The Anabolic Properties of Food

By Duke Nukem

“Everyone wants to go to heaven – no one wants to die.”

-Blues Maestro Albert King

“Novice and intermediate bodybuilders ‘under-eat,’ and this is why they don’t have the muscle size that distinguishes the average bodybuilder from the great bodybuilder.” John Parrillo said this in 1985 and in 2015 this statement is truer than it was 30 years ago when first uttered. The modern bodybuilder has had it drilled into his head that calories make you fat and that all nutritional fat is evil: how are you, the under-sized bodybuilder, ever going to build any muscle eating 1,200 calories per day with lots of fake foodstuffs labeled “low fat” and “lite.” There is an over-parrillo-principles-guy-exercisingridding fear among low-level bodybuilders; they are petrified of adding a single ounce of body fat or consuming a single gram of saturated fat because they value condition over size. They shun exactly what they need: muscle mass.  Leanness and “condition,” being “ripped” and “shredded” are by far the most coveted of all bodybuilder attributes.  On the other hand, who cares about seeing a ripped-and-shredded 14-inch arm or a defined 41-inch chest?

Take a chance: In the year 2015 there is a large and definable segment of the fitness population that considers themselves bodybuilders. While they may or may not compete, this type of individual generally adheres to the “bodybuilding lifestyle.” They lift weights, they do cardio, they practice some type of disciplined nutrition, and they supplement. The type of individual has had some success in leaning out; they have cracked the genetic code and found some way or method whereby they have dramatically reduced their body fat percentile. This is admirable; but leanness is not enough. The defining characteristic of a high-level bodybuilder is not leanness (everyone is lean at that level) – it is muscle size. The defining characteristic of an advanced bodybuilder is they possess both size and leanness. The low-level bodybuilder stays low level because they cling to their leanness, above all else, and will never engage in the high-calorie, high-protein nutritional regimen required to grow real muscle. Parrillo noted this phenomenon way back when, and his prescription for progress has proven to be timeless: eat big to grow big. Do it right and grow big and lean simultaneously.  Now that is an exciting proposition!

Before all else, decimate the target muscle: The construction of new muscle tissue is a wondrous event. Muscle is only grown if the targeted muscle or muscle are blasted in oblivion. This occurs during hardcore weight training sessions. Let’s ponder this for a minute before moving forward: most under-sized bodybuilders under-train. They don’t weight train hard enough, heavy enough, often enough or with the requisite intensity. A muscle needs to be shocked into growing and that shock comes from weight training that force a muscle to work past capacity, in some manner or fashion. Once a targeted muscle is decimated, (in a hardcore Parrillo-style weight training session) that muscle needs to be fed and then that muscle must be rested. But before that “fed” and “rested” even matter, the real bodybuilder must obliterate their muscles. How do you know when you are training hard enough to trigger real muscle gain? Take a muscle past its capacity using certain training tactics. John Parrillo has always had a soft spot in his hard heart for forced reps, drop sets, rest-pause and all the other “intensity enhancers” that require the bodybuilder go “past failure.”

Feed the shattered muscle: While successfully attacking a targeted muscle is a wonderful thing, this is only 1/3rd of the muscle-growth equation. After the perfect workout, the slaughtered muscles need to be fed. The just-attacked muscles crave regenerating nutrients.  The body is thrown into a catabolic tailspin by the body-crushing effect of the workout. The body seeks homeostasis, normalcy, and a blasted body instinctively seeks calories to commence a healing process. The body considers itself injured by the workout and seeks to heal and regenerate the battered muscle fibers. If the trauma is deep enough and significant enough, the body overcompensates and in addition to rebuilding existing muscle tissue, the body will enlarge or add new muscle tissue – this is “extra-added insurance” against future “attacks” in the form of hardcore weight workouts. If the shattered muscle tissue is doused with healing, regenerative nutrients as soon as the workout is complete, the body will absorb, digest and distribute, these nutrients at a 300% greater rate than normal.

Rest the shattered muscle: Rest has many shades, definitions and degrees; while it is not necessary to take a nap after an intense workout, (though if possible that is optimal) at very least, the battered/shattered muscle should not be trained again until it has completely recovered. If the bodybuilder attacks the muscle before it is healed, rested and recovered, all beneficial physiological effect is lost and the bodybuilder actually goes backwards – when muscle tissue is worked past capacity, repeatedly, and under-fed, starved and denied rest, the muscle will actually shrink. Over-trained and under-fed is a bad combination that causes the body to enter into eternal catabolism: when catabolic the body will eat itself to fuel caloric shortfall. Muscle catabolism is never pretty, particularly when someone claims to be a bodybuilder. Continual catabolism is a muscle destroyer.  Yet, the vast majority of beginner bodybuilders commit this most basic of mistakes on a widespread and continual basis. Optimally, we train heavy, eat big and rest until recovered.  This three-phase procedure is required to successfully build muscle.

