Constraints in bodybuilding

Embrace The Constraints

55 – 30 – 15.

That’s the ratio of protein to carbohydrates to fat that works.  I worked for me in the past.  My most successful diet was 2011 and that was the breakdown.

I can’t do that now for two reasons.

The first is that today I prefer to go supplement-free.  What do supplements have to do with it?  Its not easy to get to 55% protein without using powders and meal replacements.  I try hard to watch what I put into my body.  Unprocessed food is my goal.  Is there is anything more processed than supplements?

There’s a constraint.  Personal choice.

“So why not just eat more animal proteins?  Its possible to get to 55% with real food.”

True, but that brings me to the second reason.  My gut won’t let me do that ratio with real food.  It would take a whole lot of animal protein to get over the hump and it would just not go well.  Conventional wisdom says that the body can comfortably digest approximately 40 grams of protein per meal.  In my experience, this figure is accurate.

Could I eat more frequently.  Not without getting up in the middle of the night to eat.  I’ve done it, I don’t recommend it.

There’s two more constraints.  A physical limitation that I can’t do much about and the number of hours in a day.

Let’s summarize what we have so far.  The identified constraints are:

  1. Choices
  2. Physical
  3. Time

These three are common.  Some bodybuilders are vegetarian, some are allergic, some work two or three jobs.  Everyone has an excuse to explain their lack of success.  Stop seeing them as excuses and start seeing them as constraints.

Embrace your constraints.  Don’t look at them as limits but parameters.

Diet is a problem for lots of people.  How much should you eat?  Here’s how I use the constraints to figure it out.

By avoiding the unprocessed foods, many options available to the average person are off the menu.  Even pasta is something I prefer to avoid.  Instead, my list is pretty simple:

  • vegetables – lots of them
  • steak, chicken and fish
  • milk, cottage cheese and eggs
  • beans
  • nuts and nut butters
  • oatmeal and rice
  • fruit

The constraint sets the menu.

If you buy the idea that the body can only use 40 or so grams of protein at a sitting, that will dictate your portion size.  Another constraint working in our favor.  Its an advantage because it removes the guesswork.  You’re limited by what you can handle.

Next step, the ratio of protein / carbs / fat.

40 grams of protein * 4 calories per gram – 160 calories.

Let’s say that we aim for 40 – 40 – 20.

I need 160 calories of carbs (40 grams) and 80 calories of fats (approx 9 grams) per meal to round out my ratio.

Total calories per meal = 400.

I have time to eat six meals per day.  I can max out at 2,400 calories per day if I do everything else right.

Let the constraints work in you favor.  They are there to set the guidlines, not to prevent you from succeeding.

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