“You can’t get big and get ripped at the same time.”
That oft-repeated adage is considered by some to be an undeniable truth. Others claim it to be untrue (if you know what you are doing). Meanwhile, less than reputable nutrition centers sell products from less than reputable companies all claiming to have CRACKED THE CODE and to have created the magic pill that will ignite fat-incinerating thermogenesis while triggering an anabolic explosion of muscle growth. Who cares that it’s fenugreek and calcium?! It’s the Secret Weapon of the pros!
Fad diets and books come and go, as do these products. And infomercials at four o’clock in the morning will promise you the same thing. (Because a ripped-to-shreds 107 pounds from living room pushups is what we’re all looking to get…). The question remains, though…Can you grow into a show? Can you add size and definition? Can you get big and ripped at the same time?
I have no f*#king clue.
Maybe this isn’t the answer you were looking for, but quite frankly, it should be. If a washed up 27-year-old pro wrestler and self taught semi-expert (self taught aside from the degrees and certs) could randomly answer such a heavily debated question so matter-of-factly in his biweekly rant/column, it would mean that I’m either full of shit or I’m doing this for way too little money. Luckily, while there’s a lot in there, I’m not totally full of shit, and I’m happily compensated.
I’ve been chasing the elusive pipe dream of big and ripped for almost ten years. Professional wrestling is a funny business. Not so much “funny haha,” but more “funny because this is absolutely the stupidest thing ever since we’re grown men play-fighting in underpants why does everyone take themselves so seriously and believe their own shit so much.” That kind of funny. One of the requirements to truly make it (and there are, as always, exceptions) is to have a presence—the appearance of a star. You know: big, jacked, tanned, ripped, etc, etc. For a guy that stands at a whopping 6-foot-1, I was left with a bit of a problem. I was outsized by every genetic freak football player, squash champion, curling record holder, and lucky ass kisser over 6-foot-6. Granted, fifteen out of ten of these guys were in horrible shape (logic-less math indicates that most were in really bad shape), but they had raw size. If I was a slim and trim 180 pounds, even at four-percent body fat, a giant skinny-fat nineteen year old would still make me look breakable. And breakable or not, in pro wrestling perception is reality.
So for ten years I attempted to gain size and get shredded, and quite frankly, I sucked at it. As the years rolled on and as my passion for training increased, I tried to cram as much nutritional knowledge into my dome as possible. Now I find myself at my “crossroads” stage. My pro wrestling career is still there, but for the very first time in a very long time, it isn’t my main priority. I don’t have to be bigger than giants, and I don’t need to be shredded enough for HDTV. With my focus transitioned to the end of the 2013 NPC season, I have more than three quarters of a year to prepare myself for the bodybuilding stage—maybe more. Hell, I don’t really even have to take my shirt off in public for close to a year. Hell, I’m already married. I can just get fat as shit! For some reason though, I just can’t do it.
Oh wait, that’s right, I don’t have to do it! Ten years of trial and error (mostly error) have led me to my current WTF system of nutrition, and who would have thought—it’s as simple as it gets. Here’s the basics of what I believe:
- While both are important, Nutrient Timing > Calories Consumed
- Fast Carbs > Slow Carbs
- Carbs in general are useless nutrients for day-to-day life. They are, however, powerful tools for building muscle
- Most people eat too much protein
- Most people don’t eat enough fat
- Pre-, Intra-, and Post-workout nutrition is the most important aspect of your diet
I have come to genuinely believe that by spending your day fueling up on protein and fats, your body will remain in a state in which it will continue to use fat as a fuel—thus, preventing the storage of body fat and even the use of already stored body fat. To quote Kiefer, sugars (if discovered today), “would be bought up by the pharmaceutical companies and sold as a drug for hundreds of thousands of dollars.” What else do we consume that causes such a drastic immediate alteration in body chemistry?
In the most simple and “Bro Sciencey” of descriptions, it is not that ludicrous to think that you could spend the day burning through fat to fuel your life while loading up on muscle sparing aminos through protein, increasing insulin sensitivity through a lack of carbs all the while. From there it would only make sense to be able to illicit a tremendous anabolic response during and after your workout just by introducing rapid insulin spikes through the properly timed consumption of fast carbs.
Now I’m no guru. I help some guys and girls out around my gym with diet plans for different body types and goals, but this is what works for me and everyone is different. I find that by following these basic guidelines, and doing things like only consuming carbs during and after evening workouts, I can gain more mass than I ever have before while staying lean as all hell. Have I discovered the be-all end-all to bodybuilding/performance nutrition? Absolutely not. Like I said, everybody’s different. Almost every single person for whom I’ve written a diet, at some point in time, has had to have something changed in a way that’s different from everybody else. People’s bodies are different. Their food allergies are different, how they process food is different, etc. Nonetheless, I truly believe in these basic guidelines as just that: basic guidelines.
I’m not a doctor or a master. I ‘m just an idiot with a better grasp on things than a lot of idiots. There are guys out there way smarter than me on the specifics, and the ones I genuinely trust as true experts are few and far between. Currently, I am a huge supporter and boarder line internet stalker of three people whom I consider the true experts as far as performance nutrition: John Meadows, John Kiefer, and Jason Seib. The funny thing is, these three men both agree and disagree with each other on key aspects of diet and nutrition. Now, before anyone takes random unnecessary offense to the omition of any other experts or gurus, let me just reiterate that these are simply three people who I find to be the best resources out there. Are there other incredibly knowledgeable individuals out there with a serious grasp on what they do? Sure.
Like I said, I haven’t solved the puzzle, nor have I answered any burning question. I do, however, like to think that some of the principals I’ve adopted over time and through many sources can point others in the right direction towards finding what works for them. Try seeing what works for you. Try checking out some stuff by Kiefer, Meadows, and Seib. They might not be able to execute a chokeslam or powerbomb as well as me, but they make up for it by being way smarter and more successful. At least I’m more jacked than all of them except John Meadows. I think. I mean, there’s no doubt John looks way better than me, but truth be told, I’m only pretty sure I’m bigger than the other two.
Until next time, keep after the WTF Factor. And remember, when it comes to diet, there’s really no definitive right answer…but there are sure as fuck a whole lot of wrong ones.