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  • Cutting for Competition

    Nutritional Scientist, and founder of Mac-Nutrition, Martin MacDonald (MSc Sports Nutrition) reveals the science of losing fat for a competitive Bodybuilder.....

    Considered to be one of the leading experts in Fat Loss, Martin has become renowned for helping Celebrities, Olympic athletes and Bodybuilders meet their fat loss goals. In this article he discusses the exact Science of losing fat for a Bodybuilder leading up to a competition.

    Intro
    If you're reading this you're probably well aware that most mainstream ideas about healthy eating are terrible. Recommendations on salt intake, cholesterol intake, servings of carbohydrate etc are all based on sketchy, if not incorrect, science. (NOTE: If you’re not aware of these things I urge you to do some digging and if there is interest perhaps I’ll write another article for MP on the subject). Despite the fact that many fitness enthusiasts and in particular bodybuilders are light years ahead of the game when it comes to nutrition and supplementation, little things can creep into the optimal nutrition mentality that have no place. Bodybuilding is a long standing sport with a number of traditions and dogmas surrounding it and moving into the 21st century some of these things can be left behind. Forget the, “it didn’t hurt Arnold” or the “well Flex Wheeler did it” mentality. You need to find what works for you and the best place to start is in the science; only then can you start your journey of trial and error into where results out way scientific evidence.

    Training
    This article will not talk about training in the sense of what split is best, what exercises to use, frequency of training body parts etc but there are a few things I need to mention. While nutrition is arguably far more important than training (it’s good to be controversial occasionally), you can dampen some of the effects of good nutrition with poor training. If you decide to start a diet and up your reps to 20, use the pink dumbbells and subsequently haemorrhage muscle, you may blame my advice. Therefore it is worth saying that whilst dieting your should still lift heavy. I feel ridiculous writing this but you know as well as I do that at least one gym instructor out there is still recommending high reps, low weight for defining, toning and ‘etching’ lines into the muscle. I am less of a fan of isolation movements during a diet than I am when muscle gain is the goal; big compound movements are not the be all and end all when muscle gain is key but during a diet they lead to muscle retention, energy burn and an hormonal milieu conducive to fat loss.


    Where to start
    The starting point for a competition diet will vary with how much body fat you have to lose. The average length of is perhaps somewhere between 12 and 20 weeks but would be pertinent to get someone in the know (i.e. someone who has competed) to assess your physique and tell you how much you need to lose... I find you can normally add at least 7lbs to any initial estimation. Standing on stage is not like being lean for the beach or gym, it is another level of condition. Once you have decided how much you need to lose you can aim to lose between 0.5 and 2lbs per week but perhaps double that in the initial week or two. The general rule of thumb is that you can lose approximately 1% of BW per week so 2lbs for a 200lb guy. The issue here is, that is for average Joe, not Joe Bodybuilder who has less body fat to lose in the first place! When body fat gets lower the potential to get fat into the blood stream to be burnt is reduced. Similarly, at this point, the body is in an unnatural state and your body will be fighting to keep the body fat therefore you can expect as little as 0.25lbs per week loss in the end stages.

    Ascertain your baseline diet
    The type of diet you choose can vary slightly around a few specific themes. The food must be real, whole food that in most cases is prepared by yourself. What constitutes whole food is a controversial topic with the likes of the Paleo diet gaining interest, which discourages dairy intake. Similarly, you have options like intermittent fasting which can be useful for much smaller individuals. I have used this to great effect in small figure/physique females. There are many ways to skin a cat and there are also many ways to shred a bodybuilder so pick the one that suits you best but do not try anything fancy. Hearing that the dogma of 6 meals a day is no longer necessary and then eating 3 square meals a day is in my opinion a mistake; much better to bunch these meals together around training and get the positive effects of a prolonged fast instead lots of mini ones. Or just stick with the tried and tested multiple smaller meals throughout the day.

