I saw your comment on the CFFB page from Sunday “Someone send me a mass gain question to raven at powerathletehq.com. I might be inclined to do a TTMJ post.”
Since the interwebs doesn’t have a ‘sarcasm’ button, I’m probably at risk of falling into the trap of being suckered in and looking like a noob…Ah f*ck it, I’ll take the bait.
We’ve have a couple of guys around the 18-20 year old range that have joined our gym recently, that play in the higher grade of the local AFL competition. Their previous training history is predominantly some body building type weight training in the past combined with some typical LSD conditioning from their AFL coach. Needless to say, but this came without substantial increases to their on-field performance. We’d like to get them started on a PA/CCFB amateur template in the off-season, as its a tried and proven track to rapidly increase in strength and speed markers, however these guys are looking for some additional mass so they can confidently dominate when it comes to dropping the shoulder into the other guy. Obviously over a long enough timeline following a PA template will achieve this aim, but these guys have 18-24 effective off-season weeks to train in.
My question is in two parts;
– Would you suggest a skewing of the Power Athlete Diet to maximize an increase of lean body mass? Focusing on the lean part- During an AFL game these guys will cover a fair amount of ground, so moving any ineffective weight will inhibit their ability to perform for 4 quarters.
– From your experience in applying these principles, are you able to give any anecdotal observations on what kinds of increases/decreases in LBM, strength or speed we might see as a result?
No doubt your time is valuable so any help at all is much appreciated John, thanks for all you guys do at PAHQ.
Thanks for emailing me. I was not being sarcastic about contacting me about putting on size and muscle and more specifically my bulking protocol. The Power Athlete Bulking Protocol is easy to follow and has always resulted in a bigger, stronger, more muscular athletes. Where we have succeeded, and others failed, is consistency. For years, I have watched people fail to make size gains just out of a lack of consistency. Everyone had good intentions, they wanted to get bigger, but in the end it was just too tough. And they couldn’t put in the work necessary to make the gains. You need to be consistent in your consumption and preparation of meals and training. You need to be consistent in your sleep and training, as your body is going to fight you every step of the way.
And lastly, you need to get over the feeling of being full.
Staying with the simple theme, I have broken the Bulking Protocol it into 4 parts.
Part 1 – What to eat?
Part 2 – How much to eat?
Part 3 – When to eat?
Part 4 – Simple Take Aways & Tricks of the Trade
Lets begin with the “what to eat” as it is the most natural place to start. First, I don’t like to break my eating into clean and dirty. It reminds me of right and wrong and I prefer the right way to do something. Personally, I never really could comprehend the mass consumption of anything and everything protocol. It just seemed like an excuse for being lazy and eating crap food. If you follow the recommendations laid out here you should not have a problem eating quality foods and adding the necessary bulk.
Protein is a vital part of the diet and will up the focal point of many meals. You ever heard someone invite you over for a salad with a side of steak?
Our proteins sources come from animals, and we have a simple way to classify which of them we should include in our diet.
“If it runs, swims or flies it is good to eat. If it has a mother, a face or soul then it is on the shopping list.”
This includes meat, fish, fowl, seafood, eggs and dairy.
We always recommend these foods come from grass-fed, cage-free, wild caught sources. Not only is it healthier for you the consumer, but also healthier for the planet.
Eggs have been taboo for too long and as a result many have missed out on this muscle builder. If you have some form of autoimmune issues, then I would limit and avoid eggs as they can exasperate the condition. However, if you are healthy and training hard, fire up the stove and lets make my favorite recipe for cooking a dozen egg omelette; which I will share at the end of this write up.
Dairy needs to be separated into two parts: fresh and fermented. Fresh dairy refers to milk. And when I refer to milk, I mean whole full fat milk. Milk is fascinating as it is the sustenance a mother mammal feeds a baby mammal in the first period of its life. It just so happens we are the only mammals that consume the milk of another mammal. Plus we have selected to drink the milk of a mammal that is born at ~150 lbs and grow to over a 1000 lbs in 3 years.
Just for reference humans are the slowest growing mammals on the planet. And the fastest growing mammal on the planet…the blue whale.
So we have selected to drink the sustenance that helps a young mammal grow big and strong. From a larger, robust, stronger mammal with a faster growth cycle. The combination of lactose, protein and fat is a powerful cocktail for growth.
Will drinking whole milk help you grow big and strong?
Fermented dairy refers to cheese, yogurt, kefir, Greek yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk. The fermentation process blunts the lactose and individuals who consume fermented dairy will not have the same insulin response as when drinking fresh dairy. Basically, getting the calories, protein and fat minus the big insulin spike. Another plus for fermented dairy is they contain probiotics that increase gut health.
Will eating full fat Greek yogurt and cheese help you grow big and strong.
The carbohydrate is the misunderstood bastard child in this relationship. With the influx of low carbohydrate diets we have lost sight of consuming carbohydrates. While I do not eat a carb heavy diet by American standards, I do eat a decent amount of carbs as training hard will demand it.
The bulk of the carbohydrates recommended here are coming from roots, tubers, vegetables and fruit. Roots and tubers include carrots, radish, yucca, yams, sweet potato, turnips, garlic, onion and shallots and any exotic you can find at your local market. We are looking for starchy and fibrous carb sources to make up the bulk of our carbs.
