Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jet Fuel

Below is my response to an email from a good friend of mine... His question was simple, "Have you invented a program that will give me all the food I need to eat, and meal prep times that take less time than opening a box?"

Why yes I have my friend! I don’t bother counting calories, proteins, fats, carbs etc… Eat when hungry, eat in proportion to your workouts, and cook as if you’re a chemist designing jet fuel for your internal fighter jet. Then feel for how your body survives the day; adjust as needed.

This works for me, it might not work for you. This is after 5+ years of black box testing with my body. I recently had my blood work done, their Health Quotient shows I was 91 out of 100. They dinged me because on my food survey I truthfully stated I ate high fat foods. I also stated I did not do daily 30 minute cardio sessions. I train in short intervals for maximum power, speed, agility - which has equated to phenomenal long duration cardio(tested during long sparring/running sessions). For me, long duration is constant cardio over 20-30 minutes or more. You marathon guys would probably laugh at me though. A typical morning workout for me is a very light warmup of flapping my arms and legs until I'm awake, some very light-quick lunges, and calf raises to active my legs. Once I feel loosed up, and warm, I sprint like a mother fucker on crack out my front door for exactly 1 mile. My best time is 6:52..as a 39 year old I'll take it as pretty good. Upon returning I immediately do 50 knuckle pushups on the concrete by my car. Then into the Bat Dojo for some light Olympic lifting(just the 40lb bar), then stretching. Alternate days is usually a warmup, then heavy Olympic lifting. When I say heavy, I'm relatively weak, today's 40lb bar was fitted with 40lbs of weight for a total of 80lbs. I wanted to do all the basic Olympic lifts without breaking anything as I will be teach a tough jiu jitsu tournament preparation class tonight. It felt good, although I need some external coaching on some of my lifts to ensure I'm not fucking up my body.

Here’s the exact pattern I use. It works for me, I shred out nicely on this, with no muscle or cardio loss:

  • Skip breakfast. Drink a ½ cup of water and add some BCAAs. BCAA’s are pieces which build protein. It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever. Can’t get enough of them. BCAA are protein without the calories. BCAA’s + water before/after all workouts. Buy flavored BCAA at the Vitamin Shop, it’s the shit. Make sure it had citruline malate in it.
  • Anytime I am hungry, ½ cup of water and some BCAA’s. This has nearly replaced all my snacking.
  • Lunch is a small salad, lots of protein and fats. Fats/protein may come from meat, cheese, full fat dressing, oil based dressing etc.. about a big hand full of this stuff, plus a bigger handful of veggies/lettuce.
  • Once a week, fast for 36 hours; work out while fasted. biggest lean out tool I use. ½ cup of water and a sprinkle of BCAA’s several times a day, and whenever you feel hungry.
  • Once a week, eat like a fatso (swallow a tub of ice cream or something).
  • Once a week, at lunch, eat something decadent but small with your meal, if and ONLY if you worked out in the morning (as a reward). Today, I ate one of those cafeteria puddings with my homemade salad. Only do this if you mentally feel it necessary.
  • Tertiary decadence, which is actually quite good for you is 88% cocoa bars at Vitamin Shop. They are $3 and huge. Eat them, they are FULL of antioxidants, great for your cardio system, have no sugar and are better for you than eating candy/taco bell etc.. It tastes great, and feels like you are cheating on your diet. Excellent for snacking. I ate a 2 inch by 1 inch block of it on my way to work today.
  • Keep all of your eating within one 8 hour window. Generally impossible if you eat at noon, workout at 7-9pm then get home to eat dinner. The goal is to minimize the eating time spread, and maximize the mini fasts between days. The time period between dinner and the next lunch should be maximized and treated as a mini fast.
  • You can eat right before you go to bed, no problem.
  • No water soluble impact carbs (breads, white rice, pasta, noodles etc…). Complex plant based carbs: broccoli, asparagus, anything dark green/red etc.. you can eat veggies until you are stuffed.
  • Fats are GREAT for you. Fats don’t get you fat, eating too much and not exercising gets you fat. Carbs from fats are excellent, but not a complete replacement for plant carbs. Eat both.
  • Fruit is limited(max is one big handful per day and best right after a workout), but not eliminated. I eat all my fruits and 50% of my veggies in my dinner smoothies (which is right after my workout).
  • Nuts/seeds are awesome but keep them under control. Eat only 2-5 nuts as a snack a couple times a day if necessary. I often put almonds in my smoothies. Currently, I no longer snack in-between meals as much.
  • Omega-3 fish oil is ultra important. Buy the best you can get, make sure it has ALA in it as well. Chia seeds are good for this. ALA supplements are also highly recommended. Choke down fish oil every time you eat. Make sure the oil came from real fish not flax seed. I've read reports bashing flax seed as not being all that awesome. Probably funded by fisheries...so do your own research.
  • Dinner smoothie. On rest days, smoothie is about 10-12oz. Workout days it might be double that. The key to building a smoothie is easy: you need a liquid protein source (milk/yogurt), then a raw proteins source(powder/ultimate meal/beans/etc..), then carbs(veggies(kale!)/veggie powders/fruits), then fats/supplements(ALA/fish oil/cottage cheese/chia/vitamins) and finally flavorings(cinnamon, agave, nutmeg, 88% cocoa bar). I tend to mix proteins/carbs into equal layers, then add a thin layer of fats into my Vitamix.
  • Alternate dinner (ie restaurant/home cooking) is simply steam/boil/microwave/raw eat a pile of veggies the size of a big dinner plate. Then a lump of meat the size and thickness of your hand. Easy, done. Full fat ranch dressing is no problem.
  • Another dinner alternate, when I feel like being extra lean is three eggs, cracked into a cereal bowl of water. Microwave them until poached (~2.5 mins). Then for carbs, a single microwaved yam is beautiful, or a salad, or a super small fruit/veggie smoothie. Freaking awesome, easy to cook and tastes great.
  • Another dinner alternate is eat a ton of cheese. Literally, like a brick of cheese, or cheese varieties in one sitting. Lots of proteins and fats in there. Then eat some veggies/salad/small veggie smoothie. This is excellent for when you want to workout really hard the next morning or do this as lunch in preparation for a tough night workout. This is one of my favorites. Super famous fitness guru Steve Maxwell does this a lot, and I stole it from him; it works.
  • Alternates for protein: clean organic jerky, cheese, eggs, chickpeas, beans. 1 egg/half cup beans = 6gm protein.
  • Coconut milk, water and oil are the three greatest things for your diet. Eat these three constantly. Milk for smoothies, water for post workout hydration, and oil for cooking/smoothies/replacement base for making dressings/desserts etc..
  • For us athletes, we need 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, at the weight we want to be at per day.
  • My grocery shopping is super easy now, as I only have to buy a few things and rarely have to go down the aisles as all the good stuff is on the perimeter.
  • Eat, then wait 45 minutes. If you are sleepy, too many shitty carbs or not enough good carbs. If you are hungry, not enough protein.