    One final point to consider is that the gut plays a huge part in how your body functions, therefore, if you have persistent gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhoea, constipation or even bad wind, you should take a look at what you are eating that might be causing this. These are not normal although today’s society would have us believe we just need to treat the symptom not find and eliminate the cause. A recent a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial by Biesiekierski and colleagues (2011) showed that gluten can cause gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in subjects without celiac disease and have coined the phrase ‘non-celiac gluten intolerance.’ On top of this you also have wheat and of course dairy/lactose. If you are having GI issues then these are the best places to start.


    A Note on Dairy
    If you can handle dairy then I strongly recommend keeping it in, and keeping the full fat version in for the majority of your diet. This is one area of dogma that has hung around bodybuilding, perhaps due to early bodybuilders reducing dairy intake in the last week to reduce sodium and therefore water in the body. Dairy has been shown time and time again in numerous studies to be anabolic (Elliot et al, 2006; Hartman et al, 2007; Wilkinson et al, 2007) whilst encouraging the reduction of body fat (Josse et al, 2010). Many individuals will happily chug back whey protein shakes but will not touch cheese or milk because these are ‘forbidden foods’ when this just doesn’t make sense. Of course there is also the fact that the full fat versions of milk and alike contain other bioactive components; not least the popular fat loss product conjugated linioc acid (CLA) and my favourite vitamin, Vitamin D! So, if you can tolerate it, keep dairy in initially at least.

    There is one area where my ‘impeccable’ track record for only practising based on research goes out the window and that is with encouraging the use of unhomogenised and if possible, unpasteurised milk. There isn’t time to explain why here but hey, count it as a free tip from me to you.

    Carbs, Proteins and Fats
    So, onto the stuff that you have perhaps been waiting for, the optimal breakdown of the plan! First off you need to work out how many calories you are going to start your diet on. The best practise here I find is with a food diary; do so by weighing and writing everything you eat and drink for 3 days and then calculate your intake of kcals, protein, carbohydrate and fat. The most important (at this stage) of these 4 being your kcals and protein intake. If you do not want to do this you can use one of the many online calculators to work out your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and then factor in for your daily activity and exercise energy expenditure. Most people find that they will drop a few pounds of body fat simply by cleaning it up i.e. taking out the junk but keeping everything else the same. When deciding what kcal level to start at, remember that you need room to come down and also remember that going below your BMR will lead to hormonal disruption that may hamper fat loss and or muscle retention. There is a term called ‘energy availability’ which is the amount of energy available from food after accounting for exercise energy expenditure. So if you eat 2000kcals and expend 600kcals with exercise your energy availability is 1400kcals. Research has shown that going below 30kcals per kg of lean body mass will severely impact on hormonal health. So for an 85kg guy with 15% body fat that is ~2160kcals so you can see, if you start at 2500kcals and burn 500kcals you are already encroaching on this. Now, time for a reality check: I have never been able to get anyone seriously lean without going below this threshold and I am willing to admit that. Some might tell you they can do it with their superior knowledge but alas, it has always eluded me, my clients and every bodybuilder I have ever known. Right, so we have our starting figure, let’s say you have come up with 3000kcals which is a figure I seem to end up around with many clients.

    Protein
    Protein intake is a huge topic and I am going to do my best to cover the essentials and also quash a few myths or bad practises that prevail in bodybuilding. Firstly, everything I am writing pertains to someone wanting to compete naturally. The assisted world of bodybuilding is far more complex and requires a completely new set of rules. This also means, when that 250lb guy at the gym with visible abs tells you to eat 500g of protein per day you might want to take it with a pinch of salt. There are two issues to bare in mind 1) chemical assistance will increase your ability to gain muscle to the extent you can gain muscle and lose body fat however when doing this naturally, the protein requirement tops out at in the region of 1.7 – 2.0g/kg and 2) research is now showing that perhaps overdoing protein intake at the expense of carbohydrate negatively affects hormones such as testosterone and in particular, levels of bio-available testosterone in the blood.

