even after 36 years of competing – yes 36 years – I still learn new things all the time.
For those in the junior sections or novice classes this book may save you years of trial and error.
Lastly, for those coaches and trainers out there this book will definitely help you in your business, for the information contained within is all of my experience, everything I applied to my clients that made my work in bodybuilding hugely successful, because of my clients doing very well every time we went to the shows.
Their success lifted all of us even higher.
LET’S DO THIS
I want this book to be of huge value to you, so that you read it time and time again, always gaining something from it at different points in your competition, and everyday life.
Take yourself to that next level.
Pick a goal
Work towards a goal
Achieve a goal
Set another and repeat
Your life will be richer and your level of achievement in all areas will always be higher, because of stepping up to that one thing.
Do it – do it now.
Be the best you can be.
CHAPTER ONE, OFF SEASON – IS ‘ON IT’ SEASON
Bill Pearl, Mr Universe my favourite bodybuilder and mentor, would decide a year out from a competition what he would like to look like by that time. He would train an entire year for a major show. What he did for the entire year was all based on the end result, the goal. Bill would always start light in bodyweight and grow towards a competition.
Skip Lacaur, the best natural bodybuilder ever, once said, and I quote; “what you do 7 months out from a show is as important as seven weeks out and seven days out”.
If you want to be really good at this sport – well I’m sorry but you have to do it right all of the time. There has only been a few years in all these 36 years that I did not have a competition on the horizon, and the best advice I can give you – the absolute best that you can take away from this book is always be in shape.
Always be close to show shape. Now many may not agree with me here, I can hear all the negatives “how can you gain muscle being lean?” “I will lose strength, be weak and small”.
Honestly. There are only positives by doing this strategy.
The negatives are only mind contrived.
You think you cannot gain muscle whilst being lean so therefore you are reluctant to eat right, all the time. In fact your mind will talk you out of eating right all the time and talk you into eating that huge amount of food you really don’t need.
“I need to feed the muscle – I need to put a few pounds on so I can get bigger and then cut down for my next show”. Don’t do it.
You have plenty of years after you stop competing to eat what you want. If you want to be good at this sport, do it right.
Bulking is very old fashioned but many still do it today. I am all for old school and wholly agree with many of the old school training principles, and always have. But that said ‘back in the day’ bodybuilders did not have to be as conditioned as they have to now be. I’m not meaning pro bodybuilders and bodybuilders that compete in non-tested shows, even though at an amateur level they are very conditioned. But without a doubt, natural bodybuilders have to be absolutely shredded in today’s competitions. There are not many huge natural bodybuilders, there are some genetic freaks, but percentage wise, natural bodybuilders are “built” but not past their genetics.
So natural bodybuilders have to use their trump cards – shape, balance, good natural size and of course, condition and posing.
I remember reading a book years ago by Clarence Bass called Ripped, there was a section in the book that covered how at one point he had put a few pounds on, and while dieting hard to become ripped for a major competition. He worked out to have the same lean mass as his last competition or slightly more and still be as ripped he had 11 pounds of fat to lose.
That was 11 pounds – if his current lean mass gained stayed the same. Think this through – he would lose maybe a half-pound to a pound of muscle for every pound he lost of fat. So 11 pounds off, he would end up losing around 6 or 7 pounds of tissue also.
So he decided to use steroids to prevent much of the loss.
He still lost nearly 2 pounds of tissue for every 5 pounds he lost; even on steroids he still lost 5 pounds of tissue!
In further study by myself on the subject, I discovered that the body with or without drugs will lose a few pounds of muscle for every few pounds of fat. Percentage differs from person to person and obviously without drugs – being natural you will lose more muscle. So say you have to lose 20 pounds – how much muscle do you think you will lose? God I dare not think, but I bet it’s a fair amount, and you will probably end up back where you was bodyweight wise before you put all the weight on.
What was the point? All that stress all that hard, hard dieting, all of the cardio, if you did it, weeks and weeks of nearly starving yourself and seeing your size diminish before your eyes along with your strength in the gym. I’m telling you there is a better way.
I have done years of study on this – not only using myself as a test subject but hundreds of clients. Some of the most respected experts in the industry have also advised against bulking. But it falls on deaf ears when many need to call on their willpower.
The late great Mike Mentzer – said a whole lot in this one paragraph in his book Heavy Duty 1983 (available from Joanne Sharkey at mikementzer.com):
“Growth must first be stimulated through proper, high intensity training, then enough nutrients must be consumed to maintain existing physical mass, along with a little extra to provide for that negligible bit of growth that is being stimulated workout to workout.”
Arthur Jones who invented Nautilus machines and was an incredibly intelligent man would have his ‘trainees’ get lean first before he would have them embark on a muscle building programme.
“Bulking up was a complete waste of time effort and money,” he would say.
Chris Aceto – probably the most renowned and best diet coach in the world is always careful to not let his athletes get fat and always show definition while they gain muscle mass.
Every successful bodybuilder over the years I have had the pleasure to spend time with, all of them, had upmost control on their diets at all times. Sure there are genetic freaks that can be huge, even fat in the off-season, and still pull it together at show time. Well – they are few and far between; normal bodybuilders like us have to do this right, all of the time.
I never said this was easy – this book is not a ‘secrets book’ that will give you results without hard work.
On the contrary, the whole principal of this book is based on common sense – control, and dedication to being the best you can be. So if you want to be a bodybuilder – a competitive bodybuilder, you have to be in it 24/7, 365 days, whilst you are competing. When you retire from the sport, then you can still eat right all be it not as dialled in but to a level for life and the love of it.
LET’S DO THIS RIGHT
If you have to lose 20 pounds it’s far too much of a stress on the body and you will definitely be smaller this way than you would be if you held your weight within striking distance.
Let’s look at the common sense in this. If you only have 7 pounds to lose for a competition – you will at the least lose a couple of pounds of muscle. If any. I will get to this in detail but let me first start by saying you will also be able to build more muscle this way.
ADVANTAGES OF STAYING LEAN
There are many, let’s cover them here,
YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE GAINS YOU ARE MAKING.
If you have weak points you can work on them and actually see if what you are doing is working. Rather than trimming away a lot of fat and hoping for the best.
I have done the bulking thing, so I have seen this first hand.
I will give you an example.
I had weak shoulders and chest. I used to train hard and heavy and eat frigging loads of food. These areas bulked up and then I would diet and lose everything off these areas.
Here’s why. The last tissue built will be the first to go when losing a significant amount of weight.
Years later as I learnt and therefore kept lean. I would see my chest and shoulders build even while only being 5 to 7 pounds over show weight. Guess what – the tissue stayed there. So each year as I did show upon show those areas improved until they matched my back and arms. So therefore I started winning shows and eventually the worlds.
YOU WILL DEFINITELY BE TIGHTER.
When you have a good few pounds to lose you may get tight in 12 to 20 weeks, but not as tight as you will if you only have a few pounds to lose. Here is why.
Your skin will be tighter and pull around the muscle separation more, this is because it is already use to being tight to you. Sounds daft but it’s true. If you lose 20 or more pounds you will need time for your skin to adjust to the new frame. This is even truer as to head into your thirties and beyond.
You not only have body fat under the skin but also body fat that is marbled in-between muscle fibres.
If you’re dieting like mad to make show day you may get down in weight and rid yourself of external fat but not the fat that is glued in there. Being able to remove the inter-muscular fat, that fat that is in-between those separations and muscle fibres is key. This is what makes you look real hard, feel rock solid, and show striations. By staying lean your body has no need to start adding intermuscular fat to your frame.
YOU WILL BE FULLER AND FAR MORE RIPPED BY STAYING LEAN SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT LOST TISSUE.
You will not have had to cut calories back so much or done lots of cardio, so therefore you have more muscle.
So staying lean is key while you are a competitive bodybuilder.
EVEN IF YOU DON’T COMPETE. STAYING LEAN AND BEING IN SHAPE IS PARAMOUNT IN MY BOOK.
It’s healthy – as you are not doing huge swings in weight gain and loss. You also look good for life and can actually move and be able to do many other things.
So how do we work this into an off/in season plan in order for you to make gains from one show to the next and be your ultimate best?
SET YOUR STALL OUT
First of all you need to know your objective – your goal.
You may have never competed before, haven’t for a few years, or you competed last year and looking to take yourself to the next level.
We need to set a goal and work out a starting plan.
Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.
You may have trained for years and have a few pounds on you to be in show shape. If you have a goal of a show say a year away from now my suggestion would be start slowly coming down in weight over the next six months or until you can see some abdominal definition and muscle separation. Then, when you get to a weight that is within 7 to 10 pounds – 10 pounds being for the taller guy or girl – 7 and under being for short stuffs like me; hold that weight and train at that weight by keeping your calories steady and stable and really training hard.
We will go into detail of calories and balance in the next chapter but let’s keep going here.
Let’s say you’re on the lean side and have trouble putting on tissue then you have to balance food and energy expenditure even more.
You have to be on the ball, but all you will gain from your efforts is pure muscle. Again basic samples and plans to come.
You maybe are never coming in full enough or tight enough or both. So the key is you have to make sure you again balance food and be a pro. Yes do it like a pro – like you make a living from your sport from now until you next step on stage.
We know our current situation – all you need to do from now is decide on your goal.
Once you have that established you/we can set out on the journey towards that goal.
Now we can look at food balance and you will be able to take the first step towards the stage – building some quality tissue and being within striking distance of competition.
CHAPTER TWO – EAT TO GAIN
So, we have established that it is far better being lean all the time for many reasons, not just stepping on stage ripped. Now we have to know how to do this in each different scenario, let’s cover this.
OVERWEIGHT – GOAL TO COMPETE
You have maybe never competed before, or done so but have let the “bulking” go too far. This can happen for a number of reasons other than eating too much food, or the wrong foods.
No matter what the reason is, we can start it here with some very simple but highly effective strategies.
First goal we have to step up to is we have to get lean to be lean for competition; basically we have to get in good shape to be able to hit awesome shape. We need to be shooting somewhere near the target in order to hit bullseye on the day – our objectives are, in no particular order:
1/ We need to be leaner – alter body composition
2/ More muscle in the off/on season – gain tissue and hold tissue
3/ Make gains in weak areas – right training and recovery, nutrition
4/ Have a much higher functioning metabolism – so we don’t have to reduce calories too far closer to the show
1/ WE NEED TO BE LEANER – ALTER BODY COMPOSITION
To be leaner and have a much better body composition i.e. more muscle less body fat, we need to really step up to our nutrition to feed the tissue and increase fat loss.
Step one, we need to know what calories you are eating a day. Now, this is what you have eaten to put on this extra weight. So don’t skip anything you need to be honest – keep a little note pad with you, and for seven days write down everything you eat and drink.
You can also do this on an app on your phone whatever works for you.
We basically need to calorie count – on an app or notebook, or a calorie count book, although almost everything can be googled as well, so you have no excuse to not do this.
Let’s do this.
After seven days total your calories up for these days then divide them by seven. This will give you your daily average.
Something like this:
÷7 = 3713
This number is our daily average, note that calories were significantly bumped up at the weekend. Meals out, beer – Sunday lunch, bumped up the weekly total. So let’s say our daily average is 3700. Over time this amount of food has either been keeping our weight stable or slightly gaining some, as the weeks go by.
The amount of training you’re doing will I hope be building some tissue with that weight gain – but you are softer, and not as muscular as you should be, or would like to be.
To alter our body composition – lose fat and gain tissue, we need to work with these numbers now.
First off all we are not going to reduce calories, this may sound a little odd to you but stay with me here.
If you have been eating ok – some good food but with added rubbish – ‘cheat’ foods, there is a huge difference in rubbish foods and compared to clean foods and how your body processes it. Many people would say a calorie is a calorie and I would beg to differ. Take 3000 calories from sweets, pizza, and beer and eat that for a week verses 3000 of lean meat, chicken, turkey and rice. Obviously which is going to build tissue better? Which is going to help your metabolism build and which will make you feel – clean – tight – energised?
I think you have it.
So we are going to first of all take out the huge cheats at weekends and we are going to balance every day out the same with an average of 3700 calories. FROM ONLY CLEAN FOODS.
Here’s how we are going to do this.
First we are going to set out some baseline foods for you to eat. These will cover all we need to grow, get lean, and also be healthy.
Let us simply list them here:
|Chicken||Rice||Nuts and Nut Butter|
|Fish – includes salmon and tuna||Sweet potatoes||Seeds|
|Turkey||Potatoes||Oils – Olive, Flax|
|Eggs||Bread||Fats found in beef and fish, especially grass fed beef and salmon|
|Yoghurt – is in all three|
Now let me list the base calories of these foods, also protein and carbs.
All weights are cooked weights.
|Whey protein||1 scoop||110||20|
Now here I have listed the calories and protein the best I can as this can change a little regarding type of chicken or beef. Beef for instance can be a little different depending on the type of steak and how it was cooked, but you will not be far out at all with any of the above.
|Sweet potatoes||200g cooked||180||4||41|
|Bread, wholemeal||1 slice, thick cut||110||6||20|
|Oats||100g, dry weight||390||14||68|
|Nuts –Fats and miscellaneous
|Nuts – cashews||100g||590||18||30|
|Peanut Butter, organic||1 teaspoon||100||4|
DON’T SWEAT IT, IT’S EASY
I’m not huge on counting everything – yes I have listed all the basic foods here for you, protein, carbs, and calories, I have not listed fats as to be very honest with you I don’t count them at all. From these basic foods, fats will be relatively low anyway with only fats taken in naturally in meats and some nuts and not butters being part of the equation.
