Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting Jacked - Part 3 - The Lift-Run-Bang diet

With the strength crowd, lifting heavy weight is king.  And rightfully so.  But this series isn't just about getting stronger, it's about looking the part.  And there isn't a god damn thing wrong with wanting to look strong.  Let me repeat that.  LOOK strong.  Not look fat, or absent of any muscular development.

The only benefit of getting fatter in terms of lifting is to improve leverages for a lift.  That's it.  Period.  And if you aren't competing then who the fuck are you getting fat for?  Youtube?  Mom?  Who?  Chics don't care what you lift.  Your non-lifting buddy really doesn't give that much of a shit believe it or not.  You hitting crab poses in your catshit ridden basement after you benched 3 plates for the first time because you larded up is disgraceful.   Smash yourself in the junk with a Cricket bat.  

I suppose it gives your dad something to brag on you about.  But then he just looks like a toolbag going around talking about how big his sons arms are and what he benches in said basement.  Save dad some face and compete or get in a meet.

Even if Pudz did train in a catshit basement he'd still be more jacked than you.

Second, if you are a natural guy then doing the bulk/diet thing really isn't going to work for you like it does for guys using "supplements".  I've written about this before and it's just a fact of training life.  When a guy can use something that will hold on to lean mass even on a starvation diet, he has an edge a natural guy does not have. This is why most natural bodbuilders do not do the crazy offseason bulk thing, where guys using do.  Because the natural guys know it would take too damn long to diet down and get in shape, and the fact is they would eat through hard earned muscle after dieting that long.

I have talked about this MANY times, and notables such as Shelby Starnes and Lyle McDonald have talked and written about it at length.  Don't let the lard get out of control for mass gains.  After you get so fat, your body just becomes very good at getting FATTER.  And then you wake up one day and someone responds to your bragging of 3 plate benching in catshit basement with "You lift weights?"  

You need to put shit back into perspective.  

The Look of Power involves being lean -

If you don't compete, but want to look jacked then getting rid of worthless fat is pretty much a given.  This is not about getting into 4-5% bodyfat range because I don't really see a big need for that either, unless you're a competitive bodybuilder.

Not a fat guy

We're talking 8-10% here.  That's lean and athletic looking.  And the fact is, getting leaner will actually give you the appearance of being bigger, your body will function better.  But aside from that, when you think of guys that are mega yoked, I promise you they are pretty much always lean.

Juouko Ahola - lean and jacked

I've written extensively about how to go about this.  There are many ways but the first way is to come back to your diet and get shit in order.

Eating Template -

I've written about the shake diet.  This diet works really well for those who don't want to put a ton of thought into getting leaner.

But I am really a food guy, and that was always the drawback with the shake diet is that I prefer eating my food instead of drinking it.  Not to mention that there are limitations on vitamins and minerals on it.  But since it's a short run diet it isn't that big of a deal.

However I'm big on doing something for the long haul that I believe in, and know works.  This is why my training philosophy has been the same for so long, and why I am finally settling into a diet philosophy as well.

So what has happened over the last 5+ weeks or so is this.

I have grouped my carbs to be all low GI sources from breakfast to lunch, then on non lifting days I drop carbs off after lunch for the most part.

Perfect carbs

On lifting days I drop carbs off after my PWO shake.  None of carbs ever fit into the high GI scale so my blood sugar levels are stable everyday.  This is really the key to getting lean and not feeling like hammered shit most of the time.

Not to mention everyone knows my stance on carbs.  And that is, they are GOOD, if they are the right kind of carb at the right time.  You won't ever come across a guy sporting a shit ton of mass that got big eating low carb unless he's in the less than 1% of the population range of the elite.  Period.

I know some people love keto and low carbing and all that shit, but the fact is your BRAIN requires glucose and only in very rare circumstances will use re-use lactate as a fuel.  In other words, carbs are essential whether or not Paleo/Keto lovers want to admit it or not.  There are too many functions in the body that perform at an elite/optimum level on carbs to argue otherwise.

Something I have talked about before at length is the whole CNS burnout bullshit.  The fact is, it's related more to brain function in regards to BCAA's and a lack of glycogen in the body.  NOT doing a movement too often.  So basically, your feeling of "CNS burnout" has to do with your diet, not your training.

Another great read about this is here.  And here.

So with the science bullshit out of the way let's get to cracking on how a template to maintain strength as much as possible, while getting lean, should look, or how to eat to gain LEAN mass.