    Now, many diehard bodybuilders will be screaming ‘increased protein is important for muscle retention!’ which is true, however the true answer lies in the detail. Layman et al (2003) showed that a greater proportion of protein to carbohydrate is beneficial for weight loss and the retention of muscle mass but the relative amount of protein here was approximately 1.5g/kg! Another study titled “Increased Protein Intake Reduces Lean Body Mass Loss during Weight Loss in Athletes” can again lead individuals to think that more protein = less muscle loss when in reality this study by Mettler et al (2010) only showed that having 2.3g/kg of protein is better than 1.0g/kg which we would expect! So, realistically, in a natural trainer aiming for around 2.2g/kg (1g/lb) will be more than enough as a baseline. This can change slightly with the diet but in general I would suggest it stays fairly constant, maybe increased slightly towards the end of the diet.

    A final note on protein. Remember I said it and kcals were the most important of the 4 earlier? The reason for this is that if after doing your food diary you realise that you have been consuming well above this 2.2g/kg amount, say up at 3.5g/kg, you should never simply drop straight down to this new level as doing so can lead to muscle loss. Protein turnover is partly governed by protein intake and when a high protein diet is consumed, the enzymes that break down protein are upregulated and by simply dropping the amount consumed drastically it can lead to a negative protein balance and therefore muscle loss. Instead, you should taper down to this new level in stages.

    Fat
    Fat intake is a topic that is never without controversy these days. Even in bodybuilders, a group who are completely at ease with lower carbohydrate diets, the idea of consuming lots of fat, and particularly saturated fat, still does not sit well and unfortunately this really is the wrong way to go about things. Bare in mind that I am far from recommending a very high fat diet i.e. a ketogenic diet, but I will cover this more in the ‘Progression’ section. You may know that sex steroid hormones, such as testosterone are actually made from cholesterol. On top of this we have the fact that in numerous studies, consuming a higher fat diet has led to increases in testosterone levels. Further to this we see that actually the ratio of fatty acids within this total fat intake could be an important determining factor. Intakes of saturated and monounsaturated fats are positively correlated with increased testosterone levels whilst the ratio of saturated fat to polyunsaturated fat is also a predictor; so as saturated fat intake goes down and polyunsaturated goes up we get a decrease in testosterone. I have been a victim of reducing saturated fat intake too low and even total fat intake many moons ago. At the time I was of the belief that saturated fat out of all the fats was the most likely to be stored as body fat whereas unsaturated fats where perhaps more likely to be incorporated into cell membranes etc. While on some level this might be true, during a calorie restricted phase where carbohydrate in particular is kept low very little energy is going to be stored in the postprandial state. So, moving onto the specifics, for best effects, ensure total fat intake is above 30% and ideally sitting around 40% of calories. Of this 40% keep saturated fat at 20% with mono and polyunsaturated fats making up 10% each. This puts the ratio of saturated fat to polyunsaturated fats to 2:1 which is close to if not at the proposed optimal ratio.

    Carbohdyrate (CHO)
    Finally, onto the carbohydrate side of things we are now left with a figure based on our total kcals minus kcals from 2.2g/kg of protein and minus 40% of kcals from fat. Here is what this might look like:


