No BS Nutrition
"Commonly Asked Questions"
By Dennis B. Weis "The Yukon Hercules"
As many of you know, I have been involved as
an iron game writer and author for the past 25 years. During this
time many thought provoking questions regarding nutrition have come
across my desk (via phone, fax, letter and e-mail). I examined each
and every one of these most commonly asked questions and thoughtfully
answered them in direct proportion to the needs of the individual
asking them. My intent was hopefully to eliminate some of the pseudo-scientific/intellectual
confusion that is generally associated with nutrition, with complete
and non superfluous answers that would be helpful in their continuing
quest for bodybuilding superiority.
Here are some of the most thought-provoking
questions regarding nutrition and the accompanying No BS answers!!!
I hope you enjoy reading them.
1. How is the Basal Metabolic Rate measured
to determine whether the individual in question has SLOW, MEDIUM
or FAST metabolism?
A) Basal Metabolic Rate is not static. The
BMR will fluctuate with varying factors. For example, the younger
the person, the higher the BMR and as one ages, the rate will decrease
about 2% per decade. Another factor is whether the lifter is sleeping
or awake. During sleep there is much more muscular activity than
in an awake relaxed period, but physical activity will increase
the BMR. Another factor that will increase the BMR is eating. Digesting
foods, juices flowing, etc., will increase the BMR. Another factor
is body-surface, not weight. For example, a 185 lb. lifter who is
60" will generally have a higher BMR than a 185 54"
lifter. The point here is that heat is lost over the taller, more
skinned-surface lifter of 60" tall.
Still other factors include gender, mens
metabolic rate are higher than womens rates. Also, the more
muscular a lifter, the higher the BMR. That is, because muscular
tissue is far more active than adipose or fat tissue. Fasting and
long periods of caloric intake especially leading to malnutrition
lead to lowering of BMR. The Basal Metabolic Rate is taken usually
at rest while awake 12 hours after eating. A rough estimate of ones
BMR is to take ½ calorie per pound/hour (for 1 male, 180
pound lifter that would be 90 calories/hour) and then multiply that
figure by 24 hours, or 2160 calories per day. For a woman, use 0.4
calories per pound/hour. Then figure about 60 to 70% just for BMR.
Add another 30% to 2160 calories for activity, growth, etc.
2. Depending on age, sex, bodyweight (be it
proportionately more muscle as opposed to fat) approximately how
many calories are utilized at the basal rate and during high intensity
activity during a 24 hour time frame?
A) Several good charts are available for high-energy
activity. These charts covering all types of activity from jogging,
to weight-training, swimming, playing cards, etc., were determined
by the "Spirometer-an oxygen consumption device." This
device simply measures the use of oxygen. The amount of calories
expended would therefore, be dependent upon the type of activity,
rest interval, age, sex, condition, fasting, etc.,. of that particular
3. When ratios of daily intakes of proteins
(30%), complex carbs (60%), and polyunsaturated fats (10%) are recommended,
shouldn't these percentages be based more accurately on the individual's
(male or female) existing bodyfat percentage and existing muscle
content? For example, a person who has more muscle and only 10%
or less bodyfat would take in more complete protein and slightly
less complex carbs and fats than the above recommended.
A) The Recommended Dietary Allowances offer
a ratio of 20-25% protein, 25-30% fat, and 50-55% carbohydrates
for the NORMAL, HEALTHY PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES. And these percentages
are meant only as a guideline. It is a fact that a man, whether
lifter or non lifter, requires approximately 1/2 gram of protein
per pound of bodyweight. Women require about 0.4 grams/pound. So
for a 150-lb. male lifter, about 75 grams would be adequate.
It would be possible to receive, say, in a
range of 1/2-3/4 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. However,
ingesting more protein than is really needed, say more than .75
grams of protein, would not be of any benefit, indeed, potentially
harmful. Consider that any excess protein is handled by the body
simply as excess calories. These protein calories first must be
broken down by the liver, removing the amino acid structure in a
process called "De-aminization." Five hundred extra calories
from protein would then be stored. The key is bodyweight--given
a fixed number of calories, say 2400, continue to keep the given
30% protein, 60% carbs, and 10% fat ratio. Remember, too, that fats
are IMPORTANT. Fats carry vital acids and vitamins and play an important
part in metabolic roles necessary for health, as well as fitness
and strength. Lifters increasing their protein beyond their individual
bodyweight/30% percentage find themselves sluggish, putting on that
smooth layer of fat and, if continued, may be potentially harming
4. When a person, be it a man, woman, or child,
who is ingesting a daily caloric intake of 30% complete proteins,
60% complex carbs, and 10% polyunsaturted fats (realize that the
percentages of each food varies slightly depending on whether it
is for a child or adult, etc.), would the above percentages meet
and exceed the FDA suggested requirements of vitamins and minerals,
etc., and in doing so virtually eliminate the need for extra supplementation
in the form of vitamins and protein powders?
A) One of the haunting elements about the American
Dietetic Association's "recommended dietary allowances"
or the RDAs is the fact that one could choose the correct number
of food group selections and STILL not meet these recommended allowances.
