Training intensity , eating intensity

I spent the better part of 2 years eating lean all year-long. For me that’s about 3000-3200 calories a day. I achieved abs! But I could not achieve anymore muscle growth. So I abandoned that meal plan and switched to a plan that had me take in more protein. I wanted more protein but not more calories. So by increasing protein I was also bringing up the calories . To counter act this I had to lower my fat and carbs a bit. The increased protein intake worked wonders for a while but then it stopped.

I was still lean and my muscles grew some. But after a few weeks it seemed like my workouts were lagging. I wasn’t seeing increased strength in my workout log. In fact, I saw some numbers dip! I really have no scientific explanation but I would hypothesize that cutting my carb intake was the culprit. But hey there’s other things that can cause this to happen other than diet. Not enough sleep or stress for one or two reasons can absolutely cause this drop. It’s too hard to figure out these things and I have a life right! I’m not going to sit there and dissect every facit of my life to figure out the problem. I still have to go out and live. Besides I’m not stepping on stage. I’m just living my regular normal life.

I decide after this summer that as much as my abs were so precious to me (sarcasm yes) it was time to go back to the old school. I am now on a 3500 calorie diet and eating carbs insane style! And I am loving it! I am stronger and fuller looking and feel great. I can still see some abs too. Besides eating like a beast I changed my training routine to a Reverse Pyramid and decreased my rest time between sets. You can look up the reverse pyramid as there are many articles on it.

My point?

Dont get stuck with the same old diet and workout routine. Invite change. It’s important because the same old routine becomes comfortable and it is possible that you start to slack a little bit. My diet was working but it stopped working. So I moved on. My training was going well but it became boring and I started taking longer between reps and between sets. Now my motivation is back through the roof. Crushing food and crushing the weights.!

Change is good.

Singapore Cod, Coconut and Noodle Soup

Its food! Sounds good. I will let you know when I get around to making it!

Homemade With Mess

This recipe officially creates one big fat bowl of yum, and I promise it will put a smile on your face from ear to ear; well until you have eaten your last mouthful that is (it’s always such a sad moment). This soup is spicy, fresh, silky and delicious and I just want to eat it again and again and again. It’s a souper (check the pun) mix between Thai and Singapore flavours, which work perfectly together. My tip of the day when cooking with coconut milk would be to make sure you have the temperature at a low simmer, as otherwise it can split. This is also the reason that the lime juice is added at the last minute; but follow my instructions and you won’t go wrong!

flash 035

Serves 4

  • 1 small butternut squash – peeled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce

For the Curry…

View original post 300 more words

The Big Program Compilation! (Ripped off from T-Nation)

One of my favorite resources is T-Nation.Com This is a great compilation of some of the best weight training programs discussed and ruminated over by enthusiasts,amature and pro bodybuilders…..

This following post is inspired by Chris Shugart’s “My Big Fat Training Program Guide – Part 1 & 2” Listed here:http://www.T-Nation.com/…le.do?id=459787 and here: http://www.T-Nation.com/…le.do?id=459367 , where Chris describes some of the programs which have been posted in various articles here at T-Nation.

We all know how good it is to mix up your training, both to challenge your muscles for growth but also as mental inspiration. I have read several times across the forums, that there is ooh so many training programs here at T-Nation… yes but where exactly?!

Here they are! A nice compilation of training programs, you can snack around in, like a kid in a candy-store… or should we say a T-Man/Woman in a Biotest supplement store? 😉 Enjoy.

N.B. If you would like a description before checking out a program I suggest you check out Chris’s threads, the ones mentioned above, to see if the one you want to try, is among the ones he made a little review of. He has around 30 program descriptions in his article.

Note: Authors are listed in alphabetical order by first name and at the bottom you will find some program where only body weight is used. Good for when you’re out travelling and don’t have access to a gym.

Here we go:

Brian Haycock

Hypertrophy-Specific Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…article=217hyp2

Chad Waterbury

The Waterbury Summer Project
http://www.T-Nation.com/…_summer_project

The Set/Rep Bible
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=651322

Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy I
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rticle=244anti2

Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertrophy II
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ticle=307hyper2

Strength Focused Mesocycle
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=485341

SOB Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=561180

Triple Total Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=476508

Hybrid Hypertrophy
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=580380

Waterbury Method
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=534922

Total Body Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=508031

Total Strength program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e.do?id=1676278

Quattro Dynamo
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=459216

Singles Club
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=459290

Big Boy Basics
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=459533

Outlaw Strength & Conditioning
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=459262

The Art Of Waterbury
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=693794

The Next “Big Three” Program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rticle=187big32

100 reps to Bigger Muscles
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rticle=206reps2

10 x 3 For Fat Loss
http://www.tmuscle.com/…at_loss&cr=

Charles Poliquin

Advanced German Volume Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le.do?id=658759

Lactic Acid Training for Fat Loss
http://www.T-Nation.com/…at_loss&cr=

The Super-Accumulation program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e.do?id=1605986

The 1-6 Principle
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le=body_58princ

Charles Staley

Convergent Phase Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le=body_141conv

Chris Shugart

Dawg School – Basic training for beginners
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le=body_130dawg

Christian Thibaudeau

OVT: Optimized Volume Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le.do?id=459276

The HSS-100 program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e.do?id=1031781

HSS-100: Back Specialization
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e.do?id=1076164

HSS-100: Chest Specialization
http://www.T-Nation.com/…c.do?id=1236824

Super Beast
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le.do?id=459275

SuperHero program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…B-training.html

Pump Down the Volume
http://www.T-Nation.com/…_volume&cr=

Hungarian Oak Leg Blast
http://www.T-Nation.com/…g_blast&cr=

Beast Building – Part I
http://www.tmuscle.com/…building_part_1

Beast Building – Part II
http://www.tmuscle.com/…building_part_2

Beast Building – Part III
http://www.tmuscle.com/…building_part_3

High-Performance Mass Program
Lower Body Pressing
http://www.T-Nation.com/…r_body_pressing

High-Performance Mass Program
Upper Body Pressing
http://www.T-Nation.com/…r_body_pressing

High-Performance Mass Program
Lats and Biceps Fatigue Loading
http://www.T-Nation.com/…loading&cr=

Clay Hyght

Blending Size and Strength, Version 2.0
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e.do?id=1807367

Dan John

The “One Lift a Day” Program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…t_a_day_program

The Tabata Method Fat Loss in Four Minutes
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e_tabata_method

The Litvinov Workout
http://www.T-Nation.com/…itvinov_workout

The Secret of Loaded Carries
http://www.T-Nation.com/…_loaded_carries

Don Alessi

Meltdown Training 1
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rticle=173melt2

Meltdown Training 2
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rticle=205melt2

Meltdown Training 3
(Seems to be lost…)

Bodybuilding’s Best Kept Secret
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rticle=228body2

Doug Santillo

X-Comp Training Compensatory acceleration and the bodybuilder
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e=body_102xcomp

Erick Minor

The Omnibus Method: More Variety, More Muscle
http://www.tmuscle.com/…ety_more_muscle

