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Nutrition and Food Preparation – Overlooked, undervalued

By Andre Newcomb

The biggest single factor in bodybuilding success is nutrition; the biggest single factor in in bodybuilding failure is nutrition. Success or failure is dependent on the ability or inability of the trainee to successfully establish and then faithfully adhere to the strict and unbending guidelines of a true bodybuilding diet. Without precision eating, calculated, with a purpose, there can be no real bodybuilding. Bodybuilding is defined by nutrition. First and foremost, to be successful as a bodybuilder it is critically important to utilize a nutritional approach that actually works: does the method you subscribe to have any track record? The Parrillo Performance approach towards bodybuilding nutrition was devised, developed and refined by obtaining consistent results for elite bodybuilders. Starting in the late 1970s, John Parrillo made his reputation preparing top bodybuilders for national and international competition. In that harsh world, the “prep coach” either obtains results for their bodybuilders or they don’t: those that do get repeat business, those that don’t go out of business. Competitive bodybuilders are primarily concerned with two things: adding lean muscle mass and oxidizing stored body fat. John Parrillo developed a legendary reputation and along the way guided the contest preparation for an uncountable number of local, regional, NPC national champions, IFBB pros and Olympia winners. Over time, and with years and years of empirical data, he refined his approach. A system of nutrition emerged: regardless if the trainee is a beginner entering their first novice competition, or an NPC or IFBB champion, in the Parrillo nutritional approach everyone, regardless their level, uses the same generalized nutritional template… 

• Establish a multiple meal eating schedule: consume the day’s caloric allotment via multiple “feedings.” If you consume 3,000 calories per day in total, six 500-calorie meals are superior to three meals of 1,000 calories. Smaller, cleaner meals are more easily digested. Bodybuilding “approved” foods have the added benefit of spiking the metabolism.

• Clean up the content: jettison all junk food, all fast food, food that comes in a can, sweets, candies, pastries, breads, pasta and refined carbs of all types. The classical bodybuilder diet consists of lean protein, fiber carbs, healthy fats and natural starch carbs. There can be no serious bodybuilding if trash foods are being eaten. This is elemental and fundamental.

• Supplementation: bodybuilding and supplementation have been inseparable since the 1960s. Bodybuilders discovered supplemental protein amplified training results. Protein shakes enabled the bodybuilder to consume loads of protein without having to eat every bite. Other valuable bodybuilding supplements include creatine, various amino acid combinations, sport nutrition bars and supplemental MCTs are also deservedly popular.

What’s the plan Stan?

If a trainee makes a serious commitment to bodybuilding, regardless if their goal is to add lean muscle mass or slash body fat, the first step is to establish a realistic goal. Set the goal into a timeframe: most bodybuilders find 10-12 weeks is the preferred timeframe. If you are looking to add ten pounds of muscle (or shed ten pounds of body fat) over a ten-week timeframe, logic would dictate that a pound a week increase (or a pound per week decrease for fat loss) would make perfect sense. Bodybuilders following the Parrillo approach monitor progress on a weekly basis using the Parrillo BodyStat Kit, a nine-point skinfold pinch test that measures body composition. BodyStat determines weekly fluctuations in fat and muscle, invaluable feedback for determining if the nutrition and training is on point. The single most important aspect of the bodybuilding process is bulldog adherence to perfect nutrition. In order to “square up” the nutrition, to use a John Parrillo phrase, there are numerous aspects you need to consider and deal with before you launch your effort…

Stockpile supplements: regardless the direction you select, nutritional supplements should be assembled ahead of time. All bodybuilders need extra protein. In the Parrillo nutritional approach, bodybuilders are expected to consume 1-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. At Parrillo Performance there are four forms of protein powder, four types of high protein sport nutrition bars, plus hi-protein “engineered foods,” i.e. Parrillo pudding, pancakes, muffins, cakes, cupcakes, Protein Ice-Kreem™, high protein contest cookies and contest brownies. The bodybuilder is advised to order several cannisters of protein powder. I would purchase a cannister of 50/50 Plus™, the Parrillo post-workout replenishment shake that improves workout results. The elite bodybuilder will gather a selection of “Parrillo Pills,” Muscle Amino Formula™, Ultimate Amino Formula™, Enhanced GH Formula™, Liver Amino Formula™ and Mineral Electrolyte Formula™. Parrillo Creatine Monohydrate™ is a must if you are serious about adding lean muscle mass. Order a month’s worth of supplements ahead of time to avoid running out mid-stream.

