So you’re starting your new *insert desired goal-orientated* program. You know what you gotta do, why you gotta do it and how you’re gonna do it physically.
But what about fueling?
In my understanding, food comes 3rd in the line of existential importance;
First, Breathing. Learning how to breathe changes everything.
Second, Hydration. Loading your system with enough water is vital.
Third, Food. Learning how to fuel your body perfectly isn’t too complex.
So how are you going to fuel your new program?
Spaghetti hoops and pizza? Beer and beef? Veganism!? God forbid…
I’m learning to rock climb, starting at a beginner’s level, aiming to move to an advanced level in just 16 weeks. Climbers are renowned for eating crap and being cocktail-stick skinny, yet somehow maintaining a mean bodyweight-strength ratio. They are an anomalous collection of tanks when you consider just how strong these guys are.
Let me take you through the Dirtbag’s Guide To Eating Clean and give you the resources you need to fuel the beast…
We’ll look at when to eat, what to eat, why you should eat shit and even post some picture results to see just how lean of a machine I’ve become in 12 weeks…
WHEN TO EAT
I first heard of my source on this subject from Steve Maxwell in an online interview where he spoke about his nutrition program. This dude is like 62 and chiseled, so I paid attention.
He spoke of this hero, Martin Berkhan, a Swedish fitness model who, when you click on his site, your primal reaction is to curse loudly. That was enough to get me digging through the intranet to find out more…
Essentially, I spend anywhere between 16-19 hours not eating, and 5-8 hours eating in any one 24-hour period.
Before I climb, I’ll have my BCAAs. After I’ve finished, to break the fast, I’ll dose the protein smoothie a.s.a.f.p. then 30 mins later have a proteins + greens meal.
Until November 2012, I’d spent my whole life never once thinking about meal timing. I don’t know how I had overlooked it. Since I have begun paying attention to the timing of my fuel, my output and fat loss has been ridiculous.
Sequencing (click here why/how to sequence)
- Wake-up and hydrate with 600ml – 1l of water
- Bulletproof coffee
- Fast for 4 more hours; keep active during this time (doing shit, stretching, climbing, conditioning, etc)
- First meal of the day (largest meal if training fasted or resting, small if training in the evenings) including supplements
- Activity/ Go to Work
- Eat during this time, high protein
- Last meal, small, healthy, clean protein (cottage cheese, eggs or fish and greens)
- Sleep(Note; for fat loss, condensing the eating window from 8 hours to just 5 hours with 2 meals was very effective, here’s more.)
WHAT TO EAT
Paleo-style food during the week; high protein, high fat, medium carbs
Weekend; more carbs, including alcohol
The secret is to limit food types, not amounts. I’ll let myself have as much green veg as I want at any meal time, but I’ll refrain from the grain unless it’s a cheat day.
Tim Ferriss recommends eating the same few meals over and over again to get successful results.
Here are a couple of examples of mine:
To Break the Fast / High Protein dose after training:
2 large scoops of Whey Protein Powder
300ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tsp Coconut Oil
Easy High Protein Meal:
Meat – Fish, Chicken or Red Meat
Kale, Spinach and Broccoli flash-fried in coconut oil, garlic and ginger
High Protein and Healthy Fats Dessert:
Half tub cottage cheese + mixed fruit and nuts + honey
These have been pretty much the template meals I have returned to, and used, again and again during the 16 week experiment.
WHY YOU SHOULD EAT SH!T
This “Cheatday strategies for a Hedonist” pretty much tells you why I might consume up to 15 slices of pizza, 16 cookies and some doughnuts into a single 8-hour window..
From November 2012 – January 2013 I had followed the IF timing protocol only, not the bit about taking BCAAs or doing any kind of regular exercise program. I probably cut around 2 kg as a result of doing this alone, but then reached a lean-plateau and saw no more progression.
I really started to notice the leanness refining and the metabolism ramping at around week 8 of this climbing experiment.
I found the secret is only buying healthy food from the store. If I have healthy in stock, I’ll eat it. If I don’t, the temptation to eat shit before it’s cheat day can sometimes become too strong. The secret is in the preparation.
Hydration was underrated, too. If you fuel with water taking priority over food at any given time, you’re on to a winner.
By week 15, the craving for the junk on cheat days had subsided substantially – cheat days gradually evolved to just eating larger portions of still healthy stuff.
By week 3, you REALLY notice an increase in appetite and metabolism.
Cosume all with a liquid, (try doing it without!), or with first meal of the day.
This is a list from LeanGains you might useful (reading time 10mins)
- High dose glucosamine: for the joints.
- High dose Omega-3: for natural inflammatory purposes.
- High dose Vitamin D3: for maintaining healthy tissues and sanity
- Branch Chained Amino Acids: pre-workout protein increases metabolism
- Whey Protein: to increase protein in my diet.
Glucosamine Sulphate 1500mg – average 1 tablet a day
Omega-3 1000mg (EPA 180mg + DHA 120mg = ratio 3:2) – average 5 capsule a day
Vitamin D 2500iu – average 3 capsules a day
BCAAs - average 2 tsp’s in 150ml milk + tsp drinking chocolate powder 10 mins before training in a fasted state.
Whey Protein - average 2 x 50g scoops a day, with:
- 250ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1-2 bananas
- 1sp coconut oil
- 1 cup frozen berriesBlend into smoothie.
Love it. I drink it strong, every day, average 2 cups a day
(Strength – 2 espresso bullet shots plus water, each time)
There’s the crash course. I’m at my most shredded, strongest, and fastest healing state.
I eat a savage amount of fat in a short period of time, and it WORKS.
I encourage you to try for yourselves… and let me know what tricks and tips you use to get lean as a bean in the comments section below.
Other articles in the Learning to Climb series:
- Part 1 | Goals – How to set them
- Part 2 | Using the Secret Formula
- Part 3 | The Importance of a Trial Period
- Part 4 | How to use Nature to your advantage
Some more articles you might find interesting: