T Nation

Breakin' out the Ginsu Knives

Hey, Sisters and Brothers of T-Ness! That’s right, it’s time for Timbo to sharpen his Ginsu knives and make the deepest, most quality cuts of his life. For those thinking WTF, this is no longer the six-foot and a buck-sixty Timbo. Despite taking three-plus years to finally get my mass on, I’ve recently somehow managed to reach just about two benjamins (that’s 200-lbs for you English speakers) on the scale. Currently, I would not suspect my fat percentage to be greater than 8% (and 7-site skinfolds estimate 6%).

So, why the cut? Well, I’m telling myself that I just have to give it a go at my first Show. And it looks like there’s one just over 12 weeks away, so why not. In addition, I’d like to get in my best conditioning for a photo shoot, so I can: 1. submit pictures to modeling agencies, and 2. (more importantly) throw up some pics on the forum.

Last night I came across a reference to the David Boston thread, which led me to all the Coach Poliquin dieting threads. Good reads and very intriguing and also the inspiration for this post. While I was considering a lower carb approach for the upcoming pre-contest diet, I wasn’t really leaning towards a strict high-fat, ketogenic-type diet. I like lots of protein and lots of veggies, so this looks like it might fit the bill. I’d really like to get some specific feedback, and there seem to be a few individuals who I feel can offer me some valuable feedback. I recognize Tampa-Terry as Queen in this realm, and Monty is like Old (Lyle) McDonald’s farmhand, while Eric Cressey, JC (not our friend from N Sync) and Jason (I believe), as well as MBE, all have some quality experience here…all your comments/thoughts/opinions would be appreciated.

I’ve got a specific nutrition plan already in the works and will be happy to post it. My maintenance calories are easily upwards of 4K, but I think I’d like to start around 3200 and bring in refeeds every 4th or 5th day, which would entail only a meal or two (as opposed to a carb-up day) and consist of 200-300g of carbs. Protein is right around 1.75g/lb (complete), Carbs are at 111g (discounting fiber) and 41g discounting post-workout, while Fat grams are at 112g (14g fish oil, 1.5 tbsp flax, 6 capsules CLA). This brings ratios to 50% pro, 30% fat, 20% carbs. As far as post-workout, I am opting not to go the liquid route, but rather whole-food (i.e. low-carb Grow + oats and hydrolyzed whey). I am planning on going with BCAAs and glutamine during and immediately after training. I train on a two-on, one-off split for both lifting and cardio. When cardio and lifting fall on the same day, they are performed in separate sessions. Following the evening cardio session, I plan on eating a normal meal of protein, fat and fibrous carbs. All comments, opinions and questions are welcome, respected and appreciated. I look forward to the journey ahead and all assistance.

Do it up Timbo! I know you’re already a shredded mofo, but I know you want to be ultra shredded for competition. I don’t have much in the way of advice (you already know what I’d tell you), so I’m just going to say, “Get some!”

Just say no to keto. Patricia used to do the old carb deplete and then loaad BS, and every time she would come in flat. We know a few other competitors (one recently competed at nationals)who still use this technique. with the same result. They look great a couple of weeks out, but by the time they get on stage,someone let the air out of them. Definitely go with carb refeed, and also keep eating your red meat.

What Ko said. Also, I hope your cardio is more like HIIT. Cuz, that’s all I need to do to get “stage ready”. Another thing is: I maintain calories, “play” around with my carb intake (example: what I said in that “carbs at night” thread begun by char) and just increase my physical activity level. I’m already at a pretty low BF% (as you are) therefore, anymore “playing” around with my intake will make me lose LBM and eventually come in flat.

So...I increase my HIIT and posing - that usually works.

AWESOME, BABY!! I’m on my lunch break right now and read thru your post pretty quickly…I’ll be back on to chat with you later today.

Timbo, where are you located at? I’m in L.A. and I just got doing something really similar, had my photo shoot, and I just got my pictures back. I’m sending them out to a bunch of agencies next week, and hoping for the best. Once I find a scanner, I’ll post the best picture. Good luck man.

First off, I salute you for making 200…I remember you from the early or “SB” days and know what a challenge that was mentally with the whole lean obsession as I tend to struggle with. Second, I think it’s fantastic you have decided to compete. Maybe someday I will get the courage to do the same.

So you are considering a “Poliquin-style” diet I see? I have had great success with this approach as I am carb-intolerant largely due to attrocious eating habits for the first 18 or so years of my life. Have you ever done anything moderately low in carbs? If not, it is something you need to ease your way into. It took me about five or six tries to really nail it down. If you’re consuming the proper foods (and it looks like you will be, you should be fine.