The simplest method for results I have found over the years is counting just one thing, focusing on that one component.
Whenever there is a goal and I need a focus point I focus on the basics, either I will count the calories or carbs, very rare have I ever counted protein. Only every now and then will I tot up protein just out of curiosity.
In order for us to gain tissue and lose fat your calories need to be bang on. They need to be baselined out as I mentioned earlier. We find your average and we work with that number day in day out.
Let’s keep with our example, 3700.
3700 calories has been keeping your weight stable and it is our starting point on this journey. Remember we need to lose fat and gain some muscle, basically alter our body composition so we are leaner before we embark on a show prep.
We take those calories and we use the food lists I have provided, and structure an eating plan that covers all our basic needs to serve hard training and everyday life.
The off season eating plan has a wider variety of foods so we are covering health, energy and the digestion and utilisation of many vitamins and minerals.
Try to eat as much organic as you can – to be the best you have to eat the best.
For absorption and stimulation of the metabolism it is better to eat little and often, every two to three hours works best, this will equate to three to four meals and a couple of snacks per day.
I have always been an advocate of eating all three components of food at the same time. Protein, carbs, and fats, at each meal. I even do this prior to a competition.
Well you gain better absorption of the meal and also the meal will not give you a fast ‘spike’ in energy and a drop, but will drip feed your body all day. As one meal is absorbed and utilised the next will soon be along. If you don’t eat with the ‘mix’ of foods many times you will have a drop in blood sugar and this can cause you to look for the wrong foods.
This conveyor belt type feedings is what makes your metabolism faster along with activity – training and muscle mass, as when you eat meals at regular times your body becomes a machine that runs at a higher level of efficiency. Eating sporadically, and huge amounts at any one time overburdens the body. Also, if the body has gone so long without food and you do this often your body will actually store some of those calories as fat, simply because you have no set pattern and it does not know if you will eat again in six hours or three days.
So regular meals spaced 2 to 3 hours apart is ideal for maximum gains and body composition.
I would suggest that you first count calories on this off/on season baseline-eating plan.
For illustration let’s stay with our 3700 calories a day, and work with that.
We have two ways of doing this; I have used both with huge success. The first here I like to call:
This, as you can guess, is the same day in day out, you plan out your eating plan, same foods same time every day and you stick to it, as simple as that, until changes need to be made.
OK let’s look at this, we work this out over the weekend; buy all the foods we need ready to make a start on Monday.
Here is our daily food list:
|2 scoop protein||220|
|2 slices of wholemeal bread||220|
|Salad, large mixed||150|
|2 teaspoon Nut Butter||200|
|Sweet potatoes 200g||180|
|6||Whey protein 1 scoop||110|
Sunflower seeds 25g
This is just a suggested meal plan, you can from the lists given make your own.
I have put the foods together as I see fit and how it would fit into my day.
I have made no mind to protein or carbs although they are there at each meal. Also note that I have different types of food, a wide variety of nutrients are covered here for greater repair and health. Especially if you eat organic – you will be giving your body the best materials to build with.
I have over the years experimented with protein intake – I am talking the amount of protein I consumed each day from food. There have been times I have eaten what would be considered a lot, and at other times hardly any.
At both ends of the scale there I have been in the best shape of my life. Eventually I understood there is a need for it regularly, but your body – your own system will tell you what is too much or too little. I have found clients eat to an appetite balance, like I said your body will tell you what is too much, if you bung up and not eliminating well it’s too high. You will tend to eat protein amounts as you always have, hard training will also switch your body to ask for more, you will grow to listen to your body and system.
All I did was think quality of food and calories being from the healthiest sources. As a show approached I watched carbs or calories and found that to be the best approach for clients and myself. We will move on to that later, let’s stay with this plan for now.
So we have a balanced diet covering protein fats and carbs at each sitting/meal and first and foremost it is clean and healthy. This eating plan along with some hard training and increased activity will bring about a body composition change.
So there you have Groundhog Day.
Same foods set out each day every day.
With this you know what you’re buying, what you’re cooking, and what you’re eating, each day. This then gives you the look you see in the mirror and how you perform in the gym.
All this comes from that food. You know exactly where you are.
I would eat the same foods; remember your choice set to your calories and the foods you like to eat.
After 3 weeks or so change your menu up and the foods around a little, and depending on how you look and how your performance in the gym plans – a body fat test can be a great tool, even in the off season (how to test is in the rear of the manual).
You can either stay on course with the calories or reduce or increase depending on body changes.
To help you decide on your own plan and to think about your food nutrition and time. This is how I structured the above.
Eggs start the day good they sustain me because of the fats in the Egg. They also slow down the carb digestion rate so my days get off to a good start.
Is very quick as I am busy around the house. If I am heading out it can also be taken with me and eaten anywhere. I bag up the nuts and fruit and put the pro in a shaker grab a water and I am on my way.
It covers all of the bases – protein, carbs in the fruit and the nuts offer good fats and calories that will also slow the whole meal down to balance blood sugar and sustain energy.
Again really easy to prep take anywhere or eat at home or work with very little prep. I could have the bread toasted or make a sandwich with the tuna. The salad will have lots of different colours and tastes and the bread will be wholemeal or seeded bread, and of course organic.
Yoghurt is a fantastic source of protein, carbs and fats. High in many amino acids and highly digestible not to mention good for your gut health.
Again easy prep while at work I like Nut Butter for added calories and good fats, mixed up it is a wonderful meal.
Family meal when the kids are home it’s clean and healthy, a sit at the table meal that has lean meat, potatoes, and good clean vegetables.
Very good nutrients to wrap up a great day at work or school. Again, protein fats and carbs lower in fats than some of the other meals because chicken is naturally low – beef could be your choice, or salmon.
We have chicken mostly because we like to cut it up and pan-fry it in a small amount of coconut oil.
An ideal meal before bed.
Yoghurt as I said is an awesome food to eat mixed with the seeds and berries is giving you excellent nutrition before bed, so your body can extract these nutrients while you sleep, aid recovery and repair as well as put good bacteria back into your gut ready for the next day’s feeding.
The alarm goes off….
… Ground hog day. Ha-ha
I have journals that go way back to when I was 16 years old each one tells a story of a journey for each year, treasured tatty note books, that not only tell a story but a huge amount of information about yourself.
Like I said, over the years I have used two main ways of keeping a log of my food intake. Even the years when I have not been bodybuilding and powerlifting for instance with no focus as such in nutrition balance I still wrote out my food each and every day – along with other notes training and business goals.
The other way of logging your food/calories is still very structured but not as structured as ground hog day.
This takes a little more day to day planning but works just as well; just go with what works with your lifestyle. Do what you can step up to the best. I chop and change between the two of these plans and they have worked for off-season and show prep, in keeping with my life and focus at the time.
Here is how I do a checklist.
I pick out the foods I want to eat and amounts for a day that balance out the calories I need. I also cover all food groups, protein, carbs and fats and just list out the total amounts, like so.
|Eggs x 6
|Chicken x 200g
|Sweet potatoes x 2 x 200g
|Bread, 2 slices
|Oats x 100g
|Yoghurt x 200g
|Cashew, nuts x 100g
|Dates x 100g
|Banana x 2
|Apples x 2
|Whey protein x 2 scoop
|Nut Butter 2 teaspoon
Again we have balanced out at our 3700 calories a day from earlier. Once we have this ‘check list’ jotted down all we do each day is we eat a meal and tick off the food eaten. Very simple but highly effective. Each day you know you have eaten that amount of food – calories, protein, carbs, and good fats. The foods are balanced with something from all groups very healthy and cover all we need to build tissue and alter body composition.
When I do this checklist system I can mix my meals however I want and I really enjoy it, here is an idea.
|Meal 1||3 Eggs, Oats, 1 Banana
|Meal 2||1 Scoop Whey, 1 Banana, 1 Apple
|Meal 3||Chicken 200, 1 x 100g Sweet Potato, Vegetables, Yoghurt 200g
|Meal 4||1 Scoop Whey Protein, 100g Nuts, 100g Dates
|Meal 5||Eggs x 3, Toast x 2, 1 x 100g Sweet Potato, Vegetables
|Meal 6||1 Scoop Whey Protein, 2 Spoon Nut Butter, 1 Apple
All I have done here is gone about my day and ticked off the food I have had as I have eaten it. This can be done in countless ways all mixed and matched, all I ask is that you have protein fats and carbs at each sitting, it’s that simple. As you can also see some of the totals can be split if you like.
I did this with Eggs in my day and also my final sittings. Another day maybe completely different maybe Eggs for breakfast, lunch and then chicken for tea. It’s your choice, the calories are set to you and your protein to your appetite and taste, carbs again just set to your appetite. Clean foods balanced out at your calories and some hard work in the gym will create the first change we need in body composition, less fat and more muscle.
2/ MORE MUSCLE IN THE OFF/ON SEASON – GAIN TISSUE, HOLD TISSUE
I have touched on this a little already, but let’s cover this objective a little further.
Time between shows is very important, it should never be wasted it’s not a time to relax and take things easy. No, it’s work time it’s time to improve when hard training and good food can increase lean muscle mass.
We have covered how staying lean can help you keep tissue when you diet. If you’re already lean or have now become leaner within striking distance of a competition, this is simply how we now gain tissue.
First and foremost we need to…
Train harder – this we will get into in ‘training to gain’ but this is very important obviously. Tissue just does not appear by magic we then need to rest and feed that hard training.
Food has to be bang on all the time. That tissue – that body, that muscle, needs to be maintained with food and enough water.
So as we did before/explained earlier we need to set out a base-line eating plan.
Once we have this established this, we need to add only a small amount of calories to that base line to be able to build the new muscle stimulated in our hard training.
This is how I have done this over the years and with clients.
So we are lean.
We want to grow tissue without gaining body fat or very little fat, let’s stick with our 3700-calorie day.
We are eating this amount day in day out week after week. Things are on point. Training is hard, weights are going up, intensity is there and there are some good aches but recovery is also good.
The last few weeks have seen you stay the same weight but you actually look a little leaner – sometimes you feel a little flat and you feel hungry some days.
This to me shows your training is demanding more calories; you have got a little leaner as the body under really hard stress from training and will rob calories from fat cells in order to build tissue. But at the same time it does not want to become too lean with the amount of work fully asked of it. This is why we need to ‘feed the machine’.
Take your 3700 and add 300 to it across the board from all food groups. This is easy. Extra Banana – 1 more Egg – 1 spoon of Nut Butter – approx. 300, easy.
Now hold these 4000 calories for a few weeks – monitor your weight and condition if your weight goes up and you show no signs of smoothing out things are bang on. Watching the scales, mirror, and even using callipers can keep you on the right path.
If after a few weeks you still feel like your metabolism is running away with you or you haven’t gained new tissue go ahead and add some more calories from across the board – protein, carbs and fats, add in another 200 or 300 and again hold for a few weeks.
I have done this technique many times with awesome results. Using my example here is this is how I balanced out each muscle gain.
As the years went by in the off season I would gain some tissue but then my body would seem to top out and although I have gained a few pounds it would not gain any more without it smoothing out somewhat. It’s as if I had maxed out at strength gains and muscle tissue. All I would do then is hold my new weight for months – same calories – same foods for months and still keep pushing hard. Soon that new weight would become my new set point (your body has a set point for ‘each of your weights’) in time this new weight would start to look hard – fuller and sharper – in as if I used the little bit of fat gained to gain some new tissue, and my body got used to holding more muscle and holding a lower fat level (new set point).
This you can do until you reach your natural size potential. We know some people have better genetics and can build more muscle than others. But that said – starting out this sport you don’t know what your potential is. Again, using my example I started training at my present height at 14 with weights after years of various sports and activity and was muscular and very ripped even at 14 and weighed all of 80 pounds. By the time I reached 20 or so I weighed a competition lean 145 – 150. Yes believe it or not some 70 pounds of tissue. It took around 6 years to build it, most of it being in the first few years. But I have trained all my life and never weighed more than 165 (bulking days!!) or so and competed at 145 – 148 pounds at my best, and looked massively different in size and condition even though weighing the same as I did as a kid. It’s the quality of every pound placed correctly on the body that made a huge difference later in life.
So, if you’re new to this sport, ride that growth spurt and if you have been at the front line for years, you already train hard and eat right, the balance of building some new tissue is very hard. Everything has to be right, food water, and the catalyst of it all, training. Your training has to stimulate new tissue and be hard enough to keep the new tissue.
You will find after years of training you are just topping off that first few % of tissue all the time. To bring you to the ultimate in size (for you) and fullness and also leanness, takes dedicated work.
Throughout your years as life and work gets in the way you will bounce in and out of that ‘top shape’ point in life. And when things are in line, life’s good and you have the motivation to pull a show out of the bag you reach a peak, and that’s an awesome feeling and also very rewarding.
WRAP UP ON THIS POINT
Train hard – very hard to trigger growth
Keep a close eye on tissue gained, use the scales mirror and callipers
Step up in weight – hold a weight – step up again – let a new weight become a set point
New trainers have exciting times and gains ahead
Advanced trainers, gains are slower but they are there. If you do things right, don’t cut corners give 100% to your goal when you want to top out those gains and peak.
3/ MAKE GAINS IN WEAK AREAS – RIGHT TRAINING AND RECOVERY NUTRITION
I have just mentioned how when you have been training for a number of years you note that you will have periods of a ‘top off’ point. Those times in your training life whereupon you reach a point in your physique – strength and fitness, that is a high point, I won’t say peak as this is even higher of a point to hit.
