T Nation

Q for Professor X

Professor X, you’ve made some pretty impressive natural gains, and I think you said in one post that you started out pretty skinny. What type of training programs have you favored in your career and have you been the most successful with? Also, you stated that meat, milk, eggs, and rice make up a big portion of your diet. As far as fats and fiber are concerned, what are your main sources of these nutrients? Does most of your fat intake come from the meat, milk, and eggs, for from other sources? Do you tend to favor whole milk or milk that has been reduced in fat?

PART ONE-------I was pretty skinny. I graduated high school at about 150lbs, and even though I had read nearly every bodybuilding magazine I could get my hands on up until that time, my gains didn’t really show my enthusiasm because I failed to realize how important food is to the gains that you make. Bodybuilding magazines, when Lee Haney was winning every Olympia title, centered around being more straight forward with how these competitors were really eating in the of season. Today, you have professional bodybuilders lying about how they don’t eat fast food, or how you should try to maintain your abs year round. The truth is, most of these competitors have bulked up at one point or another in their lifting careers because it is damn near impossible to increase your muscular body weight by more than 50lbs without doing so, at least not without destroying half of your internal organs due to substance abuse. Your body has a weight set point that needs to be passed up if your plan is to gain a lot of weight. That doesn’t happen by trying to maintain a 6% body fat percentage and only considering protein as the only macronutrient you need to be worried about. To get big, first you have to have above average genetics. I don’t care how many needles some of these guys stick in their asses, if they don’t have the genetic base to gain muscle, they will not be winning contests any time soon. We just had a long debate on how big Arnold would have been without steroids, and let’s face it, if he was already huge, steroids played a smaller role than people that are “pro-steroids” would like to believe. Along those same lines, it is impossible to know what your genetic potential is after only lifting for a couple of years. Most people that knew me in high school would have labeled me an ectomorph or a hard-gainer, however, that was before I started eating enough to gain weight and lifting right. By eating enough, I mean realizing that unless you are providing a surplus of calories every single day and taking in up to six meals a day, you are not eating enough to gain muscle.
–Professor X

PART TWO------- I don’t play around with the concept that there must be some hidden mystical art to gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time because this generally comes from people that truly don’t want to put in the effort it takes to gain a lot of muscle mass and would instead simply talk about possibilities. Why play around, stagnating in weight and not gaining when we know what does work? You have to decide what is more important to you, keeping your body fat percentage at the exact same level it is now, or actually feeding your body enough to grow big on. I am for the second method. Beef, milk, eggs, rice and bananas have always been the staples of bodybuilding diets since the 1950’s. The reason is because they work. This is the basis for my diet when I am working on size. I am not that regulated as far as analyzing every single calorie and macro-nutrient ratio that I stick in my mouth. Bodybuilding, to me, is fun, not a chore. I enjoy eating and I enjoy getting stronger. That picture that I posted was taken about a month and a half ago. I was 210lbs at about 10%. Since that time, I dropped to about 9% and then started working on size again. Due to carb loading and taking creatine again, my weight is back to 220lbs with about the same body fat percentage. From this point, I will probably keep my calories fairly high until October, unless I feel I am gaining too fast. Do I eat junk food occasionally? Hell yes. If you are working on size and have a fairly fast metabolism, you can get away with that. If your goal is to be much bigger than you are now, you can NOT gain muscle and expect to lose fat at the same time. You can waste time trying that if you wish, however, this is coming from someone that has worked as a personal trainer and still trains people that I know every so often. As far as training, if you are natural, there is no better advice than for you to concentrate on basic power movements if you are just starting. Hell, even if you aren’t just starting. A natural bodybuilder has to become stronger, much stronger, if your goal is mass. Someone that starts out using steroids has to watch the weight that they use for one important reason, their tendons are not gaining strength at the same rate as the muscle. This is one reason that pec tears, torn biceps, and ripped triceps are becoming so popular lately that you almost feel as if you aren’t part of the in crowd if you don’t have surgery scars to go with that tight ass club shirt. Concentrate on gaining a base of strength in movements like squats, deadlifts, and even chin-ups. I can curl more weight than many people at the gym I attend, however, that came because I trained like a power lifter for about two years trying to get my strength up. Bodybuilding isn’t complicated, it is those that are trying to find a way around all of the hard work that make it that way. You don’t have to know every macro-nutrient breakdown to grow muscle, however, knowledge prevents you from falling for flat out bull shit. If you are trying to get the majority of your calories from protein, expect for this to be one really long and hard road for you. Sometimes the best thing to do is keep it simple. You don’t need a Phd to be able to gain muscle. Some of the biggest people I know don’t know how the hell they got that way. You do need to be willing to go against the crowd sometimes and keep an open mind. I would rather be 15lbs heavier next year after bulking up and trimming down, than 5lbs heavier(or possibly lighter) because I tried to make my ab muscles the only part of my body that stood out. The choice is up to you.—
Professor X

Nice posts and solid advice Professor.

Professor X…thanks for droppin’ the bombs of knowledge on us, big fella. I had asked a similar question from you a while back but it was in the heat of the Arnold debate and think it got pushed aside. However, you–and my main man Whopper–have made it quite clear that there’s a time and place for everything, you have to make up your mind what the hell you want, and if it’s mass then put the lil’ abs aside for a while and get your grub on! Looking forward to reading more great insight from you, sir.

X - the pic was x-cellent - how tall are you? I think there is alot of refinement that can be done ala Berardi eating and King training but I think your points are the critial first principles that people need to realise ASAP - alot of the trendy training and eating is just fiddling the margins because eating and pushing bigger weights is the only way to get bigger. OK … now I hope you dont mind me doing the outro “so there you have it, x-citing, x-uberant, x-travegant, x-troadinary, and whats the recipie? x-calibur weaponry, and we shooting x-ceptionally. X marks the spot - nah, x spots the marks, exclamation point.”

Prof X: in my estimation, you are by far the smartest and most candid of the T-Mag forum. \