Ian King

UPPER BODY: Twelve Weeks to Super Strength, Phase I Chest and back
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le=body_91super

LEGS: Twelve Weeks of Pain, Part I
http://www.T-Nation.com/…cle=body_70pain

ARMS: Great Guns in Twelve Weeks, Phase I
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le=body_107guns

ABS: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Ab training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…cle=body_123abs

Big Muscles, Busy Schedules
http://www.T-Nation.com/…article=216big2

Bring the Pain: Part 1
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le=body_139pain

The Bulk-Building Workout
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rticle=227bulk2

James Chan

The Shotgun Method
http://www.tmuscle.com/…_shotgun_method

Jim Wendler (Article by Bryan Krahn)

5/3/1 – How to build pure strength
http://www.tmuscle.com/…d_pure_strength

The World’s Simplest Training Template
http://www.T-Nation.com/…aining_template

Joe DeFranco

Westside for Skinny Bastards
http://www.T-Nation.com/…astards&cr=

Westside for Skinny Bastards, Part II
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ards_ii&cr=

Shoulder Shocker
http://www.T-Nation.com/…houlder_shocker

Joel Marion

Ripped, Rugged and Dense
http://www.T-Nation.com/…article=214rip2

Stripped Down Hypertrophy
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rtrophy&cr=

John Davies

Fat to Fire
http://www.T-Nation.com/…article=190fat2

Renegade Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…rticle=166rene2

John Meadows

Enormous and Strong Legs: The Mountain Dog Way
http://www.T-Nation.com/…dog_way&cr=

A Monstrous Back: The Mountain Dog Way
http://www.T-Nation.com/…dog_way&cr=

Chest Obliteration �?�¢?? Mountain Dog Style
http://www.T-Nation.com/…g_style&cr=

Shoulder Training: The Mountain Dog Way
http://www.T-Nation.com/…dog_way&cr=

Mountain Dog Arms
http://www.T-Nation.com/…og_arms&cr=

Lee Boyce

The Return of German Volume Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…volume_training

Mark Rippetoe

The Texas Method
http://www.T-Nation.com/…he_texas_method

Who Wants to Be a Novice? You Do.
http://www.T-Nation.com/…a_novice_you_do

Mike Robertson

The Modified 5×5 Squat program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e.do?id=1206566

Nate Green

DoggCrapp
http://www.tmuscle.com/…le_in_12_months

Nick Tumminello

A Simple Program for Complex Results
http://www.T-Nation.com/…complex_results

Scott Abel

The Ultimate Legs Program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e.do?id=1783782

Steven Morris

7 Ab Exercises That Actually Work
http://www.T-Nation.com/…t_actually_work

TC Luoma

Tsunami Training
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e=body_104tsuna

German Volume Trainng 2000
http://www.T-Nation.com/…cle=body_118gvt

GVT Revisited
http://www.tmuscle.com/…visited&cr=

The Push-Pull workout
http://www.T-Nation.com/…workout&cr=

Tim Henriques

The Shut-Up program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…e.do?id=1460447

Tony Gentilcore

The Strong and Rippped Program
http://www.T-Nation.com/…program&cr=

PROGRAMS CREATED BY MORE THAN ONE AUTHOR

Bret Contreras, Tony Gentilcore, and Brad Schoenfeld

3 Total Body Programs for Big Arms
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ms_for_big_arms

Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson

Neanderthal No More, Part V
http://www.T-Nation.com/…ic.do?id=535872

John Berardi & Chris Shugart

The Growth Surge Project part 1
http://www.T-Nation.com/…icle=182growth2

The Growth Surge Project part 2
http://www.T-Nation.com/…icle=183growth2

The Growth Surge Project part 3
http://www.T-Nation.com/…icle=184growth2

Nate Green and Nick Tumminello

Building The Apex Predator Body
http://www.T-Nation.com/…x_predator_body

BODYWEIGHT PROGRAMS
Programs where only bodyweight is used in the exercises. That makes them great programs to use when you’re stuck somewhere without a gym.

Ian King
Death by Bodyweight
http://www.T-Nation.com/…le.do?id=459685

Mike Mahler
Combat Conditioning
http://www.T-Nation.com/…icle=153combat2

Eating fats, good for you?

The Mountain Dog Diet—A Healthier Way to Get Lean/Add Muscle…or Both!

Originally published on July 23, 2010 Several months ago I sat in front of a nurse at my place of work after she received my report on my cholesterol, triglyceride levels and blood pressure. I work at a Bank, and it’s pretty cool that they offer free cholesterol screening and all kinds of other nice benefits. Anyways, she looked very puzzled. She was comparing my results from 2 years prior, to my most recent results. She finally blurted out “what did you do to improve this profile so much.” My answer nearly floored her.
Well Nancy, I started:

  1. Cooking in virgin coconut oil, and grass-fed butter
  2. I also switched out all the store bought grain fed beef I was consuming with grass fed beef I procure from a local farmer. I eat 8 ounces every single day.
  3. I switched out my 99-cent a dozen eggs with true organic free range eggs, and eat 6 of these whole every single day.
  4. Lastly (and probably most importantly), I reduced refined sugars in my diet and foods that contain excessive levels of Omega 6 Polyunsaturated fats (bye bye Tostitos – dang corn oil), as I believe those things create arterial inflammation resulting in increased cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is an anti-oxidant and repair agent in your body.

I knew what her next question would be, “but isn’t all that saturated fat bad?” I said well you tell me, my cholesterol went from 212 down to 167. My HDL went up 11 points (something I struggled with for years), and my LDL and Triglyceride levels were at the bottom end of the range. Even my blood pressure was a startling 104/70. She finally asked if I had any reading material I recommended, as these concepts were not taught to her in her days of studying health and nutrition.
So why do I mention that story? Well, the diet that I recommend usually freaks people out initially, but it’s rooted in sound science and facts, and not influenced by flawed studies funded by companies with ulterior motives. Most people have always heard and believe in the “Lipid Hypothesis.” This is the outdated theory that saturated fat and cholesterol intake increases cholesterol levels in the blood, which increase your chance of heart disease. This theory is simply not true, as long as the saturates are of a certain type, and the cholesterol is not oxidized. You have to accept that to fully embrace the Mountain Dog Diet.
I have formulated this diet based on a few things.

  1. Mentorship with Dr Eric Serrano. Eric is revered in the athletic community as a top expert in training, nutrition, rehabilitation and many other things. Eric has been a big influence on me and a great mentor.
  2. The teachings of the Weston A. Price Foundation. A fantastic resource for correct nutritional information can be found at the Weston A. Price foundation’s website www.westonaprice.org. It’s a not-for-profit organization with no hidden agendas, and one of the most brilliant Lipid Experts in the country, Mary Enig, has written numerous articles we could all benefit from on it. If you go to this website and spend a few hours on it, you will thank me for recommending it. I’ll be referencing this site many times over in this article.
  3. Personal experience. I have competed in 30 bodybuilding contests, that I can remember, won 13 of them, and placed in six of nine pro qualifying national level events. Experience is a great teacher, and you have to know when to make adjustments in diets, and what to do, for the best results. As solid as the Mountain Dog diet is, it can still only take you to a certain point. Only experience can get you past that.


