Great article from rxmuscle, nice discussion of dietary fats among body builders, but even for the average gym goer this is a great read, and should be very helpful.
ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION ON DIETARY FATS
Published on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 00:40
Written by Phil Provenzano
I've come up with an idea for a little project that would allow more readers to easily sift through information and get a variety of perspectives on various bodybuilding subjects. Our first top will be Dietary Fats in a Bodybuilder's Arsenal. Each author was asked to write anywhere from a few sentences to a few paragraphs on their experiences with fats and clients successes. These authors were chosen because they are elite coaches, elite competitors or simply very knowledgeable well-read well-spoken authorities on all things bodybuilding. If this is a success and the authors are willing, we will continue to do this with various subjects.
Dietary Fats in A Bodybuilders Arsenal
Contribution #1 by Phil Provenzano
When most of us began bodybuilding things were simple, it was all about protein. It was always thought that having an adequate amount of dietary protein was of the utmost importance to building muscle. While this certainly still holds true it is also only one of the pieces to the puzzle to get the body functioning optimally to either build muscle in the offseason or retain muscle while dieting. I, next, discovered the beauty of carbohydrates; they helped me volumize the muscle cell, increase muscle pumps, have better workouts, better recovery, better muscle fullness etc etc.. I won't go on too much about carbohydrates because that we will save for another article topic. I had built a considerable amount of muscle mass using the two macronutrients protein and carbohydrates. I did consume fats indirectly from beef and eggs etc but I didn't really ever have them as a focal point of my plan. However deep into my offseason, consuming more and more carbohydrates and protein, I hit plateaus led me to looking puffier and softer. It was basically a game of diminishing returns after id pass the 400 grams of carbohydrates per day mark. So I would often find myself in a catch 22: either increase calories further to push more size while also adding more bodyfat or just call the offseason a wrap and start dieting for a show. My fat cells insulin sensitivity was increasing, thus putting my body into fat storage mode. From my glycogen stores being so full for so many months, every time my blood insulin levels would spike instead of the insulin shuttling glucose into my muscle cells they'd be shuttled mostly to my fat cells. After considerable time I'd lose muscle definition, vascularity and shape. When it would come time to diet for a contest id take at least 6 weeks to burn off that excess fat and get my body out of that fat storage mode. Obviously we could draw the conclusion that I wasn't completely carbyhydrate sensitive because at some points I was consuming 400 grams of carbs daily and actually looked pretty darn good; I was just missing something.
After being in a mental rut from being burned out from bodybuilding at some point a year or so back I had scaled back on training and diet significantly. One day I started randomly putting fats in from cashews and natural peanut butter. I noticed that after weeks of declining strength all of a sudden my bench press and squat were going up again. I looked denser and was holding my pumps longer. I was having trouble connecting the fact that it was the fats doing this. After several conversations with Master Nutritionist Jason Theobald he had convinced me that this was a direct effect of the dietary fats. He also convinced me to let him overhaul my nutrition plan and include even more fats 150-170 g per day and a little less carbs( but still quite a significant amount I believe at this time was around 280-290 grams a day). The result .... Bigger, denser, leaner and stronger.
Unfortunately not everyone has been able to reap these benefits I have. I have some clients who if I add more than a small amount of healthy fats to their nutrition plan they simply add bodyfat very quickly. I also have other nutrition clients who thrive off the healthy fats and experience all the perks I have and more. I also have clients as well that do best with high carbs and a decent amount of fats just not sky high fats ( say for example 350-400 grams of carbs with 100 grams of fat daily). The key take home message hear from me is finding that sweet spot for the individual where he can experience steady gains with the least amount of bodyfat. Did I also mention that dietary fats play a major role in your natural testosterone and Growth hormone production? If you haven't tried playing with dietary fats to enhance your physique I highly suggest you do. It may pay off big time or you may simply learn that you're better off with a different approach....either way the knowledge is power to simply make you understand your body better thus making you a better body builder.
FAT Sources- I'd like to briefly touch on some of my favorite fat sources for physique enhancement.
