Do You Follow the “Same Day Diet”
A “good diet” isn’t a good diet if you eat the same freaking thing every day! Wet Wolf sets you straight.
Back when I was in college, I took a first aid class. We spent an entire class period going over and over all of the signs, symptoms, and causes of heat exhaustion. (Don’t worry, this article isn’t about heat exhaustion.)
I remember thinking to myself, I wonder when someone is going to ask the “how long” question.
There are a number of factors that dictate how long it’ll take for an individual to suffer from heat exhaustion. It could be anything from the temperature, your activity level, your size, your age, to your current conditioning level.
For example, if a 21-year-old, properly hydrated cross country runner goes for a three-mile run in 100 degree heat, chances are, he’ll be just fine.
However, if a 35% body fat sedentary desk worker waddles from her car across the parking lot to the front door of Wal-Mart in that same heat, she may just run the risk of collapsing faster than a slush puppy in a tar pit.
Anyone with an IQ above 85 can see that many different factors will come into play. However, without fail, sure enough came the question, “How long does it take…”
What does heat exhaustion have to do with anything? Following my Macro Pairings Made Easy article, I must have had 100 girls ask me what percentage of protein, carbs, and fats they should be eating.
Just like heat exhaustion, there are a number of factors that’ll influence the outcome.
First off, you shouldn’t be basing anything off percentages if you’re just following a healthy lifestyle. But even then, you should still eat different portion sizes on different days of the week.
For heaven’s sake, when you challenge yourself with a rigorous total body workout, you’re going to need a lot more fuel. Not only that, but your macro needs will change as well; you’ll need less of some and more of others.
So, if it’s that important for the general girl seeking an active lifestyle, how much more important would it be for the girl who’s following a contest prep cutting diet?
Where Do You Eat on the Other Days, Dear?
I had a pro Figure competitor ask me to take a look at her cookie-cutter diet that she purchased from her online guru trainer.
The first thing out of my mouth, other than the fact that it was a cookie-cutter diet, was where the heck are the other days?
“What do you mean?”
What I mean is what are you supposed to be eating on the other six days of the week? Surely, no one in their right mind would have the same foods, amounts, and placements every single day of the week, would they?
“Oh no, sometimes I switch orange roughy for the tilapia, or pickled banana peppers for a can of green beans. Besides, I get a cheat meal once a week.”
Sorry, but switching up one protein source for another in the exact same amounts isn’t what I’m talking about, and throwing in a fast food meal once a week doesn’t exactly count as carb rotation, either.
Look here, a surefire way to underachieve and limit your potential is to follow the same macro numbers every single day. You don’t do the same workout every day of the week, do you? Of course not!
Heck, your daily activities change from day to day. So, why would you eat the same macro numbers every day of the week?
“Yeah, Wet Wolf, but the days I work out will be like a lower-carb day since my energy expenditure will be so high.”
Nice try, but it just doesn’t work that way. This isn’t a contest to see who can drive their energy balance down the tubes.
You eat based off of your previous and upcoming activities, not the other way around!
In fact, not only should you eat different macro numbers on days you train with weights, you should eat different macro numbers on at least four different days of the week.
And for cryin’ out loud, please align your higher-carb days with your weight training days.
“I’m already doing that though, Wet Wolf. I’m following a carb rotation, but my protein and fats don’t change, and I don’t assign my lifting days to my higher carb days. Besides, this diet worked for me in the past, so I’m stickin’ with it!”
First of all, anytime you oscillate your macros in accordance with your daily activities, you’re setting yourself up to properly meet your body’s energy and recovery demands.
And, oh brother, I’ve heard the “it worked” thing about a million times now, and I’m still not sure what that really means.
When you’re sitting on a pre-contest eating pattern, you don’t want it to just work;you want it to optimize your body’s thermogenic and anti-catabolic properties.
And guess what, if you just eat basic, non-adaptive macro values day-in and day-out, you’re setting yourself up for a catabolic cascade.
Besides, if you think your stagnant diet worked, what do you think an oscillating macro eating pattern would do? Not only would it work, but it’d flourish.
“Wrong again, Wet Wolf! My coach switched up the diet every month, and that’s why it worked.”
Switching up a one-day diet once a month is akin to changing your underoos once a month!
I hope your drug cycle was up to speed or you have some super genetics because switching up a one-day diet on a monthly basis is like trying to kill an elephant with a fly swatter, especially if the girl didn’t exactly win the lotto with her genetics.
