No BS Nutrition

“Commonly Asked Questions”
By Dennis B. Weis “The Yukon Hercules”

As many of you know, I have been involved as an iron game writer and author for the past 25 years. During this time many thought provoking questions regarding nutrition have come across my desk (via phone, fax, letter and e-mail). I examined each and every one of these most commonly asked questions and thoughtfully answered them in direct proportion to the needs of the individual asking them. My intent was hopefully to eliminate some of the pseudo-scientific/intellectual confusion that is generally associated with nutrition, with complete and non superfluous answers that would be helpful in their continuing quest for bodybuilding superiority.

Here are some of the most thought-provoking questions regarding nutrition and the accompanying No BS answers!!! I hope you enjoy reading them.

  1. How is the Basal Metabolic Rate measured to determine whether the individual in question has SLOW, MEDIUM or FAST metabolism?
  2. A) Basal Metabolic Rate is not static. The BMR will fluctuate with varying factors. For example, the younger the person, the higher the BMR and as one ages, the rate will decrease about 2% per decade. Another factor is whether the lifter is sleeping or awake. During sleep there is much more muscular activity than in an awake relaxed period, but physical activity will increase the BMR. Another factor that will increase the BMR is eating. Digesting foods, juices flowing, etc., will increase the BMR. Another factor is body-surface, not weight. For example, a 185 lb. lifter who is 6’0″ will generally have a higher BMR than a 185 5’4″ lifter. The point here is that heat is lost over the taller, more skinned-surface lifter of 6’0″ tall.

Still other factors include gender, men’s metabolic rate are higher than women’s rates. Also, the more muscular a lifter, the higher the BMR. That is, because muscular tissue is far more active than adipose or fat tissue. Fasting and long periods of caloric intake especially leading to malnutrition lead to lowering of BMR. The Basal Metabolic Rate is taken usually at rest while awake 12 hours after eating. A rough estimate of one’s BMR is to take ½ calorie per pound/hour (for 1 male, 180 pound lifter that would be 90 calories/hour) and then multiply that figure by 24 hours, or 2160 calories per day. For a woman, use 0.4 calories per pound/hour. Then figure about 60 to 70% just for BMR. Add another 30% to 2160 calories for activity, growth, etc.

  1. Depending on age, sex, bodyweight (be it proportionately more muscle as opposed to fat) approximately how many calories are utilized at the basal rate and during high intensity activity during a 24 hour time frame?
  2. A) Several good charts are available for high-energy activity. These charts covering all types of activity from jogging, to weight-training, swimming, playing cards, etc., were determined by the “Spirometer-an oxygen consumption device.” This device simply measures the use of oxygen. The amount of calories expended would therefore, be dependent upon the type of activity, rest interval, age, sex, condition, fasting, etc.,. of that particular person.
  3. When ratios of daily intakes of proteins (30%), complex carbs (60%), and polyunsaturated fats (10%) are recommended, shouldn’t these percentages be based more accurately on the individual’s (male or female) existing bodyfat percentage and existing muscle content? For example, a person who has more muscle and only 10% or less bodyfat would take in more complete protein and slightly less complex carbs and fats than the above recommended.
  4. A) The Recommended Dietary Allowances offer a ratio of 20-25% protein, 25-30% fat, and 50-55% carbohydrates for the NORMAL, HEALTHY PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES. And these percentages are meant only as a guideline. It is a fact that a man, whether lifter or non lifter, requires approximately 1/2 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Women require about 0.4 grams/pound. So for a 150-lb. male lifter, about 75 grams would be adequate.

It would be possible to receive, say, in a range of 1/2-3/4 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. However, ingesting more protein than is really needed, say more than .75 grams of protein, would not be of any benefit, indeed, potentially harmful. Consider that any excess protein is handled by the body simply as excess calories. These protein calories first must be broken down by the liver, removing the amino acid structure in a process called “De-aminization.” Five hundred extra calories from protein would then be stored. The key is bodyweight–given a fixed number of calories, say 2400, continue to keep the given 30% protein, 60% carbs, and 10% fat ratio. Remember, too, that fats are IMPORTANT. Fats carry vital acids and vitamins and play an important part in metabolic roles necessary for health, as well as fitness and strength. Lifters increasing their protein beyond their individual bodyweight/30% percentage find themselves sluggish, putting on that smooth layer of fat and, if continued, may be potentially harming their liver.