This high is one of those times when your training and food is more on point than normal. This can be because it is a time in your life, where work, stress, life, worry – are all controlled and in a good place and therefore so are you. This is a time to reach for a new high; you have the energy and resources to really step up. Unfortunately this does not happen all the time so ride it well and enjoy it. I say unfortunately, because we are normal people with responsibilities, but we can be on point as much as we can – it just takes planning and commitment, and when this time does crop up in life, allowing you more ‘you’ time, you need to enjoy it, take advantage and reach for a new high, then you can maintain those new gains when life is more normal. Essentially maintaining a little balance to your new high point in your training life.
These times are also ideal times to bring up weak points, weak points are notorious at dropping off your body when lift gets you down a little. Working over late, miss meals, miss a workout and sure enough the weak points take the brunt of the muscle loss.
Weak points first and foremost have to be trained right and I will get into this in the training chapter. So let’s cover here – feeding the weak area/areas right.
If you are trying to bring up a weak point on your body this area needs to be treated like a baby I’m afraid.
It first needs to be stimulated right, then it has to be fed and rested. Food and calories need to be on point as much as you can. You are always playing a game here, always trying to keep ahead of that body part not wanting to stay on your physique. You have to never give the body chance to lose it. Sounds daft I know but this is how the body works, if you don’t use that area regularly, i.e. stimulate it so it overcompensates or holds the tissue, it will shrink somewhat. So whack it hard feed it, always on it. Always on point with food water and training
So holding tissue on the body – lean tissue not just in weak points but all the body needs work and planning. Don’t stress over this though, this simply means – make your meals – pack them, eat them on time, drink your water, and train hard.
Fit this into the life you lead – if you are busy all day and travel a lot, or work in an office, you need your meals with you. There is no excuse not to have meals prepared and ready – no matter how busy you think you are. Either cook on an evening or early morning just do it and think nothing more of it. I used to get home at 8.30 – 9 on an evening and just put my bag down and get to work cooking my next day’s meals, cooking one chicken breast is the same as cooking six – baked potatoes just need sticking in the oven, vegetables take ten minutes, then it takes five minutes to box it all up.
Again, don’t think and stress about it, too tired – busy day at work need to sit down – on and on – just do it.
If you want to be good at this sport – do the groundwork. Remember off-season is on it season – the better you eat now the better you will look next time on stage.
Weak points need the attention they deserve.
POST WORK OUT
The post workout period, whether it be in weak-point training or all the body needs to be never missed.
It is an essential part of your overall gains and recovery.
THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
I have used this technique most of my training life. It is incredibly effective.
The window of opportunity is the time period before and after you train. These times need to ‘book end’ right in order for you to gain the most from your training efforts. Recovery needs to follow hard training, without recovery there will be no gains no matter how hard you hit the gym. This technique aids recovery massively, I honestly cannot remember a workout whereupon I did not do this I believe in its effectiveness so much.
Let’s first run it out here for you.
About an hour and a half to two hours before training, do not eat a normal meal, as this will interfere with our window of opportunity. Fifteen to twenty minutes before hitting the iron have a small carbohydrate drink or very small easily digested snack, high in carbs like I do – Egg Whites and Banana. Yuck I hear you say.
Bear with me.
4 – 6 Egg Whites in a bowl, chopped up Banana in there, whisk.
Cook in a microwave for 2 mins.
Cook again for 1 minute.
Cinnamon to taste.
I love it – try it.
It’s fast acting protein – fast carbs that are readily available for the session to come – easily digested so the meal does not interfere with the after workout nutrition.
The reason I said no meals is because we need a clear runway for carbs and aminos right after the workout, we don’t need anything blocking our fast highway to recovery and muscle uptake of carbs and amino acids.
You see the window of opportunity is open for 20-30 minutes prior to training, and in my opinion only for an hour after you workout. I have worked on this point for years and have noted this.
When you have trained your body is screaming out for carbs and aminos for repair. Until your body is back to where it was prior to you hitting the iron it will not trigger the recovery process, so missing this point could seriously set you back days.
Think about this, so when you come to train again you have not even recovered. No recovery, no gains – you are always in a deficit.
Now I have your attention, carbs or a small meal before training, carbs and BCAAs after.
Here is the technique in a nutshell.
20 -30 minutes before training – your choices are:
4 – 6 Egg Whites and a Banana
30 – 40g of maltodextrin powder mixed in water – 3-4 BCAA capsules
Apple juice – around 200 mil, 3 to 4 BCAA
After training wait 15 minutes or so, so your body has chance to calm down.
Then your choices are:
All Sports amino load – ideal product – 3 to 4 BCAA
50 to 70g of maltodextrin – 3 to 4 BCAA
4 to 6 caramel snack a jack rice cakes – water and 3 to 4 BCAA
Hydrolysed whey in water 2 scoops – 1 bagel plain
Now the above is your every day off/on season plan.
As a show approaches there is a higher level to this. I save this for a show, as we need it when we are on a higher level of work and condition.
This strategy works like you would not believe.
You will aid recovery by some 60% – this equals gains, it is a critical point of your success as a natural bodybuilder.
Remember you need to replace and replenish the body before it even starts to work on muscle recovery and growth. You need carbs, fast digesting also protein (hydrolysed whey or isolate) in as soon as you can after training, also plenty of fluids.
One more point –I do not count these training calories in my daily total –they are there to replenish and recover me.
WRAP UP THIS POINT
Be on the ball – on point with your food – prep and make sure you’re never without your meal. Sometimes life will get in the way of you eating – that’s not your fault – but having no meal with you is!
Weak points need to be given attention not only in training but also by feeding them – try not to stress, always keep holding the areas up with the right food and rest.
The window of opportunity is critical; never miss this point in your training life.
4/HAVE A MUCH HIGHER FUCTIONING METABOLISM
You can without a doubt build your metabolism. The metabolism, let’s keep this simple is rate at which you burn calories. The rate at which the body utilises the food you feed it. Again, let’s keep this simple, those with a high metabolism can eat more and are generally leaner. Those with slower a ‘tick over rate’ will gain weight easy – and have to eat next to nothing to loose weight.
So how do we build our metabolism? Can it be done?
The answer is yes it is easy to do and of course.
All of the above mentioned in this chapter will build your metabolism.
Keeping Track Of Your Food Intake
Slowly Increasing Food As The Body Needs It Through Hard Training
The More Lean Tissue You Have And Lower Your BF Percent In The Off/On Season The Higher The ‘Tick Over Rate’
Let us look again at bulking and the lean approach and the effect on the metabolism.
Let’s say body-builder one has a medium tick over rate.
He decides he is going to get huge and eats everything in site.
Some good stuff but also lots of crap, he also has no idea the amount of calories he in-gests each day. Sure he trains hard and heavy but after the body has absorbed and utilised the building blocks it needs for recovery and growth the excess is shunted into fat cells.
Months go by until there is some serious weight to loose as he now undertakes a prep.
At first cutting back shows some weight loss. But as the weeks tick by the once bulky looking lad (in his clothes) is showing signs of muscle loss along with the fat, this is Mother Nature. Like I said for every big clump of fat you have to loose you will loose muscle as well.
The week’s click by – the show is on the horizon and our ‘bulker’ is now doing two a day CV sessions and hardly eating any food. This is because the metabolism has dropped like a stone. Not to mention the stress the body perceives all this to be and further shuts down bodily functions.
But to make it to condition he further cuts food and is now like a zombie, training takes all he has, each week he finds he is weaker.
Further muscle loss is now inevitable – you know ‘use it or loose it’- so the metabolism becomes ever slower – shot to bits.
On a wing and a prayer he makes the show.
That night after the show he eats everything in site – and cannot slow down as the days tick by. Ten days in and he is 20 pounds up – back to just about where he started – but with much much less muscle.
The metabolism my take a year to recover – if it ever does.
I hardly have to explain this the above makes you see this like a blinding light.
Our guy has built his metabolic rate up slowly for months.
He Eats Clean
He Journals Everything
Slowly Adds Calories Every Few Weeks Only By 2- 3 Hundred
If He Sees To Much Of A Loss In Look – He Sticks His Calories And Holds Until The Body Sets It And Hardens
Show prep begins, and at this point our guy is eating 4500 calories a day and is in great shape lean and strong. His first point of action is a reduction in calories by 200 and to train a little faster.
This right away shows an increase in definition, hardly having anything to loose fat wise, can you see how our guy is hardly going to have to cut back?
To wrap this up, because I think you see this now.
He Will Hardly Have To Cut Food
By The End Of The Prep He May Still Be Eating 3000 Calories
No CV – He Had No Need
No Strength Loss
So He Kept Muscle
So The Metabolic Rate Was High
Body Not Stressed
Fuller And More Ripped At Show
God it’s a no brainer.
Your side of the line
I can here you now—yep well that’s all well and good if you have nothing to do all day but look after myself and eat my meals on time.
Well I am sorry but you are wrong –most of my clients are women with kid’s, homes and jobs –just like you—and if they can do this –well so can you.
The guys I train are very busy, some own huge companies that demand so much attention and work you would think they have nothing left in a day to sleep, let alone sort their food out for the next day. But they do and so can you.
Here comes another one of my sayings—you will be sick of these by now.
If you take your food to work with you all packed and ready to eat and something crops up beyond your control. Well that’s not your fault –you stepped up to your side of the bargain and things just did not pan out.
But if you went to work without prepping your food the night before well—we are going to not get very far are we. If you have your meals with you and you eat some rubbish –well again— we are not stepping up to the line.
If you get stuck in meetings and you can not eat for a while—well that’s not your doing, it’s out of your control –eat your good food as soon as you can.
Make sure you can control when you can —always step up to your side of the line –you will not go far wrong.
I always say to clients –never think about what you have to do as far as prepping your food – just do it. Do it like it is another job-like cleaning the house –doing the washing –just do it. If you get in from work and you start to think -oh heck I have all my food to sort out for tomorrow, you are making this a negative right there and then. You will soon talk your self out of it—with a little voice in your head. It will be saying- just get a sandwich at work tomorrow. Sit down watch the telly.
Don’t even think just do
Wash your tubs from the day –spread everything out on the worktop and get prepping. Put some music on –get a TV and put it in the kitchen – watch and listen to the news while you are working. Be happy in the effort you are putting forth to your goal.
Do this as soon as you get in the house –no matter what time it is. I have come back from shows after driving all night –got in at 2 am –sorted my food- got into bed and got up at 4am to come to work. I just did it automatic, an ingrained good habit.
It takes no time at all to sort your food out in the grand scheme of things –but will give you so much back in return. Health-energy –a better body. It will also save you a packet –if you eat out now all week at work –do a quick tot up you will be surprised.
My tips on prep
I always have an idea what I am going to eat the next few days-so I always have what I need in. Louise and I always discuss what foods we are basing out on over the weekend for the next week and we shop accordingly. Lou will do the supermarket and I will do the farm shop and health food shop.
We know what we are having for lunch and dinner for most of that week-and we buy what we need. If I know my week is going to be an off the chart one I will make my lunch meals a quick easy eat –that can be eaten while working on some project –and in-between clients.
I am very busy with clients but I never let them catch me eat-not professional, it is tricky but I do manage and so will you –no matter how busy you are.
Whenever you make a meal for the family or yourself add plus one –just make another complete meal to eat yourself later or for the next days’ lunch. It does not have to be the exact meal you are having there and then, say you know you are packed the next day and maybe you are out and about in your car. Well simply put another chicken breast in the oven –cut yourself some bread while it is cooking and you can have a real chicken sandwich the next day.
Simple –yep-but how many of you do this now. I often will box up a complete meal for the next day-or to eat 3 hours later-always think ahead –it is so easy.
If I am out of the house, on my way to work, a competition with the girls, pictures –whatever. I will have a pack up with me. In my bag I will have my breakfast (if I am on my way to work early), all in a tub ready to be cooked when I get here.
I have my mid morning snacks bagged up or in a tub, this may be nuts and fruit.
My lunch is again, all ready in a tub to be eaten. I will also have my water bottle for the day-if I am away for a few days I have enough for that time- packed in the car. In short I never leave home without food, I know this sounds like an obsession –but I beg to differ. Obsession would be something that caused you a problem-something that may be hard work-well it is not-its second nature to do, I do it and think nothing of it. I concentrate on enjoying other things in life and not being stressed over food issues. You can do the same. Just pack your food each day.
Other tricks are in your car-always have some dried fruit and nuts packed in bags in your glove compartment and a few bottles of water. If you get held up at some point in the future –you have back up-‘pack up.’
In a rush
Find yourself in a rush in a morning and you have no time for a good breakfast? Well my first reaction to that is go to bed early and get up early.
If you have to commute to work and get something on the way in, here is your new routine. The night before work make some oat cakes (recipe to follow) pack them up and eat them either on the way out the door or at your desk while shifting through the mail. This will get you away from the crap you may buy at work.
I often make these and will eat them for breakfast and mid morning meals.
Being organised will free you up to be more productive in other areas of your life. How many hours do you waste each week –stood in cues buying crap?
How many times are you mulling over what to eat and where?
Basically –you have your food with you –you eat it at such and such a time and you get on with your day-job done.
Following are some time saving, no frills, easy to prepare recipes.
This recipe combines the good fats and nutrients in various nuts, together with whey protein for an easy-to-make bar that’s has some natural carbohydrates, high in protein, and full of healthy fats.
These can be eaten at any time, I like to have these mid morning or mid afternoon. They also serve you well on trips away for a few days. You may be able to get a good meal in a restaurant and these will keep you right in-between meals.
Ingredients 3/4 cup pecan meal 3/4 cup almond meal 1/4 cup cashew nut meal.
The above is just those nuts crushed or blended in a coffee grinder.
