Keep it Simple…Nutrition strategies that actually work!

Michael Vrabel, Karlee Foley and Stuart MacDonald all achieved amazing transformations using information detailed in my DVD's and Books.

Mass Media is great for spreading fitness misinformation especially when it comes to nutrition so here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you sift through all the nutrition info garbage out there

Eating to simply lose weight and eating to change your body composition is not necessarily the same thing.  To really change your body you have to follow an eating plan that will enhance the muscle building process while encouraging fat loss.  Simply eating low calories is not enough.  Sure you can lose weight by just lowering your calories but if the right nutrients and intelligent nutrient timing are not well executed you will have a hard time building and maintaining muscle which will ultimately be a limiting factor in the degree of results you can achieve.

Here are some simple nutrition tips to keep in mind to help you maximize your results:

1. Eat right away:
It is critical to supply quality nutrition upon waking.  Whey Isolate and high glycemic index (GI) carbs is my recommendation.  My favorite combo is VP2 Whey Isolate and breakfast cereal.

2. Eat often:
You should be consuming quality nutrients every 2-3 hours from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep.

3. Eat protein every meal:
Each of your meals should consist of a protein source.  Consistent protein intake is vital for building muscle.

4. Drink a post workout shake:
Directly after training you should drink a whey isolate and carbohydrate mix to kick start the recovery process.

5. Eat carbohydrates after your workout:
Don’t be carbohydrate phobic.  In the 3 hour post workout window you want to consume high GI carbs with protein each meal.  This is true even if you exercise in the afternoon or evening.

6.  Eat lots of vegetables:
Green crunchy vegetables are perfect for providing fiber and increasing food volume while adding almost zero calories to your diet.  High vegetable intake is even more important if you are focused on fat loss.

7. Eat in the evening:
Don’t fear eating in the evening. Eating quality nutrition in the evening will not make you fat.  You need to supply muscle building nutrients throughout the entire day to maximize the recovery/muscle building process.

8.  Eat before exercise:
Don’t exercise on an empty stomach.  See tip #1.

9.  Gradually skim away calories:
If you are emphasizing fat loss you want to gradually skim your calories over a long period of time while maintaining smart nutrient selection and timing.  Drastic calorie cuts or simply removing all carbohydrates from your diet is not a productive long term strategy for changing your body composition.

10.  Write it all down:
If you are serious about changing your body you need to be just as focused on your nutrition as you are on your training.  Writing all your meals down and charting your protein, carbohydrates, fats and total calories for the day will help you be accountable for everything you put in your mouth.  Remember, without great nutrition you can forget about great results!


  1. Hi Jeff,
    I noticed In earlier blogs on the AST website you took GABA. I was wondering do you still take GABA amnd find It a ‘must have’ supplement?

    • I don’t currently take GABA but if I was in a maximum muscle building phase I think it makes sense if you have room in your budget.

  2. avatar

    Hi jeff!
    I saw your explanation about “post-workout anablic window” the other day. In first post-workout shake I take Whey protein+creatine+dextrose, but when it comes to the seceond post-workout meal, I don’t wanna take Whey protein again, and I wonder if I can take egg whites+fish instead of Whey protein?? because they are fast digestible protein sources as well.

    thank you, again 🙂

  3. avatar

    thanks sir

  4. Hey Jeff,

    I just ordered the documentary and the “Secrets” video. Your clients results are amazing. I follow a diet protocol called “Intermittent Fasting”..I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I was curious as to your thoughts. Studies upon studies have shown that the original thought regarding the thermic effect of food, meal frequency, etc. have major flaws. Also what are your thoughts on maintaining a 8 to 10 percent bodyfat level for those who do not want to drop to incredibly low levels. Are there secrets and/or strategies that will lead to a lean, healthy physique, that is sustainable over the long term? Thanks!

    • I don’t have any personal experience with the diet strategy you are speaking of. I prefer to keep consistent nutrient ratios and follow gradual and progressive caloric skims.

      I think the same training and nutrition principles apply to maintaining a lean physique. The variables you work with to get your physique where you want it are caloric intake and cardio frequency. Then maintaining it is just a product of executing those variables at the appropriate level.

  5. Hey Jeff I’m a competitive all natural bodybuilder your conditioning for shows is incredible. What is your precontest routine as far as supplements cardio and getting that peeled look for competition. How much cardio do you do? What supplements do you take to look that shredded your the best conditioned all natural bodybuilder I have ever seen. Do you have treat meals in the offseason or do you et clean yer round?

  6. Do you get guys ready for shows how much do you charge???

  7. avatar

    My body fat is pretty low, but i’d like it to be lower, while gaining a bit of muscle. Can you still gain muscle adequately while getting leaner during a caloric deficit, or should you always keep the goals of adding muscle and losing fat separate?

    • I think there can be some overlap between getting lean and building muscle, however, as I always explain with my “pendulum” analogy the more you are doing things to focus on maximum fat burning the less ideal things are on the muscle building side and vice versa. I think you want to decide what your primary emphasis is and swing the “pendulum” accordingly.