The nutrients in question, especially the water-soluble vitamins,
C and B-complex, are noted. Another example is, of course, iron
and calcium. Women especially, as they need 18 mg/day to men's 10
mg. Again, consider this as a guideline for normal, healthy persons
and not a lifter or athletes in an anabolic state. My suggestion
is to choose "nutrient-dense" foods such as enriched wheat
breads and cereals fortified with iron, vitamins and minerals, choose
at least 2 servings from the citrus fruits and juices, and choose
only skim or low-fat dairy products, 2, possibly 3 servings. I never
liked the word "insurance" relating to taking vitamins.
There is such a state as too much, which can be toxic in several
vitamins. Base your protein choices on fish or fowl first, then
if you prefer, very, very lean beef occasionally.
5. How much protein must be ingested for a
person to over toxify the liver before it is harmful? How long a
period of time will it take (days, weeks, months) for a person to
reach this toxicity or saturation point? Sedentary? Active bodybuilder?
A) I believe I answered this question in #3.
Remember, though that every person is different, and the ill effects
may take a short time, months, or years, or may never show. However,
at what point would you realize harm? When your liver fails! In
other words, you may now be a little more sluggish in energy and
recuperation today than you were exactly one year ago because of
over ingesting protein. And, where will you be next year? Not ill
enough to notice, but yet in perspective, not as healthy as you
once were. Just realize that too much protein is potentially dangerous.
6. Many authorities state that it takes protein
(broken down into amino acid content) 4 hours to reach the blood
stream, and then it only stays in the blood stream at 32 grams for
3 or 4 hours. Does this apply for both complete and incomplete protein
sources if it takes 3 to 4 hours for a solid protein food to break
down, how long then does it take a drink which contains protein
powder to break down into amino content? How about the breakdown
of amino acid tablets as opposed to protein powder?
A) Normal digestion depends greatly on a variety
of factors--age, physical condition of the person, activity immediately
after eating, and especially the mix of foods. Protein digestion
will take place between 1 and 4 hours with a normal mix of carbs
and fat. Realize that your digestive system is working on these
other nutrients, carbs, and fat as well. There is a "pool"
of amino acids that is maintained in the gut for normal use by the
body's cells. The difference between complete and incomplete protein
is simply that complete proteins have all of the eight (ten) essential
amino acids. The body has a unique way of converting incomplete
proteins, say corn or grains, to complete by supplying these incomplete
foods with the lacking or more correctly inadequate amino acids.
But first the overall digestion process of amino acids must go from
the GI tract to the liver and be properly metabolized. Then into
Whether a solid piece of turkey breast or a
liquid sip of protein, the body will not know the difference. By
the time the turkey arrives to the gut, it's probably in a semi-solid
state, so no real time difference is gained by swallowing liquids.
Whether powders, pills, or a slice of freshly roasted turkey, your
body utilizes its protein in the same manner. One thing that will
definitely interfere with digestion is STRESS. If you re worried,
angry, etc., relax first, then eat.
7. Explain the term "nitrogen balance."
A) "Nitrogen balance" simply means
that amount of nitrogen taken in (ingested) as compared to the amount
of nitrogen that is excreted in the urine and feces. Most lifters,
because of the anabolic or growth state, are said to be in "positive
nitrogen balance." There is more nitrogen going into the body
than is coming out. Negative balance occurs when a muscle atrophies
such as in an injury and lifters cannot work out. If 10 grams are
ingested and 12 are excreted, negative balance is achieved. Nitrogen
balance is usually done by collecting the urine and feces in a given
period. When the amount of food nitrogen is calculated against the
amount of nitrogen excreted, the result is the state of balance.
8. What type of nutritional programs would be
recommended for the
Ecto, Meso, and Endo, somato type? What supplementation would be
suggested for gaining muscle bodyweight for the 3 somato types?
For losing bodyfat (Meso and Endo) while maintaining maximum strength
A) The three basic body types, Meso, Endo,
and Ectomorph, vary in the size of the bone structure. However,
the basic physiology in handling nutrients is equal. Given the same
basal metabolic rate and hormonal status, each will respond to the
In identifying nutritional needs of these three,
a basic goal must be set. For example, bodyweight, measurements,
total % of bodyfat, etc. A nutritional program of high-energy foods
such as the simple and complex carbohydrates, foods such as grains,
cereals, potatoes, beans and peas, etc., plus fruits, juices, and
vegetables should be primary and make up about 55-60% of the diet.
Proteins from fish, chicken, turkey, and very, very lean beef should
comprise about 20-25% of the diet, and the remaining calories come
from fats--unsaturated oils.
Supplementing of these three types will depend,
of course, on the individual's lifestyle, eating habits, training
routines, and goals. Both calories and nutrients, including the
vitamins/minerals, should be met from the diet. Over supplementation
can prove to be deleterious. Therefore, supplement only when the
need arises such as a dislike for milk and dairy products, i.e.,
9. What type of supplements are good for creating
an anabolic state for the natural bodybuilder (male or female) void
of steroid usage? Dosages (determined by age, sex, and bodyweight)
for the 3 somato types?
A) According to the definition, the term "anabolic
state" means in a state of growth or building. The role of
protein is to both build and repair tissue. Being in an anabolic
state, therefore, would require your body to build, say, muscle
tissue. For adults, the most common is after surgery or injury.
But for the powerlifter or bodybuilder, the term anabolic, or rather
"anabolic steroids," applies to that person, man or woman,
who wishes to gain muscular tissue. Unfortunately, no amount of
good eating, supplements, powders, pills, etc., will advance a person
into this state. Only the demand of physical activity, weight resistance,
lifting, will create that demand. Then it is up to that person to
furnish the necessary nutrients for growth.