    Having this range of carbohydrate intake is quite good as it then allows us a little room for movement perhaps on a particularly heavy training day or on the day of a weak body part to include a few more carbs around training. This leads onto the topics of where do these carbs go, how should they be split and should fats and carbs be separated? But first, a mention on why being so specific with all these grams, percentages and ratios is pertinent. In natural bodybuilding the overriding factor on the success of your diet is how your hormonal profile and therefore metabolism reacts to the dietary manipulations you put in place. If you screw up your hormones or reduce testosterone you can forget how much protein you’re eating and how much heavy lifting you’re doing, you will lose less body fat and lose more muscle. Hormones are the master co-ordinators. Tell tale signs of hormonal disturbance or imbalance are hugely disproportionate loses of fat. Take this image of a fairly lean upper body, deep striations across the chest, very dry and lean obliques but then the same lower body is virtually smooth. This is a common site in many natural contests and unfortunately no matter how low calories go, this imbalance may never be righted until calories go back up and the disruption is righted.
    Onto the where when and why of carbohydrates. First off, bunching carbohydrates around training is most certainly a good thing, perhaps even splitting your intake between 3 time points: Meal 2-3 hours before training, immediately post workout (a shake perhaps) and then in a post workout meal 60-90mins later. From this you will realise that I am a big fan of protein and fat only meals (including vegetables is fine) for the simple reason that meals like this mimic some of the beneficial effects of fasting but this is not to say you must have protein and carbohydrate only meals. Infact, in the 2-3 hours before and 60-90mins after meals I would actively encourage including some of your fats. Another fancy technique which perhaps lays outside of the realms of intervention studies is using the saturated fat for the protein and fat only meals and then more the mono and polyunsaturated fats for the protein, carb + fat meals; the reason for this is that some data shows that saturated fat and carbohydrates eaten together might have unfavourable effects on insulin sensitivity and other studies have shown that unsaturated fats further lower the GI of carbohydrate meals. At this point let me say that the ‘don’t eat carbs late at night’ way of thinking is slowly dying out. A recent study by Sofer and colleagues (2011) showed “Greater Weight Loss and Hormonal Changes After 6 Months Diet With Carbohydrates Eaten Mostly at Dinner.” Now, I’ve not read the whole article but presumably in the control diet the carbohydrate was split evenly over the day as opposed to being mostly at lunch and then a carb free dinner so how much we can extrapolate this to ‘carbs at dinner are superior’ is another story. So, stick to carbs around training and you’ll be fine.

    Sources of carbohydrate in my opinion should be limited to sweet potato, oats and rice as well as of course fruits and vegetables. On top of this some simple sugars such as glucose, maltodextrin and fructose could also be used around training.



    Progression of the diet
    Obviously any diet must progress otherwise you will stagnate. The options obviously remain to increase energy expenditure or to reduce calories and at some point reducing calories will probably be necessary. In this instance, if you have opted for a higher fat intake you can probably take quite evenly from both ‘pots’ as it were. However, lowering carbohydrate disproportionately to fat seems to have favourable effects. I have read a number of internet gurus claiming that super low carb is the way to go and even touting ketogenic as the best diet for bodybuilders. While for a sedentary individual this might be great it is not ideal for a natural bodybuilder trying to retain as much muscle as possible. Insulin (released when carbohydrates are eaten) is such an anabolic/anti catabolic hormone and without chemical assistance, protein breakdown and therefore muscle loss is going to be elevated on these kinds of diets. Note that ketogenic diets also set a limit on protein intake due to higher intakes keeping the body out of a ketogenic state. Lower carb, higher fat diets also always beat higher carb, lower fat diets hands down when it comes to nutrient density and bioavailability of nutrients. A common practise in bodybuilding circles is carbohydrate cycling which simply means having higher and lower carbohydrate days. There are many ways of doing this depending on your specific situation so it is worth investing some time into reading about different ways of structuring how you do this.
    Worth mentioning on the topic of progression is the use of ‘cheats, treats and refeeds’ which all have their own slightly different meaning depending on who you talk to. The bodubuilding lifestyle is somewhat monk like and having a ‘cheat or treat’ is a great psychological break that allows something of a social life. There are also the positive effects of carb ups or refeeds on circulating hormone levels both acutely and on a more long standing basis. One method I have employed in first time competitors is to have a slightly longer diet but with a 1-2 week ‘refeed period’ in the middle to regain any lost muscle (the rebound effect) as well as to reset some of the negative effects of prolonged dieting. Generally, the leaner you are, the more refeeds you can and should have. Once you can see the ligaments connecting your obliques to your abs you might want to have one moderate refeed and one ‘cheat’ per week. As a general rule once every 1-2 weeks is fine in the intial stages.