  1. When a person, be it a man, woman, or child, who is ingesting a daily caloric intake of 30% complete proteins, 60% complex carbs, and 10% polyunsaturted fats (realize that the percentages of each food varies slightly depending on whether it is for a child or adult, etc.), would the above percentages meet and exceed the FDA suggested requirements of vitamins and minerals, etc., and in doing so virtually eliminate the need for extra supplementation in the form of vitamins and protein powders?
  2. A) One of the haunting elements about the American Dietetic Association’s “recommended dietary allowances” or the RDAs is the fact that one could choose the correct number of food group selections and STILL not meet these recommended allowances. The nutrients in question, especially the water-soluble vitamins, C and B-complex, are noted. Another example is, of course, iron and calcium. Women especially, as they need 18 mg/day to men’s 10 mg. Again, consider this as a guideline for normal, healthy persons and not a lifter or athletes in an anabolic state. My suggestion is to choose “nutrient-dense” foods such as enriched wheat breads and cereals fortified with iron, vitamins and minerals, choose at least 2 servings from the citrus fruits and juices, and choose only skim or low-fat dairy products, 2, possibly 3 servings. I never liked the word “insurance” relating to taking vitamins. There is such a state as too much, which can be toxic in several vitamins. Base your protein choices on fish or fowl first, then if you prefer, very, very lean beef occasionally.
  3. How much protein must be ingested for a person to over toxify the liver before it is harmful? How long a period of time will it take (days, weeks, months) for a person to reach this toxicity or saturation point? Sedentary? Active bodybuilder?
  4. A) I believe I answered this question in #3. Remember, though that every person is different, and the ill effects may take a short time, months, or years, or may never show. However, at what point would you realize harm? When your liver fails! In other words, you may now be a little more sluggish in energy and recuperation today than you were exactly one year ago because of over ingesting protein. And, where will you be next year? Not ill enough to notice, but yet in perspective, not as healthy as you once were. Just realize that too much protein is potentially dangerous.
  5. Many authorities state that it takes protein (broken down into amino acid content) 4 hours to reach the blood stream, and then it only stays in the blood stream at 32 grams for 3 or 4 hours. Does this apply for both complete and incomplete protein sources if it takes 3 to 4 hours for a solid protein food to break down, how long then does it take a drink which contains protein powder to break down into amino content? How about the breakdown of amino acid tablets as opposed to protein powder?
  6. A) Normal digestion depends greatly on a variety of factors–age, physical condition of the person, activity immediately after eating, and especially the mix of foods. Protein digestion will take place between 1 and 4 hours with a normal mix of carbs and fat. Realize that your digestive system is working on these other nutrients, carbs, and fat as well. There is a “pool” of amino acids that is maintained in the gut for normal use by the body’s cells. The difference between complete and incomplete protein is simply that complete proteins have all of the eight (ten) essential amino acids. The body has a unique way of converting incomplete proteins, say corn or grains, to complete by supplying these incomplete foods with the lacking or more correctly inadequate amino acids. But first the overall digestion process of amino acids must go from the GI tract to the liver and be properly metabolized. Then into the pool.

Whether a solid piece of turkey breast or a liquid sip of protein, the body will not know the difference. By the time the turkey arrives to the gut, it’s probably in a semi-solid state, so no real time difference is gained by swallowing liquids. Whether powders, pills, or a slice of freshly roasted turkey, your body utilizes its protein in the same manner. One thing that will definitely interfere with digestion is STRESS. If you re worried, angry, etc., relax first, then eat.

  1. Explain the term “nitrogen balance.”
  2. A) “Nitrogen balance” simply means that amount of nitrogen taken in (ingested) as compared to the amount of nitrogen that is excreted in the urine and feces. Most lifters, because of the anabolic or growth state, are said to be in “positive nitrogen balance.” There is more nitrogen going into the body than is coming out. Negative balance occurs when a muscle atrophies such as in an injury and lifters cannot work out. If 10 grams are ingested and 12 are excreted, negative balance is achieved. Nitrogen balance is usually done by collecting the urine and feces in a given period. When the amount of food nitrogen is calculated against the amount of nitrogen excreted, the result is the state of balance.
  3. What type of nutritional programs would be recommended for the
    Ecto, Meso, and Endo, somato type? What supplementation would be suggested for gaining muscle bodyweight for the 3 somato types? For losing bodyfat (Meso and Endo) while maintaining maximum strength levels?
  4. A) The three basic body types, Meso, Endo, and Ectomorph, vary in the size of the bone structure. However, the basic physiology in handling nutrients is equal. Given the same basal metabolic rate and hormonal status, each will respond to the calorie identically.

In identifying nutritional needs of these three, a basic goal must be set. For example, bodyweight, measurements, total % of bodyfat, etc. A nutritional program of high-energy foods such as the simple and complex carbohydrates, foods such as grains, cereals, potatoes, beans and peas, etc., plus fruits, juices, and vegetables should be primary and make up about 55-60% of the diet. Proteins from fish, chicken, turkey, and very, very lean beef should comprise about 20-25% of the diet, and the remaining calories come from fats–unsaturated oils.

Supplementing of these three types will depend, of course, on the individual’s lifestyle, eating habits, training routines, and goals. Both calories and nutrients, including the vitamins/minerals, should be met from the diet. Over supplementation can prove to be deleterious. Therefore, supplement only when the need arises such as a dislike for milk and dairy products, i.e., calcium.