2 whole organic eggs 1 mashed banana.
6 scoops of protein powder.
1 table spoon of honey.
1 tea spoon of cinnamon.
To make the pecan cashew and almond meal, process the nuts in a blender. Mix everything together in a large bowl, and continue stirring until all of the ingredients have mixed together thoroughly. Spread the dough into an 8X8-inch baking dish coated with olive oil cooking spray, and bake for 15 minutes at 350-degrees F.
Prep Time: 15 minutes Servings: 6
Here is the recipe for my famous bread.
This bread will not give you the same bloated feeling like other bread. This recipe is fantastic, healthy and very easy to make. I love making this and enjoying eating it more.
Ingredients. Makes two loafs- or one large.
450g organic whole wheat flour.
4 table spoons of organic butter.
4 table spoons of organic raw cane sugar.
200g organic raisins.
100g organic dried apricots.
100g organic broken walnuts.
4 tea spoons bread yeast.
12 table spoons organic apple or orange juice.
12 table spoons organic yogurt.
1/ Put flour in huge bowl.
Rub in butter. Add all ingredients—but not the juice and yogurt –yet. Mix up by hand.
2/ Warm the juice in a pan—just warm not boil.
3/ Add this to the mix along with the 12 spoons of yogurt.
4/ Mix by hand- well.
5/ Remove mix from bowl and knead on a floured service for 5 min.
6/ Cut into two loafs and shape.
7/ Place on a creased baking tray.
8/ Cover with a clean dry tea towel.
9/ Set aside in a warm place till they have doubled in size.
10/ Cook in pre heated oven 220 c—or 425 f—or gas mark 7. Should take 35-40 min.
To test loaf is cooked –tap the underneath- hollow –it’s done.
This loaf can also be made with different dried fruits –or no nuts –or just a plain loaf to have with eggs and such. Once you have the base ingredients you can add and take away what you like.
I have been having these for the last 20 years or so, again I add and take away from the base. Sometimes I have dates in them –other times berries-go for it.
Makes approx 6 oatcakes
Ingredients 2 cups of oats
2 full eggs 2 banana – chopped
Raisins -a handful Blue berries a handful
1 pack of Nytro Pro40 or a Met-Rx meal replacement
Water to mix
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Add cinnamon and berries (blueberries are best when in season, organic dried blueberries work well if you soak them for a few hours)
You have to add enough water to this to wet all the ingredients but not make it too sloppy. Make sure also that the eggs are thoroughly mixed and the meal replacement powder.
Lightly butter some Yorkshire pudding tins and place mixture into them in equal amounts. Bake in the oven at 220c for 30-40 minutes or until cooked. These can be left to cool and used for breakfast for a couple of days or as a mid morning or afternoon snack meal.
I like t o mix up my own most of the time –if I do buy, I make sure it is a good organic brand. You can make your own by buying all the ingredients.
Mixed nuts and seeds.
Dried fruit of your choice, I like dates and raisins.
Optimum flax cereal –by nature’s path.
Mix them all together in a huge air tight tub and you are good to go when you want a meal.
I like to set out a serving the night before if I am planning to have it for breakfast.
Here’s what I do.
I chop an apple into it and soak it overnight in apple juice in the fridge, I also cover it with another bowl.
In the morning I add organic yogurt and enjoy, the flavor of the apple is soaked into it tastes gorgeous, add a dash of cinnamon on top.
A fantastic way to start the day.
I don’t just have muesli for breakfast –I may have it mid afternoon with a protein poured on top, or again with yogurt, another great idea is to mix it up with cottage cheese and chopped fruit and grapes.
If I am having just oats and not oat cakes –here are a couple of ideas I use to balance the food groups out.
I soak the oats overnight in bottled or filtered water-do not soak in just tap water. I like to cook them in a pan –nuking it in a micro is not the best way to cook it, in-fact we do not have a microwave oven. In with the oats I will also soak some raisins and blueberries –all the antioxidants will soak into the mixture.
Come the morning I will add a couple of whole eggs—yep sounds bad—but I swear to you will not even know they are there. Try it if you do not like it eat your eggs hard boiled along with the oats. I love it as it makes the oats creamy.
I make sure I cook the oats through fully for a slow cooking time adding water as I do to bring about the right texture. I add cinnamon to taste. I have the eggs with this meal to balance out the protein.
Other times I may have some scrambled eggs –then have a bowl of oats with a spoon of nut butter mixed into it after it is cooked.
Dates also work well in the overnight oat soaking prep.
Talking of dates. I love to have nuts and dates mixed together as a meal with some fruit after. This I have almost every day.
What’s for lunch?
Already set up the night before ready to eat is my lunch.
This may be my home made bread cut thick and chunky with nut butter and honey on. Along with this I will have some raw chopped vegetables and chopped fruit.
Another may be 2-3 hard boiled eggs whisked together with olive oil and cider vinegar. This I will have as an open sandwich on my home made bread.
Again cut thick and chunky. Salad would also be along with this and a few nuts.
Sardines is another thing I have with my bread –again with chopped raw vegetables and salad.
On really busy days I have a huge tub of nuts and dried fruit that I will snack on every 3 hours.
Days when I have a little more time, I may have a plus one meal that was made the night before.
After a working day
Louise is just like me and eats very healthily, more often than not she has made our evening meal when I get in from work.
We spend time in the kitchen prepping all the while talking about our day. From the foods we eat we will have a good healthy meal as a family.
This we cook in the oven wrapped in foil with a little bit of lemon juice and no salt spices. More often than not we have potatoes or sweet potatoes – chopped into chunky chips and cooked in the oven with a little olive oil.
While these two are cooking in the oven we have a huge pan on the stove steaming our vegetables.
We cook other fish the same way-cod being used as a change of taste from salmon. Chicken.
We have this much the same way –either oven cooked or on the George Forman grill. Every now and then we will have a huge vegetable and chicken stir fry –cooked in a wok with olive oil.
We do not always use meat and will often have a nut and vegetable stir fry.
Omelettes, love them –again with vegetables folded in the omelette.
Another egg meal I love is a huge plate of roasted veg-with 3 poached eggs on top. Love eggs- and I eat them every day in one way or another.
Lou will make a huge stew in the winter months-she puts into a large pan.
Spices.-no salt seasoning.
These vegetables will be chopped up fine and cooked for a few hours with some slowed cooked shredded chicken.
This meal always reminds me of when I was a kid –my Grandad use to make a very similar stew and soup.
The above is very easy to do, just use your basic food groups and cook them to your liking. The more you do it, the more you will enjoy experimenting with your cooking. Like us, you will find your way- we eat plain with only the odd, no salt spice used. We tend to use the flavours of veg to give the meal taste for us.
You may want to make healthy chillies and curries –no problem-you know the rules and if it’s cooked in a natural way –go for it.
Whatever it takes to eat right and keep on track with this I say is good. I love the way I eat –I could go on and on here –it is not rocket science –just mix and match meals and enjoy. Sometimes we use rice instead of potatoes –or have a baked potato instead of chopped and cooked in oil. The potato I may have them with organic butter or nut butter along with my meal. At some point in the week we have had everything –variety and a mix of nutrients.
The only time I have a base plan that rotates only a few meals is when I am getting ready for a show or guest spot.
This is covered in the next chapter.
What I eat in a typical day
Now with all the information that has been outlined above, you may wonder how my daily eating plan is structured. Like I said above –I have a huge variety of nutrients each day and week in week out.
I write my daily diet out each day in my training and nutrition log book.
Even though I do not count calories and listen to my appetite balance, I still list the food I eat and the time I ate them. This allows me to see, that I do mix and match things and also how certain types of foods affect my body composition and energy levels. A food and training log is something I have done since I was 16 years old and they have been invaluable in shaping who I am today. I suggest you start one as soon as possible. You will be surprised by how a little book can be motivating and accountable for each day.
Here are a couple of days. 9/1/2010.
1/ Oats –raisins –berries-1 scoop of XGF-by AST.
2/ Post workout-XGF-and some raisons.
3/ Oats –raisins –berries and 2 eggs.
4/ Home made bread –nut butter and honey-chopped fruit and veg.
5/ Nuts and dates.
6/ Salmon-sweet potato and veg.
7/ Raw bar.
Had 2.5 ltrs of water and lots of green tea.
1/ Muesli, fruit and yogurt.
2/ Fruit, nuts and seeds.
3/ Chicken stew-home made bread.
4/ Nuts and dates.
5/ Raw bar and fruit.
6/ Eggs –baked potato and veg.
3 ltrs of water.
These are a couple of basic samples –sometimes when I am real busy-Wednesday being packed for instance, I do things a little different.
Here is a typical Wednesdays eating.
1/ Oat cakes.
2/ Oat cakes.
3/ Nuts and fruit.
4/ Nuts and fruit.
5/ Nuts and fruit.
6/ Salmon-baked potato and veg.
When I am stacked out it is so much easier to just snack every 3 hours. Nuts and fruit fit the bill—I get tons of energy from them and have no problem working my day. The above diet logs- should make sense to you by now. Remember I eat to my energy output and appetite. Remember also –I eat protein, carbohydrates and fat at each of my servings. Note also I eat natural and do not go mad on protein like other ‘bodybuilders’/ ‘trainers’.
My main concern is health first and foremost.
As you can see I eat a variety of nutrients.
I try to eat in a week my list of super foods.
This reads like our shopping list.
In no particular order.
Whole meal bread flour.
Yogurt-organic full fat.
Organic full fat butter.
Nut butter—mixed, almond and cashew.
Everything listed here we buy organic—one of the hardest to get is grapes, believe it or not. I get organic ones when I can.
Salmon –I get wild Alaskan and sardines from Portugal.
If you try to eat these foods in the space of a week, you will be giving yourself everything you need for your health vitality and bodybuilding goals.
Part Four Of The Nutrition Series
After I have worked with a client for a couple of weeks, I will have them write down what they eat for me for a week. I check out their log book and if the food consumed is maintaining the client’s weight I will change the same baseline calorie level for clean healthy foods. Just doing this will yield fantastic results, the client will find they are eating a large amount of food as you can eat more clean food for the same calories as what is classed as an average diet. Roughly translated you can eat so much more rice and vegetables for the same calories as a mars bar.
The client is now eating clean food that the body processes cleanly and efficiently. At first it acts like a detox for them, they crave the foods they were addicted to but then as the system cleans, those cravings give way to new tastes for sweet fruit, honey, oats, natural food and natural sweetness and tastes.
Over the years of working with clients I have noted what I call the appetite balance.
This will sound a bit odd —but I am telling you it is true—I have seen it time and time again – that I could guarantee if I worked your calories out over a week. It will be bang on to the 100 or so calories. Get this—each and every week-month in month out. Yep, we don’t know it but we tend to eat the same amount of calories, over a week –month each and every month.
But ahh—I here you say, no way, I go all day some days and not eat anything as I am busy at work. But I say—I bet you eat like a man or women possessed when you get in from work. It is, most often than not- something high calorie. You basically eat your day’s calorie allowance in the last few hours before bed. You may hardly eat anything for a few days—then double your food intake for a few days. Or you top out at the weekend. I can now see you nodding in agreement. So I am saying that over a month or two month a year if I was to work out you calorie levels each day and did that for a year—each year would be more or less the same. Your body dictates your appetite and asks for the fuel it needs to do what it has to do. Think of the logic in this—do you think the body after all these millions of years of evolution it can not set point ‘you’- a fuel intake level? So why do we get fat and not keep muscle tissue?
When we do not eat regular and at odd times the body does not process the fuel as well. It has gone hours with no food so it will drop your metabolism and store some of the meal in the fat cells. If we eat like this all the time –no structure-wrong foods—wrong times—over time you will build up more and more stores in the fat cells.
As the years roll on, so does the fat—it may be only a pound or two each year—but go from 30 years of age to 40 and you find yourself 20lbs over weight.
Add to this you work more and do less sport and you start to lose muscle tissue, lose that and you lose your metabolism.
So you could in affect be the same weight on the scales, but 10 years on have a belly or big bum—or both. So how do we beat this and have the health and body you want for life.
Again this is simple—simple to do- but again you have to do it.
Here are the basic rules again.
Eat clean food—as I have mentioned countless times.
Eat regular—every few hours –spread that fuel out over the day.
Eat to your appetite, never stuff yourself and never eat till you are topped out.
Eat till you feel satisfied –never full-I never eat till I am full.
Your body will tell you when to eat and how much—clean natural foods, will do that for you.
So can you see here, that if you eat clean and with the same appetite as you have, your body will take care of it’s self.
Put this type of eating hand in hand with workouts and the client’s body-fat goes down and lean tissue goes up. Their metabolism runs red hot and best of all- the client is never hungry. The weights work builds tissue and stops degeneration of tissue, so you have the metabolism of your youth.
The hard all body programs I prescribe to, incinerate masses of calories and builds tissue- that- in turn burns more calories.
This is so bloody simple. I can not get my head around why people make a fuss about it.
Eat clean –train hard—just do it and think nothing more of it—your body will and has to look like that is what you do with it.
Let me give you an example eating plan- this has no weights and measures outlined and would need to be balanced to your own food intake baseline.
All I do with a client is look at how they eat over a week and change the foods they eat for good clean food.
If they have a sugar type cereal for breakfast—I will replace like for like size, to a bowl of oats with berries and cinnamon. If they have a choc bar and crisps mid morning I will replace that with nuts and fruit to about the same appetite balance. Lunch is a bad sandwich with all the crap on white bread. I will give them a huge chicken salad and a small amount of whole wheat bread. If they eat nothing all day and eat badly at night, I spread the night time appetite over the whole day.