NUT BUTTERS (Almond, Peanut, Cashew natural versions only of course)- I feel these particular fats pack a lot of "punch" in terms of energy, muscle gaining and muscle retaining abilities. In my experience with myself and clients those that are particularly fat sensitive should probably opt more for different fat sources. If you ask any of my hard gainer clients who aren't fat sensitive they will certainly tell you that I make them eat large amount of nut butters throughout the day as they seem to thrive on these. I like almond butter best as myself and my clients seem to look best on this opposed to the peanut and cashew but the difference is negligible. When getting close to a show and still have some bodyfat to strip off it might also be advisable to use another fat source. I personally get fantastic energy from almond butter preworkout.
Avocado- For taste, physique enhancement and health benefits this is simply a kickass fat source. Lowers LDL (what's known as bad cholesterol) increases HDL (what's known as good cholesterol) lowers blood pressure as well as a whole host of other health benefits. When consuming this source I never feel bloated or smoothed out. It provides me with good energy and guess what it's a natural thyroid booster( meaning it helps promote a faster metabolism)! Although some people can't stand the taste of it I simply love it.
Olive Oil- Another king fat source here. Great when leaning down and great when trying to increase mass with minimal bodyfat gain. Tastes amazing on food as well. One of the cleaner fat sources, olive oil is also loaded with antioxidants. Loaded with monosaturated fat this oil is also well known for increasing HDL
Macnut Oil-I personally love adding this to shake for a quick easy way to get really high quality fat and calories in a quick on the go meal. This is a badass oil for building muscle.
Other honorable mentions: Omega 3 egg yolks, fish oil pills, grassfed beef. There are obviously many great choices of fat sources there are just the go to ones in my arsenal.
Eat Fat, Get Results!
Contribution #2 by Marc Lobliner
There are Essential Amino Acids, Essential Fatty Acids, but NO Essential Carbohydrates. I like carbs a lot, but in my opinion, a diet should be built around protein and fat with carbs coming in to round out the calories and provide easy energy to spare the protein and fats to help you build lean mass and maintain optimal function. Without further explanation, here are the fats that I recommend.
Fat is GOOD and we will focus on getting the right kinds of fat. I want fish oil for its amazing EPA and DHA from polyunsaturated fat; Free-Range, Cage-Free DHA eggs for its DHA and saturated fat; Coconut Oil for its MCT concentration; Macadamia Nut Oil for its monounsaturated fat and Natural Peanut Butter for its monounsaturated fat content. Aside from all being NEEDED to absorb fat soluble vitamins and minerals, let's look at these fats!
The Machine Diet uses a ratio that isn't exact, but we want to have all of these fats in our diet on a daily basis.
EPA and DHA (Polyunsaturated Fat) from Fish Oil:
• Contribute to heart health
• Helps alleviate symptoms of arthritis
• Weight Management
• Supports healthy blood lipid and cholesterol levels
• Support mood and well being
• Supports mental focus
Basically, fish oil is awesome. EPA is Eicosapentaenoic acid. EPA helps lower inflammation and even helps mediate and control some mental disorders! DHA is Docosahexaenoic acid. DHA helps everything from mental disorders, helping an unborn child's brain development when taken by a pregnant woman, as well as helping to support fat loss! This fat is that damn good!
Omega 6 fats are found in plant sources like many of our oils, particularly corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower oil, sesame oil and peanut oil that happen to be found in processed foods like margarine.
This is also one reason in this diet we recommend ONLY Free Range Beef and Chicken. Our meat is now much higher in Omega 6 than it was. But cows used to be grass-fed and now they are mainly grain fed to fatten them up and the oils from grains are high in Omega 6.
Why is this important for getting shredded? Well, for one, as stated before, HEALTH and having an optimal system is first and foremost. But beyond that, EPA and DHA have been directly linked to fat loss via research. WE WANT THIS FAT!
AHH, the DEVIL! But, in the right amounts from the right sources, these are GOOD!
• Contribute to heart health: I will explain this one! Some saturated fat is found in the fat around the heart muscle, and are used by the heart as an energy reserve in times of stress.
