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Old 08-31-2005, 10:28 AM
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Default Basic Diet Planning Part 2

Original Article By Frosty at Steroidology

Basic Diet Planning, Part III

Another very important aspect of diet that most people either don't know about or ignore is nutrient content.

There is something that many of you probably have heard of (at least I hope so), and that is the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA of nutrients. This is established as the requirements of sedentary average Americans. Here's the deal - you're not sedentary and likely not of average weight (most of you are significantly higher). If you weigh more than average, you need more nutrients. If you're an athlete, you need even more nutrients. If you're an AAS user, then you need a LOT more nutrients. If you're all three, then you really need a high nutrient intake. You can use to assess your nutrient intake.

Vitamins A and D

There are some general patterns that emerge from the average bodybuilding diet. Most are usually low fat, and/or they include the wrong kind of fat. This creates low amounts of fat-soluable vitamins, which are extremely important. Bodybuilding diets are notoriously deficient in vitamins A and D, and this is based on the RDA. A general rule of thumb is at least 10 times the RDA for these two nutrients, and an easy way to do that is through cod liver oil supplementation. Don't worry, you are not going to overdose with natural vitamins. Toxicity levels were established with synthetic vitamins. In order to OD with cod liver oil, you'd have to drink gallons of it. I think it's safe to say that is not going to happen.

Dietary sources of vitamin A include liver, cod liver oil, egg yolks, butter, fish eggs, milk, and to a lesser extent, animal fats. Dietary sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, egg yolks, butter, milk, lard from pastured pigs, shrimp, and fish eggs.

It is also important to note that beta-carotene is NOT vitamin A. Beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A if the individual is healthy and the conditions are optimal, but even optimally the conversion is an inefficient 6:1 ratio. This means 6 units of beta-carotene is needed for 1 unit of vitamin A. Also, fat is important in this conversion due to the need of bile salts. There are many factors that can inhibit this conversion, so play it safe and don't substitute beta-carotene for vitamin A.


Another nutrient that is usually very low in diets is zinc. Zinc is an extremely important mineral for the athlete, and deficiencies are notorious. Your richest source of dietary zinc is oysters. Oysters are extremely good for you and include them in your diet whenever you can to assure adequate zinc intake. They are also very rich in other minerals and vitamins.

Vitamin C

I shouldn't need to explain the importance of vitamin C. Sources of vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, acerola berries, etc.

There are many many important nutrients that are required in your diet. A lack of nutrients can cause a myriad of problems - anything from decreased stomach acid production to decreased adrenal function. It is not a good idea to concentrate on just one or two nutrients unless you have a known deficiency. The best idea is to regularly consume foods that are very nutrient-dense.

Here is a list of very nutrient-dense foods that you should consume regularly:

1. Liver
2. Oysters and other shellfish
3. Egg yolks and fish eggs
4. Cod liver oil
5. Sea vegetables such as kelp
6. Steamed spinach
7. Steamed broccoli
8. High quality organic butter
9. High quality raw cheeses
10. Bone broths

Vegetable juicing is also an excellent way to get in vitamins and minerals.

If you do not have an adequate intake of nutrients, your body will use its own stores to make up for it. In fact, that is one of the main functions of the skeletal system - to store minerals. However, if nutrient intake is deficient for long enough, problems can occur.

So eat a diet rich in nutrients to optimize gains and health.

Basic Diet Planning, Part IV: Workout Nutrition

The goal of this section is to cover basic workout nutrition for the weight lifter.

I will divide the nutrition into three sections: Pre-workout, during workout, and post-workout.


Preworkout nutrition is important because it gives your body fuel to have energy for your workouts. This includes not only calories and protein, but also chemicals that will help improve brain function for workouts (like choline and tyrosine found in eggs and beef).

What you eat before your workout depends on your metabolic type. For those that are carb-sensitive, eating a bowl of rice in your pre-workout meal will likely make you want to put on some PJ's and crawl in bed. The more carb-type individuals, however, could very likely get a lot of energy from a meal containing a lot of carbs pre-workout.

