Which method shows the greatest visible improvements in our physical transformation: diet or training? If given a choice to pick only one, hands down you should go for dieting. The fact is that you can’t out-train bad eating. But luckily, we don’t have to choose; we get to (and should) do both!
Diet Vs. Working Out
The difference between a heavy/semi-smooth off-season physique of a bodybuilder and a ripped on-stage one is in the diet, not the training. Not matter how scientifically precise your training is or how hard you train, if you don’t have proper and consistent eating habits, your levels of building muscle and burning fat will not be optimized.
To maximize your results and the efforts you put into your training, you must pay attention to how you feed yourself. It doesn’t matter if you want to look lean, tone, muscular, or ripped, the highest priority should be on dieting. When I competed, I paid an extra special attention to the way I ate.
Nutrients Vs. Calories
I took the advice of great leaders in the field such as Dr. Scott Connely, Bill Phillips, and Lee Labrada—it was more about nutrients than calories. As I wanted to grow lean muscle mass as well as stimulate the greatest in fat loss, providing the nutrients as well as controlling insulin levels were of utmost importance.
There is common ground in those that are in the pinnacle of their growth (infants) and those that need to control their insulin (diabetics)—they both need frequent feedings. The end result was a diet that was filled with smaller, more frequent feedings spaced evenly through the day (every 2–3 hours). And each meal was a nutrient-dense feeding balanced in quality carbs for energy, protein for rebuilding, and enough healthy fats to meet my requirements.
Consistency Is The Key
Use the 10% rule—meaning in a week filled with approximately 50 meals, allow 5 meals to either cheat or miss. This could all be done in one day, aka cheat day, or spread across a couple of days.
Regardless, the bulk of my week is filled with quality feedings stacked 2–3 hours apart, each and every day.
Who Has the Time To Eat That Frequently?
You read that correctly. Two to three hours apart. That’s 7–8 meals a day! So how do I have the time to eat that much?
It’s not because I have a lot of time on my hands. It’s quite the contrary as I have a very busy schedule. If I tried to do it with whole food alone, it would be impossible. So here’s what I do and suggest:
- Every day, 3–4 of my feedings are in the form of a quality protein shake or meal replacement.
- About 2–3 hours after each of my “real food meals,” I have a shake targeting 35–40 grams of protein, 20–25 grams of carbs, and 10 grams or less of fat.
- Again, 2–3 hours after each of these shakes, I have a real food meal. So the real food meals are spaced 4-6 hours apart, which is very manageable.