Ask Anthony Ellis - Part III
Real questions and answers by Anthony Ellis.
Anthony, I know you recommend eating six times per day, but how do you do it? I simply don't have time to eat that often! What about people who are busy?
Yes, I will admit that eating every three hours will take some getting used to, but it is definitely possible. Many of use are busy also, but we make it work by planning. You must plan your meals in advance. Know what you are going to eat and when. This will allow you to plan quick portable meals during times when you can't sit down or take a break to eat "real food". Some great portable meals are MRP's, Ready to Drink products, and Protein bars. Even a egg or chicken sandwich will help. These foods can provide you with the needed protein and carbs to help you get more calories. Here's a sample meal plan for all you busy guys:
8am: Breakfast: 3 Egg sandwich (in car)
11am: 2 Whey Protein Bars (at school)
2pm: Lunch: ˝ of a Rotisserie chicken, corn, potatoes (cafeteria)
5pm: Ready to Drink MRP and some walnuts (at school)
8pm: Dinner: Lean steak, rice and string beans (restaurant)
11pm: MRP with some Flaxseed oil (at home)
One more think, don't wait until the last minute to scramble for a meal. This will ultimately lead to skipping meals which is what you don't want to do. Eating a high calorie diet day in and day out is difficult. Don't give yourself an excuse not to eat.
What's the deal with drinking? I love to party and drink on the weekends, but I still want desperately to gain more weight. Can I drink beer and still gain muscle?
The key here is moderation. Moderate consumption of alcohol has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but excessive alcohol intake can damage your liver, heart and stop your body's ability repair and build muscle tissue. You should limit your intake of alcohol to no more than a couple of drinks, 1-2 times per week. The problem happens when you go overboard. Getting "wasted" will decrease your body's recovery capability; cause a reduction in protein synthesis and reduce your strength.
Many people complain that these limitations and restrictions are interfering with their fun, but my response to this is; if you have a goal, you must focus on what you must do (and not do) each day to reach it. This means avoiding anything that will delay or hinder your progress. It's about sacrifice, but you must decide what is important. Who said "Part of getting what you want is knowing what you have to give up to get it?" Mr. Bill Phillips I believe. Never a more true statement!
Anthony, I really want to gain weight badly so I bought a weight gainer powder recommended by the supplement store salesperson. Do you recommend these?
Well, it's a little late to ask me since you've already bought it, but NO. I definitely do not recommend them. The idea of a higher calorie, easy to drink shake is great, unfortunately most weight gainer products are less than ideal. These products are remnants of the "high carb" 80's, back when everyone recommended eating carbs to gain muscle. Almost all weight gainers on the market contains tons of carbs in the form of sugar. That alone should be enough to make you avoid the product, but they also contain VERY LITTLE protein.
Think about these two points 1) Protein is what builds muscle, not carbs. 2) Excess sugar consumption typically leads to accelerated body fat storage.
When looking for a MRP, or even a weight gainer, look for products that have plenty of high quality protein (preferably whey), and low sugar content. Overall, the product should have much more protein than total carbs and very little sugar.
I really want to gain more muscle, but I'm afraid I will gain fat. I'm not your typical skinny guy. I'm thin, but I also have a large stomach and some love handles. I recently got my body fat measured and it's 28% Is it possible to be skinny and fat? What should I do?
Yes it is possible to be thin and still have high body fat levels. Being "slim" doesn't necessarily mean you have low body fat levels.
I have seen many results from many different types of people on high calorie diets. From my experience, individuals starting a high calorie diet with a high body fat level will tend to gain more fat than muscle. This could quite possibly be due to a sluggish "fat storer" metabolism. On the flipside, individuals starting a high calorie diet with already low body fat levels tend to gain more muscle than fat.
Since you have a fairly high body fat level, you should first go on a fat loss diet to lower your body fat. This will increase your chances of gaining more muscle than fat when you do start a higher calorie diet. It will also help you to keep your body fat levels in check. It is very easy to let your body fat levels get out of hand when trying to "bulk up". This is a mistake. The more body fat you have, the more difficult it becomes to remove later on.