A base pre-workout meal would consist of the following:

90-120 minutes before workout:

-8 oz of liver, buffalo, ostrich, or lean beef
-3-4 whole eggs
-3-6g of fish or cod liver oil

*note - you can include some caffeine and/or ephedrine here to get in a killer workout.

This will supply your body with the protein end and foods to help with brain (CNS and PNS function, really) function for your workouts. If you're a carb type, add in some low GI carbs. Yams would be an excellent choice, but if you feel great after eating rice or oatmeal then eat rice or oatmeal. Use an amount that you know works, but if you're not sure, gradually add carbs into your pre-workout meal and see how you respond. If you add 25g of carbs and your workouts are better than with no carbs, do this. If you then bump it up to 50g but you feel tired, then cut back on the carbs. Experimentation is key to find the right amount for you. This is an important meal that deserves experimentation so that you can regularly get in killer workouts instead of hoping you'll luck out and have the energy that day.

Some people can benefit from consuming sugary carbs 15-30 minutes before you start lifting (depending on the GI of the carbs) as sugar has the ability to temporarily increase brain function. The key is beginning the workout before you "crash" (where mental function will plumment to below baseline).


During a workout, proper nutrition can give your body fuel to complete a grueling workout and also create an anti-catabolic environment or possibly even an anabolic evironment.

While sugary dry fruit carbs can be beneficial, such as bananas or dates, it is generally recommended that you use simple refined sugars such as a combo of dextrose or glucose and maltodextrin, in about a 50/50 combo. If you don't like drinking sugar, fruits like dates and bananas will work decently.

Fast-acting protein also plays a role in stopping catabolism and promoting anabolism during the workout. Hydrolysed whey and/or BCAAs work well here. Food protein really isn't fast-acting enough to work, although normal whey isolate can help.

Here are some general guidelines you can use to start. You can fine-tune these based on your experience:

0.4g/kg LBM BCAAs

12-72 reps per workout - 0.400g/Kg of LBM
73-200 reps per workout - 0.533g/kg of LBM
200-360 reps per workout - 0.666g/kg of LBM
360-450 reps per workout – 0.800g/kg of LBM


In the post-workout period, it's important to get some fast acting carbs and protein in once again.

Dextrose or glucose mixed with maltodextrin in a 50/50 mixture works well for the carbs. The maltodextrin serves to increase the glycemic index (therefore insulin response). Remember that insulin is extremely anabolic, and it's very anabolic for muscle tissue in the post-workout period. Insulin also significantly reduces cortisol, further helping anabolism.

Hydrolysed whey, BCAAs, or normal whey isolate works well in the post-workout period. The former two will hit the blood stream faster and will be more anabolic, quickly supplying muscle tissue with amino acids.

Here are some general guidelines you can use to start. You can fine-tune these based on your experience:

0.6g/kg LBM

12-72 reps per workout - 0.600g/Kg of LBM
73-200 reps per workout - 0.800g/kg of LBM
200-360 reps per workout – 1.000g/kg of LBM
360-450 reps per workout – 1.200g/kg of LBM

Other supplements:
15g glutamine 600-1000mg ala 7g creatine Vinegar (taken 10 minutes after your carbs)
Sea salt
Vitamin/mineral supplement glutamine is controversial, and you can leave it out if you want. There are studies showing that it does not help glycogen replenishment and there are studies showing it does. It definitely won't hurt, though.

Alpha-lipoic acid will help drive the carbs into the muscle tissue. creatine helps replenish creatine phosphate stores in muscles, which can be supersaturated after exercise.

The vinegar will help replenish glycogen stores, but make sure you take it at least 10 minutes after your carb drink, as the acidity of vinegar will reduce the glycemic index via slowed gastric emptying.

The salt will help replenish sodium as well as help creatine storage.

The vitamin will help make up for all the refined sugar (which is a negative in the nutrient department).

After the initial post-workout period, things become more goal-dependant. If you're trying to gain lots of muscle, you want to maximize the 4-6 hour post-workout period by eating more carbs.

