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Samurai optimizations for nutrition plans

Samurai Optimierungen für Ernährungspläne

It's official: man boobs and life preservers have reached epidemic proportions - even among the "fit" people who go to the gym regularly.

Forget biomarkers for health and quality of life - this stuff may be important, but I want a better backdrop at the stands and swimming pools before the end of the world approaches.

Since I'm not the type of person to just sit around and talk about what I want, today I'm going to show the reader a foolproof way to get rid of some of that good old flab. It starts with your diet and finding a plan that works for you - not the plan that supposedly works for everyone.

Dogmatic food systems are crap

I have a confession to make. I am absolutely obsessed with fat loss and body development processes - so much so that it's not just my personal hobby - it's become my profession.

As a result, I have researched different approaches and methods associated with the fat loss process - within the fitness industry, within the health and wellness industry and outside of both. I've analyzed, applied and tested these approaches in the real-world laboratory made up of my friends, my clients and myself, and shared with colleagues over and over again.

Here are three things I've learned about fat loss that will save you a lot of time and wasted effort and ultimately help you reach your goals.

1 - People People get too caught up in food systems and diet dogma

I am an "X" eater or I follow "Y" diet. The result of this is that the psychological connection to that specific food system ends up being more important than an objective analysis of their actual results. If your goal is to make friends by choosing a diet that's in vogue, that's fine. However, if your goal is to maximize your fat loss potential, then this may not be the best way to go.

Instead of learning, applying and incorporating what is beneficial and rejecting what is useless, many people blindly follow all the dictates of a nutritional system like sheep. They forget that nutrition programs need to be individualized to the user based on body type, activity level, metabolic/hormonal variances, psychological factors, cultural influences, food preferences and much more.

2 - People like to debate science and theory for all eternity

There are people who cite study after study to reinforce why their chosen approach is superior, while dismissing all other approaches out of hand.

This may be great for establishing your expertise, selling something, getting a good grade in school or winning an argument, but it won't necessarily help you get results. And in the real world, results matter more than academic discussions.

Now this is not to say that science should be ignored as a foundation. I love science and science can and should be used to make well-informed decisions. But it should not become an end in itself. In other words, scientists should occasionally set foot in a gym to see if what looks good on paper works in real life.

And to be fair, it should also be mentioned that ignorant fools should occasionally pick up a textbook and learn something about their passion.

The most successful entrepreneur I know once told me that he hates hiring business graduates because then he always has to disprove all kinds of textbook myths and teach them everything that works in the real world.

3 - Different approaches can work

Different and often completely contradictory approaches can work in the real world. I've seen this many times and you can't tell me that something doesn't work when experience proves otherwise. There simply isn't just one way to lose fat and different methods can produce equally phenomenal results.

The moral of the story is that you shouldn't strictly follow a specific system based on claims alone. You need to apply, evaluate and adapt a system based on your personal feedback and results. What works for one person may not automatically work for another, and what works for one person may change over time.

Optimizations for nutrition systems

The following is a series of methods I promote for fat loss, as well as some suggested variations of these methods that have proven useful in certain contexts,

But first, I have to contradict myself with the first optimization.

Deciphering the trainer's code

Summary of the nutrition strategy

You pay a trainer to put together a nutrition plan that is specific to you and your needs.

The optimization

Stop changing your trainer's plan. If you're paying a trainer to create a customized nutrition plan for you, stop changing it just because you've read something else, or because the results aren't coming faster than is physiologically possible, or because you've gotten lazy and want to find some way to incorporate a blueberry muffin into your nutrition plan, or because you suffer from nutritional attention deficit disorder. You can't just follow 70% of a plan or a hodgepodge mix of anything and then wonder why the plan isn't working.

You pay a trainer because they know more than you do, have years of experience, can drastically reduce your learning curve, can objectively analyze your progress, and can do all the assessments, individualizations, and tweaks for you. If you have enough faith in a coach to pay him, then you should have enough faith to follow his instructions.

However, this is not to say that you should blindly follow a program for all eternity. As in any other profession, there are good and bad trainers. However, you need to give a plan a fair chance and follow it for a reasonable amount of time in order to accurately determine your progress - or lack of progress.

At the end of the predetermined period of time - and only then - should an evaluation process take place. If the plan has not produced results, then it is time to change it or move on to an entirely new plan/trainer. I think any good and honest coach would agree with me here.

Hiring a coach is a luxury. I know this. I didn't grow up with a lot of money. When I started out, I definitely couldn't afford a coach. I can therefore identify with this situation more than many others and would like to offer an alternative to all those who feel the same way I did back then.

If you can't invest money, then you have to make up for it by investing time. Everything in this world has its price. You will have to go through a period of learning, experimenting, analyzing and refining to figure out what the optimal path looks like for you. Be patient - this won't happen overnight or within 12 short weeks.

Back and forth in the food pyramid

Summary of the nutrition strategy

2000kcal, 50g protein, 300g carbs, 65g fat, an evening snuggle with a processed food.

The optimization

I doubt any serious strength athlete or bodybuilder follows this nutrition plan, but we all have family and friends who and important, right?

I recommend a simple one-month experiment: swap the values for protein and carbohydrates. Instead of eating 50 grams of protein and 300 grams of carbohydrates - and most of that in the form of processed foods and grains - eat 300 grams of protein from low-fat animal sources and in the form of high-quality protein powder, combined with 50 grams of carbohydrates consisting primarily of vegetables and 1 to 2 pieces of fruit.

