- 04-22-2003, 10:08 AM
This diet looks interesting, and he backs up nearly all of his claims with research. Hmmm...
Temporal Nutrition, Part 1
by Lonnie Lowery, Ph.D.
You know what you want and you're learning how to get it.
As a bodybuilding enthusiast, you've cultivated a love of heroic muscle mass and (hopefully) muscular performance as well. But almost paradoxically, you've probably also come to dig extreme leanness. Indeed, the desire to unveil your hard-won musculature seems natural, even if it wasn't what caused you to start weight training. A ripped physique approaching 5 percent body fat actually looks bigger and certainly more impressive than the same structure that's blurred by 12 or 15 percent fat.
Do you know how it feels to be ripped? Many of you do. It feels fantastic, even for those like myself who are content being a nice, full 10 percent fat most of the time. This article is about how to get ripped without getting small. It's about the differences and similarities among us regarding our metabolisms.
It's clear that we differ in muscle mass, training preferences, glucose tolerance, and so much more yet the basic tenets of medicine and physiology still apply to us all, which allow for some universal temporal approaches to "dieting."
Still, I've never liked the word diet; it's so often confused with kcal restriction. Diet simply refers to food intake. That leaves room for plenty of manipulations some that will work for nearly everyone and some that come only through personal discovery. Let's start by reviewing our differences as bodybuilders and how each suggests a tailored dietary approach. Then we can review how the 24-hour clock enters the picture, dictating biological rhythms that affect us all pretty much the same!
How We're Different
The amount of muscle tissue we carry alters our need for calories (kcal); researchers have clearly shown the correlation between fat free mass and resting energy expenditure (10). Bigger muscles need bigger meals. Due to the higher metabolic activity of muscle (although adipose tissue isn't as "inert" as many of us think), the correlation is even stronger than it is for gross body weight. See Figure 1 for an example from a group of weight trained athletes that were involved in some muscle recovery research I was undertaking about a year ago.
Figure 1. Correlation between Fat Free Mass and Energy Expenditure
You can see that guys with larger fat free mass (reading across the bottom of the graph from 58-88 kg) expend more and more calories per day than smaller guys. Taking into account that most athletes are reportedly underfed based upon gross body weight, we now see that they're even more underfed than is usually estimated due to their large relative muscle mass. A sports car with a huge engine that runs all the time guzzles more gas than a big station wagon with a little four-beater.
Bodybuilders are sports cars. Protein synthesis, tissue building/ maintenance and even moving around are energy costly endeavors. Thus, eating frequent meals becomes paramount even if you're looking to stay in negative energy balance. Breaking up the traditional "three square meals" into several medium sized ones can reduce hunger and moderate insulin levels.(12)
If you're fearful of extra kcal in which case you need deprogramming anyway take heart that a focus upon protein (e.g. as nearly half of each meal) brings superior satiating and thermogenic results to your physiology.(6, 7, 14, 19) That sounds good for dieters. This latter effect also happens to occur regardless of one's glucose tolerance,(19) so whether you perceive yourself as a good "carb metabolizer" or a bad one, protein is a gram-per-pound mainstay. Even ingesting more than that isn't likely to hurt you and may offer further metabolic benefits to the struggling dieter.
Overall, our differences in muscle mass not just body weight create different needs for calories and protein. In fact, as larger muscle mass creeps up on you over time, you'll need to readjust your intakes; you're now a bigger boy.
A healthy dose of self-honesty is required when discerning just how big and muscular you are, however. Overdoing the "I'm a big bodybuilder so I can eat anything" mentality is dangerous to anyone interested in physique quality. We've all seen guys like this; their sloppy physiques usually exemplify that randomly eating a lot of garbage is not the same as eating a lot of "clean" well-timed food as described here.
But it doesn't stop there. Muscle creates other challenges to the hard training bodybuilder. As muscle tissue is a large percentage of body weight, it also becomes a contributing factor to reduced glucose tolerance, post-eccentric exercise.
