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My Dietary Influences – Part 2: Bodybuilding and Physique Transformation

By Gene Moss

In Part 1 of the dietary influences series, Gene discusses the history of dietary habits of our ancestors, and how they influenced modern life-styles and Gene's own eating habits.

Below is Part 2.


My other major area for influence is with being able to produce that lean and dry defined physique, and maintaining a low body fat level percentage.

As a kid I was a little bit of a wrestling fan!. I always wondered how some of the wrestlers were able to obtain a muscular and defined physique. However hard I trained, I never seemed to be able to show a muscle even when flexed, and so I always thought I was naturally and destined to be chubby, never being able to create a 6 pack, let alone an 8!

But for anyone in that mind-set thinking it’s an unobtainable goal, it is not unobtainable at all. You simply need to know how, and like an instruction booklet follow the procedures that will produce the desired result. Watch a series of “The Biggest Loser USA” – some of the transformations people make with effort and discipline is truly inspiring, minus the cash prize at the end of course!

Bodybuilding techniques is what I found worked for me, and is based on bulking and cutting phases. But a defined physique can still be achieved by incorporating a more stable diet if one train’s hard, eats right, and supplements correctly.

6-8 Meals Per Day a Must

Splitting meals into 6-8 meals per day is critical in achieving this, as the body needs to continues to keep kick starting it’s metabolism to burn off calories whilst promoting muscular recovery at a faster rate. By increasing metabolism and by consuming the right type of macronutrients, you will prevent fat storage.

Implementing fat burning snack meals between each of your 3 main meals is the standardised way of achieving this, and will often involve consuming food that is around 2- 3 hours apart. Anything longer will result in muscle catabolism (loss of muscle).

This is where I add extra meals via snack foods and protein supplementation into my base eating habit. Where the Greeks and Romans ate 3 times a day, I will eat 7-8 times a day. Between each meal consumed, I incorporate a muscle recovering and fat burning meal.

Supplementation

I supplement using a time released form of protein, which comprises of milk protein (casein), soy isolate, and whey protein concentrate. I also make sure I intake antioxidants such as green tea which also has fat burning effects via thermogenesis, L Carnitine to enhance fat metabolism, and a super fruit such as Baobab or Passionfruit.

Both these super foods contain vitamin c and iron to help with circulatory health and support my immune system under stress from intense exercise. Passionfruit has also been used medicinally to help cure those with anaemia.

I cannot stress how important it is to make sure you consume nutrients in their most bioavailable form to help one’s immune system and generally boost overall health, because if you aren’t well, you can’t train well. And when a routine is broken, it’s hard to get back into that routine.

For performance and recovery, a pre workout nitric oxide supplement, a post workout creatine & bioavailable Vitamin C supplement, and bed time ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium, Vit B6) supplement are necessities for training. This will improve your ability to lift weights, build lean muscle, and recovery / hormonal support overnight.

Carbohydrates, a simple carb with protein post workout such as dextrose is good for those on a bulk. This carb form will also spike insulin to help shuttle the protein consumed into your body quicker for a maximum anabolic effect of muscle growth production.

Alternatively a lower GI form (Cherry Active being my choice) or starchier carb form such as oats with protein is ideal for a person more on a cutting phase or maintenance. With carbohydrate amounts, 20-40 grams will be enough on a cut or maintenance whilst recovering adequately. Over 40 grams is ideal for building lean muscle or if focussing on muscle size and bulk.

It’s all about the Math! (CPF)

Maths? Physique transformation? Well maybe people will associate excessive calories vs base metabolism to weight gain and fat gain. But I am not talking about figures and FAD diets as a way of changing a weight statistic as a short term measure. This also won’t help improve your physique when looking at yourself through a mirror.

This mathematical method however will, and is a long term method used by both bodybuilders and athletes looking to perform at the top of their sport. Let me introduce the method of a diet based on Macronutrient Ratios (CPF)

This is as the name suggests, the consumption of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats), as method for determining a physical appearance of a bodybuilder and the performance of a professional athlete.

So many ratios have been invented, discussed, and tested. Certain ratios work better for individuals, and for certain sports one competes in.

An ectomorph who struggles to burn carbs and is more capable of undertaking lower intense forms of physical activity, will require more fats as their form of energy to use in their diet, whilst having a lower number of carbohydrates. The carb requirements are less, because the physical activity undertaken is not intense to burn up these carbs. So a lower carb, high protein, and medium fat intake ratio will be most suitable for this individual.

Bodybuilders tend to go for a 40% carbs, 40% protein, and 20% fat split of calories ratio Don’t forget, protein and carbs consist of 4 calories per gram, whereas fat is 9 calories per gram = Don’t get the Math Wrong!!

Here are a few common ratios:

40C/40P/20F = A typical bodybuilders ratio for maintaining body fat and muscle mass. It feeds the body with enough carbohydrates to have a productive workout, enough protein for muscle recovery building, and maintenance, whilst having enough fat to function and maintain current body fat levels.

It is also a ratio I would recommend one starts off with, and modifies after seeing how their performance and physique transforms when consuming foods that tie up to this ratio.