  1. What type of supplements are good for creating an anabolic state for the natural bodybuilder (male or female) void of steroid usage? Dosages (determined by age, sex, and bodyweight) for the 3 somato types?
  2. A) According to the definition, the term “anabolic state” means in a state of growth or building. The role of protein is to both build and repair tissue. Being in an anabolic state, therefore, would require your body to build, say, muscle tissue. For adults, the most common is after surgery or injury. But for the powerlifter or bodybuilder, the term anabolic, or rather “anabolic steroids,” applies to that person, man or woman, who wishes to gain muscular tissue. Unfortunately, no amount of good eating, supplements, powders, pills, etc., will advance a person into this state. Only the demand of physical activity, weight resistance, lifting, will create that demand. Then it is up to that person to furnish the necessary nutrients for growth.
  3. Which brand-name supplements on the market would create the above effect?
  4. A) As far as what brand of supplements, doses, etc., on the market, each is simply a supplement. Whether multi-complex vitamin/mineral supplement or a specific amino acid, a supplement refers to “an addition to the existing basic nutritional status.” Anabolic steroids are hormones, not nutrients. They alter the metabolism of the cell’s ability to utilize protein toward growth, i.e. protein retention/utilization. But again, the proper nutrients must be there in order for growth to occur. Also, the demand of an exercise routine must be there in order for growth to occur. No over-the-counter supplement, liquid, powder, or tablet, will create that effect.
  5. How much sugar (those found in the foods we take in as well as table sugars) does the average person (child, teen, middle age, elderly) ingest in a year’s time?
  6. A) The latest survey found that the average person in the United States, eating an average diet, consumed an average of 128 pounds of sugar per year. Realize that is up from only 4 pounds consumed about 100 years ago!
  7. Sugar interferes with protein resynthesis; how does this take place, and how much protein is destroyed?
  8. A) There is a myth that sugar “interferes with protein synthesis.” In fact, sugar, glucose, indeed exerts a protein-sparing action. If there is a shortage of energy, sugar, the body will turn to protein for its energy supply. A waste of protein, yes, but nature takes care of your body’s priority–energy. Physiologically, your body utilizes the B-complex family of vitamins for both protein and energy metabolism. And, therefore, it could be said that excessive sugar, table sugar, such as sucrose, a fruit sugar, fructose, milk sugar, lactose, etc., all require B vitamins for digestion, especially Thiamin or vitamin B12, to “interfere” with protein’s need for a certain vitamin (co-enzyme).

How much sugar depends on, of course, the overall CHO-protein ratio. However, there is more harm in too few calories from CHO including table sugar than there is in excess sugar. The point is to secure your energy needs from fruit, vegetables, grain, to secure plenty of energy and B vitamins from cereals, breads, etc.

  1. Why do teens on the average not experience sugar-related problems as opposed to a person in their mid-20s or 30s, for example?
  2. A) I’m not fully aware that teens do not experience sugar-related problems. Teens have a tremendous energy for growth requirement. Therefore, 3500 calories for a teen will be almost entirely utilized, where 3500 calories for an adult whose basal metabolism os lower may store a greater portion of the calories ingested. Also, teens tend to be more active physically.

Diabetes is a combination of a genetic/obese/hormonal problem. In the case of adult-onset diabetes, obesity is often considered a major risk factor.

  1. How much glycogen will a male and female bodybuilder store in the muscle and liver and glucose in the bloodstream? Depending on existing bodyweight, how much will this glycogen content vary?
  2. A) The average person would store approximately 375 to 475 grams of glycogen (about 12 ounces) in their muscles and liver. Figures vary, of course, depending on the size of the individual, overall nutritional status, and conditioning. Normally, glycogen depletion will occur in approximately 24 hours.
  3. It has been mentioned many times that blood sugar (glucose) and muscle glycogen will only accommodate a high-intensity workout of 1-1/2 to 2 hours at most. How much glucose and glycogen is the average male or female bodybuilder using during a medium workout with progressive resistance devices? Low intensity?

A). Balance studies, the studies performed on volunteers in the process of determining how many calories are utilized in an activity, are at the best, extremely difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Although energy expenditures for individuals will vary, realize that even a particular individual may vary in energy consumption for a movement. One variable is the intensity of the movement and for the workout.

For a heavy weight-training session, on the average, a person will burn about 612 calories per hour . . . . For calisthenics, a light session will burn about 272 calories/hour while a heavy session, about 544. Aerobics: light session, 204; medium, 340; and a heavy session, about 544 calories. By the way, kissing will burn from 16 to 30 calories an hour. Again, it depends on the individual(s), the type, and, of course, intensity!

  1. Does a bodybuilder ever use reserve glycogen from the liver (as is the case in carb depletion and loading specifically) when muscle glycogen is exhausted during a workout of normal circumstances?
  2. A) Studies have shown that athletes who train exhaustively over a period of 2-3 successive days will deplete muscle and liver glycogen. Diet plays a part in that if a high CHO are ingested (55-60%) less fatigue will show on days 2 and 3. Also, recuperation will be more rapid in the high CHO diet. Full recuperation, however, may take from 2-4 days of CHO and rest.
  3. A confusing situation presents itself to the above question in that many proclaimed nutritionists and bodybuilding experts say that, when muscle glycogen is depleted, fat stores are then used as energy substrate. How can this be when over and over it has been said that, during an anaerobic workout, there is not sufficient time for the conversion of fatty acid stores into energy substrate and that protein or amino content is the secondary source of energy for anaerobic workouts?
  4. A) The question is essentially correct. There is not sufficient time for fats-proteins to be utilized as energy in an anaerobic workout. Remember, though, the duration of such movements are only about 90-120 seconds. Once movement continues past this time frame, both anaerobic systems will need to be employed for energy production.

Anaerobic – phosphates
CHO glucose > pyruvic acid

Aerobic – CHO – protein – fats

The question implies stores of glycogen. Remember, after successive days of intense workouts, muscle glycogen may be nearly depleted, but liver glycogen is restored much more rapidly. Time of movement is the key. The first 90-120 seconds > glycogen; beyond, a combination of CHO – protein – fats.