10. Which brand-name supplements on the market
would create the above effect?
A) As far as what brand of supplements, doses,
etc., on the market, each is simply a supplement. Whether multi-complex
vitamin/mineral supplement or a specific amino acid, a supplement
refers to "an addition to the existing basic nutritional status."
Anabolic steroids are hormones, not nutrients. They alter the metabolism
of the cell's ability to utilize protein toward growth, i.e. protein
retention/utilization. But again, the proper nutrients must be there
in order for growth to occur. Also, the demand of an exercise routine
must be there in order for growth to occur. No over-the-counter
supplement, liquid, powder, or tablet, will create that effect.
11. How much sugar (those found in the foods
we take in as well as table sugars) does the average person (child,
teen, middle age, elderly) ingest in a year's time?
A) The latest survey found that the average
person in the United States, eating an average diet, consumed an
average of 128 pounds of sugar per year. Realize that is up from
only 4 pounds consumed about 100 years ago!
12. Sugar interferes with protein resynthesis;
how does this take place, and how much protein is destroyed?
A) There is a myth that sugar "interferes
with protein synthesis." In fact, sugar, glucose, indeed exerts
a protein-sparing action. If there is a shortage of energy, sugar,
the body will turn to protein for its energy supply. A waste of
protein, yes, but nature takes care of your body's priority--energy.
Physiologically, your body utilizes the B-complex family of vitamins
for both protein and energy metabolism. And, therefore, it could
be said that excessive sugar, table sugar, such as sucrose, a fruit
sugar, fructose, milk sugar, lactose, etc., all require B vitamins
for digestion, especially Thiamin or vitamin B12, to "interfere"
with protein's need for a certain vitamin (co-enzyme).
How much sugar depends on, of course, the overall
CHO-protein ratio. However, there is more harm in too few calories
from CHO including table sugar than there is in excess sugar. The
point is to secure your energy needs from fruit, vegetables, grain,
to secure plenty of energy and B vitamins from cereals, breads,
13. Why do teens on the average not experience
sugar-related problems as opposed to a person in their mid-20s or
30s, for example?
A) I'm not fully aware that teens do not experience
sugar-related problems. Teens have a tremendous energy for growth
requirement. Therefore, 3500 calories for a teen will be almost
entirely utilized, where 3500 calories for an adult whose basal
metabolism os lower may store a greater portion of the calories
ingested. Also, teens tend to be more active physically.
Diabetes is a combination of a genetic/obese/hormonal
problem. In the case of adult-onset diabetes, obesity is often considered
a major risk factor.
14. How much glycogen will a male and female
bodybuilder store in the muscle and liver and glucose in the bloodstream?
Depending on existing bodyweight, how much will this glycogen content
A) The average person would store approximately
375 to 475 grams of glycogen (about 12 ounces) in their muscles
and liver. Figures vary, of course, depending on the size of the
individual, overall nutritional status, and conditioning. Normally,
glycogen depletion will occur in approximately 24 hours.
15. It has been mentioned many times that blood
sugar (glucose) and muscle glycogen will only accommodate a high-intensity
workout of 1-1/2 to 2 hours at most. How much glucose and glycogen
is the average male or female bodybuilder using during a medium
workout with progressive resistance devices? Low intensity?
A). Balance studies, the studies performed
on volunteers in the process of determining how many calories are
utilized in an activity, are at the best, extremely difficult, time-consuming,
and expensive. Although energy expenditures for individuals will
vary, realize that even a particular individual may vary in energy
consumption for a movement. One variable is the intensity of the
movement and for the workout.
For a heavy weight-training session, on the
average, a person will burn about 612 calories per hour . . . .
For calisthenics, a light session will burn about 272 calories/hour
while a heavy session, about 544. Aerobics: light session, 204;
medium, 340; and a heavy session, about 544 calories. By the way,
kissing will burn from 16 to 30 calories an hour. Again, it depends
on the individual(s), the type, and, of course, intensity!
16. Does a bodybuilder ever use reserve glycogen
from the liver (as is the case in carb depletion and loading specifically)
when muscle glycogen is exhausted during a workout of normal circumstances?
A) Studies have shown that athletes who train
exhaustively over a period of 2-3 successive days will deplete muscle
and liver glycogen. Diet plays a part in that if a high CHO are
ingested (55-60%) less fatigue will show on days 2 and 3. Also,
recuperation will be more rapid in the high CHO diet. Full recuperation,
however, may take from 2-4 days of CHO and rest.
17. A confusing situation presents itself to
the above question in that many proclaimed nutritionists and bodybuilding
experts say that, when muscle glycogen is depleted, fat stores are
then used as energy substrate. How can this be when over and over
it has been said that, during an anaerobic workout, there is not
sufficient time for the conversion of fatty acid stores into energy
substrate and that protein or amino content is the secondary source
of energy for anaerobic workouts?
A) The question is essentially correct. There
is not sufficient time for fats-proteins to be utilized as energy
in an anaerobic workout. Remember, though, the duration of such
movements are only about 90-120 seconds. Once movement continues
past this time frame, both anaerobic systems will need to be employed
for energy production.
Anaerobic - phosphates
CHO glucose > pyruvic acid
Aerobic - CHO - protein - fats
The question implies stores of glycogen. Remember,
after successive days of intense workouts, muscle glycogen may be
nearly depleted, but liver glycogen is restored much more rapidly.
