In our previous episode, David Sean explained how to progress properly in the world of bodybuilding, the four ways the body burns fat, why women shouldn’t be worried about getting too bulky when lifting, and why he hates it when people crash diet. He also discussed why it’s important to have a long-term mindset when it comes to achieving your fitness goals.
In volume 3 of our hot topic episode, we discuss the infamous chicken & broccoli diet, exercise routines and imbalances, various intense workouts, and why David says cheat meals can actually help you get leaner.
“No one really does the ‘chicken & broccoli’ in a sustainable way.” David Sean
On Today’s Episode of the Low Carb Leader:
- Get at least 25% of your calories from fat.
- The harmful effects of the chicken & broccoli diet.
- Why you should not start your fitness journey with body part
- For intense workouts such as P90X and Insanity, you can have some success if you’re healthy. If you’re in pain or not in your best shape, don’t do them.
- Understanding how your muscles work and how to maximize cheat meals while maintaining your health.
- A beginner course is not always easy. The principles you need to learn in the starting stages are the ones you carry in your advanced stages.
Connect with David Sean:
Subscribe & Review the Low Carb Leader!
Thank you for joining us on this week’s episode of the Low Carb Leader Podcast! Our podcast is devoted to helping you attain optimal performance at work and in life. If the topics and interviews we have shared on this podcast have inspired you, please subscribe to the show on iTunes or Stitcher and leave your honest feedback to help us reach even more Low Carb Leaders.
Read Podcast Transcript
032 – Hot Topics, Volume 3
Hello, and welcome to The Low Carb Leader podcast. I am your host, Dan Perryman, and you have joined me for Episode 32. In today’s Hot Topics we are going to be discussing diets and workouts, low-carb low-fat diets, exercise routines and imbalances, does P90X work, and the all-important cheat meals. At the end of this podcast I have included David Sean’s contact information in case you want to get a hold of him. I hope you enjoy the show.
The Dangers of Low-Carb, Low-Fat Diets
So a lot of people will – I see it at work. Somebody wants to lose weight and the first thing they do is they go to grilled chicken and broccoli, and then they’re starving. But if 60% to 70% is your BMR, then starting with a workout as your solution probably is not going to work, correct?
Right. So that’s interesting because diet and workout are both really important. And the whole like chicken and broccoli thing, if you look at what’s in that, it’s proteins, a little bit of carbs, some fiber, hardly any fat. You know, you want to get at least 25% of your calories from fats. If you do that chicken and broccoli stuff it’s not so – that’s a low-carb low-fat diet is what that is. And what’s crazy is that a lot of people are actually doing that. And I messed with it a little bit in college just because I thought well, I’ll eat – it doesn’t work. I promise it doesn’t work. And if you see like a bodybuilder or something do it, or someone that you think is super fit and they’re doing it, and you see them eating the chicken and broccoli and you think that’s all that’s going on, no, no, no. They’re getting some kind of fats. They’re eating some almonds. They’re eating some sort of oils. They’re getting some fats in.
So no one really does the chicken and broccoli in a sustainable way. In fact, I’ve had clients who previously had tried that. These are people that I really wish they would’ve been clients back before they kind of messed themselves up because they would have been great clients because they followed it even though it was hurting them. And it caused them years and years of issues with testosterone levels and estrogen being too high and a down-regulated thyroid output. And so that chicken and broccoli stuff, if you’re a person who’s got a lot of discipline and willpower, kind of dangerous because you can hurt yourself. Most people don’t have the discipline to stick with it. Every once in a while you’ve got that crazy person who’s like oh, I’m just going to follow it because I’m dedicated. And those are the people that get hurt. So the people that are like, for me as a coach, the most fun to work with, they’re the ones that [will 0:03:04.3] hurt themselves [inaudible 0:03:05.0]
Safe and Effective Ways to Start a Workout Program
So somebody who hasn’t worked out much, so they’re starting to tweak their nutrition and then they start working out, what’s the best approach? You see January 1st you see everybody go to the gym, and they start working out six days a week, and then they stop. What’s a gradual, successful approach?
