T Nation

LL Prime Time Thurs 8-4-05


I'm here for discussion.

Got questions?


Lonnie -

I'm a FFB who's been slowly increasing my caloric intake. I've been eating very clean and coming in at ~ 3200 - 3400kcal a day. I'm following Temporal Nutrition and Massive Eating guidelines to a T. I'm 5'7", 140lbs (gaining quickly), ~ 11-12% BF. Here's my concerns (that seem to already be developing)...

Whenever I'm in a hypercaloric state, the significant amount of remaining fat cells/excess skin around my midsection re-expand. Literally, my waist size goes from a ~ 30 to a 32 or higher when I cycle off my standard FFB diet. My "usual" consumption is around 2000kcal a day, minimum 170g of protein, and less than 80g of CHO on non-training days, 150 or less on training days.

Am I doomed to having my waist bulge out and my pants no longer fit? I've been ramping up calories slowly and consistently, but the stength gains seem to be accompanied by significant re-expansion in the waist area, and it's making me hate my physique.



Mmm... My routine. Waterbury 10x3 3 times a week, 1 day for more show muscles or iso exercises I miss during the week. Low intensity Cardio everyday, and sometimes twice (I walk around 3 - 4 miles everyday day with 30lbs + of books). High intensity martial arts training 3 times a week.

Here's another question - my mother was diagnosed with hypothyroidism early in her life - could this be a possible catalyst causing rapid fat gain at hypercaloric levels despite "clean" eating. Even right now I'm coming in at under 200 CHO, all fruits and veggies with ~ 50g of fiber.


Although there are too many unknowns for me to responibly give you direct advice I can offer some information.

Most of what we see upon overeating is fat cell expansion (triacylglycerol storage). Hence, those who have more fat cells "expand" visually more. It's a difference from other people that a FFB should recognize.

A jump from 2000 to a whopping 3400 kcal is a LOT, even if ramped up over a few months. There's probably a happy medium where muscle growth can occur while minimizing fat storage. Muscle growth takes time - and is driven by slower processes (e.g. testosterone) than just added calorie load. With a normal intake of 2000kcal to maintain, adding 500kcal daily (now 2500) for two months of heavy lifting can allow for some assessment of real muscle gain.

Per-meal numbers are a helpful place to look. I have seen data suggesting that 30-50g fat per meal is pushing the "use it vs. store it" envelope. Similarly, the insulin response to carb intake is related to individual meal size. Sometimes it's necessary to increase daily meal frequency by one - using grams of carb and fat that have been taken from other meals.

Also, when low-carb/ higher fat diets aren't helping, it might be prudent to increase low GI carbohydrate (e.g. oatmeal) outside of exercise periods and add a some higher GI carbohydrate (e.g. a medium potato, a bowl of cereal, a sports drink) to the existing peri-workout intake. Beneficial endocrine results could occur.


My mom is hypothyroid as well - one reason I just had mine checked by an endocrinologist.

It might be worth an appointment (may need a referral by family doc) but you might want to be on a typical (for you) weight maintaining diet for a couple of weeks prior.


Dear Dr.LL,

My question is regarding natural rhythms of various hormones, bodily processes, etc. I think we can take as fact that:

i) the body is a homeostatic system

ii) the body has "natural" cycles with various hormones,etc

iii) The interaction between the whole system is dynamic and highly non linear

Again, this question is in regard to various "supplements". Let's say T, or caffeine, or whatever.

Given that we know for instance the testosterone has various peaks and valleys throughout the day - what are the consequences of eliminating those peaks (or at least substantially modifying them)via supplements or "juice"?

I mean, surely our bodies, given their millions of processes have A reason for the various cycles these hormones take throughout the day - it seems to me to be very foolish for people who "just don't feel well" to go on TRT, or to take "juice" or whatever.

The same argument applies to chronically elevating one's level of alertness hormones via stimulants, etc.

I guess what I'm saying is that I just find it almost implausable to believe that this type of modication could not have significant side effects whether they are known or not (by setting the system out of equilibrium if you like).

What are your thoughts on this ?

Am I just a worry wart ?



Hi again Dr. Lowery, how are you?
Still getting in kendo/iaido practise? Hope so!

My questions today are about Thalassemia, or more specifically, Thalassemia minor. Not sure if you know very much about it, but it's worth a try!

1) I've heard 2 theories on iron absorbtion with this disease - either it is hardly absorbed at all so one needs to eat a TON of iron containing foods to meet the required amount, or that it is absorbed too well and any excess iron left in the body is "hard to get rid of."

Do you know which one it is, if any? And what happens if a person consumes a large quantity of iron? As long as it isn't insane amounts, is the rest just, well, crapped out?

Im just thinking that if it is very hard for a person with Thalassemia to absorb iron, forcing them to take in more, perhaps they should be taking in a higher amount of antioxidants as well?

2) I've also heard that it is harder for a person with Thalassemia to get oxygen to the muscles and other tissues in the body.

Now the person I'm thinking of as I type these questions has athsma as well (great combo!), and what a surprise, has very bad "cardio." I hate using that word but I cant think of a better one right now.