Time of movement is the key. The first 90-120 seconds > glycogen;
beyond, a combination of CHO - protein - fats.
18. Do questions 14-16 have any direct bearing
to "hitting the wall," where glycogen stores in certain
muscle extremities deplete themselves? If this is the case, shouldn't
smaller body parts such as the arms employ less sets, due to less
glycogen storage, as opposed to larger body parts such as the thighs
A) Glycogen use is a constant rate of depletion
of stores, not a quantitative depletion. Certain variables such
as individual energy output of muscles involved will play a part
in "hitting the wall"; however, the rate is constant throughout.
19. How does a bodybuilder know how much of
a particular supplement he or she is absorbing? For example, if
a person takes in 32 grams of complete protein, how can he be sure
if the absorption rate is 50% or 75% or even 100% of the actual
A) Protein absorption is usually around 92%
of intake with variables consisting of the specific foods, status
of individual, nutrition, psychological profile (i.e., stress).
Absorption rate, though, is constant. Animal proteins are absorbed
at a higher rate (95%), whereas vegetable proteins are absorbed
below 95%, possibly 75-90%. Fats are generally absorbed at the rate
of 95% and carbs at 97%.
20. Im curious as to how supplement companies
make time-released vitamins work?
A) There are many ways that companies produce
"time-released capsules." One of the most predominant
is the use of wax. The capsule itself is a gelatin (gelatinous compound)
that will dissolve quickly in the stomach. The entire batch of pills
is then sprayed with sugar or carbohydrate. This batch is separated,
1/3 sugar coated, and the remaining 2/3 of the batch is then coated
with a waxy type substance. This batch is divided into a 1/3 and
the remaining batch is covered again with another coating of wax.
The idea is that the sugar coated batch, or 1/3 of the tiny pills
in the capsule, will be released in the stomach (as the gelatin
capsule is dissolved), quickly releasing the "vitamin."
The remaining 2/3 batch or the waxy coated pills will take a bit
longer to dissolve. Of course, this is calculated to the degree
of coatings or thickness of the wax, i.e., the greater the waxy
coatings, the longer the time of dissolving.
21. Some authorities on nutrition (the late
Vince Gironda) say that it is a good idea to take vitamin supplements
for 4 to 5 days consecutively, then cease taking any vitamin supplements
for at least 72 hours. Why is this recommended, and what is metabolically
happening in the body during this time?
A). I am familiar with Vince Gironda's theory.
However, that is an ambiguous statement. For example, if you are
deprived of any of the water soluble vitamins for up to 72 hours,
your storage water soluble pool will become depleted. Serious metabolic
consequences will occur as a result. Another consideration is that
one may adapt to megadoses of vitamin C, for example. If the body
does adapt to a larger-than-normal vitamin C requirement, once this
supplemental is discontinued, deficiency symptoms may occur. Fat
soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are not subject to temporary inadequacies/deficiencies
in the daily diet. However, this does depend on normal nutrition
22. What are some definite things a bodybuilder
(male or female) can do to lower his or her metabolic set-point
in order to gain muscle bodyweight?
A) Personally, I wouldn't advise anyone to
seek ways to lower their metabolic rate. If you wish to gain weight,
then employ the correct exercise/diet plan. However, metabolic rates
will fall during periods of sustained physical inactivity. The weight
you would gain, therefore, would be adipose tissue while your muscles
23. What can a person do to speed up the metabolic
set-point in order to lose bodyfat?
A) Recent studies indicate that aerobics (especially
cross training of such) will increase the BMR for a period of up
to 72 hours. Thus, a regular workout of 3 days or more per week
will keep the BMR higher than normal.
24. If a bodybuilder is decreasing his or her
daily caloric intake by 1000 calories (this has been determined
to be the maximum that one can decrease in a daily diet to ensure
losing maximum bodyfat without much muscle tissue loss), then a
problem arises in the following hypothetical example.
A hard-working bodybuilder weighs 200 lbs.
and takes in 4000 calories to maintain his present weight. Deciding
to lose 10 lbs., the bodybuilder decreases his caloric intake by
1000 calories (to ensure the loss of 2 lbs. of bodyfat a week and
no more) to 3000 calories.
Five weeks into the bodyfat weight loss plan,
a new 190-lb. bodyweight is achieved. The bodybuilder has reached
is goal successfully. Great, but a problem arises in that a 190-lb.
bodyweight utilizes an average of 3800 calories. The bodybuilder,
after using 3000 calories a day diet, must now increase back up
to 3800 calories to maintain a new bodyweight. How can he do this
without gaining the 10 lb. loss back?
A) When the bodybuilder "achieves"
his desired bodyweight of 190 lbs., 3800 calories should, with everything
constant, maintain his 190 lbs. while in the state of weight reduction.
Let's say he wanted to go to 180 lbs. He would then reduce his caloric
intake to 2800. Once his desired bodyweight is achieved, then approximately
3600 will "hold" his present 180 lbs. of bodyweight.
25. Does the above have something to do with
a new established metabolic set point?
A) No! The set-point is a theory that focuses
in on your body's system of holding a bodyweight at a particular
set point such as 190 lbs. Workouts targeted aerobically will elevate
the set to a higher point, thus burning more calories at the basal
metabolic level. The above question refers to calorie maneuvering,
not metabolic maneuvering.