What’s so different about this diet compared to standard fat reduction and competitive bodybuilding diets in general? Number one, this diet will improve your health. You may find that your cholesterol levels improve, your joints feel better, your skin looks better, you don’t feel as lethargic, or many many other nice side effects that go along with eating this way. You’ll see and become a believer. Will this diet enable you to gain 20 pounds of muscle you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to gain? Clearly no. But the increased focus on fat soluble vitamins will help with gains through better endocrine function. Remember, the theme here is health, and making better choices regardless of whether you’re trying to gain muscle or lose fat.

The approach itself is a nutrient driven approach. My number one rule is this:
Focus on MICRONUTRITION NOT MACRONUTRITION.
This diet emphasizes the following key concepts:

  1. The best food comes from animals that have been fed their natural diet.
  2. Correct ratio of fats with a special emphasis on saturated fats.
  3. Fat soluble vitamins and their role in endocrine function.
  4. Keeping your liver healthy.
  5. Supplements to manage glucose disposal.

There are actually MANY other key concepts such as carb intake/sources and rotations, veggie and fruit consumption, how to incorporate cardio, what spices and condiments can do for your metabolism, etc. but for the sake of this conversation I’m limiting it to these five.

Many of the foods and practices I recommend are in fact not new. Many years ago they were used by some of the more popular bodybuilders, but in today’s world of bodybuilding, the ideas are long forgotten. I highly recommend a book called “Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors” by Randy Roach. He dives deeply into the diets of some of the legends like Armand Tanny, Vince Gironda, John Grimek and Tony Sansone. You’ll see some similarities with what they ate, and what I’m recommending, such as raw milk, liver and copious amounts of whole eggs.

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to cover the approach at a high level, to introduce you to all the concepts, rather than only focusing on a few of them.

  • The best food comes from animals that have been fed their natural diet.

Remember the old saying you are what you eat? It’s NOT true! You are what you eat has eaten!!! Here’s a sample of a few of the mainstays in this diet and a little about why.

Grass Fed Beef – This type of beef is from cows that have been fed their normal diet consisting of grass. The only exception would be in winter where hay, root vegetables and silage are ok. Cows are termed ruminant animals, and have a really cool chamber in their stomach called a Rumen. Think of it as a big fermentation vat. This chamber is one of four chambers in the stomach that turns grass into high quality protein, and ensures a great Omega 3 to 6 ratio. This is all dependent on the PH of the rumen.

I cannot recommend “normal” store bought grain fed beef as these cows have been fed grain, and grain feeding depletes all of the things in the fat that make it healthy and magical – namely a perfect balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fats, and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). The unhealthy Omega 3 to 6 ratio that is heavily skewed toward Omega 6 is very inflammatory to your body, and is thought to increase chances of heart disease and overall bodily inflammation. The PH of the rumen is heavily affected by grain, greatly increasing acidity, thus completely throwing off Omega 3, CLA, and other levels.

In case you are wondering what exactly happens to the cow fed their unnatural diet, www.eatwild.com states “when fed an unnatural diet of grain, acidosis can result and lead to a condition called “rumenitis,” which is an inflammation of the wall of the rumen. Rumenitis then leads to liver abscesses as the rumen wall becomes ulcerated, bacteria are able to pass through the walls and enter the bloodstream. Ultimately, the bacteria are transported to the liver where they cause abscesses. From 15 to 30 percent of feedlot cattle have liver abscesses, hence the need for antibiotics and such.” Not pretty.

Going back to Omega-3s, they are most abundant in seafood, but they are also found in animals raised on pasture, usually there is anywhere from two-six times more Omega 3’s in grass-fed meats. The reason is simple. Omega-3s are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae. It’s interesting to me that sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are actually omega-3s. Some of the more hardcore farmers I’ve spent time and talked to believe in basically eating nothing but grass fed beef and vegetables due to the fact that you can source all your nutrients from the chloroplast in the leaf. For ultimate longevity, maybe they’re right?

I’ve been asked about cows that have been “finished” on grain. When cattle are taken off omega-3 rich grass and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on omega-3 poor grain, they begin losing their store of this beneficial fat as one would suspect. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3 is diminished. There are some great graphical representations and more detailed info on this process on the very informative websitewww.eatwild.com that I referenced above.


This food is the No. 1 component of the diet, and doesn’t come out at all, even pre-contest.

Free Range Eggs – Chickens that have been free to roam around, and feast on their natural diet of bugs, insects, and grass lay the highest quality eggs. I’m a staunch believer in natural sources of fat soluble vitamins and you will get four to six times more Vitamin D from a free range egg, as the hens get more sunlight. You also get three times more Vitamin E. In addition, free range eggs give you twice the Omega 3’s (although I have seen as much as 20 times more Omega 3), and seven times more beta carotene. This data was a result of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. You can read more about this atwww.motherearthnews.com. There are many more benefits to free range eggs, as this is only a few. As with the grass fed beef, whole free range eggs never come out of your diet, even pre-contest for those looking to reach the absolute lowest levels of bodyfat.

Wild Caught Salmon – Perhaps no food is better at supplying healthy Omega 3s than wild caught salmon. These salmon have been fed their natural diet of tiny shrimp-like creatures called Krill, which not only gives them their lovely reddish orange color, it also gives them the big dose of Omega 3 that we all desire. Be careful when you’re shopping to not pick up “Farm-Raised” Salmon. These Salmon have been enclosed in pens and fed a very unnatural diet of corn meal, soy and even chicken feces pellets. They aren’t even orange until artificial dyes and colors are added, they are grey.

There are several different types of wild caught Alaskan salmon for you to choose from. Sockeye Salmon, Chinook/King Salmon, and other varieties, plus you can get the Sockeye or Pink Salmon canned. These are all good, as long as they are wild-caught. You will get around 2.5 – 3 grams of Omega 3 per every 7 ounces.

Raw Grass Fed Dairy – The same things that applied to grass fed beef, applies to grass fed dairy. You get more CLA, and Omega 3s. The Journal of Dairy Science did a study in 1999 on CLA in grass fed dairy, and found that it contains 500 percent more CLA than cows fed grain.
Although this selection comes out the final 16 weeks before a contest my only exception is one tablespoon of Grass-Fed butter daily, it’s an absolutely great way to add lean muscle in the off-season. I really don’t like to take it out pre-contest, but I do because experience has taught me dairy does seem to cause most to hold a layer of water under their skin, which isn’t optimal for physique display. The ironic thing is that this is a good result of your skin being healthier! Also notice I said RAW in addition to grass-fed. The nutritional value of milk plummets due to pasteurization, the vitamin A is completely destroyed and the proteins become more difficult to digest often creating strong immune system responses and allergies. The Weston A. Price Foundation has a sister website calledwww.realmilk.com that is excellent in explaining the benefits of raw milk.

