Posts Tagged ‘Diet’


Just the other day I had a newsletter subscriber email and ask me what my thoughts were about an article which challenged the traditionally accepted idea that you shouldn’t eat after 7pm!

Now traditionally when we talk about nutrient timing we are usually looking specifically at the timing of individual nutrients pre and post workout, etc. Here I am going to address two topics, which I like to refer to as half-truths or half-myths. I’m going to fill in the pieces of blank information most people leave out. I am by no means a nutrition expert, Bryan is (he made me write, but common sense is all that’s really needed here.

 Half-Truth # 1: Eating LATE Causes You To Gain WEIGHT!!!

Some people will tell you to never eat after a certain time. Usually the time they mention is 7pm. I’m not too sure what’s so magical about 7pm (can someone please tell me), but they never tell you why. I understand that as the day progresses into evening time most people are winding down their day and level of activity, therefore it makes sense to ease back on food consumption….

The truth is… eating after 7pm isn’t ‘bad’ … What you eat and the amount you eat is what determines whether it’s good or bad! Also, if you train in the evening, as I most often do, you must eat after. The body does most of its repair work while you are sleeping and you therefore need to make sure you are consuming the nutrients your body needs to carry out these repair works.

You don’t need me to tell you that you shouldn’t be eating sugary or wheat based foods late in the evening and close to bed time, do you? If you are going to eat late and don’t want to gain weight, have a snack or small meal that has quality amounts of protein and some healthy fats.

Avoid the carbs I mentioned above (sugars and wheat), but if you want some fruit go for a small serving of berries, maybe mixed with a small amount of low-sugar high-protein Greek yogurt. Berries are a good source of fiber and have a low sugar and calorie count. Another treat I like is half an apple and some natural peanut butter, but most often I will have a 30gram serving of nuts, getting in a good mix of protein and fat.


People often tell you to eat breakfast in order to ‘Break The Fast’, as that’s basically what you’re doing within the time period between breakfast and your last meal or feeding the previous day. Have a small snack an hour or so before bed time and make the fast a little shorter.

Like I said, eating late isn’t bad, but choosing the wrong foods is! Most often the problem is people ‘choose’ the wrong foods when they eat late at night because of the social activity (watching TV) they are doing! Popcorn, candy and coke isn’t a good late night snack option…

So should you ‘strategically’ eat late? Even though I just discussed breaking the fast by eating a snack prior to bed time, etc, this does not mean ‘you must’ see eating late as being advantageous! I just want you to know that eating late is not bad, provided the food choices and servings sizes you make are good!

The same goes for strategically cheating. Although I personally like to do it and allow clients to do it, I don’t feel for one second that anyone is missing out by not utilizing strategic cheat meals. Not cheating does not put you at a disadvantage… Nutritional cheating is something people have to personally choose to do, and if they decide to do so, they had better make it strategic and not accidental or haphazard!

Half-Truth # 2: Eat Your Carbs in the Early AM!!!

Here’s another one I refer to as a half-truth. Are you chowing down on boatloads of oats and fruit between 7am and 12 noon? Why? If you are training early on in the day then that’s not too bad, but if you are going into the office to sit on your backside for 8-10 hours and not hitting the gym until the evening time, you might want to hold off on the higher carb intake until later on in the day and strategically time your carb intake in and around your training sessions and your most intense of sessions.

You see this one is kind of like the opposite of the ‘don’t eat late’ debate. The idea here is that you eat the majority of your carbs early on in the day, so you have the day (time) to burn them off. Kind of makes sense, but not really…

You see, carbohydrate is a fuel and by definition a fuel needs to be burned. If you have a full tank of fuel (glycogen stores in the muscle) then adding fuel to that full tank will result in ‘spillage’ and your fat stores do all the cleaning up – you store fat! You need to fuel your workouts and aid recovery, but you don’t need to take in excess carbs when you really don’t need them.


 So how do I time my carbs around my workouts?

 You train late in the evening and don’t want to eat too much after, but you also want to refuel and replenish for the next workout, so what do you do? When I train late in the evening, I will have a small protein rich and veggie rich meal afterwards and then if timing allows I’ll have a small serving of nuts close to bed time.

The next morning I will then eat 2 breakfasts. I eat my carby meal consisting of oats, berries and perhaps some natural yogurt, and about an later I’ll have some eggs and maybe some lean turkey sausage.

Something fast to digest for recovery then something slow to digest for satiety.









Ian Graham, ABS Co-Author and BEST Body Award Winner
Sculpt Your WHOLE Life, Not Just Your BODY

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Let’s Look Closely at Training Intensity and Diversity, and the PARALLEL we can draw Between FOOD and EXERCISE!!!


No doubt everyone understands what training diversity and intensity means? You’ve all no doubt seeing the TV adverts for P90X and heard the words ‘MUSCLE CONFUSION’ uttered over and over.