26. Is the metabolic set-point a key factor
as to why some individuals can't seem to lose even 5 lbs. of bodyweight
(be it bodyfat, muscle, or water) after being on a 1000 calories
a day reduction for weeks?
A) I agree with studies done on the BMR that
will lower according to calorie intake. Factors that will influence
resisting weight loss are the standard (1) activity, (2) number
of fat cells, standard number at birth, (3) reduction of caloric
27. It is stated for health purposes that a
woman should not drop below 1200 calories per day when on a fat
reduction diet. How would this work for a female who is only 110
lbs. and takes in 1300 to 1400 calories to maintain this bodyweight?
In other words, if this person's desire was to lose 3 to 5 lbs.,
she most certainly could not reduce her caloric intake by more than
200 calories to meet the above 1200 minimum, and in doing so, she
might only experience slightly less than a 1/2 lb. drop in body
weight a week. Overall it would take her 6 to 10 weeks to lose on
a program of this nature.
It seems that the guidelines of dropping 1000
calories per day to lose a pound a week would vary greatly depending
on the sex of the person involved and their bodyweight and caloric
needs. Likewise, it is recommended that a male not drop below 1500
calories per day when on a fat reduction diet. If the bodybuilder
in question 24 had dropped down to 1500 calories per day from the
3000 he was at when he was losing a pound of fat a week, he most
surely would have lost much in the way of muscle tissue rather than
fat stores. Can you clarify this existing problem? The problem being
the rule of caloric intakes of 1200 for women and 1500 for men.
A) The question of 1200-1500 for women and
men respectively is a good basic guideline. The problem arises particularly
for a woman in receiving the proper nutrients in a package of 1200
calories. Dropping below 1200 to 1000 or even 800 accentuates the
problem. I believe that, for a short duration of say 6-8 weeks,
a 1000 or even 800 calories could be adhered to safely. Supplements
in the form of a quality multivitamin-mineral would elevate the
nutrient intake to the normal RDA standards.
28. It has been stated that 22% of a pound
of pure muscle is protein. This is roughly 132 calories or 33 grams.
Yet another reference says that there are 6 grams of protein per
ounce in a pound of muscle, which suggests 384 calories or 96 grams
per pound. This then would suggest that 66% of the calories of a
muscle are protein. Which reference is correct?
A) Actually, 22% would be an average % of protein.
In reality, a muscle may range from 15-22% or higher depending on
the strength and integrity of the muscle.
29. How are the 12 nonessential amino acids
produced in the body?
A). The nonessential, commonly called due to
the fact that the body, specifically the liver, can manufacture
these as needed. From the 8 essential amino acids, the body has
the ability to put together the remaining 12 amino acids. Also,
remember that it is relatively easy to acquire the 12 nonessential
acids as compared to the essential 8.
30. One gram or carbohydrate contains 3 parts
water. Can this be simplified into a more acceptable example?
A) A chemist's view of a glucose (carbohydrate)
molecule is composed of 24 atoms: 6 carbon, 12 hydrogen, and 6 oxygen,
or C6 H12 O6. Thus, carbo (carbohydrate) contains 6 carbon atoms
and 6 H2O atoms. When a pair of these are joined, one of the H and
one of the OH are removed in the joining process, called condensation
reaction; water is formed. Also, hydrolysis occurs when these 2
are split for energy release.
31. How does the bodily physiology process
determine that the reduction of 500 Kcals for bodyfat loss is to
be taken from fat stores and not from muscle tissue (since the 500
Kcal reduction is so remarkably close to the number of Kcals in
a pound of muscle)?
A) This question is extremely good and challenging.
There have been people who have been researching this for years
because they've been trying to spare muscle tissue from deprivation
and the body does tend to deprive it during the extreme diets. There
is no doubt about it, and what they've been trying to do is, at
least in Europe, we understand they're working with new enzymes
now that are supposed to stop the body from using its protein caloric
intakes, and some of them use much more extreme examples than you
do. It's almost binge and starve things where one day a week they
might go up to 40000 and the next day they go down to 3200.
Out in California, a couple of bodybuilders
I know of were dieting, and one of them was using a system where
he was just taking a steady amount of calories and at the time he
was really trying to lose weight, so he was well down into the 1200
and 1300 calorie range, which was really silly for a person his
size of 285 pounds, but he was doing it. Now, the other bodybuilder
was using an alternate system where he'd diet at that rate for maybe
three or four days out of the week, and he'd exceed it for maybe
three or four days out of the week but never go above 3000. But
the point is, the 285-pound bodybuilder did lose more weight than
the second bodybuilder did over time, but that could have been because
of genetic determinants rather than just any pat statement that
I could make on the subject. But overall, I think, you can't take
it on a daily approach you have to take it on a weekly, monthly,
yearly approach and then add up the total amount of calories. At
least, that is what science says. Then you can have a determinant,
but we're not convinced that that's necessarily true. I kind of
think that, if you do oscillate stresses like that, you can promote
some results and maybe some of them will be protein saving rather
than protein depleting, and this stores, but they're having mixed
results with this. The body still seems to do this as much as it
does with fats.
What I've read and what some people surmise
is that, early on in our primordial past, the need for fat was something
to see us through the lean times and was just as important as our
muscle mass for that reason alone. And for that reason, it is somewhat
protected, and what they are trying to do is beat that basic need.
