I will give you a little bit of information about myself. I am a gym enthusiast that made every mistake of the game – horrible nutrition throughout the first years of my training along with horrible training programs. A destination that took me six years to reach is achievable in only few months of training using the right methods. Never during that period I rellied on supplements or other ‘additions’ to my diet in order to get results faster.
The photo on the left is from April, 2016 and the photo from the right is from July, 2016 !
My biggest mistake was listening too much to my friends that trained and receiving bad nutrition information by my first personal trainers. I used to make the same exercises at the beginning that I felt like doing – didn’t follow any basic programs and even trained a same muscle group two, three days in a row.
My nutrition was even worse – I used to eat salads after a hardcore training session and starved myself in order to achieve the one thing a young beginner wants – abs. Reached that goal but with a body like the one of Christian Bale in the movie “The Machinist”. All friends were like “wow, you became ripped” but you know the saying about a skinny guy and a fat woman – it does not count.
I was happy with my results, but still too far away from what I hoped as a finishing point. Later in my training period I started making connections with more experienced men in the fitness industry. Problem was, my nutrition was still horrible and used to train with guys that used all kind of supplements along with steroids. I tried keeping on their level but result was unsatisfactory once again – being natural and following professional bodybuilder program is catastrophic for both your body and well-being. Feeling tired and having muscle aches was something that I felt like normal way of living. So first rule in order to reach a likable physique – listen only to proven specialists and If you don’t have such in your inner circle, just use the internet. You are in the 21st century after all.
The turning point in my physique look was in the spring of 2016. Six years of training already and still a chubby guy with no result that I liked. Took a selfie after a session which made me pissed. I was giving everything I got in the sessions, trained at least 4-5 times a week both fitness and boxing and still an unsatisfactory look? The reason should be in me and my methods… This is when I decided that I should do everything on my own and don’t trust anybody but myself and how my body feels.
The turning point
This is when I started using the internet more and smarter – stopped following the “natural aesthetic” programs of the “natural bodybuilders” and started following the small people. By small people I mean youtubers, bloggers that gave me all the information needed. Guys like Simeon Panda and Lazar Angelov can have both flawless physique but those guys are far from natural – even without steroids which I doubt they don’t use, they use numerous other supplements that is against my principles. After all, I train for better look and better health and not to make millions with my body and risk my well-being later in my life. I don’t judge them and I respect all their colleagues in the industry but what I don’t respect is lying to their fans when they say they are natties and you should follow their programs. Proof for my saying is for example the physique of Frank Zane – the most aesthetic Mr. Olympia of all time. With a lesser weight and less muscular physique then all the aesthetic bodybuilders of the 2010s, he was a steroid that was open about it. His nickname was “The Chemist”. However, this is another topic that I will share with you in another article.
Guys who helped me along the way were youtubers like Eliot Hulse, Brandon Carter, Alpha Destiny and even the Hodge Twins that always cheer me up in a bad day. If you have never heard of them I would definitely suggest you to start following them and watch as many of their videos as you can! All of them are with at least a decade in the world of fitness and like me made most mistakes in the game. However, they fixed it up finding the right methods for their bodies. Beginner’s gains are easy – this is what everybody experience when they start training. The toughest part is upgrading your physique and reaching your goals.
With the videos of Brandon Carter I made the biggest progress in 2016. He is using intermittent fasting as a way of life – this basically is a tool that helps you measure your calories intake. The classical type is the following – 16 hours of the day you don’t eat with a window of 8 hours for eating. Looks scary looking the numbers but have in mind that most of the non-eating window you are asleep and in the mornings you lack hunger and you can use coffee as an appetite killer. In part 2 of this article I will share you an article with my experience and the bonuses and minuses of it if you don’t use it the right way.
(on this photo you can see the obvious bonuses – on the left you can see my physique after a 10 day summer alcohol bender in 2015 and on the right, after 10 day partying in 2016)
Along with realizing this method as a way of life, the other main thing I learned from Big Brandon Carter was the importance of counting my calories intake along with my proteins, carbohydrates and fats intakes. This is the first step of reaching your goal – find a calorie calculator through Google and see what your body needs in order to lose fat, gain muscles or maintain your weight. Next step – use a protein, carbohydrate and fat calculator to count the amount to take for your body. Third step is to know when to eat and how much to eat. And don’t get scared and overthink my suggestions. I will give you few tips that will help you create a lifestyle that is achievable even with a very busy schedule.
If you want to build muscles the most important thing is taking your protein. Everything from 0,7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight is good enough for building a great physique (if you weigh 160 pounds you should eat 110 to 160 proteins per day). Everything above that will result in a worse health and fat assets – remember that your body has limits. Everything that it doesn’t need has to go away in one way or another. You can google “horrible abs of bodybuilders” and see the result of overfeeding your body.
Protein supplements are not that important once knowing that fact. Even if you want to reach the maximum is not that big of a deal, especially if you mix it up with carbohydrates. 5 eggs (30 grams of protein), 300 grams of meat (60-90 grams of protein), 300 grams of pasta (18 grams of protein), 400 grams of spinach (10 grams of protein) and 50 grams of almonds (9 grams of protein) gets you to the final destination. Adding some fruits in a similar diet and replacing the pasta with some bean cultures or rice (you can add them in the diet also) and using olives, olive oil and animal fats will get you a healthy and shredded life. Of course, if you really lack any time of preparation for your food, using protein supplements will make a huge difference in your progress. Protein bars like Fitspo along with some almonds or cashews will kill your hunger in the busiest of days which will fulfill one third of the minimum protein intake for the day.
Forgetting about carbohydrates is one of the biggest mistakes of most gym enthusiasts. It’s very important to take after the training sessions in order to help your body recover faster. Just try using wholegrain products – oatmeal, wholegrain pasta, brown rice, bean cultures, and wholegrain bread which are full of fibers and have a good percentage of protein in them.
Last but not least is the importance of fats. Most beginners try to eat everything without using any fats and salt and think that this will get them ripped. This is horrible thought which I had in the first years of my training.
Firstly, the salt has the important element – Sodium (Na). This is the only food that has it and the body of an athlete needs it mandatory – the sodium maintains the fluid balance, muscular contraction and nerve transmission. When talking about fats, most athletes have a macro diet of using around 20-30 % of fats from all of their calorie intake which leaves only 70-80% for proteins and carbohydrates. Here is an example of the diet of Hugh Jackman, the “Wolverine”, preparing for the movie from 2013 in which he had his greatest physique !
(interesting fact is that he also used intermittent fasting for the role)
It is important to know the difference of fats. The healthy ones that you should include in your diet are olive oil, olives, butter, raw nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts etc.), coconut oil, avocados.
If you want some tips about creating your program, write me on Instagram and I will be glad to help you – https://www.instagram.com/velizar.yordanov . Don’t forget to leave your thoughts on this topic in the comment section.