“Dieting” is a death sentence for performance athletes.

Proper nutrition and eating habits, however, can simultaneously fuel explosive performance with all-day energy, AND build a lean, strong, muscular physique.

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re a little soft in places that you like to see tighter, firmer, and harder. Yet, at the same time you weigh a lot less than you’d like to. You’re caught somewhere in this purgatory of too small and weak, AND too soft and mushy. You want to gain size and strength, but you also want to lean out a bit. You try to gain size for a while but feel like all you do is get softer and gain unwanted bodyfat. So you try to cut for a while but you have no energy, lose strength, your performance decreases and you’re right back to square 1. This viscious cycle continues time and time again, each time leaving you more and more frustrated.

Guess what?

I’ve been there. And I’ve learned how to escape just like Captain Jack Sparrow escaped that hellish place with all the crabs and hallucinations.

 The Escape

My ability to escape this purgatory is what gives me the ability to share my wisdom with you. And that’s why you’re here – to find out how to get bigger and stronger WHILE getting leaner.

The first thing you need to realize before you can escape this nightmare, is that muscle is KING. Muscle is actually what you’re looking for. Muscle is what gives us shape, fills out our frames, and create the look you desire. Muscle is also responsible for movement. You want to run, jump, swim, and move in general? Well, chief, MUSCLE is what provides that motion. More muscle also means a bigger metabolic fire inside your body and that means better nutrient partitioning, better insulin sensitivity, and more calories burned throughout the day. (Nutrient partitioning means the stuff you eat goes where we want it to go, not where we don’t!)

Naturally the next question becomes, “Well Ryan, how do I get more muscle?” Way ahead of ya, boss. First and foremost, you need to realize that muscle comes from strength. Ever see a guy who can bench 400 pounds? He looks like he can bench 400 pounds doesn’t he! There aren’t a lot of 140 pound, skinny-fat weaklings throwing serious around like that. I told you that so you would understand that getting strong is of the utmost importance to your goals. Find a strength program that emphasizes the main lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, chins, rows, dips, etc) and strive to get stronger.

Now, just because you lift to increase strength doesn’t mean you’ll automatically escape purgatory. You’ll need to support that weightlifting effort with the proper nutrients. I can’t stress this enough: you must eat tons of quality food in order to get stronger and grow new muscle tissue. I’m talking about being on the verge of force-feeding. Like sweating from simply eating. It’s not easy, but as an active, young athlete thats what it takes to get enough calories. Don’t worry, as active as you are, you’re body truly needs these calories. And if you’re eating the right foods, your body will put them to use.

The food choices remain the same as always: “If man made it, don’t eat it“. I love that line from Jack Lallane. This where the magic happens. If you keep your food choices clean, eat enough to grow and get stronger, and work hard day in and day out, you will actually get bigger, stronger, AND leaner. Every time you eat, you should build your meal or snack around protein. Then add the energy nutrients (carbohydrates & fats) and include vegetables as often as possible. Protein sources include chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, protein powders, and more. Carbohydrates are best if left to the following choices: rice, oats, potatoes, and if you must eat bread I suggest a sprouted grain bread like Ezekiel by Food For Life. Fats sources include nuts, nut butters, avocados, whole eggs, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, organic red palm oil, and unrefined coconut oil. These lists are not all-inclusive, but that should give you a good idea of what to eat and what not to eat.

What I ate yesterday:

  • Meal #1 = egg whites, 1 whole egg, coconut oil, red palm oil, brown rice, broccoli
  • Meal #2 = whey protein, oats, almond butter
  • Meal #3 = chicken, sweet potato, brussel sprouts, olive oil
  • Meal #4 = turkey breast, rice, kale, macadamia nut oil
  • Meal #5 = whey protein, oats, walnuts
  • Meal #6 = turkey breast, avocado, rice
** I intentionally left out the amounts, as your amounts will vary based on size, age, gender, and goals. My amounts also vary from day to day. **

 How to know you’re doing it right:

Your bodyweight will slowly, but steadily climb. You should see about 0.5-1.5 pound jumps on the scale from week to week. It is important to weigh yourself on the same scale, at the same time of day, wearing the same thing every time to ensure accuracy. I suggest first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything and wearing nothing. Easy to replicate and do this on the same day each week. You should also see steady strength gains. Keep an eye on vertical jump measurements as well as chinning moves to ensure that strength is increasing as well as body weight. If your vertical is decreasing, then you may be gaining weight that isn’t muscle…and that’s not what we want.


Lift heavy stuff. Sprint, Jump, and be an explosive athlete. Eat to fuel performance. Focus on performance gains and do just enough “conditioning/physical preparation” so that you can burn fat without compensating the body’s ability to recover. It’s a fine line, but with the right guidance and knowledge, it will put you on the express path from purgatory to the promised land!

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