T Nation

Eating and Strength

#1

I may have asked this in the past. What’s your opinion on eating healthy vs take out as far as strength goes. I’m eating like 2-3 times a day. 1-2 times are almost always take out and the 3rd is a weight gain shake. Anyone notice big strength gains from changing their diet drastically?

#2

Yeah I definitely see differences.

Having mostly take out as the bulk of my food intake definitely allows me to put some serious weight on the bar. Espeacially if it’s something carb loaded, But it’s a bit of a fine line. Being a woman, certain choices wreak havoc on my menstrual cycles, fast food in particular. If my periods are messed up, so is my training.

A cleaner diet means an easier menstrual cycle from month to month, which means steady training, and not unmanageable hormone fluctuations, but sometimes I can fall short on calories by over 500, and that can take away from my performance In the gym. Sometimes I struggle getting in 3,000 calories of the cleanest food choices I can find, versus 3,000 calories of fast food I can eat before it’s even lunch time.

I put on weight far easier from fast food though. It’s great concerning my squat and deadlift, but even an extra 10-15lbs of fat really fucks with my leverages on Deads, mostly in the stomach/trunk area.

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#3

Pulling 800 natty on fast food.

I’ve never hated myself so much.

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#4

Renaissance Periodization mike israetel and co rank the importance of things in diet for athletic performance:

1.Calories
2.Macros
3.Timing

And then food composition comes in 4th in importance

I think if you got the top 3 you are 90% there. But given you’re at that high level already maybe optimising everything for an extra 5-10% would be worth it for you

To be fair it’d be pretty hard to hit your macros eating fish and chips exclusively but say like chipotle or some takeout but still healthy food selections it shouldn’t make much of a difference vs organic, home cooked, free range grass fed etc.

A caloric surplus will improve performance, make more muscles/gains vs a deficit but depending on your body composition goals this might not be what you want. What made a difference for me was counting macros to get as many calories in as I can while still losing weight.

Macros self explanatory.

Nutrient Timing might be something that can make a difference for you. I don’t think it’s a big boost though. Maybe a 5% difference but at a high level like yourself might be worth it to get that little bit more. It is pretty much: protein spaced evenly throughout the day with meals containing enough protein, carbs around workouts, fats away from workouts. For more info look up RP on YouTube

Edit: also hydration

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#5

4,000 calories of steak, eggs, rice, and potatoes is a hell of a lot different from 4,000 calories of fat from a cheese burger.

That said calories are largely calories but if your macro’s are all fucked up then eventually it’s going to hamper your progress.

Depending on the “Fast” food you’re eating it could be fine. There’s a difference between a deep fried burrito with a cup of guac and nacho cheese inside it and a burrito with grilled chicken and pico.

When my diet is in check I feel great and strong all the time. When it’s not I can perform lifts optimally but I can tell it’s holding me back a bit in other areas.

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#6

I know of two others personally that have hit over 800 eating a lot of fast food. One sometimes ate McDonald’s 3x a day.

One was natural when he hit 800, but on gear for 900. The other on gear the whole ride

#7

Man I’d say check out Brian Shaw’s pod cast with stan efferding. In it he talks about taking on thors diet and using his vertical diet. At the time Thor was middle of the pack ranking 5-6th. He points out that they didn’t change his training, gear etc only got his diet on point. He went from middle of the pack to winning every comp since aside from the first one he entered after Stan took over and he placed 2nd under Brian Shaw, (who is also Stan client) in that one.

I figure at top levels proper nutrition is the game changer if it’s not on point and like someone said may only be 5-10% difference but top levels may be all it takes to be ranked 1st vs 5-6th

#8

Eating at least some junk definitely seems to help! Some of my best gains have often been through periods of eating plenty of calorie dense ‘naughty’ foods.

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#9

Do you really believe that? Stan has some different AAS protocols from the “traditional” methods, that is the non-food ide of the vertical diet and has a lot more performance-enhancing potential than beef and white rice. The vertical diet is 90% marketing hype.

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#10

As long as you are eating sufficient total calories and not doing keto or something like that then the biggest things relating to performance and recovery are going to be protein and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). As far as protein, if you are bulking or maintaining weight then you should be eating at least 0.8g per pound of bodyweight, more than that if you are cutting. Eating “whole foods” or “eating clean” and that kind of thing just makes it easier to get enough micronutrients without excess fat and carbs. If you live off of chicken nuggets and fries you will have problems.

One thing though, soybean oil (aka vegetable oil) causes inflammation due to high polyunsaturated fat content, eating a lot of fried foods from restaurants (which nearly all use soybean oil) is not going to be good for your health. Hard to say if it will cause any effects in the short term, but overall you need to stay healthy to get stronger.