  1. Do questions 14-16 have any direct bearing to “hitting the wall,” where glycogen stores in certain muscle extremities deplete themselves? If this is the case, shouldn’t smaller body parts such as the arms employ less sets, due to less glycogen storage, as opposed to larger body parts such as the thighs and back?
  2. A) Glycogen use is a constant rate of depletion of stores, not a quantitative depletion. Certain variables such as individual energy output of muscles involved will play a part in “hitting the wall”; however, the rate is constant throughout.
  3. How does a bodybuilder know how much of a particular supplement he or she is absorbing? For example, if a person takes in 32 grams of complete protein, how can he be sure if the absorption rate is 50% or 75% or even 100% of the actual intake?
  4. A) Protein absorption is usually around 92% of intake with variables consisting of the specific foods, status of individual, nutrition, psychological profile (i.e., stress). Absorption rate, though, is constant. Animal proteins are absorbed at a higher rate (95%), whereas vegetable proteins are absorbed below 95%, possibly 75-90%. Fats are generally absorbed at the rate of 95% and carbs at 97%.
  5. I’m curious as to how supplement companies make time-released vitamins work?
  6. A) There are many ways that companies produce “time-released capsules.” One of the most predominant is the use of wax. The capsule itself is a gelatin (gelatinous compound) that will dissolve quickly in the stomach. The entire batch of pills is then sprayed with sugar or carbohydrate. This batch is separated, 1/3 sugar coated, and the remaining 2/3 of the batch is then coated with a waxy type substance. This batch is divided into a 1/3 and the remaining batch is covered again with another coating of wax. The idea is that the sugar coated batch, or 1/3 of the tiny pills in the capsule, will be released in the stomach (as the gelatin capsule is dissolved), quickly releasing the “vitamin.” The remaining 2/3 batch or the waxy coated pills will take a bit longer to dissolve. Of course, this is calculated to the degree of coatings or thickness of the wax, i.e., the greater the waxy coatings, the longer the time of dissolving.
  7. Some authorities on nutrition (the late Vince Gironda) say that it is a good idea to take vitamin supplements for 4 to 5 days consecutively, then cease taking any vitamin supplements for at least 72 hours. Why is this recommended, and what is metabolically happening in the body during this time?

A). I am familiar with Vince Gironda’s theory. However, that is an ambiguous statement. For example, if you are deprived of any of the water soluble vitamins for up to 72 hours, your storage water soluble pool will become depleted. Serious metabolic consequences will occur as a result. Another consideration is that one may adapt to megadoses of vitamin C, for example. If the body does adapt to a larger-than-normal vitamin C requirement, once this supplemental is discontinued, deficiency symptoms may occur. Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are not subject to temporary inadequacies/deficiencies in the daily diet. However, this does depend on normal nutrition status.

  1. What are some definite things a bodybuilder (male or female) can do to lower his or her metabolic set-point in order to gain muscle bodyweight?
  2. A) Personally, I wouldn’t advise anyone to seek ways to lower their metabolic rate. If you wish to gain weight, then employ the correct exercise/diet plan. However, metabolic rates will fall during periods of sustained physical inactivity. The weight you would gain, therefore, would be adipose tissue while your muscles would atrophy.
  3. What can a person do to speed up the metabolic set-point in order to lose bodyfat?
  4. A) Recent studies indicate that aerobics (especially cross training of such) will increase the BMR for a period of up to 72 hours. Thus, a regular workout of 3 days or more per week will keep the BMR higher than normal.
  5. If a bodybuilder is decreasing his or her daily caloric intake by 1000 calories (this has been determined to be the maximum that one can decrease in a daily diet to ensure losing maximum bodyfat without much muscle tissue loss), then a problem arises in the following hypothetical example.

A hard-working bodybuilder weighs 200 lbs. and takes in 4000 calories to maintain his present weight. Deciding to lose 10 lbs., the bodybuilder decreases his caloric intake by 1000 calories (to ensure the loss of 2 lbs. of bodyfat a week and no more) to 3000 calories.

Five weeks into the bodyfat weight loss plan, a new 190-lb. bodyweight is achieved. The bodybuilder has reached is goal successfully. Great, but a problem arises in that a 190-lb. bodyweight utilizes an average of 3800 calories. The bodybuilder, after using 3000 calories a day diet, must now increase back up to 3800 calories to maintain a new bodyweight. How can he do this without gaining the 10 lb. loss back?

