T Nation

Got a Question for Shelby Starnes of Troponin Nutrition?


Attention TMUSCLE readers!

Virtually every successful bodybuilder or fitness model has a top-notch diet coach in their corner.

Physique competitors employ them to take all the guess work out of their nutrition plan. They just want to focus on doing the lifting, and let the coach tweak the diet to get them into their best shape possible.

Now these coaches aren't your garden variety nutritionists that tell you to eat your fruits and veggies every day. These guys are more like masters of macronutrient manipulation, and people pay big bucks for their services....

...or read TMuscle.

Shelby Starnes of Troponin Nutrition has agreed to take some nutrition questions from readers for a new column here at TMuscle. Whether it's diet tweaks, contest prep tips, or what to wear when you're baking that gluten-free chocolate lava cake; Shelby will take some of the best ones for his column.

(Note, questions that could benefit everyone are always the best.)

So hop on board and fire away at one of the best food-minds in the business!

  • Bryan


I don't have a question at the moment, but just wanted to say whats up and thanks to Shelby for giving TMUSCLE some love. BTW Shelby, your ass was shredded at the North Americans... literally. The glute striations were insane.


Here's a doozy...

what do you do with a painfully thin guy who when he starts eating more calories puts on body fat at a terrible ratio to his muscle gain.

let's say for every pound of muscle he gains he puts on a pound of fat... AT BEST. and even two pounds of fat for every pound of muscle.

and let's say this is a guy who only eats carbs around his workout and has his protein up at 1.5 grams/lbm.

he lifts weights four days a week... carbs only peri-workout. on the three off days he has zero carbs and does 30 minutes fasted cardio in the mornings.

his weight routine is mainly compounds (floor press, pull ups, chin ups, t-bar rows, zercher squats, SLDL) and a couple sets of isolation exercises to round it out.

he starts at 137 lbs at 5'11"... and as i said, at best he can put on a pound of muscle per pound of fat... and it seems like it's all on his lower abs (cortisol?).

i mean everyone thinks that skinny guys should just "shut up and eat"... and there are many cases where that works phenomenally. i believe one T-Nation author called it "Easy Hard Gainers"... these guys are skinny and ripped, if they start eating a ton they put on loads of muscle and not much bodyfat...

but it seems most people around these forums like to pretend there is no such thing as the skinny/fat guy who does not have a super fast metabolism and gains fat just as quick as an endomorph... but with less muscle gain.

so back to our guy... he's 32 so time (and hormones) aren't on his side.

what do you do for such a genetic reject?


I have a question.

Shelby, welcome to the boards. I actually work with a guy named Mike Demeter who speaks very highly of you. Anyways here's the question. When working with your clients, how do you keep their mindset in the right zone? I find sometimes with many clients, as well as myself, it can slip. And when it slips, it's very defeating. What are some tips that can keep a strong mindset and having the right idea of how hard it really is preparing for something like a contest?



Assuming you track macros, would it make a difference body comp wise if you were to get your carbs from "unclean sources" (pancakes, bread, sugar, what have you) compared to sweet potatoes, oatmeal, rice, etc?
Assuming carb amount stays the same.


Good question.


I have a question regarding post workout nutrition. Previously I never really put much thought into post workout nutrition, and pretty much just followed the protocol of eating every three hours. So I guess the question is what's your take on post workout nutrition? Do people put too much thought into this?


I will jump on this train.

Shelby hands down what it the best way to eat to loose fat and maintain mass. Carb cycling, Keto, Cyclical Keto, etc

and why?


No question right now, but I'll be looking forward to the column. Great to have him on board!



Thanks for offering your time. I'd like to know if you suggest supplemental antioxidants to your athletes or clients and if so how much and in what circumstances. Harmful or helpful? Do you feel it matters one way or another? Thank you very much.


&ADoes anyone know when Shelby will be kicking off this Q thread?


It wouldn't make any difference.


Shelby is the shit, I can personally testify.



What value do you believe fruit has as a carb source in a person's diet?

From reading the Macronutrient Guidebook it appears you advocate separating carbs & fats, so all meals should fall under the P+C or P+F rule. However, is the rule more of a general guideline or is it a universal rule? For instance, would a whey + oatmeal + peanut butter shake be an exception, and how would adding a banana or other fruit to the shake affect your opinion?

Could you explain the reasoning behind your aversion (the guidebook only lists lean cuts of meat) to saturated fat? Does this pertain to body composition and/or possible health ramifications?

What are your thoughts on the merit of eating 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight? The guidebook seems to favor lower (read: lower, not low) protein consumption and generally higher carbs, even on low-moderate days, following the carb cycling approach. Why is this?

Also, it appears comparatively to carbs you use less amounts of fats, including the healthy fats from nuts and so forth. Is this correct? If so, how come?

What role do you see BCAA's play in a person's supplementation?

Is there any one practice in a person's diet you see people commonly fail at (i.e. not enough greens, et al)?

Thanks for your time.


good questions from kyle.

to expand on the BCAA one, what supplements to you reccomend as, say 'very useful', 'useful if you have the money', and 'waste of time'; and why?