The Lift-Run-Bang Diet -

This diet is not new, but it is built around science god dammit.  And even though it's not new I'm going to name it since someone will ask about it later and I won't be sure which one they are talking about.  From here on out, this is probably going to be exactly how I eat all the time.  Because it fucking works.  I don't feel like shit, my strength levels have dropped only minimally since the meet, and my bodyfat is dropping at a nice clip (all the cardio I am doing is obviously playing a part here).

Early Evening Lifter Layout -

Breakfast - High Protein / Medium Carbs / Low Fat -

Insulin sensitivity is highest in the morning, so take advantage of this by including Oatmeal and lots of cinnamon.   Cinnamon is a bit of a power spice in that it kicks ass and takes names, and if you don't believe it read this.

Protein Sources - Egg Protein, Egg Whites, Turkey, Chicken, Lean Beef
Carb Sources - Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat
Fat Sources - Whole Egg, Oils, Natural fat in lean beef
Supplement Additions - Multi-vitamin, Cinnamon, Chromium Picolinate, Vanadyl Sulfate.  The last two supplements here are about controlling your insulin.

Lunch - High Protein / Medium Carbs / Low to Medium Fat -
Protein Sources - Chicken, Egg Whites and Whole Eggs, Lean Beef, Turkey, Fish, Whey or Egg
Carb Sources - Brown Rice, Yams or Sweet Taters, Veggies
Fat Sources - Whole Egg, Oils, Natural fat in lean beef

Afternoon Snack - High Protein / Medium Carb / Low to Medium Fat -
Protein Sources - Chicken, Egg Whites and Whole Eggs, Lean Beef, Turkey, Fish, Whey or Egg
Carb Sources - Brown Rice, Yams or Sweet Taters, Veggies 
Fat Sources - Whole Egg, Oils, Natural fat in lean beef

Pre-Workout - Medium Protein / Medium to High Carb / Low Fat -
Protein Sources - Cottage Cheese, Whey or Egg Protein
Carb Sources - Rye or Ezekiel Bread, Organic Jelly or Jam
Fat Sources - None other than naturally occurring

Workout Supps - BCAA

Post-Workout - High Protein / Medium Carb / Low to Medium Fat -
Protein Sources - Whey or Egg Protein, Milk (skim to whole), Egg Whites or Whole Egg
Carb Sources - Naturally occurring carbs in milk and foods
Fat Sources - Naturally occurring

Meal (Dinner) - High Protein / Low Carb / Medium to High Fat
Protein Sources - Chicken, Fisk, Turkey, Beef, Bison
Carb Sources - Veggies, Salads, - starches are optional once to twice a week for a back load
Fat Sources - Oils, Butter, Naturally occurring in higher fat meats (salmon, ribeye, etc)

Late Snack - Medium Protein / Low Carb / Medium to High Fat
Protein Sources - Whole Eggs, Cottage Cheese
Carb Sources - naturally occurring (no starches or veggies)
Fat Sources - Peanut Butter, Whole Eggs, Almond Butter, Nuts

Supplements at night - ZMA

I don't work for the Cooking network, so don't ask for a meal plan.  It shouldn't be hard to figure out how to setup a menu each day to make this diet work.

I know that someone will ask me "how would I implement this if I trained early morning?"


Meal 1 - Pre-workout
Meal 2 - Post-workout
Meal 3 - Breakfast
Meal 4 - Lunch
Meal 5- Snack
Meal 6 - Dinner
Meal 7 - Snack (optional)

