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by Greg Long
Every day I hear bodybuilders speak about how they are going to improve their physique. They have special drinks that allegedly aid them in losing fat and protein powder for denser muscles. Along with vitamins, this is not a bad approach. But there are two very important factors that are often overlooked: diet and a proper training program. These are the two hardest of them all. I will begin with the diet and how it should be executed.
Dieting is giving up bad food for sixty days. What is bad food? All dairy, pork, juice, high-sugar fruit and, in the early stages of your diet, pasta, white potatoes, and fast foods. This does not mean that you will not eat any of these foods again, but we will put them back in your system at the appropriate time.
First, you will count your carbs. If you are at less than 180 grams, I would advise getting them up to that number. You cannot put lean mass on with a carb intake of less than 180 grams. Now, if you use this formula and go through the stages, you can go below the 180 grams at times and make super gains. But you must be using the appropriate foods and have a complete understanding of this program.
If you are over the 180 gram number, here is how you will approach it. Take out 50 grams without going below 180 grams. The idea is to let the body get accustomed to training with fewer carbs. Train for two weeks with your new carb intake. Then after two weeks take another fifty out and let your body gets acclimated to this new carb intake. Remember not to go below 180 grams of carbs.
As you progress, you will start feeling tired. Your pump will not stay with you as long as it did before and you will be weak. These are signs of low carbs. Let it go for another two days. It’s not a nice feeling, but it is part of the program. It will come back. On the second day of feeling tired, eat one pound of pasta split up throughout the day. You are still eating your regular meals with the pasta including egg whites, rye toast, chicken, fish, turkey, yams, sweet potatoes, or brown rice.
The next day, the pump will be back. After eating all the pasta, your veins will look thicker, your strength will improve, and your pump will be fuller. Now take another 50 grams out of your diet and eliminate the pasta. You want to be eating 180 grams of carbs every day for as long as you can. Do not go below this number or above it. When you reach 180 grams, you are going to run into the tired, no-pump feeling again.
At this point, new symptoms will start to appear. These might include being short-tempered, experiencing difficulty sleeping, and a loss of appetite. All beginners will feel these symptoms so don’t be alarmed. There is nothing wrong. It’s your body adjusting to the new types of carbs. But recognize these symptoms as soon as you can so you can feed a starving system before it starts to break down.
As you build on this program, when the bad days start to come along (and they will), even though you are doing 180 grams of carbs, your body may need more. Recognize the feeling and give yourself 50 grams more until that no-pump and tired feeling goes away. As soon as you feel recovered, take 50 grams back out, plus another 20 grams more. Now train as long as you can until you start to feel the bad times coming on again.
As soon as you feel any of the above signs, get carbs back into the system as soon as possible. Usually 50 grams will bring you back to feeling good. Once again, as soon as you feel recovered, take out the 50 plus 50 more. Push the envelope. When you reach this stage, you will be burning huge amounts of fat.
You should see a clear pattern developing here: you feed your body carbs as needed, and as soon as you recover, you take them out and see how much you can further lower your carb intake without losing any lean mass. When you play like this, the days of feeling good become less frequent so you have to make more carb adjustments.
If you stay with the program, you will be very muscular. You have to ride this system out. Eat red meat instead of pasta, or yams instead of red meat, or brown rice instead of yams, and see what happens. Do you get harder, stronger, bigger, or more vascular?
Always remember what these foods are doing to you and also never go over two days of eating these foods. They will make you smooth. Here are the foods that you should be eating all the time. Try to be creative with your cooking.
-egg whites—eat as many as you like
-rye toast with jelly and 25g of Universal protein powder in 8 oz of water
-salads—a good oil and apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar dressing works best
-The same as lunch.
Drink plenty of water! Don’t forget, you are counting your carbs. You want to be at 180 grams before 9:00 PM. Do not eat after this time. If you must eat something, enjoy a salad. It works! It will take the edge off and your mind will accept the message that your stomach is happy. Bodybuilding is a mind game after all.
I have it broken down in small steps, but if you think you are a hero and can go straight to 180g, then be my guest. But remember, this is a diet that takes time. It will take months for it to really show its power. The longer you can stay on it, the better your physique will get. Eat as much as you like, but don’t go over the carb numbers.
For protein, you should aim for around 2g per pound of body weight. Neither this number nor the carb number is written in stone though. As you improve with switching the type of carbs around, you will see how each one affects the body.
As an example, if I eat white potatoes for my carb meals, I will get stronger and bigger, but I will lose some hardness. I know I can’t eat them one week out from a contest. If I need to put two or three pounds on, I know the food and supplements that will definitely work.
It’s very important to know what all the carbs you are eating are doing to your body. This is why you must stay on this diet for a long time. Endure the monotonous madness of eating the same foods, but be creative with how you prepare your chicken, fish, and turkey. If you can do this, your physique will change beyond your belief! The harder you push this diet, the more you will get from it.
Remember that you must feed yourself when necessary. Also remember that there are signs like tiredness and that no-pump feeling. Recognize them. Become familiar with them as you would your bathroom light switch in the dark. When you learn this part of dieting, you are on your way to becoming a champion. So do an about face and employ these techniques today. Good luck and get muscular.