By Iron Vic Steele
I recently attended a John Parrillo seminar and was quite impressed. I loved his persuasive logic. It was obvious that Mr. Parrillo knew nutrition inside and out. The core of his nutritional presentation was this idea that to lose body fat you need to eat more food. He was extremely logical and sensible. It made me really want to try this unorthodox approach. I am very apprehensive as I am getting started. Assuming I do it right, adhere to the Parrillo precepts of hi-calorie eating, and assuming I train as I should – how long before I can see some results? I am really gonna freak out if I start eating all this food and gain 10-pounds in the first week.
Rhonda, St. Louis
Okay, no need to freak out. The Parrillo strategy starts with exercise. This isn’t just a diet plan, this is a diet and exercise combination: the nutrition amplifies the training results and the training, done right, supported right, builds muscle and melts off body fat. Parrillo believes in working the machine (your body) hard then feeding the machine amply – but using only certain food/fuels. In the Parrillo approach a sluggish metabolism is accelerated by engaging in intense physical exercise. Weight training is hard, heavy and done often. Ideally ‘fasted cardio’ is done before breakfast. What better way to start the day then with a metabolism-spiking aerobic session? Parrillo nutrition is inseparable from intense exercise. Clean up your food content: jettison all but approved bodybuilding foods: lean protein, fibrous carbohydrates, natural complex starch carbs, and ‘good’ fat. Prepare bodybuilding foods ahead of time; learn how to construct a “Parrillo Meal,” a portion of lean protein, a portion of fiber and a portion of starch. When starch carbs are eaten in combination with protein and fiber, the insulin spike associated with starch is deadened. On top of perfect Parrillo meals, “the nutritional cracks” are filled in with potent Parrillo supplements. Every Parrillo supplement was created to fill a specific nutritional need. Hard consistent training demands ample calories in order to heal workout-blasted muscles. Supplements (atop Parrillo meals) hasten recovery and provide fuel needed for muscle growth. Assuming you lock down all the aspects of the Parrillo training approach, assuming you train hard and don’t miss workouts, assuming that there is no backsliding or cheat days, you can expect to see a significant reduction in body fat and significant increase in lean muscle in 3-4 weeks. You will feel better by the end of week one (chemical detox) look better by the end of week two, began getting ‘wow!’ comments by the end of week three. Last for three full months and experience a mind-blowing total makeover. We see it all the time.
I need to bring out my quads, specifically the tear-drop thigh muscle atop the knee. I need to get that Platz-like freaky inner-tear drop muscle. My main thigh exercise is the leg extension. I favor sets of 20 and really go for the burn. Despite being able to use quite a bit of weight, my teardrop muscles are just not appearing. I get a sore back from squatting, so I avoid them. I could try some light leg presses perhaps. Is there perhaps a special leg extension technique for ripping up the lower quads? I make it a point to squeeze hard at the top of every leg extension rep. How about lunges with dumbbells? Those appear safe.
Where to begin…the only surefire way to get an inner thigh teardrop like Platz’s is to squat 525 for 24 reps, ass-on-heels, wearing nothing but a flimsy lifting belt. And while that kind of strength creates massive thigh muscles, muscles, no matter how large, usually lie obscured under a layer of body fat. The reason you can’t see the teardrops atop your quads is there is a padding of fat obscuring them from vision. This is a nutritional problem not a training problem. You need to forget all about finding some magical technique for doing an exercise you are already doing too much off. Instead, get on a serious cardio program and get onboard with a Parrillo-style nutritional agenda. Strip off some fat. Let’s see what lies beneath. I suspect it will be underwhelming – and no, shallow walking ‘lunges’ (tiny dips) with tiny dumbbells is not the solution to your lack of muscle. You need to zero in on the nutrition.
I am a lifelong vegetarian? Is there any hope for me to build muscle? There are only so many eggs and egg dishes a person can eat. Suggestions? I get good results from my weight training, but I would love to take it to the next level. I am new to Parrillo and have never really tried supplements. Any supplement suggestions for lacto-vegetarians?
