Saturday, November 23, 2019

Eat to Get Big - John Christy

Okay, here's an article on eating for people who want to get bigger and stronger. It's from 1998, and it gives a basic idea of what you're gonna have to do in the food department if you want to put some pounds on your body and the bar. Sure, there's been some changes to what's seen as a "healthy" diet for weight gain since then, and really, I do apologize to the nitpicking twits who seek to stretch my patience on the rack of never-ending dietary "improvements" and "essential ecological responsibilities" now floating about in the crapper we call progress. This is not a supplement company diet for spikey-haired wannabe fitness mag cover broheims putting their pennies aside to afford cosmetic facial surgery down the line before making it so gosh darn big they'll be remembered for all time. Eh. So, for those lifters who don't quite know where to start with the cooking deal, and for those who have become so fucking confused and sickened by the whole thing they can't keep a meal down anymore . . . well here ya go. 

Hold 'er Newt . . . here's some excellent tutorials on the Squat, Bench and Sumo dead from John Christy. 

Thanks to BOTH Johns for these! 

Part 1 -

Part 2 -
Part 3 - 

Part 1 -
Part 2 - 

Sumo Deadlift -

by John Christy (1998)

The formula is simple.
Doing it requires some effort. 

As with most activities, most people don't succeed because they are not willing to put out even the minimum amount of effort that is necessary to make progress. People have a tendency to be lazy, period. So if you want to eat to supply your body with the nutrients to gain as much muscular bodyweight as possible over time, you're not going to be able to guess your way through it. You are going to have to put out effort. And let my remind you, there are

Before you start learning how to eat correctly, you are going to have to find out how you are eating now. You have to find out how many calories, and grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat that you are consuming now. You also need to discover at what times you are eating. Once you determine this, then you can work on getting on the right path. 

If you don't know where you are now, 
how are you going to find out where you want to go? 

The first thing you need to do is get a notebook and a calorie counter, a good pencil, and the resolve that you are going to do what I tell you to do. If you don't want to do this, don't read this article, because you're not ready to make the commitment to change.

Now, for the next two days, write down what you eat, the approximate amounts (best done in cups or ounces), and when you ate. 

To determine the percentages of each macronutrient, take the total number of grams and multiply by 4 for protein and carbohydrates, and by 9 for fats. Then divide this number by the total calories. This will give you the percentages of each macronutrient. I feel the goal for our purposes here should be 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat. But this is an individual thing. If you feel like you're dragging your feet, take the carb intake up and drop the fat intake by about 10%. 

The sample diet I've given you above is a simple model of how to eat to gain size if you have very high caloric needs, but you have to work up to this level over time - just like adding small amounts of iron to the bar over time. If you try to add calories too fast you'll have intestinal troubles and most of your food will go right down the toilet, or around your waistline. So, here's how I would recommend going about "cleaning up" first, then "adding to" your present diet. 

First, you need to make sure that you are getting 5 or 6 feedings a day. You need to eat every two-and-a-half to three hours if you are serious about gaining weight. Get rid of as much junk food as possible. Have an occasional bag of chips, some ice cream, or a beer or two, but keep it to a minimum. 

Now, add about 300-500 calories to your daily intake and maintain this level for a few weeks.

Then, add another 300-500. 

Repeat this until you reach a level where you are gaining 1-2 pounds per week.

To give an exact caloric level for you to achieve this is not possible because it varies from person to person. To help give you some idea, take your bodyweight in pounds and multiply by 11. This gives you the number of calories your body needs to maintain everyday function of your vital systems (also known as your basal metabolic rate). 

Now you need to add enough calories to take care of your energy expenditure at work. 

Finally, you add the the calories to take care of your training expenditure plus the additional calories to recover from workouts and gain muscle. 

As you gain weight your corresponding caloric intake have to go up in order to continue gaining weight. In other words, when you weigh 160 pounds you have to eat like you weigh 170. Then when you reach 170 you need to eat like you weigh 180. 

As you get heavier your caloric intake must go up if you want to keep gaining weight.


There are a few useful supplements, but there are many that are absolutely useless. Protein powders, multi-vitamin and multi-mineral tablets, and carbohydrate drinks are ones that I recommend, and that's about it. Make sure that you purchase a good quality protein powder, not one that is surrounded by a lot of gimmicky advertising claiming to transform you instantly into a monster. You also don't want one that is loaded with every exotic herb or other scientific bullshit ingredient. Now, as fare as carb powders are concerned, I feel that they can be useful but are not necessary. If you want a quick source of carbs, just drink some fruit juice or eat a piece of fruit. 

Let the next sentence sink into your head . . . 


So get your eating together!

Gaining Fat

When I train someone who has not been able to gain weight in the past, and they start getting bigger and stronger for the first time, a concern almost always arises.  

The trainees notice that although they are gaining a lot of muscle, they are also putting some fat around the waist. Let me tell you that in my twenty-four years of training experience I have found that in order to gain a lot of muscle you are going to gain some fat in the process. 

The key word here is some.

The ration I look for, for someone who needs to gain a lot of weight, is that for every 10 pounds of weight you gain, I expect 2 pounds of it to be fat. When you gain at this ration it most likely will not cause your bodyfat percentage to increase, and this is the main factor in maintaining good health. As long as you are performing aerobic work within your target zone two or three times per week, your heart and lungs will be in good shape and so will your blood chemistry. 