What about rice and oats as a source of carbohydrates? I can recommend gluten-free steel cut oats and simple white rice cooked in a rice steamer, as long as they are tolerated. If you find you can not consume these foods without stomach or digestive issues, then I would steer clear. Personally, for a long time I had problems with oats. It was not until I did some research and found many types of oats have gluten. Subsequently, I have not had issues with gluten-free steel cut oats. Simple white rice cooked in a rice steamer was the bulk of my diet growing up, during college and many years in the NFL. I have never had issues with white rice and will consume it on occasion. Once again, if you can tolerate it, then it is not a problem for hard training athletes.
Leaving the best for last, I introduce you to my good friend, fat. The worse thing to happen to fat was someone confused the fat on their waist with the fat on their plate. We need fat in our diet for a few reasons; first it allows us to stay satiated longer, as fat takes longer to digest. Second, we need saturated fat for a healthy androgen profile. Third, we can consume more calories per ounce from fat than any other macronutrient. And if the name of the game is calories consumption, then fat is our best friend as fat makes up 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories for carbohydrates and protein.
Which type of fats should I consume?
You will get your fats from saturated and monounsaturated fat sources. This includes coconut, palm, butter, ghee, lard, tallow and animal fasts for saturated fats. The mono-unsaturated fats coming from avocado, olives, macadamia, almonds, pecans and any oil made from these mono-unsaturated sources.
This concludes the first part of the Bulking Protocol, stay tuned for the second installment.
And as promised…
Dozen Egg Omelette
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pasture butter
1/2 pound of sweet potatoes, cut into small pieces
12 whole eggs
1/2 large white onion
2 green onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
In a large frying pan or skillet, heat olive oil & butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. (If you are in rush it is best to cook the potato in the oven for about 15 minutes before hand. This will reduce your cooking time and get the meal on the table faster.) Cook until brown and crisp.
Once the potatoes are soft and looking good, stir in the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and begin to brown.
Meanwhile in a separate bowl, beat eggs together. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Then pour eggs into pan and stir gently to combine. Remember you are going to need large pan for this. Reduce heat to low and cook until eggs begin to brown on the bottom.
Loosen bottom of omelet with a spatula, invert a large plate over the pan, and carefully turn the omelet out onto it. Slide the beast back into the pan with the uncooked side down. Cook until eggs are to your liking. Add some cheese on top and serve.
Battling a 12 egg omelette is no joke. It will take practice and determination.
Good luck and stay tuned for the Part 2.
Making the 12 egg omelette tomorrow. For a long time my staple was 6 scrambled with spinach soaked in olive oil and siracha, but this looks to good to pass up.
Great article, saving this to favourites and making a 12 egger!
Fantastic! I am a 22 year veteran of the military (still currently serving and training these hard charging young guys). Love your common sense and practical approach to things. I am bookmarking this one as validation for having my guys drink whole milk and eat lots of eggs.
Thank you for all your websites and the information you share so freely!
Eating a 12 egg omlette, no problem. It shouldn’t be since I eat my food like I’m a stray dog.
The hardest part for me is actually cooking it, for those who make it I’d love to hear about everyone’s experiences and even SEE the final product!
Post your pics to comments!
Where is the bacon in this omlette? This must surely be a typographical error of omission…
Hey John…great post…I have a feeling the 12 egger is going to be making it’s way around now!
Thoughts on the non 18-20 year old guys still trying to put on size. Over the years, I’ve gotten myself up to 185 (at just shy of 6ft), but at 38 I sure don’t have the hormonal profile of my younger days.
What are your thoughts on the practicality of putting on (healthy/muscle) weight as we get older? Is it a young guys game, or is there still a chance?
Mother of God. It’s beautiful!
No bacon/meat???!!! Count a penalty John. That shit looks damn good. I accept the challenge, only with bacon added!
… as always, serves one. Heh. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Btw John, you should write a cookbook titled “Serves One”.
hey man, diggin the 12 egger, im about 3 weeks into my bulk, and i do brown rice compared to your white, why you do white rice? just curious thanks
Love the appreciation and I appreciate you taking the time to share. Would you have any suggestions for us trying to bulk on a budget? I’m a student/new dad and money is a little tight. Thanks
love the information*. Sorry about that.
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Very refreshing… I like to make this on a weekly basis, extremely moreish!!
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When and why should bulking be used? Or why is it advantageous to bulk?
Agree with CW. No bacon listed in the ingredients. Obviously a typo. Great post, John. Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule.
You forgot “serves 1” at the end ; ). Great article John!
Great article! Can’t wait for parts 2,3,&4. My biggest recommendation for bulking on a budget is buy in bulk. Although you won’t find the highest quality grass fed items at places like Costco, you will save more money than you realize. If your on a budget and want to build tons of muscle your probably going to have to skimp on the quality of food choices, specifically the meats. Never fear though, use your newfound size to intimidate hiring managers and score yourself a better job. Good luck.
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I just came across the CF Football website and am absolutely loving it! I was particularly fond of this article. Keep it strong, John! Great job on all this, man.
Try putting some coconut oil in to replace a bit of the olive oil – it’s AMAZING!
Fantastic series of articles. We want part 3 and 4! When will they be released?
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I really enjoy your straight forward writing style, and how you make complicated stuff understandable to the layman like myself by breaking it down into simple, non condescending terms. Thanks!
I did have a question (forgive me if you’ve answered it before but I couldn’t find it in the archives): is there a reason you recommend white rice rather than brown rice, or does it matter?