Are you a heavy "negatives" loving bodybuilder? If so, some dietary re-timing may be called for. The link between muscle damage/ soreness and depressed muscle carb uptake is clear in the literature (4, 16, 17, 21). Doesn't it make sense, then, that individuals with large muscle mass and little body fat are at greater risk of becoming systemically glucose intolerant (to a point) after aggressively employing "negatives?"
And systemic or not, if our goal is to maximize muscle glucose delivery, why eat tons of carbs when glucose delivery isn't optimal? Below is a graph demonstrating the difficulty that some bodybuilders experience:
Figure 2. Serum Glucose Responses to 75 g Dextrose before- (blue) and 24 h-after Eccentric Whole-Body Bodybuilding Exercise (red)
Logical, eh? Of course, not all weight lifters will have this clear of an effect. But if you prefer heavy negatives in your training and carry a large amount of (traumatized) muscle on your frame with little body fat, what's the ultimate fate of the carbohydrates you ingest? Perhaps muscles that are sore and resistant allow glucose to hang out in the bloodstream longer because there isn't as much fatty tissue in which to deposit it. Of course, eventually higher insulin levels would force the glucose into adipocytes (fat cells) and other tissues, including the resistant muscles.
Despite considerable person-to-person variability, I've seen this difficulty in muscle carbohydrate uptake last for at least 24 hours after inducing whole-body delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). My hunch is that it could last for 48-72 hours (paralleling other blood markers of trauma). During this time, it would make little sense, from a skeletal muscle point of view, to consume a traditional high-carb diet. Timing, then, is critical.
Fortunately for aggressive dieters, a high-protein diet (45% PRO, 35% CHO, 20% FAT) has been shown to reduce markers of muscle catabolism and improve insulin sensitivity compared to a calorie-matched high carb diet (20% PRO, 60% CHO, 20% FAT), which fails to preserve muscle and can even worsen insulin sensitivity. (15)
Just as TC has checked his response to different foods with a glucometer in the past, I suspect an athlete could do the same with a standard meal before and 24-hours after getting crushed in the gym to see how susceptible he is. Of course, the gross whole-body nature of testing finger pricked blood samples every 30 minutes tells us little about where the glucose is (or isn't) going, so it's employment may reveal little for many individuals.
Random daily, pre-breakfast tests are often required to get a handle on an individual's varying baseline (non-damaged) responses to a given (simple) meal. Self monitoring to check for susceptibility to hampered glucose tolerance would take conscientious logging. Of course, there are far more elegant techniques. Researchers can use tracers and biopsies as a muscle-specific recourse.
Detectable on oneself or not, the relative glucose intolerance doesn't "take hold" immediately post-workout, so typical carb-and-protein post workout nutrition still applies. Those who don't take advantage of this 2-3 hour window of opportunity will be left with reduced glycogen replenishment, poorer protein synthetic rates, and flatter muscles. The message to take home here? Eat protein and carbs at about 30, 90 and even 180 minutes post-exercise. One post-workout meal probably isn't enough.
During days of general recovery (read as "low soreness and damage"), I'd be eating a much higher carbohydrate diet compared to my recent 1:1 ratio of carbs-to-protein. Personally, I'd go with 2:1 or even 3:1. In fact, I'm taking a week off soon and I'll do just this, even though I'm currently "dieting!" And beyond this, I suspect ectomorphs (thin, angular types) who have known excellent glucose tolerance (or are less-affected by exercise-induced muscle damage) would also do well closer to 3:1.
As we all know, however, not everyone gravitates toward super heavy, damaging weights and negatives. Higher rep, more concentric exercisers (who don't focus on slow lowering movements) enjoy improved glucose tolerance (18) without as much temporary damage from their training. These persons would actually have increased carbohydrate needs across the board.
Using lighter weights, say 70-80% of maximum strength, with more repetitions and less rest between sets is more metabolically and calorically demanding during the workout. Carbs can be 30% depleted during bodybuilding exercise (5) and much more during 1-2 hours of continuous or repeated intense exercise.(9) Hence, carbs are a great pre- and post-exercise food for these guys thanks to optimized enzymatic and hormonal changes. Did you know that simply contracting a muscle can induce maximal glucose uptake without the need for insulin?(11) The effect lasts for hours. Amazing.
