An Explanation of Throwback Thursday
It occurred to me recently that over the 6 years I’ve been writing for the public, I’ve put out nearly 500 articles. That’s a lot to sift through. As such, I thought it might be prudent to repost some of my articles with some extra editing to provide people who’ve never read them the opportunity to do so, and for the newer fans of Chaos and Pain to catch up on what they missed. Given that my diet was the thing that put my on the map (outside of my former powerlifting world record), I’d start with my diet: The Apex Predator Diet. Thus, without further adieu, I give you the APD.
Who doesn’t want to be as hard as a Wolverine?
An Overview of the Apex Predator Diet
The Apex Predator Diet is a at its core a cyclical ketogenic diet, not unlike those I’ve supported in the past. On this diet, you’ll be doing ketogenic (keto) dieting on 30 grams of carbohydrates or less per day for 5-6 days a week (or more, depending on your bodyfat levels). During the non-carb days, you’ll be consuming 1-2 meals of fatty, preferably bone-in meat per day, supplemented by 5-7 low carbohydrate protein shakes. The other day or two are referred to as “Rampage” days, during which time you’ll replenish your glycogen stores and satisfy your desire to wreck pizza and cookies.
The reasoning behind this methodology of dieting is that I found protein-sparing modified fasts like the T-Nation’s Velocity Diet gave me just enough energy to put in a workout that would embarrass an undergraduate girl trying to drop her freshman 15 before going to the beach to pick up guys over the summer- I was truncating my workouts horribly and thinking about nothing more than committing hara kiri out of shame. Thus, I did some research and discovered those diets are really only suited to the morbidly obese and people who suck at lifting weights, rather than people trying to be so insanely superhuman they make Superman seem like a shiftless, impotent, weaksauce layabout by comparison. As such, I experimented with a variety of evening meals and finally settled upon beef ribs and bone in steaks, which are eminently satisfying, calorically dense, and restorative in ways you cannot possibly imagine.
Arthur Saxon didn’t count calories to become the strongest man on Earth, he just ate a couple of pounds of meat at every meal.
This diet, though similar to many you’ve likely seen, is vastly superior (if you’re training hard 4+ times a week) to existing frameworks for a couple of reasons:
Let’s do the math:
2100 total calories – 1470 fat calories = 630 calories / 4 calories per gram of protein = 157.5 grams of protein.
The protein shakes I needed to get up to 200 lbs have more calories in them than that, and I mix them in water, not milk. The Predator Diet is much higher calorie count (3000+), most days, with 50-60% of your calories coming from protein and the remainder from fat.
Second, I cycle calories. For those of you who are not already incredibly lean, calorie cycling kicks in to keep your metabolism humming. I’ve not seen another CKD or Traditional ketogenic diet (TKD) that tinkers with calories in this way to accelerate fatloss, which is weird, because…
Third, it’s insanely easy. One of the things I see people constantly blabbering on about with the Intermittent Fasting diet is how easy it is to not eat for half the day. I guarantee you it takes no more time to make a shake than it does to make a cup of coffee, and those goofballs must be chugging coffee like Hummers guzzle gas if they’re not eating. As such, their collective argument is as silly as the Predator Diet is anabolic.
This is what catabolism looks like. Well, extreme catabolism, at least.
Fourth, it’s crazy anabolic. Though you’re operating in a caloric deficit for the majority of the day, you’re getting a constant influx of protein to stave off muscle catabolism, and the high fat meats at the end of the day provide saturated fat and cholesterol, both of which boost testosterone levels, which in turn increase aggression, which in turn makes you tear shit up in the gym, making your system even more anabolic. Basically, you become a perpetual-motion machine of badassery.
And this wasn’t even my leanest competition- it was just the last one in which I squatted over 600 without wearing a belt.
Fifth, you’re not insane with hunger at all times. When hungry, “people tend to conserve energy rather than expend it.”(Russell 148) That’s definitively not a good thing if you’re training hard, especially if you’re dieting for a competition and/or training twice a day. I used this diet to cut for all of my meets and ended up on the underside of 7% bodyfat, making my water cut easier, increasing my strength to weight ratio, and allowing me to be insanely ripped while breaking a 40 year old world record in powerlifting.
Sixth, you have planned, insane, gluttonous cheat meals. These serve a variety of purposes, and they match the occasional gorge of a predator nicely.