• Hormonal support
• Support mood and well being
• MCT's from coconut oil are more likely to be used as muscle and NOT stored as fat
My stance on this is simple—we are eating the RIGHT saturated fat and you need a mix. When eating the diet prescribed on this program, you will be getting fats from supplements, and I like a MINIMUM of 20% of fats to be saturated. Since even the beef we are eating is lower in fat and free range beef is full of Omega 3's and other healthy fats, we need to add these in. This is why I recommend MCT or Coconut oil. It is more likely to be used for energy and not stored as fat due to its structure and it has been shown to improve markers of overall health. As for eggs, we aren't going to be eating the mass produced eggs you see in the store for dirt-cheap prices. The fat in the eggs we buy will be chock full of more vitamins and other healthy fats in addition to Saturated fat. That whole "cholesterol being unhealthy" thing is a JOKE (more on that later). In order of preference, here are the eggs you will buy:
1. Pasture Raised: Chickens running around, eating worms and grubs and getting SUNLIGHT which helps produce vitamin D. I actually pick my own from a local farm.
2. Cage Free: They can still be in dark pens, but still an improvement.
3. Eggland's Best or Other DHA-Rich Egg: They are fed a diet to improve their fat ratio, which is great. I have seen a documentary on their plant and this is not the normal, nasty, chicken's eating eachother's poop facility. It is very clean.
• Contribute to heart health
• Weight Management
• Supports healthy blood lipid and cholesterol levels
• Helps reduce belly fat
By combining the CORRECT ratio and amounts and using all types of fat, we will derive multiple benefits and achieve amazing results!
This diet isn't based on a specific ratio since it can vary daily, but we have some simple fat principles I like to stick to:
1. Have at least one meal with Whole Eggs included in it.
2. Have MCT Oil at 1-2 meals per day as the fat source (2 MAX)
3. Have 1Tbsp LIQUID fish oil (for the DOSING) or the equivalent of 1g DHA from capsules (EPA will likely be higher in the capsules, this is fine) NOT counted toward daily fat intake. This is a constant no matter how low calories go.
4. Have Macadamia Nut Oil or Nuts/Peanut Butter/Almond Butter at other meals for Monounsaturated Fat.
See Marc's New Book, The Fat Loss Factor, at www.fatlossfactorbook.com
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc is currently MTS Nutrition CEO, EthiTech Nutrition CEO, Machine Training Gear CEO Wilkins Fitness Commercial Vertical Manager, TigerFitness.com Director of Business Development, MachineTrainingSolutions.com Owner and MachineMuscle.com Editor in Chief. As the leader of Scivation, a globally distributed supplement company, Marc Lobliner was the most accessible and energizing sports nutrition company CEO in the history of the industry. Prior to starting Scivation, Marc was a co-founder of, and served as Chief Marketing Officer for the Sylvester Stallone sports nutrition company, INSTONE, LLC.; the Senior Account Director for Shape, Natural Health, Living Fit, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Muscle & Fitness, Men's Fitness, FLEX, Star, National Enquirer, Mira!, Shape en Espanol, Men's Fitness en Espanol, Country Weekly, Auto World, NOPI Street Performance Compact, and AMI Specials, owned by American Media; and also worked for Bally Total Fitness. Marc attended California Lutheran University and obtained a degree in Marketing.
Marc is an ACE certified personal trainer, is a former APF competitive powerlifter and national level NPC competitive bodybuilder, having won first place trophies in both the lightweight and light-heavyweight divisions, and most recently placing 13th in the light-heavyweight division at the 2010 Arnold Classic.
Marc has been featured in Muscle & Strength, MuscleMag International (Italy), and Ironman (Australia) magazines, and have appeared in Men's Fitness as a physique model; has authored several print articles that have appeared in trade magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, as well as online at Bodybuilding.com; and has also co-authored 10 books on the subject of physique transformation, with titles such as, Game Over: The Final Showtime Cut Diet You'll Ever Need, The Diet Solution: The NEW American Diet, C.H.A. (The Carb Haters Anonymous) Diet: The Final Answer on Carbless Bulking & Cutting, and The Lifestyle Cut Diet: The Final Diet You'll Ever Need to Stay Lean and Healthy.
