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The Change-Up

A few days ago I got word back from Precision Nutrition founder John Berardi aka JB (one of the four S2B coaches) as to what my next move should be given I’ve been fluctuating between 135lbs and 138lbs for the last 3 months.

I had told him I needed to gain 0.75lb a week if I’m to reach my goal of 30lbs gain in lean muscle by next May (when the 12-month program ends)  and I was keen to put on at least 10lbs of that within the next 3 months (because that’s when I’m supposed to update Salt Lake Tribune readers next).

So JB and I had an exchange of emails. He said that the issues I raised (see previous post) re: stress, sleep, energy and testosterone were not as important as food. He explained that given his 25 years experience and the thousands of skinny/scrawny guys he’s dealt with, if there’s a problem in not gaining weight it’s usually down to one thing… the guy is not eating enough.

He wants me to jettison the three Super Shakes (protein powder w/ fruit, nuts and veggies) and three meals in favour of 3 workout drinks (pre, post and during) and 3 BIG meals.

The meals are 4 eggs and 4 egg whites with veggies and cheese followed by 2 cups of oats with 25g of protein powder and mixed berries. Lunch and dinner are 1lb of protein (each meal) with a big serving of veggies, added fats and good starches.

I initially balked at the 1lb of protein. But when I thought about it, I’ve sometimes had a 16oz steak in a restaurant. So I tried to rationalise the notion of consuming all that protein.

But I was still looking for alternatives. So I asked if I could just up the calorie intake on the 6 meals I’m currently taking. JB said the Super Shakes weren’t doing it for me and something had to change. He assured me that I’d gain 10lbs “very quickly’ if I followed this strategy. He wanted to know if I was confident about the change-up.

So I thanked him for his advice and said that given I had specifically sought his input (he’s a true hardgainer too, and the same height and starting weight as me) it would be lame of me not to take it into account.

So I promised to do my best with it.

There are advantages to this approach. For a start, he said I could skip breakfast two days a week so as to avoid putting on too much fat. And I can potentially get my breakfast finished earlier in the day (currently I down a Super Shake first thing and then wait two hours before eating breakfast) meaning I can get to the gym before the lunchtime rush.

If I can get this new food schedule down, then when I complete the 12-month program next May, I’m more likely to be able to keep up the habits cos they more closely resemble those of a “normal” person, in meal timings if not quantity.

The biggest problem is going to be making the protein portions flavourful enough to allow me polish off my plate. Luckily I have a crock pot for batch cooking… and I’m not afraid to use it.

So it’s time to nut up or shut up.

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