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Proven, Effective Fitness and Nutrition Advice Without All of the Hype and Pseudo-Science

This website is about one thing... giving people access to the proper fitness and nutrition habits that lead to living a fit and healthy lifestyle. You'll find articles on dieting myths, proper training techniques, developing a successful mindset, custom workouts, and even video how-tos and tips from yours truly and other experts in the industry.

If you're frustrated with the lack of progress you've been making towards your fitness goals, whether it's because of a lack of direction or a lack of motivation, then look around this site, come back often and apply the fitness and nutrition concepts you discover in your own efforts.

Balance is Crucial: Bulking and Cutting

Do you ever feel like you’re on a “perma-bulk” or always seem to be in a cutting phase?

Most of us are genetically predisposed to either carrying more body fat than we’d prefer, or less muscle mass than we’d like. Only the lucky few are naturally inclined towards those lean bodies packed with muscle.

While there’s a greater proportion  of the lucky individuals in the world of competition compared to the general population, plenty of competitors still land on either side of the spectrum.

As such, we tend to gravitate towards the eating/training style that matches our natural struggle–those of us who struggle to lose weight are always eating at a calorie deficit and doing a lot of cardio, while the “hardgainers” among us pack away calories day after day and spend a lot of time pumping iron. Continue Reading Balance is Crucial: Bulking and Cutting »

Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet!

Competitors–have you ever felt like you’re on a permanent prep diet? Do you have trouble remembering the last time you consciously increased your calories for an extended period of time, outside of a post-show binge?

Do you also feel like your energy levels, strength and stamina have decreased while your stress levels have increased over time?

Is getting lean and staying there becoming more and more difficult, requiring you to drop calories further and further and/or increase cardio more and more each time you cut?

Bikini athletes in particular tend to suffer this scenario due to the fact that high levels of muscle are not as emphasized of a requirement as other divisions of fitness competition, and thus many women never go into a “bulking” stage that is foundational to programs for bodybuilding, physique and figure divisions. Continue Reading Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet! »

Why the IIFYM Approach to Dieting Isn’t Enough

It’s human nature to appeal to labels and neat packaging of ideas. In the fitness and nutrition industry, this is readily apparent.

If you look at most workout programs, they have a name, a brand: Body Pump. Jazzercize. CrossFit. P90x.

The same thing is true with nutrition: the Paleo Diet. Atkins Diet. Clean Eating. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros).

Labels are convenient because we can wrap said labels around a bunch of ideas and make the ideas appear more cohesive than if we had to track each idea individually. It allows us to understand relatively complex concepts more easily.

In competition prep, nutrition has primarily focused around two pre-packaged ideas: clean eating and IIFYM.

Let’s take a historical trip together down competition prep’s “memory lane.” Continue Reading Why the IIFYM Approach to Dieting Isn’t Enough »

4 Elements of Basic Nutrition

Before you can run, you must walk. Likewise, before you can optimize and perfect your diet, you must fully understand the basic elements of nutrition and how they affect your health and results.

The good news is that basic nutrition is both simple and effective. It’s true that the fitness industry has hopelessly over-complicated nutrition in an effort to justify product differentiation (e.g. “my nutrition system is SO effective because it covers these 3 ‘secret tricks’ that nobody else knows!!!”) that many people feel like they need a master’s degree just to take care of themselves at a basic level.

This is not the case. The fact is I can teach you everything you need to know to cover basic nutrition in about 10 minutes, which I am going to do with this very article. Continue Reading 4 Elements of Basic Nutrition »

4 Ways You’re Approaching Competition Prep Dieting All Wrong

“Eat clean, train mean, get lean!” Seems so simple, right?

Of course, as anyone who’s gone through the process of prepping for a competition (successfully or otherwise) can tell you, there’s a lot more to it.

Unfortunately, misinformation and bro-science have permeated the bodybuilding subculture of the fitness industry more than perhaps any other niche–which is saying something. Approaches to dieting and training have been handed down from one generation of competitors to another–without critical analysis–so many times now that most of what is taken as “common sense” is actually myth.

Here are the top four mistakes I see many competitors make when prepping for a fitness competition. Continue Reading 4 Ways You’re Approaching Competition Prep Dieting All Wrong »

Troubleshooting Weight Gain

A couple of years back I wrote an article series on troubleshooting weight loss that was quite popular with my clients who were struggling with identifying the reason they’re weight loss efforts had stalled.

I have been meaning to write a companion article for some time now on the other side of the coin–weight gain, for my hardgainer athletes who find themselves in plateaus on the other end of the spectrum: where they feel like they should be gaining weight but are either maintaining weight, or even losing weight.

I unfortunately got distracted by other obligations but now I am getting this article out there once and for all.

When I talked about the issues with weight loss plateaus, they mainly centered around unwittingly eliminating the calorie deficit that weight loss requires through one or more factors.