I do want to point out that I don’t support the consumption of pasteurized dairy that you’ll find in most stores at any time, and also that dairy is not a necessity, or required. You’ll get plenty of Omega 3’s from your Salmon, Vitamin D from your eggs and certain fish, Vitamin A from Beef – liver especially, and calcium and minerals from green leafy veggies. I wrestled around with this one for a while, but after having tried raw milk myself for an extended period of time, and seeing what it has done for many others in terms of their well-being, and lean muscle gains,. I think I’d be remiss not adding this. The truth is that I look at raw milk as a very good supplement!

  • Correct balance of fats with a special emphasis on Saturated Fats


Most diets in the bodybuilding world, even those that are termed “high-fat,” don’t advise the use of saturated fats outside of what normally occurs in the peanutbutter, nuts, avocadoes, etc. that are typically recommended. I think this is a mistake. Saturated fats play an enormous role our in our health and well being. Here are just a few of many reasons to NOT avoid saturated fat:

  • Saturated fats make up 50 percent of our cell membranes! They give cells the correct amount of rigidity to allow “messages” in and out.
  • Saturates allow the body to use and retain Omega 3’s better!
  • They make our immune systems better (see butter and coconut oil!)
  • A few specific types of saturates are the best food for the heart. The fat around the heart is highly saturated.

So what are the best sources for saturated fats in the Mountain Dog Diet?

1)Animal fats – Grass fed ground beef contains not only the correct ration of Omega 3 to Omega 6 (1 to 1 or close to it), and CLA, it has the saturated fat you need. Grass fed beef tends to have about half the saturated fat that grain-fed beef has. Leaner cuts like sirloin are ok, but remember, the magic is in the fat. That doesn’t mean you should eat all Ribeyes, just not to fear the fat, and there will be less of it in grass fed. It helps with fat soluble vitamin uptake (which we will get into later in this article). There is a fantastic book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration written by Dr Weston A. Price that talks in detail about the dietary habits of many non-industrialized tribes/populations. If you read this book, you clearly see what Dr Price’s research showed in terms on health and well-being, and the importance of animal fats. There was also a gentleman named Dr. George Mann who studied a tribe in Africa called the Masai. The tribe had no heart disease of any kind. Their diets consisted of meat, blood, whole milk, and up to 1.5 pounds of butter a day. He is known for a quote that I think is great. He said “the Lipid Hypothesis is the greatest scam in the history of medicine.”

2) Virgin Coconut Oil – Coconut oil does a number of very good things for someone attempting to get lean. Most – 95 percent – of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, and about half is Lauric Acid. The fat is a special type of fat, medium chain triglyceride, that is easily converted to energy by your liver. There are numerous studies out there that corroborate this. Dr. Serrano has been using Coconut Oil for endurance athletes too, mixed with slower burning carbs for immediate and sustained energy. I’ve also seen some claims that I’m still researching in terms of your body’s increased ability to burn long chain fats, when these MCT’s are taken in. Most of these studies are taking place at McGill University in Canada. If this were true, it would be another reason to add this fat into your diet when bodyfat loss is a primary goal. There is another side of coconut oil too that shouldn’t be forgotten and it relates to general health. It’s loaded (more than any other food source) with Lauric acid. This is a fat that is extremely anti-viral and antimicrobial. Lauric acid converts to its active form Monolaurin (much like T-4 converting to active T-3 in your body for those of you who have studied thyroid function). Monolaurin is currently being given to HIV patients and is showing much promise. You can see some of the research at www.lauric.org. It’s also found heavily in breast milk, which is a reason why babies who are breast feed seem to have stronger immune systems. The best thing about Lauric acid in food – it’s in a big dose, in my favorite snack food – Jennie’s Macaroons! I love these tasty treats. You can order these on Amazon.com. They come in packs of 6.

3) Grass Fed Butter – The most frustrating thing to me about having conversations regarding butter is the notion that the fat in butter causes heart disease. The reality is that butter IS HEART HEALTHY! It contains a perfect ratio of Omega 3 to 6. The saturated fats are generally short and medium chain for quick and easy digestion and for protection against infection. Lecithin is also a natural component of butter that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolization of cholesterol and other fats. Butter also has this thing called “Wulzen Factor” in it. Researcher Rosalind Wulzen discovered that this substance protects humans and animals from calcification of the joints-degenerative arthritis. I could go on and on about butter, just know that a little everyday is good for you.

What about polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3, 6, Alpha Linolenic Acid)? If you’re thinking these are essential, and you have to get them from your diet, you are correct. The amount needed gets overblown sometimes though. You’ll get plenty from your diet in the form of Salmon, and also some extra in your beef and dairy due to those sources being grass fed. Mary Enig recommends that your diet contain 1.5 percent of it’s calories in the form of polyunsaturates. Her recommendations are in line with other top lipid experts in the world. This is the same recommendation I use.

If you are taking flax, chia, or other grain type forms of Alpha Linolenic Acid – remember this, your body can only convert a very small amount of it to its usable form in the body of DHA. The DHA/EPA Omega 3 institute estimates that only 12 percent of ALA converts to DHA and presents studies backing up their data in its websitewww.dhaomega3.org. I do not recommend these grain type Polys due to that fact. You’re better off getting it naturally in the foods described above. Under no circumstance would I recommend consuming polys high in Omega 6’s such as corn oil, cottonseed oil, regular safflower oil, etc., due to their inflammatory affect within your body.

How about monounsaturated fats? Are they healthy? Yes they are. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Macadamia Nut Oil are two great oils to cook with to give you this fat. The polyphenols in them provide a strong anti-oxidant for the body as well. I love using Olive Oil for two things mainly – it helps to raise HDL levels, and it’s great to assist in quality weight gain for those trying to put on weight. It is a great choice as a salad dressing mixed with a little Balsamic Vinegar.

Another great choice is Macadamia Nut Oil. It’s very stable for cooking (up to around 425 degrees Fahrenheit), and you get a massive dose of healthy monounsaturates. Around 85 percent of the oil is monounsaturated. You get to a point where you don’t want to keep increasing athletes’ levels of protein due to general digestive stress, and you don’t want to raise carbs to astronomical levels just due to the pancreatic stress involved. So the remedy? Add some good ol’ Olive Oil or Macadamia nut oil. I tried using coconut oil for this purpose, but as I suspected, it burns so fast and easy, it didn’t really help with quality weight gain in the athletes. I’d still use it year round for its antimicrobial and anti-viral properties though, but I steer more toward the monounsaturates in the off-season. It is important to realize that you need to mix things up a bit, and not have the exact same oil all the time.

A couple of other oils you should introduce in your diet are avocado oil and red palm oil. Avocado oil is extremely resistant to oxidation (hold up well up to 500 degrees), and is largely monounsaturated. Also one of recent favorites is red palm oil. The oil is really yellow when you pour it out. That is due to it being loaded with carotenes. This oil is also loaded with Vitamin E, and since it has fat in it, it also helps these fat soluble vitamins absorb as they should.