  1. A) When the bodybuilder “achieves” his desired bodyweight of 190 lbs., 3800 calories should, with everything constant, maintain his 190 lbs. while in the state of weight reduction. Let’s say he wanted to go to 180 lbs. He would then reduce his caloric intake to 2800. Once his desired bodyweight is achieved, then approximately 3600 will “hold” his present 180 lbs. of bodyweight.
  2. Does the above have something to do with a new established metabolic set point?
  3. A) No! The set-point is a theory that focuses in on your body’s system of holding a bodyweight at a particular set point such as 190 lbs. Workouts targeted aerobically will elevate the set to a higher point, thus burning more calories at the basal metabolic level. The above question refers to calorie maneuvering, not metabolic maneuvering.
  4. Is the metabolic set-point a key factor as to why some individuals can’t seem to lose even 5 lbs. of bodyweight (be it bodyfat, muscle, or water) after being on a 1000 calories a day reduction for weeks?
  5. A) I agree with studies done on the BMR that will lower according to calorie intake. Factors that will influence resisting weight loss are the standard (1) activity, (2) number of fat cells, standard number at birth, (3) reduction of caloric intake.
  6. It is stated for health purposes that a woman should not drop below 1200 calories per day when on a fat reduction diet. How would this work for a female who is only 110 lbs. and takes in 1300 to 1400 calories to maintain this bodyweight? In other words, if this person’s desire was to lose 3 to 5 lbs., she most certainly could not reduce her caloric intake by more than 200 calories to meet the above 1200 minimum, and in doing so, she might only experience slightly less than a 1/2 lb. drop in body weight a week. Overall it would take her 6 to 10 weeks to lose on a program of this nature.

It seems that the guidelines of dropping 1000 calories per day to lose a pound a week would vary greatly depending on the sex of the person involved and their bodyweight and caloric needs. Likewise, it is recommended that a male not drop below 1500 calories per day when on a fat reduction diet. If the bodybuilder in question 24 had dropped down to 1500 calories per day from the 3000 he was at when he was losing a pound of fat a week, he most surely would have lost much in the way of muscle tissue rather than fat stores. Can you clarify this existing problem? The problem being the rule of caloric intakes of 1200 for women and 1500 for men.

  1. A) The question of 1200-1500 for women and men respectively is a good basic guideline. The problem arises particularly for a woman in receiving the proper nutrients in a package of 1200 calories. Dropping below 1200 to 1000 or even 800 accentuates the problem. I believe that, for a short duration of say 6-8 weeks, a 1000 or even 800 calories could be adhered to safely. Supplements in the form of a quality multivitamin-mineral would elevate the nutrient intake to the normal RDA standards.
  2. It has been stated that 22% of a pound of pure muscle is protein. This is roughly 132 calories or 33 grams. Yet another reference says that there are 6 grams of protein per ounce in a pound of muscle, which suggests 384 calories or 96 grams per pound. This then would suggest that 66% of the calories of a muscle are protein. Which reference is correct?
  3. A) Actually, 22% would be an average % of protein. In reality, a muscle may range from 15-22% or higher depending on the strength and integrity of the muscle.
  4. How are the 12 nonessential amino acids produced in the body?

A). The nonessential, commonly called due to the fact that the body, specifically the liver, can manufacture these as needed. From the 8 essential amino acids, the body has the ability to put together the remaining 12 amino acids. Also, remember that it is relatively easy to acquire the 12 nonessential acids as compared to the essential 8.

  1. One gram or carbohydrate contains 3 parts water. Can this be simplified into a more acceptable example?
  2. A) A chemist’s view of a glucose (carbohydrate) molecule is composed of 24 atoms: 6 carbon, 12 hydrogen, and 6 oxygen, or C6 H12 O6. Thus, carbo (carbohydrate) contains 6 carbon atoms and 6 H2O atoms. When a pair of these are joined, one of the H and one of the OH are removed in the joining process, called condensation reaction; water is formed. Also, hydrolysis occurs when these 2 are split for energy release.
  3. How does the bodily physiology process determine that the reduction of 500 Kcals for bodyfat loss is to be taken from fat stores and not from muscle tissue (since the 500 Kcal reduction is so remarkably close to the number of Kcals in a pound of muscle)?
  4. A) This question is extremely good and challenging. There have been people who have been researching this for years because they’ve been trying to spare muscle tissue from deprivation and the body does tend to deprive it during the extreme diets. There is no doubt about it, and what they’ve been trying to do is, at least in Europe, we understand they’re working with new enzymes now that are supposed to stop the body from using its protein caloric intakes, and some of them use much more extreme examples than you do. It’s almost binge and starve things where one day a week they might go up to 40000 and the next day they go down to 3200.

Out in California, a couple of bodybuilders I know of were dieting, and one of them was using a system where he was just taking a steady amount of calories and at the time he was really trying to lose weight, so he was well down into the 1200 and 1300 calorie range, which was really silly for a person his size of 285 pounds, but he was doing it. Now, the other bodybuilder was using an alternate system where he’d diet at that rate for maybe three or four days out of the week, and he’d exceed it for maybe three or four days out of the week but never go above 3000. But the point is, the 285-pound bodybuilder did lose more weight than the second bodybuilder did over time, but that could have been because of genetic determinants rather than just any pat statement that I could make on the subject. But overall, I think, you can’t take it on a daily approach you have to take it on a weekly, monthly, yearly approach and then add up the total amount of calories. At least, that is what science says. Then you can have a determinant, but we’re not convinced that that’s necessarily true. I kind of think that, if you do oscillate stresses like that, you can promote some results and maybe some of them will be protein saving rather than protein depleting, and this stores, but they’re having mixed results with this. The body still seems to do this as much as it does with fats.

