Developing Physical Strength: part II

If you haven't already, check out the first part of this series, Developing Physical Strength: part I, where I discuss exercise programming. This part will focus entirely on supplementation and diet which is, in all honesty, probably more important than the exercising itself.

To kick this off, 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is too much protein. First, that's an enormous amount of protein--and there is no distinction between the fat and muscular constitution of the trainee in question. A 300 pound man with 40% body fat is prescribed the same amount of protein as a 300 pound man with 10% body fat. Obviously, there aren't too many exampled of 300 pound, 10% body fat men, but you should get the point I'm making here.

A much more reasonable amount of protein would be 1 gram per pound of lean body mass. So, a 160 pound athlete @ 10% body fat would need 144 grams of protein per day. I can actually give two examples of athletes who at even less protein than this, and were some of the most muscular natural athletes of all time--George Hackenschmidt and Steve Reeves. George, who was 5'9.5" and 218 pounds (~12% body fat) was a vegetarian whose diet was pretty much 70% milk and 30% vegetables, with a total protein consumption of around 170g per day. Steve Reeves, standing at 6'1" and 216 pounds (~10% body fat) had a carbohydrate-dominant diet, and never went far above 140 grams of protein per day.

Okay, rant over.

Onto another rant now--counting calories and macronutrients (and why that's a waste of time). Look, I get it, you want to be absolutely certain you're not cheating on your diet. The problem with this method? Our daily needs are variable. The calories you need today are different than they'll be tomorrow. In fact, the calories you need right now will probably be different in a couple hours from now. I'm going to offer a radical solution: have a diet that allows for variability, and eat in accordance to your appetite and daily activity. I can already here the backlash, "but what if I have a huge appetite and I want to lose weight?" or "but Vicky, I'm just a skinny kid trying to get YOKED. I need a diet that forces me to do that!"

Guys, it's simple--if you're trying to lose weight then replace your carbs with veggies (which fill you up but are mostly water), and if you're trying to gain weight then just eat more. I don't get what the problem is. Now, let's lay out an easy diet template that practically anyone can follow, is super healthy, and won't take 20 hours to prep every day.

Meal 1

  • Oatmeal with whole Jersey cow milk, almonds or walnuts, cinnamon, and honey or maple syrup
  • Citrus fruit (orange, grapefruit, lemon...)
  • Dark chocolate

Meal 2

  • Jersey cow milk
  • Whole eggs (cooked WITHOUT butter)
  • Fruit of choice
  • Vegetables of choice
  • Potatoes (sweet, red, brown, purple, etc)
  • Dark chocolate

Meal 3

  • Fatty fish
  • Jersey cow milk
  • Fruit of choice
  • Vegetables of choice
  • Potatoes

Meal 4

Bam, that's the whole diet--and it's super easy to prep everything. I recommend diversifying the fruits and vegetables every day so you can get a full spectrum of micronutrients. The only thing I'd keep static is the protein. Figure out how much you need each day and use that to determine how much milk and eggs to eat. There's also protein in oats and some vegetables, so I'd factor in about 30g from those. If you're underweight then eat more potatoes and If you're overweight then eat more vegetables.


I'm not a huge fan of supplements, personally. I think they're only valuable if you can't get certain nutrients in your diet because of an allergy of diet restriction (a vegan diet, for example). If you think hemp seed oil tastes gross, have a gummy, and if you can't eat eggs then take a vitamin B-complex. The real issue here is with the dairy. If you're lactose intolerant or vegan then replacing the dairy is a real issue in this diet since it makes up such a large portion of the macronutrients. If you absolutely have too, I'd replace it with coconut milk, drink protein shakes, and replace the potatoes with quinoa.

That's basically it, guys. I've been following the above diet template for over a year with great success. It's just an example, to me, on how you can eat healthy foods and make progress without being so anal as to count every last damn macronutrient you eat. As a final thought, regarding cheat meals: eat them. Do it. There's no point in skipping meals with friends and family because they're going to a restaurant that doesn't have food in your diet. As a rule of thumb, I'd ONLY eat cheat meals if it's involved in socializing, and never get a cheat meal by myself. I also think the 'I'll only have one cheat meal a week' mentality is ridiculous because almost always the person gorges on unhealthy food that meal and completely undoes all their dieting. Eat small, reasonable cheat meals with family and friends and stop caring about the exact frequency.

If I made a part III it would probably cover specific exercises and exact programs for building muscle and losing fat. Again, if anyone would be interested in that then tell me in the comments!


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