  8. Hey Jeff! I know you help people to lose fat and put on muscle, but I’m still not as big as I want to be. I am,looking for maximum size gains and want to achieve that first before cutting up. What do you suggest for someone like me that is looking for size? The only time I seem to make progress is when I’m eating a lot of calories. I don’t mind carrying a llittle fat, just after the mass right now. Thanks for your help!

    • For maximum muscle building the same principles apply. You simply shift empahsis ivy adjusting cardio frequency and caloric intake. It is important that you don’t just add a bunch of calories. You need smart nutrient ratios and smart timing and selection. Calories for the sake of calories is not the answer.

  9. hey jeff, im planning on competing in 5 months and im an ectomorph and already very lean, i dont know exactly what body fat percentage but my lower abs are very visable, im currently eating a little over 3000 calories a day, in the next 5 month when should i start tapering down my calories and doing cardio?

    • In general terms without knowing any more info I would say yes. As you approach a contet in order to get “bodybuilding lean” you want to follow a pattern of progressive calorie skims and increased cardio frequency.

      • thanks but what i mean is when should i start reducing calories, if i were too start reducing calories now would i be in contest shape too soon since im alreday lean? or should i keep the calories at 300 for another 2/3 months? if i had to guess id say im around 8/10% bodyfat

        • It is difficult for me to give any specific advice. There isn’t really a right and wrong time it all depends on your current condition, how lean you want to be and how long you have to get there. I will say the rule of thumb I follow is it is better to cut early than late and try to “cram for the test” at the end.

  10. Hi Jeff! I get about 40-50gm of protein in my 3 square meals of the day. But its not in my budget to have 2-3 shakes a day for snacks nor can I stick to it. Is there an alternative? Can I eat a turkey sandwich, natural PB&j sandwich or a yogurt in between meals for my protein intake? I know its not as much protein as having 2 scoops of protein, but in the article its says to just get protein every meal, not how much. Would this be ok? Thanks for all your help! Nick

    • If you can get some extra food protein meals in throughout the day it will be better than not getting any! You might be surprised but if you look at the price per serving of a good meal replacement it typically falls around $2 and change per meal/packet. That’s a pretty inexpensive way to get 40 grams of protein.

  11. Hi jeff, could u please give me reassurance when falling I’ll with colds,flu etc on how much if any at all this can effect in any way my routine with ot training and dieting,as I’ve had to take 2 weeks out of training due to sickness and can feel as though am falling behind?does your body then fall back or stay on hold for so long?
    Thanks darran

    • I think it makes more sense to rest and recover if you are ill rather than further compromising your immune system through working out. Gains don’t come and go as quickly as people think. If you are unable to train due to illness the best thing you can do is focus on good nutrition and let your body rest so you can get back to training 100% as soon as possible. You will bounce back quicker than you may think.

  12. Hey Jeff ..

    When I am working on building muscle.

    I wondered if I should grow cardio several times a week?

    Or if I should leave it?

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Sincerely, Daniel Denmark

    • I think Max-OT style cardio 2 times a week during a maximum muscle building phase makes sense.

      • All right.
        Should it be directly after exercise? Or should I do cardio on days off?

        I’ve looked around on your blog and could not find anything about it ..


        • Ideally cardio should be separated from weight training by about 8 hours if possible. If not it is OK to do it after weight training or on non weight training days.

  13. Hi Jeff,

    Huge fan and follower since 2010. I just started to follow your exact training program and nutrition guidelines. I do cardio 5-6x week after weight training for 16 minutes. My problem is this, I weigh 224lbs and need to be close to 200 by May 1st (to join the military). I am 6’1, 29 years old, and fat. MY body fat is probably 33-35%. I usually eat low 1300-1500 calories and have been losing 3lbs a week (I was not using your program during this), probably muscle too. I wanted to know how do I figure out how much to eat because your program is quite taxing? Right now I am going to start at 1800 calories for 2 weeks, evaluate progress, drop a 100 more for the next two weeks and so on until May. I know it won’t be easy to lose 24lbs in 67 days but I am willing to do anything to reach the target weight. Do you have any advice for reaching my goal? Thanks!

    • You have the right idea. You want to gradually skim your calories 100 to 200 max and follow the new reduced level from 7-14 days before reducing again. You also want to maintain smart nutrient ratios and good post workout nutrition and timing throughout the skimming process.

      The other factors are continuing to execute the short duration/high intensity cardio and Max-OT weight training.

      The last few weeks you can even add an extra cardio session on some days to further elevate your metabolism.

      Hope this info helps.

  14. avatar
    Mike Davis

    I’m a big believer in the Max-OT training and nutrition strategies. My question is in regards to the 2nd post workout meal. Immediately before and after my workout I have a protein/carb shake in accordance with the nutrient timing factor article. When is the ideal timing for the next post workout meal? I’ve heard one hour, 90 minutes, 3 hours, and everything in between. Thank you!

    • I think the first post workout meal should follow your post workout drink by approximately 1 hour.

      • avatar
        Mike Davis

        Thanks for the clarification. Your blog and dedication to your fans and Max-OTers around the world is absolutely appreciated by us all!