MCT Oil And How To Utilize It For Bodybuilding Purposes
by John Gorman, Owner and Super-Geek Nutritionist at TEAM GORMAN
contact me with questions at email@example.com
or check out our page at www.facebook.com/teamgorman
One of the fats I like to utilize in a bodybuilder's diet at times, are MCT's. For those that dont know, MCT's are Medium Chain Triglycerides with a shorter molecular make-up than their Long Chain Triglyceride cousins (LCT) such as olive oil, peanuts, almonds, fish oils, etc etc. MCT's occur naturally in coconut and other foods. Early history of MCT use began with treatment of different diseases such as fat malabsorption, obesity, epilepsy and cystic fibrosis to name a few. Recently in the last 10-15 years bodybuilders have started to jump on board after finding that if utilized correctly it can help with fat burning, energy, boosting of the metabolism, and manipulating overall calories without the fear of fat storage.
What I have learned over the years with myself and clients utilizing MCT's is that they are quickly absorbed in the body, yielding a nice increase in energy. (which for a dieting bodybuilder deep into prep is a nice thing!) Because they are shorter carbon atoms in length as opposed to LCT's, they go straight to the liver for immediate absorption and are kicked back out to be used as fuel for the body. Basically they burn much like a carbohydrate, without an insulin response or a need to store as a LCT is known for. MCT's are burned so fast and ready for immediate fuel to the body therefore they dont typically store in the fat cell. To break it down fully MCT's are used for thermogenesis, ATP, and ketones (which are fragmented fats the body can use for fuel- 7 grams per ketone as opposed to 9 grams per LCT or bodyfat and 4 grams per carbohydrate).
So what does all this mean to a prep coach or a bodybuilder? It means we have a way to manipulate our diets and thermic rate without the fear of storing fat or interrupting the fat loss process, at least not to the degree that LCT's can provide. Here's some of my favorite ways to utilize MCT's to our advantage.
Situation 1- A ketogenic diet.
When I have to take my clients down the path of ketogenic dieting, I have a special place for MCT's because of two reasons. 1. they are a nice quick added energy source and 2. they produce ketones at a much greater rate than fats, making staying in ketosis much easier.
When clients are struggling with energy toward the end of prep, I have found that adding in 1 tsp of MCT oil to a couple of meals pre-work helps tremendously. I have had no problems with it interrupting fat loss, and actually believe it helps boost the metabolism a bit to aid in fat loss due to it's thermic effects. You have to be careful and only introduce it 1 or 2 tsp at a time, it also has the ability to cause stomach upset and act as laxative (almost like too much sugar alcohol can).
The main thing I like to use MCT's for though in a traditional no carb keto diet is for the days we have to go low calorie, such as protein/veggie days. I personally hate pro/veggie days with a passion and believe them to be extreme. However we do what we have to do to get clients in the best shape possible, but what I like to do is have a good tolerance built up such as MCTS at 3-4 meals a day at 1-2 tsp at a time for example. (this is in addition to their normal LCT's such as olive oil, mac nut oil, p-butter, etc) When it's time to go pro/veggie such as the day after the re-feed for the week, I replace ALL LCT's with their MCT's. Most pro/veggie days are just protein and veggie only, no fuel source from LCT's. Why go that route when you can at least keep a MCT in the diet first? MCT's convert so fast to ketones in the body that the ability to get into ketosis is sped up considerably! (the liver is the activity switch in the body that switches you from burning carbs to ketones putting you into ketosis, so the faster ketones are produced the faster you are going to get back into ketosis) Keeping MCT's serves two purposes on a pro/veggie day- more energy and not such a harsh/drastic drop and faster production of ketones to get the body back into ketosis and a fat burning state faster.
An example of a ketogenic diet:
50 protein/15 fats (LCT's) x 6 meals a day. ( add in 1-2 tsp of MCT oil to the diet at a couple of meals and add again as necessary as you get deeper into prep and things are rough. I like to personally get diet to where I have 1 tsp of MCT oil at all 6 meals if I can without it affecting fat loss. If you are stalled out, lower LCT's first as they would be lowered at any rate without the MCT's in the diet)
Pro-Veggie day would be 50 protein/veggies/Any MCT's you have been using in the diet, NO LCT's at all x 6 meals a day. Hopefully it's to the point you can have at least 30 grams of MCT's a day to help with ketone production to get quickly back into a ketogenic state and energy production to make it through the very low calorie state of pro/veggie days.
