Exactly 3 weeks out from my next competition!
*I've been doing a lot of research lately and forced myself to look at some research and some philosophies in a whole new way. I have decided to completely change up my diet and do one that I have never even attempted before. I just started it yesterday. I am doing the Lean Gains/Intermittent Fasting diet routine. Yeah, I hated the sound of that last part too! This program was created by Martin Berkhan and backs up his belief system with not only scientific research, but with real world results. I spent several hours going pouring over the details of this new dieting plan and know that if I want to truly see how effective it is, then I need to put it to the test myself.
Here is some basic information on Lean Gains and some greater details if anybody is interested in learning more...
Very basic rundown of the program:
Interview with the creator Martin Berkhan about his philosophy on Intermittent Fasting (IF):
The very short Lean Gains (LG) guide on his homepage with lots of other articles and resources:
*You can click on the "Most Popular" and the "Categories" tabs for more information and also realize that there are several other links to other articles and roundtable discussions with other well known nutrition professionals interspersed throughout the articles, which is another reason it took me so long to get though all the material...lots of info and I need to know exactly what I'm doing if I'm going to be successful at it.
*Here's a sample of Martin's setup, some very basic info, and how I will be applying it:
As for my AM workout routine, which is when I typically go to the gym...well here it is:
"Protocol needed: Fasted Training (see the Leangains Guide for details).
We're going to assume that you're at the gym at 10 AM and break your fast at 12-1 PM.
10 AM: Training is initiated on an empty stomach and after ingestion of 10 g BCAA or similar amino acid mixture. This "pre-workout" meal is not counted towards the feeding phase.
*For fasted sessions, ingest 10 g branched chain amino acids (BCAA) shortly prior (5-15 mins) to your training session. This does not count towards the 8-hour feeding window that I advocate post-workout; that starts with your post-workout meal. By ingesting BCAA pre-workout, we can sidestep the increased protein breakdown of fasted training while still reaping the benefits of the increased anabolic response as seen in this study. Not only that, BCAAs actually increase phosphorylation of p70s6k when ingested in the fasted state prior to training. So by training fasted, with BCAA intake prior to sessions, we get a double whammy of increased p70s6k phosphorylation that should create a very favorable environment for muscle growth in the post-workout period.
“The researchers concluded that "Our results indicate that prior fasting may stimulate the intramyocellular anabolic response to ingestion of a carbohydrate/protein/leucine mixture following a heavy resistance training session. "
10-11 AM: Weight Training: I suggest using a setup similar to reverse pyramid training, which is my favored approach. This is a high intensity, low volume setup. Keeping intensity high is key in order to reap the catecholamine-related benefits. Do 2-3 sets of 4-8 reps for compound movements and 1-2 sets of 8-10 reps for assistance movements (curls, triceps work, etc). Do no more than 5 movements per session.
11-12 AM: When you're done, which should be in no more than an hour, insulin (which was temporarily elevated by the pre-workout BCAAs) will be back to fasted baseline again. Immediately take 0.2 mg yohimbine and do 30-45 min of steady state cardio; cycling, treadmill walking at 3-3.5 mph (slight incline optional), brisk walking outside, etc. The yohimbine will rapidly take effect.
12-1 PM: Eat."
He also stated to drink BCAA's every two hours after your workout during the feeding time...so incorporating this into the MPS max stimulatory window (as described by Layne Norton here: http://pubget.com/search?q=authors%3...0E%20Norton%22) I have come up with this for the 8 hour window from my understanding of what it entails in conjunction with Martin's teachings.
Ramp down carbs with each subsequent meal.
-Pre Workout: (10-11 AM---following this same example) 10 g BCAA's 5-15 minutes before workout.
-Meal 1: (12 PM) High protein, high carbs, no/low fat. Also the biggest meal and is the post workout meal, most quickly and easily absorbed meal
-BCAA’s (2 PM)
-Meal 2: (4 PM) High protein, med/low carbs, med/low fat
-BCAA’s (6 PM)
-Meal 3: (8 PM) High protein, no/low carbs, med/high fat. Last meal before 16 hour (approximately of course) fast is reinitiated, so make sure you have good quality slow digesting protein sources. The higher fat intake will also help slow digestion.
NOTE: This isn't his EXACT outline or ONLY outline, as he varies it sometimes within this 8 hour feeding window. For example, sometimes he'll have four meals instead of three, but they will still be within the 8 hour timeframe.
No processed junk food
Relatively high intake of protein all the time
Higher carb / lower fat on workout days
Higher fat / lower carb on rest days
*Now for his given food selection ideas:
LEAN GAINS FOOD SELECTION:
REST DAY MEALS:
POST WORKOUT MEALS:
It was also apparent that he was NOT a proponent of nuts or dried fruit (from him saying so on LG).