You know, I don’t have like a – I kind of have a system I use with clients, and I don’t completely agree with what I see all the experts doing out there. But if we actually just go from a sort of a philosophical level of body part training, meaning you go in and you do chest day, and then the next day is back day, that works really well for making that specific muscle grow. That’s the best and most effective way for me to go through a growth phase. But what I see people doing is they start into the body part training early on, and it can kind of create some imbalances, you know, if you’re just always doing chest or always doing biceps, or always doing this or that. So you can kind of get some imbalances if you go straight to body part training. So it’s not a bad thing to start out with it, but I’m saying you’ve kind of got to watch it.
So what I like to do is I like to start out with – it’s just called the Starting Strength Program or the Sustainable Strength Program that I created that you’re on. And what it does is it basically masters the big compound movements, nothing like crazy Olympic stuff like hang cleans and stuff, but squat, bench and deadlift. Not everyone can do squat, bench and deadlift because of injuries or different things. I can’t deadlift right now because of my low back. I can go light, but I can’t go heavy.
So I like to get people on three to four times a week, and I like to do either a starting strength program, or that one you’re on, and really you don’t need to do more than three or four times a week at the outset when it comes to the big compound movements. You want to do a little bit of sprints on the off days, do some yoga or something like that, maybe do a little bit of steady-state cardio for stress reduction one day a week. That’s cool, too. But you don’t want to start out with crazy amounts of hypertrophy. I think master the compound movements for say 8 to 12 weeks, squat, bench, deadlift, some kind of a pulling exercise. And in the book actually, if you guys are interested in the specifics, if you go to davidsean.co there is starting strength programs in there. But yeah, at a base level I think the most potent thing that I can say for people listening is to master like squat, bench and deadlift, and your body will get strong all over, your internal muscles and the muscles you can see. And it will be strong in a way that’s balanced, not this way or that way, or this way or that way. So that’s where I like to start, and then if you kind of assess where the client’s at, or if you’re kind of assessing yourself maybe after 8 to 12 weeks, maybe do a body part training phase. I do like to alternate between strength and volume.
You will grow from your volume phase. Yeah, Dan knows this. You will grow from your volume phase, and you will get stronger in your strength phase, and there’s ways to combine those two programs. But what you’ve got to realize is a lot of people do too much volume. You’ve probably seen that, right?
Home Workout DVDs
Definitely. What are your thoughts around P90Xs and those programs? Somebody who hasn’t worked out, they buy those CDs, and then they start with this insane – Insanity is one of them, I think. What is your take on those because a lot of people do those?
Well, you can have some success with it if you’re a person who is healthy, joints are healthy, there’s no underlying problem. They say pain is the last thing to show up and the first thing to leave. So if you’ve got a little pain – but just be conscious of are you a healthy person, first. And you start to feel that pain. So if you have a little bit of a pain that’s kind of underneath an imbalance or something like that and you start one of these P90X or like Insanity programs, and you start going through it and gaining muscle tissue, you’re going so hard, you’re going so fast, you’re getting to the point where you’re very fatigued, but you’re also still pushing it hard. And so how do you keep doing more reps? Well, you start sacrificing form, and you can get into a lot of trouble. And they’ve built a great business. I mean, but you know, it’s got a lot of people hurt. Now people are going to get hurt on their own, too, so we can’t just blame P90X. But hey, when someone says P90X to me and those types of programs, it’s like I’d like to talk with you for a few minutes and make sure at least if you’re going to do it that you know what – you know that you need to be healthy going in. And if you start having pains it can be a dangerous combination. But then you get other people who are completely healthy and like no, I did that type of program, and I’m good to go. And it’s like well I’m glad, but you’re not like everybody else. You know what I mean? Same thing with like CrossFit. If I went in and did CrossFit my low back, because of my hips, they’re not in balance. So it would mess me up.
Definitely want to talk about cheat meals because I’m a believer in them because so you’re on a low-carb or a low-calorie diet, and then you eat a cheat meal to kind of up your metabolism. So talk about the value of cheat meals and then clean versus dirty because I think that’s very interesting.
Okay yeah because this is – we’re getting in the little niche topics. First of all, Dan, you were doing I believe with your – every show that you’ve done with me, I think you were doing re-feed meals or cheats or whatever you want to call it, all the way up until – because you do them about once a week, and it seems like I think both shows that we just like skipped the last one or you went like two weeks without a re-feed at the end.