The devil is in the details:  Train hard, eat big and make poor food choices and you will grow big muscles, become extremely powerful and end up fat as a sow pig. The world is loaded with big, fat, powerful men that can lift a house, yet will get gassed walking up three flights of stairs because they are packing 50-pounds of body fat and ignore cardio. In order to grow muscle – yet not add an unacceptable amount of body fat in the process – we need to train heavy and eat smart: this is where the Parrillo approach becomes critical. John devised a very specific strategy for the smart bodybuilder to grow muscle while retaining – or even improving – their degree of leanness. The Parrillo approach uses extremely specific guidelines in six separate, distinct, yet interrelated, disciplines…

  • Weight Training: the Parrillo approach towards progressive resistance training is all about taking muscles up to and past capacity – that is what it takes to trigger hypertrophy, muscle growth.
  • Aerobics: the Parrillo approach towards cardiovascular training is pretty simple; push hard enough to sweat and push right up to the oxygen-debt threshold. Early morning, ‘fasting cardio’ defines Parrillo cardio.
  • Fascia Stretching: this unique tactic requires intense stretching of the targeted muscle. The targeted stretch occurs after each weight training set. The classical “Parrillo Set” has three phases, “pump, stretch, flex.”
  • Nutrition: the Parrillo approach is consistent and easy to understand; lots of calories stimulate healing and muscle growth. If the calories are picked selectively, weight gain will be muscle gain with minimum fat accumulation.
  • Supplementation: John Parrillo created a huge menu of nutritional supplements, each designed to aide in some aspect of the bodybuilding process. Called “target supplementation,” every scenario has a solution.
  • Mental Acuity: John Parrillo uses to phrase “mental acuity” when speaking of the mental aspects of the bodybuilding process. Greater acuity increases pain tolerance and allows the bodybuilder to train longer in the “pain zone.”

Regular food, the nutritional foundation: Short of having a personal chef to follow you around all day long, a serious bodybuilder must come to grips with food preparation. The sheer amount, the sheer volume of food consumed on a regular and continual basis requires a significant amount of prep time, each and every week. Certain foods need to be routinely prepared ahead of time: chicken breasts and other protein sources need be grilled, baked or sautéed in CapTri®.  Rice, potatoes, fibrous vegetables, all need be attained from the store and then cooked and stored for use during the week. The more adept the bodybuilder is at preparing the continually repeating foods associated with bodybuilding nutrition, the more adept the bodybuilder is at preparing these repetitive foods skillfully and tastefully, the more likely they are to be able to parrillo-principles-cutting-vegetablesadhere to a sustained nutritional diet plan effort. It is far easier to stick to a serious bodybuilding diet plan if the foods taste delicious and the bodybuilder looks forward to eating them. Conversely, if the bodybuilding foods are tasteless, dried out, boring and flavorless, it is just a matter of time before the bodybuilder quits.

Supplementation, Parrillo Style: The Parrillo Nutritional System makes expert use of powerful nutritional supplements. Experience has shown us that the key to growing muscle, the key to becoming maximally lean, is based in nutrition. First and foremost – train hard enough to actually build muscle, train hard enough to actually sweat and burn off body fat. Once the intense weight training and torrid cardio are in place and being practiced with the intensity and consistency they require (don’t neglect or forget fascia stretching!) a Parrillo multiple-meal eating schedule is established: food meals are eaten at regular intervals throughout the day. The final piece to this bodybuilding puzzle is the expert use of nutritional supplements. A high protein intake is required to maximize muscle growth; Parrillo provides a fabulous array of quality protein products that make hitting daily protein goals achievable. Calories are critical, but like protein, calories need be “clean,” i.e. derived from sources preferentially partitioned into constructing muscle or used for energy. Parrillo Performance Products also provide vitamin and mineral supplements, various amino acid combinations, aerobic enhancers, quality carb powder used for adding quality size, joint supplements and sources of essential fatty acids. There are dozens of various “Parrillo Bar” formulations, each product devised with a purpose.

CapTri®, totally unique and irreplaceable! We need to train hard, often and long; we need to prepare our own bodybuilding foods and eat these foods at equidistant intervals throughout the day; we need to supplement to “fill in the nutritional cracks and crevices,” (to use John’s phrase.) Above all else, we need to take in enough calories and protein to fuel growth – yet these calories need be clean so as to not add to body fat stores.  This is a tricky balance, one that a lot of bodybuilders have terrible problems with: eating clean is wonderful but we need lots and lots of clean calories in order to optimize healing, growth and repair. CapTri® was invented as a caloric supplement. Here was a source of calories that has the caloric density (9 calories per gram) of fat, yet because CapTri® is a medium-chain fat and not a long-chain fat, CapTri® calories are either used to construct muscle or used for energy. The unique molecular structure of CapTri® makes MCT calories impossible to end up as body fat. Elite bodybuilders use CapTri® all year long: in the off season they will take in 1,000 plus CapTri® calories per day to create new muscle mass; before a bodybuilding show, CapTri® calories are used to replace starch calories without losing hard-earned muscle mass in the process.

Food First! In his seminars, John Parrillo states the core contention: regular food forms the nutritional foundation. Food first!  John points out that there are numerous biological functions associated with the consumption, digestion and distribution of food. The body gears up to digest “bodybuilding food” and this gearing up is integral when it comes to accelerating the metabolism. Once a food foundation is established, i.e., the multiple-meal eating schedule, supplements are used to “supplement” (not supplant) the core “real food” foundation. Once the real food, multiple-meal eating strategy is established, once the supplements are selected and used to augment the expert use of regular food, once the intense weight training is in place and practiced, once the fascia stretching is understood and incorporated, once cardio is being done daily – once all these Parrillo Principles are used simultaneously, dramatic results occur in a matter of weeks. At the end to two months (of total adherence) the body is transformed. It all starts with the expert use of regular food.  Don’t be confused or neglect this core contention!

How do you know when you are training hard enough to trigger real muscle gain?