As far as food sources go, butter actually has a good dose of Palmitoleic acid in it, which is very antimicrobial and a healthy monounsaturate. The fat in butter has more monounsaturated fat then you would think, about 30 percent actually. I include grass fed butter in my diets for this, and other reasons.

There are also many nuts that contain healthy monunsaturated fat such as cashews, macadamia nuts, etc. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten away from adding nuts to diets, not because of any concerns related to health, but because people can’t practice portion control with them. It is impossible for most to sit down and only eat one-fourth cup (1 serving) of cashews. I’m likely to eat an entire pound in a day if I buy a bag.
All in all – you need some of all of these fats to function optimally, whether your body can make them or not, and I recommend 30 to 35 percent of your calories come from fat. Around 25 percent of that should be from saturated, 1.5 – 3 percent from polys/Omega 3 and 6, and the remaining 7 – 8.5 percent from monos during contest season. As you get into more of an off-season mode, the ratio favors monounsaturates a little more heavily, but does not eliminate saturates or polys, as that would not be wise.

  • Fat soluble vitamins and their role in endocrine function

The biggest pet peeve I have with low fat diets is the fact that they don’t take into account the need to properly assimilate fat soluble vitamins. If you don’t think this is important, think again. Fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K. I hear people say all the time; well I got shredded eating low-fat. I don’t dispute that you can get ripped eating low fat. I’ve done it to the point that I couldn’t get a reading with a skin fold caliper. I know it can be done. The issue is long-term health. These vitamins are so important to your endocrine systems. Performance enhancing type drugs can cover these deficiencies up short term – but when these athletes don’t have the muscle building, protein sparing effects of these drugs, and their endocrine systems have received no support from their diet…look out. In addition, there are many studies that show low fat and low cholesterol diets long term create more depression, suicidal tendencies, etc. These are well documented in Lancet journals.

Here are some of the things that these vitamins do:

Vitamin A

This vitamin is extremely important, so much that your liver can store it for a while. It helps with protein and mineral metabolism. It helps to ensure proper thyroid function, and it helps in the production of sex hormones. Those things are all critically important (or should be) to athletes.

Also it gets depleted from strenuous exercise which a few of us engage in. Grass-fed butter, and egg yolks are my favorite day to day source, with an occasional half-pound of Beef Liver to augment levels. Don’t fall for the vegetarian belief that you can get plenty of Vitamin A in carrots and other veggies. The Vitamin A in those foods are really not Vitamin A, it is a carotene, often referred to as Provitamin A. True vitamin A, or retinol, is found in foods like cod liver oil, butterfat from cows grazing on pasture, liver and fish – especially shellfish. Your body has to convert the carotenes to retinol, and it only does that well in the presence of fat. Fat stimulates bile salts, which help with the conversion. So you better add some butter to your veggies if you even want a prayer of getting enough Vitamin A on a vegan diet. Actually, grass fed butter is the most easily absorbed food source for Vitamin A, hence why I put it in diets…well, one of many reasons.

Vitamin D

This vitamin (actually it’s more of Pro-hormone), unlike Vitamin A, can’t be stored in our livers for very long. We need a more continual supply of it. A very compelling reason for a bodybuilder or athlete to ensure a good intake of this vitamin is the fact that it greatly affects healthy insulin function. It also helps maintain a healthy nervous system, which is extremely important if you train hard. Good food sources include whole eggs, sardines, mackerel, herring, shrimp, butter and oysters. It’s hard for me to eat Salmon every single day, so sometimes I opt for a shrimp stir-fry for lunch and throw in some Trueprotein Fish Oil for my DHA. The absolute best source of vitamin D is Fermented Cod Liver Oil. When using this, I usually get the fermented kind sold onwww.greenpastures.org. They make a great product also where they combine this with high Vitamin Butter Oil, so you have plenty of options with this vitamin as well. I also recommend you get your Vitamin D levels tested. There are many autoimmune disorders thought to be caused by low Vitamin D levels. I have a good friend who has Crohns disease, and they watch his Vitamin D very closely to keep it in normal range. The test you want to have order is called a 25 (OH) D test.

Vitamin E

This vitamin is a very strong antioxidant and good for maintaining cardiovascular health. Good food sources include red palm oil, green leafy veggies, liver, egg yolks, and my favorite – wheat germ. I love sprinkling wheat germ into shakes, on yogurts and in oatmeal. Grass fed beef is also a great source for this vitamin.

Vitamin K

This vitamin is important for blood clotting, and is also real important in maintaining proper bone density. Good food sources include leafy green veggies, liver and cabbage type veggies. I like spinach for this. One of my favorite pre-contest meals is a six egg omelet stuffed with spinach!

  • Keeping your liver healthy


When I first started visiting Dr Serrano, he used to always palpate my liver, and he was very focused on blood work results – liver enzyme counts being one of the most important. He continually stressed the importance of healthy liver function not only in terms of general health, but in terms of fat burning. Your liver is a very key organ that takes a beating cleansing our systems of toxins, metabolizing proteins, etc. If it’s stressed out, you can’t burn fat as efficiently. It can also get to the point rather easily, where it can’t break down aldosterone, which leads to excess water retention. Every single day your liver actually produces a quart of bile that emulsifies and absorbs fats. Your gall bladder

(providing you still have one), then stores this until it’s needed. Your liver does many other important things as well such as converting glucose, fructose and galactose into glycogen, which it stores. If you’re partaking in a lower carb type of diet your liver will convert the stored glycogen into glucose and then release it into your bloodstream, then when out of glycogen, it will convert fat and protein for energy. I don’t like it when someone is converting their protein into glycogen. It’s hard to tell when, usually they start getting more sore, weaker and their muscles have a “flatter” appearance – but I try not to let people get to this level of depletion. I’d much rather see someone get additional energy from Coconut Oil, as it’s so easy to turn into energy – doesn’t even require bile salts, or do a carb up day consisting of only lean proteins and carbs – no fats for this. Fats slow the entry of sugar into your bloodstream. Normally that is good, but not in this case.

Anyway, your liver is pretty dang tough, and can even do some regeneration of damaged cells. Despite this, I like to use a few supplements to help (Liv 52, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Milk Thistle). This combination is rotated to product optimal results. There also food sources that I incorporate into diets to help the liver and gall bladder, such as real lemon juice (not from concentrate – helps with bile formation) real cranberry juice (not from concentrate – helps dilute and expel waste), and Apple Cider Vinegar.

Of course the saturated fats that I recommended above also help. Saturates protect the liver from toxins!

  • Supplements to manage glucose disposal

Certainly this isn’t a new concept, we’ve read a bazillion studies touting that glucose disposal agents help to enhance nutrient uptake into cells by increasing the efficiency of insulin. In other words, they help us achieve normal blood sugar levels/readings.

If you have a more stable blood glucose level, this will result in more efficient use of body fat for fuel. High levels of insulin obviously lead to greater fat storage. Compounds like GDAs that help remove glucose from the bloodstream, will lower insulin levels, and help us burn fat and lose weight.