Yeah, about two weeks. But for those that wonder how you can eat a bunch of high-carb food two weeks out of a show, I was so depleted at one point that I was two weeks out, and you said for your entire day I want you just to eat everything. So two weeks out from a physique show and I spent 24 hours just eating as much as I could.
Yeah, and it seems crazy, like eat all that and still be lean. But when you actually understand how when a muscle cell is depleted of it sarcoplasm, the proteins, the intramuscular fats and the actual glycogen, the carbs, when you actually understand how a muscle cell like fills up with that stuff, all that happened was your muscle cells were fairly empty, and we just filled them back up. So carbs, they’re going to fill up muscle and liver glycogen, which is a storage form of carbs, first. So if you start out with full glycogen and you’re pushing a bunch of carbs and a calorie surplus, yeah, you’ll store fat. But with you, you were so depleted all we did was fill your muscle cells up. That way a day or two later you’re like the muscles are popping, you’re still dry. So when it comes to re-feed meals, yeah, like it’s a situation where you have to follow the diet in between, like let’s say during the week or whatever it is, and you deplete yourself to the point of needing to really push those carbs and those fats back in. So it’s really wild. If you actually start your re-feed meal in the proper state to where you’re depleted enough that it’s hard to spill over into fat storage, you won’t get into much trouble.
So with you in that situation, some people when I see signs of the metabolism slowing down a little bit, it’s like well, you know what a lot of people do, reduce calories. And I said all right, Dan – and you were probably the leanest guy at the show in your [inaudible 0:10:07.0], the leanest one in the pictures I saw. And so yeah, sometimes I have people do one meal just to push some carbs back in their muscle cells, sometimes like a four- or six-hour window. And like in that situation I said no, you need a whole day. Eat whatever you want. But that’s kind of your situation. But what specific topics do you think –?
Yeah, I think it’s very individualized that – personally, I’m better if I keep my calories a little bit lower during the week, and then I can do a cheat meal. Some people eat more during the week. But for those that are cutting their calories or are on the low-carb diet – and I know this is kind of a loaded question, but frequency of a cheat meal. Do you think that a person can kind of just say I feel really depleted, I should eat one, or do you think they would eat too often?
Well, I would say this. You’re going to make mistakes during the learning curve, and I would say that if you can be honest with yourself and just treat the art of re-feed and cheat meals as something that you want to get better at all the time – you’re going to make mistakes. So when I’m teaching clients this stuff, you know, sometimes I will tell them this many days between. And by the way, the leaner you are, the more often you can get a re-feed.
Yeah, because the leaner you are, the quicker your muscle cells are going to get depleted to where they need to be replenished, whereas if you’re carrying excess fat your body can kind of feed off of that, and you’re not going to deplete of your sarcoplasm as quick. So it’s very interesting. The leaner you are, the more often you can cheat. And that’s why I really like this zone, Dan, of being not quite physique stage lean or photo shoot lean, but not necessarily – and I love building phases, too, because lift heavy weights, eat lots of food. But I love that phase where you’re right before like it’s sustainable, but it’s as lean as you can be, where you’re lean, because in that situation I’m doing big re-feeds for four hours every five days. And so it doesn’t even have to be just once a week.
Now, if you’re carrying a lot of excess body fat you might want to wait two to three weeks, maybe a month or six weeks before you actually metabolically need a re-feed meal. But here’s the thing. What if the stress from the diet is causing the person to not be able to follow it? Well, really it doesn’t matter physiologically if you needed a re-feed or a cheat meal because sometimes I will interject a re-feed or a cheat or whatever just for the psychological purposes so the client can adhere to the diet better the next week. So it’s literally like well, then they’ll ask. Hey, is this – should I do it? I’m like metabolically you don’t necessarily need it, but it’s not going to hurt you. So I will have this conversation. If you think you can do a re-feed meal and then get right back on your diet, then that’s a big win. But if you’re going to try to skip the re-feed and you know that Tuesday, Wednesday is coming around and you’re halfway through the week and you’re just going to kind of go off the wagon, you might want to just hit that re-feed meal hard.
