Saturday, July 4, 2009
To most people, understanding nutrition is only slightly less confusing than
understanding Einstein's theory of relativity. A new book or article comes
out weekly espousing the latest, greatest way of eating.
understanding nutrition with the goal of optimizing your body's anabolic
environment. What does that mean exactly?
Bodybuilders and other athletes have come to use the term " anabolic" to
mean the building of muscle. This is only partly true. For example, physiol-
ogy or nutrition texts will normally de ne anabolic or "anabolism" as the
phase of metabolism in which simple substances are synthesized into the
complex materials of living tissue or a process by which larger molecules
are formed from smaller ones.
What does this mean to the reader in plain English?
When you are in an anabolic state you rarely, if ever, exclusively build mus-
cle. It is unavoidable that some body fat will be added to the equation.
Total beginners and people using copious amounts of various drugs (i.e.
anabolic steroids, growth hormone, etc.) can put on lean body mass (LBM)
almost exclusively at times, but this is the exception, not the rule. Have
you ever seen a pro bodybuilder in person o -season? They are proof that
- even with large amounts of drugs - to add new LBM, adding some body
fat is a reality. The pros that do try and stay hard (say under 8 - 9% body fat)
year-round also nd their gains in LBM are slow to non-existent. If that's
how it is for them with drugs and great genetics, how do you think it works
So, for most, the trick is to maximize, as much as possible, adding LBM,
while minimizing the addition of body fat.
People need to understand that body fat % is a ratio. By optimizing LBM
gains, the small amount of fat gained can be easily cut - ultimately leaving
them with a larger ratio of LBM to fat. When all is said and done, you can
reduce your body fat percentage by increasing LBM even if you never lose
an ounce of the fat you started out with
A 200 lb. person starting a gaining cycle with 15% bodyfat.
200 lb. x .15 = 30 lb. fat; 200 lb. - 30 lb. = 170 lb. lean mass
Let’s assume he adds 16 lb. of lean mass + 4 lb. of fat (20 lb.) This per-
son will now be 220 lb., with 34 lb. fat and 186 lb. lean mass.
That 4 lb. of additional fat can easily be shed in 2 short weeks of mod-
erate dieting with no loss of LBM.
220 lb. - 4 lb. = 216 lb. (186 lb. LBM + 30 lb. fat
30 lb./216 lb. = 0.139 = 13.9%
Even though the person in this example still has the same 30 lb. of
fat he started with, his body fat percentage has dropped from 15% to
13.9%., due to the increase in lean body mass.
That is the ultimate goal of this chapter; to be low in jargon and high in use-
ful “real world” information to maximize gains in muscle, while minimizing
gains in body fat.
There are three major factors that will dictate whether or not a person
will gain muscle mass: genetics, form of exercise (i.e. weight training), and
Without any of the three being optimized, gains in lean body mass will be
minimal or non-existent. At the very least, the gains in LBM will be sub-op-
timal at best.
Unfortunately, we have essentially no control over the rst, which is your
genetics. A well-known quote in bodybuilding circles is, “the most impor-
tant way to guarantee success in bodybuilding is to pick the right parents!”
In truth, modern science is not far away from being able to turn “on” certain
genes that are responsible for a variety of functions in the body.