Now I am all for diversity within the training program, but there’s a problem with changing things too much and it goes against what you’ve been told on theP90X adverts. P90X I think is a fairly good looking program. Lots of free weight and body weight exercises… I’m all for that and circuit type and metabolic type work… ANOTHER THUMBS UP from me.

BUT… I am not for anyone training 90 days straight and if you can’t get it done in 60 minutes or less, don’t do it. INTENSITY is KEY, but high intensity can’t be maintained too long, so keep workout session duration to 60 minutes or less.

The BIG Problem I Have With The P90X ‘MUSCLE CONFUSION’

I agree 100% that diversity is a good thing… BUT problems arise and results SLOW when there’s too much diversity and not enough allowance for PROGRESSION! Here’s a section I have taken from our ‘Athletic Body System’ Ebook in which we addressed this very topic ina  little detail.

Too Much Variety and Not Enough Progression

One BIG PROBLEM we see with trainees today is that they want to do EVERYTHING! They see some big clown in the corner doing a single hand overhead extension and think to themselves ‘that’s it! That’s the exercise I was missing, if I do that one exercise I’ll get huge and look great naked!’

Do you really think THAT PARTICULAR exercise is the key to your success? We seriously doubt it!

 Now one of two things happens in this instance.

1. The person does ALL the exercises he/she picks up along the way AND the ones he was doing before. Ultimately they end up with a truck load of exercises and this leads to WAY too much volume and very time consuming workouts.

2. The Person swaps between every exercise they see and never stay with any one exercise or combination of exercises long enough to adapt to them?!

SORRY. It doesn’t work like that! REMEMBER; You must be consistent with your training! Not only training frequency but also training type!

The old FITT Principle will go a long way to explaining this

Frequency: In order to make progress you must train frequently, right? Well if you change the session CONSTANTLY you will not attack that specific movement pattern often enough. Even if you are training 5 days per week you could still not be training with enough frequency if there is TOO much variability in your programme.

Intensity: Whether you’re training for fat loss, to gain muscle or to simply improve conditioning levels, intensity is the KEY! Since when did high reps with light weights and running at low to moderate speed for long durations become part of training for fat loss and developing a lean body? These are endurance training methods and should not be utilized by those seeking real world fat loss results or anyone who wants to develop a lean athletic physique. The body needs to be stressed if you want to see progress and we achieve this via INTENSITY, not by performing low intensity work for longer durations. So you must remember, regardless of what your goals are, you must LIFT HEAVY and MOVE FAST!

Time: Time economy. . you can train for an hour and a half but how many minute of that hour were you WORKING for? Seriously . . a set of bench presses takes all of 15 seconds. You rest for two minutes then another 15 seconds work. . hmm I’d say people work on average 6/7 minutes in their entire 90 minute session!? I think we can be a little bit more economical than that and fit 30 minutes work into a 45 minute session!

Type: If the type of exercise is changing too much or varying too much (slot in cant get stronger on an endurance programme) also training for ONE WEEK on strength and lifting heavy and the next week trying to burn ‘some fat’ and then the week after working on ‘your fitness’ is NOT the way to go! The type of training is changing too much! Stick to something for a reasonable amount of time! PLEASE!

Do NOT be under the misconception that if you stop doing you flat benching for 6 weeks that you are going to lose ALL of the progress made! Once you are doing a variation of a horizontal push for that time period (close grip benching or dips for example) you will ‘not lose it all’ I will reiterate a small point. . your body does not know you are ‘benching’ it only detects a big ass weight falling on you and will do its best to get it off! Think of REPLACING a big movement such a s a bench press with dips for a few weeks NOT adding to the session volume! It will however be taxing the body from a different angle and add to the greater good! Don’t be surprised if when you return to benching your numbers add up!

KEY Take Home Point!!! Do you really have to ADD that exercise instead of replacing it with something? Do you really think THAT PARTICULAR exercise is the key to your success? Get REAL! And Get REAL Results!


I want to draw a parallel between food and exercise so you can visually see the importance of training intensity and where training diversity comes into play. Let’s look at nutrition first.

With your nutrition you want to consume a ‘VARIETY’ of foods, but there are certain foods that are what I refer to as ‘STAPLE’ foods in your diet. The MUST HAVE foods and the foods you should eat daily… foods like green veggies, berries, fresh fruit, lean proteins, eggs, nuts and other sources of healthy fat.

Then there are ‘additional’ or supplementary foods you will consume. Foods such as low fat-low sugar (or sugar free) dairy produce , beef, seeds, sweet poatato, wholegrain bread, oats, salt free seasoning and so on. These foods please your pallette and help add variety and spice up your nutritional plan. They are not the staple foods, but the supplementary ones… they are the foods you occassionally consume throughout the course of the week.

When it comes to training you want to be on a STAPLE DIET of compound movements like presses, pulls, squats, deadlifts, push ups, chin ups and dips. Those are your money maker exercises… the exercises that give you most bang for your buck so to speak… and the ones you want to always be working on improving.