Unless you live in a tropical climate and spend a lot of time outside, you would probably benefit from supplementing with vitamin d. For some reason in North America they say to take 1000iu per day but in Europe it’s 4000 and there are studies saying up to 8000 has further benefits. I started taking more vitamin d a couple years ago and I only got sick once with a mild fever since then, I used to get sick several times every winter. I would say that’s definitely worth taking.

#11

Stan Efferding voice “sounds like you need to get Vertical”

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#12

Thor was winning Eurpore’s and getting on the podium of WSM before Stan. I would say the big difference came when he took over the role of The Mountain on GoTs, brought in more from doing ads and starting playing nicer with sponsors.

This gave him far more income to buy a better protocol to really tap into his ungodly genetic potential - his knee and elbow joints make other strongmen look like boys.

#13

I can’t deny his genetics are on a different level. But at the same time proper nutrition does play a big roll. Maybe in the pod cast stan is just underselling other changes made as a whole to promote his own marketing of his product as well. But Thor isn’t the only person using his methods either and site improvements , Shaw being another who benefited from them.

I’ve always thought that thors GoT money and having a nice influx of sponsorship has played a major roll in his improvement as well. I think it allowed him to focus. And I know he was winning or comps in Europe etc but when it came to the top ppl in the world at the Arnold and WSM he wasn’t placing but middle
Of the pack. I think everyone even partially a fan of strongman knows those 2 are the biggest shows.

#14

There could be other things that effected his rise greatness. Namely having the funds from acting and sponsors etc. I was just siting what stan said. He may have been just marketing but Brian seemed to completely agree with him that good timing and what he was eating had changed his game over the years too.

I mean we can disagree with whether nutrition is important and can make that big of a difference I just tend to agree with ppl that have results and titles.

#15

Depends. Do you want to get as strong as possible or as strong as possible in a SPECIFIC WEIGHT CLASS (aka, a better wilks).

There seems to be two schools of thought in the powerlifting world: 1) Body composition really matters (new school). Try to keep your body fat down, while packing on the muscle and filling out your chosen weight class as efficiently as possible. Or 2) Say fuck it, eat everything in sight and see the weight on the bar go sky high. Granted, at the expense of faster bodyweight gains (old school).

Most of the people I know, made there best gains when they just ate everything in sight, gained weight and kept seeing the weights on the bar go up.

Likewise, most of the guys I know who try to aim for a specific weight class, end up spinning their wheels and plateau constantly.

What I can say is that (at least for naturals), the majority of guys in my gym lifting the heaviest weights tend to be those carrying the heaviest bodyweight (also carrying the most fat as well). Not lean by any stretch of the imagination. But this usually tends to be what I observe.

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#16

Have you read the vertical diet PDF? The whole thing is a marketing scheme, he is working with Costco and the Cheesecake Factory plus he is part owner of a medical company that does blood work.

It’s nothing but beef and rice with a little bit of fruit and vegetables. Is there something special about that? All the stuff about orange juice to stimulate your liver and cranberry juice for your thyroid are only relevant for steroid users because the drugs give them those issues.

The main point of the diet is to be able to eat enough calories without having digestive issues. There are pictures of Brian Shaw pre-VD sitting on the toilet eating a pizza. If you don’t have digestive issues and don’t need massive amounts of calories then there is likely no benefit to this diet.

#17

Thanks for the responses guys. Sorry been busy over the weekend cutting some trees down in my backyard. Seeing a few different answers here. My main goal would be to go after the tested wrapped total and deadlift at 181. Then move to 198. I am wondering if eating cleaner could be the thing to help my lifts. Even 5% would make a huge difference like said above. Gym total - 1741 by comp standards to an 1830 almost. That would be insane.

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#18

Might not be literally 5% on your total lol. But if small boosts or a combination of small boosts would be worth it to you maybe look at optimising other aspects of your training/recovery like sleep, minimising outside the gym stress physics or otherwise, relax more. And all the little things that noobs or casual lifters are told not to worry about

#19

I would say that eating properly for your goals will get you better results than haphazardly eating random foods.

For example if you do better with low carb higher protein/fat don’t run around eating high carbs/low fat/low protein. And vice-a-versa.

  1. Diet
  2. sleep
  3. training
#20

Here’s a few questions for you:

Do you eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis?

Do you get at least 0.8g of protein per pound of bodyweight every day?

Those two are probably the most important for recovery and staying healthy aside from sufficient calories overall.

You said before that you have trouble gaining weight so you don’t really need to worry about a few extra calories here and there but too much fried stuff is not good so go easy on that. Chronic inflammation is not conducive to getting stronger.