Dinesh, St. Paul
Protein supplementation is a must for the weight-training vegetarian. With so many nutritional choices available, it is next to impossible to determine whose product is potent and whose is bogus. Parrillo is the Ferrari of the supplement industry: the high performance Parrillo nutritional line-up is founded on potency and has been a force on the bodybuilding scene for 35 years. The Parrillo longevity is a testament to its effectiveness. I would suggest for starters Hi-Protein powder™, Hi-Fiber Soft Chew bars™ and 50/50 plus™. A Hi-Protein™ powdered shake delivers 31 grams of protein, that’s a lot of eggs. Each hi-fiber Soft Chew bar™ delivers a whopping 21 grams of protein, 17 grams of fiber with no sugar and only 120 calories. Incredible. 50/50 Plus™ is specifically designed as a post-workout replenishment shake that provides the body exactly what it needs to heal, repair and recover. 50/50 Plus™ delivers 20 grams of protein. One Hi-protein™ shake, one Soft Chew bar™ and one 50/50 Plus™ shake adds nearly 70 grams of high BV protein each day. Each product tastes great which makes consuming them easy. You will be thanking me when you start using these products and suddenly start sprouting muscles.
I see where Parrillo advises to engage in ‘intense cardio’ exercise. How do you define intense? Is there an optimal session frequency and length? I go pretty good in my cardio. I use a land rower and try and beat my best previous times for certain distances and improve my distances within set times. I usually hit it three times a week for 30-minutes. I am wondering the Parrillo definition of intense when it comes to aerobics.
First off, the why: Parrillo asks his bodybuilders to push hard in their cardio as this maximizes results on several levels: going faster burns more calories. You hear a lot of talk about staying in “the fat burning zone.” This is pathetic, an excuse to loaf: while advocates stay in their sub-maximal fat-burning zone and burn a pipsqueak 150 calories in 30-minutes, the Parrillo trainee will burn 500 calories in the same 30-minutes. Faster and harder burns more calories. Secondly, hard cardio spikes the metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours after the session is over. An accelerated metabolism is a wonderful thing on a multitude of levels. Thirdly, intense aerobic training will literally reconfigure muscle fiber, converting slow-twitch fibers (over time) into a hybrid muscle fiber, containing the best attributes of fast twitch and slow twitch. Hard aerobic training promotes the construction of new mitochondria, cellular blast furnaces; the more mitochondria a muscle possess (mito-density) the larger and more fat-free that muscle can become. Nuff said. Go hard – try to go more often and preferably perform ‘fasted cardio’ before breakfast. When coordinated with precision nutrition, intense exercise burns body fat at an accelerated rate. I would just do more of what you are already doing; always seek to improve cardio performance.
There is a lot of interest in using MCTs, medium-chain triglycerides, as a possible way to help lessen the effects of those older folks suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Apparently MCTs have a chemical structure that might help reestablish brain electrical currents disrupted by the disease. Seems like great news.
A lot of good science is pointing that MCTs could help those that are losing cognitive power. Do MCTs revive dead and ill-functioning electrical pathways in the brain? Time and research will tell. In the meantime, if I had a loved one suffering from memory loss, I would most certainly start them supplementing with MCTs – why not?? Where is the downside? A relatively inexpensive natural supplement – that is good for you. MCTs are the finest form of fat: possessing the caloric density of fat, 9-calories per gram, MCTs are preferentially oxidized when consumed. Because of their unique molecular structure, MCTs are burned up right away and cannot end up as stored body fat. Because of their chemical structure, regular fat, LCTs, are easily converted into body fat. I can’t think of a single good reason to not supplement with MCTs. Just reading this makes me want to start getting more serious about my own CapTri® C8 MCT supplementation, which, come to think of it, has been a little lax as of late.
You gave me some advice on abdominal training six months ago and I wanted to get back in touch and relate the excellent results I obtained since following your advice – which at the time, seemed counterintuitive and bass-akwards. I had initially told you how I was completely stalled in my quest for a six-pack, I wanted crisp abs and proceeded to tell you about all the various ab exercises I was doing at the time (a half-dozen exercises, thee sets per exercise done five times a week.) You told me my issue was diet, not exercise, and that I was doing a ridiculous amount of ab work. You got me started concentrating on my nutrition and had me cut way back on my ab work, slashing it in half. After three months of concentrated Parrillo-style nutrition, I have lost four full inches off my waist and I now have a six-pack! Plus, visible oblique muscle and fat-free armpits as a bonus! Your advice worked great!
Indeed, the biggest myth in fitness is that you can melt fat off the top of the abs by doing a lot of ab work. Spot reducing is a myth: you cannot control where the body chooses to draw down from its fat stores. We all have ripped abs, we all have a chiseled six-pack, crisp obliques, visible serratus and intercostals – we just need a way to melt off the body fat that obscures them from vision. Intense cardio and strict eating are the critical elements in obtaining a shredded ab region. Sure, the ab muscles should be exercised like any other muscle group, but no more or less than any other muscle group. More ab work than necessary is a waste of valuable training time that could be better used elsewhere. As you discovered, a Parrillo nutritional diet plan coordinated with daily cardio is the real way in which to obtain a fat-free waistline.