Posted by Tony Montgomery under Diet  Nutrition  on Apr 04 2015

It seems nowadays everybody wants to be jacked and tan, well I am here to tell you that sometimes you need to just get big, strong, and FLUFFY. If you are always on a quest to get lean and wondering why your lifts aren’t going up, but hey you look good with your shirt off right? So than why the hell do you compete in a sport that the strongest person wins, not the leanest or the tannest but the one who can lift the most weight possible. If you’re reading this and think who cares about being that strong I want to look good and be kinda strong so i can get all the likes on instagram then maybe you should actually compete in a BB or physique show where looks matter. Now I’m not saying go to the store everyday and eat all the chocolate bars and ice cream, but you will be eating that stuff if you really want to gain some weight. Adding muscle and size is extremely hard to come by if you can add albs of muscle to your frame a year you’re lucky, but take any person and you can drop 20-30lbs in a 8-12 week diet. So its time to put up your squeems, stop the salads and cardio and get ready to get huge and strong.
 
We’ve all heard it you gotta eat big to get big and that is the truth, you have to eat and consume a massive amount of food in order to grow, sometimes to the point of force feeding. Now I know this sounds appealing to some of you but its not as fun as it sounds. All you start to think about is food it consumes you. You can go about this in two ways you can eat anything and everything in sight and just get there right away or you can be a little more methodical in your approach and gain at a steady and progressive manner. In this article we will talk about both methods as I definitely feel they both have there benefits and can both yield the results you want over time. Always keep in mind and this is the hardest thing for some lifters is that any approach you take to gaining weight and adding size you will ALWAYS accumulate some fat, so if you’re an endomorph get mentally ready for the struggle of feeling “fat”.
 
The eat everything and anything approach was an extremely popular approach back when geared lifting was king and all anybody cared about was being huge and strong. If you look at the a lot of the top lifters in the sport they eat a lot and they eat almost anything they want, because our sport requires calories aka energy to perform are task where these calories come from is not as important on this approach just that they are there. Clearly these trailblazers make sure protein is the cornerstone of their diet but they also know that eating 5,000-6,000 calories a day of clean food is no small task and can be a daunting one so they supplement with high calorie foods like ice cream, pizza, pasta, and the occasional cheesecake and by occasional I mean everyday!! Now if you have the genetics and/or the right kind of supplements you can stay lean as do some of the top lifters tend to do or if your genetics are lacking you will start to look doughy but that is ok as our sport its not about how you look but who is the strongest. Let me say that again its not about how you look but who is the strongest. So a day of eating on this approach will be a lot of protein throughout, an occasional junk food, tons of carbs and anything else you can fit down your gullet before you go to bed. This is just a rough ex of 220lbs athlete:
 
Dirtier Day
Meal 1:
4-5 Pancakes with Syrup
4-5 Whole Eggs
Sausage and Bacon
 
Meal 2:
Snickers Bar
Big Glass of Milk
 
Meal 3:
2 Chipotle Burritos
Gatorade
 
Meal 4:
2 PB&J’s
Big Glass of Milk
 
Meal 5:
Large Meat Lovers Pizza
Some Cookies
 
Bedtime:
Big Bowl of Ice Cream
Protein Shake
 
Cleaner Day
Meal 1:
3 Biscuits
4-5 Whole Eggs Omelet with lots of Meat
 
Meal 2:
Protein Shake
4tbsp of PB
1 Banana
 
Meal 3:
2 Burgers and some Fries
Gatorade
 
Meal 4:
2 Protein Bars
Big Glass of Milk
 
Meal 5:
Chicken Parmesan
Gatorade
 
Bedtime:
2 cups of Chocolate Milk
Protein Shake
 
 
The pros and cons of this approach are kinda obvious but lets break it down anyways. Pros are you get to eat whatever you want to get the scale moving upwards, you’ll gain weight at an exceptional rate, you’ll get strong as hell, and you get to wear sweat pants and flip flops year round. The cons are you’ll gain a lot of fat, it’s not the healthier of the two approaches (but our sport isn’t healthy when competing at a high level anyways), you may have a hard time doing anything other than lifting weights, and you damn sure won’t look good for bikini season. I would say that this approach can be extremely effective if and only if you know when and have the will power to pull the reigns back and tighten things up. Meaning you can gain but so much weight at a giving period of time which will result in actually muscle gains and your body can only handle so much crap before it starts to fight back and create other issues so by doing something like a 3 month eat everything approach and 3-4 week mini diet in between is a good way to go so that your body is able to keep growing in an effective manner that will elicit the response you want. The bad thing is we are powerlifters for a reason we like to eat, so I’ve seen a lot of people go to far down the rabbit hole on this path and eat themselves into an undesirable weight class. I feel like this approach is great for someone who can really only commit to eating clean for a short period of time so the mini diets work extremely well for allowing your body to grow, to allow your body to get desensitized to insulin and to allow your body a period of normalization to help fight off some diseases that come along with eating like crap. Now when I say mini diet I don’t mean eat at an extreme calorie deficit and lose a bunch of weight thats not our goal I mean to get the crap out and clean things up while maintaining the weight gain you just accumulated.
 

