19 August 2010

You Can Gain Weight Without Looking Like a Fat Fuck #2

Bruce Lee was famous for telling to "be like water", and his theory is as applicable to training and dieting as it is to fighting. The quote actually comes from the Dao de Ching, and is even better when looked at in its entirety: "Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves…"  That is exactly the way you must approach dieting and training if you want to have success.  In most people's minds, dieting is a very cut and dry thing- cut calories to lose weight, and increase calories to gain weight.  The key, however, is to lose and gain the right kinds of weight, and not to do so to the detriment of your strength training goals.  At that point, it becomes far more art than science, and anyone who tells you differently is a lying sack of shit whose children will hopefully be born blind and crippled as punishment for their forebear's stupidity and general dishonor.

Dieting FTW.

With that in mind, clean bulking isn't easy.  Boiled down to its essence, it looks deceptively so, however:

  1. Eat more.
  2. Lift more.
Seems simple, right?  Couldn't be simpler.  Well, let's just look at the second part of that to illustrate the difficulty of this.

Lift more.  This could mean any number of things, especially coming from me.  My meaning's actually no more obtuse than the actual statement itself, as it means: lift more in terms of poundage, but not necessarily in terms of volume, while at the same time adding extra sessions if at all possible.

Seems a bit contradictory, right?  It's actually not.  If you're of the mind to, say, train 5x5 on squats with 405 lbs 3 times a week, your total volume for that week would be 30,375 lbs on the squat.  I would recommend, if you want to bulk cleanly, that you try to train heavier when you're lifting heavy, but add extra sessions of light work as well.  Thus, your workouts could become 2 days of 12x1x500 and 2 sessions of 2x30x135, which means that your total volume would be 28,200.  While the training volume's not quite as high in terms of total poundage, it's likely that you're doing far more work per minute, which means that your workout density is improved. Additionally, you'll be facilitating active recovery with your light sessions, which will transport more nutrients (of which you'll be eating more) to the afflicted areas, and will take advantage of the increased protein synthesis you'll be getting from your increased training frequency. (Zatsiorsky, p. 12)  As you try to ramp up the number of sessions per week, you'll find that some weeks you can handle more training, and some you can't.  As such, you'll autoregulate your growth and recovery by listening to your muscles.  If they're cramping so badly during your warmups that your form is absolute shit and you want to die, move on to a different lift.  Half of the wacky exercises I've adopted by reading old strongman texts have been to give me something to do when everything hurts (the other half for  when I'm bored with what I've been doing, which occurs rather frequently when you're training 10-11 times a week), and they work, as they keep me in the gym and typically stress my body in ways to which it is unused.  This theory's in no way new- prior to the adoption of static training programs as a method to sell magazines and books, this is the way people trained.  It's far more natural than the mechanical methodology of linear progression, and it's clinically proven to produce better results in trained athletes. (Mann et al) Think of yourself as a banzai tree- you're not going to grow in straight lines, no matter how much you Mister Miyagi your training.  You can, however, make tiny adjustments constantly to guide your growth so that it progresses in an manner that is in accordance with your goals.  Bear in mind, with autoregulatory goodness filling up your body, that bilateral training produces far greater increases in growth hormone than does unilateral training.  As such, focus more on barbell exercises than dumbbell ones, and if you find yourself doing unilateral movements, make them BIG.  The amount of muscle mass activated during training is as important to creating anabolic hormone response as Tera Patrick's angry screaming while getting fucked is essential to her popularity.(Kraemer et al.)  For those of you who are sadly unaware of Tera's vocal skills, it's essential.