The most popular one is probably Alpha Lipoic Acid (or the rALA version). This is an extremely good supplement you’d be wise to use year-round. It also helps regenerate liver tissue, and recycles antioxidants in your body. Also Chromium is important and is often deficient in our diets, especially if we drink diet sodas with aspartame. They leech this out of our system. Chromium also does a nice job managing glucose.
The other benefit of GDAs is a better cholesterol profile. Many of us believe (and there are many studies to back it up) that increased intake of refined sugars is what is causing cholesterol readings to get out of whack. Cholesterol is a very healthy substance that acts as a repairer in your body, and when it sees the inflammation caused by sugars, the levels increase so that it can fight the inflammation directly. Dr Serrano recommended I try Chromium as an adjunct with my carb meals to help with my profile, and it did improve my readings more so than other popular supplements that tout lowering cholesterol. So you get a double benefit here, you get leaner because glucose is more properly managed, and you get better cholesterol readings, as the GDAs will slow down the inflammation created by sugar.

Well, that’s the high level of the Mountain Dog diet, nothing earth shattering – but very effective. I hope there are some things that got you thinking about your food selections! It’s a diet that improves health and well-being, which is very important to me. It is also a great way to get ripped, or gain lean muscle depending on how you manipulate the calories and macronutrients.

Carb Loading & Carb Depletion: Competition Prep

This is how bodybuilders get that lean low body fat look for their competition. It is a ton of work and requires knowing exactly what you are eating. I gotta hand it to them, its more work than I would be able to do!

Carb Loading & Carb Depletion: Competition Prep

Whether it’s that sharp, lean figure right before a competition or just a simple trip to the beach, this week long regimen will enhance your entire physique to help you lose that extra water weight and supercharge your muscles to give you a fuller, more defined look.

Step 1: Increase Sodium AND Water Consumption
During the week prior to any carb-cutting program, increase your sodium intake. Incorporate table salt into all of your meals throughout the day. Elevating sodium increases water retention in the body and decreases the water-retention hormone, aldosterone. This salt regimen should be kept up for at least five days or until the day before you begin to carb load. When sodium intake drastically declines, aldosterone levels will begin to readjust to their regular levels, and this automatically allows your body to excrete even more water – mostly from just beneath the skin. This ultimately leads to a more sculpted and defined look.

Increasing sodium, by default, means increasing water intake. It’s crucial to take in right around 50% more water than is normally consumed. Greater water intake sets the body up for greater definition at the end of the program. This increase in water will be maintained until almost the end of the program.

Step 2: Decrease Carbs by 50% (Days 1-2) AND Increase Protein Intake (Days 1-5)
Step 2 is where the carb depletion really begins. It is essential to drop your carb consumption by only 50% so you don’t shock your body by depleting your carb consumption too quickly. It is ideal to focus on only complex carbohydrates and consuming them earlier in the day versus during evening hours.

You MUST increase your protein intake when cutting down your carb intake to prevent the muscles from breaking down. Conversely, increasing your protein intake can be overdone; any extra protein will be utilized as fuel, sparing the body from emptying its glycogen stores. Thus, to enhance the muscle-saving effect of extra protein without hindering the depletion of glycogen stores, bump up your intake by ~50 grams daily on each lower carb day.

Step 3: Train with Higher Reps (Days 1-5)
While depleting carbs for five days, higher reps (12-20 per set) and 50% more sets should be incorporated. In other words, if a regimen normally utilizes 10 sets for shoulders, it should be bumped up to 15 sets (50% more work volume) and aim for 12-20 reps per set. Obviously, the weight will need to be adjusted in order to fulfill the workout. The main purpose is to lower carb reserves, and volume work is highly effective in doing so. The idea is super-compensation: the more carbs you can deplete, the greater amount that can be stored during the carb up process, which ultimately leads to a more defined look.

Step 4: Deplete Carbs Even Further (Days 3-5)
During these days, drop your carb intake at least another 50%. Once again, it’s important to emphasize complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice. When carbs drop, glycogen reserves decline; as glycogen decreases, the body begins to elevate its production of glycogen storing enzymes. When the carb-loading process begins, those carb-storing enzymes help to pack away these additional carbs as new glycogen stores, thusly promoting the fuller-looking muscles.

Step 5: Reduce Sodium Intake
The day before you begin to carb load, eliminate the additional salt that was incorporated into your regimen. As sodium levels decline, changes in aldosterone will enhance water excretion and promote a leaner look. It is only necessary to remove the additional sodium content; cutting out all sodium is not required to drop.

Step 6: Hello Carbs!
It is step 6 that bodybuilders and athletes alike seem to enjoy the most. After five days of depleting carbs, in addition to performing volume work, the muscles will be extremely low in fuel, making them highly susceptible to carbohydrates. Upon switching to a greater carb intake, most of what you ingest will directly be stored in the muscles. It is imperative that you do not over-carb load; the amount of carbs you consume should be equally distributed between all of your meals. In other words, there should never be a time when you consume 100 carbs in one meal and only 25 in the next. Starchy complex carbs are best when carb loading – ideal choices include red potatoes, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, white and brown rice and certain pastas.

Step 7: Decrease Protein Intake
Upon entering the carb loading phase, you want to remove the extra protein intake that was incorporated in Step 2. This concept is similar to that of carb depleting: A reduction in carbs should mean an increase in protein consumption; a reduction in protein consumption should mean an increase in carbs.

Step 8: Decrease H20 Consumption
During step 2, an increase in water consumption was necessary. At this time, water intake should be reduced by 50% of what you would normally consume on any given day prior to Step 2. In other words, if you normally intake two gallons of water, you would now only take in one gallon. Carbohydrates require water to generate new muscle glycogen; during a phase of restricted water and increased carbs, muscles make up for the lack of water by shunting some from under the skin and into the muscles. Thus, less subcutaneous water retention results and yields a tighter-looking musculature.

Step 9: Ease Up on the Training
During the carb loading phase, it is suggested that all training ceases. Training will thwart the incoming carbohydrates and prevent the muscles from reaching their “full” potential. The days off allow the body to utilize the carbs more efficiently in regards to a leaner look. Energy expenditure should be avoided as much as possible during these days.

Step 10: Pump it Up and Show Off!
Pumping up the muscles before stepping on stage (or impressing people at the beach) can be successfully done utilizing light weights or isometric movements. It is ideal to include movements that involve a full range of motion and adequate muscle stretching and contracting. The reps should be kept to a minimum so carbs are not burned up.

Most importantly – enjoy yourself! You’ve given yourself a great reason to show off. Have fun with it.

Reference:
Chris Aceto, Last Week Prep Strategies for Bodybuilding

Is meal timing worthless or beneficial?

I had an opportunity to talk to a very jacked and successful bodybuilder and trainer who is known for having a great program to get all the meat heads, well, meatier….

I asked him if running a diet where the first 4 meals of the day should be protein carb and the last two meals should be protein fat. Does eating this way allow beneficial insulin spikes throughout the day and decrease the spikes before bedtime?

Not only did he answer me but he brought up scientific research on his tablet like he was drawing a six shooter at the OK corral. This is his answer pretty much verbatim ( I wrote down what he said in my notepad) and I included the links…

“You can have your fats whenever you want – including postworkout.