In other words, you'll be in good health. 

Once you get very big it's easy to lose the fat you have gained, while keeping the muscle tissue. From a metabolic standpoint, it is easier for the body to metabolize fat than it is for it to synthesize new muscle tissue. I know this method is similar to the old-time method of "bulking up" and then "trimming down," but the difference is that I want to control the amount of fat gained. Also, I don't want the fat intake above a healthy 30% of the total caloric intake. 

Gaining on a Budget

You're probably thinking, "All this food is going to cost me a lot of money." Yes, it's definitely going to make a dent in your wallet, but this is no excuse for someone who really wants to get bigger and stronger. You will have to learn to budget your resources better. Cut out some of your non-essential expenses. You might as well stop buying clothes for a while because if you follow what I say, the clothes you have at present won't fit you six months from now.

My point is, if you really want to get a lot bigger and stronger, you'll make the necessary adjustments in other areas of your life.

Let me give you a few tips on how you can save some money and eat better food in the process. First of all, quit eating out. No fast food at all. Prepare your own food - don't be lazy. For a fast food meal that would provide the calories you need (although lacking in nutrient value, and much higher in fat) you would spend in excess of $12. You could prepare a meal that is much more nutritious for less than $3. [God, how I miss that '90s pricing]. 

You don't have to be a great cook to get big

Preparing your own food can save you a considerable amount of money. With the money you save you could probably afford to buy some protein powder. Speaking of protein powder, a very inexpensive form is powdered non-fat dry milk. Add this to milk along with some fruit and ice cream, and you've got a very inexpensive protein drink. This was one of my staples for years. 

The following foods are both nutritious and cost effective: 

whole chicken
canned tuna and chicken
ground turkey
extra lean ground beef
corn flakes
sliced beef, chicken, turkey

Food Preparation vs. the "I Don't Have Time" Excuse

"When I'm at work I don't have time to go home and cook a meal," and "I don't have time in the morning to prepare food for the entire day" are legitimate reasons, but poor excuses. 

The key to a busy schedule is FOOD PREPARATION. 

Several years ago, before I opened my training facility, I used to train people in their homes. I would leave my house at 5 every morning, and most days would not return until after 9 at night. At the time I was a bodybuilder training for competition, three times per week (two would likely have been better), and consuming in excess of 6,000 calories per day. It would have been easy for me to make excuses and eat out all day, but I didn't. 

In order to thrive while maintaining an 80-hour work week schedule, and living out of my van all day, every day, I would prepare most of my food for the week on Sundays. I would cook large quantities of rice, pasta and oatmeal, and put them in Tupperware containers. I would flavor them with various sauces and/or spices. I would prepare 10-15 sandwiches and put them in zip-lock bags. I would also prepare various pasta and beef or chicken dishes that I could reheat quickly when I did get time to stop by the house. I would pack all the food I needed for the day in a cooler with a couple of ice packs, throw it in the van and hang myself. No. Wait! I was set for the day ahead of time. During one of the busiest times of my life I increased my bodyweight from 205 pounds to 252 because I wanted it bad enough and did what I had to do to succeed. 

So, what's your excuse? 


Milk is one of the best foods on the planet, in my opinion. You have read numerous authors mentioning the tremendous benefits that milk has to offer anyone who desires to gain muscle. 

You may be asking which kind of milk you should drink. You can't go wrong drinking skim milk. It has the same amount of protein as whole milk, but with virtually no fat. If you find it tastes like colored water, I suggest trying 2% or 1% milk. This is the kind of milk I recommend most often because the fat is still low and the taste is better. In cases where someone is having a real hard time consuming enough calories, I suggest whole milk.

If you have no trouble consuming milk I would suggest you build up over time to at least one gallon per day. If you haven't been consuming much milk, then build up slowly starting at a half gallon. Maintain this for four or five days, to give your body a chance to manufacture lactase - the enzyme responsible for digesting the milk sugar lactose. At this point increase to three-quarters of a gallon for another 4-5 days, then go to one gallon. If you have trouble digesting milk, look into a product called Lactaid. 

You need to spread out your daily consumption. Don't try to guzzle a gallon at the end of the day. All this will do is give you intestinal problems. Think more along the lines of "grazing" throughout the day. 

Final Thoughts

Just like lifting, the process of eating to get big is simple.
Doing it is the hard part.  

Most people are just too lazy to do what I have recommended. Instead they would rather fool themselves, make excuses that they are too busy, and run out and buy the latest "super supplement." But a year later they don't look any different. If you really want to accomplish something, you'll happily do whatever is necessary. 

Keeping a nutrition journal is very important because you can see what you are really doing - no more guessing. Once you get good at knowing food values you won't have to keep a journal on a regular basis. But, I would recommend a checkup (keeping a journal for a couple of days) every few months or so, just to make sure you're still on track. 

Once you get your eating together you won't believe how great you'll feel, how much more completely you'll recover from your workouts, and how much strength you'll have during your workouts.

If you have fooled yourself into thinking that you were consuming many more calories than you actually are, and make the adjustments that I've recommended, you are going to be very surprised at how light your once-heavy weights will become. 

I'm telling you, how you eat is very critical to your success with the weights. So, if you really want to derive all that you can from your training, get your eating in order. 

Don't be lazy and don't make any excuses. 

Now get to it! 




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