Some key points of this diet - 

  • All low GI carbs - None of your carbs should ever come from high GI sources.  Even post workout.  Lots of guys talk about having a high GI carb post workout, but all I found that to do was make me hungry as shit in the evening.  And the truth is, I have never seen some kind of extra-ordinary results from using a low-medium GI source post workout and using a high one.  I have found that keeping my blood sugar levels keeps my appetite in check and my energy levels stable.  
  • Occasional carb-back loading - Starches are an option at dinner once to twice a week.  It's an option when you are feeling "flat" (muscles feel flat and you look soft essentially) and especially weak like that stupid ass "CNS burnout" people talk about.  That is when you should load up the evening meal with another low GI carb like wheat pasta or sweet potatoes.  The other caveat is, only use it on post-workout nights.  That way the majority of the carbs are shuttled into replinishing glycogen stores, similar to carb-back loading but without the retardedness.  Keep the fat intake medium on the nights you carb-back load.  And try to limit this to only twice a week.  More than that and you will throw the curve off.
  • Carb and Fat wave - Carbs start high in the morning, then slowly trickle down to near zero in the evening (except for a small carb load on lifting days).  As this happens fat intake trickles up.  This will keep your blood sugar stable so you aren't ravenous all day, and your energy should be solid.  The truth is, I rarely feel hungry on this diet like I have on others, yet the fat is coming off at a very solid clip.  If I do feel flat and like shit, I am not forced to keep carbs out.  In fact I welcome them for the evening backload.  And without fail I wake up the next day feeling full again (muscular wise) and feel better.  I also don't worry about things like not eating the chicken skin at night (that's my fat) or cutting off the fat on my ribeye.  I just tear away at it and eat my salad or veggies.  In a couple of hours I am slightly hungry and I have peanut butter and cottage cheese and then I'm off to bed.  So I stay satiated throughout the day usually.
  • For gaining - Eat more.  Do not deviate from the LRB diet template.  Simply learn how to eat bigger portions.  That's it.  Keep the template the same.  And for those that do need to get lean, learn what a fucking portion is (it's the size of your fist).  
  • For getting leaner - This is not difficult.  Mind your portions.  If you are too hungry all the time, increase the portions.  If you are fucking full you fatass, decrease them.  This is not hard.  You should feel satiated after a meal, not like you just left the all you can eat Chinese Buffet in Vegas.  When you dial it in you will know.  Then the fat will start to fall off at a steady clip, and you will be hungry only minimally and energy will be solid.
  • Protein Powder - I know everyone jacks it to whey, but I do not.  In fact I don't know that I will ever use whey again as my main powder.  Whey gets into the blood stream fast, yes.  However it also exits fast, and I found that a whey shake in the afternoon left me ravenous about an hour later.  When I switched over to a MRP like Met-Rx, which has a mix in it, I am sustained longer and I don't get so damn hungry.  I have switched out all the whey shit for egg now.  I also have ZERO stomach problems now.  With whey I would have gas and bloating quite a bit of the time and always felt like I had a blood sugar drop within an hour.  
  • Don't get so caught up in "good" fats - Using some mayo or butter or oil is just fine for fats.  Take some time to read both sides of the fence on saturated fats but in the end you'll find out it's not really a big deal to ingest them and there are plenty of benefits.  
In case you missed it, here is my LRB diet over the last 5 weeks, and it doesn't really deviate from this day to day.  

Breakfast - 
7 egg whites with 1 whole egg and turkey
1 cup of oatmeal

Lunch - 
8 ounces of grilled chicken
1 cup of brown rice
1.5 cups of broccoli 

Snack - 
Met-Rx or Egg/Milk protein powder

Pre-workout - 1-2 slices of rye with 2 TBS of organic jelly and 1 cup of cottage cheese

Post Workout - 2 cups of milk with Egg Powder 

Dinner -
8-10 ounces of sirloin
Large salad or mixed veggies or more broccoli 
optional - wheat pasta / wild rice / sweet potatoes 

Snack - 
1 cup of cottage cheese
1 TBS natural peanut butter

I didn't pull this menu out of my ass.  I was going to go on the shake diet but then actually decided to take my own advice and find a way to eat that I could live with day in and day out.

In the next installment I'm going to talk about the template I have been working on for a while and how it encompasses every aspect of my training philosophy and all the shit I've learned and dealt with over the last 2 decades.


  1. Paul,

    This has nothing to do with dieting. BUT, for a natural guy, do you think light cardio (30 brisk mins walking on a treadmill) AFTER a strength training session has any negative impact on strength? I am just very limited to fitting cardio in during the week, but do a full body push pull type strength program twice a week.

    Thanks fella.

  2. Not at all. That should be fine. Lots of BBers' do it that way as well.

  3. Hi Paul, for a clean bulk with The Lift-Run-Bang diet, do you think that is a good idea to count calories and macros, or is better to eat and pay attention at fat level and body weight.