Nothing fancy just common sense eating based on that clients appetite. For a few weeks you may rebel against this way of eating—you miss the choc and crisps and the odd bad food will sneak back in. But keep with it and as the results come to you, you are rewarded more and more for your efforts. Eventually, you neither want, or like the rubbish foods and cannot tolerate them in your system.
You will never be hungry as you will be always eating –clean life giving foods. It gets to the point where you are always eating!
As the client gains lean tissue I will add foods and build it up to their appetite and working out/life- metabolism. You must do the same because as you become leaner with the body-fat to muscle ratio changing, so your metabolism becomes faster.
I have women clients that eat a heck of an amount of food for their size. They’re not pigs, it’s just that they need that amount of food to function.
Jenny for instance has to eat every three hours- she can feel her energy levels drop as eating time approaches and is on the lookout for food. Jenny carries a lot of lean tissue on her frame and has a fantastic metabolism because of that and so in turn can eat plenty and always be in great shape.
To give you some idea of the amount of food Jenny eats, a few months ago I balanced Jenny’s diet for upcoming shows that year. To bring in ultimate condition I reduced her food intake slightly to create a deficit. We don’t count calories, but I did a quick tot up- I reduced them to 3300.
Debbie is another who can process lots of food. We once did a quick sum up of her calories, up to break time at work she had eaten up to 10am in the morning 1200. Again Debbie is lean all the time and just has to eat when times up.
All my clients lose body-fat on more food than they have ever eaten in their lives. It’s as simple as changing bad foods to good.
When competition time approaches we just reduce slightly and take out any little cheats that may have crept in and body-fat lowers even more.
Here is an example eating plan- I wrote for Debbie recently
Deb is a busy mum, who works full time, takes care of the home and trains to compete also.
Oats, 1 scoop of protein powder XGF—raisons.
Raw food bar—made with nuts seeds honey and fruit—apple and banana.
Chicken breast, sweet potato, large salad with everything.
Nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
Fish, chicken or turkey—baked potatoes or rice—lot’s of vegetables.
Fruit and yogurt.
This works well for a busy person as meal choices can be eaten anywhere.
Here is another, this diet was for Ryan.
Ryan is a client I have worked with recently, who had a good build and has trained for many years –But when he came to me we just worked harder and ate cleaner.
He made a fantastic transformation.
Ryan’s metabolism is way up there now and he needs a lot of good food to fuel the muscle he has and the hard days of work he does, not to mention training with me.
Poached eggs, whole-wheat toast, 3 eggs, 3 toast, organic butter.
XGF protein and fruit, 2 scoops 3 pieces of fruit.
Chicken, large baked potato and a huge salad, olive oil.
Large handful of mixed nuts and seeds 3 pieces of fruit.
Salmon, sweet potato and lots of vegetables.
Yogurt muesli and fruit.
Remember eat clean, train hard, that’s what you will look like you do.
The eating plans are very simple, easy to follow and taste great.
As you can see above I keep a good mix of foods together, I believe that the body will process food more as nature intended. You will have better energy levels and food will be digested better if combine foods- again, very simple.
Mix your meals
Eat protein, fats and carbs at each sitting. This will allow for better utilisation of the meal and be better on you metabolism.
Many would argue, that nutrients have to be separated, protein away from carbs and what- not. This is supposed to allow the body to only deal with one nutrient at a time.
My take on this is- When we were cavemen did we eat only meat and not take in any other food for a few hours?
Would we have said, “hmmm tell you what I will just eat this steak on its own and then in a while I will eat some roots and fruit” How do you think we have survived all these millions of years as a species?
Do you think this awesome machine we have can not process protein, carbs and fat at the same time?
In my experience of working with thousands of clients and gym members over the last 25 years, this works the best.
Keeping the mix of nutrients together is better.
You feel satisfied, your digestion is good –energy is balanced out over the next few hours till you feel it’s time to eat again.
If I reduce food intake a little as in if I have a client getting ready for a show or has a lot of weight to lose –I will reduce the carbohydrates intake at some meals—I don’t take them out just reduce.
I may increase the intake of good fats –so in affect the appetite affect of the meal is still the same.
I will cover this in the Shape of your life section.
So, let us just set our stall here for life.
Let us summarise eating clean.
We keep going over this, but I want it ingrained in you.
Live by these rules.
Eat clean food as nature intended.
If you eat meat-make sure it is organic and drug free and do not eat too much of it.
Drink plenty of fresh clean water.
Vegetables-are life giving, eat plenty of them.
Eat plenty of fruit and dried fruit.
Eat nuts and seeds
Eat only whole grains –oats, brown rice, whole-meal bread.
Eat when you are hungry and eat regular-remember the conveyor.
Mix your food groups-protein, carbohydrates and good fats, each and every meal.
Always have food on hand, when you go out take a bag of nuts and seeds and some fruit and a bottle of water.
You will always eat right and when you need too.
Buy the best you are the best, all the money in the world could not replace you-so feed yourself right.
Don’t fad or worry about what to eat and when –just do it. Set your meals out for a few days and get on with it.
Live your life and give food no more thought.
Simple, you are what you eat—every cell in your body is made from the foods you put in your mouth.
Are you not worth the best?
So many bodybuilders just think they can eat anything, they have no structure, no balance to the foods they take in. They use what I call the shovel method, basically they just shove food in and hope for the best, as if to force the body to grow.
Sorry guys this will not work—sure you will put on weight and feel bigger in your clothes, but out of them—well it’s another story.
The typical bodybuilder/ trainer in the gym, is not healthy, let’s lay aside for now the fact that drugs are rife in the gym arena.
The weight trainer looking to gain muscle size or get lean goes about it in a very unhealthy way. The body is overloaded with protein, from sources that are rife with drugs and unhealthy preservatives as I mentioned earlier. The diet is also missing many pieces of the puzzle and is unbalanced—this, in turn shuts many of the vital functions of the body off.
All this is risking health and asking for trouble, for the sake of looking good for a show or a holiday coming up.
The thing is that look can be there all the time, every day—and a competition look can be brought about with just some tweaking.
Don’t believe me? Well, that’s how I do it and my clients—I will explain later in the Shape Of Your Life chapter. It’s not rocket science and so simple a task you will not believe it.
It’s simple but not easy—you have to actually do it.
Take care of you.
Come on, take care of that body, treat it well, treat it like the unbelievably expensive piece of machinery it is.
How much would you sell you legs for?
I think you get the point.
So why would you treat your body like some old banger you just drive around in.
As the old saying goes—‘you don’t know what you have till it’s gone’.
Not to many years ago bodybuilders where called health nuts. They ate clean diets, tons of fruit, vegetables, nuts and lean meats.
They trained hard and fast, and could do many other things besides bodybuilding.
Today as a bodybuilder or weight trainer –you are just thought of as someone who- lifts weights. Most bodybuilders are not looked upon as someone who looks after themselves. Tell you what– ask around – chat to the general public or your co workers. You will here things like-they take drugs, eat a lot of food and that you can not run up a flight of stairs.
If you don’t believe me, go on ask around.
Most people think a bodybuilder is a meat head, a big lump. All brawn and no brains.
Truth is to be a bodybuilder, you need to be highly intelligent, and we are just giving off the wrong impression.
Let me get up on my soap box here—I need to as I am short.
I want to have a little rant about my observations over the years, seeing this manual is about nutrition and health, we have to also tie that together with- YOU.
Everything goes hand in hand here—if I offend anyone—maybe you looked deep into yourself and found something you didn’t like.
I am no angel, but I will always try to make myself better, if we are going to change the image we have, we must start with ourselves.
We must walk the talk; to be considered healthy we must lead a healthy lifestyle.
This means –no getting drunk out with your mates on a weekend.
Sure go out with your buddies, but- be an example of someone in control of their mind and body.
I used to go out with my mates on a weekend now and again ‘pre kids’ and enjoy myself without drinking.
At first the lads would try and get me to have a drink, you know the peer pressure thing. ‘Go on have a drink’ —‘No thank you’.
At first they started to try and spike my drinks, I would not drink them.
It’s as if my choice of not drinking was spoiling their night.
When I had just as much as a laugh with them—without being under the influence, they started to look at my choice differently.
I had a positive influence on them without saying a word, I got asked ‘what’s the best drink to have—shall I have a few waters to balance things out’?
It was not long after that that they asked me to bring some oat cakes out with me so they would not eat rubbish later in the night.
I kid you not.
The guys, in time- respected my choice; I never pushed my choice upon them. I led by example and they could see the benefits of my clean ways. So, they adopted some of them, not all but an improvement none the less.
Everyone has the right to their own freedom of choice and if you want to drink and smoke and eat rubbish foods –well that’s up to you.
But think for a second the example you are setting for those around you. Maybe you have children, what example do you want to set them, kids look to you as their mentor, you are the hero and the strongest dad on earth.
If you eat clean they will, if you are a loving parent they will be.
If you get drunk, shout and swear and stuff pizza in your gob like it’s going out of fashion. What do you think they will most likely do?
Remember, to change this crazy world of obesity and disease, you have to start with YOU.
Being in shape is not just about throwing weights around it’s the whole thing you know. You goal is to be- strong, healthy, agile, have boundless energy, have a confidence about you and to be great to be around—You should radiate energy, that is infectious to all those who come into contact with you.
You should also be in control of your mind, being calm, collected and have impeccable manners.
This to me is total health and wellbeing.
To be all those above is how we can change those around us and the perception of bodybuilders.
So how do we start?
Let’s start with, you are what you eat.
1. Eat foods that are as natural as possible, nothing processed.
I ask clients to think when they pick things up in the store ‘Is this natural, is this food unprocessed and as nature intended it to be?’ If the answer is no- put it back.
2. Eat as much organic food as you can.
3. Eat plenty of raw living foods- what I mean by this is fruits and vegetables, fresh and in their natural live state.
If you have to cook something, cook it in a way that will preserve its nutrients.
4. Eat at regular intervals, every 3 hours is good.
5. Drink plenty of pure clean water.
6. Eat a variety of foods- different fruits, nuts, berries, grains, seeds, fish, lean meats, foul, eggs (organic and free range) and tons of fresh vegetables.
7. If you eat red meat—make sure you are eating only grass fed beef and that the cattle has not been treated with drugs. Also keep the same rules of no drugs in chicken and turkey.
Now let’s look at these in a little more detail.
Eat as much organic and natural foods as you can
Let’s cover this again, it deserves repeating over and over –it is your foundation of health. When you eat organic food you are eating the food in its natural state, it will be naturally grown or reared without the use of pesticides or drugs. As you know these are unnatural to the body and can cause all sorts of problems.
There is a world of difference from a slice of organic wholemeal bread and a slice of white. This is made with non organic ingredients, wheat that has had pesticides and chemicals, then milled into flour that has been bleached white and had all the fibre and nutrients taken out of it. It is then treated with preservatives, bagged and sold- you might as well eat the plastic bag it’s in, it will probably harm you just as much.
Organic bread has all its vitamins, fibre and goodness- your body utilises it in a very different way, white bread- non nutritious calories, organic bread- highly nutritious calories.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that ‘normal’ wholemeal bread is good-it’s better than white. But remember that this loaf is made with non organic ingredients—pesticides are used and these will enter your system. So it’s organic all the way.
Vegetables and fruit of non organic type are just a fraction of what they should be in their true natural state. I read in a nutrition document once that said- to obtain the Vitamin C from a non organic orange versus an organic one you would have to eat 100 of them- remember that when you think organic fruit is expensive, actually it is not at all.
Vegetables and fruits taste so much better when they are organic- they are the right colour, right smell, and right texture. They are as god intended them to be, some may not look pretty, but they as sure as heck good for you.
Look around-search for the best place to buy your fruit and vegetables.
Often supermarkets are a little overpriced-but they do have a great choice.
There are many farm shops now, dotted about. Also many delivery services—right to your door, with boxes of vegetables—search the web for one near you.
Don’t you deserve the best?
Let’s now look at organic meats-
Eggs that are made in factories, can not say farms, are produced by chickens that have hardly anything left resembling a chicken- food is forced down their broken beaks. The lights are kept on so they always think it’s daytime. They are induced so they lay eggs all the time. They are fed medicated feed that is made up of the ones that die- (the ones lucky enough to die). How can eggs produced like that be good for you?
I buy my eggs from a farm near where I live- find someone who has chickens and buy eggs from them. The chickens I see run around green fields eating insects, grubs, seeds and corn. They are in their natural environment with a rooster and they produce a real egg that would produce a chick.
That egg has some of the best protein known to man and many vitamins, minerals and fats that the body needs.
The sterile egg from the factories is of no good to you whatsoever, empty calories.
I will cover the cholesterol factor later when I give my all time foods for health, strength and vitality list.
Summing up organic foods.
Empty calories from non organic foods- you eat a lot of rubbish- yet not much in the way of nutrition and your body ends up with a lot of chemicals and more calories than it ever needed.
Your body processes natural raw cane sugar or honey in the right way using it as energy. Table sugar, white and bleached, has no nutritional value and is just empty calories. Your body can’t handle this and it poisons the system and goes right to the fat cells.
How many products have white sugar in them?
Eat organic and as natural as nature intended. Your body will thank you for it by being lean and trim and full of energy.
The whole premise of this manual is built on EAT CLEAN NATURAL FOOD.
It is a simple plan—that works –But you have to bloody do it.
Eat live foods
Try and make your diet high in raw foods- plenty of leafy green vegetables and also plenty of natural organic fruits and berries.
