Originally Posted by Eric Troy:
Eat like a Bodybuilder Train Like a Powerlifter
In fact, you should do neither, unless you are, in fact, one or the other.
On the GUS site and FB channel, we get a lot of people telling us how they think you should eat a bodybuilding diet even if you just want maximal strength and you are not a bodybuilder, per se.
I've explained so many different ways why this is not so. Here is a quote by Joe Weir that sort of illustrates it. This was in response to someone having their appetite go down the tubes for a while:
"For you to be doing something "wrong" you have to qualify what would make it wrong. Your goals should dictate this. One diet might be correct for weight loss but incorrect for weight gain. If your goal is to gain weight then a caloric deficit is "wrong". If your goal is to lose weight then it is "right". That being said, I know your goal is to deadlift a house so I would say that having a bit of a caloric surplus is a good thing. At the same time you don't want to be the size of a house, so don't make the surplus a surplus haha. One of the beauties of strength training is that you can make decent gains without shoveling down ungodly amounts of food."
The last sentence would almost seem sacrilege to those who get all their strength training bro science from glorified bodybuilding boards (most of the "strength" boards, are in fact, glorified bodybuilding boards).
I followed up Joe's statement with:
"Yep don't over-react to short term fluctuation in mood and appetite. Getting stressed over being stressed is not really a helpful reaction to being stressed, lol. Sometimes it is what it is. And remember regression to the mean.
Beyond that, what Joe said about eating for strength versus "bodybuilding" is very important and you've heard me say the same thing a lot of times. Yes you need a lot of nutritional support for strength training but short term alterations in diet don't make that big of a difference except in performance. And that is the key: how much and for how long is performance affected? Strength training, at the end of the day, comes down to performance (rather than the size principle, eh Joe?). If you can 'perform' while dropping weight then do so. If you can perform while "eating when your hungry" then all the better, I say."
Again, sacrilege. But why is it so difficult to accept? Because bodybuilding and strength training never have really been separated in people's minds, even though they long ago became distinct pursuits. The fact is that strength is the only area of human performance where people do NOT eat for performance! They eat for size, they eat for "protein synthesis" and they eat to be hardcore. Yes, they do. People think that gluttony is impressive, when you are into lifting. They think it makes them legit.
Yes, to get very strong, you need a lot of high quality nutrition. But the basic question is not WHAT you should eat but what are you eating for? You are training for strength. This means that your performance in strength is what dictates your diet!
The reason people can get away with telling you to eat such a surplus (i.e. bulking) diet is because it is easy to get people to believe that they will get strong faster because more food (and especially protein) will basically act like an anabolic steroid in the body. But it will not. Your body has a finite ceiling of protein synthesis and all the calories and protein in the world will not make it increase this threshold, sans pharmaceutical help.
For maximal strength gain, cutting and bulking is just stupid. That is, if you sole goal is to get as maximally strong as possible, then you have no reason to ever put on a bunch of puffy padding, nor do you have any reason to ever "cut down." If those things are your goal, then maximum strength is not your sole goal. And that is okay, but be honest about it!
See, neither very high, nor very low, body fat percentages are good for gaining pure strength. Or, I should say they are not AS good. Go for a sustained 10 to 12% body fat, for men. For women, a little more. If you fluctuate up to as high as 15% sometimes, that is okay. Just try to hover at the sweet spot. If you are getting fatter than that, then you are getting into territory where you will slow down your progress, not speed it up. Likewise if you go below it.
And before anybody gets all pissed off and tells me I am being naive, that everybody wants to look better and more cut, well, I speak to a limited audience. I accept that. You should too.
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