Situation 2. Targeted Ketogenic dieting
This can be tricky at times, but the TKD diets I run are with carbs pre and post workout for the most part. The carb source I use for pre-workout is usually fruit to send the signal to the liver to stop ketone production and kick the body out of ketosis. Because TKD's are lower carb and the body is set up to handle and insulin spike better than if it where higher carb, I elect to have a high gi carb PWO, such as low fat poptarts, kid's cereal, pancakes, etc. This sets up the bodybuilder to jump out of ketosis but quickly jump back in as the insulin secreted from the high gi carbs clears out blood sugar quickly, but not as quickly as I would like and most clients are stuck out of ketosis for hours if not for a few tricks.
The trick I like to use revolves around GDA's (glucose disposal agents) such as the new GlycoMaxxx by NRGX-Labs and MCT oil. What I have is the client take a GDA with the last bite of carbs to help clear blood sugar down to lower levels and help the body convert back over to ketosis (lowering blood sugar is another activity switch to get the body into a fat burning state as opposed to carb burning state. I also then add MCT's to the following meal that's a pro/fat meal, usually 1 tsp will do the job at first. Again the MCT's oil is quickly converted in the liver to ketones that' signal a ketogenic state in the body.
Example would be:
meals 1-2 protein/fat
meal 3 pre-workout pro/carb (whey/banana)
meal 4 post-workout pro/carb (whey/pop tarts) GDA with last bite of carbs
meal 5 pro/fat (add MCT here)
meal 6 pro/fat (add MCT here)
At the end of the day, too many calories of anything will store as fat. I havent found MCT's to be a problem unless overall calories are too high, such as trying to add them in the offseason which I think is not needed. Experiment with them and enjoy, they are cool tools to keep in the toolbox when you need them, just remember to introduce them slowly into your diet.
Importance of Fats During Peak Week
By: Jason M. Theobald, AFPA Certified
Contact Jason at Jason@scoobyprep.com
Ive been asked to write a brief synopsis of the importance of dietary fats in the peaking process for physique competitions. I won't get technical and site scientific journals; this is merely anecdotal musings from what I've seen in the trenches of competing for 10 years and prepping over 500 athletes over my time.
II. The Faster Metabolism:
If you fall into this category and have prepped yourself enough times, or prepped others in this category, you probably have encountered the issue where you add more carbohydrates to their final week diet and they keep dropping weight, or are NOT filling out. As you add more carbohydrates their metabolism is burning through them and its causing you concern because they are reporting being flat and losing more weight. What is missing? It's a good helping of fats during the carbing-up process.
How does this work? Fats slow down the emptying of the digestive track thereby preventing the competitor with the fast metabolism from burning through their carbs so fast. Usually on day one of loading I won't use many fats because the carbs will be high enough and I don't want to risk fat storage, but as the carbs taper into the show I will up the fats daily because now from the higher load this competitor's metabolism is in overdrive. The night before I usually have the competitor eat a fatty steak, like a filet mignon and some added almond butter too, so they don't burn through their carbs while they sleep. This is all individual but many times I employ this practice, that way they hold the load through the night and there is less to scramble and fix Saturday morning before stage.
III. The Slower Metabolism:
If someone has a slow metabolism and had to diet very low carbohydrate most of the prep, then I take a more conservative approach to peak week and fats become even more important as we will employ a "fat loading" of sorts the final few days. I will have this person carb-up moderately early in the week, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, then we will go back to their low carb diet, and Ill up their dietary fats into the show. This will help them hold the carb load, but the dietary fats once you get to around 90 grams daily or better seem to also fill people out pretty damn well while letting the person with a slower metabolism dry off from the early carb load by eating a low carb intake. This is a safer approach, but also works very well to be full and dry on show day because dietary fats can store inside the muscle cells as well.
This is just a brief synopsis of how important dietary fats are during peak week, don't overlook them, BOTH competitors need them, whether you have a fast or slow metabolism or fall somewhere in the middle.
