Monday, August 5, 2013

"But I Eat Sooooo Much!"


This short post is going to be more of a rant than anything, and is not directed at anyone in particular, mostly because there are so many of you that my fingers would cramp from typing all the names.

I have said it before and I will say it again: I think most sedentary individuals tend to over-eat, and most athletes tend to under-eat to reach their goals. This is true for men and women (Especially those I have worked with in the Crossfit community) who have the goals of getting stronger and putting on more bodyweight. I am going to drop a knowledge bomb on you, and you aren't going to like it. Ready?

EATING A BIG STEAK AND VEGETABLES IS NOT EATING BIG

That has to be said, I am sorry if it upsets you.  Almost every day I see individuals who talk about wanting to get "YUUUGE" and then post photos of their meals, which usually look like some sort of salad or leafy green with a large piece of meat on the grill. I don't care if you eat the biggest steak you have ever seen if your life: If you pair it with a vegetable, you won't be getting larger. As I have stated before: vegetables are nothing but vitamins and fiber. DO NOT count any vegetable towards a caloric total if you are trying to put on mass, and especially DO NOT continue thinking that a vegetable is somehow your carb source for the day.

You will not be getting bigger if you do not increase the carbs in your diet, plain and simple. A piece of advice I like to offer (with nothing but my own experience to back it up) is that you can eat all the protein you like, but if you are low carb, that protein is going to be used for energy, not building muscle. Let carbs be your energy source, and let protein do its job of repairing and rebuilding.

There is a reason why there are a large group of 5'10" fitness competitors who weigh a shredded 180lbs, but can't clean 200lbs and aren't deadlifting 405 yet: it's easy to look "shredded" when you weigh 180lbs, but that doesn't mean you are strong. These are the same people that will come to use and say "I can't gain weight! I have tried, I eat soooo much! Last night I had a 20oz steak with like two cups of spinach and a protein shake before bed." Congratulations, you just ate a portion of one of my meals. 


I will state it again, just to be clear: If you eat meat and vegetables, you will be nice and lean and shredded and vascular, but if you are already small and you eat like that, you won't go anywhere. Now, this isn't the same for already large guys like Kalle Beck and Matt Mills, who have reached their desired size and now are eating less carbs than someone who is still trying to bulk. Just remember, if you include the terms "bulking" and "low carb" in the sentence, you don't get to join the clubhouse.

Rant over.

37 comments:

  1. The right type of carbs of course, sweet potatoes, etc.

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  2. What about a ketogenic diet in which I eat 4000 calories of meat a day and let the fat be utilized for energy?

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  3. Do you advocate higher carb intake on training days, or consistent carb intake day to day?

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  4. Dear the anonymous individual who felt too embarrassed to list his or her own name. You are the individual at whom this post is directed. If you have to ask what ifs, then you should find a website that will tell you what you want to hear. You should understand that when these guys post stuff like this, it's usually after months and years of research and EXPERIENCE. If a ketogenic diet, such as the one you described, actually worked for getting big, I'm sure that Brandon would have written something about it in this post.

    Otherwise, thanks to Brandon for yet another great post.

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    1. Dude I just posted as anonymous because it was easiest. I'm asking because I went from 168lbs to 205lbs and stayed lean as shit with an improvement in all my numbers with a cyclical ketogenic diet. Everything LBEB posts isn't 100% guaranteed to work. I was simply asking their take on it. Thank you though keyboard warrior.

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    2. Thanks for this; I had a similar question as I also eat keto (with heavy carbs on lifting days), and wondered about Brandon's thoughts on the subject.

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  5. Could you outline what you eat when for any given day? I think that would help a lot of people understand.

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  6. This is the most frequent complaint I get from guys at my gym. They all bang on about eating loads when all they eat is veg and lean protein. Low fat low carb diets will not make you big. I tell them to get higher fats and at least 6-10 grams of carbs per lean kg. Some guys just don't want to hear they need to eat 400-600 grams of carbs and 90-140 grams of fats per day to get big.

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  7. Well said. I tried bulking on a ~6000cal/day diet with 250/125/80 ish plan (protein/carb/fat) and I shredded from 185 14% bf to 170lbs 9%. Second try was ~6000cal 200/200/100 (p/c/f) and went from 185 /12% to 210/13%. After a back injury(2com disc) I was advised by my chiropractor to stay below 190lbs to keep from reinjuring myself permanently. I also found out about a genetic back issue I have. My point: if youre spending the time researching your body and what it requires to be strong and healthy, you have no business giving anyone advice nor should you be questioning those that have put in the time and effort.

    Thanks brandon for another great article.

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    1. hey dustin would you be able to give an example of your meal plan? As thorough as you feel like being of course. I am about 180 lbs and trying to put on size. At 210 pounds, I would be ecstatic . My body fat is around 10% so seems like your 200/200/100 model would be about right for me. Thanks in advance!

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  8. Could you post a coulpe meal examples for a 130lb female trying to gain muscle-size?

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    1. That would be great, yeah.

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    2. I agree with this post. Though also think it's worth emphasizing that protein IS important (one chicken breast or 3 eggs + 3 slices of bacon is not a lot of protein for a male) and often overlooked, so there is a base requirement there. I also personally prefer high fat and moderate carb when it comes to body composition and stable energy levels. The emphasis here would be on the fat being HIGH, so you would be slathering the steak with 1 stick of butter sauce, for example, not just putting 1 tbsp olive oil on your "veggies." Or chugging a can of coconut milk (~800 calories).

      And my 2 cents for the ladies, if it helps.