*+20% of caloric intake above BMR on training days
-20% of caloric intake below BMR on resting (or low to moderate cardio for increased fat burning) days
So how did I figure out my BMR? I kinda already have a good idea from several cutting and dieting cycles I've done, but this site helps break it down pretty clearly:
So my BMR is right about 2,500 calories, which means 3,000 cals (+20%) max on my training days for anabolism and growth, and 2,000 cals (-20%) on my rest or recovery days for increased lipolysis and fat oxidation. However, at this particular point in time, I am more concerned about merely maintaining muscle mass and losing as much BF as possible for my contest, therefore on my training days, I will be not looking to have a caloric excess, but instead shoot for just the 2,500 cals.
*My Beginning of the new diet!
So the previous night I stopped eating at approximately 8 PM, which would start my ~16 hour Intermittent Fast time frame. This would make me due to start working out at approximately 10 AM and have my first and biggest meal (post workout meal) at around noon. Well, things didn't work out as well as I would have liked them to this morning. I had to come up with a new post workout meal and I spent too much time trying to make sure it fit all the parameters, like macros, cals, solid foods, ect. Long story short, I didn't make it to the gym till 1 PM. But I didn't cheat and was still in a full fasted state, and am still within the acceptable time ranges, just later then I would have liked.
I took my BCAA's and began my typical training day...which just so happened to be LEGS today! I've never tried legs fasted---or semi-fasted since I did have the BCAA's. I also added creatine and beta-alanine to it but that was it. I warmed up and then started with box squats at 225 lbs. I was surprised that even as hungry and not super energetic that I was, I still wasn't tired and had the energy to do it with no problem. So I did a few sets and completed my workout which looked like this:
-Weighted Leg Pushdowns, single leg (using assisted pull-up machine foot lever)
-Hamstring Curls, single leg
-Seated Calf Raises
I then did 20 minutes of cardio (low to moderate intensity only is recommend on this program especially in the fasted state). I used the treadmill and did 3.0-3.5 MPH and only went up to a 1% incline. I wore my heart rate monitor the entire workout and my HR was highest during SLDL's and second highest for squats.
I finished with stretching. During this time, my stomach was in knots with hunger, not really the overwhelming desire that I must eat, but something else.
It was now three and the exact time when I should begin eating my first meal, my post workout meal, and begin my 8 hour feeding window. This part was much harder then the workout! It took me 50 minutes to finish eating. Here's what I ate to meet ALL of my program, macro, and caloric needs.
-First I ate what I knew I would have the hardest time getting down, especially if I ate it last and on a fuller stomach. I had two cans of plain tuna. Unfortunately, that only gave me half of my need meal's protein requirements. But I knew this and planned accordingly.
-Then I had a full cup (yes 1 full cup) of rolled oats in two cups of fat-free milk for a total of 3 cups of plain oatmeal. I knew that this would need a little sprucing up and I could afford it right after my workout so I had previously added 2 unpacked tbsp's of Splenda brown sugar (total of only 9 carbs for this). I ate about half and I must have been hungry because it actually tasted pretty good! But I was getting full...really full. I was having a hard time eating every bite now and had to slow down. I then added almost 200g of fresh diced strawberries to the oatmeal, and even though it tasted good, it was a painstaking effort to get it all down.
Ok, I got all my carbs in, but still only half my protein. I knew about this and knew I would probably have a hard time completing this task so for the last half of the protein intake, I had a scoop of XF whey and a scoop of Dymatize Casein blend protein in water.
That meal looked like this macro-wise:
Fats: 13g (saturated only 2g)
I think I'll cut down the protein just slightly and the carbs a bit more for next time. My stomach now hurt it was so full and distended. I also got horrible heart burn from the lack of food or substance in my stomach.
I then went home, got the wife, and went grocery shopping. While we were out, I hit my next meal time. Problem was, I wasn't very hungry but I knew I had to get my calories in. I refused to stop at fast food and ruin all my effort and suffering! I was at the grocery store and figured I'd just pick up a rotisserie chicken and eat it with the whole wheat rolls I got. Until I saw that for 3 oz, it was 14g protein and 11g fat, crap that's almost 1:1! No way am I about to eat 100g of protein with that high of a fat content associated. So I made myself a sandwich absolutely packed with lean roast beef and turkey and lettuce and one piece of provolone. Unfortunately I don't know the macros on it, since it was on the go but I think I hit my goals with that meal.
Next and last meal---needs to be high protein again, higher fat, and no/low carbs. I had a sirloin steak with all visible fat trimmed and a full cup of green beans. I still needed more protein and actually had another 8 oz steak pulled out but I just couldn't eat anymore. I was too full still and knew I would only waste it or suffer, so instead, I had a scoop of ON Egg Albumin Protein, and a scoop of ON Casein protein to top it off to where it needed to be for the day.
This is going to be harder then I thought. My stomach truly HURT after that last meal and I could only sit there waiting for my body to digest some of the meal. I met my goals and didn't exceed them, but this is definitely going to take some adjustment and getting used to. My stomach looked bloated and distended in the mirror. I started today at 202.2 pounds and have been at this exact weight for the last three days, so we'll see what happens.