Do you know that ancient man regarded fruit and berries as giving you the power of the sun? Fruit that was picked from trees that had soaked up the sun were thought to give you that energy. I think that’s amazing and there is definitely some truth in it.
So with this in mind eat as natural and as raw as you can and eat whatever greens, fruits and vegetables are in season.
You don’t have to cook everything.
I eat few big servings of vegetables each and every day.
I can not stress the importance of these life giving foods, they not only give you many anti cancer proprieties but they also contain lots of fibre, the body’s internal cleaner.
Some vegetables are classed in the fibrous carbohydrate section; this means they are relatively low in carbohydrates as they have no starches in their make up.
Some vegetables are higher in starches, like the potato or swede and are therefore higher in calories and carbohydrates.
The only time you would be concerned about this fact is-if you was getting ready for a show- whereupon we reduced your starches slightly and increase your fibrous carbohydrates –this keeps the same appetite balance –and food size portions –but reduces the calories without you knowing it.
Unless it’s ‘show time’-don’t even think about it.
Good rule of thumb here – fill most of your plate or Tupperware box for work 3⁄4 s full of vegetables.
Use every type you can get your hands on and never worry over the calories or carb type. Just eat plenty of it –eat as much as you can raw-if you have to cook then lightly steam. I treat vegetables as a super food, I can not stress enough how much you will be adding to your health and life span by eating more veg.
You will never look better or feel better.
Eat at regular intervals
I have my clients eat every three hours or less. When you eat regularly your body adapts to this by processing the meal. It adapts to knowing there will be another meal along in a little while.
I would like you to think of your internal system as a conveyor belt, think of your body as a factory processing food and being productive. A meal is placed on one end of the conveyor, your top end (mouth) and it trundles along. At each little stop along the belt your- body- workers take what they need form each product serving. What’s left ‘the waste’ is dumped off the end of the conveyor (your back end). So as a meal goes in, it moves the others down the belt, if you eat six meals you are being very productive, the belt is always moving and the workers ‘your metabolism’ are putting in some hours of labour, costing you ‘energy’.
Simple when you think of it like this.
Well now, let’s go a few hours with nothing to eat –the workers have nothing to do the shut down and go for a tea break –come back later when there is work to do but they can not be arsed—they have been sat about doing nothing—low energy and nothing gets done with that metabolism.
We have built in –if you like—in our hard wiring—trip switches that just allow the body to survive. In simple terms—if there are no regular meals—the trip switch –thinks ‘famine’-food is not plentiful.
Ok I will slow my metabolism down, may not get a meal for a while.
Oh and while I am at it—let me store some of this meal in the fat cells to use later if I need it. So the more you don’t eat, the more you get fat—yep –I kid you not.
Let’s look at that conveyor again, ok we eat some food that is not good, we have a day of not eating much and when we do it is rubbish.
What happens here is the conveyor gets clogged up and shuts down –we get back ups off the other end—again workers have to stop.
If they can not get the waste product off the end they can not keep working. Again it’s shut down.
Can you see how simple this is—eat clean and regular and you will be working overtime inside. That means you will look good on the outside.
I am not going to say you have to eat like a monk week in, week out.
You can have the odd cheat meal—it will not harm –if it is one bad product among 20 on that conveyor then it will go unnoticed by the workers. Every two or three meals is not good, you are asking the workers to work with the wrong tools and it won’t be long till they strike.
Slow metabolism –shit meal—fat cells here I come.
So- again simply–with food that is very clean burning, low in poisons, high in nutrients-your body will not store any as fat. Your system will utilise what it needs from that meal. Protein will be broken down into amino acids and will circulate the blood stream ready to be used when needed. Carbohydrates will be used as a clean burning fuel for you, enabling you to do everyday tasks as you work and play. Fat will also be used as a slow burning steady state of fuel. Your metabolism will run like a well oiled machine, a clean, food processing, muscle toning, fat burning, high metabolism machine that will look like it eats the foods you do.
How good do you think you will look eating this way?
Natural foods will give you radiance that will just shine- your skin will look bright- you will bound with energy. Think I am wrong- try it- you will never be better.
It keeps that conveyor working overtime.
Drink plenty of pure clean water
Water is life giving, you can only survive a few days without it. Water is the best fat burning supplement there is, I bet now you have taken more of an interest in this section-
Yes it’s true- every action in your body needs water in abundance to perform it. Your body needs water to take fat from a fat cell, transport it and process it. Food pushed through your system needs water. Carbohydrates bind with water to make glycogen that stores in the muscle cells, this gives you that tight toned look.
Every time you work out, water is your cooling system. Every time you breathe you are expelling water.
Hydration is very important, a life or death situation.
Drink plenty of pure clean water for optimum health. I would recommend for someone between 112-126lbs about 2 litres on top of other drinks and from 126-154lbs 3 litres on top of other drinks, more if you feel the need but I think this is a good guide.
I know it’s hard drinking your water especially in a cold climate, like here in the UK. But please make the effort – it does make so much difference to your body composition. Water is the bare basic of looking and feeling good.
If you did only a fraction of what I outline in this manual—but you drank your water. You would be making a big step in the right direction.
It is the number ‘1’ most important nutrient for your body and health.
When I am getting ready for a show or guest appearance, I make a conscious effort to get my measure of water in everyday.
If one day happens to be off the charts for some reason and I do not manage to drink enough, you would not believe the difference in the way I look when I get home at night.
I can look like Mr nobody to Mr World—just by getting that water in.
Most people will not get to the stage of where you can see every little muscle group on your body –So you can not see, just what water does to the body.
It is an amazing transformation.
Take my word for it
Other drinks I recommend for hydration and recovery are green teas and organic fruit teas. Bottled waters I would recommend are Highland Spring and Evian.
I use a Brita Filter every day and would highly recommend them.
There needs to be a wide variety of foods in your diet- some people have food intolerances to some foods so avoid them, that still leaves you plenty of scope for choice. If you don’t get on well with rice for instance there are plenty of other grains to choose from, what about barley- quinoa.
Quinoa is one of the best foods for protein. This grain was used by the Aztecs and they classed it as a wonder food and it was the stable of their diet. This is available in very good health shops if, they don’t have it in ask them to stock it for you.
Try organic cous-cous. This I just pour on bottled water; let it settle for 2 minutes then have it included in a meal.
You do not have to eat the same things day in day out, this would be unhealthy—the more variety you have the better your health.
Every food Mother Nature has produced and is organic has a health benefit to you. Not only that fact, but you are most lightly to enjoy your diet if you have many different colours and tastes to enjoy.
The same foods day in day out will soon see you craving those unhealthy foods, if I can call them foods.
So with this in mind, always be on the look out for new and exciting foods to try, don’t just eat the same old apple and banana everyday, you have so much more choice and fruits from all over the world are available to you.
There are many different fruits- kiwi- melon- plums- blueberries- cranberries- grapes- pineapple- on and on. Try them all at points in the seasons.
This will allow your body to absorb the wide variety of vitamins and antioxidants in the fruits. Vegetables also come in wide variety- sweet potato yams- butternut squash cabbage- beetroot- onions-
Try them all and don’t get stuck into the same foods day in day out. Remember what I said earlier, this is when boredom sets in and you look for the wrong foods to taste.
There are so many healthy, great tasting, beautiful smelling natural foods out there. Varying your foods will allow your body to extract the best from its diet.
You will look awesome as a consequence.
Varying Protein foods.
Most bodybuilders, just stick to plain old chicken and whey protein powder, there is such a huge choice of protein foods available.
As far as lean protein sources go I like to stick to the cleanest organic types.
Chicken breast- organic and free range
Turkey breast – organic and free range
I use a lot of salmon- wild Alaskan salmon, this is a great source of protein and omega 3s- good fats.
Other fish that is very good is organic farmed trout.
Also from time to time have a good lean organic fillet steak, maybe one every two to three weeks. The more you vary your protein base foods, the more you will benefit your goals, not only are you giving your body a massive variety of amino acid profiles, vitamins and minerals- but you will find the healthy eating plan easy to stick too.
If you eat to the same protein foods, or any foods for that matter.
How long do you think you will stick to a basic eating plan before it becomes a complete bore?
Soon you will be stir crazy and on the hunt for something to satisfy those- killed with dullness- taste buds.
There is no need for this to happen.
Good clean food is out there and some of the freshest most natural tastes you could ever imagine are waiting for you.
My pick of the protein food group
My number one protein food is the egg, I love eggs, call me a bore here but my all time favourite meal is —wait for it—Eggs on toast.
Yep, good old fashioned eggs on toast.
I love the simplicity, the taste and the healthy goodness this meal gives you.
Anyway back to the egg,
I remember reading many years ago about how the protein in an egg is the most biological we can eat. This basically means that when eaten we assimilate very nearly all the protein. I have never forgotten this and I do eat eggs every day.
What about cholesterol? I here you ask.
Well the facts on this are that no research has ever shown that people who eat more eggs have heart attacks.
Let’s start with just how important cholesterol is to the body.
Cholesterol belongs to the group of fats referred to as sterols, and is not a fat as such but is found in fats and oils, especially animal fats.
Sources are eggs yolks, meat, milk, cheese and butter.
Cholesterol comprises of most of the dry weight of the brain and is a conductor for nerve impulses throughout the body. It is an essential part of all cells and fluids of the body.
It is said that the body will balance out its own cholesterol levels depending on your intake. The dangerous way to raise your cholesterol levels to danger levels is to be overweight, smoke and to have stress in your life.
Eating processed non nutritious foods will also, have adverse affects on your serum cholesterol.
Eggs have been thought of for many years as the perfect food, and I have to agree.
So don’t miss out on this wonder food.
But remember as I have said so many times before—eat only organic –nothing else.
All the above only applies to organic free range eggs and not store bought pretend eggs.
I have mentioned this, but I would like to cover this in a little more detail.
I have salmon in my list of super foods elsewhere in this manual.
Salmon is a great protein source of protein and essential fats, the only slight problem with it is the mercury levels in it.
You may think that buy organic farmed salmon will be your best bet. With my research here, this is not so. For the reason of the fish are fed high mercury foods.
The best to buy and eat is wild Alaskan, this is what I eat, it’s clean and natural and tastes great.
Again staying with fish here, I would say fish is my choice along with eggs as my building block foods.
Sardines are an awesome little fish; packed with so many benefits you just would not believe it.
They are a good source of protein, even though there is less of this fish per serving, I would just stick to the 18g or so per average serving.
There is no need to go wolfing down 2-3 tins, its quality here not quantity.
They have a good level of the co-enzyme Q10 this is a wonder antioxidant, a free radical fighter of the highest degree, rather like the super hero of fighters.
All the pollutants in the air and in the food and water we consume cause free radicals that kill cells and break down our bodies, until disease takes over.
Even if you eat a fantastic diet there is still the air we breathe and the self inflicted we create through exercise and work.
Co-enzyme Q10 is your baby, it is anti-ageing in that the fact that is stops cell breakdown and it helps you recover from hard workouts.
This enzyme is also found in the tissues of the heart and will give you a strong healthy beat, all these benefits from this little fish.
Sardines are very low in mercury as they are lower down the food chain and therefore have lower concentrates.
One more thing—buy them from –produce of Portugal—clean waters and they are packed very quickly –No fishy smell as they are fresh.
Keep animal fats to a minimum
If meat is in your menu, here are a few areas you may want to look over.
From all the meat choices I could choose to be in a good healthy diet, I would choose the leanest cuts with the lowest saturated fat content.
What is the point of eating meat marbled with fat, when you don’t have to. You need some fat in the protein foods to digest them absorb them better but eating too much fat is not good. Also much of the toxins found in the animal will be in the fat cells, so again watch the toxins. Chicken is a good source of protein and relatively low in saturated fat whereas Ham is one of the worst choices you could make.
If you are going to eat a steak, eat a fillet.
I tend to base my diet around fish (salmon-sardines), small amounts of chicken and turkey. On the very rare occasion I may have a lean fillet steak. I used to eat lean meat such as the foods above years ago when on a traditional bodybuilding diet around 3-4 times a day, whereas now knowing better, I may only eat it once a day- at most twice, on the odd occasion –maybe once or twice a month, sometimes I don’t eat meat or fish for days.
Not every meal has to involve meat. I use eggs, nuts, seeds and some milk products (yogurt and whey) at each of the meal intervals. To give you an example as I am sat here writing this, I have a meal that consists of brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, dates, grapes and blueberries. There are lots of tastes and textures and I am really enjoying the meal. The added bonus is it is a meal that is as natural as it comes, nutritious and yields high energy, clean burning fuel. Everything is organic and there are no toxins.
Again as basic as possible, keep the good fats going into your system.
These include fats from nuts and seeds, salmon, sardines, olive oil, oil blends like flax and Udo’s oil, even organic butter is very good as it contains a CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a healthy fat, been shown to help the body fight body-fat and it has anticancer properties. You can buy CLA in health food shops as a fat loss supplement, save your money and get it in its natural state, from organic butter. Butter does not end there; it also contains the fat soluble vitamins –D- E and K.
Here is my take on fats.
I use olive oil to cook and I also use it on my vegetables.
I use butter on my baked potatoes and on my whole-wheat toast.
I eat a few servings of nuts and seeds each and every day.
I use nut butters also, my favourite being almond.
I eat plenty of salmon –giving me the best source of omega 3’s –good fats.
Bad fats are those found in unnatural man made crap that passes for food. Just eat natural.
Don’t be faddy about this –just each time you eat, make sure there are some fats in the mix. If I have eggs and toast I will have butter on the toast.
If I cook a chicken breast I may cook it in olive oil and have some butter on my baked potato. I may mix a spoon of nut butter into my oats at breakfast, you get it.