And by the way, eat big on your re-feeds. If your body’s in the right state going in, you’re going to do yourself a favor by actually making yourself – I tell my clients I want you to stuff yourself uncomfortably full even. And the people who push that the hardest get the leanest. Now, they do have to follow the diet during the week. But they get the biggest metabolic boost. They get the best energy in the two to three days following the re-feed. So there’s a lot of cool stuff that happens with re-feeds. That’s kind of a bigger conversation.
Yeah, which is funny because you’re going to gain weight on a re-feed the next day, typically, for a few days. So I think people don’t want to do it because they’re going to gain weight, but –
Check this out. So this is cool. So if Terry, she really watches this stuff, like – she’s a client. And she will be like 156 after a re-feed, and then each day she’ll lose a pound, roughly, and then she re-feeds again and gains three to four pounds. And every week you see the weight go like this: re-feed, down, down, down. Re-feed, down, down. And she’s in kind of a maintenance phase. And she wants to lose a little bit more weight. So pretty soon what we’re going to do is when we pull calories down a little bit more it’s going to be re-feed, and it’s going to go down, down, down, down. And so she’ll probably start losing maybe half a pound of fat a week once we do that. And she came from being 275 pounds, and now she hit like 151 for the first time in maybe 25 years.
That’s awesome. Congratulations.
Yeah, congrats to Terry on that. She’s about to get in that 149 range. And I don’t know why psychologically that’s a big thing. She’s excited about it, so we’re about to do it. But in that situation we’ll just space out her re-feeds a little bit more, or we will pull her calories down a little bit more and keep the re-feeds the same, and then she’ll just lose the weight. So she has the system down. She’s getting it.
More Information from David Sean
So yeah, my website is davidsean.co. I’m actually not – and I said this earlier. I’m not on social media except for today because I’m here with Dan. So I’m not on social media, so if you go to my website at davidsean.co, and that’s spelled d-a-v-i-d-s-e-a-n dot c-o. And you just opt in to the subscription box, name and email. On April 20th you’re going to get a free copy, PDF format, of The Beginner’s Guide to a Sustainable Body Transformation. Now as you’re reading that, I didn’t go into the advanced stuff. I wanted to so bad, and I actually pulled parts out. I wanted to keep it beginner level. So if you read that and you go this is awesome, and you follow it for a year or two or six months or whatever and you want – I want more science, I want more, then I’ve got more stuff coming. And you can read articles and stuff, or even contact me for coaching even. But that’s a beginner’s guide.
But here’s – I want to say one last thing. There’s a lot of people that hear the word beginner, and they go well that’s not for me because I’ve been training for years. But if they missed any of these principles at the outset, they say you’re only as strong as your weakest link. And I see this all the time. Well, I’m more advanced; I don’t need the beginner’s guide. You might want to go in and make sure that you cover the bullet points and make sure that you don’t have a bottleneck in your training or in your nutrition system that’s keeping you putting in all this work and you’re in a plateau because of one little bottleneck. So make sure if you’re a person who is like intermediate you want to check that out, too, because you want to make sure you master the beginner stuff.
I think I’m a good example of that. I mean I came to you and I was stalled, but I had a decent knowledge of lifting and nutrition. But you’re right. I mean, I never thought about the metabolism side of it. That’s what completely changed my approach to it.
Oh, yeah. A thousand calories more per day, and lost fat.
Losing weight, yeah, losing fat.
So think about that. So there are some pieces that people miss sometimes. But we can go into a lot of different subjects, but at the end of the day there’s a lot of factors that go into building your BMR, building that metabolism up. And there’s a hundred different things you can do to make that happen and more. So what I do is if people are doing 10 of those things and they want to kind of see the big picture of, well I want to control everything I can, that’s basically what we did with you. Dan already was lean and had some muscle, but you gained a lot of muscle over that course.
I think, yeah, 10 pounds or so.
Yeah, so Dan’s BMR is definitely higher than it was. So build that metabolism up. But you can check me out at davidsean.co. Opt in and you’ll get that book, and you can shoot me an email if you have questions or anything like that. I usually – I’ll do like a free consult call with people if they want to just kind of get some information for free, and then I can point them to here’s a book you should read, or here’s a website you should check out, or here’s a few of my programs you can look at, or here’s my book. So there’s a lot of different ways to go, but I will – if you hit me up, I’ll point you in the right direction, for sure.