So for someone with this combination of problems, do you have any recommendations for strength training and training for "walking up a small hill without getting out of breath"?


Absolutely stellar recommendations and advice. Thank you very much!


Dr. Lonman, at what point do you get sick of academics who have no concept of reality, because they live and die by a p<0.05?


Dear Dr. LL

In you're articles you've mentioned that people who've dieter to extreme levels of leaness have actually been shown to gain more weight in they long term.

My question is then by what mechanism is the body encoding this "fatness" or "leaness" info wrt original body weight, etc ? I guess I mean is this information somehow "stored" in the brain or stored globally throughout the body or maybe perhaps people just gain weight for purely psychological reasons ?



No, not a worry wart. This is the same thinking that led me to start writing about Temporal Nutrition. We need to be able to trust the down swings (in T or alertness) as temporary and necessary. Any tweaks we pursue should be toward optimizing these rythms in the long run.

In fact, years ago, my limited exposure to prohormone research during their heyday got me thinking. The relative lack of LH supression from fast acting (and degrading) supplements may have been related to their up-and-down nature. That is, compounds like androstenediol didn't raise serum T constantly-high in the circulation all day and all night like a testosterone injection would. There were other factors at work (e.g. estrogen), to be sure, but this "cyclical-vs-constant" thing crossed my mind.

I just wrote about "borrowed energy" from stimulants in the article I submitted to TC this morning. We have dichotomous autonomic nervous systems ("fight or flight" vs. "restive digestive") and shouldn't think we can make progress by obsessing over just one side.

I think there has been a move toward cycling supplements and respecting "moderation in all things" among Forumites, too. In the long run, moderation = optimization.


Dear Dr. LL,

Why is it that as people focused on nutrition/etc, we only seem to ever see one side of the coin ?

Actually, on Lyle McD's board, he points out (and has for a while) that estrogen is lipolytic. If you were to believe half of the stuff people discuss in the forums (usually people who just repeat dogma), you would think this was complete heresy !?!?

Obviously this is called Testosterone Nation but for some, they immediately conclude that estrogen is bad when it's not. There are many beneficial aspects of estrogen. Have you ever thought of discussing them (lipolysis, effect on joints, etc)



Only general info is here, okay? I am not a physician and I don't work with this type of patient in a nutrition setting...

Thalassemia is a genetic problem in forming "globin" proteins (as in hemoglobin) and thus a microctyic (small red cell) anemia can result. Yes, anemia = poorer oxygen tranport to working muscles. I think existing red cells are more fragile, so heavy training may be contraindicated. You'll need to check with an MD about the particular patient.

The "minor" type is heterozygous and less severe, not usually requiring blood transfusions IIRC. Bilirubin gall stones could occur though. The iron overload comes from blood transfusions and increased absorption of dietary iron as the body attempts to correct its "deficiency", I believe. (Sorry, you'll have to check on this.) Iron chelation therapy is used to reduce iron overload in the Major type of Thalassemia because it is harmful over time (oxidative stress, cell damage and ultimately liver damage). Along these lines, extra vitamin E or certain other antioxidants (phenols from tea, etc.)may help with iron-induced pro-oxidation - but a doctor should be consulted. Vitamin C could worsen the overload by further enhancing iron uptake but it depends on the situation.

Hope this is at least someinformation to consider.


Hey, I was wondering if you could recommend some cheap post-workout meals, stuff that I could buy at a grocery store after a workout.



The whole "set point" concept does suggest some "memory" within the body's biochemistry. Leptin and thyroid are two examples and they're interwoven with other systems (see "Fat Cell Biochemistry" here on the site).

Yes, some of the response is in peripheral tissues, too. Lipoprotein lipase activity increases for example. I don't think anyone has elucidated all the intracellular or para-cellular sites that trigger enhanced adiposity after hard "dieting". Something is triggering pre-adipocytes to differentiate and become functional at the same time that LPL and other systems are promoting storage. It looks like "thinking" by the cells to prevent another insult but it's done with stimulation and inhibition of cell signalling, etc. The body has evolved redundant mechanisms to prevent starvation.


Great help! Thanks!



Here is a site for you


Google for more (being wary of the most legitimate-looking sites) and you'll learn much.



David, my brother, I struggle daily with these two sides of my own psyche.

p<0.05 itself gets debated, in fact. Argh!!


I think even T disciples like Cy Wilson will tell you that estradiol is helpful with things like maintained HDL concentrations. After entirely too many years in endocrinolgy / physiology classes*, though, I have to say that men and high estrogen don't mix on many levels.

*I've even had friends temporarily on estrogen patches in research studies during grad school!


With thought, you might find that a quality protein powder is indeed cost effective and versatile (recipes). Using caution about allergies/ intolerances: Grocery store-wise, sugary cereals with skim milk come to mind... let's see... white bread and turkey sandwiches... brown potatoes (even baked potato chips)... egg whites (+1 yolk)... canned tuna washed down with orange juice or Kool-Ade (an old staple of mine)... grape juice... cottage cheese with fruit...

There's a few.