The Importance of Dietary Fats for the Natural Bodybuilder
By Steve Ioannou
Contact at Teamprovo1@gmail.com
After I got over my eat everything in sight phase that I'm sure many young, eager bodybuilders go through in the beginning to try and get as big as possible, I wanted to get more knowledgeable about the science behind nutrition. I began by reading everything I could about nutrition, the macronutrients, protein, carbs, and last but not least fats. At that point in time almost everything I was reading about fats was to keep fats low and don't really add any fats other then the amount that was found in the protein sources you were eating. So I figured a couple of yolks in the morning and I should be covered and good to go.
So that's what I did for a while and as I was getting ready for my first show in 2006 I was following a Carb based diet, the fats in my diet were low maybe around 40 grams carbohydrates around 250 grams and protein around 275 g and you would assume for a 170-175 lb bodybuilder at the time that would seem like more than an adequate amount of calories. But what I noticed as I dieted and being a lifetime drug free bodybuilder was that my strength was dropping off, I was always exhausted, hungry, and sex drive was almost non-existent. Being that I was dieting I expected some of this, but not to this extent, I knew something was off.
After my show I discovered the methods and read articles by Dave Palumbo, Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale who created the Anabolic Diet, and Lyle McDonald. I quickly began to grasp the importance of Dietary fats in a bodybuilder's diet, but especially how crucial they are for a natural bodybuilder. Reason being is that dietary fats are the raw materials that the body uses for hormone production namely TESTOSTERONE. So that would explain a lot of the ill effects I was experiencing when dieting on low fats namely lack of sex drive, and decreased strength. I was also feeling run down all the time and had no energy which would make sense because fats also serve as energy source for the body.
As a natural bodybuilder you're not taking in exogenous synthetic hormones so you're relying on what your body naturally produces so by keeping fats low you're robbing your body of the raw materials it needs for hormone production and that could spell disaster for a natty bodybuilder. I mean think about it for a second, dieting for a show is hard enough and without the assistance of Anabolic Steroids, Growth Hormone ETC its becomes even harder. It's a very fine balancing act not to over diet, over train, and not to overdo it on cardio. The foods you eat and the attention to detail on your diet is that much more important, most naturals should try to keep a balance of all three macro nutrients in their diet as long as possible, now I do understand there are times you may have to drop carbs for a while and run a keto style diet to knock off some of that stubborn fat, but this again should only be for a limited time.
Growing in the Offseason using Healthy Fats
During the offseason the goal is to obviously gain as much muscle as possible, bring up any weak areas you may have and you want to accomplish this while keeping your body fat levels reasonable. You want to look like a bodybuilder all the time not only 10 weeks out of the year. There are people out there with super-fast metabolisms and the body type that allows them to handle tons of carbs without getting fat, but if you don't happen to fall into that category you will have to take a more balanced approach to your macros in the offseason. Let's use as an example if you're eating 6 meals a day keep your carb meals early in the morning (meal 1) and around your workout pre and post workout meals, this will ensure that the carbs you take in will be used efficiently and not stored as body fat, the three remaining meals are Protein/fat meals. On off days you should front load all the protein/carb meals and have them as your first three meals of the day, and keep protein/fat meals for the back end of the day. The great thing about using fats is you get consistent energy levels, not the high and lows that some experience eating a mostly protein/carb based diet.
Now let's talk about what I like to call the "power foods" because when I include these foods into my diet the weights I use in the gym increase, I look fuller, and I feel I recover a little faster the one thing they all have in common is they are an excellent source of fats. Starting with whole eggs, they are packed with essential amino acids, B-Vitamins, minerals, and the cholesterol that's needed to keep your body producing a healthy amount of hormones including testosterone of course. Second would be lean selections of beef, top round, flank, and 96% ground beef once again very important for a natural athlete to include into his daily diet. The third and final of my "power foods" is all natural almond butter which works synergistically with a lean protein source and a slow burning carbohydrate to create a perfect pre-workout meal. An example would be 7 oz chicken breast, 8 oz yams, and 2 TBS almond butter, try that for a week as your pre-workout meal in the offseason and you will more than likely feel stronger and have better pumps during your training. Just a great combination and another example of how fats can be used offseason and pre-contest to create a great anabolic environment for the natural bodybuilder.