I personally find carb-ups easier when restricting to one large meal. As I’m sure you also remember from the early days, I have problems with eating every 2-3 hours…much easier for me to overdo it that way.

I would be very careful about overdoing the cardio, particularly on a low-carb diet. You don’t want to burn up all that quality LBM it sounds like you’ve put on.

Hi, Timbo. Contest preparation is not my area of expertise, and with a contest at stake, it might be better to draw from experienced competitors.



With that qualifier out of the way, I’d recommend that you do a search on the forum for “contest preparation.” I’ve seen some interesting threads, where niacin was being discussed (for vascularity), the merits (and not) of glycerol, when to cut sodium out of the diet, when to carb up, etc. Timing is going to be everything, and in some cases, your “window of opportunity” might be a couple of hours, so you need to experiment WELL before the contest to learn how your body responds.



So explain one thing to me. You’re 12 weeks out, you’re carrying 16 pounds of BF total and need to drop 8 (worst-case scenario), probably less. Why do you even need to cut your calories or carb deplete? If you do the cardio and posing that Patrica recommended, if you lost 1/2 pound per week, you could be full (of glycogen, that is), strong and cut.



It’s obvious that you’re on top of your diet and that at this point you know your body. But I hate to see you cut your calories by 500 a day. That would amount to a loss of 1 pound per week. Too much when your body fat is as low as it is. You’ll lose muscle too.



Additionally, there was an article a couple of months ago about whether glutamine was effective or not at protecting LBM. The consensus was that it was not and probably a waste of your money. Check out Issues 230 and 231 and come to your own conclusions.

I greatly appreciate all your comments and advice thus fat. I hope that you continue to drop knowledge bombs on me and support me as I progress on in my Journey of Excellence. That said, I want to address a few things:

Nate Diggity Dogg…bro, you have done more than you think. I’m quite keen on catch-phrases and key words, and your “Get Some” could very well be the one that takes me through the next 12 weeks and on to the stage. Quality, bro. Thanks for your support.

K.O…I really don’t see this as a keto–and if it would be classified as such, it’s very “loose”. I see it more of a low-carb approach and you’ll see that it’s got JB principles of meal combining pretty much built in, albeit it with a higher protein intake. I shall maintain the refeeds, as I think these will be protein sparing and keep my head on straight during the dieting. They will have to be rather strictly oriented, though, because I really cannot play the hunger game–it does not ever stop. As far as frequency, I’ll probably play around a bit, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be about every 4th or 5th day (if not 3rd) and only for a certain number of carbs in the evening hours. Red meat will be included daily.

Trish…thanks for your response. I already practice posing after training and in the evening–I’m full of myself:-) Cardio is HIIT style, as that’s the only way I know how. Actually, more times than not, I’ll just skip intervals altogether and go balls-out as long as possible. As long as heart rate is 82% HRR and higher, I know I’m kickin’ tail. However, I’ve been using the Stairmaster lately, and it seems that I’ve just about “maxed it out,” so I might need to deviate. What are your suggestions (i.e. running? at what intensity? etc.)? Thanks, Trish, and I look forward to your guidance as the day approaches.

Brent…hella sweet, bro. Throw 'em up ASAP! I’m actually in Central Texas (Austin). I’ll probably look into agencies around the area to Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Monty…last but certainly farthest from least:-) Oh, the Skinny Bastard Files are very prominent in my memory bank. Still have hardcopy prints of them. Keeps me honest. Thanks for all the kind words and I’m really looking forward to your expertise with these types of diets, my friend. I’m probably about as far as they come from being carb intolerant. But, I think this route might be worth a shot. Hell, I’ll never know if I don’t give it a go. I think JB mentioned in a column recently that guys like Lee Haney and Co. felt that low-carb hell was like 200-250g. Well, I probably fit in that boat too–as I’ve never gone more than a day or two in the 100s. I’ll keep close tabs on my physique, bodyweight and energy levels. If things start to make turns for the worst rather quickly, then I’ll adjust. It’s all about assessment and adjustment. I’ll bump up the cals and/or decrease energy expenditure, though I’d prefer the former prior to the latter.

Thanks again, all, for your assistance up to this point. Stick with me, though, because I’m sure I’ll more challenges and questions ahead that only my fellow Sisters and Brothers in T can help me conquer.

I’m going to post a sample diet and also my training split. Feel free to comment and add criticisms.

What are your thoughts on sodium loading and depleting? It has worked for me, also it worked for my friend he took second in the Musclemaina in 1999 (bataman weight class). Also I think Ron Harris does it also.