Mindset for your food:

Fats: are fuels for performance over a long time; and released into the body slower, no impact to insulin levels and have high energy density. Aerobic performance – Running a couple miles; long jiu jitsu fights.

Carbs: are fuels for performance over a short time; quickly released into the body, can spike insulin levels and have a low energy density. Anaerobic performance – Olympic lifting; the first 10 seconds of a jiu jitsu fight.

Proteins: fix your shit when you go catabolic after workouts.

You need all three. I basically try to get a 33% split on all of them.

Your food determines the mode:

Insulin level high = store mode = fat ass --- shitty carbs/too much fruits/sugars/breads

Insulin level low = burn mode = lean body --- fats, proteins/hard carbs(broccoli, kale etc..)

I hope this method helps someone. If it has, drop me some love in the comments below.



  1. Ooh, the 16 hr fast. I've discovered through (also) blackboxing with my body that it's the only way for me to lose weight. As a result, I train strong 6-7 days a week and usually only eat one meal a day-- late at night after the last training session, so like 10pm-- and it's not a huge meal either. I feel great, recover easily, and can lose 3-5 lbs a week without feeling any detriment to my output.

  2. Fasting was the single most important tactic for me to drop my body fat percentage. Everything else was just barely doing it. Fasting supercharged it, and my workouts during fasting were fantastic! I ran my fasted mile at the end of a long fast. Less weight, less shit slopping around in my guts and more focused energy helped me achieve that pace.

  3. I have a tendency to undereat all the time, so I'm constantly catabolic. My stomach just rumbles and growls like a fucking jungle cat, especially after workout.

    In the way of stopping my own progress, it's the sweets for me. They just call to me like a siren. Fuckers.

    Anyway, I'm going to try this (or at least, parts of it) and see how it goes. Thanks!

  4. Cryptotroop- So this is what I've gathered here: No alcohol for you, daily extended fasts (16 hours a day of no calories), high protein, high fat, high vege diet during those times, once a week a 1.5 day fast (36 hours). You avoid bonking with amino acids (BCAAs), and are getting your fiber from the green stuff. You aren't needing 10 hours of energy for marathons, you like keeping your physical stuff under an hour. Is that about the gist?