You want a multi-pronged attack to thwart the stubborn stronghold of estrogenic fat which has laid claim to your body tighter than a bunch of Al Qaeda insurgents. The only chance you’ve got is to have a strategic, well-planned attack, keep your body guessing, and manipulate your weapons on a constant basis.
After all, the human body is one remarkable adaptive organism. Its job is to survive, and clinging on to body fat is all part of its survival.
“Who cares if my one-day diet isn’t optimal, or so what if it’s wrong? Can’t we all just get along?”
Not on my watch.
Brand Spankin’ New: Q & A
Now that we’ve laid the one-day diet to rest, it’s time to give birth to a new feature: Q & A with the Wolf.
The questions may seem simple, but the answers aren’t always easy. And that’s what baffles many a competitor.
This week’s set of questions come courtesy of JackieMC13.
Record Upper Body Strength
Q: How would someone build upper body strength in record time?
A: It depends on what you’ve previously been doing in the gym. If you haven’t been training at all, pretty much anything will bring immediate results.
I can tell you right now that the best way to see immediate strength gains is to change up your routine. Switch up the movement planes, change the exercises, add some weight, do an extra rep, work on grip strength, or start doing Zercher squats because something’s gotta give.
If you’re someone who’s always struggled with chin-ups and push-ups and are finally looking to bust through a plateau, then I suggest the following: lose fat.
I’ve never seen a female anywhere near 20% body fat that can bust out chin-ups. On many occasions, I’ve trained a female who drops like a sack of potatoes when she tries to do a negative chin-up, or who can’t even perform a half push-up from her knees. Then, once she drops 15 pounds, all of a sudden those chin-ups and push-ups become a lot easier.
Also, this might sound crazy, but modify your routine! Get away from that cable pull-down and perform modified versions of the chin-up.
Remember your fifth grade PE class and how none of the kids could do a chin-up? What did they have everyone do instead?
A flexed-arm hang, that’s what. See how long you can keep your double chin over the bar, or you can perform several sets of five-second holds, always finishing with a three-second eccentric.
Another effective method is to choke a flex band over the bar and loop it around your knees. The band offers the most assistance when you’re hanging like Donkey Kong at the bottom, and then when you pull up, the resistance is lessened and you have to do all the work.
Most people also neglect the importance of hand and forearm strength. When you’re dangling from a bar, your grip is the most important thing.
Use some Lynx Performance Grips while you perform your flexed-arm hang. When you take them off and just use the bar, it’ll feel as small as a toothpick.
If you can’t perform a bodyweight chin-up, then perform sets of three to five reps with some heavy single-arm dumbbell rows.
Incline bodyweight rows can also help build the foundation to one day allow you to get that chin over the bar.
Last Minute Details
Q: How should someone approach last minute contest prep details to peak, such as sodium and water manipulation for first time competitors?
A: Six years ago, I knew a girl who entered and won her first Figure show. The very next week she won her second. She actually has a very high genetic body fat set point and a cute face, so she was able to get away with a higher body fat.
However, at 14% body fat, she was a far cry from what I’d consider to be contest lean.
I’ll never forget that before prejudging at her show she was eating rice cakes to help her “fill out,” as she put it.
Guess what, folks, if you’re 14% body fat at your competition, the only thing you need to be “filling out” is a more intelligent contest prep plan for the future!
You’re not some sauced up bodybuilder who needs to eat pie filling and wash it down with a quart of insulin.
A few rice cakes or some raisins the morning of a show is fine, but rarely is that the case, since most girls never get lean enough to begin with.
Another problem I’ve seen is that most girls use the high-glycemic carb load as a 12-week prejudging cheat meal.
I knew one girl who stuffed her sassy little pro-tanned cheeks with Oreos and peanut butter because her “trainer” wanted to “fill her out.” She got so sick to her stomach that she curled up in the fetal position and couldn’t even walk for a few hours until her tummy settled down.
I’ve heard stories of peanut butter cups flying through the air, girls mowing through bags of granola, and mouths stuffed full of Raisinets. But please, people, most girls would do fine with some chicken and a sweet potato the morning of.
I’ve heard horror stories of girls not drinking anything for three days straight, while taking some prescription diuretics in hopes of those saddle bags disappearing. Did I mention they did all of this at just three days out?
You don’t need to take some black market diuretic brewed out of some cesspool in Tijuana that’ll leave you inches away from lifelong visits to a dialysis clinic.
Just worry about getting as lean as you can. Once you get in the best possible shape, then you can take a mild over-the-counter diuretic and reduce you water intake the day before the show.
Now, follow everything you learned today and make me proud.