Here is a study where the individuals were given 165g of total fats postworkout, it made no difference whatsoever to glycogen resynthesis rates compared to the lower fat group when measurements were taken the next day:

Adding fat calories to meals after exercise does not alter glucose … – PubMed – NCBI

As for the insulin spiking BULLSHIT that keeps cropping up, studies have shown that insulin levels as low as 30mU/l was enough to reduce muscle protein breakdown by 50-70%. You can achieve this level by eating any sort of meal, no need to avoid fat whatsoever.
On top of this, any further increase in insulin levels did NOT prevent protein breakdown any further OR increase the anabolic signal:

Disassociation between the effects of amino acids and insulin on si… – PubMed – NCBI

Basically, there is no such thing as fat timing and, as long as your consuming some carbs around your workouts, you shouldn’t worry about “insulin spiking” or how fat may interfere with it”

The concept behind this kind of meal timing is that during the day the insulin spikes will drive nutrients into your muscle cells while you are active. Hopefully the insulin will not move anything into fat storage. But at night when you are winding down and about to go to sleep you eat fats with your protein, no carbs, thereby decreasing insulin spikes and driving less nutrients and having less of a chance of fat storage when you are finally least active.

According to this guy who makes a living getting people in the best shape of their lives, its all myth or better yet, BROSCIENCE.

Over 20 years ago I was clueless about how to eat to actually build muscle. Someone handed me a diet manual called “Parello Performance” . Every meal was a protein/fat,carb meal based on clean high caloric consumption. It worked wonders for me by adding 15-20 lbs of weight in about 4 months. The only thing that has changed is I am now older. So my body metabolizes its food less efficiently I suppose. If I eat 3400 clean calories nowadays I put on more fat than back in the day….. But ahhhh, is that the case? Is my metabolism slower?? Well I asked….

” NO! The only thing that has changed is you are probably not training as hard as when you were in your 20’s. Maybe you get injured more because your tendons have been aged, maybe your hormone levels have decreased, maybe you have more stress in your life, not enough sleep etc etc…. Maybe its a combination of all these things. Its called life!”

Its more like LIFEHARDCORE right!

Will Brink’s Unified Theory of Nutrition

Will Brink’s Unified Theory of Nutrition

By Will Brink
Columnist and Consultant to the Fitness Indutry
Author of : Brink’s Bodybuilding Revealed and Fat Loss Revealed.

When people hear the term Unified Theory, some times called the Grand Unified Theory, or even “Theory of Everything,” they probably think of it in terms of physics, where a Unified Theory, or single theory capable of defining the nature of the interrelationships among nuclear, electromagnetic, and gravitational forces, would reconcile seemingly incompatible aspects of various field theories to create a single comprehensive set of equations.

Such a theory could potentially unlock all the secrets of nature and the universe itself, or as theoretical physicist Michio Katu, puts it “an equation an inch long that would allow us to read the mind of God.” That’s how important unified theories can be. However, unified theories don’t have to deal with such heady topics as physics or the nature of the universe itself, but can be applied to far more mundane topics, in this case nutrition.

Regardless of the topic, a unified theory, as sated above, seeks to explain seemingly incompatible aspects of various theories. In this article I attempt to unify seemingly incompatible or opposing views regarding nutrition, namely, what is probably the longest running debate in the nutritional sciences: calories vs. macro nutrients.

One school, I would say the ‘old school’ of nutrition, maintains weight loss or weight gain is all about calories, and “a calorie is a calorie,” no matter the source (e.g., carbs, fats, or proteins). They base their position on various lines of evidence to come to that conclusion.

The other school, I would call more the ‘new school’ of thought on the issue, would state that gaining or losing weight is really about where the calories come from (e.g., carbs, fats, and proteins), and that dictates weight loss or weight gain. Meaning, they feel, the “calorie is a calorie” mantra of the old school is wrong. They too come to this conclusion using various lines of evidence.

This has been an ongoing debate between people in the field of nutrition, biology, physiology, and many other disciplines, for decades. The result of which has led to conflicting advice and a great deal of confusion by the general public, not to mention many medical professionals and other groups.

Before I go any further, two key points that are essential to understand about any unified theory:

  • A good unified theory is simple, concise, and understandable even to lay people. However, underneath, or behind that theory, is often a great deal of information that can take up many volumes of books. So, for me to outline all the information I have used to come to these conclusions, would take a large book, if not several and is far beyond the scope of this article.
  • A unified theory is often proposed by some theorist before it can even be proven or fully supported by physical evidence. Over time, different lines of evidence, whether it be mathematical, physical, etc., supports the theory and thus solidifies that theory as being correct, or continued lines of evidence shows the theory needs to be revised or is simply incorrect. I feel there is now more than enough evidence at this point to give a unified theory of nutrition and continuing lines of evidence will continue (with some possible revisions) to solidify the theory as fact.

“A calorie is a calorie”

The old school of nutrition, which often includes most nutritionists, is a calorie is a calorie when it comes to gaining or losing weight. That weight loss or weight gain is strictly a matter of “calories in, calories out.” Translated, if you “burn” more calories than you take in, you will lose weight regardless of the calorie source and if you eat more calories than you burn off each day, you will gain weight, regardless of the calorie source.

This long held and accepted view of nutrition is based on the fact that protein and carbs contain approx 4 calories per gram and fat approximately 9 calories per gram and the source of those calories matters not. They base this on the many studies that finds if one reduces calories by X number each day, weight loss is the result and so it goes if you add X number of calories above what you use each day for gaining weight.

However, the “calories in calories out” mantra fails to take into account modern research that finds that fats, carbs, and proteins have very different effects on the metabolism via countless pathways, such as their effects on hormones (e.g., insulin, leptin, glucagon, etc), effects on hunger and appetite, thermic effects (heat production), effects on uncoupling proteins (UCPs), and 1000 other effects that could be mentioned.

Even worse, this school of thought fails to take into account the fact that even within a macro nutrient, they too can have different effects on metabolism. This school of thought ignores the ever mounting volume of studies that have found diets with different macro nutrient ratios with identical calorie intakes have different effects on body composition, cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, etc.

Translated, not only is the mantra “a calorie us a calorie” proven to be false, “all fats are created equal” or “protein is protein” is also incorrect. For example, we no know different fats (e.g. fish oils vs. saturated fats) have vastly different effects on metabolism and health in general, as we now know different carbohydrates have their own effects (e.g. high GI vs. low GI), as we know different proteins can have unique effects.

The “calories don’t matter” school of thought

This school of thought will typically tell you that if you eat large amounts of some particular macro nutrient in their magic ratios, calories don’t matter. For example, followers of ketogenic style diets that consist of high fat intakes and very low carbohydrate intakes (i.e., Atkins, etc.) often maintain calories don’t matter in such a diet.

Others maintain if you eat very high protein intakes with very low fat and carbohydrate intakes, calories don’t matter. Like the old school, this school fails to take into account the effects such diets have on various pathways and ignore the simple realities of human physiology, not to mention the laws of thermodynamics!