Nuts as above –I eat each and every day- they are full of monounsaturated fats that are a key fat in prevention of heart disease and cancer. They also have high levels of amino acids and many needed trace minerals. Some nuts are high in Omega 3s also, so I make sure I eat a huge variety of nuts and seeds also to take in every vitamin, mineral and good balance of fat’s I can.
When I eat nuts I have them with fruit or dried fruit, this keeps that protein, carbs and fat’s thing going on all the time—more on this soon.
My pick of whole grains
I eat only natural grains as do my clients, if they eat bread it is organic and whole wheat— most often then not it is home made. I will outline my recipe later.
I love oats and use them in some form or other each and every day.
I may make porridge or make up my own muesli, with oats being the base.
I do not eat a great deal of pasta or recommend it to client’s it for me is too processed and high in gluten. Now not many people get on well with gluten and seem to blow up. I would rather prescribe rice as a grain meal type staple.
Rice is a fantastic source of fibre and a great carbohydrate staple. Make sure you eat brown whole grain—this is much higher in fibre and vitamins than white rice, it will also release its carbs slower.
The bread I make is lower in gluten as it does not rise a great deal. I do not put much yeast in it—therefore it is a heavy loaf –From my research on this, it’s the lighter loaf that is higher in gluten.
Anyway –my bread is tested on the front line and I have had clients be able to eat my bread and not store bought.
I have mentioned above quinoa, a high protein grain that is a fantastic change to rice or potatoes. Remember eating clean is the only way –but variety is need for a balance of every nutrient and taste.
I look around all the time at people in restaurants, walking in the streets, at the pictures and I watch them eat.
I watch them eat rubbish foods that add fat to those already out of shape bodies and I wish I could get through to them just how much they are killing themselves.
I am all for advancement in this world but in the area of nutrition, we are nowhere near what was classed as good nutrition years ago. The fast pace of this world now and the mass production of our ‘food’ demands short cuts, for instance.
Chicken is injected with growth hormone to allow for rapid growth which gets it on the table sooner and allows for quicker turnaround for the so called farmers- it’s all about money, no thought at all given to the human race and its health.
Other meats are the same- injected, coloured, well and truly messed about with.
Millions eat what they think is meat- burgers, packed processed ham and chicken- Do you know that they put everything they can’t sell into those things? Head, hooves, horns, tails, bones- the lot!
I know this as fact as my wife Louise had someone very close to her work for the factory that produced burgers for a well know chain.
When I say the whole beast went in—I am not kidding.
It goes on and on, bananas are made straighter and carrots are coloured. Science is messing about with Mother Nature- it’s not natural.
But science is not winning- because- although money is being made by humans it means nothing as we are killing ourselves, disease is rife and obesity is at epidemic level.
It’s ironic that millions spent on advancing the human race –millions- in balance, or slightly tipping the scales-is spent on the health service.
I read a piece the other day—that brought to light that hospital beds and mortuary slabs are having to be made bigger —to fit the ‘larger humans’ that are becoming the average now.
Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the civilised world because of the toxins we take in. I actually believe that the toxins from foods these days are causing Cancer. There are so many toxins out there- pollutants in the air- smoking- drinking- chemicals- pesticides- drugs- why would you want to take in more? I could go on and on.
Mother Nature is not being beaten and no matter how much money you have, she can take you down.
The body can only take so much shit before it decides enough is enough and everything you take for granted suddenly becomes so precious.
Look around, how many people do you see who are overweight?
The fast food world and the so called advancement of day to day life has made us lazy and fat, full of aches and pains, headaches, bad knees and other joint problems and no hair. Yes- this brings me to a programme I watched a while back that showed a beach in England in the early seventies. The beach was packed with holidaymakers. I said to Louise-“what do you notice about all those people?” Here’s what she said. “They are all lean and they all have good heads of hair”.
Just think about that for a moment- Any man nowadays in his thirties with hair is rare- don’t you think that’s odd? Don’t you think it’s odd that you hardly see anybody in good lean shape these days?
Don’t you think it’s odd that it’s hard for humans to have children, many couples are seeking IVF as nutrition or lack of it affects virility and fertility. It may also be all estrogens from the pill in our water system. I once read a medical report that stated that the water in London has been passed through 7 people –it’s recycled that much.
I blame it all—all the ill health most suffer, on the rubbish that the civilised world calls food and water.
I had a client recently tell me a story—that for me brings to mind just how drugs that are used in animals filter down into us.
This girl works with horses and whenever a horse is injured beyond help and cost they either have the animal shot –or a vet comes out and uses drugs to put it to sleep
If the horse is shot—or dies of natural causes they can either have the knackers man come round for it. He will pay you and take it away—it will then be sold by him for pet food.
He will not take it if it has been drugged, as they will not use it for pet foods!!!.
The other option is to have the man who looks after the hunt come round for the animal. Again he will pay you and take away the body—he will then chop the horse up and it will be fed to the blood hounds.
So this is the story—the friend of my client had a horse that needed to be put down.
The vet came and did so.
She was left with the body—she tried to bury it on her land.
After days of digging –no chance.
So she rung the huntsman, he asked “has the animal been drugged”
“No” she replied. Obviously lying.
He came, paid her and took the horse off her land.
The meat from the horse was fed to the blood hounds in the preparation of a coming hunt.
When they came to get the hounds some time later –every one of them was in drug induced sleep that they could not wake them from.
The whole hunt was cancelled and it was many hours before the dogs came round.
The girl was taken to court and fined.
Let’s look at this.
The drug had been in the horse for days!!
It was seeped into the meat of the animal.
The drug was enough to put some 20 dogs to sleep for hours.
Do you not think that drugs used in cattle and chicken will not filter its way into us?
Food that science has made causes people to overeat, largely because food is so devitalised- (food robbed of nutrients).
When we eat devitalised- processed foods nutrients are missing that the body needs, so although we eat a lot, we are still hungry. Processed foods become like a drug- you are hooked on taste, salt, sugar and fat. So when you don’t eat for a few hours you crave. Your body tells you that you want these bad foods and you end up hunting the cupboards for it or on the phone for it to be delivered.
You see the body is an amazing machine and it will struggle on. It will try to survive and do the best with what it has available-It will survive- but at what cost to it?
It doesn’t have the best nutrients to make new cells so they don’t reproduce as well and you age quicker.
It can’t cope with the over indulgence of junk food and alcohol so it dumps it into the fat cells. The liver can only detoxify all the chemicals for so long and then it gives up.
The heart can only put it with so much saturated fat, sugar and stress before the arteries become blocked.
Yes the human body is an amazing machine and it will survive but only for so long. You will be a time bomb ticking away if you don’t help yourself.
Another one of my sayings is ‘Death is too easy to come by- don’t give it a helping hand’.
This is the same lifestyle that my grandad had in the early years of his life in his native Latvia and it’s as healthy as it comes.
Nothing is processed or tampered with in any way. It’s all fresh, unprocessed, healthy, clean food.
Butchers work closely with the farmers and no drugs are used in the rearing of any livestock. I could go on- I think you know what I’m getting at”.
I asked Bob how they physically looked. He said they are lean and very healthy looking. Yvonne’s grandad is lean, strong and very lively. He’s in his late 80’s and has no ailments.
I remember reading not too long ago about some tribes in the deepest Amazon having an average life expectancy of 105; they have no diseases, no tooth decay, and no obesity. They live natural and eat natural things like wild game, nuts, greens, berries, seeds and roots.
In the self same book the point was put across that animals typically live 6-8 times their maturation age. Carnivores fall in at the shorter end of the spectrum, Horses for instance mature at 3 years and live up to 24 years.
Homo sapiens mature at 21 years. So humans living naturally should live up to an age of 120-150 years.
There have been many documented records of people living beyond 120 and even to 150 by simply living under natural conditions, away from the civilised world where food in its purest form is found.
The fact these days that humans live a short life span is indication that something is wrong. Primitive humans were strong, lean and agile and had an astonishing life span.
I have searched for years for the perfect diet if there is such a thing. I believe I am close to it and it’s what I practice and preach to my clients.
This manual, I would love to be, your be all and end all, of understanding food and its role in the human body.
Sure there will be many other books that catch your attention down the line-But I hope the information here will allow you to look at information with more logic and wisdom, therefore, allowing you to make the right choices.
Again to summarise this chapter;
Eat clean, eat natural, eat organic- be healthy. Let’s look at what it takes to be healthy.
I was five years old and my dad gained custody of a little boy with big hair and body like a racing snake.
My mum, after splitting from my dad, just could not provide for me the way she wanted to and thought I would have a better chance with life and all that was needed for a young boy with my dad.
My staple diet at the time was tomato soup- cornflakes- and bananas. I would not eat anything else. As a result I had malnutrition and rickets in my legs and the worse posture you have ever seen in a kid.
My dad, at the time lived with his mum and dad after coming out of the Army, this was a blessing as also living with them, was my great grandma.
My great gran got to work on me. She rolled up her sleeves and started to cook the minute I was in the door.
She force fed me thick stews with turkey and chicken, bowls of Scottish oats and whole- wheat bread. She would also at every opportunity shove a spoon of malt in my mouth.
So after a bad start, I then got a helping hand from an angel who at the time was in her late 70’s.
She was Scottish, so it was oats and thick stews- her philosophy was basic eating all the way.
She would also watch me and make sure I ate every mouthful.
My dad being out at work all day and out most nights- she practically brought me up until I could fend for myself.
In the early days she would treat me to the odd few sweets and I would eat them, like normal kids do. But at 8 years old, I gave them up after a bad dentist experience- I never ate them again.
This just made her give me more malt. Yuck. She thought that was a treat.
Much of my influence for food as I got older came from my grandad who was Latvian. He was in his day very muscular and spent his youth working in the forests of his homeland. I remember to this day the photos he showed me of himself and his friends- he may have been 19 or 20 years old at the time.
I can see them now in my minds eye, those classic black and white photos that had yellowed somewhat with age.
He was stood in the forest with huge trees in the background. He was shirtless and looked rugged, strong and lean- abs- delts- arms- everything was built from hard work and good basic food. (Hard work and eat clean.)
I loved the stories he told me, I would sit and listen intently.
I loved the outdoors- and still do. I would day dream of being there with my grandad.
I remember he used to tell me how he used to walk deep into the forest in the early mornings, some hour or so of hard trekking before working. He would carry a bag on his back with the days’ delights inside, a loaf of whole-wheat, homemade bread, cheese and milk, again homemade on the family’s land. He also had a selection of cold cut meats and for snacks, a little fruit.
He would eat that every day and do back breaking work.
This built a lean, muscular physique worthy of anybody who trains with weights.
He passed away a few years ago now- but even in his later life, he could still beat me in an arm wrestle, had youthfulness about him and still had a ton of hair.
I never forgot those stories he told me of the hard work he did as a young boy that made him in time into a man. I put two and two together even then- good food- hard work.
He influenced me heavily- I don’t know whether it was tradition in his country to eat holding a plate with just one hand underneath and holding a fork with the other, he never used a knife –but a fork with a knife edge to it.
When I was young I wanted to be like him, to this day I hardly ever use a knife.
Fast forward a few years.
I lived on my own at 15 years old in a bed-sit and worked in a wet fish shop on the harbour front in my home town of Bridlington. Awesome I know—but needs must and I had to provide for myself. But I had a plan.
By now at this stage in my life I had found my life’s calling, the seeds had been sown and they grew and made me what I am and do today.
I had very little money but my good friend Vince and his parents took me in many times- and fed me well.
Again this was a family with good traditional food values – nothing processed, all home cooked.
Living at the seaside meant plenty of fresh fish and on the outskirts of Bridlington there is the farming community, so vegetables were plentiful.
We also, at many meals, tucked into rabbit and pheasant.
Working at the wet fish shop not only made me stink of fish, but I got to eat plenty of that also.
At that period in my life, as you can see, the basics of my diet were being ingrained in me. Similar to how the fish smell soaked into every pore of my skin and no matter how many baths in ‘aftershave’ I had, it would not leave me.
At 19 I had already won a stack of teenage bodybuilding trophies. I now had my first house with a huge garden out back. I was lucky in that an older couple had had it a few years before and they had made use of the garden.
I bought it off another young lad who had not used it to its potential—so it needed work.
It was overgrown, but I managed to pull it back. Everything was there, just some love and attention and it gave back to me.
I grew my own vegetables, cabbage, onions, potatoes and carrots. Another part of the garden had some 50 strawberry plants and two apple trees and at the bottom near a stream, some gooseberries and brambles.
So my organic way of life started- I had the basics of nutrition in my mind at that age but just did not understand fully how good I was feeding myself at this stage, I just thought eat natural and don’t eat rubbish foods.
At this point I was also working in a store and at the gym, but every spare minute I had, I put into that garden.
I saw this as saving money- I had a mortgage- and had to work two jobs to support myself. I ate only the basics- fish, eggs, bread, milk, vegetables and fruit.
I was learning also how to cook these foods a natural way, thinking back- I have always been a good cook.
As time went on I studied nutrition as much as I did my bodybuilding and understood the importance of food and gains.
I had up to this point competed successfully as a teen and I also started to do well in junior and novice sections of shows.
It was then that I realised I had been on the right track for years.
I was always well conditioned- I believe this was due to the fact that I never bulked up and ate for eating’s sake, I always ate for function and never just for taste.
So I never had much to lose for a show and ate a balanced diet when everyone else was killing themselves on tuna, salad and water. I still ate fruit, bread, full eggs and the odd steak when I was flush and could afford it –ha-ha.
