T Nation

Next Step... Nutrition Help


First post, but long time follower of the forums. I've been training for just under 2 years now and have seen impressive results but need some help getting to the next level. Foreword: I'm NOT the guy at the smoothie bar in too-tight beach board shorts and a compression shirt after trying miserably to do db curls on a bosu ball with one hand and leg tied together or something equally as dumb, so hear me out!

I started at 165 - 170lbs in June 2009, weak as can be. I'm now 200lbs with my max bench, squat and dl all hovering over/around 300lbs. For the last 6 months I had my butt handed to me by a trainer in school to get me ready to run a police officers physical abilities test. There was a lot of anaerobic stuff and not a lot of time spent on the weights. Now that I'm done classes I am back following the program set out in Eric Cressey's Maximum Strength book (I went through his 16 week program before school started). It has a focus on building strength (and thus mass) vs. trying to follow a watered down body builder program from the 80's without the drugs. I'd like to think that with what I learned from my own evolution in the gym and research, along with what I learned from my trainer and my powerlifter brother that I've got the basics covered.

I need help with nutrition. Even though I've gained a healthy 30lbs (I've always been and am still fairly lean), I'm sure any of you with the knowledge will understand the complexity of finding the right nurtitional balance. I eat healthy, but lack the motivation to eat properly. By that I mean I have no idea if what I'm eating is helping or hurting me after all the hard work I put in at the gym.

Here is a sample of what I ate yesterday:
7:00am - 3 whole eggs and 3/4 egg whites, 2 pieces of whole grain bread w/peanut butter
10:00am - 30g whey powder in 1 cup of skim milk, 1 cup of oatmeal
11:00am - workout
12:30pm - Surge Recovery drink (2 scoops)
1:30pm - 1/2 cup oatmeal & 25g whey powder
4:00pm - 8oz sirloin steak, whole grain pasta & steamed brocoli
7:00pm - 1 cup of raspberries, astro-zero yogurt, 25g whey & an apple
9:30pm - glass of skim milk and 2 pieces of whole wheat bread

Like I said, I think I eat the right types of food, but lack the extra knowledge about tweaking my meals and portions in order for them to be effective. For example, an hour after my Surge I'm suppose to eat a P/C meal with 33% protein and 66% carbs but really don't know what that should consist of. I have a basic understanding of low/high GI, starchy vs other types of carbs etc but need help bringing it all together.

So, if anyone wants to dive in and give me their 2 cents...


Add some turkey to your breakfast. At 10am drink whole milk and drink 4 cups of it. Add another substantial meal at 6pm and call it dinner. At 930pm, replace your current meal with some cottage cheese, peanut butter and maybe some berries. Snack on almonds all day long. After doing this, come back to me in 4 weeks.
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4 cups of whole milk and almonds all day seems like a lot of extra fat, no? I guess my original post should have included that my goal is to increase muscle mass while staying lean. I hit 195lbs about 9 months ago and was stuck there for the 6 months of tongue on the floor cardio they put us through in school. Now that I can limit my cardio to a REASONABLE amount, I'd like to pack on a few more pounds. I know my training program will help me do that, but only if I eat right during it.


May I ask what you do? Are you a student? Have you got time to cook your own meals? Is your job pretty hectic?

Here are my suggestions:

After workout meal: Tuna steak or other fish, 1 cup of grit or barley (or brown rice if you like), sweetcorn and peas, 1/2 avocado

At 1.30 pm you could snack on 150g cottage cheese, some diced pineapple and oatcakes.

7pm meal could look like this: skinless grilled chicken breast, baked sweet potato, mixed roasted vegs

Just my 2 cents.


I just graduated from a law enforcement program, and right now I have some free time before things get hectic later (so my attention is more focused on my nutrition now). I think what I've been missing is the idea of eating more real meals, like 2 seperate breakfasts instead of breakfast and a morning snack...

PS, UPS showed up at my door about an hour ago with a copy of Scrawny to Brawny that I ordered off amazon... I can't put it down. Part 2 that covers nutrition is exactly what I needed (without the stick-man references that don't apply to me)


Honestly, it really isn't half as complicated as most books make it out to be (don't get stressed).

Basically, you need to eat slightly over maintenance (e.g. if weight has stayed the same for some time, add 500 cals extra per day). As long as you do this, and protein is high enough, you will gain muscle (almost regardless of WHAT you eat).

As for composition, you need to watch the carbs don't get too high (that's the main one) especially in the evening, and especially simple carbs. Protein needs to be around 1.5g/lb in bodyweight. Fat can be increased when gains stop. Also, carbs can be added to when gains stop. Carbs should mainly be taken around the morning and active times (e.g. workouts/exercise/manual work).

Health-wise, and fat gain-wise, this is where more wholesome/nutritious foods come in. But even then, there's no need to be extreme.