If you’re not eating, you’re not gaining

Q: Thanks James!  [I’m] enjoying your [training] methods and am using it to set an example for our senior school kids to fight the steroid craze in our school. I have taken part in competitions and would like to do it again using all your techniques and totally natural.  I would also appreciate any help or advice.


My Answer: Hey Pieter, glad you and your students are benefiting from my training methods.  I’m not sure what sort of specific advice you’re looking for, but you’ll find plenty of general training advice in my books.

Bodybuilding is always a process of building muscle and refining muscle.  So you build muscle through Shotgun exercises and then you refine your muscle symmetry through Troubleshooting exercises.  It’s like sculpting: you can’t shape or mold what you don’t have.  So you have to add on the clay or muscle and then take away some clay and shape the muscle.

Now I know there’s going to be wise guy who will say, “You can’t change the shape of muscle.”  But MRI studies show different heads of a muscle group are stressed differently by different exercises.


Q: I’m 6’3″ 249 lbs. and I would like to get a little bigger than this. How much protein should I eat per day? 


My Answer: Ideally you should aim for a gram for each pound of body weight. So you should be aiming to eat 200-250 grams of protein a day. That’s quite a lot of protein, so you should be supplementing with a good protein shake. A combination of whey and casein is best, although your post-workout shake should be whey hydrolysate and simple carbs.

What I normally like to do if I want to gain muscle is eat a big breakfast with eggs. I like Spanish or Mexican omelettes, because they have guacamole and salsa topping the eggs. This way I get some healthy fats, extra protein and extra calories. Later on in the day I’ll drink a whey/casein protein drink as a meal, workout and then drink a post-workout shake afterward.

Bottom line: Get as much protein in at breakfast and during the meals before and after your workout.


Q: I have been following your ectomorph program for about three weeks. I’m not getting much size. It seems my strength has made some gains with some definition. I have been doing the three minute rest periods and even sometimes five minute. I do the program on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Any suggestions on what I can do?

Bradley S.


My Answer: If you’re having problems gaining muscle on the program, then you will need to take a look at your diet and see if you’re eating enough.  More protein and more calories.  If you have problems getting in the extra protein, then supplement with a protein drink every day.

Since you’ve been on the ectomorph program for a few weeks, you should also switch to the 5×5 program.  Plug in completely different exercises.  Shorten the rest periods to 60-90 seconds.  Use a rep tempo of slow negatives with explosive lifting.


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