Mistakes in nutrition – preventing more lost gains

Not content with the fat gains from Occam’s Protocol, I went on a mission to find a better nutritional option. Pairing the ‘forgotten third workout‘ program with slow carb + protein shakes and peanut butter, I was sure that I was covering my bases, and was on my way to achieving the results I wanted. A few hurdles later, I have a better view of how this nutritional decision affected my progress.

This is a frustrating article to write for me, as it makes me totally aware of the fact that I could have perhaps been at a point closer to my ultimate goal (185lbs at 8% body fat) than I currently am. Sure, there’s some other reasons that have led me to this point, such as some intense team sports in August, which meant I couldn’t do anything but undereat and miss gym sessions, therefore going backwards in progress for a month, but fundamentally, nutrition was at the heart of it all. Having now completed a full month of this modified slow carb eating plan, I have decided to go in a new direction, but not before I analyze the why’s of how things went for me -so that you can learn from my experiment.

The protocol I tested:

Breakfast: Slow carb – 1 cup of canned beans (black or red kidney), spinach (equiv to 2 cups fresh), eggs (usually 4 whole eggs)

AM: Protein shake (unflavored) with water, 1 tbsp peanut butter

Lunch: Slow carb – Protein, 1 cup of beans, vegetables (mainly broccoli, spinach)

PM: Protein shake (unflavored) with water, 1 tbsp peanut butter

Afternoon Lunch: Slow Carb – protein, 1 cup of beans, vegetables (mainly spinach)

Evening: Sometimes a protein shake with water

Dinner: Slow carb – usually chicken, maybe eggs, 1 cup of beans, vegetables

Workouts: Protein Shake with water

Supplements: ALA, Garlic, ChromeMate, Cinnamon (1.5 tsps), Vitamin B, Vitamin C (1000mg), Creatine 2x day (5g powder ea), L-Glutamine after workouts (20g)

Variations: Sometimes used low sugar high fibre protein bar instead of protein shake after workouts. Sometimes reduced beans in meals to 1/3 can of beans

Cheat Day: 1 every 2 weeks

Workouts: The Forgotten Third Option Splits every 3 days


Gained 2lbs. After 4 weeks. Very slow gains, and certainly expected more, considering caloric load.

Lessons learned:

  • Tim recommends 20 calories per pound of lean body mass + 10lbs, to account for your aim to gain weight. I believe I was under this target by approximately 300 calories/day. It’s difficult to eat that much!
  • Addition of peanut butter to protein shake most likely didn’t aide much muscle gain, having now learned more about what muscles need to build – milk would have been a better addition for roughly the same number of calories
  • Minor sleep debt can affect muscle growth, though less likely in this case
  • Frequency of workouts works well

Things to change for the better:

  • Adding in milk to get more calories, and a low-ish GI carbohydrate.
  • Maintain 6 meals per day, ensure mini meals are larger than 200 calories
  • Count calories to ensure the target is hit
  • Ensure 8-9 hours of sleep per night


This modification, while providing lots of calories, wasn’t supplying my body with enough of what it can use to easily build muscle. I expect too that there just wasn’t enough food energy coming in, to rebuild the muscle, and so workouts were cutting rebuilding phases short.

From here, I will be going back to the Occam’s Protocol eating plan, and focussing on hitting the target number of calories required to build serious amounts of muscle.

You might be interested in reading these too:

  1. Occam’s Protocol vs Geek to Freak Workouts Are you trying to choose between one workout and the other? Not sure where to start? Or thinking about changing? Here I take a look at the two workouts, and explain which I...
  2. The Truth: Low Carb vs Slow Carb I write to you today at the end of an experiment. Ready to present the results. However, I'm a little worried about what it might do. You see, for the last 2 weeks,...
  3. Starting Occam’s Protocol workouts Well, the time has come for the next phase of our Four Hour Body experiment. Having gone through a fat loss phase, using the slow carb meals and nothing more, we're moving on...

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3 Responses to Mistakes in nutrition – preventing more lost gains

  • Justin says:

    Hey Luke,

    I am trying to gain now too but haven’t really put much effort into it yet. I did some reading and found some interesting info on the anabolic affects of insulin http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17430894

    Many bodybuilding sites talk about it too

    In the Paleo world people recommend a lot of sweet potatoes/yams for post workout. Maybe in the SCD world a ton of beans post workout?

    • Luke says:

      Nice idea Justin.. thanks for your thoughts. I definitely know that bodybuilders reference insulin as a desired thing, vs fat loss proponents wanting to limit any insulin response puts them at odds with this mindset. Effectively, it comes back to the concept that it’s best to have one goal and one goal only – either fat loss, or muscle gain. It’s tough to maximize either if you want both.
      I am also considering the spiking effects of milk, and/or brown rice – as Tim recommends both in different parts of the book. My gut tells me though that I’d prefer to stick with a pure slow carb diet.. but my results suggest that the fibre that comes in with the beans makes them less likely to give someone that kick in the insulin department that could really boost muscle growth.

      Interestingly, Mark Mc Manus over at MuscleHack.com isn’t a supporter of the post workout carb meal. But that won’t stop me from including some extra carbohydrates in some form this coming month.


  • Pingback: The secrets of my personal nutrition program – part 1 | FitChutney

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