    Supplements
    I do not want to labour too heavily on supplements, despite what some of my colleagues would say, I am fairly supplement ‘light’ in my opinion. The supplements that I would recommend without a doubt during a competition diet are as follows:

    • Vitamin D3: Dosed either based on a blood test or at a standard 15,000IU weekly dose.
    • EPA and DHA supplements dosed at around 1.0 - 1.5g per day which may be manipulated depending on other factors.
    • Debateable whether or not it is a supplement but protein powder of choice.
    • Creatine monohydrate and I always go for Creapure where possible just because the price difference is so small that it seems worth it for any possible small gain.
    • Beta Alanine dosed daily at 40mg/kg with a possible loading phase of 4 weeks at 80mg/kg.

    On top of this, supplement use would be on a case by case basis.

    Gauging progress
    Gauging progress can be a difficult thing to master, especially if you get too hung up on the scales. Sometimes the scales will not register a drop from one week to the next but the mirror tells a different story. You need to remember that unless you are in a weight category, your ‘weight’ on stage is arbitrary, it is the illusion you create that counts and trust me, the leaner you are, the bigger you will look. FACT. Taking before and after progress photos is also another handy tool but make sure you attempt to take them in the same light so as to make accurate comparisons. There is also the option of getting your body fat measured using one of a few methods. Straight away, forget scales that you stand on to measure your body fat... virtually pointless. Instead you could opt for having your body fat measured using skinfold callipers; it is worth noting here that again there are areas that are important for bodybuilding that are not measured using skinfold callipers so the mirror is still important.
    Now, a comment about using the mirror to guage progress. Cover up your best and leanest body part. Yes, you heard that right, too many people look at their abs and think ‘I’m ready’ when if they would just turn around they would see a soft back and more than likely, a fat ass. You are only 100% ready for a bodybuilding show when the skin on your bum is like the skin on the back of your hand... daunting isn’t it. Many people look great even at 90% of this condition and so long as you have cuts in your legs and some glute-ham tie in coming through you’re doing pretty well.

    Conclusion
    There you have it, an overview of how to set up your contest prep dieting phase. I have not included specific manipulations that might take place in the final week before competition as these are generally very unscientific, more trial and error based practises. One of the biggest things I have not mentioned is consistency. Being consistent, both with your nutrition and your training, is one of the biggest factors in the success of preparing for a bodybuilding show. Have fun!

    Martin MacDonald, founder of Mac-Nutrition.com
    Due to a number of life circumstances, Martin’s goal has become raising awareness of the aforementioned sketchy ‘healthy eating’ advice guidelines. If you have enjoyed this article and would like to support this... or just get some free tips and advice, you can join up to his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MacNutr) or follow him on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/MacNutrition).


    Discuss on the MP forum.
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. James's Avatar
      Good to see Martin back on MP one way or another! Not sure I agree with the details here, but the general message is superb! And at the end of the day... results are results regardless of how they were obtained (as long as they are legal ).

      Good one man.
    1. hailtotheking's Avatar
      Wow. Martin has moved on a long way since his early days on the forums! The site is great and very well done.

      Very well put together article. Interesting how you dont recommend super high protein intakes. When i read the research Casey Butt highlighted on excessively high protein intakes and lowered test levels, and also about how receptors to proteins can become down-regulated with such practices i have been skeptical of mega high protein.

      I like the idea of keeping the sat fat + protein meals earlier in the day when you arent training and having lots of carbs. Your sat: MUFa / PUFa ratio is similar to what Butt recommended when trying to gain or when at maintenance. However, he recommends when trying to cut the ratio shift so that it reflects a lower sat and increased omega 3 PUFA intake
    1. hailtotheking's Avatar
      Also interesting that Martin is a fan of raw milk!
    1. MartinM's Avatar
      Thanks for the comments.

      Glad you like the site HTK, it is currently being re-done as I'm not a huge fan of how bare it is. Please can you send me a link to the article by Casey Butt, sounds interesting.

