T Nation

Not To Go Against The Grain Anti Rippetoe Style But....


So hear me out.

After today article where Rippetoe was touting once again that to get big, you have to eat big. I decided to write this. Don't get me wrong I know that is universally accepted and I draw the same conclusion that yes, most people have to eat 'big' in order to grow. You just can't grow unless in a caloric surplus. No brainer right?

But why, for the love of christ should we eat 5000/6000 calories a day? Where is the god damn sense in that?

So I would like to point out some observations of mine...

Firstly I know from my own experience, when I was 127lbs and eating 4000 calories a day clean all I got was gut issues despite very well allotted fiber intake, and I gained 5lbs in 3months. Now don't start saying all this crap about my diet being shit or my programme being shit. Because it was as good as any beginners with the right information.

So I dropped eating so heavily and went on to 3000 calories a day roughly 200 calories above my maintenance level of calories, I threw in carbs at every meal and guess what? I grew.
3 months and I was up to 152lbs. Doing the exact same programme, eating the same foods but less calories, more carbs.

My second observation is that I don't believe for a second that people in prison eat enough protein or get NEAR 5000 calories a day. Prove me wrong if I am please.
And some of those guys, seriously have very good physiques.

I know someone who was in prison and I trained with him when he got out. He put on 30lbs in 6months, yeah some was fat - he lived off of weetabix, creatine, and tinned curry. Also interestingly, he didn't know much about programmes he said he just copied the guys in the gym where he was. So while I was there ramping and whatever. He did straight sets of 10 for about 6-8 sets on everything. He also told me he trained 5 days a week.

This is pretty interesting also, as one of the threads here seem to actually prove that most of the guys I personally respect here are training 5 days a week also.

So to wrap up.

I think having to eat such an excessive surplus is nonsense.
Secondly training 3 days a week just isn't going to cut it if you want more size. Frequency and volume really is needed in higher amounts.

Lastly - who knows if it's possible to get to at least a very decent level of muscular development on the most basic of diets. Remember the prisoners when you're worrying about that last 100 calories. They grow calories or no calories.

I would also like to point out how popular the whole pulse fast thing is getting, it may be worthwhile to note that timing of the nutrients may be a lot more important than just getting them in.


So... Prison is magic?

You got it broseph, your personal experience with questionable results and unclear variables (training intensity, rest, quality of calorie intake, etc.) trumps the recommended guidelines of a pretty well respected coach and...

...more importantly...

...the experience of big guys on this site/everywhere for decades who got big by eating food in substantial excess of their basic calorie needs.

Continue to eat small, please, I hate when all the plates are in use.


Your still very small, and don't take that the wrong way.

As you increase in size, so do your caloric needs.

Trying to eat 4000 kcal a day at 127lbs... I almost burst out laughing. Of course your going to have problems.

Just like a racecar driver stomping on the gas off the line will surely spin out, you can't just "turn on" 6000 kcal a day and get "teh swolez".

Scale it up as your bodyweight increases. I think the Rippletoe article assumes that most novices begin lifting weights with little or no change in diet (ie; normal + 2 scoops whey or something), and have "plateaued" there. At that point a drastic caloric increase will work wonders.

Dream big, but plan realistically.



Also, in regards to frequency; I know absolute jacked freaks that train on a 2 day split. The biggest bodybuilder I know (almost 300 lbs at probably 15%) trains on a 10 day rotation.

Don't let anyone dictate to you what to do in regards to frequency, do what works for YOU.


No. In the end, how much you eat of what matters infinitely more than when you eat it.

I almost want to think this is a troll post because you brought up prison.

I agree with you otherwise, if your maintenance intake is 2000-2500 calories (which is accurate for most very skinny kids with fast metabolisms), eating 5000-6000 calories per day is overkill and is going to lead you to getting fat, not gaining an appreciablely greater amount of muscle mass, and require you to switch gears and diet sooner (therefor possibly resulting in what folks around here call "spinning your wheels") than if one took a more reasonable approach. What happens when you gain 30 lbs in 4 months, 12-15 of which is fat?