Bulk Up 12 Weeks 5,000-8,000 Calories
Mini Diet 4 Weeks 3,800-4,500 Calories
Bulk Up 8 Weeks 5,500-8,500 Calories
Mini Diet 2-3 Weeks 4,000-4,750 Calories
 
Seems like a lot of food? Thats because it is and thats what it takes in either approach is food in abundance. The next approach is for the person who can stick to a fairly regimented thing and that knows the better quality food they consume the better their performance will be so they stick to a clean more bodybuilding approach, don’t be mistaken thought this is not the mythical lean gains diet that will have you shredded and bigger at the same time, unfortunately that doesn’t exist. Any nutrition plan that puts you in a calorie surplus will make you accumulate fat to some extent the amount varies from person to person depending on training age, actual age, drug usage, and genetics. So if you’re an endomorph be prepared to get chunky!!!
 
I like to approach this in a cyclic manner as well but from a day to day perspective and not a weeks to weeks one like the above mentioned plan. So you have your high carb days, medium carb days, and low carb days. High days will be used on your highest volume days, medium is on all other training days, and low is on your off days. The tricky part when planning this out is making sure the calorie intake within the week, not the day, is in a surplus that elicits weight gain. So an example of this would look like this for a 220lbs athlete.
 
High Carb Day:
Meals      Protein      Carbs       Fat
     1             40g         100g        0g
     2             40g         75g        0g
     3             40g         75g        0g
     4             40g         75g        0g
     5  Peri Workout           40g         150g        0g
     6             40g         75g        0g
     7             40g         75g        0g
 
Medium Carb Day:
Meals      Protein      Carbs       Fat
     1             50g         60g        10g
     2             50g         40g        12g
     3             50g         40g        12g
     4             50g         40g        12g
     5  Peri Workout           40g         150g        0g
     6             50g         60g        8g
     7             50g         0g         15g
 
Low Carb Day:
Meals      Protein      Carbs       Fat
     1             50g         40g        15g
     2             50g         20g        15g
     3             50g         20g        15g
     4             50g         20g        15g
     5             50g         20g        15g
     6             50g         20g        15g
     7             50g         0g          20g
 
This is the approach I prefer for several reasons, one of which is how you eat will most definitely affect how you will perform in the gym. Also how you eat will affect the way you look and your muscles look. So the food quality is equally important as the amount, so yes a calorie is a calorie but if you think 100 calories of Lucky Charms will contribute to performance the same as 100 calories of sweet potato just ask your a high level bodybuilder. I’m not saying organic, no gmo’s, no gluten is the way to go I’m just saying eat like a bodybuilder look like a bodybuilder and you can perform like a strength athlete. This approach does require some self control which isn’t easy for powerlifters as we always take things to the extreme but I feel that this is not only the healthier route but it will also be the route that will give you the best strength result.
 
With the cyclic carb approach you go on a week to week basis if weight is moving up don’t change a thing if it starts to stale add 10% to your carbs, start around the workout first then partition them downwards. Keep this up until it stales again then up your fats by 10%, note that any subject lines with a zero should stay that way. The constant rotation of the days should be enough to never overstimulate your insulin receptors to the point where you become insulin resistant. This means that if you are constantly spiking your insulin daily your receptor cells become less likely to store carbs into muscle glycogen and start storing them into fat cells because food has to go somewhere no matter what and if you’re constantly over doing things they will normally go straight to fat cells.
 
This approach albeit healthy does require a mini diet of sorts as well. You can run the above cyclic approach for anywhere from 16-20 weeks and a 4 week mini diet, rinse and repeat. The reason for mini diets in both cases is to minimize fat gain and to desensitize your body to carbs again, your body can only take in so many carbs for an extended time before you become insulin resistant so instead of carbs shuttling all your nutrients to glycogen stores and muscle tissue it will start to store it as fat so your fat cells will continue to grow and you’ll stop adding muscle and just get all soft and fluffy. Remember muscle contracts and moves weight not fat, fat just changes your leverages and can make you stronger in that instance but it may also affect your lifts as well. Have you ever seen a super fat guy squat and deadlift its just ugly let alone you should always be able to bend over and tie your own shoe without passing out. Although we go to great extremes to be the best at our sport, some things shouldn’t be compromised, but thats debatable.

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