      The raw milk thing is interesting, I'm still not 100% sold on dairy but at a guess, 50% of my clients/athletes get on very well with it and then half of those who don't (25%) get on with dairy if it is unpasteurised and unhomogenised. Leaving 25% who do slightly-to-loads better going dairy free. Even using things like isolate or lactase enzymes doesn't always fix the issues perhaps due to milk proteins being the issue not lactose.
    1. hailtotheking's Avatar
      Hi Martin,

      Check these out: The WeighTrainer - Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones The WeighTrainer - Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones The WeighTrainer - Dietary Fats, Prostaglandins and Hormones

      He mentions about protein intake here http://www.muscleandstrength.com/art...tt-part-2.html

      Last year i got quite involved with the London Chapter of the Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF), and used to meet up with them every month. I managed to source raw milk from Hook & Son and was able to drink about a gallon of it before getting any sign of gastric upset. That's pretty impressive seeing as a glass of normal supermarket whole milk would leave me with gas, nausea, and diarrhoea. There is definitely something significantly different about the allergenic potential and digestibility of raw milk vs. pasteurised. Alas i cut my ties with the WAPF because, despite some great ideas, they are a bunch of closed minded, holistic hoo-ha, willfully ignorant muppets. They reject most mainstream science, and the fatter members absolutely refuse to accept that eating too many calories is the root of their problems, so i walked away chuckling.

      Seeing as you are keen on a diet for hormonal optimisation, what do you think of this diet from an older article by Chad Waterbury? T NATION | 5 Ways to Boost Testosterone I quite like the set up of it.
      It seems quite practical, is mostly wholefood based, and has a good ratio of fats and protein sources in it in it. The daytime set up looks mostly protein and fat with some minor carbs, carbs + protein during training, and then the evening is leaner protein.

      I'm only 158lb so i would scale it back a bit. And because i'm quite a fan if IF / undereating during the day, i would modifiy it in a few ways - i.e. less overall quantity of daytime foods and a bigger evening meal, replace the turkey with something similar but more practical 'on-the-go' like beef jerky.
    1. Elvis's Avatar
      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by James View Post
      Not sure I agree with the details here
      You'd have to be more specific to give Martin a chance to defend or concede anything! Really...
    1. brioni's Avatar
      Is there any formula or calculator to work out the baseline diet? I’m lost on protein kcal after the 2.2 x BW bit!

      Also am I right in saying you could recalculate this by knocking off 1% of BW each week to give ball park figures – so you have an idea what to aim for?
    1. MartinM's Avatar
      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by Elvis View Post
      You'd have to be more specific to give Martin a chance to defend or concede anything! Really...
      Thanks Elvis

      brioni - how many kcals do you want to consume? Using my model above you multiply that by the percentage of fat you want to use. The percantage of fat you have depends on a number of variables but if you are just a 'bodybuilder' (i.e. not an athlete or someone who plays football etc) then you could use 40%. So multiply your kcal intake by 0.4. In the example above this is 1200kcals. 9kcals in 1g of fat so 1200/9 = 130g ish fat. Then the remaining kcals after you have covered protein and fat comes from carbs.

      Quote Quote
      Also am I right in saying you could recalculate this by knocking off 1% of BW each week to give ball park figures – so you have an idea what to aim for?
      I have no idea what this means.

      HTK - will reply to your post seperately when I have read the Testosterone link.
    1. Gareth83's Avatar
      Good to see you back Mart!
    1. brioni's Avatar
      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by MartinM View Post
      Thanks Elvis

      brioni - how many kcals do you want to consume? Using my model above you multiply that by the percentage of fat you want to use. The percantage of fat you have depends on a number of variables but if you are just a 'bodybuilder' (i.e. not an athlete or someone who plays football etc) then you could use 40%. So multiply your kcal intake by 0.4. In the example above this is 1200kcals. 9kcals in 1g of fat so 1200/9 = 130g ish fat. Then the remaining kcals after you have covered protein and fat comes from carbs.
      Thanks. I divided my carbs by 4 and multiplied my grams of protein by 4. I think this is always 4- not that we are using 40%?