Meals, timing and content: determine how many meals and/or supplement meals you will be consuming each day and at what time of day. When it comes to meals, the more the merrier, six is better than four, four is better than two. It is critical that the food selections be cleaned up; stop consuming any and all foods that do not aide the bodybuilding effort. Unless the shift is to “clean” food is successful and consistent, no progress is going to be realized. The classical bodybuilding menu is very narrow: lean protein, starch, in the form of rice, potatoes or oatmeal, fiber carbs and quality fat, preferably medium-chain triglycerides. For those unable to sit and eat a classical Parrillo meal (a portion of lean protein, a portion of starch, a portion of fiber) at each appointed mealtime, potent Parrillo supplements can be paired to create a high protein/high calorie/clean calorie supplement stacks. For example, a Parrillo Energy bar eaten along with an Optimized Whey™ shake (add a few tablespoons of CapTri® C8 MCT) and you have created a supplement meal containing 50 + grams of protein and 600 clean calories. How about a Hi-Protein™ shake (with CapTri® C8 MCT) and a handful of Contest Cookies? Many people will eat food meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner interspersed with two to three supplement meals mid-morning and mid-afternoon and in the evening before bed. Nothing tastes better after a hardcore weight workout than an ice-cold 50/50 Plus™ shake. Eat a Parrillo Hi-Protein Hi-Fiber Soft Chew bar™ along with your 50/50 Plus™ shake and you have consumed 40 + grams of protein, 40-grams of glycogen-replenishing, slow-release carbs and 400 clean calories, this when you need it most, immediately after training. 

Build the metabolism: the key to success in bodybuilding is simple to understand and difficult to adhere to; establish a multiple meal eating schedule limited to powerful bodybuilding foods and augmented with powerful Parrillo nutritional supplements. Add to the “squared up” nutrition ample amounts of hardcore weight training and lots of sweaty cardio. Parrillo-style bodybuilding food meals cause the metabolism to spike. This happens during the digestion process (natural foods are difficult to digest; unnatural foods are easily digested) intense exercise causes the metabolism to spike. All these combined metabolic spikes will, over time, increase the body’s basal metabolic rate. The BMR is the body’s internal thermostat and the higher it is set the more calories we burn at rest. An accelerated metabolism is a fabulous side benefit to living the bodybuilding lifestyle. A sluggish metabolism equates to low energy levels: a spiked metabolism equates to excess energy. When the bodybuilder is lean, fit, super strong and adhering tightly to a serious bodybuilding exercise and nutritional regimen, the human machine operates at peak efficiency. Fit, strong, lean and muscular is a terrific way to stroll through life. Be aware of the roll of the metabolism. Be aware that the tighter you adhere to the totality of the bodybuilding lifestyle, the healthier and more energetic you will feel. Build the metabolism through the skillful blending of diet and exercise. 

Food preparation: this is the downfall of many a wanna-be bodybuilder. A successful bodybuilder must eat often during the day, day after day, week after week, month after month. The successful bodybuilder cannot have four perfect eating days and three terrible eating days. The serious bodybuilder stays on task: any days off from bodybuilding-style nutrition sends you backwards at the speed of light. Optimally, the bodybuilder becomes adept at basic bodybuilding food preparation. The bodybuilder learns how to shop at the grocery store and how to obtain the proper power foods. Learn how to prepare these foods expertly and deliciously. Cooking food is a basic life-skill and should not be shunned or avoided. Preparing proteins and produce is logical, repetitive and results improve with time, practice, tasting and adjustment. The more you cook the better you get at it. If the bodybuilder commits to a six meal per day eating schedule, that means 42 feedings per week, week after week, for six to ten straight weeks. Here are the reoccurring bodybuilding foods…


• Chicken: grilled, baked in the oven, sautéed in CapTri® C8 MCT

• Beef: flank steak, lean burger, skirt steak, filet 

• Seafood: fish grilled, baked, steamed, sautéed or raw, shellfish of all types and kinds


• Fibrous carbs: steamed, raw, sautéed in CapTri® C8 MCT

• Starch carbs: baked, steamed, sautéed 

No excuses: in the age of YouTube, everyone has at their fingertips expert instruction for preparing any kind of food in any way imaginable. Want to learn how to grill perfect flank steak or roast a chicken? Go though a step by step procedure on YouTube with a celebrity chef. Want to learn how to steam perfect shrimp or sauté a perfect cod filet? Find an instructional video. All home chefs need to have a bottle of CapTri® C8 MCT; use this MCT lipid as you would olive oil. Use CapTri® C8 MCT to sauté chicken fingers, fish filets, flank or skirt steak, eggs, potatoes and vegetables. The goal is to create simple, delicious proteins and produce that can be refrigerated and parceled out during the work week. Classically, the bodybuilder uses Tupperware containers to transport “Parrillo Meals” (a portion of lean protein, a portion of starch and a portion of fiber, all drizzled with CapTri® C8 MCT.) Consume the Parrillo meals or supplement meals at equidistant intervals throughout the day. Supplements can be “stacked” to form high calorie, clean calorie meals by combining 2-3 supplements. Regardless if the meal is a food meal or a supplement meal, it takes planning. You can also obtain a perfectly acceptable bodybuilding meal at any good restaurant. Unless you come to grips with food preparation, you will be dependent on others (mom, girlfriend, wife, commercial establishment) for the preparation of your multiple meals. You can do it yourself. Cooking is no big deal. Stockpiling supplements ahead of time makes perfect sense: order a month’s worth. Let’s get serious and let’s get down to business.

2019-12-09T00:45:01-05:00 December 9th, 2019|Parrillo Principles, The Press|

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