Genetic Insulin Sensitivity
Here's another way in which we all differ. There's obviously a familial link with diabetes. Even those who don't exhibit the disease, but have relatives who do, can have problems handling dietary carbs.(1,8) This may manifest as clinical glucose intolerance (fasting blood glucose between 110 and 125 mg/dl or a glucose tolerance test with any value over 200 or a two-hour value of 140 mg/dl).
A similar condition manifests as normal glucose levels but with hyper-insulinemia. With an estimated 11% (and growing) of American men suffering from glucose intolerance,(8) there are many out there who are at risk. Are you? One of the healthcare facilities where I work is having great success with fat loss just by prescribing metformin (Glucophage) for certain patients. Fascinating.
If you have a family history of diabetes or Syndrome X (a triad of hypertension/ cardiovascular risk, central-fatness and glucose intolerance), or just have a higher body fat percentage than you'd like, carbohydrate control is in order.
It's tough but do-able; I've ditched refined carbs and starches like white bread and pasta nearly altogether and I'm losing fat from this alone. I do try to stay mindful of data that about 200g of carbs are necessary for normal brain and muscle function.(13) With this low-moderate carb approach (and a focus on morning-only carbs; more on this later), I'm stripping off fat while maintaining a daily energy intake close to 3000 kcal.
Response to Stimulants
Congenital predispositions also affect our body's response to coffee/ caffeine/ stimulants. The variation is huge both in inter-individual sensitivity to stimulants and in "natural" secretion of adrenalin and noradrenalin.(2,3) Perhaps this is linked with "Type A" versus "Type B" personalities. There are well known differences in the rate of caffeine metabolism (breakdown) among humans, too.
High-strung/ caffeine sensitive guys can get their metabolisms really cranking with stimulants, which sounds good for fat loss. But again timing is critical. Do you want to do this on days when your body is recuperating? It stands to reason that since adrenalin is the mechanism behind caffeine-hampered glucose tolerance (20), then large doses of coffee and most stimulants will be detrimental to recovery. And perhaps more ironic is the hypothesis that since glucose intolerance is related to central fat accumulation, a stimulant junky could actually end up fatter through the belly over long periods of time due to self-induced glucose intolerance!
One alternative to daily blitzing of oneself with harsh stimulants that screw with your muscle recovery/ fullness is to avoid them altogether on "off days" and during scheduled layoffs. Another approach is the use of green tea. It appears that drinking several cups a day only improves glucose handling and other aspects of health. Try replacing half of your coffee intake with green or even black tea if you're a major "pot head." You may find yourself more muscular and even leaner over time.
Okay, so we bodybuilders differ in at least four ways that make the application of a singular diet difficult. Hence, the trial and error of what "works" for you should not be discounted so long as you're sure that you're not deluding yourself as to your progress. Honesty with oneself is a rare gift. On the other hand, we cannot conclude that wide person-to-person variability prevents any effective strategy for dieting/ bodybuilding progress. Science and medicine hold some fairly universal facts that can be applied with large, measurable success!
Check back for Part II of this composition to see how we can embrace our differences and our similarities to forge a bodybuilder-specific dietand to compare it with diets that have been presented in the past. It'll be a refresher course for all as we see how the swinging pendulum that is "nutrition theory" has evolved, in my opinion, toward the "Temporal Diet."
Got any questions for Dr. Lowery about his Temporal Diet, or any other subject for that matter? Join him on the Guest Forum, where he'll be hosting for the entire week.
1. Alberti, KG. (1998). Impaired glucose tolerance: what are the clinical implications? Diabetes Res Clin Pract 40 Suppl:S3-8.
2. Chait, L. Factors influencing the subjective response to caffeine. Behav Pharmacol 1992 Jun;3(3):219-228.
3. Curtin, F., et al. Day-to-day intraindividual and interindividual differences in monoamine excretion. J Affect Disord 1996 Jun 5;38(2-3): 173-8.
4. Doyle, J., et al. (1993). Effects of eccentric and concentric exercise on muscle glycogen replenishment. J Appl Physiol 74(4): 1848-1855.