Okay, kids, here’s some more stuff to play around with–thanks a bunch. I know this is getting rather long-winded:-)

Here’s my training split:
(Note: all lifting performed in the AM, all cardio in the PM–for now)

Day One: Chest and Biceps (Cardio)
Day Two: Quad-Dominant and Calves
Day Three: Cardio and Abs
Day Four: Back and Triceps (Cardio)
Day Five: Shoulders and Hip-Dominant
Day Six: Cardio and Abs
Day Seven: Repeat

Here’s a sample meal plan for a day when both lifting and cardio are planned:

Meal 1 (5:30am): 5 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 scoop LC Grow, 200g Spinach
Train at 6:30am During Training: consume 10g Glutamine (and will add BCAAs at 10g also) during training
Immediately Post: 1 scoop VP2 hydrolyzed whey, 10g Glutamine, 10g BCAAs
Meal 2: 1 scoop LC Grow, 1 scoop VP2, 1 cup oats
Meal 3: 150g Salmon (cooked), mozzarella, 200g broccoli
Meal 4: 150g Chicken breast (cooked), 200g spinach, 1/2 tbsp flax
Meal 5: 175g 99% lean ground turkey breast (cooked), provolone, 200g cauliflower, 1/2 tbsp flax
Meal 6: 175g Super Lean ground beef, provolone, 200g broccoli
Meal 7: 1 cup cottage cheese (fat-free or low-fat), 1 scoop LC Grow, 200g cauliflower

*All meals besides post-training and Meal 2 have 3g fish oil and 1g CLA. This adds up to 5.4g EPA/DHA + at least 2g from Salmon. Also, 6 caps of CLA provides about 4.8g of conjugated linoleic acid.

Daily totals:
Calories: 3050
Protein: 397g (350g complete) (~50%)
Fat: 96g (~30%)
Carbs: 140g including fiber; 95.5g discounting fiber; 37.8g excluding oats post-workout (~20%)

T-Rock: Hella Strong and Confident

One day I hope to compete in the Batman weight class as well.

Hey Timbo…skinny bastard here…same as you 6’0" and 165 shooting for 200. been reading tmag for a little over a year, and on the forum for only a little while, so not up to date with where you started. how’d you do it man? embarking on my first massive eating plan this weekend…is that what you did? any roids? you did it in 3 years, right? love to find a bud who started out where i am and ended up where i want to be. any advice is much appreciated.

hey man, good job by the way.

While I was composing my mini-novels, it appears that I missed an important post. TT, thanks so much for joining in the fun. Whether you claim contest preparation as your expertise or not, your thoughts and opinions BEST be appearing on my thread, or else (wink, wink). Good call on the search for contest prep threads. This one went by me, and I shall now investigate. I know that the skeptics remain regarding glutamine supplementation–even JB, my self-proclaimed mentor, is now hopping to the other side of the fence–I’ve got a decent supply, and I don’t think it can hurt anything at this point. I completely see your point–and Trish’s–about cutting calories and making any drastic changes. However, and you allude to this as well, this is my first go-round. So, what if I’m good-to-gizz-o with four to six weeks left? Maybe that would give me time to fool around with some things that I might not otherwise get a chance to do if I timed things such that I peaked “on time.” By that I mean, I could actually have a mini pre-contest or something of the sort. I’ve done one photo shoot in the past, and I approached it like a practice contest. With JB’s guidance, we did some things with water and carb-loading. Well, carb-loading for three days (and I’m not talking pee-wee carbs…on the order of 800-1000g per day) didn’t do me a bit of justice! I was flat and depeleted. One final bit. While it may seem that I have my diet in order, this is actually far from the truth. My food choices have and always will be solid, but I have had very, very little focus and control on sticking to my plan. I now have a concrete goal and solid mindset (i.e. “Get Some”), but I have nasty little thoughts still clouding me in the back of my mind. I guess I’m also just out there wanting to “try” something. You see, TT, I’ve NEVER had to diet before–since I joined the bodybuilding lifestyle (prior to it, though, I had some rather unfortunate “issues” that led to my Skinny Bastard dilemma). It’s always been an uphill struggle for me to pack on the mass. So, we shall see. I do look to you and company for continued guidance and support. And I guess I’ll never know until I give it a whirl. Thanks a bunch, TT.

So, uh, DocT…is there a Robin weight class in that competition? Or would you be going up against a bunch of Riddlers and Jokers?

Why do you have to pick on me all the time?!?!? What did I do to you? All, I did was to express my opinon on an open forum. I didn’t bad mouth anyone in here. So, we disagree on certian issues. I am not here to make friends or enemies. Just here to help out any way I can.