What I’ve read and what some people surmise is that, early on in our primordial past, the need for fat was something to see us through the lean times and was just as important as our muscle mass for that reason alone. And for that reason, it is somewhat protected, and what they are trying to do is beat that basic need. It is going to take some type of chemistry to do it, but we think they are on the right track, and if they get established what nutrients need to be taken to protect your protein levels and muscle tissues, then they’ve got the ideal weight losing tool there. But we cannot assume that a muscle only has 600, a pound of muscle only has 600 kilocalories. That’s incorrect. It has close to 2000, so we got to be careful with that. But you’re right; you know, as well as attacking fat it will attack the muscle but to a lesser degree. It will always go toward the fat at the cost of some of the protein tissues, especially as you come closer to your ideal weight, but even then it will still spare fat to some extent. It will keep a reserve of fat handy just in case of emergency needs. It’s interesting how we evolved that capacity.

  1. Some nutritionists state that by eating less, the basal metabolic rate will slow down in an effort to conserve more fat calories. Wouldn’t this be a problem for the somato type ectomorph who is trying to slow down his or her already fast metabolism? Wouldn’t this person even have a more difficult time gaining muscle weight because of this?
  2. A) When you go into diet, it does slow down your BMR to a certain extent. That’s been proven, but with an ectomorph, this normally isn’t a factor, because he’s not eating less, he’s trying to eat more. He’s already got a high basal metabolic rate, and we’re trying to exceed it willfully, so we are talking about quite the opposite things. One of the problems with him is to exceed his basal metabolic rate. We’re really going to have to pump the old food into him, and his system may not be that efficient at it. We’ve seen it happen that these types of ectomorphs can make some gains if we really do put the food and supplements to them. We heard of a seven-foot guy from Denmark who attended a major university in the States. The guy weighed 89 pounds, and in little over a year, the strength trainer got him up to 220 pounds just by basic bodybuilding procedures. He was about as ectomorphic as you can get. So it can be done, but the key thing here for the ectomorph is to dramatically increase his daily caloric intake and actually hurt his efficiency rather than help it. You want to hurt his efficiency in order for him to gain some bodyweight. The fat person is just too efficient to begin with, and that’s the whole problem with fatties.
  3. What is the minimal amount of daily complete proteins, complex carbs, and polyunsaturated fats a person can take in before the body is adversely affected? I am referring to the radical diets that the competitive bodybuilder sometimes follows.
  4. A) When we start getting underneath a person’s BMR levels, that’s when we’re starting to ask for trouble, because BMR levels are determinants of normal functions. The Soviets call this “delayed” restoration. You need to repair, rebuild, or replace, and when we start getting under our BMR levels for protracted periods of time, we’re asking for real serious problems. A bodybuilder has to do it two or three weeks, maybe four weeks at the longest, before a meet, and his system can take that kind of stress. But if you protract that stress of contest dieting over a long period of time, then you’re asking for all sorts of trouble. I would say that, before a person is adversely affected, that’s a determinant because that’s going to be different for every individual. They’re going to lose mass, and they can lose a lot of that.

Look at the World War II prison camps. People lived for years that way, but they were adversely affected. And incidentally, a lot of them gained back their mass, and that’s where anabolic steroids started coming into vogue during that period of time. A lot of them never really came back quite to the same as the extent before they were put through this ordeal by the fascists, so it is a problem but it’s not a tremendous problem if it’s done in short durations.

  1. What is the proper ratio of each nonessential amino acid to each essential amino acid in order for a person to receive optimum nutritional value?
  2. A) Well, this will be a first. I don’t know! I don’t have a clue, and the reason I don’t have a clue is because nonessential amino acids are produced within the body out of components of various free-floating amino acids that are available. So how can I answer such a question? The essential amino acids, granted, they are — some of their byproducts are some of those that are used in creating essential amino acids. But there are also other sources for this, and some of them are indigenous within the body because, remember, the body does a lot of protein resynthesis itself. So these aren’t directly attributed to the diet per se so here again I’ve been given a question that I can’t really answer properly.
  3. List the P.E.R. (Protein efficiency ratio) of the top fifty foods with milk and eggs being the top of the line and going from that point.
  4. A) You could do that with a book, and yd be better off to do it with a book. I don’t have that book in front of me. I’ve seen the tables; they list them all. I would suggest that, if there’s a university or even a high school nearby, you go see their nutritional person, even a hospital, and they’ll have these books that’ll list these foods in their order of value.
  5. One part salt (or sodium) holds 180 parts water. Can this be explained in simpler terms? For example, if one had a teaspoon of salt, how much water would be attached to this?
  6. A) I don’t understand how one part salt holds 180 parts of water. I don’t understand that whole concept at all. I presume they mean it retains 180 parts of water, and that’s not true. That’s one of those determinant things. That depends on the individual very much. Some people, e.g. colored people, retain salt at a much greater rate than do white folks simply because in their native country they used to sweat more. It was a mechanism to avoid losing salt in their sweat. It was so hot, they did used to sweat but they didn’t sweat out the same salt products that we would, and hence they evolved this mechanism where they retained salt, and this is one of the primary causes of some of the hypertension we see in some ethnic blacks vis-a-vis the Caucasians.

I don’t think you can state in this question that one part of salt holds 180 parts of water. I think that is an erroneous statement. I’d have to see some backup on that. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. That would mean one gram of sodium chloride would hold back 180 grams of water. Systemically, there might be something to it, but I’d have to see the research in order to be able to make any kind of intelligent assessment of that.