Do you stop to diet off that 15 lbs of fat, and reasonably lose 3-5 lbs of collateral muscle tissue? Do you keep going and gain another 12-15 lbs of muscle along with another 12-15 lbs of fat? The longer you go attempting to push up scale weight with zero concern for scale weight, the longer and harder your road back down is going to be. Now, I'm not recommending being on a year-round contest diet, but rather taking the middle road between not eating enough and eating way too fucking much.

A more reasonable approach would be to take in a moderate surplus (say, 500-1000 calories) above your maintenance, fulfill all of your protein, carbohydrate, and micronutrient needs, and do so using foods that you find enjoyable to eat. Add in regular, intense training with an adequate and reasonable amount of training volume and steady upward progression in average poundages and continue doing so for an extended period of time (increasing intake when necessary), and you have a recipe for sustainable long term progress and will be far more likely to be able to maintain this muscle tissue when you go to diet off the (significantly smaller amount of) fat you accumulated during a period of moderated gaining.

This is due to the negative effects getting fat (FAT, not simply smooth) has on endocrine output and p-ration. Individuals who have maintained significantly higher bodyfat levels will have impaired nutrient partitioning as well as increased conversion of testosterone to estrogen via aromatase (facilitated by fat tissue). The estrogen issues will go away with the bodyfat, but the impaired p-ratio will persist for some period of time.


this thread is not going to be well received


I agree with the op. I'm gaining muscle with a calorie deficit.


Sure, the guys at the gym are huge, but you know what's consistently bigger than the average male gym goer?

The average cow.

Ever since I started my grass diet, my gains have been AMAZING. I added two hundred pounds in just six months. The ladies look at me now and go "WOAH" and I go "MOO MOTHERFUCKER." They play with my bells and milk my udder every night.

It takes a lot of work though. You have to sit in a "crawling" position 24 hours. Even while you're sleeping. You must always- and I MEAN ALWAYS- face North. You can do nothing but moo and eat grass. You may move if instructed, or if you run out of grass to eat. You cannot use your thumbs. Don't lift weights, those are for hundred and fifty pound bags skinny guys. Eat grass. Laze around. Pee.


how are you measuring muscle gain?


i am stealing this.


No prison isn't 'magic'. You missed the point there. I meant to get across that no one there eats excessive amounts of calories and they're still probably bigger than most here.

Also I never said eating in excess of basic calorie needs doesn't work. In fact I made it very clear that everyone, myself included has to have a surplus of calories to grow.

But to the excess ripp outlines. No they don't.


By strength.


no you arent.


Hi Dave,

Yeah scaling it up is fine, natural, logical. But why does Rippetoe who mostly writes articles geared to beginners advise such an excess of calories?


Well... That's unique.

But I still advise eating over your caloric needs.



Also I never claimed to eat small. I ate 4k calories which did not work. I then gained 20lbs eating 3000 now I eat 3500. Is that really small?

It's all relative is it not?


Brings a new meaning to madcow training.


meh. strength gains do not always mean hypertrophy(muscle) gains. I think many people here have dieted down and were able to add more weight on certain movements, it won't last though as long as you are in a calorie deficit. And when incorporating a new movement into your routine, you will always be able to consistently add weight until your body adapts to the new movement.

I am assuming you are beyond the "newbie gains".


Yeah man I know people the same way. The majority of us will never be that advanced though... So I don't see the intensity of the work most here do, being taxing enough to merit such large periods of rest.

It's of my and many others opinion that young bodybuilders and newbies benefit from more regular training. I think however this is something rippetoe once again isn't too fond of.

I did starting strength for 3months, with recommended calories 4-5k most of that from milk and my lifts went up... But never reached the strength they did when I used to do more frequency. For example I did bench yesterday after a injury hiatus, and lifted considerably more than I ever did following the rippetoes method and still got in every rep on my work sets with good form and speed. That was after 3 days of consecutive training.

Frequency is one of the biggest variables in the gym, often forgotten by people wanting to know the best exercise or the best rep/set combination.


I should be beyond the newbie gains (I started seriously training almost three years ago), but I'm beginning to wonder.