It is going to take some type of chemistry to do it, but we think
they are on the right track, and if they get established what nutrients
need to be taken to protect your protein levels and muscle tissues,
then they've got the ideal weight losing tool there. But we cannot
assume that a muscle only has 600, a pound of muscle only has 600
kilocalories. That's incorrect. It has close to 2000, so we got
to be careful with that. But you're right; you know, as well as
attacking fat it will attack the muscle but to a lesser degree.
It will always go toward the fat at the cost of some of the protein
tissues, especially as you come closer to your ideal weight, but
even then it will still spare fat to some extent. It will keep a
reserve of fat handy just in case of emergency needs. It's interesting
how we evolved that capacity.
32. Some nutritionists state that by eating
less, the basal metabolic rate will slow down in an effort to conserve
more fat calories. Wouldn't this be a problem for the somato type
ectomorph who is trying to slow down his or her already fast metabolism?
Wouldn't this person even have a more difficult time gaining muscle
weight because of this?
A) When you go into diet, it does slow down
your BMR to a certain extent. That's been proven, but with an ectomorph,
this normally isn't a factor, because he's not eating less, he's
trying to eat more. He's already got a high basal metabolic rate,
and we're trying to exceed it willfully, so we are talking about
quite the opposite things. One of the problems with him is to exceed
his basal metabolic rate. We're really going to have to pump the
old food into him, and his system may not be that efficient at it.
We've seen it happen that these types of ectomorphs can make some
gains if we really do put the food and supplements to them. We heard
of a seven-foot guy from Denmark who attended a major university
in the States. The guy weighed 89 pounds, and in little over a year,
the strength trainer got him up to 220 pounds just by basic bodybuilding
procedures. He was about as ectomorphic as you can get. So it can
be done, but the key thing here for the ectomorph is to dramatically
increase his daily caloric intake and actually hurt his efficiency
rather than help it. You want to hurt his efficiency in order for
him to gain some bodyweight. The fat person is just too efficient
to begin with, and that's the whole problem with fatties.
33. What is the minimal amount of daily complete
proteins, complex carbs, and polyunsaturated fats a person can take
in before the body is adversely affected? I am referring to the
radical diets that the competitive bodybuilder sometimes follows.
A) When we start getting underneath a person's
BMR levels, that's when we're starting to ask for trouble, because
BMR levels are determinants of normal functions. The Soviets call
this "delayed" restoration. You need to repair, rebuild,
or replace, and when we start getting under our BMR levels for protracted
periods of time, we're asking for real serious problems. A bodybuilder
has to do it two or three weeks, maybe four weeks at the longest,
before a meet, and his system can take that kind of stress. But
if you protract that stress of contest dieting over a long period
of time, then you're asking for all sorts of trouble. I would say
that, before a person is adversely affected, that's a determinant
because that's going to be different for every individual. They're
going to lose mass, and they can lose a lot of that.
Look at the World War II prison camps. People
lived for years that way, but they were adversely affected. And
incidentally, a lot of them gained back their mass, and that's where
anabolic steroids started coming into vogue during that period of
time. A lot of them never really came back quite to the same as
the extent before they were put through this ordeal by the fascists,
so it is a problem but it's not a tremendous problem if it's done
in short durations.
34. What is the proper ratio of each nonessential
amino acid to each essential amino acid in order for a person to
receive optimum nutritional value?
A) Well, this will be a first. I don't know!
I don't have a clue, and the reason I don't have a clue is because
nonessential amino acids are produced within the body out of components
of various free-floating amino acids that are available. So how
can I answer such a question? The essential amino acids, granted,
they are -- some of their byproducts are some of those that are
used in creating essential amino acids. But there are also other
sources for this, and some of them are indigenous within the body
because, remember, the body does a lot of protein resynthesis itself.
So these aren't directly attributed to the diet per se so here again
I've been given a question that I can't really answer properly.
35. List the P.E.R. (Protein efficiency ratio)
of the top fifty foods with milk and eggs being the top of the line
and going from that point.
A) You could do that with a book, and yd be
better off to do it with a book. I don't have that book in front
of me. I've seen the tables; they list them all. I would suggest
that, if there's a university or even a high school nearby, you
go see their nutritional person, even a hospital, and they'll have
these books that'll list these foods in their order of value.
36. One part salt (or sodium) holds 180 parts
water. Can this be explained in simpler terms? For example, if one
had a teaspoon of salt, how much water would be attached to this?
A) I don't understand how one part salt holds
180 parts of water. I don't understand that whole concept at all.
I presume they mean it retains 180 parts of water, and that's not
true. That's one of those determinant things. That depends on the
individual very much. Some people, e.g. colored people, retain salt
at a much greater rate than do white folks simply because in their
native country they used to sweat more. It was a mechanism to avoid
losing salt in their sweat. It was so hot, they did used to sweat
but they didn't sweat out the same salt products that we would,
and hence they evolved this mechanism where they retained salt,
and this is one of the primary causes of some of the hypertension
we see in some ethnic blacks vis-a-vis the Caucasians.
I don't think you can state in this question
that one part of salt holds 180 parts of water. I think that is
an erroneous statement. I'd have to see some backup on that. It
doesn't seem to make much sense to me. That would mean one gram
of sodium chloride would hold back 180 grams of water. Systemically,
there might be something to it, but I'd have to see the research
in order to be able to make any kind of intelligent assessment of
37. Can a bodybuilder employ the nutritional
concepts of carbohydrate loading/depletion and sodium loading together
prior to an upcoming contest? If so, how might this plan be accomplished?