With that out of the way, let's move onto the even harder side of the issue- eat more.  For those of you familiar with my blog, you know that I'm a fan of paleolithic dieting, although many of you seem to have a slightly skewed notion of what role paleo dieting actually plays for me.  Paleo dieting is a great way to get really lean, really quickly, while sparing muscle.  It might also be a good way to clean bulk, but I've never tried, as it requires you to eat cleanly, and it's pretty difficult to get enough calories to gain an appreciable amount of weight in a year without spending your entire day eating and cooking.  As such, deviation in necessary.  It is useful, however, to bear in mind that consumption of non-paleo foods in great quantities will lead to fat gains, even if they facilitate muscular bodyweight gains as well.  I've found the best way to bulk cleanly is to rotate my calories and macronutrients.  I don't bother with utilizing a percentage of my BMR, however, in setting my calories, due to the near impossibility of making that calculation.  Even were you to determine your bmr for a given day, it will change as you get leaner, or bigger, or fatter, or smaller, or any permutation thereof.  It'll deviate further as your daily activities change, ranging from the amount and quality of your sleep to water consumption (and the temperature of that water), your lifestyle activities (do you work sitting or standing?  How much did you walk in a given day?), and finally your training style, loading protocols, TUT, and any number of other factors too numerous to mention.

Side note- fucking regularly will keep you lean, and give you a shitload of leniency in your diet.  I'm talking 2+ times a day, not the ~3x a week that I've heard various idiots bragging about. Masturbation does not seem to be a suitable substitute, either- it seems that the caloric expenditure during sex plays a part, as does the fact that testosterone levels are more heavily impacted by sex than masturbation also plays a part.

Back to rotating your macros and calories.  Start by doubling your bodyweight in lbs, and making that your baseline for grams of protein, daily.  As you grow, up your protein.  Thereafter, you're going to have high, medium, and low carb days, which will be inversely proportional to your fat intake (unless you choose a paleo day instead of a keto day).  Thus, protein remains static, while you'll have high carb/low fat, medium carb/medium fat, and low carb/low fat or low carb/high fat days.  Into the mix, you'll throw two cheat windows- and don't throw them in on your low/low days.  The low/low days are important, in my mind, as they serve to give a sort of protein fasting day- they're for all intents and purposes a paleo day.  That's the day where you're kicking up fat metabolism, forcing your body to change your output of leptin on a daily basis, and prevent your body from settling into homeostasis of any kind.  Since leptin is the hormone responsible for controlling your appetite and plays a role in fat deposition and utilization, fucking with it by doing the metabolic equivalent of poking it in the eye with a sharp stick is key.  Should you find that you're staying lean with no problem, you're incredibly hungry, or you simply want a keto day, take one.  Bear in mind that those days are high calorie days, so they're tricky to fit into this system if you are really trying to rotate your calories.  You could, however, cheat on these days by simply eating a massive amount of fatty meat for the three hours- hitting an all you can eat steak house or rib place (and only eating ribs coated in a dry rub).  Experimentation is the word of the day here, and you're going to be like a mad scientist, tinkering with your diet until you've turned yourself into a massive, world-destroying robot bent on nothing short of the subjugation and destruction of the entire human race.

To define high carb and low carb:  low carb means under 75g of carbohydrates for the purposes of this dietary regime.  Thus, you'll be able to eat a handful of nuts, some veggies, and whatever carbs are in your protein shakes.  That 75g does not include your postworkout meal, either, which should include at least 20g of protein and 40-75g of carbs.  Play with the levels and see what works for you.  I found Trio-Plex cookies and the occasional Met-Rx Big 100 brownie to be perfect for this.  Otherwise, I avoid eating carbs in the form of grains or starches on these days.  Medium carb days are usually those where I'll have my cheat window, which I almost invariably had at dinnertime.  I make this a forcefeeding of epic proportions, and eat hard for 3 hours, whatever I want.  At three hours, anything I haven't finished goes into the trash, and I have shakes for the remainder of the evening.  I'll generally follow cheat days with a medium or low carb day, and then go high carb or cheat again.  Never cheat on