These same factors are typically responsible for stalls in weight gain for those looking to put on size, so it behooves us to review them, but from the perspective of someone desiring to add mass rather than reduce it. Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Gain »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 5

Intro by Coach B: Finishing our 5-part our bulking recipe series (see part 1 here, part 2 herepart 3 here and part 4 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure. Enjoy and be sure to share this recipe series with anyone else you know who needs to put on size and needs to learn how to eat appropriately for their goals.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

Coach Tracy here, I hope these recipes have helped increase your repertoire, and most importantly, helped you start putting on some size!

Here are the key points that I wanted you to learn as we took you through this article series:

  1. For maximum performance and an optimal lean mass gain to body fat mass gain ratio, meals must have more than just lots of calories; they must have optimal macros, which for the typical hardgainer is going to be high carbohydrate, moderately-high protein, and moderately-high fat.
  2. Choosing low volume foods with higher carbohydrate content like white rice, potatoes, and white pasta will help prevent that extremely full feeling compared with eating very volumous, fiber-rich carbs. Remember, 2 cups of hash browns have almost the same amount of carbs as 9 cups of green beans!
  3. Choosing full fat dairy products like whole milk, ice cream, cheeses, sour cream and heavy cream gives you a big boost to calories without having to drench things in oil.
  4. Creating flavorful sauces that are high in calories and take up a good portion of the meal’s calories will make you feel less full. For example, Alfredo sauce uses milk, cream, butter, garlic, and parmesan cheese and can pack a caloric wallop.
  5. Eating a “bro-diet” of chicken, sweet potato and broccoli every 2 hours, six times a day is not ideal for lean mass gain (or anything, other than pushing you to jump off a cliff in nutritional boredom and misery).
  6. Having fun and be patient are key to long-term success!

Here are the last three recipes of the series, bringing you a total of 15 mass-gain recipes. All very different, very delicious, and very easy to pack away. Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 5 »

Snacking: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

For many people, snacks are more of a staple part of their diet, often, than eating regular meals themselves. Nearly every single one of us has adapted snacking as a part of our daily routine, at least at some point.

Snacking is particularly popular amongst Americans, since we have the luxury of constant access to food—especially snacks—via grocery stores, gas stations, vending machines, fast food restaurants, etc. Many think they’re harmless and forget to account for them in their daily calorie intake, but that quickly adds up.

Some say that snacking might be a good way to control binges, especially if trying to lose weight, but that might not necessarily work in your favor. This issue becomes relevant once you try to lose weight and it just seems like you can’t—could it possibly be your snacking that’s halting your progress? Continue Reading Snacking: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 4

Intro by Coach B: Continuing our bulking recipe series from last week (see part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

Coach Tracy here again! I must say, despite being hard-gainers, you are some pretty lucky guys. This is now a total of 12 recipes for you, and still one more part on the way! 12 recipes and a whole lot more gains. I don’t think there’s a single hard-gainer blog out there with recipes that taste as good as these. Lots of them are either generic or pretty gross. I wouldn’t want to eat a pound of potatoes and beef stew meat OR cottage cheese mixed with fruity yogurt. Yuck.

I also say you’re lucky because I’m not a hard gainer and I can’t make this fantastic food fit my measly macros. Maybe if Coach B allows it, I’ll bulk hard during the winter and give these a try. 😉

Remember gents, eating a pound of chicken and broccoli every two hours is not going to get you the HUGE results you’re looking for. I imagine after your fourth hour, you will be sick of food anyway if you tried to eat that way. These recipes are packed with flavor AND low volume which will make you wish you doubled the recipe.

Here’s a tip for you guys, especially if you’re the type that works all day and uses the “I don’t have time to cook” excuse: pick ONE day out of the week, do your shopping, and just make a bunch of food for the week. A lot of the recipes can be made in bulk and will taste even better the next day or two. The only exception would be the shake recipes, previous pizza fries, and these “tatchos” here.

Alright guys, no more time for games. Only GAINZ. Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 4 »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 3

Intro by Coach B: Continuing our bulking recipe series from last week (see part 1 here and part 2 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

What’s up all… Coach Tracy here! How has being a passenger on the “gain train” been treating you so far? Here we are, already on part 3 of our bulking recipes series, and luckily for you, I’ve created three new amazing recipes that are easy to make—and even more importantly—easy to eat!

Remember, these recipes are designed to fuel you for growth without making you explode out of your pants if you know what I mean. Why sit down and eat almost 9 cups of green beans when you can have just 2 cups of hash browns for the same amount of carbs and calories? If you’re a hardgainer, you have a fast metabolism, which is a blessing, so let’s use that to our advantage.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me! OK, enough talk! Pick your fork back up and let the gainz begin. Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 3 »