By Duke Nukem
With so many competing bodybuilding strategies, it is nearly impossible for the sincere seeker to find methods that actually work. Most systems promise amazing results, but as any high-level bodybuilder will tell you, obtaining amazing results requires an extraordinary effort and total commitment. Real bodybuilders understand that dramatic results do not occur with halfhearted effort. It takes backbreaking work in the gym coupled with serious nutrition, ample rest and lots of consistency. With so many exaggerated claims and so many contradictory bodybuilding methods, it is easy to be seduced by those that promise the most (results) in return for the least (effort.) We want to believe that there are shortcuts to serious results and that is not the case. Of course, the world is full of gurus that tell you their products are revolutionary shortcuts. Fitness-related products support a billion-dollar industry. Historically, diet books are traditional best sellers; nutritional supplements are more popular than at anytime in history and the access to information has never been better – with all these modern advantages, why are so many people unable to make the gains they seek? Why is it that so many well-intentioned highly intelligent, motivated and disciplined individuals fail in their fitness efforts? Motivation and discipline are not enough: if you have the wrong game plan, or, more likely, a partial game plan, results will be less than optimal.
At Parrillo Performance results are a forgone conclusion – assuming the recommended strategies and tactics are implemented comprehensively and in totality. Fragmentation is the enemy. In order to successfully renovate the physique, i.e., build muscle and melt off body fat, a comprehensive approach is required: diet alone, training alone, is not enough. Remolding the human body is something quite profound and to build and shape the body requires a “synergistic” approach that combines highly specific strategies in interrelated disciplines. The Parrillo approach towards bodybuilding is defined by the uniqueness of the elements and how they fit together to form a seamless whole: the Parrillo approach sets in motion highly defined diet and exercise strategies that are interrelated and coordinated. What makes Parrillo unique? Within each of the broad categories (nutrition, exercise) there are numerous Parrillo twists and wrinkles that are completely unique. The comprehensive nature of the overall game plan requires careful planning and a thoughtful, synergistic approach. There are six bodybuilding elements, distinctly and uniquely Parrillo, that differentiate the Parrillo approach from the rest of the pack…
- Nutrition: the Parrillo nutritional approach “trains” the metabolism to partition food more efficiently. John Parrillo is ground-zero for modern bodybuilding nutrition. So many of the concepts and precepts that are today taken for granted were instituted (and resisted by the mainstream) by John Parrillo in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The classical multiple-meal eating schedule, nowadays standard operating procedure, is a Parrillo innovation. The idea of large caloric intake went against the starvation tactics used by Olympia winners of that era. The Parrillo high-calorie, high protein approach was considered “insane” by the experts of the day. It was “impossible” for a bodybuilder to consume all the calories that Parrillo recommended without “becoming morbidly obese,” as one critic insisted. Food selection is critical: in the Parrillo approach only “clean” calories are consumed, those devoid of LCT dietary fat, sugar, insulin-spiking refined carbohydrates and alcohol. Clean calories, lean protein, fibrous carbs and natural starch carbs, form the backbone of the Parrillo nutritional approach. Only foods preferentially partitioned into creating muscle and burning fat are consumed. Powerhouse foods are augmented with powerhouse supplements.
- Supplementation: proper nutritional supplementation is integral to Parrillo-style bodybuilding. The Parrillo nutritional system is based on the bodybuilder attaining certain nutrient benchmarks each and every day. Parrillo advises that for optimal results the hard-training bodybuilder should consume at best 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. A 200-pound bodybuilder would be expected to intake 200 to 300 grams of lean protein every day. The need for protein supplementation was obvious. The nutritional supplement makers of the day used impotent soy protein, a cheap and worthless plant-based protein. Every supplement in the vast armada of Parrillo products came into existence to fill a real need. Potent Parrillo supplements are designed to augment the “regular food” backbone. The combination of disciplined food consumption and targeted nutritional supplementation “underpin” the intense and continual training that is required to build muscle and melt off fat. The use of supplements makes the consistent and ongoing need to hit daily nutrient goals far easier: Parrillo supplements offer a delicious alternative to having to cook and chew every bite of protein consumed.
- Progressive resistance training: Parrillo weight training is as unique and innovative as the Parrillo approach to nutrition. The optimal Parrillo training routine uses heavy, low rep sets to build mass and thickness. In the same session, in the same exercise, high rep sets are used to build cardiovascular density. High rep sets (and super high rep sets) increase the size and number of blood vessels. When high rep sets are done on a regular basis, the circulatory network is increased. This enables more nutrients to be carried to the muscles and conversely, more toxins and muscle waste products to be removed with greater efficiency. Power train for size and strength, perform high rep work for cardiovascular conditioning. Parrillo recommends weight training for 4-5 sessions per week. The idea is to completely decimate the targeted muscle (or muscles) using high rep sets, low rep sets, forced reps, drop sets, Giant Sets, extended sets., etc. This type of high intensity training must be supported with high calorie, high protein eating. Without ample nutrients and subjected to this degree of severity, i.e. hardcore weight training, the body will break down. Feed the body amply using a multiple-meal nutritional template that floods the body with the regenerating nutrients needed to complete the growth cycle.