consecutive days, if it's in a forcefeeding sort of way.  If you know you're going to cheat multiple days in a row, make it a bit sensible, and don't gorge yourself- your body will absorb the excess without hurting your bodyfat levels.  For the high carb day, I keep the fats low, generally eat 40-60g of carbs at 4 or 5 of my meals, which will give me 200-300g of carbs (1-1.5g of carbs per lb of bodyweight).  Total meals per day will be between 6 and 10, depending on exactly how long I'm awake, how full I am from one meal to the next, etc.  I never go more than 3 hours without eating, and I always leave a shake sitting on the back of the toilet to drink while I piss in the middle of the night.  Obviously, I make my shakes with water- don't make the evening one with milk unless you like your milk sour. 

But I still haven't explained how to fine tune this motherfucker into a steamy sexpot of high octane awesome!  I guess you'll have to wait for the next installment...

1) Mann JB, Thyfault JP, Ivey PA, Sayers SP. "The Effect of Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise vs. Linear Periodization on Strength Improvement in College Athletes." J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print]  http://www.ampedtraining.com/exercise-science/research-review-autoregulatory-training-linear-periodization#more-1476 Posted 6/21/2010.  Accessed 8/19/2010. - "Autoregulatory progressive resistance exercise demonstrated greater improvement in 1RM bench press strength, estimated 1RM squat strength and the
number of repetitions performed at a weight of 225 lb compared with the [Linear Progression] group over the 6-week training period." Their "findings indicate[d] that the APRE was more effective than the LP means of programming in increasing the bench press and squat over a period of 6 weeks."

2) Zatsiorsky, Vladimir.  "Intensity of Strength Training Facts and Theory: Russian and Eastern Approach."  Biomechanics Lab at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, and Central Institute of Physical Culture- Moscow, Russia.  - Zatsiorsky shows that the heavier one's training rate, the higher one's rate of protein degradation, which means a corresponding increase in protein synthesis.

3) Migiano, Matthew J; Vingren, Jakob L; Volek, Jeff S; Maresh, Carl M; Fragala, Maren S; Ho, Jen-Yu; Thomas, Gwendolyn A; Hatfield, Disa L; H√§kkinen, Keijo; Ahtiainen, Juha; Earp, Jacob E; Kraemer, William J. "Endocrine Response Patterns to Acute Unilateral and Bilateral Resistance Exercise in Men."Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 24(1):128-134, January 2010.


  1. See, you can write an informative and thought provoking article without using the word 'retard' as a punctuation mark - save for the reference to blind and crippled kiddies. Good stuff.

    One question however. I suppose it's fair to assume that the top powerlifters and their coaches would know a thing or two about diet and nutrition, so if it's possible for one to become freakishly strong and remain lean, then why are the cunt's (mostly) so fucking fat?

    agnostic dave

  2. Modern man, by nature, is a lazy disgusting landcow. Thus, most powerlifters won't really be compelled to do something that they neither need to do nor is very easy to do without sacrificing strength.

  3. I couldn't give several shits about diet because right now all I have to do is eat more without bothering with the details, so the only useful thing to me at the present moment in this post is that insanely hot, fap-worthy pic of Tera Patrick halfway through.

    But, come the point where I need to get fancy, I'll be sure to come back to this for a reference point. Great post Jamie.

  4. Regarding the hormon release from full body exercises: some research has shown that this release curiously does not cause more growth than a isolated exercise.

    There was a blog about it some days ago here:

  5. I think low carb/low fat should be low carb/high fat (as you mention it should be inverse proportional)?

  6. How can you binge on cookies and low-fat pizza most days of the week and still consider yourself to be eating 'paleo'?

  7. I mentioned that I don't actually eat paleo- I use it as a basic guideline. Furthermore, I don't always follow this diet- currently, I'm alternating paleo and keto days with one cheat meal a week followed by a high carb day. I've been leaning out slowly and gaining muscle, slowly. The interesting bit about what I'm currently doing is that I'm in a caloric deficit at least 4 days out of the week.