5. Essen-Gustavsson B., and Tesch, PA. (1990). Glycogen and triglyceride utilization in relation to muscle metabolic characteristics in men performing heavy-resistance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol;61(1-2):5-10.
6. Fukagawa, N., et al. Protein induced changes in energy expenditure in young and old individuals. Am J Physiol 260(3)Pt1: E345-E352.
7. Giordano, M. and Castellino, P. (1997). Correlation between amino acid induced changes in energy expenditure and protein metabolism in humans. Nutr 13(4): 309-312.
8. Harris, M., et al. (1987). Prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance and plasma glucose levels in US population aged 20-74 yr. Diabetes 36(4): 523-534.
9. Hawley, J., et al. (1994). Carbohydrate, fluid, and electrolyte requirements of the soccer player: a review. Int J Sport Nutr Sep;4(3):221-236.
10. Illner, K., et al. (2000). Metabolically active components of fat free mass and resting energy expenditure in non-obese adults. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 278(2): E308-E315.
11. Ivy, J. The insulin-like effect of muscle contraction. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 1987;15:29-51.
12. Jenkins, D., et al. (1989). Nibbling versus gorging: metabolic advantages of increased meal frequency. N Engl J Med 321(14): 929-934.
13. Macdonald, I. (1999). Carbohydrate as a nutrient in adults: range of acceptable intakes. Eur J Clin Nutr 53(Suppl 1):S101-S106.
14. Norman, E. (1991). Protein-induced hyperthermia for liver cancer treatment. Med Hypoth 36(4): 374-375.
15. Piatti, P., et al. (1994). Hypocaloric high-protein diet improves glucose oxidation and spares lean body mass: comparison to hypocaloric high-carbohydrate diet. Metabolism 43(12):1481-1487.
16. Sexton, T. and Lowery, L. (2002). Effects of eccentric exercise on glucose kinetics and insulin concentrations in resistance-trained athletes. OH J Sci (Medicine and Biology), 101 (1): 13.
17. Sherman, W. (1992). Effects of downhill running on the responses to an oral glucose challenge. Int J Sport Nutr 2(3): 251-259.
18. Smutok, M., et al. (1994). Effects of exercise training modality on glucose tolerance in men with abnormal glucose regulation. Int J Sports Med 15(6): 283-289.
19. Tappy, L., et al. (1993). Thermic effect of infused amino acids in healthy humans and in subjects with insulin resistance. Am J Clin Nutr 57(6): 912-916.
20. Thong, F. and Graham, T. (2002). Caffeine-induced impairment of glucose tolerance is abolished by beta-adrenergic receptor blockade in humans. J Appl Physiol 92(6):2347-2352.
21. Widrick, J., et al. (1992). Time course of glycogen accumulation after eccentric exercise. J Appl Physiol 72(5):1999-2004.
- 04-22-2003, 10:09 AM
Temporal Nutrition, Part II
by Lonnie Lowery, Ph.D.
In Temporal Nutritoin, Part I, we investigated our differences by looking at some hard data, and almost decided that there can be no sane approach that will work for every "dieter."
It's true that dieting for the bodybuilder is largely self discovery. But as we duly admitted, medicine has rules that do apply to us all. Otherwise, we'd be screwed at the emergency room. The nurses and docs would have nothing to go on. Imagine: "I dunno. What the heck do you think THAT means?" This isn't the kind of response we'd want to hear as we lie there bleeding. Having said that, let's look at how we are similar metabolically and how that can help us formulate a plan to get extremely lean
How We Are Similar
Diurnal Endocrine Rhythms Affect Us
(at least for those of us awake during daylight hours):
We can't escape the clock, as hormones and blood constituents rise and fall throughout the day, as does our glucose tolerance. In fact, glucose tolerance can become so poor in the evening, researchers have related it to Type II diabetes!(13)
One reason is that glucocorticoids (cortisol) eventually induce glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and higher free fatty acids (FFA) in the bloodstream.(37) And eating fatty meals early in the day doesn't help, either. FFA increases over the course of a day can themselves have a relationship with poorer carbohydrate metabolism.(9) Clearly then, breakfast and a "second breakfast" consisting of low-fat, higher carbohydrate feedings are important. It's at this time of day that FFA concentrations are lower and our muscle's ability to take up blood glucose is best. Carbs at nighttime just aren't metabolized as well at least in non-obese persons.(13, 19, 22, 38)
This effect is so large as to probably be discernable even with a home test glucometer. Diurnal hormonal rhythms, reduced (non-exercise) muscular activity and meal selections are a few reasons why.