      I am a 135 lb female... not bulking per se, but fueling performance and continually gaining strength while trying not to gain fat (but not really leaning out - am fairly lean, but not ripped). In my opinion, I eat a lot. So, this may be helpful as an example, especially if it looks like a lot of food relative to what you're used to. However, I don't have experience with a true bulking diet for a female.

      Here is a sample breakfast hash:
      1/2 lb pork sausage and 1 diced sweet potato sauteed with onions/mushrooms/whatever with 3 eggs and 1/2 diced avocado... possibly topped with some tomatoes or salsa or hot sauce. Coffee with 2 tbsp cream or coconut oil.

      Here is another sample breakfast:
      4 eggs sauteed in 1 tbsp butter (pour butter on eggs), with smoothie made from 1/2 avocado, 1 banana, 1/3 can full fat coconut milk, 1/4 cup whole milk yogourt, large handful berries, 1 scoop protein powder. Coffee with 2 tbsp cream or coconut oil.

      Both of these come in at around 1000 calories, with around 50 g protein... moderate carb, high fat. From what I see, this is more than most males eat. My husband might take down 1500 calories for breakfast - just slightly higher portions - and he's NOT bulking, just maintaining a solid 225 lbs. These are the biggest meals I might eat, and are admittedly hard to get down, though I have worked up to them. I typically eat closer to 600-800 calories for breakfast rather than 1000. I guess if I did eat those extra few hundred calories EVERY morning, I probably would start to see some serious "bulking" :).

      -Michelle

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    3. Michelle you have just confirmed that my calorie intake is ridiculously inadequate. Going to the kitchen now...

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  9. The biggest and strongest people in the world don't eat paleo. With that said,I still try to eat as many veggies and whole foods. But if I need to hit my carbs for the day I love me some pop tarts, low fat ice cream etc.

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  10. Yeah, so power lifting monster Jamie Lewis, who eats a cyclical ketogenic diet and totaled 1630 raw, at 181!!!!, and has no neck, might disagree with you. Take a look at his Apex Predator diet and take a look at his physique and accomplishments. Guy is stud and only eats carbs 1-2 days a week.

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    1. theres always an exception.

      and Jamie has noted before his troubles in gaining significant weight while staying low carb.

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    2. Pointing out exceptions doesn't help anybody.

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    3. 1630? C'mon, man- 1705. 1630 was when i was trying to make 165... that was bush league shit.

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    4. Jamie,

      Hahahahahahahahahahaha, classic

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    5. Jamie, shed some light for these guys! Did you your gains first by daily carbs or have you always CKD?

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  11. I been eating almost a whole box of whole wheat pasta in about 2 meals with about 1.5 pieces of chicken breast each per meal. An I heading in the right direction by eating that? I weigh 138 and trying to bulk up to be 150 lean... loved and totally agree with the post by Mr. Morrison thanks

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  12. As always another post that completely disregards health for size. High carb / high fat diets used to gain muscle with, unless very regimented and disciplined, while leading to bigger size, is horrible for your health in the long run and that statement is not based on my personal opinion, that is based on medical study after medical study, but i guess what do they know, they are only doctors and scientists.

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  13. Lame. Read Paleo for Lifters by Justin at 70s Big. The guy that said you need 6-10g of carbs per kg is retarded and should be left for Jamie Lewis to rip apart. I have gained 20 pounds lean by eating a shit ton of steak, a couple of potatoes a day, and tons of olive oil, butter, and other fats. Carbs are not required for energy or gaining weight unless you want to be a soft, pudgy bastard.

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    1. "[I eat]a couple of potatoes a day" "Carbs are not required for energy or gaining weight unless you want to be a soft, pudgy bastard." WHAT?! Bro do you even macronutrient?

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    2. You're calling a 245lb guy with 15% body fat and a 600lb raw deadlift retarded? You do know how the glycolitic pathway works right?

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  14. A couple of potatoes is about 50-60g of carbs.

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  15. You're kidding, right? One potato is 50-60 grams of carbs. If you eat it baked with no toppings. A couple of potatoes plus what you're getting as tag along in dairy is plenty if you were small to start with.

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    1. Zero dairy. One Idaho russet potato is 25g of carbs. The only topping I use is butter. Have a fantastic day.

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  16. What would folk suggest for someone such as myself who is 18 Stone (250lbs)that doesn't want to get to overweight now I have started strength training?

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  17. Great post, this is actually what is failing on my diet. Need to bring up my carbs. Thanks!

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  18. OK so what if you have a blood sugar issue? And your anal about food quality and training and its not getting better?

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  19. Weird not sure why I came in as "S" but on that last comment, can I add also post menopausal and have thyroid issues!?

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  20. Who gives a flying crap how many calories are in this or that. If you arent feeling bloated and taking ten craps a day, you arent eating enough to get big.

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  21. While I don't agree with eating junk carbs simply to get them in, I do agree in eating a good amount of carbs along with vegetables and fats......and of course protein. I tried paleo for awhile and shrunk horribly.....I went from 270 to around 245....lost my lifts n such, felt crappy etc etc etc.... mind you, I was cross fitting at the time.....now I'm devoted to strongman with Matt Mills reworking my diet and programming....now back to 285....though at 6'7'', I'll prob need to get to around 305 for the strength part.....but I have found being controlled in my carbs works best.....50-60g carb through oats or sweet potatoe, each meal, 5-6 times a day, with veggies, leafy things and meats.....along with my fat intake, I'm feeling pretty good and the numbers are rising......so eating is key, just not sloppy eating IMO.....but I will tear up a few dozen wings from time to time lol

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  22. Thank goodness. I thought I was eating too much, now I can go back to loving food.

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