    In re the inversely proportional- I had to amend my statement midstream and didn't do it fully. I'll edit that badboy up. You can actually go either, and I pick and choose. From week to week, depending on my mood, level of hunger, and leanness. Thanks for catching that.

    Thanks for the link on the GH study. Given that raised GH levels are good for one's overall health (within reason) I could still make the case that it's beneficial, but that's a nice counterpoint.

    As to the powerlifters and diet question, powerlifters didn't seem to take diet too seriously until recently. You'll notice, though, that the better guys these days are typically pretty fucking lean- Konstantine Konstantinovs, Kroc, Joe Mazza, Ed Coan, etc, are pretty fucking lean. My point's not that it's necessary, but rather that it's entirely possible.

  8. On that link about the growth hormone study.
    I read the article and here's the key phrase: "Absolutely no significant difference".
    That probably sounds like it means there was no difference.
    In science writing, no significant difference is probably shorthand for no STATISTICALLY significant difference.
    What that actually means is that there wasn't enough difference between the numbers in the respective groups when plugged into a formula to indicate with 95% certainty that the experimental condition was different from the control group. (I'm assuming they were using the conventional .05 alpha level)

    Now, consider that the study only lasted 6 weeks. Is it any wonder that there wasn't a huge difference between the groups after such a short time? Muscle growth is a slow process and there aren't going to be huge differences after only a month and a half no matter what you do. Factor in as well the fact that the participants were novice lifters, and novice lifters can grow from practically any bullshit they do.

    This is the same sort of shitty scientific methodology that gave us Body By Science, their Lift for 15 minutes a week came from another study that found "no significant difference" between groups in a similarly short timeframe.

    Long story short, A study on muscle gain should be taken with a grain of salt unless it was conducted for a very long time. 6 weeks is not remotely adequate.

  9. Ok, I don't know where I got 6 from I looked back at it and it said 15. I must be blind. Still, it's a pretty short timeframe to expect differences in training practices to make a huge difference on muscle gain.

    Also there were only 12 participants, and It's retardedly hard to get a significant difference out of such a small sample size, because of the differences between individuals.

    But yeah, fuck me, I suck at reading carefully.

  10. With regards to Mann et al, the linear periodization (it's not "progression" in the Starting Strength sense because they reduced reps as weight increased rather than using progressive overload*) failed to increase strength at all in the bench press. The LP program was clearly awfully designed. Your view may be that autoregulation is superior, but (if done correctly) linear progression is definitely better than nothing.

    @Nathan: There was actually more muscle growth in the low hormone group (12% vs. 10%). There are several potential flaws though.

    *This is based upon what someone who's read the study wrote. I've only seen the abstract.

  11. Just checked shit out, and it seems a little fucking ridiculous. They're taking in 18 g of protein after training (the equivalent of the first 2-1/2 minutes of my breakfast) to "facilitate maximal growth" on bicep curls and leg presses. They also trained at a volume of 2 days per week maximum, and only maxed out on the bicep curls in 1RM and 10RM range twice in the entire thing.

    All of that tells me it does not relate to me personally whatsoever, as I do maximal movements as often as possible, train as many times per week as I want to, etc.

    Also, there's no consideration there as to whether or not the anabolic hormones allowed the recovery/growth to happen quicker. Couldn't it also be that the legs, being the part used in the exercise that produced GH would grow more than the biceps, which were used only in a single-hand curl? Leg presses and leg extensions are not really my idea of a "compound exercise".

    Plus, the idea that I shouldn't or "don't need to" do heavy lifting and that it isn't better for getting horrendously big and jacked is fucking retarded. What's the growth I'll get out of a few sets of bicep curls compared to the growth I'll get out of heavy-ass bent over rowing or weighted chins? Fucking peanuts, that's what it is.