  1. Can a bodybuilder employ the nutritional concepts of carbohydrate loading/depletion and sodium loading together prior to an upcoming contest? If so, how might this plan be accomplished?
  2. A) Carbohydrate loading and depletion doesn’t have that much relevance to a bodybuilder. Those are things that you do for endurance-type events like marathon running and whatnot. They don’t really have any validity to a bodybuilder, and sodium loading is dangerous; it’s not something you want to do. For neurological reasons, it’s not something you want to do. You can cause some aberration and a whole bunch of calcium channel responses by doing this, and you can make a person subject to spasms and all sorts of muscular problems, too, including cramping. Carbohydrate loading and depletion is not advocated for a bodybuilder just coming up to a contest. There’s no point in it. It is primarily an endurance-building tool, it’s not a bodybuilding tool.

It just goes to show that the body will jump on anything that seems to work. Carbohydrate loading is used by marathon runners. What they do is they deprive themselves of carbohydrates to make their system more amenable to uptakes, and then a day before their big meet, they load up with the carbs, and their system will be functioning at peak efficiency, and it will absorb these carbs as they are running along and hence the theory, and it’s proving to be somewhat advantageous.

But sodium loading has a whole bunch of concomitant ills that make it just something you don’t want to do. I don’t know anybody who wants to do that unless they’re in an environment where they’re losing a lot of sodium through sweating. And, if so, this also doesn’t have much to do with bodybuilding unless you’re bodybuilding in a very damp environment, and then you can get that in your normal diet rather than loading it into yourselves. That’s like taking the salt pills that they used to use before really hot days out on football fields. They don’t do that any more simply because we found out that sodium has a lot of negative implications. But it is necessary and essential in moderate amounts (200-2000 milligrams) for a normal, healthy person who is not suffering from high blood pressure or hypertension.

  1. How is it possible that exercise suppresses the hunger factor by supposedly raising the blood sugar level when it is in fact exercise which depletes blood glucose and muscle glycogen levels during exercise?
  2. A) What happens in exercise is that the liver also supplies a lot of stores of glycogen that’s broken down into glucose, and this is put into the blood stream in response to a depletion of glucose and glycogen supplies in the blood and the muscles themselves. So that’s why this phenomenon takes place. Whats happening is the liver is simply pumping out its supply of glycogen and incidentally, after a few hours go by, the liver starts telling your, “hey, I want to restock.” So this phenomenon that exercise does prevent hunger is true, but it is only true for a certain amount of time, and then after that time, the liver starts saying, “feed me,” “feed me,” and you do.
  3. It has been suggested that starvation diets that include no accompanying high-intensity exercises will cause a loss in bodyweight of approximately 1/3 fat and 2/3 muscle loss. How soon after a starvation diet begins (10 days, one month, 92 days?) Does this process begin?
  4. A) The figures that you quote are very much the initial response to extreme starvation diets, later on in response, and there is no absolute determinant, because once again that depends on the individual. But I’d say probably within 30-40 days you’re getting a lot more efficient with your fatty acid metabolism and probably much before that time, so that ratio changes. Of course, it also depends somewhat on the activity of the individual, too, because there will be some protein salvation toward the latter stages of any starvation diet, and that’s a bona fide fact. You notice the body does try and protect a certain amount of protein mass, and at the loss of the fat, and that’s essential like unto death, although it will always save some fat like we mentioned earlier. It will always do that; again, one of its defense mechanisms.
  5. Just exactly how does the body protect muscle loss when diet is accompanied with high-intensity exercise as opposed to fat and muscle loss when no high-intensity training is followed?
  6. A) One of the mechanisms, and this is just theoretical, mind you, is that, when you’re working out and dieting, there’s a lot of byproducts that are produced, and some of these byproducts supposedly may put a chemical damper of sorts on the body’s tendency to go into attacks on protein or muscle mass because it reads this as, these things are being used and can’t be used as one of the sources of energy. That’s one of the theories that is used on this.

It’s been an observational thing with us that, if you have a bodybuilder who is training and dieting moderately, he tends not to lose the same degree of muscle mass as would be the case of an athlete who is dieting intensely and isn’t doing much. I surmise this response is due to the byproducts that are being built up in the system of the active athlete and that these byproducts spare his protein. Now, grant you, this is theoretical, but it seems to be plausible, doesn’t it?

Of course, if it’s a very severe diet where you’re cutting calories by 40-50%, well, then, this isn’t going to be in effect. You’re going to still have this problem with muscle mass loss, but maybe not to the same extent as you get with an individual who did nothing at all. But at this stage it still might not be to any great extent, the difference in terms of protein loss, during the initial phases. During the latter phases, it might not be so bad, though. I knew one strength athlete who once went from 322 pounds, as a super heavyweight, down to about 170 pounds, and that’s the truth, and at 180 he was still at about 14-15 percent body fat, and at 322 pounds he was 31 percent body fat. So it lets you know that even though he had lost all that great mass, he had lost a lot of muscle tissue, and it showed in his lifts accordingly.