      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by MartinM View Post
      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by brioni View Post
      Is there any formula or calculator to work out the baseline diet? I’m lost on protein kcal after the 2.2 x BW bit!

      Also am I right in saying you could recalculate this by knocking off 1% of BW each week to give ball park figures – so you have an idea what to aim for?
      I have no idea what this means.
      I was wondering as your body weight decreases hopefully by 1% each week, would you periodically reduce the calorie intake/marco nutrients? Much like you would increase it if you were bulking over the 12-20 weeks.

      Also what would you recommend as a baseline for a refeed week, calorie/macro nutrient wise? And a final question (sorry!) have you got any tips post comp to healthy bring up body fat levels?
    1. MartinM's Avatar
      Gareth - Thanks, hope you're doing well. Last I heard you were working in the fitness industry in some format...is that right?

      HTK - haven't read the three articles at the top yet! Wow, they are long! Had a look at the Testosterone boosting diet and while I don't know the exact composition of 'Surge', the diet as a whole seems very low carb... and even quite low calorie? Best thing time and time again for boosting testosterone is simply being in calorie surplus!

      Based on what you've said, I'd stick some carbs in with dinner at least and you're on to a winner.

      I've always been a fan of things being cyclical so I'm not a fan of the 'snacking on turkey breast' type stuff... when Layne Nortons stuff on Leucine flux came about I jumped straight on the band wagon!

      Brioni - I'm sorry I can't be more clear... I'm clearly confusing you and you're confusing me.

      Carbs + Protein = 4kcals per gram
      Fat = 9kcals per gram

      40% of kcals from fat is a good figure so 3000kcals a day, times 40% = 1200kcals. Divide that by 9 to get grams of fat.

      Quote Quote
      I was wondering as your body weight decreases hopefully by 1% each week, would you periodically reduce the calorie intake/marco nutrients? Much like you would increase it if you were bulking over the 12-20 weeks.
      I don't like to taper energy intake inline with bodyweight. I let bodyweight decrease so that the drop off line starts to plateau and then add another tool from the box i.e. decrease kcals, increase expenditure, etc. I would reduce kcals from carbs and fats rather than protein although this will naturally come down a bit.

      Quote Quote
      Also what would you recommend as a baseline for a refeed week, calorie/macro nutrient wise?
      Refeed, I would taper up perhaps 100kcals per day. Adding in where you have ended up and how you have gotten there will determine how macros will increase but getting increasing carbs and fats is going to be the most likely source.

      Quote Quote
      And a final question (sorry!) have you got any tips post comp to healthy bring up body fat levels?
      The same as above really, add in kcals slowly after your 'cheat' post comp. You can perhaps bump kcals straight away by 4-500kcals, then add in 250kcals per week until you feel you're at maintenance.
    1. brioni's Avatar
      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by MartinM View Post
      Carbs + Protein = 4kcals per gram
      Thanks. thats the bit I wasn't sure on.
    1. hailtotheking's Avatar
      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by MartinM View Post
      Gareth - Thanks, hope you're doing well. Last I heard you were working in the fitness industry in some format...is that right?

      HTK - haven't read the three articles at the top yet! Wow, they are long! Had a look at the Testosterone boosting diet and while I don't know the exact composition of 'Surge', the diet as a whole seems very low carb... and even quite low calorie? Best thing time and time again for boosting testosterone is simply being in calorie surplus!

      Based on what you've said, I'd stick some carbs in with dinner at least and you're on to a winner.

      I've always been a fan of things being cyclical so I'm not a fan of the 'snacking on turkey breast' type stuff... when Layne Nortons stuff on Leucine flux came about I jumped straight on the band wagon!
      Cheers Mart. I will have to read some of Layne Norton's stuff.

      Yeah my version of that T-boosting diet by Waterbury comes out at about 2000 kcals / day, with about 1.1g / lb BW protein, 0.5g /lb BW fat, and about 0.7g CHO / lb BW. Waterbury, a bit like Lyle McDonald, doesnt believe massive calories intake is needed if you don't do much on your off-days and are trying to stay lean.