But back to breakfast. Eating carbs upon waking not only replenishes an overnight-depleted liver, but breakfast boosts mental and physical performance later in the day and many of us have even heard how it can improve fat/ weight loss in general. Ingesting one's carbs during these hours of higher muscular activity helps, too. (Recall that muscle contractions alone induce glucose uptake from the blood irrespective of insulin.) So, if the goal is to get carbs into one's muscles, the morning hours are a good time to do it.
Okay, so breakfast is a necessity. Again, however, eating fat for one's AM meal isn't a great option if an individual plans to eat carbs later. Here are some specifics: Frape and colleagues (1998) clearly demonstrated how a higher fat breakfast (26g fat) retards glucose tolerance for about 6 hours compared to a low-fat one (6g fat)! It was concluded that the higher FFA concentrations following the higher-fat breakfast were responsible. These researchers have also presented data that a 33g fat breakfast (compared to a 6g fat version) results in higher plasma glucose responses after a fatty lunch further suggesting that poorer carb handling remains until midday.(9) So why not ditch the fat and focus upon breakfast carbohydrates at a time when our hormonal milieu and our increased muscular activity will induce its uptake anyway?
And there's still more temporal evidence suggesting the benefits of carbs in the morning. There are data out there suggesting that subjects fed a higher-fat diet (45% fat, 40% carb, 15% protein), with meals every four hours, exhibit the lowest fat oxidation and least heat release (i.e. thermogenesis) in the morning.(14)
Other than perhaps the lower-protein content, this diet is not unlike what many dieting bodybuilders eat. One might then speculate: why not go ahead and eat carbs if (non-exercise, post-prandial) fat oxidation will be reduced in the morning anyway? This idea is corroborated by data from the same study that showed the lowest FFA levels (good for glucose tolerance) and lowest daily blood glucose in the morning. Hence we see more potential reasons to consume a protein/carb (low fat) breakfast. You can see the evidence starting to mount that the adage "morning carbs and evening fat" makes sense.
Yet there are other ways in which Father Time tampers with a dieter's goals. Did you know that satiety (a sense of fullness) fades at night? It does.(5) This helps explain why many of us start eye-balling that gallon of ice cream in the freezer before bedtime. It's strange, isn't it? We didn't care for it at noon so why are we jonesing for it at 10:00 PM? Perhaps our bodies are preparing for the overnight fast. In any case, eating protein and fat (e.g. beef, chicken, and olive oil, etc.) along with fibrous veggies looks like an advantageous dinner and supper. It's time to exercise some discipline and try to keep that stomach full without lending the same favor to your love handles.
Truth be told, it's not so much that fats are perfect choices at night; they just don't fit well into the AM feedings and immediate post-exercise feedings of most athletes. Rather, we've simply got to add the fat in somewhere during the day to maintain T levels, get in omega-3s, maintain compliance with tasty meats and oils, etc. In fact, with evidence that at least 100g per day maintains Testosterone levels and functioning,(8, 30) we might even consider fat just as "fixed" as our protein intake leaving only carbs to vary regarding body-weight goals.
Exercise Maximizes Our Muscle Glucose Uptake:
Post-workout carb uptake is one of the biggest temporal issues for athletes. The effects are abundantly clear in the literature (16, 18, 27, 31) providing eccentric muscle damage isn't present. Thus, twice daily exercise sessions (often via a minor bout of aerobic activity) have been advocated by some to provide twice as much "nutrient readiness." Doubling the duration of one's daily post-exercise nutrient window does seem advantageous providing overtraining is avoided. And as many readers know, glucose and maltodextrin are good post-exercise carb choices.(18)
Eating carbohydrate prior to and during-exercise has advantages as well, such as reduced stress hormone and catabolic cytokine responses (see Muscle Masochism) and performance enhancement during longer sessions. This, however, becomes goal-related as pre-exercise carbs can blunt fat oxidation (1, 4, 25). Therefore, leaving pre-exercise carbs for mass building cycles seems best.