Trying to spare muscle tissue from loss is one of the most difficult propositions, and that’s why I’m encouraged by research that’s going toward the enzymatic levels. I surmise that some day, probably 10-15 years down the road, they’re going to come up with a chemical that people an take, either orally or injectable, that will prevent some of those things we see with protein loss during dieting, and this will be a great boon, incidentally. It’s one of the things that they’re researching now; it’s right on the cutting edge.

  1. It is generally agreed that aerobic training of a minimum of 20 minutes per session will burn bodyfat and will continue to do so for several hours (4-6) later, while revving up the metabolic mechanics by as much as 25% over its norm. A question therefore arises: what type of bodyweight is lost if a bodybuilder (male or female) chooses not to follow an aerobic plan for fat reduction and opts to use anaerobic weight training only?
  2. A) I don’t necessarily generally agree with this question. It assumes that you have already burned off your glycogen and glucose supplies, which is highly probable in aerobic training, and that will cause you to go into fatty acid metabolism, which will persist for some time. But this assumes that you’ve totally depleted that supply or depleted it to such an extent that you evoke the fatty acid metabolism response, and this also assumes that you are not taking in any nutrients in the meantime that will replace your glucose and glycogen supplies. But even if you did, the fatty acid metabolism synthesis would already be started, but it could be halted relatively quickly.

As far as using anaerobic weight training to lose weight, that’s like using a hammer to pound in screws. There are better tools to use for it, that’s for sure. You’re not going to get the best results by using anaerobic weight training as a dietary aid for two reasons. One, it simply doesn’t burn off a sufficient amount of calories (though some would say it is better to burn calories through exercise than to restrict them from dieting). Two, it’s more or less made for building and not reducing, and here we’ve got an improper tool used for the wrong purpose. And three, we can’t determine what type of bodyweight is lost no matter what the person is using for a system that is adjunct to his diet. The primary concern here is diet and not exercise. Exercise is good, and it’s great, and as we were explaining earlier, it will add to the amount of calories you burn off over the course of a day or two. But it’s not significant compared to the body’s basal metabolic rate to begin with, as I said. You can maybe burn off 10-20% more calories than you normally would if you’re doing really incredibly intense activities, and I don’t care if they’re aerobic or anaerobic. It won’t be a different type of body fat that is burned off. It will be the same old body fat.

Of course, if you go into a state of intense dieting, and I’ve also mentioned this, before you can go into protein deprivation, which is common for the system to do. Its first response to starvation is to attack the stores of protein that are available, and usually these are stored in organs much like glycogen is; they’re stored in the bile form. But it’ll deplete these reserves during the initial phase of starvation while fatty acid metabolsim pathways are established and made more efficient.
42. What type of bodyweight (percentage of fat to muscle tissue) can one expect to lose on a high-intensity weight program combined with aerobic training?

  1. A) You have asked a question that can’t be answered here. The reason it can’t be answered is because you don’t throw into consideration the dietary factor that is happening. What type of bodyweight can one expect to lose on a high-intensity training program combined with aerobic training? Well, it depends on how many calories a person is taking in and the percentage of net fat to muscle tissue loss will also depend on what kind of diet a person is taking in, not only that but what their metabolic rate is and other genetic determinants, that make a pat answer to this question impossible.
  2. When a bodybuilder (male or female) is losing bodyfat, at what point of an existing bodyfat percentage (begins with 18% bodyfat and is nearing 9%) does this person actually go from losing subcutaneous fat (fat between the muscle and skin) to losing intercellular bodyfat (fat that is in the muscle fiber itself)?
  3. A) The loss of fat is always subcutaneous and intracellular. It’s not one or the other, and it’s not that we have a certain point where we switch over, as you are in a time of caloric deprivation and these sources of energy are going to be drawn upon from all fat stores, and these can be stored subcutaneously or intracellularly. I’ll tell you, subcutaneous fat stores immediately under the skin are some of the slowest to go, though, and hence you have a lot of people who may have been 18, even 30% bodyfat, and they get their bodyweight maybe down to 8 or 10% bodyfat. Well, they have a real problem — loose skin and a lot of adipose tissue under it. Those are called the apparent cells, and those things, they don’t ever really totally go away. The number of cells remains relatively constant so that is one of the problems you get into when you have a person who used to be very overweight and then lost a bunch of it.

Incidentally, there isn’t that much intracellular muscle fat that is in the muscle cell fiber itself; we don’t get much of that. That statement there is unsubstantiated; there is a degree of it. In a very obese person, there is a greater degree than there is in a muscular person, but most of the fat stores are subcutaneous, and that’s the main problem, because you can remove all those fat subcutaneous stores but you will still have the apparent cells, and the apparent cells are the original cells that you had when you were a kid that you hypertrophied to begin with. Even though they are in a state of deprivation, they’re still there.

A Final Comment

I am sorry I couldn’t give more specific answers to some of the questions that were asked, but some of the issues within the questions didn’t have any specifics. Some of my viewpoints aren’t universally accepted. They are based on my personal research and view of the nutritional sciences.

I have never done things according to what the standard view was. I am an innovator, I like to think. So I don’t always accept what is written on a piece of paper as truth and I think this is of prime concern to anyone that’s going to enter into the iron game as a nutritionist, bodybuilder or strength athlete or perhaps as a personal trainer or bodybuilding coach. Having said that, I hope that you enjoyed reading; No BS Nutrition “Commonly Asked Questions” as much as I have had in writing it.