1 hour post-workout (solid food)

0.4g/kg LBM

12-72 reps per workout - 0.400g/Kg of LBM
73-200 reps per workout - 0.533g/kg of LBM
200-360 reps per workout - 0.666g/kg of LBM
360-450 reps per workout – 0.800g/kg of LBM

Other supplements:
Digestive aid with betaine HCl (since HCl production in stomach is reduced after strenuous exercise and sugar consumption)

With this meal, carbs should be high GI carbs such as baked potatoes, and in meals following this within the 6 hour period should include carbs of gradual reduction in GI. Example, 1 hour post-workout eat potatoes, 3 hours PWO eat rice, 5 hours post-workout eat oats or yams. This become more important for those interested in lean mass gains. Take advanatage of this time period to maximize muscle gains.

All these amounts can be adjusted based on your goals and budget. If you're trying to lose body fat, reducing the carb amounts could be a good idea.

Once again, experimentation is the key. Use this as a general guide and adjust amounts based on your experience.

Don't fall victim to "analysis paralysis." If you can't do this, just eat food. Don't worry over getting everything exact or using the exact foods I mentioned, etc. It's best to just workout and get some food, but if you can follow these recommendations then it can help maximize gains.

Basic Diet Planning, Part V: Supplements

You're probably wondering why I really haven't mentioned supplements up to this point. Why's that? The reason is that supplements are just that - supplements. They are to be used as a supplement to a solid diet. Many people will concentrate on supplements instead of diet and exercise, which will lead to certain failure and frustration.

Basic supplements

Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vital fat-soluable vitamins A and D.

Many people choose flax oil as their main omega-3 supplement. This is wrong. The reason for this is that flax oil contains zero EPA and DHA. EPA is needed for series 3 prostaglandins (very generally, anti-inflammitory), and DHA is important for brain and nervous system function.

Flax oil contains alpha-linoleic acid (LNA), which can be converted into EPA via enzymes (delta-6 desaturase [D6D], elongase, and delta-5 desaturase [D5D] enzymes). LNA can also be converted into DHA, but the pathway is even longer: D6D > elongase > D5D > elongase > D4D.

The problem is the D6D enzyme is blocked by sugar consuption, trans-fatty acids and hydrogenated fats, as does excess omega-6. Deficiencies in Biotin, vitamin E, protein, zinc, B12 and B6 interfere with the D6D enzyme. Overeating and malnutrition (notorious in bodybuilders and atheletes), along with alcohol consumption will inhibit the D6D enzyme as well!

What does all that mean? It simply means that the body can possibly convert the LNA in flax oil into the required forms, but this is very often compromised or even blocked in some people. Cod liver supplies the omega-3 fats in the needed forms (EPA and DHA) which bypasses this prostaglandin pathway.

So 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil a day supplies the diet with a good amount of EFAs as well as vitamins A and D. Not to mention it's cheaper than fish oil.

Whey protein whey protein isolate can be useful to consume post-workout, in the morning (before AM cardio especially), and at other times where you wish to spike blood amino acid levels.

The only thing that I will stress is to not use this as a meal. If you're in an absolute pinch, it's better than nothing, but remember that it is a supplement.

Creatine creatine is an effective cheap supplement that can help improve workouts and therefore gains. Probably one of the most effective supplements.

Vitamin/mineral supplement

As mentioned above, adequate nutrient intake is important for us. Supplemental vitamins and minerals can definitely help, but you have to make sure to use the right kinds of vitamins. Don't go to Walmart and pick up a 6 pack of Centrum vitamins. They are a waste of money. They use isolated synthetic forms that have very poor absorption.

Whole food vitamins are the best source, and what they are is essentially condensed food. Standard Process is an excellent company with good whole food vitamins, but you have to order it through a doctor (you could get a chiropractor to do it for you). Garden of Life is a popular brand that has whole food vitamins, and they have an iron-free vitamin that is of good quality. It is expensive, but it is good for you.

The next best choice would be to select a vitamin supplement that uses natural forms and includes synergistic nutrients. Buffered vitamin C is better than plain ascorbic acid, for example. This is cheaper, but not quite as good as the whole food vitamins.

Another excellent way to get in vitamins and minerals is to do vegetable juicing. This would be extremely good in the post-workout meals. A juicer can cost about $60, and it is a good way to aid in digestion and utilization of the nutrients in the veggies. Just avoid juicing raw spinach or cruciferous veggies (a little is ok).
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