For nearly 40 years of my weight training journey my diet consisted of approximately 30% fats, 35% protein and 35% carbohydrates during the off season and when in pre-contest mode that changed 20% fats 35% carbohydrates and 45% protein. I consumed most of my fats and carbs before midday and then more or less existed on protein.
At the best of times my food was bland and at times unbearably boring but got even blander during the the pre-contest phase. Needless to say this was an extremely tough way to live for 4 months of the year but it bought results and as an athlete results are what count.
I learned to switch off my taste buds during the week, avoiding shopping centers and then rewarded myself with an anything goes “reward meal” and I mean anything, often gorging to the point of throwing up. Once I ate 12 Krispy Kreme donuts after spending the previous 3 hours at a Greek restaurant.
The morning after was torture as I returned to the blandness of my food but heh "tough titties" you want the accolades be prepared to pay the price I reasoned.
When preparing for a contest, as my body fat wasted away so did my mind to the point that for the last 4-6 weeks before a show I struggled to function normally. I became quiet, I felt as bad as I looked with my clothes on, I had the odd tantrum and even struggled to drive home on most nights.
I made a point of not taking any new clients on during this 6-week period prior to a show because I basically lived on auto pilot.
6 days prior to contest date I carb depleted and by that I mean only consumed protein for 3 days. By day 3 of carb depletion I was and wanted to be in a zombie like state barely able to string a sentence together and on day 4 I started filling up on carbs until show time.
But like I said it worked and I have a cabinets full of trophies to prove it.
Sleeping with the enemy
BUT in October 2014 I did a massive U-turn because I’d finally had enough, 40 years of this shit had finally taken it’s toll.
I still wanted to continue competing but I knew down deep I could not continue to eat or exist this way and the mere thought of another 4 months of excruciating contest prep made me nauseous so I decided to experiment.
I turfed out the carbohydrates and replaced them with fats.
Yes, the dreaded FATS!
For me that was a massive decision, it was akin to sleeping with the enemy, or changing sides and by that I mean supporting Carlton instead of Collingwood which in this part of the world it’s just not done, it’s seen as treason.
However, I did it and I’m glad I had the internal fortitude to open my horizons and listen to a new reasoning because it’s given me a new lease of life and quite frankly I’ve never felt better.
I now eat Pork & Beef fillets without trimming the fat, beef and chicken thighs, cheese and whole eggs
What I did was simply change the source of where I was getting my energy.
I replaced most of my carbohydrate intake with fat!
Whereas previously my off season diet consisted of 30% fats, 35% protein and 35% carbohydrates I replaced it with 10% carbohydrates, 40% protein & 50% fats.
I ditched the oats for breakfast and replaced them with bacon & eggs or full cream Greek yoghurt, the basmati rice and sweet potato was turfed and in it’s place came veggies or salad with as much oil as my heart desired.
I now eat Pork & Beef fillets without trimming the fat, beef and chicken thighs instead of chicken breast and in the rare case that I do eat chicken breast it is with the skin on. I munch on whole eggs and cheese for snacks.
Previously I viewed fats as the deadly enemy now they are my beloved trusted friends.
Why the change?
Mainly because of the way I felt.
Thinking of lean, carb laden food made me feel sick, I was sick of oats for breakfast, rice and sweet potato with chicken breast or tuna for lunch, egg whites or chicken breast with salad of greens for dinner with the minimum amount of oil.
40 plus years of living like this and I’d had enough of those flavours.
After my carb breakfast and lunch I always felt lethargic and sleepy and I thought nothing of it.
The first thing I noticed when I switched was that not only did I have a much wider variety of foods I could choose from but the major revelation was that I had heaps more energy and the sleepiness after breakfast and lunch was gone – I was buzzing.
I must admit my biggest concern about consuming all the supposedly deadly fat was my skinfolds but instead of ballooning I found it harder to gain fat even though I was eating all that fat with every meal.
Horses for Courses
After 12 months of experimenting on myself I now offer an alternative eating plan to my clients stressing there isn’t a right or wrong.
Some take to it like a fish to water and others are skeptical but I’ve come to realise that it’s a case of “horses for courses” and that all roads lead to Rome provided you have the require discipline to follow the path you have chosen.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT BOTH EATING STYLES WORK.
The purpose of this article is not to persuade you to change and I can’t stress that enough, because both work equally as well,
Yes, you have to pick sides and you can’t switch sides depending on your mood because that’s when you will stuff up.
DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE that both sides push, use your brain.
FAT’S OR CARB’S for fuel the choice is yours.