Supplemental exercises would be stuff like core work and smaller, isolated movements such as curl and extension movements. STILL very important stuff, but they should not make up the bulk of your program… 25% at most I would suggest! AND if you don’t have the STAPLE exercises in place, you have NO RIGHT to be performing these supplementary type exercises in the first place!

INTENSITY… Think of intensity in reference to quality. The foods you consume, need to be of great quality. Don’t just buy broccoli and spinach, but good quality broccoli and spinach. The same is true with exercise. You may be using the right selection of exercises, but not using appropraite levels of intensity when performing them.

Maybe you are using too much load or maybe you are using too little load and too performing too much low volume work…

High reps + Light weights DOES NOT = INTENSITY, even if you do experience fatigue and feel the BURN! Don’t be a fatigue seeker and don’t always be chasing, and basing your workout on,  the BURN!









Ian Graham, ABS Co-Author and BEST Body Award Winner
Sculpt Your WHOLE Life, Not Just Your BODY

I’m on a diet… the last thing I want is ‘CHOCOLATE’

NO, I’m not on a diet. Those of you who know me well will know I am anti-dieting, dieting in the sense of regimented and highly restricted eating plans. PLUS, you’ll know that I’m a food lover and was still eating 3000kcals the week of my fitness contests earlier on this year in Canada.

I’m all about the lifestyle approach and tell people to base their nutritional plan on their training plan, and not the other way around. If you train using old school methods… doing daily bodypart routines working small muscle groups and then adding on top of that long, low intensity cardio routines, then you’ll have to eat less than you could eat if you were to train more athletically and in a manner that will condition your metabolism to work more optimally!

The ‘RICHIE RICH’ Movie… is where I got todays article title. When in Orlando, Florida 2 weeks ago, I saw a clip in the movie were his parents were in an aircraft and the mother told the father not to be looking for the chocolates. The father replied and said “I’m on a diet, the last thing I want is chocolates”, and then proceeded to search for and eat the chocolate.


DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR TO YOU??? You try to permanently eliminate something, telling yourself you can’t have it, but then you automatically crave it! That’s the problem with the all or nothing approach. It works for some, but not for most of us! I know this all too well myself.


Photo Above = Fat guy looking for the ‘FOOD’ he previously said he wasn’t going to eat. The food he said he was going to eliminate permanently from his diet!!! Kind of like telling a child not to touch something… as soon as you tell them that, they instinctively want to touch it even more! Little

Many times I’ve tried to go dairy free, but the more I tried to do it, the more I found myself with a big spoon in my hand and a mouth full of creamy It’s far better for me to have short periods of ‘ELIMINATION’ and then the days when I do consume dairy, try to consume it in smaller amounts. I still struggle with the consuming smaller quantities part. Haha

DON’T go EXTREME… in an attempt to get LEAN!!!

Make small, subtle nutritional changes and become consistent with them first, then look at making some more changes! Now, if you are a chocolate lover or fast food junkie, you know that these foods cannot be consumed daily, unless of course you are happy to eat 1 tiny square of chocolate per day. That would be acceptable with me, but maybe not with your taste buds… they may want more than one piece!

My advice to you is to be strategic about your nutritional approach and use the ABS  R.I.C.E. Nutritional Protocol. See below for details!

R stands for ‘REDUCE’. There will potentially be many foods that you need to reduce your intake of. For most this will be dairy, red meat and sugary and wheat based and starchy carbohydrates. I also like to think of R as standing for ‘REMOVE’… in that you will need to remove certain foods, mainly your trigger or temptation foods, from your house.

I stands for ‘INCREASE’. There will be many foods you will want to increase your intake of… mainly green veggies, berries, nuts, seeds and lean protein sources. I also like to think of I as standing for ‘INTRODUCE’. You should try and introduce new foods, colours and tastes into your meals and snacks. Foods you may have disliked years ago… May be very pleasing to your palette now.

C stands for ‘CONSUME’. You will need to consume ‘MORE’ of certain types of foods. More single ingredient foods, more raw-natural foods (no processed food), more plant-based foods, more organic produce, etc! I also like to think of C as standing for ‘CONTROL’… in that you will need to take complete control of your nutrition, control your cravings and therefore you will ultimately be taken control of the results you achieve!

E stands for ‘ELIMINATE’. There will be certain foods and liquids you will want to temporarily or permanently eliminate. Alcohol for example may need to be temporarily eliminated, for at least 4 weeks, in order to give your fat loss attempt the best kick-start possible. Permanent elimination won’t work for the majority of people, so know yourself before trying to eliminate anything permanently. I also like to think of E as standing for ‘EARN’. You must earn the right to eat certain foods and to have a cheat meal or treat. You earn this right by eating clean 90% of the time and training ‘INTENSELY’ and consistently!









Ian Graham, ABS Co-Author and BEST Body Award Winner
Sculpt Your WHOLE Life, Not Just Your BODY