riyada in arabic means "training" or "discipline". It was used by the arabs in relation to horse taming. Sufis refer to their discipline as "riyadat an-nafs": disciplining the soul / training the ego. Today, the word riyada has come to mean "sports". There is an Arabic proverb that says: "The purpose of sports (riyada) is not to win cups, but to discipline the soul". This blog is here to help me discipline my soul and train my body.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Admitting Defeat

Since I workout and I have goals of increasing muscle mass, losing fat, gaining strength, etc, the topic of nutrition has been one that I always end up reading about. After all, many of the world's most famous trainers believe(d) nutrition to be 80-90% of bodybuilding. But I never wanted to worry about it. I saw all those athletes counting calories, macronutrient ratios, etc, and I said to myself: "I never want to be like that". I just wanted to eat and train hard. Make up for the bad diet by training hard. I knew many people who trained hard and just ate normally and made good gains, and I read articles about prison inmates who make great gains even with very bad nutrition. But of course there is the matter of different people having different genetics, and being in different circumstances, etc.

Well, one year into the training and I've realized how much my gains have slowed down lately and had to admit defeat. I had been stalling and pretending everything was ok for the last 3 or 4 months, but I finally had to admit that I was wrong. I need to calculate my meals and create a meal plan, or my gains will come to a halt. I hated the idea, but I had to admit it, because if i kept lying to myself that it was unnecessary and that I could make great gains with only a fraction of what those other athletes are eating, then I will never get anywhere.

Well, I browsed through some of T-Nation's diet program articles, and I found the program that made a lot of sense to me. First, It was made by Christian Thibaudeau, who at one point was fat and has a body predisposed to gaining fat easily. Since I am also an FFB (former fat boy), I thought Christian's diets would be better suited for me than those of other experts like John Berardi for example, who was a skinny boy and had to eat massive amounts of food to bulk up (although this is not entirely fair because both of them have trained all types of athletes and know what to do for each person) . I also found that it agreed with some of my own ideas about eating: eating differently on training days than non-training days.

The program is called The Carb Cycling Codex, and it basically goes like this for a program like mine where there are three training days a week: two training days of high(er) carbs, one training day and one resting day of medium carbs, and three days of low(er) carbs. The quantities of protein and fat remain constant. But also on training days, most of the carbs are eaten post-workout, whereas in non-training days the carbs are eaten early in the day and non at night. It's still a bit more complex than that, and i spent a little over two hours calculating the protein, carb, and fat percentage of every meal of the week. 6 meals a day, 7 days a week (obviously), and the meals differ in protein, carb, and fat ratios, depending on time of day, type of day (training or non-training), and type of carb day (high, medium, low).

Well, after looking at the numbers and then looking at the macronutrient info of the foods i eat, i realized this was completely impossible. As long as I dont eat meat, there is no way I can even come close to satisfying the protein and fat percentages. Ok I could satisfy the protein requirements by spending hundreds of dollars on protein powder, but that's too expensive for me, bad for the health, and i still would not come near to satisfying 95% of the fat requirements!

(This is where my ego tries to convince me to start eating meat again. to make muscle gains. I did have a dream about this two days ago, where I went back to eating meat. It might be a signal from my body, but most likely not. Just a jumbled dream, and I will ignore it.)

So what I'm gonna do is get full milk instead of skimmed, to get more fat into me. I will also try to have 4-6 tablespoons of shredded coconut a day for extra fat, and also 9 grams of fish oil a day. And i'm gonna consider the numbers that i calculated as rough (very very very rough) and distant guidelines. If i do my very best, I might get one fourth the protein, one third the carbs, and less than one seventh of the fat required of me on this ideal diet. This is if i try my best. This tells you that my current diet is so poor, so horrible, that it's amazing I haven't imploded and created a mini-black hole.

Speaking of nutrition, I was listening yesterday to an interview on Super Human Radio (you can find it in the archives) with Randy Roach, who is writing an almost 800-page book about the history of bodybuilding nutrition and related topics. It all started with an article he was asked to write, as a bodybuilding historian, about the history of nutrition for bodybuilders, and he decided to expand it into a book, where he found it necessary to go into lots of details about all kinds of related topics. The book will be called Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors.

The article I had read a long time ago, it's called "Splendid Specimens:
The History of Nutrition in Bodybuilding"
, and it's a great read because it tells you about the golden age of bodybuilding, and even more importantly the age before that, the age of the Physical Culture movement where health was the top priority. These guys were concerned with health more than anything else, and so they designed their bodybuilding and their nutrition to give them maximum health and great physiques, whereas today's bodybuilders might sacrifice their health for the sake of extreme ugly muscle. Many of these guys back then were vegetarian, while others advocated less meat and more raw foods. Even those who advocated lots of meat would also advocate periods of time in which no meat was eaten so that the body would re-alkalize. Inshalla when the book comes out next year i'll read it and hopefully gain better insights into designing a good bodybuilding vegetarian diet, oldschool style. For now, I definitly recommend reading the article for any one interested in nutrition for the athlete, but the interview is not very informative.

that's it for now. Wassalam.


Blogger DrMaxtor said...

Asalamu Aliakum,
Very interesting. I formulated my own diet plan after dealing with several obese patients. I have it up in blog archives...I wouldnt mind hearing your input on it.

June 28, 2006 at 1:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're on the right track. But remember it is not necessary to abandon the vegetarian diet in order to make gains.

Good luck,
Steve Holt
The Vegetarian Bodybuilder

August 12, 2006 at 10:50 PM


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