Because I realize experimentation is scary for most people, I assure you I’ve already done plenty of experimenting, I’ve got four basic permutations of this diet- Fatass; Sort of a Fatass, Lean; Crazy Lean; and Athletes and Italians. The first three are fairly self-explanatory, and will be broken out by bodyfat percentage (see explanation below). The last is because I get a lot of emails from people whining about pre-and post-workout carbs. They’re of the opinion that they’re indispensable, though I would dispute that opinion. For those ladies out there who absolutely must have your carbs or you will turn into a raging ball of hormone-fueled fury, laying waste to everything in your path as you make for the counter at Auntie Annie’s in the mall, this should suit your purposes nicely as well.
The bodyfat percetages below will be men; women, followed by the bodytype according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Note: I had a chart for this, but I was told to make it safe for work, meaning no f-bombs, so the chart disappeared and I changed the names of the diets somewhat.
Fatass: 18+%; 25+%; Average
Sort of a Fatass: 9-17%; 19-24%; Athlete-Fitness
Lean: <8%; <18%; Athlete
Crazy Lean: 2-5%; 10-15%; Essential Fat
Note: There is no bodyfat percentage for the Italians and Athletes, but I’d recommend <15% and <21% for those. It’ll be explained why later.
Components of the Apex Predator Diet
Before we get into the finer points of the diet, let’s cover a couple of basics- food and supplement choices. The reason why I’ve christened this diet the Apex Predator Diet is due to the awesome food choices you’ll be making. Nowhere will you find bland, tasteless, rubbery bullshit like chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. On this diet, you won’t even need utensils most of the time, because your food should come with a built-in handle- bone. Bone is an integral part of meat, and ripping an animal’s flesh off its bones with your teeth is a primal, visceral, ethereal act that stands in stark defiance to modern life and harkens to a time when men were men and women appreciated real men, in addition to being tougher than most of the “men” you see waddling their sloppy asses around the mall these days. As such, it would stand to reason that if we want to regain that former glory, strength, and aggressive awesomeness we had in times past, we should eat like our forebears.
For those of you who are staring, incredulous, at that statement, consider the following:
“The connection between flesh and bone is primordial and fundamental. Yet today, bones have fallen out of favor. We are all familiar with the expression, ‘The nearer the bone the sweeter the meat,’ but we demand everything precut and prepackaged, and that is, increasingly, all we can buy. Our world is full of recipes for boneless, skinless (and often tastless pieces of meat, chicken, and fish, and we can scarcely recognize whole fish or birds. We have become so obsessed with ease of preparation and speed that we have lost touch with the visceral appeal of cooking with- and eating- bones.” (20 McLagan)
They understood this, because they were stronger, smarter, and tougher than the lot of us.
“There is a universal understanding that bones and meat are inseparable. Yiddish: Bones without meat are possible, meat without bones is not possible. Hebrew: There is no such thing as boneless meat. Greek: Meat is sold with bones. Norwegian: He who buys the meat has to take the bone with it. English: Bones bring meat to town. He who eats the meat let him eat the bones. You buy the land you buy the stones: you buy the meat you buy the bones.”(119 Bones)
Eating boneless meat is thus not only effete, ridiculous, artificial, and offensive to the soul of the slaughtered animal, but it’s fucking stupid. Bone in meat tastes better and is healthier, as cooking it in that fashion “enables the bone nutrients to infuse into the meat, imparting wonderful flavors”(Shanahan) in addition to added nutrients. After you’ve cooked it that way, you eat it with your hands, as your primal ancestors did, using the bones as the handles for bearing meat to your mouth as they were damn well intended. Eating becomes more satisfying because you’re restoring the tactile sense in your hands to the process of eating. As such, it becomes a richer, more natural, more intimate experience and produces greater satiety as a result. As one probably hot hippie put it,
“eating with your hands gives you a deeper sense of your food, because you are bringing more sense receptors to the table. Temperature and texture become more profound when you can feel them on your fingers first, and the experience of consumption is extended even longer for a more pleasurable process.”(Urban)
Worried about a mess on your hands? Buy some goddamned Wet Ones and be glad you have fewer dishes to do. Also, toughen up.
Additionally, you’re going to be consuming an assload of low-carb, blended source protein shakes, multivitamins, EFAs, and fatburners, and will try to mix in some offal if at all possible. I’ll get into all of that good stuff in the next installment, however, leaving you with the fact that offal tastes absolutely awful (puns abound!), so I generally just take a boatload of multis.
So tune in next Thursday for the next edition of Throwback Thursdsay, when I’ll cover the APD for fatasses.
McDonald, Lyle. Ketogenic Diet.
McLagan, Jennifer. Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.
Russell, Sharmen Apt. Hunger: An Unnatural History. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
Urban, Shiloh. “Eat With Your Hands.” http://www.organicauthority.com/eco-chic-table/eat-with-your-hands.html