A) Carbohydrate loading and depletion doesn't
have that much relevance to a bodybuilder. Those are things that
you do for endurance-type events like marathon running and whatnot.
They don't really have any validity to a bodybuilder, and sodium
loading is dangerous; it's not something you want to do. For neurological
reasons, it's not something you want to do. You can cause some aberration
and a whole bunch of calcium channel responses by doing this, and
you can make a person subject to spasms and all sorts of muscular
problems, too, including cramping. Carbohydrate loading and depletion
is not advocated for a bodybuilder just coming up to a contest.
There's no point in it. It is primarily an endurance-building tool,
it's not a bodybuilding tool.
It just goes to show that the body will jump
on anything that seems to work. Carbohydrate loading is used by
marathon runners. What they do is they deprive themselves of carbohydrates
to make their system more amenable to uptakes, and then a day before
their big meet, they load up with the carbs, and their system will
be functioning at peak efficiency, and it will absorb these carbs
as they are running along and hence the theory, and it's proving
to be somewhat advantageous.
But sodium loading has a whole bunch of concomitant
ills that make it just something you don't want to do. I don't know
anybody who wants to do that unless they're in an environment where
they're losing a lot of sodium through sweating. And, if so, this
also doesn't have much to do with bodybuilding unless you're bodybuilding
in a very damp environment, and then you can get that in your normal
diet rather than loading it into yourselves. That's like taking
the salt pills that they used to use before really hot days out
on football fields. They don't do that any more simply because we
found out that sodium has a lot of negative implications. But it
is necessary and essential in moderate amounts (200-2000 milligrams)
for a normal, healthy person who is not suffering from high blood
pressure or hypertension.
38. How is it possible that exercise suppresses
the hunger factor by supposedly raising the blood sugar level when
it is in fact exercise which depletes blood glucose and muscle glycogen
levels during exercise?
A) What happens in exercise is that the liver
also supplies a lot of stores of glycogen that's broken down into
glucose, and this is put into the blood stream in response to a
depletion of glucose and glycogen supplies in the blood and the
muscles themselves. So that's why this phenomenon takes place. Whats
happening is the liver is simply pumping out its supply of glycogen
and incidentally, after a few hours go by, the liver starts telling
your, "hey, I want to restock." So this phenomenon that
exercise does prevent hunger is true, but it is only true for a
certain amount of time, and then after that time, the liver starts
saying, "feed me," "feed me," and you do.
39. It has been suggested that starvation diets
that include no accompanying high-intensity exercises will cause
a loss in bodyweight of approximately 1/3 fat and 2/3 muscle loss.
How soon after a starvation diet begins (10 days, one month, 92
days?) Does this process begin?
A) The figures that you quote are very much
the initial response to extreme starvation diets, later on in response,
and there is no absolute determinant, because once again that depends
on the individual. But I'd say probably within 30-40 days you're
getting a lot more efficient with your fatty acid metabolism and
probably much before that time, so that ratio changes. Of course,
it also depends somewhat on the activity of the individual, too,
because there will be some protein salvation toward the latter stages
of any starvation diet, and that's a bona fide fact. You notice
the body does try and protect a certain amount of protein mass,
and at the loss of the fat, and that's essential like unto death,
although it will always save some fat like we mentioned earlier.
It will always do that; again, one of its defense mechanisms.
40. Just exactly how does the body protect
muscle loss when diet is accompanied with high-intensity exercise
as opposed to fat and muscle loss when no high-intensity training
A) One of the mechanisms, and this is just
theoretical, mind you, is that, when you're working out and dieting,
there's a lot of byproducts that are produced, and some of these
byproducts supposedly may put a chemical damper of sorts on the
body's tendency to go into attacks on protein or muscle mass because
it reads this as, these things are being used and can't be used
as one of the sources of energy. That's one of the theories that
is used on this.
It's been an observational thing with us that,
if you have a bodybuilder who is training and dieting moderately,
he tends not to lose the same degree of muscle mass as would be
the case of an athlete who is dieting intensely and isn't doing
much. I surmise this response is due to the byproducts that are
being built up in the system of the active athlete and that these
byproducts spare his protein. Now, grant you, this is theoretical,
but it seems to be plausible, doesn't it?
Of course, if it's a very severe diet where
you're cutting calories by 40-50%, well, then, this isn't going
to be in effect. You're going to still have this problem with muscle
mass loss, but maybe not to the same extent as you get with an individual
who did nothing at all. But at this stage it still might not be
to any great extent, the difference in terms of protein loss, during
the initial phases. During the latter phases, it might not be so
bad, though. I knew one strength athlete who once went from 322
pounds, as a super heavyweight, down to about 170 pounds, and that's
the truth, and at 180 he was still at about 14-15 percent body fat,
and at 322 pounds he was 31 percent body fat. So it lets you know
that even though he had lost all that great mass, he had lost a
lot of muscle tissue, and it showed in his lifts accordingly.
Trying to spare muscle tissue from loss is
one of the most difficult propositions, and that's why I'm encouraged
by research that's going toward the enzymatic levels. I surmise
that some day, probably 10-15 years down the road, they're going
to come up with a chemical that people an take, either orally or
injectable, that will prevent some of those things we see with protein
loss during dieting, and this will be a great boon, incidentally.