Pre- and Post-Exercise Protein Enhances Anabolism
Along with carbohydrates, a frequent supply of amino acids before, during and after resistance exercise is advantageous for growth and recovery. This additional "para-exercise" nutrient delivery has an ever-growing body of literature supporting it.(2, 20, 29 35, 36) It doesn't take very much protein to be advantageous (just a few grams) although there seems to be a dose-response effect (more is better, up to a point), in part due to insulin action. As many T-men realize by now, rapidly-acting proteins like whey isolates are good choices at this time. We again see clearly that food choices and amounts, in temporal relation to exercise, are a big deal.
Eccentric Exercise Raises Metabolic Rate
Injury raises metabolic rate. All I want to say about this is that it's a heretofore under-appreciated part of energy expenditure in self-abusive, eccentrically training athletes. When calculating one's energy (calorie) needs, a bodybuilder should consider this "hidden" mechanism of energy expenditure that could account for an 11-24% elevation in resting metabolic rate.(7, 24) This is significant since it's actually similar in magnitude to elective surgery!(7, 23, 24)
Meal Size and Energy Balance Affects Us Metabolically
A greater carbohydrate and kcal load at a given meal increases the insulin response to that meal.(17, 32) The excess substrates yes, even dietary fat will be stored. Hence, overeating itself, regardless of macronutrient profiling, can make one fat. This sounds like a throw-back to the age old "calorie counting paranoia" so prevalent in women's magazines but it is basically true.
We cannot forget that some control over portion size must be factored into our meal planning. The addition of low-cal "fibrous" vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, and others can be utilized as filler throughout the afternoons and evenings. Sugar free gelatin and occasional sugar free-fat free pudding (the latter with protein powder substituted for about half) can help with sweet cravings. And soluble fiber, as in oat products, helps slow gastric transit beneficial during morning carbohydrate consumption.
Calorie needs must be estimated to get a handle on daily intake and (by division) per-meal serving sizes. Very roughly, 30-50 g protein at each meal with either 30-50 g carbohydrate (mornings) or 30 g fat (evenings) is common among many dieting bodybuilders in the 80-90 kg range. Doing the math, you'll see that this is based upon a range of about 2100- 2600 kcal over six meals. It depends largely on body size and muscle mass, as we discussed in Part I, but these numbers should be a few hundred kcal below the usual intake for many athletes.
An estimation of your resting kcal needs can be as simple as multiplying 1 kcal per kilogram of body weight each hour for men (0.9 for women) x 24 hours per day. (We'll assume here that this RMR accounts for some thermic effect of meals.) That's roughly 1920 kcal resting needs for an 80 kg (176-pound) male with an additional 30% for daily activities like lab work, office chores, etc. (2496 kcal total) or 50% for those who have work involving restaurant activities, carpentry, garage work, etc. (2880 kcal total).
Then let's not forget to include a conservative 10% for muscle soreness/ microtrauma (see above), making it 2745 kcal (for the office worker) to 3168 kcal (for the light laborer). Add in perhaps 250 kcal for a weightlifting workout and 350 more for "cardio" and that's 3345-3768 calories needed for maintenance. Of course, dieters don't want to maintain their present state. Thus, if we divide our estimated kcal needs by six meals for simplicity's sake, we see per-meal calorie counts and macronutrient amounts somewhat above our "dieting" meal level of 30-50 g per macronutrient. In other words, by eating 30-50 g of a given macronutrient at each meal, we're restricting perhaps a third of our maintenance needs. That's a lot!
Overall, don't think that macronutrient manipulations and meal timing whether they're diurnal or in relation to exercise remove all consideration of total energy intake. Energy balance isn't the end-all-be-all that it's historically been touted as, but it's definitely part of the picture.