- Cardiovascular training: weight training is just one of the exercise types that are practiced regularly and religiously using Parrillo protocols. The second type of intense exercise used in the Parrillo bodybuilding system is aerobics, cardiovascular training. Cardio is critical. Aerobic exercise accelerates recovery, aerobic exercise shortens weight-training recovery time, and when cardio is coordinated with a Parrillo-style nutritional approach, fat-burning is accelerated, particularly if the aerobic exercise is done upon arising. “Fasted cardio” is yet another Parrillo innovation. This tactic has gained widespread traction in the wider bodybuilding world: the bodybuilder engages in a high intensity aerobic session upon arising, when glycogen stores are at a low point. This forces the body to burn fat at an accelerated rate. Competitive bodybuilders will perform a second aerobic session after the last meal of the day. The second session depletes muscle glycogen ahead of the sleep cycle. This means better fat-burning in the next morning’s fasted cardio session.
- Stretching: there is stretching, and then there is Parrillo Fascia Stretching. This Parrillo innovation is used to loosen fascia, the casing that surrounds a muscle and lies below the skin. Tight fascia is problematic in that it makes muscle growth and muscle expansion difficult. The Parrillo procedure is designed to loosen tight fascia by using high-intensity stretching. Over time, and with consistent stretching, tight fascia is made elastic and pliable. The fascia stretching is part of a three-part procedure: pump a muscle up and immediately stretch the pumped muscle using a targeted fascia stretch. The stretch is slowly and carefully taken to the pain threshold limit and then held for 10 seconds. After the muscle is pumped up and stretched, that same muscle is then flexed, hard and repeatedly. The flexion pushes muscle tissue into the newly loosened fascia, completing the Parrillo three-phase procedure: pump, stretch, flex. This three-part procedure is repeated and over time (and with repeated practice) tight fascia is made elastic. Fascia stretching has the additional benefit of improving the bodybuilder’s flexibility, making them more injury-resistant and athletic.
- Mental acuity: John Parrillo has long stated that the Mind can be the bodybuilders’ best friend or worst enemy. To optimize bodybuilding-style weight training, the bodybuilder needs to “push beyond failure.” The Parrillo “intensity enhancing” tactics, going to failure, then using forced reps, drop sets, Giant Sets, etc., to go “beyond failure” require venturing into the pain and discomfort zone. Some bodybuilders have a high pain tolerance while others have a low pain tolerance. The longer and further into the pain zone the bodybuilder can go, the greater the results. This is not the pain associated with injury or accident, this is the pain related to discomfort – how long can the bodybuilder go before lactic acid build-up become unbearable and causes the bodybuilder to curtail the set. John Parrillo uses the phrase mental acuity to denote the bodybuilder’s level of pain tolerance. Mental acuity can be improved and improved to a dramatic degree if the bodybuilder is diligent and consistent. Practice makes perfect.
The Parrillo difference makes all the difference: there are numerous other aspects to the Parrillo approach: the use of targeted supplementation is taken to high art at Parrillo Performance. Based on your situation and specific goals, specific supplemental ‘stacks’ are devised. To attain individualized effects, several supplements are purposefully taken in combination with one another to further accelerated progress. If the athlete is seeking to add lean muscle mass, the stack might include ProCarb™ and CapTri® C8 MCT. Add to this mass-building stack Parrillo Liver Amino Formula™ tabs, Parrillo Energy Bars™ and Hi-Protein™ powder. A bodybuilder seeking to lean out could combine Optimized Whey™, Parrillo Soft Chew bars™, Max Endurance Formula™ and Muscle Amino Formula™. Differing goals determine the supplemental combinations: with over 100 Parrillo products and flavors to sort through, supplemental stacking has become varied and innovative. The Parrillo training approach is incredibly complex and varied: regardless if the exercise is lifting or cardio, there are a myriad of training tips and tactics that can be used to generate progress. The Parrillo Training manual, the Parrillo Sports Nutrition Guide, and John’s books, High Performance Bodybuilding and 50 Workout Secrets, are informational sources that should be on every bodybuilder’s bookshelf: knowledge is power and in bodybuilding knowledge is the key to progress.
The synergistic approach: many bodybuilders that should know better make the mistake of picking and choosing among the various aspects of the Parrillo approach: they might like the Parrillo approach towards weight training – but purposefully ignore fascial stretching. Others love the Parrillo approach towards nutrition – but avoid cardio. Don’t cherry-pick the Parrillo system. The entirety of the approach was designed to work as a unified whole: the high calorie eating supports the high intensity training, the stretching is not optional: the training, eating, supplementation and stretching form a unified philosophy of bodybuilding. When all the component parts of the Parrillo system are in place and practiced on a regularly reoccurring basis, progress is a preordained conclusion. Take away any one of the integral parts of the Parrillo synergistic system and the results will be less than optimal. When all the aspects of the Parrillo system are in place and practiced using the requisite intensities, results routinely exceed realistic expectations. Those that use the Parrillo bodybuilding system as intended never fail to obtain results. The only thing standing between you and the body you want is commitment: for real results commit to the Parrillo process.