    Tks Marius

  4. Paul

    Surely "natural" (non PH or AAS users) are less likely to make gains if they are trying to stay lean - you've said before that "carbs drive progress" - I have some concerns that the desire to be a certain "lean level" (i've used parenthesis a lot haven't i ? !) is responsible for a lack of gains lean or otherwise - probably more responsible than any other factor.
    Adding in cardio and cutting calories is surely a way to increase all those stress hormones - or at least it gives the body something else to think about.
    Where do you stand on malto (the carbs in Met Rx) - personally its a godsend to someone who works long hours (12+) without an option to take a break to eat

  5. Paul,

    I know there are a lot of debate over the cholesterol of whole eggs, but personally, do you think eating a dozen to two dozen of whole eggs per day has any effect on raising blood cholesterol? I guess the only way to find out is to regularly take blood tests, but my GP is stingy in giving out blood tests, so I always have to wait for a while for one.

    Would be grateful for any input.

  6. Will - I can't really say for 100% because everyone is different. But I can tell you I ate 6 whole eggs one morning before blood work and my cholesterol was 168. It will definitely elevate it temp, but I'm not sure about long term. I think 2 dozen eggs in a day is a big extreme dawg.

    Phil - Without carbs your gains will be limited. Drug user or natural. The best thing about this diet is that you're not so much worried about carb level but what kind of carbs and when you are consuming them. Staying lean and gaining slowly is really a better option for a natural guy because as I noted, dieting down from lard ass status is only going to cost the natural guy a lot of hard earned muscle.

    Marius - Feel free to do all. If you're really serious, then counting calories, monitoring bodyfat and the scale will give you a great idea of exactly how much more/much less you need. Lyle McDonald wrote that 1/2 pound of lean mass a week was about all a noob could expect and I think that's probably right now. So if you aren't a noob I personally think something in the range of 1/2 to 1 pound a month is probably right.

  7. It's really stupid to ask I know, but for the fellow who hates to eat cottage cheese, what's a good substitute?

  8. Probably Greek Yogurt. I've been doing some of that too.

  9. I know this is kind of a minor point but on non lifting days do you eat the same template just minus the pre and post workout meals? or do you eat a small snack in their place?
    many thanks

  10. Exactly what it reads bud. If I'm not lifting I just skip those two things.

  11. some great info there, thanks
    I wanted to ask how much cinammon do you put on your oatmeal as what is the portion to get the good benefits from it? cheers Vik

  12. Check the article link. 1/2 tbs to 2 tbs a day total. I load the oatmeal down pretty good.

  13. Shit. I totally clicked on this hoping for recipes and pictures of oatmeal 5 different ways. What a let down ;)

    How's it going with the BP btw? are dietary changes helping?

    (ps -- for the guys who don't like cottage cheese, quark is also pretty good, or even low fat ricotta)

  14. BP was 107/70 this past week at the doctor.


  15. That's great news Paul!! Good going.

  16. Paul,

    I've been working out for a while now and I think my muscle isn't growing anymore. Did it already reach its plateau? Any thoughts on this, will be very much appreciated. Thanks.

  17. Most definitely not. Just keep plugging away. After your initial gains things just slow down a bit.

  18. Paul,

    Do you still endorse your blue collar eating for mass?

  19. Absolutely. For really skinny guys/young kids that need to force feed calories, yes. When you're young just pour in the calories. Most young kids that are super skinny need to just put away a metric fuck-ton of calories to grow. Any means possible is what works.

  20. Dumb question, but do you measure your chicken and steak raw or cooked?

  21. Why are you against regular carb backloading? Low weight room performance?

    I have some carbs before/during my workout, but the majority are after and the diet's going great. Leaning out fine, weight room performance is steady, plenty of energy (EC might be confounding that though).

    The argument/science for the carb backloading is your insulin sensitivity in muscle AND fat is higher in the morning and lower at night, but after working out your insulin sensitivity is higher in muscle but still low in fat.

    I'm still relatively a noob, I did the bulk/cut thing at way too high of a starting bodyfat and failed miserably (25% to 40% with jack for strength gains). Low carb got me back down to 25%, carb backloading's got me down to 13-14%. But again, I'm still at newbie levels... 1x/1.25x/1.5x bench/squat/DL. Maybe carb backloading doesn't work as well for more advanced lifters?

  22. I'm not against it per say, I just think it's overrated. And second, I have found that when I do it, I get ravenous for carbs in the evening, and I end up fatter in the long run.

    I don't people think they need as many carbs post workout as they think they do. I'm at 237 pounds at around 9% bodyfat right now, so it's most definitely working.

  23. If I'm 160 lbs do I continue to just eat everything in site?

  24. How many whole eggs would be acceptable for late night snack?