Fatty Acid-Carbohydrate Insulin Synergy Affects Us:
Regardless of whether insulin has an impact upon fatty acid uptake/ usage at the cellular level as has been debated in the lay bodybuilding press it's true that adding fatty acids to carb meals increases the insulinogenic effect.(3, 6, 28) This doesn't look good for those trying to moderate insulin concentrations throughout the day and seems doubly bad if the additional fat interferes with subsequent glucose tolerance as stated above. This is a primary premise for avoiding all-inclusive protein/carb/fat combinations at any given meal. When placed within the context of the 24 hour clock, with carbs being better morning foods than fats, the resulting protein/carb OR protein/fat combination approach indeed seems natural.
Nighttime Feedings May Help Reduce Catabolism:
The general premise that protein needs increase during conditions of dieting lends some credence to nocturnal protein feedings. Muscle mass is indeed at risk during weight reduction. The early morning hours (about 1:00-3:00 AM) are well into the fasted state, when the protective (anti-catabolic) effects of insulin and substrates are withdrawn.
Research into clinical 24-hour continuous feedings versus cyclical (e.g. daytime) ones is equivocal and hard to extrapolate to bodybuilders. Still, it seems logical that if preservation of muscle tissue is a goal of the dieter, then any small reduction in fat oxidation ("burning") during this period of very low-energy expenditure would be acceptable. This temporal issue may become particularly important for those dieting bodybuilders who find themselves losing more than 2 pounds per week consecutively or have body composition assessment done that reveals muscle loss. A small drink of 20g casein between 1:00 and 3:00 AM could be advantageous for such individuals.
Protein Provides More than Just "Building Blocks"
Any bodybuilding diet plan worth its salt is going to include a steady (well, actually pulsatile) ingestion of protein. It's simply a must every 2-3 hours. As many of you know, protein tends to stabilize blood sugar,(21) reduces hunger / increases satiety(21, 33), is most thermogenic among macronutrients when intake amounts to at least 20% of kcal ingested (11, 12, 26, 34), and is certainly important for tissue building and repair in athletes, especially those on calorie-restricted diets.
For those clinging to the old mantra that "a calorie is a calorie," all I can say is, show me an overfeeding study in which individuals became equally fat on high-protein versus high-refined-carbohydrate overfeeding. And while you're at it, also explain how to account for the energetic cost of the urea cycle (removing all those little nitrogens), the higher satiety value of protein and the insulin-antagonizing effects of (protein-induced) glucagon. Huh? Huh?!
Alright, I'll get off my soapbox now.
Okay, So What Has Been Done?
Having reviewed some physiological differences and similarities among us, let's take a whirlwind look at some approaches to dieting that bodybuilders have tried. Not all address the needs of athletes let alone bodybuilders of various training styles and not all consider natural 24-hour changes in metabolism
Straight kcal restriction
None; a false sense of progress via water and lean tissue loss is fleetingly satisfying
Metabolism gets crushed down to field mouse status; "active" thyroid (T3) formation slows
Fat Avoidance (a la "Pritikin-like" diet)
Works well for some
Glucose tolerance is not inhibited by otherwise ingested fatty acids; glycogen stores remain pretty full; kcal reduction is large
Low fat diets can depress T levels; all fats should not be collectively avoided; avoiding fat is psychologically rough; limited dietary variety
Carb Avoidance (a la "Atkins-like Diet")
Works well for some
Ketosis or near-ketosis is not necessarily a bad thing (but can be dangerous in some persons); carb essentiality has itself been questioned; GH: insulin ratio increases.
