When 70’s Big began, it was a stark contrast to several workout themes that were popular online. First, it was a detraction from the CrossFit/Zone and conventional fitness mentality that resulted in a man being a waif. Men are supposed to be burly and brawny. They shouldn’t be fat nor a willowy stalk, but instead own a stature of impressiveness. Secondly, our philosophy focused on achieving such a physique through the trials of strength training as opposed to aesthetic focused training. It’s easy to identify a lifter from the upper body boys that populate most fitness gyms; the lifter’s muscular structure carries broad traps, a bouldered back, and evenly tree-trunked legs.
There were other themes early on, like encouraging competition and opening the door to females to train, but the emphasis of the site started with extending one middle finger upward to the societal norm while the other fist powered skyward (or into another man’s face in slow motion). Our core group of guys that inspired the website trained hard and ate lots, yet we were all in our early twenties. The dietary intake the focuses on mass caloric intake isn’t something that can or should be sustained in the long term. It’s time to sort your fucking life out, mate.
I’ve adapted this phrase for use in the workshops in Australia. If someone acknowledges they aren’t using mobility appropriately, eating well, or doing something that would help their recovery, I’ll say, “Well, it’s time to start taking your life seriously, mate.” It’s most often used regarding dietary topics, since most guys aren’t putting much effort into what they eat.
If you agree with the above philosophy — that a strong, muscular, and athletic athletic man is most impressive — then ignoring food quality won’t get you there (or if it has, it won’t keep you there). Here are some topics that I’ve been developing with my mate Shannon that can help you start taking your dietary life more seriously.
Eat A Stronger Brekkie
Your first meal of the day will help tweak and control your hormones and therefore energy levels. If you don’t eat anything, then start eating a fat/protein rich meal. If you rely on whey protein, as I used to, then have some eggs or meat. The carb content doesn’t need to be extraordinary unless you’re training early in the morning. If you don’t have much time, then prepare an egg casserole or meat the night before. It also doesn’t take long to cook a few eggs that you can throw down the hatch along with some whey (with the point being that “meat + whey” is better than whey alone). Remember to get a quality fat source via eggs or oil (coconut or olive) — your afternoon energy level will thank you.
Eat A Variety
If you eat the same thing every day, then aim to vary up your food choices. We base everything in training on the stress/adaptation cycle; if you accept this, then it shouldn’t be absurd to think that your body won’t get adapted to a monotonous diet. The same goes for meat choices; if you only eat ground beef, try out another animal like lamb or pork. Get different cuts and see how many animals you can eat in a week. I’m less of a fan of turkey and chicken, but different protein sources will provide balance in a diet.
Also, if you eat the same types of meals every day, then see if you can vary them up. Always have a shake mid-morning and a solid meal at lunch? Occasionally switch them up. You’re probably not developing a food intolerance, but the variety will prevent it. Oh, and if you are eating “clean” and not having any change in your body composition (especially having an improvement at first), then you need to vary it yesterday.
The Carbohydrate Continuum
A lifter doesn’t actually need a lot of carbohydrates to function. Training for an hour or two is not enough to deplete muscle glycogen stores, despite what stupid-ass bodybuilding mags might claim. However, carbs are useful for spiking insulin, an anabolic hormone. However, the trainee needs to have a healthy sensitivity to insulin for this “spike” and anabolic effect to work. Trainees who do lots of high intensity conditioning and endurance athletes will need a larger carbohydrate intake (relative and absolute) given that they are tapping into that substrate source, but a lifter doesn’t require them to fuel their training (other than as maintenance and caloric content). Have carbs densely around the training session, yet getting them through vegetable sources throughout the day will help the sensitivity to insulin and also provide a lot of quality nutrients to help with systemic inflammation. Remember that “systemic inflammation” is exacerbated with crappy food and it will inhibit your recovery.
A Nice Stone Glass of…
Don’t like vegetables? Lamenting about not eating brownies every night? Can’t eat enough calories if it’s all clean food? Look, you aren’t Michael Phelps; the maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters. This isn’t just about properly fueling your body to recover optimally about training, it’s also setting you up so you can train (and do dirty things to your wife) when you’re an old, yet jacked, geezer. Start taking your life seriously, mate.