      My intention is to get a large calorie boost on training days - about 800 extra kcals around training from a mix of protein and fast and slow carbs (something like MP's Total Gainer). Of course, i ignored all of the Biotest crud supplements. That one in particular that you mentioned is just fast carbs and whey protein.

      As i mentioned before, i wont be doing as much frequent feeding during the day like Waterbury's plan (although his meals during the day are quite minor anyway, with a large dinner). At most i will have a moderate lunch, a small afternoon snack, and then most of my calories will be back-loaded into a large evening meal (with more carbs, like you say).

      I think it was more the food choices that i liked on his plan, because alot of those foods are ones i would consider to be 'T-boosting'.

      I'm hoping this approach will give me a kind of recomposition affect (Alan Aragon would call it 'culking'), enabling me to slowly shed some fat on non-training days, whilst providing enough calories for recovery on training days and perhaps some small lean mass gains. Its a bit experimental, so we shall see.
    1. MartinM's Avatar
      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by hailtotheking View Post
      Cheers Mart. I will have to read some of Layne Norton's stuff.

      Yeah my version of that T-boosting diet by Waterbury comes out at about 2000 kcals / day, with about 1.1g / lb BW protein, 0.5g /lb BW fat, and about 0.7g CHO / lb BW. Waterbury, a bit like Lyle McDonald, doesnt believe massive calories intake is needed if you don't do much on your off-days and are trying to stay lean.

      My intention is to get a large calorie boost on training days - about 800 extra kcals around training from a mix of protein and fast and slow carbs (something like MP's Total Gainer). Of course, i ignored all of the Biotest crud supplements. That one in particular that you mentioned is just fast carbs and whey protein.

      As i mentioned before, i wont be doing as much frequent feeding during the day like Waterbury's plan (although his meals during the day are quite minor anyway, with a large dinner). At most i will have a moderate lunch, a small afternoon snack, and then most of my calories will be back-loaded into a large evening meal (with more carbs, like you say).

      I think it was more the food choices that i liked on his plan, because alot of those foods are ones i would consider to be 'T-boosting'.

      I'm hoping this approach will give me a kind of recomposition affect (Alan Aragon would call it 'culking'), enabling me to slowly shed some fat on non-training days, whilst providing enough calories for recovery on training days and perhaps some small lean mass gains. Its a bit experimental, so we shall see.
      Sounds good. What do your macros come out as on training days?

      Surprised you haven't read Layne's stuff.... I feel so behind now that I don't spend a lot of time on forums!
    1. hailtotheking's Avatar
      Once i add the total Gainer and some extra carbs in the shake, i think my macros go up to something like 1.5g protein per lb/ bw (237g pro), and about the same for carbs (237g CHO). Thats a pretty massive carb spike just in the PWO shake (something like an additional 126g CHO!).

      There might be a negligible fat increase (about 5g or so) because the Total Gainer has a small amount of flax and MCT's in it.

      I have added Layne to my reading list. Still trying to get through Lyle Mcdonald's massive repository of articles!

      How did you find Casey Butt's stuff on fats, and his interview with his interesting ideas on protein intake and cycling?
    1. MartinM's Avatar
      Quote Quote
      Originally Posted by hailtotheking View Post
      How did you find Casey Butt's stuff on fats, and his interview with his interesting ideas on protein intake and cycling?
      Hi HTK,

      Sorry, just seen this. To be honest I don't get much chance to read stuff these days.... can't even keep up with research at the rate it is being published let along other individuals reviews on it.

      As an aside, I'm still not decided on whether 'culking' is possible... I seem to flit between, which is perhaps where the answer lies and inevitably changes for individuals. I remember reading about the ABCDE stuff of short micro/meso cycles of cutting and bulking so that the macro cycle showed gains in muscle mass with loses of body fat. In the short term, with changes in training stimuli and nutrition/supplementation I've seen recomposition happen but in the longer term 4-8weeks + I think overall energy intake is the master regulator and hormonal changes will simply make it impossible.

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