Athletes need carbs to optimally replenish muscle glycogen stores and reduce catabolic cytokines and hormones; low fiber can be a problem; carb avoidance is psychologically brutal
Weekend Re-feeding (or "Cyclic Ketogenic Diet")
Works well for some
May keep metabolism up; muscles get replenished with glycogen; helps maintain "sanity" and compliance
Ketosis and fatigue are not well-handled by some individuals; carb avoidance for several days can be grueling
Exclusive per-meal energy source ("a la "T-Dawg" and "Massive Eating")
Works well for many
Avoids potential fat + carb insulinogenic and lipogenic synergy; provides both fats and carbs resulting in better variety/ compliance with diet
There is criticism that fatty acids are taken up by fat cells irrespective of insulin (regarding protein/ fat meals); see Massive Eating for commentary
Temporal Nutrition (a la "24-hour Approach")
Works well for many
Follows natural bodily rhythm, avoiding potential fat + carb insulinogenic and lipogenic synergy; accounts for training style, provides both fats and carbs for better variety/ compliance with diet
Similar to Massive Eating; requires some portion control (as with most diets); can be overdone with excessive AM carbs or PM fats and mishandled with less-healthy carb or fat types
Why 24-Hour Nutrition Is Not New
That's right: this stuff is not new in many respects at least not as an application to one's lifestyle or a new "diet" per se. Consider it parallel justification for TC and Chris's T-Dawg Diet 2.0 or John Berardi's Massive Eating if you will. And let's face it, no dietary approach is perfect; any that claims to be is conning you. Like we've said, getting lean is partly self-discovery.
For me, roughly ten years of laboratory experiences regarding sports nutrition and 20 years as a bodybuilder have led to a pattern of eating not unlike other dietary approaches you've seen here on T-mag. Although I've approached it from a different angle, with training-specific and time-of-day modifications, I still consider total calories (subtracting 25-35% for fat loss), keep protein regular and fairly high (about 1.0 g/lb.), minimize refined carbs and undesirable fats, typically choose a single energy substrate (carbs OR fat) at each meal, emphasize post-workout (even para-workout) nutrition, and employ frequent portion-controlled meals with fibrous vegetable fillers. So you can see that "24-hour Nutrition" is in agreement with and indeed has been incorporated into other diets you've seen on T-mag.
For those who missed my Guest Forum recently and want a typical day, I personally do the following:
Pre-exercise coffee (1-2 cups) and/ or possible metabolic supplement (either epinephrine-oriented or thyroid oriented) at 5:30 AM.
Go back to sleep or stare numbly at the TV.
Take 5 g glutamine, then walk on the treadmill 7:00-8:00 AM while fasted (a laptop computer with DVD nearby makes this tolerable).
Eat carbs like oat bran hot cereal for 8:00 AM breakfast; 1:1 with protein when "dieting" or 2:1 when feeling less DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) or replenishing; 5-10 g fiber and skim milk are a mainstay.
Eat "second breakfast" at 10:30 AM, typically same as the first (can include berries).
Start avoiding carbohydrates at lunch (~noon) if "dieting" or go for one more carb + protein meal if replenishing/ gaining. Eat frozen veggies.
Stay fasted 60-90 minutes before exercise (sometimes 5 g glutamine) when dieting or eat carbs and protein (1:1) before and during exercise while mass building.
Workout from 1:30-2:30 PM.
Take in protein and carbs 1:1 (restrictive) or 2:1 (replenishing/ mass building) at 30 and 90 minutes post exercise. Use commercial post-workout drinks or dilute O.J. and have it with tuna. Bran cereals with protein powder and some fruit are also included.
Dinner at 6:30 PM is protein/ fat based (1:1) as glucose tolerance is relatively poor at this time. Fibrous vegetables stave off any annoying hunger pangs and provide other benefits. Did you know red pepper is thermogenic? (39)
A second protein/ fat meal ("supper"), a bedtime protein/ fat snack like nuts, and usually a bedside (2:00 AM) protein drink round out the day.
That's about it. Mostly by varying carb intake by 200-300 grams daily, I can gain or lose weight and maintain a body-fat percentage between 5% (after a diet) and 12% (mass-building) throughout the year.
I can't tell you how motivating it is for a geek like me to watch years of coursework become real world effective. Although there's no data specifically looking at calorie-matched comparisons between temporal nutrition and any other dietary approach, you can still see a ton of evidence presented here. You can also see what a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit for breakfast, skipped lunch, and huge pasta dinner does for your neighbors.
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04-22-2003, 11:32 AM
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