As I entered my mid twenties I was fanatical about eating clean- some may say obsessive- I say you can only be obsessive about something if it is causing you a problem or the people around you.
It did neither.
I enjoyed eating clean, I liked the fact that I was different from most other people and bodybuilders.
I always read about bodybuilders I admired and was influenced by- those that were set apart from the crowd.
Bill Pearl- was the most notable in his food recommendations. Bill was and is an Ovo lacto vegetarian and a natural bodybuilder who eats only the cleanest foods. I took to eating with his ideas incorporated- apart from I would still eat some meat, not a lot as those days I could not get many organic meats.
With that in mind I did not want to put chemicals in my body that I spent taking out with all the other good foods I ate.
I ate plenty of farm fresh eggs from a farm nearby and tons of veg, nuts and dried fruit.
I even made my own bread and used plenty of natural honey on it.
Again following Bill, I remember he had a health food shop that sold eggs- natural honey- homemade bread and the like.
Having a gym at the time- Future Bodies- I opened a store inside. This got so busy that I had to employ more staff as it was a full time job stacking the shelves and serving.
I toyed with the idea of going vegetarian and read many books on the subject- Bill inspired me that much.
I was always searching for the master of all diets- not just for bodybuilding but for health. My health is and always will be my first priority, so my goal was to eat for health, the muscle would take care of itself.
Heading into my thirties I ate more fish and less chicken and was- bit by bit- heading towards a more vegetarian diet.
I still ate a huge variety of foods even whilst getting ready for shows, my foods at this point in my life are listed as such.
Eggs (farm fresh).
I was 34 and strong as a horse. I looked big and had just the right leanness- a good look. Today, in these times of ripped glutes and shredded hamstrings, you go a little too low in weight- if I am honest I prefer the slightly less ripped look.
Not long after that show, I went vegetarian with the added eggs and some cheeses.
I stayed that way for more than six years.
In retrospect, I made some mistakes with this diet and even though now I eat chicken once a week and fish again, I may one day go back to this diet as I did feel very healthy. I just never ate enough food, so I lost muscle tissue.
Just this last year, 2009, for a guest pose at the Yorkshire championships I dropped meat and fish the last few months of my prep. I got into incredible shape, more on this diet in the competition diet section of this book.
Suffice to say –that it is hard to know what to do for the best-I am still on the fence so to speak and will I think forever remain here.
Following is again “some food for thought”.
Using the words here of the great Vince Gironda “Humans are neither meat eaters or vegetarians but a mix of both and you should eat how your body tells you to.”
That doesn’t mean takeaways guys.
He further went on to explain that he would go many months eating no meat at all and at other times all meat. If he craved meat he would eat it- as it was his body’s way of telling him he was lacking in something.
Heading into my mid 40’s I feel I have had years of good clean eating under my belt. My diet is 100% organic- as in the foods I eat.
The only non organic food supplement I take is AST products and I use them because they are the best and the purest on the market.
So if you look at it this way—more than 95% of the total nutrients I consume are organic and as natural as possible.
At times and periods in my life that I do eat meat -it’s not the be all and end all of my diet and I eat very little of it.
Meat being categorised for me -chicken, turkey and beef- as I never eat any other types.
I do eat fish a lot more regularly, mostly salmon but again maybe four to five times a week.
After all the years of study on myself , my clients, in books and countless conversations on the subject I have come to the most basic of thinking;
Thinking again along the lines of what Vince said- we as humans- I started to think logically about how we would have eaten hundreds of thousands of years ago.
So I studied up on the evolution of man.
I was fascinated to find a ton of information out there and also surprised to find out just how much is known about the diet of our ancestors and also how they looked.
I read a piece on Neanderthal man.
Get this, standing an average of 5 foot 5 and weighing around 180 lbs and 8% body-fat. That is an awesome bod!
How do scientists know this?
I don’t know the science behind this but they can tell from bone density and lengths, which enable them to reconstruct the muscle that was once there.
Studying further on the remains of Neanderthal man, they found that they had much wider shoulders and shorter arms, they also found that the muscle attachments for the pecs to be twice the size of today’s average.
They also could tell from bone marrow, the type of diet they followed.
This told them they ate good quality protein.
This, along with fossilized stools, gave them an insight into the diet of the caveman. Also studied were the tools they used, microscopic particles of vegetables, wild barley, plants, nuts, honey and fruits.
So let’s base this out—wild game-fish-nuts-seeds–roots–wild vegetation-fruit-honey-wild grasses.
Looking at this in a logic way.
I often put these questions to clients, to make them think about just what we should be doing in terms of eating like we are designed. We are killing ourselves as a species, we need to get back to the basics of nutrition.
Q. Would we have lived off the land?
A. Yes, we would have eaten roots, grasses, nuts, seeds, fruit in season, leaves, eggs, small wild game, and large- anything we could find.
Q. What would we need near us for us to survive? A. Water- so we will have eaten fish without a doubt.
Q. Would we have hunted?
A. Yes- we would have hunted large game and would have killed and stored large sections of meat. So we may have eaten a lot of meat for a while and then other foods for a few weeks or months.
Taking on board the above- Think before you eat something, ask yourself is this natural? Sure, our world has advanced and I am not saying only eat a food you can forage for in your garden, I am saying put some sense to your eating lifestyle.
Go with what your body tells you, if you eat meat and you don’t feel so good on it, try more fish.
What I am saying is listen to your most treasured possession, your body.
Use a variety of foods and get these foods in as natural a state as possible and you will be surprised by how it rewards you. The weight problems many people have these days would not be an issue.
The chapter above is the base of all my eating, natural as possible—fish would have been more available to the Neanderthal man more than other forms of protein, that’s why I eat more of that.
If I have meat, it is a rare occurrence and if I feel the need and craving for it.
To sum up this chapter-
Eat clean, eat natural, eat in moderation –eat organic.
Let’s look at WHY ORGANIC.
Just to keep you in the loop with this journey. Here are my changes in my baseline-eating plan.
I have added around 500 or more calories per day now.
This I will hold for a few weeks all the while keeping an eye on the scales, mirror and body-fat test.
I did a test last week and doing it the Parrillo way over 9 points I was 5.3 percent. So lean enough at this point in the journey.
Goal is to just add lean tissue, gain back what I had in the past. Not as hard as you may think. With the right food – slowly added up and intense training it will jump back. I have done this many times before and with clients.
As muscle tissue comes back on I can up my calories a little more, I will gain a little body-fat but make sure by the testing that most of the weight is tissue. I will not go over 6.5 percent anyway.
In my new book out in the spring next year I cover every different approach to off-season and show prep depending on the starting point of the individual.
Ok so what I did here was add more rice and potato to my main meals and added oats at my last meal as my metabolism was running away with me.
The oats sustained me more through the night.
I awoke looking fuller and good to train.
For the first part of this baseline diet look to the last entry in this nutrition section.
Off-season plan —base
1-cup oats 360
2 organic eggs 180
3 organic whites 45
1 scoop whey 120
1 banana 100
Met rx meal replace 250
6oz chicken organic 220
1 cup of rice 240
Nut butter 2 spoons 210
Met rx meal replace 250
Beef 6oz or salmon 340
200g sweet potatoes 220
1 cup of oats 360
1/2 a Met rx 125
1 nut butter 110
Training day drink add
2 scoops whey 240
1 scoop maltodextrin 190
1 scoop organic baby porridge 90
Total 3800 with drink
Five weeks prior to being 51 and being on holiday in Florida I tested the waters to see if my body could pull back what I once had. I stepped up my training (article tomorrow) and tightened the hatches on my eating. I have always eaten clean and basic –but if I was to pull off this comeback of sorts I had to make sure I was on point with everything like I use to be.
I am happy to say it worked and in five weeks I pulled together a 90% of a stage look. This gave me a real positive take off for the year ahead. To say I am excited about this journey is an understatement and I know deep within me I can pull something special out of the bag by fall of next year.
Now with my diet I followed my instincts and knowhow and developed a base off-season eating plan. My goal being to gain back lean tissue and stay within 5 or so pounds of a stage look. That said –I am down a little in size –so as the months progress I will gain size but also get tighter, so by the time it comes around to dropping a few carbs and things out I will hardly have anything to loose. This way I can fill into my skin –grow into a show and come in hard and vascular.
I count myself lucky in the fact that I have a fairly fast metabolism and at 51 I feel like my hormones are through the roof. This I would attribute to clean eating and heavy basic moves in training.
Anyway to the plan…
Off Season Baseline Diet
1 cup of oats 360
2 organic eggs 180
3 organic whites 45
1 scoop whey 120
1 banana 100
Met Rx meal replace 250
6oz chicken organic 220
1/2 cup of rice 120
Nut butter 2 spoons 210
Met Rx meal replace 250
Beef 4oz or salmon 6oz 240
5oz sweet potato 100
1 scoop whey 120
1/2 cup Greek yogurt 200
2 spoons nut butter 210
Daily Total 2925
Training day drink add
2 scoops whey 240
1 scoop maltodextrin 190
1 scoop organic baby porridge 90
Daily Total With Drink 3445
The weights of the meats and carbs are cooked weights apart from the oats.
I make a few oat cakes out of meal one ingredients.
I love Met Rx –I remember back in 92 using these original packets and making real good gains. I noted a difference in muscle fullness almost right away.
I have a few ideas why, here they are.
1/ I have a small frame and digestive ability; the meal replace allows me to increase protein and cals without any burden on my system.
2/ I maybe absorb that type of protein better.
3/ It has a good serving of glutamine and BCAA-that when taken in this way –with everything else I absorb it better.
Hence I recover and look fuller.
You may note I have not gone mad on carbs here –but just token amounts with each meal other than meal 1. I train early so it works for me to have that has the highest carb meal to replenish my body.
I use nut butter –almond being my favorite.
Note I have added fats to my meals apart from the ones that have a good amount of fat already there.
I have Greek yogurt as my last meal as it aids digestive health, it is also high in the amino lysine. I add even more nut butter and protein to this meal to slow its absorption even more while I sleep. Otherwise I look drawn and flat when I get up I burn that many calories while sleeping and because I am so lean.
Post workout drink is a mix of pro and carbs –I also add in some baby oats so as not to completely whap in those carbs. I use to have only simple carbs but in time found a mix better. The baby oats are just fine ground- so its better to drink than normal oats –that’s the only reason I use them.
So that’s it –simple basic and effective.
All I will do is add to this over the next few months depending on body composition. I will write you up something else in the next few weeks, this way you can pick some ideas from it for yourself as I work my way down my journey road.
Love to ya all Ian
This article is about my experience with Branch Chain Amino Acids.
This is not a technical article, as there is a huge amount of information like that out there. This article is a ‘how to use’ BCAA for the best effect.
The information here is from two of the world’s best body-builders, and they gave it first hand, in the spoken word to yours truly.
My first year of using BCAA was back in 99. I had been reading an article on them by Frank Zane and decided to give them a try during my prep for the European Championships.
Wanting to use the best I could I contacted Frank Zane’s place of business as he sold them. At first I spoke to Christine, Franks wife. After a brief chat she said, “Just hang on a minute I’ll get Frank”.
My heart nearly stopped.
Sure enough Mr. Zane came on the phone and proceeded to give me a huge amount of information on BCAA and how to use for the best effect.
This I will get into later.
Fast forward to 2007 and 2009 two years whereupon I spent many hours with the great Robby Robinson. I was again reminded of the benefits of BCAA. Two awesome years for me competing wise. Coincidence? I think not. The information here along with a good basic eating plan and hard strict training paid an incredible return.
Now let’s get down to how to use BCAA.
These strategies I have used and still use to this day.
General Use- basic training and recovery
First thing in a morning 4 – 6 caps
Last thing at night 4- 6 caps
Pre training 4- 6 caps with a strong coffee
Post training 4 -6 caps along with a whey pro drink and some simple carbs -bagel -rice cakes -maltodextrin—those types of carbs
Frank Zane suggested I take specific amino’s – branch chain and the like or separate amino’s, say for instance Leucine in a base mix of all essential amino acids.
He sold an amazing pharmaceutical grade amino product and some specific others for needs and goals, and still does.
You would take your ‘needed’ amino’s along with the baseline product.
These you would take in-between meals with a small portion of fruit for a spike of carbs.
This worked wonders and I felt it was the best I had ever been at the time. I kept much more muscle while dieting and was as strong as an ox.
Robby could not say enough good things about BCAA and showed me first hand how he used them.
This is very simple and it works awesome.
On –NON- training days in order to aid recovery you take 5 BCAA along with creatine and glutamine about 5 grams of glutamine and 2.5 grams of creatine with a small amount of apple juice. Basically mix up the powders in the juice and swallow the BCAA caps down with it.
This you take in-between meals, so if you eat every 3 hours you take your creatine, glutamine, BCAA at the hour and a half point after your meal. You then eat again in and hour and a half, then repeat. This way you get six or so servings in a day. This he did only on non-training days and I followed suit with unbelievable results in fullness and recovery.
The Best BCAA In My Opinion
The best BCAA I have found and used are in no particular order.
Zane’s amino’s, expensive but incredible.
AST used these more than any -again awesome.
Jarrow — Robby’s choice again the best.
Allsports of Doncaster – not very well know but an incredible product and company.
So you now have a few ideas, try each one in turn and study the results.
They do work, but only if you train hard and eat well.
I remember a very famous bodybuilder back in the 70’s and 80’s once said to me. “We use to pay more for amino’s than we did drugs, because they worked like you would not believe.”
BCAA taken right when in hard training and when other things are on point, can work wonders on recovery.
Better recovery = more gains and body-fat loss.
Take care love Ian x