Diet, Booze, and Sleep

Been trying to smash some iron for the last 3.5 years. Have hit some decent numbers as I’m at a master’s raw total. But, I’ve not gotten serious about nutrition, sleep or cutting booze.

Nutrition: I eat whatever I want but focus generally getting enough protein in, stay away from sugary foods, and pay little attention to fat (other than not eating fried foods).

Booze: Way too much red wine. I consider bottles to be single servings.

Sleep: 18.5" neck is trying to kill me, diagnosed with an AHI at 65 and O2 desaturation at 69. So I struggle here as I’m not always compliant with using my CPAP.

So curious. If I actually get my shit together with diet and sleep, how much of a difference would it make. Like, I’ll get newbie gains again? I’m sure some of you trained for a while, then took nutrition seriously so I’m curious about what kind of strides you’ve made

Literally night and day difference.


Diet: the most important things are sufficient protein (around 1g per lb. bodyweight) and total calories. Whether those calories come from fat or carbs doesn’t make a huge difference. Are you trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain?

Sleep: you definitely need to sleep, not sleeping enough on a regular basis can mess with your hormone production and obviously you won’t have as much energy.

Alcohol: in moderation it seems to be fine. Layne Norton has a video on alcohol and training where he says that he won several bodybuilding titles and competed at an international level in PL, setting records as well, while having one or two beers a day. If you are drinking relatively small amounts like him then you just need to worry about extra caloric intake. However, if you are drinking wine by the bottle then it will definitely affect recovery, past a certain level it will slow down muscle protein synthesis and you certainly won’t feel recovered if you wake up with a hangover. He says that once you “start to get drunk” you have had too much, but that is a subjective measure and drunk for some people means you can’t walk anymore and that kind of thing. There is other research (including an article on this site that I’m too lazy to look up) that suggest up to three standard drinks (12oz beer, 5oz wine, 1.5oz hard liquor) will not have any negative effects on a man weighing 180lbs., so you can base you limits on that. Personally, I have a couple of beers (maybe 3 max) now and then and I see no negative effects. I once went something like 6 or 8 months without a drink because I thought it would help my lifting and it made absolutely no difference. Just remember, alcohol = calories.

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Close the thread, that’s all there is to it.

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I’m not sure I believe the one or two beers a day thing especially when competing in bodybuilding.

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@ Reed, what is it that you changed? As in, did you cut booze out, or did you change from one kind of diet to another?

@Chris, I’m currently sitting at 210. I’m good at this weight, but like most more LBM and less fat at the same weight would be a welcome change. Without drugs I know is pretty hard if not near impossible to lose fat and add muscle at the same time unless you are a beginner, so I suppose I’ll need to lean out then do a low calorie surplus diet. I’ve read through most of bigger leaner stronger and it seems pretty straightforward as you have stated (around 1g to 1.2g of protein/lb bodyweight, good fats and plenty of carbs as long as I hit my calorie goal).

That’s what Layne Norton said he did. It’s not impossible at all, your calories aren’t going to only come from protein when cutting and a beer has a little over 100 calories. So let’s say 250 calories a day from beer and simply less carbs. If people can survive with keto then you could easily survive with 60g less carbs in exchange for 2 beers. Remember, alcohol in small quantities doesn’t have any significant effects.

Losing fat and gaining muscle can work for non-beginners in one situation: high volume training after a very low volume phase (after a meet would be ideal). Mike Israetel was saying exactly what you said and I mentioned that I had successfully re-comped after a meet by doing the above, he said that it could work because you would have a de-training effect from prolonged low volume training. So in other words, you become more responsive to training volume after a period of low volume (and preferably heavy, or you really will de-train).

Interesting note on body recomping. It seems an exception to the norm and only achievable for a short duration following a heavy training block.

It makes some sense. . . I’ll be sure to look into that after my next meet. But for now I suppose I’ll have to ramp up the protein and go into a slight calorie deficit.

Chris, any more information or a link to high volume training post low volume/heavy training for body recomping?

I changed everything. Never been much of a drinker but diet used to be pretty much what ever I wanted as long as protein was high enough. Switched to much cleaner, high protein, higher carb, moderate fat diet. I looked better, felt better, dropped a weight class, and increased my total. Improved my cholesterol and BP as well.


I believe that’s pretty much what’s advocated in BLS book: high protein, high carb, remainder moderate fat. Running the numbers, it seems I’d have to focus on lower-fat protein sources to meet my protein needs w/o blowing the calorie allotment.

Not that I can think of, but I remember Greg Nuckols talking about increasing responsiveness to volume by alternating phases of high volume and lower frequency with phases of lower volume and higher frequency. See if you can find anything on that.