The reality is, although it’s clear different macro nutrients in different amounts and ratios have different effects on weight loss, fat loss, and other metabolic effects, calories do matter. They always have and they always will. The data, and real world experience of millions of dieters, is quite clear on that reality.

The truth behind such diets is that they are often quite good at suppressing appetite and thus the person simply ends up eating fewer calories and losing weight. Also, the weight loss from such diets is often from water vs. fat, at least in the first few weeks. That’s not to say people can’t experience meaningful weight loss with some of these diets, but the effect comes from a reduction in calories vs. any magical effects often claimed by proponents of such diets.

Weight loss vs. fat loss!

This is where we get into the crux of the true debate and why the two schools of thought are not actually as far apart from one another as they appear to the untrained eye. What has become abundantly clear from the studies performed and real world evidence is that to lose weight we need to use more calories than we take in (via reducing calorie intake and or increasing exercise), but we know different diets have different effects on the metabolism, appetite, body composition, and other physiological variables…

Brink’s Unified Theory of Nutrition

…Thus, this reality has led me to Brink’s Unified Theory of Nutrition which states:

“Total calories dictates how much weight a person gains or loses;
macro nutrient ratios dictates what a person gains or loses”

This seemingly simple statement allows people to understand the differences between the two schools of thought. For example, studies often find that two groups of people put on the same calorie intakes but very different ratios of carbs, fats, and proteins will lose different amounts of bodyfat and or lean body mass (i.e., muscle, bone, etc.).

Some studies find for example people on a higher protein lower carb diet lose approximately the same amount of weight as another group on a high carb lower protein diet, but the group on the higher protein diet lost more actual fat and less lean body mass (muscle). Or, some studies using the same calorie intakes but different macro nutrient intakes often find the higher protein diet may lose less actual weight than the higher carb lower protein diets, but the actual fat loss is higher in the higher protein low carb diets. This effect has also been seen in some studies that compared high fat/low carb vs. high carb/low fat diets. The effect is usually amplified if exercise is involved as one might expect.

Of course these effects are not found universally in all studies that examine the issue, but the bulk of the data is clear: diets containing different macro nutrient ratios do have different effects on human physiology even when calorie intakes are identical.

Or, as the authors of one recent study that looked at the issue concluded:

“Diets with identical energy contents can have different effects on leptin concentrations, energy expenditure, voluntary food intake, and nitrogen balance, suggesting that the physiologic adaptations to energy restriction can be modified by dietary composition.”

The point being, there are many studies confirming that the actual ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins in a given diet can effect what is actually lost (i.e., fat, muscle, bone, and water) and that total calories has the greatest effect on how much total weight is lost. Are you starting to see how my unified theory of nutrition combines the “calorie is a calorie” school with the “calories don’t matter” school to help people make decisions about nutrition?

Knowing this, it becomes much easier for people to understand the seemingly conflicting diet and nutrition advice out there (of course this does not account for the down right unscientific and dangerous nutrition advice people are subjected to via bad books, TV, the ‘net, and well meaning friends, but that’s another article altogether).

  • Knowing the above information and keeping the Unified Theory of Nutrition in mind, leads us to some important and potentially useful conclusions:
  • An optimal diet designed to make a person lose fat and retain as much LBM as possible is not the same as a diet simply designed to lose weight.
  • A nutrition program designed to create fat loss is not simply a reduced calorie version of a nutrition program designed to gain weight, and visa versa.
  • Diets need to be designed with fat loss, NOT just weight loss, as the goal, but total calories can’t be ignored.

This is why the diets I design for people-or write about-for gaining or losing weight are not simply higher or lower calorie versions of the same diet. In short: diets plans I design for gaining LBM start with total calories and build macro nutrient ratios into the number of calories required. However, diets designed for fat loss (vs. weight loss!) start with the correct macro nutrient ratios that depend on variables such as amount of LBM the person carries vs. bodyfat percent , activity levels, etc., and figure out calories based on the proper macro nutrient ratios to achieve fat loss with a minimum loss of LBM. The actual ratio of macro nutrients can be quite different for both diets and even for individuals.

Diets that give the same macro nutrient ratio to all people (e.g., 40/30/30, or 70,30,10, etc.) regardless of total calories, goals, activity levels, etc., will always be less than optimal. Optimal macro nutrient ratios can change with total calories and other variables.

Perhaps most important, the unified theory explains why the focus on weight loss vs. fat loss by the vast majority of people, including most medical professionals, and the media, will always fail in the long run to deliver the results people want.

Finally, the Universal Theory makes it clear that the optimal diet for losing fat, or gaining muscle, or what ever the goal, must account not only for total calories, but macro nutrient ratios that optimize metabolic effects and answer the questions: what effects will this diet have on appetite? What effects will this diet have on metabolic rate? What effects will this diet have on my lean body mass (LBM)? What effects will this diet have on hormones; both hormones that may improve or impede my goals? What effects will this diet have on (fill in the blank)?

Simply asking, “how much weight will I lose?” is the wrong question which will lead to the wrong answer. To get the optimal effects from your next diet, whether looking to gain weight or lose it, you must ask the right questions to get meaningful answers.

Asking the right questions will also help you avoid the pitfalls of unscientific poorly thought out diets which make promises they can’t keep and go against what we know about human physiology and the very laws of physics!

There are of course many additional questions that can be asked and points that can be raised as it applies to the above, but those are some of the key issues that come to mind. Bottom line here is, if the diet you are following to either gain or loss weight does not address those issues and or questions, then you can count on being among the millions of disappointed people who don’t receive the optimal results they had hoped for and have made yet another nutrition “guru” laugh all the way to the bank at your expense.

Any diet that claims calories don’t matter, forget it. Any diet that tells you they have a magic ratio of foods, ignore it. Any diet that tells you any one food source is evil, it’s a scam. Any diet that tells you it will work for all people all the time no matter the circumstances, throw it out or give it to someone you don’t like!

will brink
Author Will Brink

Will Brink is a columnist, contributing consultant, and writer for various health/fitness, medical, and bodybuilding publications. His articles relating to nutrition, supplements, weight loss, exercise and medicine can be found in such publications as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women’s World and The Townsend Letter For Doctors.

He is the author of Priming The Anabolic Environment and Weight Loss Nutrients Revealed. He is the Consulting Sports Nutrition Editor and a monthly columnist for Physical magazine and an Editor at Large for Power magazine. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.

He has been co author of several studies relating to sports nutrition and health found in peer reviewed academic journals, as well as having commentary published in JAMA. He runs the highly popular web site BrinkZone.com which is strategically positioned to fulfill the needs and interests of people with diverse backgrounds and knowledge.

The BrinkZone site has a following with many sports nutrition enthusiasts, athletes, fitness professionals, scientists, medical doctors, nutritionists, and interested lay people. William has been invited to lecture on the benefits of weight training and nutrition at conventions and symposiums around the U.S. and Canada, and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs.

William has also worked with athletes ranging from professional bodybuilders, golfers, fitness contestants, to police and military personnel.