View Full Version : Simplicity and Complexity

Don Birnam
05-22-2003, 12:38 AM
Hi there,

I've been using this website for about a month now and it's given me a lot of great advice. However, I have a concern that I've been thinking about a great deal recently.

I admire the ability of people here to completely micro-manage their diets and routines... stuff like insulin and nitrogen levels, ratio of carbs-protein-fat, types of fat, and lots of other very specialized things to which the average person doesn't give much thought.

But, ahem, for me personally I find it difficult to do this. I don't have calipers to take my bodyfat % nor a weigh scale with which to weigh my food, so immediately I'm behind the 8-ball as it were. Consequently I do a lot of guesswork when it comes to my diet because I have difficulty judging its effectiveness.

I'm 6'7" and 200 pounds, and trying to bulk up. I'm doing the WBB Routine #1. I know the "basics" and I do my best to stick to them; for example:

-I try to eat 3200-3600 calories a day, and 200 grams of protein.

-I spread it out during the day, trying not to eat more than 900 calories at a time and not going more than 4 hours between eating.

-I try to get protein at every meal.

-I get 8 hours of sleep a night.

-I consume a mass gainer shake 3 times a week, immediately after each workout, to give my body quick calories in all three groups (protein, carbs and fat).

I have certain daily routines: I eat a can of tuna every day, a can of brown beans every day, a serving of whey powder every day. Unfortunately I find it very difficult to manage my diet further than this. I often will eat something out at lunchtime or with friends, and I occasionally go out drinking with friends. These 'variables' make it difficult to stick to a diet... I can't even judge how many calories I consumed most of the time! Also, when I travel (last week for example) I find it hard to eat very many calories at all, and I certainly don't eat in a manner conducive to weight gain.

In a few weeks I'll be going back to college. At my college all students have obligatory meal plans, so I'll be eating almost all my meals in the dining halls, and of course it is very hard to count calories in this environment, especially when the special changes every day! I know I can do it with NutriBase (the calorie-estimating computer program I have) but that's a hassle to spend like half-an-hour every day seeing how many calories I ate that day. And also it lacks accuracy, unless I can weigh the food I'm eating in the dining hall somehow.

So, now that you've waded through my whining, ;) I hope that you can give me some advice or suggestions. I understand that micro-managing the little things, while complicating one's daily life, is greatly effective in the goal of bodybuilding. But what about when the tradeoff between daily life and bodybuilding is difficult to pull off? What are the best things to do in such a situation?

We all know that there are basic fundamentals, and I'll do my best to stick with those. But beyond "1 g protein per pound bdywt" and "1.6-1.9 calories per pound bdywt" what are the best "basics" to follow?

I greatly appreciate any insight into this dilemma! :confused:


05-22-2003, 05:13 AM
You really don't have to do that much to get your diet in check. Like you said you already have the basics down. Getting adequate protein and EFA's in your diet is the main thing. The next thing you should concentrate on is eating enough cals to gain weight. When I first started tracking my diet I just used a calorie counter book that I purchased at the book store, and used this to figure up the cals in my typical meal. I mean most people usually eat about the same things each week, but the times and combinations of these foods change. Just look up some of the more common foods that you eat and you will learn the calorie content and amounts that you need to eat to get in your calories for that meal.

I used to eat in a school cafeteria as well and the main thing is to just stick to lean protein sources and getting in some quality cals from carbs. Most cafeterias alos have peanut butter so you might could build a few peanut butter sandwiches and keep them in your room for a snack. There is nothing wrong with eating 3 cafeteria meals and then filling in the rest of your cals with smaller snacks.

1.6-1.9 calories per pound bdywt" what are the best "basics" to follow?

I wouldn't worry about this. Just try and slowly up your cals each week until you are gaining weight. Don't worry about the bw formulas as they are not very accurate IMO.

I consume a mass gainer shake 3 times a week, immediately after each workout, to give my body quick calories in all three groups (protein, carbs and fat).

The postworkout shake is a good idea just leave out the fat as it will slow the digestion of the carbs and protein. Unless you are referring to the small amount that is contained in most all shakes:)

I guess the best advice is just to take it one step at a time. Just try to improve your diet for the better as you are able to. Sounds like you are doing just fine.

05-22-2003, 01:19 PM
I admire the ability of people here to completely micro-manage their diets and routines..

Don't worry about micro-managing your life, it's not needed. I think that if you can be strict and count all your cal's for a couple weeks or a month that you'll learn what the proper amount and type of foods to eat look like. That's what I did and now I'm pretty accurate when I estimate the nutritional value of what I eat. I still count cal's (& protein & such) for a few days every couple of weeks to stay on track but it certainly isn't something that I feel the need to do every day.

05-22-2003, 02:49 PM
some people (me) micro-manage because it's fun and fulfilling to manipulate every controllable variable. *reminds everyone that i have self-professed mild ocd tendencies which basically manifest themselves in organization*

but - in the grand scheme of things - most of it doesn't matter to any significant degree, ESPECIALLY when bulking. i am assuming you are living in a dorm ... and you can always keep peanut butter, tuna, protein shakes/bars and cans of beans there without refrigeration or cooking. you can still maintain your daily calories and even "control" what you eat the other 3 or more meals each day. if you aren't seeing good solid wt gains - then you need to eat more, rest more, or train less. it's not always about micro-managing fiber, vitamins or omega-3s vs omega-6s.