  15. Jeff, I am 5’6″ and 224pounds. Which must be the protein, carb and calories ratio for maximum fat loss?

  16. Hi Jeff
    My name is Pedro, i’m from Portugal.

    i will start my max ot program and nothing better that you give to me a program, is it possible? I’m 38 years old, 1,77m, 76 kg, 12% fat but i have 5 Kg in abdominal area with water.

    If it’s possible send the program to my e mail and i appreciated. Thank you very much Jeff

  17. avatar
    Devang Parekh

    Hey Jeff,

    So I was thinking about getting your Lost Logs book. But I wanted to know if that was the right choice to get. I know you say how you share your diet preparing for a contest, but do you also go into constructing a diet for maximum muscle growing stage. Do you go into shaping your calorie levels to put on muscle out of pre-contest time? Do you cover that in the Lost Logs.
    I essentially want to have muscle growth as my 1st priority and gain mass as lean as possible.

    • Lost Logs is the exact nutrition and supplement plan I followed from 18 weeks out all the way to the contest. It is the unedited records so you can see exactly what I did and use it as a model. The frame work for muscle building or getting into contest shape is the same. The difference is when you work to focus on fat burning you do progressive caloric skims as you see detailed in my logs. It doesn’t discuss how to shape your calories exactly. It is more of a guide.

      • Hey Jeff, I have been thinking about trying to make my life a bit simpler by trying out the 5 shakes per day with 1 meal. To be honest you are the only Bodybuilder I have ever seen recommend that but as far as I can tell, aside from just being bored with the taste, there should be no long term damaging side effects from it. (assuming I drink a MRS that is as vitamin rich as Ny_tro was.) So, since they are discontinued now do you have another recommendation? At this point I have done a ton of research and have still not found a MRS with the nutritional content and cal/protein ratios that we in Ny-Tro 40. Thanks in advance for the response.

        • I had great success getting the majority of my protein intake through quality supplementation. It is important to get plenty of fiber through vegetable intake when consuming a lot of meal replacements.

          There are meal replacements on the market with similar nutrient profiles you could look into. AST Sports Science also started producing RAPTOR HP which is a hydrolyzed beef protein which could be used in a meal scenario. 2 scoops yields 48g Protein, 16g Carbohydrates, 2g Fat and 280 calories.

  18. Hi Jeff,
    I recently purchased your lost logs ebook and using it as a framework for my pre-contest diet 20weeks out I notice you have 1 pre-work supplement then 4 post-workout meals and supplementation what about on rest days do you still have all those pre and post meals and supps?

    • No, on a non training day you don’t consume the pre/post workout bubble meals. You have non training hour meals every 2-3 hours that center on protein and low GI carbohydrates, specifically vegetables. Calories on a non training day will be lower than on a training day.

  19. avatar

    Hi Jeff,

    If my protein intake is less than 1 gram per lbs of lean mass during my dieting phase (500 kcal deficit) let’s say around 100 g of protein or less per day, can I still achieve single digit body fat percentage and have decent muscle mass?

    I know the muscle mass preserved will be lower than if I was eating more protein but can I still achieve an aesthetic physique?

    • There are a lot of variables to consider, but in general I would say yes. If all parts of the plan are being well executed and you are using the timing and selection principles for maximal results.

  20. avatar
    Billy M

    Hey Jeff,
    I used to weight 280lbs i went down to 200 now at 230lbs and fear im going to start gaining weight again. I just have a few questions i hope you can answer for me. Should i focus just on cardio or a mix up of cardio and wt? and if thats the case then should i have a calorie deficit because im trying to lose weight? or should i eat more than im
    losinh? theyre is just so much information out there that contradicts itself and confuses the heck out of me i dont know what to do lol. And how do i lose belly fat and love handles? i want to become a guy that never quits and i want to inspire people thats my goal in life is to change my body to inspire people.

    Thanks Jeff!

    • I think it is very important to have a strong muscle building component to the workout. That is how we ultimately change body composition and improve your metabolism. I like to focus on Fat loss not Weight loss with the ultimate goal to improve body composition.

      I highly recommend checking out my Premium Web Site. There are hours of video footage, nutrition plan downloads, workout schedules and a community board with ongoing Q&A. Lots of great info to help you on your journey!

      • avatar
        Billy M

        yeah ill give it a try. Im a huge fan of your body building man its crazy how u did it. I heard of you through a guy i know who u helped. They hired you as a motivational person to help them through there debt time. I appreciate the input and will definitely check out the premium. Let me know when ur ever in pittsburgh!

        Thx Jeff

      • avatar
        Billy M

        thx jeff your my idol bro lol i heard about u thru a guy that hired u not long ago to give motivation to his company in pittsburgh and u even gave him a workout schedule and everything, your the real deal lol. let me know if you ever come to pittsburgh again itd be awesome to meet you thx jeff

        thx jeff

        • Thanks! Glad you are finding the information helpful! I have always enjoyed my trips to Pittsburgh with our friend! I look forward to my next visit.

  21. I’m a vegetarian bodybuilder from Madurai,India.I’m 21 and my weight is 60 kgs. Jeff I’m your huge fan. U r my inspiration. Can you help me out with a workout routine to make me gain huge muscle mass. Thanks jeff

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