You should not follow this plan indefinitely as the numbers need to be adjusted for each individual. This plan only serves as an educational tool for the duration of a month. This experiment should end the "a calorie is a calorie" debate once and for all and show people that the metabolic, hormonal, satiating and thermic effects of food also play a role.

And if you really want to take it to the extreme, then you should pay a visit to your doctor before and after this experiment and keep an eye on your biomarkers for health (weight, blood pressure, blood values, etc.). Imagine the silly face of a typical doctor when all those diet-related biomarkers change as a result of you cutting out supposedly healthy - often sugar-laden and highly processed - grain products and eating primarily "unhealthy" meats.

I had my brother do this experiment a few years ago and he was able to give up his blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering drugs, which were causing unwanted side effects. By using a modified approach, he no longer needs these medications.

Let's see if your doctor cares about your health and well-being, or if he is more interested in following archaic standards.

I would like to point out that this is not medical advice, just good advice from one friend to another.

Carbohydrates for the caveman - option 1

Summary of the nutritional strategy

Avoid processed, man-made foods and only eat foods that were available during the Paleolithic period: Fish, lean meats Vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

The optimization

If you lead a sedentary life or your body fat percentage is above 25%, then no optimizations are necessary. Just stick to this plan.

However, for leaner athletes, I think carbohydrates are a valuable resource to support energy supply for anaerobic training and recovery. Therefore, consume a few selected carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, glucose) in an amount of roughly 1.5 to 2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of lean body mass at times when insulin sensitivity is at its highest. Start with the period around your training and later at breakfast.

Carbohydrates for the caveman - option 2

The optimization

If you have been following a chronic low carbohydrate diet, then there is a period of adaptation (usually at an enzymatic level) that you will need to go through when you reintroduce starchy carbohydrates into your diet.

Some people will initially suffer from hypoglycemia and feel tired and lethargic when they return to eating carbohydrate-based meals. Their body simply hasn't gotten used to dealing with starchy carbohydrates again. However, the body will eventually adapt to this and then you will feel much better as an anaerobic athlete with a few carbohydrates in your diet.

This kind of fatigue and lethargy is of course not so good when you have to function in the real world

Some time ago, a friend contacted me and agreed that it was time to add some carbs back into his diet. Option 1 didn't work ideally due to the disadvantages I just described. So we decided on the following compromise.

Refeed every third day to replenish glycogen stores, stimulate metabolism (and the release of leptin and thyroid hormones) and get your body used to processing carbohydrates again. To do this, consume 2 to 4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of fat-free body mass. Eat these carbohydrates during the last 1 to 2 meals of the day so that if hypoglycaemia occurs due to severe fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels, you can simply go to bed and start the next day with stabilized blood sugar and insulin levels.

For carbohydrate loading meals, you can consider taking compounds such as green tea extract that support carbohydrate uptake into muscle cells.

This is similar to a plan used in so-called cyclical low-carb diets such as the cyclical ketogenic, metabolic and anabolic diets. This method worked 20 years ago and I doubt that the human genome has changed much since then.

After using such a plan for a few weeks, my friend was able to break through a plateau and set a new record for low body fat percentage - all by adding carbohydrates to his diet. Sometimes an increase in thyroid hormone levels, leptin levels and metabolic rate can work wonders.

Improving sports nutrition

Summary of the nutrition strategy

The numbers vary based on the sources used, but an average range would be 1.2 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, 5 to 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight, 20-30% of total calorie intake in the form of fat, plus 0.4 grams of protein + 1.2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight around training.

The optimization

Much of the available literature leans more towards nutritional protocols designed specifically for competitive athletes - especially endurance athletes. This is understandable, as this is the area where the money is. Studies generally use protocols tailored to endurance sports with endurance athletes often doing 2 to 4 hour long workouts on a daily basis, with most of these athletes not necessarily interested in achieving perfect body composition from a bodybuilding perspective (which at a certain point can have a negative impact on athletic performance).

Strength and/or bodybuilding and figure athletes who train at much lower volumes (but at a higher intensity) and are interested in improving their physical appearance will generally need to adjust energy nutrient levels downwards from scientific studies (to generate a calorie deficit and promote a fat-burning environment), while at the same time adjusting tissue building nutrient levels upwards (to ensure maximum protein synthesis rates and/or prevent the body's own amino acid sources from being burned for energy).

Basing a fat loss plan on standard (or modified) sports nutrition principles is not for everyone. It should be reserved for those who perform regular, intense anaerobic training, have good insulin sensitivity and are therefore relatively lean - 15% body fat or less. A better starting point for fat loss for strength and physique athletes would be 2.0 to 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, 2 to 4 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight, 15 to 25% of calorie intake in the form of fat, plus 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight combined with 0.8 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight during the period around training.

Need more optimization?

Even the best nutrition systems are just starting points for your fat loss journey. Whether the fad diet of the month is the Zone Diet, a cyclical carbohydrate intake, a traditional cultural diet, Paleo, Intermittent Fasting or abstaining from all foods that don't have a face, any successful plan will require some modifications.

Buying a diet book on Amazon is the easy part. Reading it, understanding it, putting it into practice, and ultimately sticking to that diet are progressively more difficult steps that will often cause even the most dedicated dieter to fail. But it's the final step - evaluating progress and making the necessary tweaks - that separates the fat loss champion from those who fall into the "underdog" category.


By Nate Miyaki

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