  12. Dray, laying down the fucking law.

  13. What carbs do you consume PWO? Maybe throw in some chocolate milk mix with your protein shake?

    And what do you typically eat on high carb/low fat days? Seems like it would be hard to eat low fat while consuming meat, unless one went with chicken breasts or something. Poundstone shakes, maybe? Haha.

  14. Where are you getting your tri-o-plex cookies from? All of the ones I find at the Vitamin Shoppe have soy protein in them.

  15. Where the fuck's Rant!!?? Oh my GAWADD where is HEEEEE!!!??? If HE's dead we're all LOST!!! LOST I Tell ya, AOWMAHGAWDDD!!!!AAAHHHHRRRAAAWWWAAGAAAAWAAAGGDDDDDDD!!! gurgle gurgle sput sput AND AH HUBBAHUBBAHUBBBAWANNAFUCKAAFUCKAAFUCKAA dat cripple ole dude......

  16. For the last couple of months I've not had any PWO carbs, but it's extraordinarily rare that I drink milk. In fact, the last time I drank milk was a year ago last February, I think. I make my shakes in water.

    Low-fat meat? There's tons. I eat a lot of bottom round steak, chicken sausage, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, and an inordinate amount of 93% lean ground beef with the fat drained off. Low fat doesn't mean no fat, man.

    Re the soy protein in the TrioPlex cookies, I look the other way on that... they just taste so fucking good!

  17. "They just taste so fucking good"

    What are you, a woman?

  18. Sandy Vagitis?

    Great post, both of em. I look forward to the grand finale.


  19. Delicious tasting food is supposed to be beneath warriors like us Jamie. Go drink a cosmo while reading Cosmo. Homo.

  20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1TwqBoDDgA

    SLightly off-topic, but: Epic song for Hooligans. ^

  21. You guys are loving Blood for Blood lately. That's a pretty fucking decent Blood for Blood song though.

    As people, those dickbags make Skarhead seem cool, but they are appropriately pissed off.

  22. Good post.

    I'm still skeptical about needing to eat every three hours. It would seem like there would have been times long ago when the body would have been short of food, and I feel like it would have evolved to maintain precious muscle (well at least for longer than 3 hours). I’ve read others stating that a day or so must pass before the body begins to burn muscle for fuel. Did you see a difference by not eating this frequently?


  23. go check out leangains.com

    Plenty of evidence that eating every 3 hours is not necessary.

  24. Just eat and lift heavy. Be selectively retarded about it.

    As in throw on plates and shrug like a retard, but don't eat like a fucking retard.

    I've always drunk shitloads of milk, and I haven't grow tits like the GOMAD poster boy. In my experience if you lift consistently at 90% or above your 1RM you are not gonna get fat unless you are really asking for it and eating like a fat fucking frat boy.

    And if you do get a little fat? then fucking drop the cookie dough and do heavy super-bears, heavy randy couture circuits (seriously, they fucking suck if you put enough weight on and go for 5 reps and take a minute and a half break), clean and presses everyday for a week or two, and get back on it after.

  25. Hey Jamie what's the reason for the switch from your primarily chicken wing keto diet that you described in past posts?
    Do you find this method better for mass gains?
    Or just more flexibilty in eating?

  26. I'm always tinkering with my diet. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat. Additionally, I eventually got to the point that I was sick of eating wings, which sucked.

    As for eating every three hours, I'm of the opinion that does more to keep you lean than to remain anabolic, unless you're only consuming whey protein. There are a number of studies that suggest that anabolism and metabolism are improved by high meal frequency.

  27. I was wondering if it's actually possible to gain muscle on a purely keto based diet provided you eat a ton or is the insulin from eating carbs a big factor in muscle gain due to it's anabolic nature?

  28. I've gained muscle on a keto diet, though I'm not sure that you'd call it "pure" due to my cheats.

  29. thought this would be interesting considering the topic at hand.

    a look at the fridges of a few famous powerlifters.


  30. This is the same sort of shitty scientific methodology that gave us Body By Science,
    how to gain weight

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