It's one of the things that they're researching now; it's right
on the cutting edge.
41. It is generally agreed that aerobic training
of a minimum of 20 minutes per session will burn bodyfat and will
continue to do so for several hours (4-6) later, while revving up
the metabolic mechanics by as much as 25% over its norm. A question
therefore arises: what type of bodyweight is lost if a bodybuilder
(male or female) chooses not to follow an aerobic plan for fat reduction
and opts to use anaerobic weight training only?
A) I don't necessarily generally agree with
this question. It assumes that you have already burned off your
glycogen and glucose supplies, which is highly probable in aerobic
training, and that will cause you to go into fatty acid metabolism,
which will persist for some time. But this assumes that you've totally
depleted that supply or depleted it to such an extent that you evoke
the fatty acid metabolism response, and this also assumes that you
are not taking in any nutrients in the meantime that will replace
your glucose and glycogen supplies. But even if you did, the fatty
acid metabolism synthesis would already be started, but it could
be halted relatively quickly.
As far as using anaerobic weight training to
lose weight, that's like using a hammer to pound in screws. There
are better tools to use for it, that's for sure. You're not going
to get the best results by using anaerobic weight training as a
dietary aid for two reasons. One, it simply doesn't burn off a sufficient
amount of calories (though some would say it is better to burn calories
through exercise than to restrict them from dieting). Two, it's
more or less made for building and not reducing, and here we've
got an improper tool used for the wrong purpose. And three, we can't
determine what type of bodyweight is lost no matter what the person
is using for a system that is adjunct to his diet. The primary concern
here is diet and not exercise. Exercise is good, and it's great,
and as we were explaining earlier, it will add to the amount of
calories you burn off over the course of a day or two. But it's
not significant compared to the body's basal metabolic rate to begin
with, as I said. You can maybe burn off 10-20% more calories than
you normally would if you're doing really incredibly intense activities,
and I don't care if they're aerobic or anaerobic. It won't be a
different type of body fat that is burned off. It will be the same
old body fat.
Of course, if you go into a state of intense
dieting, and I've also mentioned this, before you can go into protein
deprivation, which is common for the system to do. Its first response
to starvation is to attack the stores of protein that are available,
and usually these are stored in organs much like glycogen is; they're
stored in the bile form. But it'll deplete these reserves during
the initial phase of starvation while fatty acid metabolsim pathways
are established and made more efficient.
42. What type of bodyweight (percentage of fat to muscle tissue)
can one expect to lose on a high-intensity weight program combined
with aerobic training?
A) You have asked a question that can't be
answered here. The reason it can't be answered is because you don't
throw into consideration the dietary factor that is happening. What
type of bodyweight can one expect to lose on a high-intensity training
program combined with aerobic training? Well, it depends on how
many calories a person is taking in and the percentage of net fat
to muscle tissue loss will also depend on what kind of diet a person
is taking in, not only that but what their metabolic rate is and
other genetic determinants, that make a pat answer to this question
43. When a bodybuilder (male or female) is
losing bodyfat, at what point of an existing bodyfat percentage
(begins with 18% bodyfat and is nearing 9%) does this person actually
go from losing subcutaneous fat (fat between the muscle and skin)
to losing intercellular bodyfat (fat that is in the muscle fiber
A) The loss of fat is always subcutaneous and
intracellular. It's not one or the other, and it's not that we have
a certain point where we switch over, as you are in a time of caloric
deprivation and these sources of energy are going to be drawn upon
from all fat stores, and these can be stored subcutaneously or intracellularly.
I'll tell you, subcutaneous fat stores immediately under the skin
are some of the slowest to go, though, and hence you have a lot
of people who may have been 18, even 30% bodyfat, and they get their
bodyweight maybe down to 8 or 10% bodyfat. Well, they have a real
problem -- loose skin and a lot of adipose tissue under it. Those
are called the apparent cells, and those things, they don't ever
really totally go away. The number of cells remains relatively constant
so that is one of the problems you get into when you have a person
who used to be very overweight and then lost a bunch of it.
Incidentally, there isn't that much intracellular
muscle fat that is in the muscle cell fiber itself; we don't get
much of that. That statement there is unsubstantiated; there is
a degree of it. In a very obese person, there is a greater degree
than there is in a muscular person, but most of the fat stores are
subcutaneous, and that's the main problem, because you can remove
all those fat subcutaneous stores but you will still have the apparent
cells, and the apparent cells are the original cells that you had
when you were a kid that you hypertrophied to begin with. Even though
they are in a state of deprivation, they're still there.
A Final Comment
I am sorry I couldnt give more specific
answers to some of the questions that were asked, but some of the
issues within the questions didnt have any specifics. Some
of my viewpoints arent universally accepted. They are based
on my personal research and view of the nutritional sciences.
I have never done things according to what
the standard view was. I am an innovator, I like to think. So I
dont always accept what is written on a piece of paper as
truth and I think this is of prime concern to anyone thats
going to enter into the iron game as a nutritionist, bodybuilder
or strength athlete or perhaps as a personal trainer or bodybuilding
coach. Having said that, I hope that you enjoyed reading; No BS
Nutrition "Commonly Asked Questions" as much as I have
had in writing it.