04-05-2003, 11:47 PM #1
Cycling caloric intake much like AAS's
This is all my opinion and my experiences on matter concerning caloric intake and diet timing. I encourage people to contribute their views in the hopes that we can put something together that can ultimately be posted and refered to in the future for new people to look at and review.
I think probably the most overlooked and least respected item in the pursuit for growth is diet. Diet is really not a magical mix of protein, carbs and fats. In fact in my opinion it is really a simple matter of cycling and timing.
Diets are often structured differently and taylored to the individual as they should be but the simple math that falls behind it all still will always remain the same. Your body needs a certain amount of calories to function. Taking more calories then this maintenance level will allow you to put on additional weight while taking less will allow you to lose weight. For example... if an individual needs 2000 calories to maintain his current weight therefore taking in 3000 calories a day will obviously allow this person to put on additional weight. This would be considered a calories surplus. Of course there will be fat stored for energy as will carbs that are not expended, they in turn will also be stored as fat for future energy stores. This is not a bad thing. Fat stores are a necessary part of putting on lean mass. Unless you are connected to an IV source of food your body is going to need fuel throughout the day and simply put fat is fuel. Without the proper fat stores your body will not have the proper amount of energy it needs to maintain its everyday functions. Fat stores insure that your body has the gas it needs to run so protein can do its job of rebuilding and repairing muscle. Of course each individual is going to have a different level of fat stores based on metabolism, genetics and a host of other variables but ultimately its all based on simple math. A slower metabolism by definition is going to burn less calories and will be more likely to store calories while someone with a higher metabolism is obviously going to burn more calories and thus will require more food throughout the day for growth. In the end it all comes back to your maintenance level of calories as whether you put on weight or lose weight.
Of course there is another side to this as well. A caloric deficit can be achieved by taking in less calories then the 2000 calories we spoke of above as a maintenance level. This puts you in a catabolic state, meaning your body is burning itself in order to achieve the level of energy it needs to function throughout the day. As bad as this sounds its also is a necessary evil. A caloric deficit is what allows bodybuilders and athletes and everyone for that matter to rid themselves of fat stores and cut up. This is a simple proceedure but becomes a little tricky when trying to achieve the level of bodyfat that most bodybuilders need to reach for competition. Your body has been programed to hold a certain amount of bodyfat, much like your metabolism this can be manipulated but must be done in a manner to "trick" your system into achieving what it otherwise would refuse to do. If a caloric deficit is all that stood in front of a ripped physique we all would be walking around with 6 packs and mounds of vascularity. Because of this natural level of fat your body tries to maintain, dieting to a bodyfat lower then natural requires a person to bring calories down slowly. I realize there is a whole method to cutting with fat and carb intake but since this is being written about calories I'll touch on that in a later post. Lowering calories below maintenance levels quickly will cause your body react by storing fat and sacrificing muscle in an attempt to maintain a healthy level of fat stores. Lowering calories slowly on the other hand will allow your body to slowly adapt to the lower level of bodyfat you are attaining and allow it continue to burn fat stores. Of course this is only going to go to a certain point before some pharmaceutical help may be required.
Cycling your diet:
With all that being said we can see how the hard gainers have the potential to gain weight and those with excessive fat stores have to ability to lose weight. It is common knowledge in this field that AAS's need to be cycled to continue to produce results over longer amounts of time. This is true in every aspect of bodybuilding including your diet. Why do we cycle steriods ? Well among other reasons its because of your body's ability to adapt to change. Your body detects an exogenous source of test and responds by shutting down natural test production in an effort to maintain the natural balance of hormones. By the same token excessive test is also sometimes converted to estrogen for the same reason, to maintain the natural balance of hormones. It is these elevated estrogen levels that cause us to take anti-estrogens in an effort to profit from the elevated test levels while limiting the side effects associated with elevated estrogen levels. Believe it or not I do have a point... your body adapts to change in an effort to maintain a level of normalcy. Whether it be test levels, fat stores or calorie usage (metabolism) your body will ALWAYS adapt to change. For this reason it has always been my belief that diets should be cycled between a bulking phase (caloric surplus) and a leaning phase (caloric deficit). Doing so serves a dual purpose. It allows your body to grow at a rate that produces maximum gains while still maintaining an acceptable level of bodyfat. The extent you take each of the two phases to will determine your level of body and your rate of growth.
Timing your diet:
Timining is also a part of dieting that it often regarded as being of minimal importance. On any average training day your body will have at least two periods that are optimal for eating. Those periods are immediately after waking and immediately after training. After waking in the morning your body is often in a catabolic state because obviously it hasn't had any fuel other than itself for a period of 6-8 hours depending on how long you sleep. If you think about your body as a sponge, after waking your body is a sponge that has been sqeezed. Drop a sponge in a glass of water and it will absorb the water. Sqeeze the sponge, submerge it and release under water and see the difference in capacity that the sponge can achieve. After training your body is in a similar state because of the amount of calories burned and the level of strain but on your body. For these reasons high calorie meals must be consumed as close to your waking and post-training periods as possible in an effort to take advantage of this depleted state. Your body will also need calories throughout the day obviously however the amount of calories needed at these points will be much less. Going back to our sponge analogy, we have a completely full sponge steadily dripping away the water (burning calories in a normal function throughout the day). Without the a constant flow of calories throughout the day the sponge obviously is going to dry. This being the case you are left with two options; 1) pour a large glass of water over the sponge 2-3 times a day replacing it with water and wasting a large portion or 2) allow for a steady and continuous flow of water over the sponge throughout the day and never allowing it to reach its depleted state. Obviously 2 is going to be optimal for growth. This is the reasoning behind taking in smaller meals closer together as opposed to taking in larger meals farther apart. The same caloric intake has been achieved but more of the nutrients are actually being utilized using method 2 as opposed to using method 1.
This is my take on dieting and I welcome any feedback from others positive or negative. I tried to simplifiy things as best I could and I realize I didn't even touch on protein intake or other matters of that nature but its nearly 2am and this thing is basically just a combination of thoughts that have been swimming around for quite some time that I have never actually written out. Forgive me if I rambled or got off subject anywhere, again... that happens at 2am
04-06-2003, 10:15 AM #2
Sounds pretty good, I always like to alternate times of cutting and bulking, as I feel my body adapts very quickly to what I am doing to it and my gains slow, if I keep changing it up my body is always confused and keeps gaining. The reason I train in the early AM is because I like being able to get large amounts of food in me before and after I workout then slowly decreasing the cals as the day goes on, so I like that theory too. Good post.
04-06-2003, 10:28 AM #3
Thanks bro, with your schedule of working out in the AM I can see your method of thinking and it sounds like a good plan.
04-06-2003, 10:55 AM #4AR-Elite Hall of Famer
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good post. I think it very important to do everything on a set schedule when cycling. Know what your weekly schedule is, and have a training/eating plan set before you go into every week. Try to eat your meals at the same times every day. Switch your diet up. and know when you are going to hit the gym.
04-06-2003, 02:23 PM #5Anabolic Member
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Bump. Nice post.
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