Natural Bodybuilding with JC: The Journey Begins

As you may know by now, I am working with Luke Aubin to take him to the 2013 Heart of America Natural Classic on May 4, 2013. We have a lot to share with you already, but we will start from the beginning. By the time we are up to speed we will most likely have some great progress shots to start including in our updates.

I’m sure many of you are eager to know about Luke’s diet. When we first started working together the goal was not to prepare for a show. The initial goal was to get Luke to a healthy weight. I initially started Luke on a standard 50:30:20 diet (Protein:Carbs:Fat). Using a standard formula of his bodyweight we came up with some starting numbers. Luke followed the plan perfectly and has seen an average loss of one pound per week.

Luke has since changed his goals. Now at 22 weeks out from show day, we decided a slow diet with an early start would work in our favor, considering Christmas is almost here and there will most likely be moments of weakness. A 22 week diet is not all that common, but it varies from one individual to the next. Although Luke has made fantastic progress since we started working together, he still has a good way to go. We would much rather err on the side of caution and give ourselves a little extra time,  rather than have to scramble and make some drastic moves as the show approaches.

If you are interested in determining your own caloric requirements, here are the general guidelines I followed to get Luke started.

Calculating Calorie Requirements

Before we begin, it should be noted that every BODY is different. What works for one may not work for others. Without a personal evaluation it is not possible to formulate a “cookie cutter” plan that is guaranteed to work. The following details are what I have found to be generally successful methods.

Taking your body type into consideration, use the below equations to determine your caloric baseline.

Endomorphs – bodyweight x 14.

Mesomorphs – bodyweight x 15.

Ectomorphs – bodyweight x 16.

*Example: A 200 pound endomorph would have maintenance of approximately 2800 calories.

If the goal is to gain, you want to do so slowly. Bulking does not mean stuff your face with junk food, nor does it mean eat until bursting every chance you get. You want to put on muscle, not fat. To do so I recommend starting by adding 500 calories to your maintenance number. Track your weight weekly and when you stall simply add another 100 calories at a time.

If the goal is to lose weight, subtract 500 calories from your maintenance number. Just like with bulking, you want the change to be slow. Losing too much too fast will result in muscle loss, not fat loss.

Once your calorie requirements are determined, you need to figure out where the calories will come from. The general guideline I start with is 50:30:20 (C, P, F), give or take a little…

For example, if our 200 pound subject wants to gain he would need roughly 3300 calories a day to start. With 20 percent of his calories to come from fat he will need approximately 73 grams of fat.  With 50 percent of his calories coming from carbs he will need approximately 413 grams of Carbs. With 30 percent of his calories from protein he will need about 250 grams of Protein (that’s 1.25 grams per pound of bodyweight).  I would formulate the diet as follows, to round the numbers evenly and bring the protein a little higher:

70g Fat                                    = 630 Calories
400g Carbs                  = 1600 Calories
275g Protein                  = 1100 Calories

Total:                  = 3330 Calories

When trying to cut weight, I calculate it slightly differently. I start with fat again and assign 25% of my calorie allowance. Protein comes next at a strict 1.5 grams per pound. Carbs follow in whatever amount is left to fill the calories.

For example, if our 200 pound subject wants to lose weight he would be looking at the following:

200×14 = 2800 Maintenance.  2800 – 500 = 2300 Diet

63g Fat (25%) round down to 60 = 540 calories
300g Protein (1.5g per pound) = 1200 Calories
140g Carbs (remaining calories) = 560 Calories

Using the above guidelines, Luke was placed on a diet of a little more than 2000 calories, with most of the calories coming from fat and protein.  Keep in mind, a good carb meal or carb reefed is recommended weekly when taking in less than one gram of carbs per pound of bodyweight. My next article will focus on what a reefed is and the important role it plays in a contest prep diet.

Happy Lifting!

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3 comments for “Natural Bodybuilding with JC: The Journey Begins

  1. January 28, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Very interesting post. I wish I read this when I was younger. A lot of people think that we can’t develop the body we want without having supplements in this modern circle of fitness. I’m glad there are useful posts such as this which directs bodybuilders to start off the natural way. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wendy
    December 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I just read Luke’s story. I can’t wait to see what you guys are going to do to get him ready to compete. Sounds like you guys have a lot of work to do but have really good attitudes.

    • JC
      December 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      The progress he has made already is amazing. He is already weighing in the high 170s and is frequently breaking PRs in the gym. Strength and energy are on the rise, indicative of the power of hard work, dedication, and of course, a solid diet!

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