50C/30P/20F = This is considered a runners ratio, where the extra carb intake will feed the extra demands for running, whilst varying the intensity of their running. There is also enough protein to recover but not place too much mass bulk on, and fat levels to function well enough. Too low a fat ratio will mean lower testosterone levels = fat promotes testosterone.

This ratio is also one that vegetarians are most likely able to look to achieve with their limited diet which excludes meat. Protein sources are harder to come by for vegetarians, but sources such as pea protein, rice protein, and hemp protein are options to boot protein consumption.

30C/50P/20F = A ratio I have tried when on a cutting phase, and I can certainly support the effectiveness in reducing levels of body fat at a quick progressive rate. By consuming lower carbs, but also supplementing on a pre-workout enhancer to aid an intense workout, you’ll burn off these carb stores quicker, moving into a fat burning phase sooner whilst your metabolism is still burning off calories at an accelerated rate.

You will still be able to maintain muscle fairly well on this ratio. With the larger amount of protein, will mean the greater amount of amino acids produced and consumed, helping to prevent muscular catabolism.

45C/35P/20F = This is the one I aim to follow in my daily diet, and is definitely the favourite from all those I have tried. It is known as the macrobolic ratio, with WWE / TNA wrestler Kurt Angle known to have switched to when altering his physique from an amateur wrestler, to a TV wrestling star.

It is the perfect ratio for an individual that wants to display bouts of intense physical activity that require muscular strength, endurance, whilst promoting a lean muscular physique. Enough carbs to fuel an intense workout, enough protein for muscle building and recovery.

By having very intense workouts, metabolism will be at its highest, and calories burnt for the greatest duration of time following your workout, up to several hours. Your body will always be in an anabolic state on this ratio if you eat and consume the right nutrients at the right times.

My fitness and performance continues to perform on this ratio, with my latest body fat percentage being recorded at 3.5%. You don’t need to train like a bodybuilder and severely deplete carbs on a highly focussed cutting diet on this ratio.

Protein (g) to Body Weight (lbs) = This is not a ratio as such, but the recommended guideline for an individual looking to gain or maintain muscle. It is thought that in order to achieve this, 1 gram of protein needs to be consumed per gram of bodyweight in pounds.

This can increase to a ratio where 2 grams of protein can be consumed per pound of body weight. So for someone who weighs 180 lbs, they should be consuming at least 180 grams of protein, but this could go up to 360 grams. Any excess protein consumed will simply be excreted out the body.

A ratio could still be devised based from the amount of protein one is looking to intake as the starting point, and this would then determine how many carbs and fats you would need to consume to follow a desired ratio.

Tips – Whichever ratio you are looking to implement, I would always try a more balanced one first such as the 40/40/20. See how your body feels with respect to energy consumption and also how well your physique and performance at the gym is.

For example, you may find that you naturally burn carbs at a faster rate, and if on a cutting phase may find that 30% of your total calories from carbs are a bit too low. This can then be modified to a 35/45/20 split, and this may suit your body and daily activities better.

Calories consumed on any ratio chosen, are to reflect the individuals aim of being on a cutting, bulking, or maintenance and performance phase. If on a cutting phase, I would advise to not go much under 100 carbs a day, as you will still need energising carbs for your workouts. Anything under would potentially be detrimental to your health and will likely place your body in a nutrient deprived prolonged state of ketosis.

When in ketosis, the ratio to fat and muscle loss is a straight 50/50 – so although you’ll burn off a lot of fat you’ll lose a lot of muscle in the process, with your body’s metabolism rate slowing down due to less muscle mass and the lengthy starvation of carbs. So if cutting, be smart when cutting.

Next, never forget to ensure your meal plans are geared to consume the most important nutrients needed at the most important times. More carbs earlier in the day, healthier fats at night, with a slow released form of protein in greater quantities in your last meal.

Ensure your pre and post workout nutrition is also optimised, this is critical. There is nothing worse than working hard at the gym, but then consuming poor nutrition, meaning all your hard efforts spent in the gym are wasted.

Following these simple rules within the base of your training plan, will lead you to having the energy to workout productively, recovering quickly, and seeing both fast and positive results in both your physical fitness, and the transforming of your physique.

A Final Piece for the Aesthetic Jigsaw…Water Retention

Why is my 6 pack not visible? Why does it show at some points of the day, and not at others??? Well have you ever wondered how competing bodybuilders produce the extremely ripped physique appearance? If often requires a heavy cutting phase and involves the body severely depleting itself of water.

Water retention is the cause for muscles to be invisible. I of course would never recommend anyone go to great extremities here, unless you’re competing in a bodybuilding competition! But to provide an understanding of how to reduce water retention, it again involves a degree of mathematics. The rules to remember here are:

A – Sodium increases water retention

B – Potassium reduces water retention

So if you want to look a little more ripped for that evening out, where your muscles appear that bit more defined looking – consume foods lower in sodium, and greater in potassium to achieve a low sodium to high potassium ratio. That does not mean eliminate sodium, our bodies require salt.

But a quality sea salt like Himalayan pink Crystal salt consumed in small amounts (1/4 teaspoon per serving) whilst eating foods high in potassium with each of your main meals would be my recommendation here…and if you have been working hard at the gym and been disciplined with your nutrition, then I guarantee you will notice a difference!

Gene TJB Moss

Published: March 8, 2014