(PART 1)The number one MOST IMPORTANT factor in muscle building. PERIOD. (that youre not even aware of)

Aspiring athletes and bodybuilders (this is actually for everyone), young and old, what you do NOW will affect how your body responds FOREVER.

If you wonder how many carbs you should be eating on a daily basis, the answer is….

AS FEW AS POSSIBLE (which of course, is variable based on your goal).

No; the answer is NOT “as many as I can get away with without getting fat.”

Why?

I’ll get to that in a minute; but first……

[STORY] I was once in your shoes. Believe it or not, I started out as a 160lb long-distance runner and a vegetarian. Yup; true story. When I discovered that chicks didn’t dig the guy with biceps as big as hockey sticks (I am Canadian, eh!), I decided to set out on a quest to get bigger.

As a young athletic male, I was under the impression that a high carb, low fat diet was “healthy” so away I went. Breakfast was muffins or bagels, lunch was pretty much the same, and dinner was whatever mom made – usually meat and pasta or potatoes and some fresh bread. I was just eating as much as I thought I could. I opted for what I thought were smart choices most of the time, and started eating meat at least twice a day.

These dietary changes, plus my hitting the gym 6 days a week, led to my gaining about 50lbs in the first 15months of training in the gym. Yes, I responded well, but a lot of that was fat. I went from a lean 160 to 210 and about 16% bodyfat (keep in mind that I started as a long distance runner and vegetarian, so the change was drastic).

All I wanted was to get HUGE. Eventually I hired my first bodybuilding coach. At 17 and 210lbs, I definitely wasn’t small, but I really didn’t have all that much muscle. His rule was to eat everything in site, including LOTS of carbs and sugars around the workout. He was huge, so I listened. I mean, all huge dudes know what theyre talking about, right? Long story short, I grew to 22% bodyfat at 240lbs and it wasn’t pretty.

By that point I noticed I was sleepy all the time and my workouts were merely “okay.” I definitely didn’t have the same energy or pumps that I used to and my endurance was atrocious. I got to the point that I didn’t like the way I looked so I asked my coach to start me on a diet. We did, and after 16 weeks of low carb dieting and lots of cardio, I was a pretty lean 210. My educated guess would be around 10-11% bf. I was happy with this.

Now at 19, I had put on 50lbs of muscle in 3 years and I definitely wasn’t built like a runner anymore (this was completely natural, BTW).

I decided I wanted to continue to get huge, but didn’t want to get anywhere near 20% bodyfat again. You can identify 20% bodyfat by the fact that the waistband of your pants starts to roll over, NOT COOL. This time, however, as soon as I started eating any substantial carbohydrate, it was as though I could feel myself getting fatter. I was working out just as hard, even harder than before, but as soon as I started upping the carb intake, it seemed like the only thing that grew was my waistline and my ass. I got up to about 260lbs and damn near 22% bodyfat again in 6months. Even while trying to eat really “clean food.”

I was following a low fat, high carb, moderate protein diet like most in the bodybuilding world advised at that time, and yet I was getting fat and my strength seemed to stay the same. This amount of fat gain just wasn’t necessary, but I really wasn’t eating all that poorly (in my eyes at the time), it was just a lot of “clean” food.

The next time I dieted, I did way more cardio, ate less overall food (even though I had more muscle mass), and yet it took longer to get under 10% bf.

Each year since then, I continued to struggle with keeping my bodyfat down because I was always told that you need a lot of carbs to grow.

I am SURE I ended up losing more muscle than I had gained most years because I had to keep dieting it off to get lean. So, the question became “do I really NEED all these carbohydrates?”

How do I stay relatively lean and still gain muscle? How many carbohydrates do I need to grow optimally and stay as lean as possible? (Remember: the leaner you, are the better your body works hormonally as well).

 

 

To be continued…..

What Do You Think?

By | 2014-07-03T16:06:13+00:00 April 29th, 2013|

7 Comments

  1. Juliano July 18, 2013 at 2:15 am - Reply

    What a “great” read. Please keep up these amazing articles. I have learned a hell of a lot from the few I read in this site. I found you through an interview you did on sixpackshortcuts on mikes channel. I am so glad that you made they interview because I now have a go to place in terms of nutrition and training “properly”.
    Thanks !!!

  2. Brad July 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    Cannot wait to get the next installment on this. Hopefully soon eh’!

  3. Tyler Moreno September 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    I have the EXACT same problem & went through the exact same thing!!!! So frustrating. I train after meal one, around 10-10:30am. No carbs preworkout like you said. So would the best thing for me to do is consume my carbs posttraining?? & keep the rest of the day only to protein/veggies/essential fats?! I’ve been doing that for the past 2days & believe it or not I’m tighter & more vascular. I can def see this working perfectly for me. Im trying to lean bulk. 210lbs 5’9 11% bodyfat 22yrs old.

  4. Mnasse August 13, 2014 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    awsome

  5. Pierre August 14, 2014 at 12:45 am - Reply

    I love your articals and youtube videos and i cant wait for The next one. Great read btw.
    I Was woundering if you are planing to come to Europ or Sweden to do some seminars or something?? Would love to hang withe you and learn more.

  6. Sam August 14, 2014 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Ben, this all seems like good honest information. How does this apply to those of us over 40?

    Sam

  7. chris August 14, 2014 at 7:44 am - Reply

    I totaly relate to this. I started training and eating more in january, at the time I weighed in at an underwhelming 149 pounds. Since then I am now consistantly weighing on the high 170s to low 180. Although my muscles are larger ive developed that unsighlty lower belly fat and small love handles, plus my muscles feel puffy and uncut. Its a real pain that I cant seem to fix.

Leave A Comment