Over the course of the past year, I've seen both a great deal of praise and criticism of the man. I, myself, don't agree with him on everything and, looking back, criticized him in a rather immature way on this board and I apologize for this.
After re-reading his articles, I've come to agree with him on several key things:
Most, I'd say 90% of the male population, do very poorly with the over-bulking approach; it's only a tiny minority of men that can consume tremendous amounts of food, some of it being absolute crap, and appear "bulky" or "smooth" as a result.
Most guys that I've met or spoken with who've tried this approach wind up looking like lops of shit and resent the fact that they are stuck with having to lose the excess baggage afterward.
I believe, but can't prove, that there is a tiny minority of me who are "genetically set up" to tolerate huge amounts of carbs and actually have a hard time getting fat! Folks that have done well with the bulking approach, guys like Gary Strydom, Lee Priest, Rory Leidelmeyer, Ronnie Coleman, and Dennis James are rare. Even Flex Wheeler has been known to indulge in BK and McD's weeks before a show, and while not coming out on top, looks a hell of a lot better than the average T-Nation poster would do with such an approach.
Most men would benefit more from an upper/lower split or TBT program than a bodypart split. I've seen dozens and dozens of posters on popular internet message boards weighing a buck-seventy at 5'8" to 5'10" following advanced 4- to 5-way splits. When I was aspiring to compete in bodybuilding (that aspiration went away last year), of course I followed a split routine; they have their place. But I also had a bodyweight of 230# and could put up some impressive numbers.
The fact is, like CT and Dave Tate have explained before, that most men lack the strength and muscle mass that warrant the use of a split routine. How much damn recovery do your pecs need if all you can bench is less than 225 pounds? Most guys can't induce the amount of trauma in a muscle that warrants 5 to 7 days of rest in between sessions for that muscle.
Cardio should be taken seriously all year long. With modern sedentary life for nearly all folks consisting of sitting at a desk, in a car, or on a couch 99% of the time, activity in addition to weight training is need to control weight.
Most men do great on a low- to moderate-carb diet. This goes for the same reason as the need for cardio all year long. Sedentary life requires little carbs for functioning, let alone that most people are not genetically inclined to metabolize carbs well.
I can hear the shit already from the hardcore bodybuilders on this site!
Look, I've been following bodybuilding and attending shows since I'm 16 years old. I'll be at the NY Pro this year and a couple of others at the end of the summer and the beginning of the Fall, NPC and INBF (natural) shows. I have nothing but respect for the sport and its impact on health, science, and nutrition. Bodybuilders have always been at the forefront of physical enhancement.
And you also might mention two successful young men on this site who've done very well with the bulking and split routine approaches. BUT, the OBVIOUS reasons as to why these men are successful is because of their genetics (although they might deny this success ingredient and say, "bullshit, look how skinny I was when I started") AND because they've put the bodybuilding lifestyle at the top of their priorities.
The people that I've spoken with here privately have NOT put the bodybuilding lifestyle at the forefront of their lifestyles and have FAILED at this approach. That is, they have NOT:
Sacrificed or redesigned some areas of life at the expense of bodybuilding.
Managed to consume planned meals nearly all or all of the time.
Managed to complete planned workouts nearly all or all of the time.
Shown aspiration of looking like a bodybuilder or competing in a bodybuilding contest.
Acquired the experience and knowledge to be successful in bodybuilding.
Even created a life that supports all of the above.
Yet they try this approach, which doesn't even suit their lives or their personalities, and drive themselves fucking bonkers over things like carb cycling, refeeds, splits, and supplements, again, all while weighing 170 to 200 pounds at heights of 5'8" to 6'2" with 14 to 20% bodyfat. ORDINARY guys trying to do off-the-wall shit.
Here's where I DON'T agree with Chris.
He says that consuming a protein-sparing modified fast consisting of all or nearly all solid food only looks good on paper and that this approach results in failure for most who've tried it.
Well, it doesn't look good only on paper. I think I look pretty good after 4.5 weeks on a PSMF having dropped 15 pounds of flab. In a recent conversation with my fellow RDs, quite a few discussed the success they had with their clients using PSMFs that consisted of nearly all solid food. When I did the Rapid Fat Loss Diet recently, I consumed TWO protein-shake meal replacements in 4.5 weeks, excluding mid-workout nutrition!
How can their be a difference in success between liquid nutrition of 1,200 calories and a whole-foods diet of 1,200 calories? A whole-food approach has worked for thousands of people already and it's been established that the key to maintaining weight after the diet lies in ongoing nutrition education.
Another idea that SEEMS to have been promoted in his writings is that cheat meals have no place in a diet. Of course writings can sometimes be misinterpreted, but that seems to be his general flavor when discussing cheat meals.
Well, of course there is no GREAT place for Whoppers and fries in a diet; we can sure live without any of them! But are most people, myself included, going to exclude all of the fun and social element that comes from indulging here and there, perhaps once or twice per week? Me, I'm not giving up certain parts of my diet, and I doubt most people will either. I've never and never will tell a client that they can't ever indulge sometimes.
What do you people think?
PS: I don't mind opposing views at all, so the bodybuilding bunch can take a stab at me, despite the fact that I still have love and respect for the sport and hobby and it's participants.