Man too bad Whopper’s not around to see the “formerly scrawny bastard” Timbo up to 200 lbs. Has it been that long already? Anyway Timbo, just curious what % of bodyfat you were at in that shot that used to be on Nate Dogg’s website? For a high intensity cardio routine you can do something like Fartlek running…sprint 100 at about 70% max speed, slow jog 50 yards repeat 12-20 times. Or get out and sprint multiple 100’s at 70% with a 25 yard walk in between each one and a 1 minute break after each 4…20-30 total sprints. The key to the high intensity cardio whether outdoors or on equipment is not to try to go too fast otherwise it will drain your nervous system and hamper recovery.

Timbo, I got nuthin’ to add to the good advice you’ve already received. I’m with Kelly, though - DAYUM, has it been that long…?


As for your keyword for the pre-contest blitz, not to take anything away from Nate Dogg, but I think we can do better than “get some”. In fact, I think that the world is ready to see the unveiling of … the TIMBONATOR! Bwa ha ha ha haaaaaa!


(Just trying to repay the favor, bud. You know what I’m talking about.)

Beautiful, man, just beautiful. I’m getting ready to go hit the iron as I type, and I’ve got all this positive feedback and support…it’s just phenomenal, guys. Thanks so much!

First, I am going to being communicating with a friend in the next couple of days, who has experience with competition, so this should provide some insight into my nutrition. As I was speaking with him last night–via the Internet–we talked about nutrition around the workout. Now, I strongly advocate (to others) the importance of during and post-workout nutrition, but this is something that I would pretty much eliminate with the aforementioned plan. So, I think I might actually be doing myself an injustice by doing so. I’m going to rework some things and I’ll be sure to post any changes for discussion.

JDav...Oh, man, you've got the SB Syndrome, eh? Well, despite my search for a magic bullet, and my deep desire to pack on massive amounts of muscle while remaining completely shredded at 3-4% fat...it just doesn't work. I heeded the advice of my fellow T-family and continued to train balls-to-the-wall (intelligently) and the major change came in my diet. All I did was eat, and I think I redefined Massive Eating. JB once told me I would NEVER grow until I was eating at least 5000 calories EVERY day. Well, for about 6 months I was averaging between 4500 to 6000 calories on a daily basis. And that's what took me to the top. No 'roids, no prohormones, no fancy supplements...just a whole lotta grub--damn expenesive to eat that much! You can do it too, bro, and we're here to help. I've come to the conclusion, though, that I do have some freaky genetics, so that helps.

Kelly…hey, my man! Always good to see and talk with ya. Actually, I ran into Whopper (aka Wardog) on another forum, so he’s in the know, and quite proud actually. I’m going to do a little more research on the Fartlek running, but it sounds quality. I’d probably opt for the treadmill. I’ve actually had a VO2 max test done not too long ago, so I should have some good baseline data to go by. Kel, my fat percentage was probably on the order of 3-4% in that photo. Considering how “fat” I feel now–and there’s no way in hell that I’m any greater than 8 or 9%–I really can’t fathom how lean that was. When I first got down here to Texas in August, I actually had an underwater weighing assessment “clock” me in at around 1 or 2%

Char-Dawg...the Timbonator? I'm not sure about that one, but I've got nothing but love for you, big man, you know it. I've actually coined one a while back that I like: T-Rock. But if you can help me dig up a phrase, that'd be sweet, my man. I'll never forget the day we invented "Char-Dawg"! What did you used to go by, Char?

Fitone, don’t get your panties in a wad. It was a joke.

Yo Timbo (say that fast enough, it sounds like "Yojimbo):

Cool. I think your plan is purtee sound. When I'm in precontest mode, I also perform HIIT sessions in the PM. However, no stairmaster. I despise the stairmaster! Occassionally, it'll be the row machine if I'm in the gym, but more than likely now it'll be heavy bag, jump rope - and boxing training. As the contest nears, I begin relying more on posing than HIIT so that by two weeks out, I'm posin' nightly (and in the gym, during training). As for diet, I do watch my starchy/fibrous carb intake and adjust accordingly. I'm more keen to making sure I'm eating enough protein. I tell you what, the week of my contest, I'm usually eating either a whole chicken or a couple of steaks a day. My metabolism, and I'm sure yours will be, is like a furnace the week of a show. And you have to take into account daily stresses besides the stresses of contest prep that may make you do what I do: drop ALOT of weight between a Tuesday (week of contest) and the morning weigh-in. So, WATCH it, dude! Also, three weeks out from one particular contest, I had eaten half pizza and 2-pieces of peach cobbler. Man, I looked SO good that week and mentally/physically that meal helped me out so much so, that by contest day, I was pretty ripped (a photo of me backstage at that show is in the photo gallery).

I'm excited for you! First contest? Is this a NPC show?

fitone: I will be following the advice that was given in a thread about sodium loading with WSTRAINER and Thunder. Some good info in that one.