Now On Stage: John Meadows: Diet Guru of The Week!
Name: John Meadows
Date of birth: 4/11/72
Hometown: Washington Court House, Ohio
Career: VP at a Bank for 12 years (while coaching), now a full time coach
Sports background: Football, Track (100 and 200 meter, pole vaulter), Wrestling
What do you like best about being a diet coach?
Undoubtedly the friends and close relationships I make. It’s great to see people win contests, do well, etc. that’s what I get paid to do, and I take a tremendous amount of pride in my work, but when I get to the point where I feel like I am blood to someone, I like that feeling.
I started competing when I was 13 years old. I won the state title 3 times (2 times I lost the overall by 1 point to guys I coached – the other I won the overall), probably 15-20 overall wins including Collegiate Nationals. I was top 5 in the USA heavies, North American heavies, and recently 2nd place at Master’s Nationals and North Americans over 40.
What Cardio Type Would You Recommend for Fat Loss and or Pre Contest, High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) or Low Intensity Steady State (L.I.S.S.)?
Well let me add some context to this before I answer. First of all I believe that cardio is highly overrated at a fat loss modality. I believe that many have it backwards and train with weights less than they should, which would build more muscle, create a better long term fat burning effect, and result in a more dense, hard looking muscle on stage. Instead they rely on long daily, twice daily and sometimes even three times daily cardio sessions. Think about when you walk into a gym. Look at all the people on the cardio equipment. If just getting on a stepmill would make you lean and ripped, don’t you think more of these people would be leaner? Cardio is not the answer to fat loss, it’s just a useful tool to make you a little better. I actually like a little cardio to facilitate better recovery, so people can train more! As to what style I like best. There are many factors that come into play here. What weight training frequency? What type of carbohydrate intake is being used, etc. Generally speaking, the more weight sessions you have, you have to be careful with HITT cardio just due to CNS overload. With less weight sessions, I think HITT is actually a little better in those cases. With respect to carbs, lower carb diets can leave people depleted and ripe for overtraining, so HITT scares me a bit in this situation too and I would opt for low intensity sessions. With higher carb diets, it’s not as bad. I use all these factors and more to determine which would benefit the person the most. Personally I do none.
How do you diet your clients? Using the carb cycling approach, keto?
The most important factor in diets is how you treat the periworkout portion of it, meaning the pre workout meal, intraworkout drink, and post workout meal. I know that some don’t believe in the “window of opportunity”, but it’s basic science. It’s not even debatable. The number one goal I have when working with clients is to gain lean tissue. When you can do that efficiently, fat burning becomes much easier. To do this in the best possible way, I believe in eating a small meal 30-60 minutes before training to provide some fuel to get through a hard volumous session. The meal should have some protein, moderate amount of carbs, and a bit of fat to make the blood glucose rise more steady and not so intense that it produces a massive insulin dump by your pancreas. While training I believe you should focus on two things. Slow muscle protein breakdown to a halt, as weight training is a catabolic, not an anabolic activity, and focus on stimulating muscle protein synthesis. There are certain ways to do that with hydrolysates and quick clearing carbs. My crude little example of this is think about what happens if you train your butt off and dig a ditch (catabolism) say 10 feet deep. Then you have to really do a nice job stimulating protein synthesis just to get that 10 feet back (anabolism), let alone build beyond that. Most people who train hard and find themselves making no gains fall into this category. It’s NOT that they are overtraining, they are doing nothing to slow down muscle protein breakdown while it occurs. Now think about if you train your butt off and only dig the ditch 2 feet, and then you crush muscle protein synthesis. Now you get back the 2 feet, plus likely will build even more, and build muscle! Conquer this, and you can train like a maniac, and recover like you never dreamed possible.
Once you prefect that piece of nutrition, then you can literally play with moving carbs up and down to create your desired fat loss. You would keep high quality protein and healthy fats in other meals, and simply toggle the carbs.
What is your protocol for filing out days prior to stepping onstage?
The most important thing is to be stage lean 2-3 weeks out. I would say 95% of people look worse the day of the show as opposed to before or after it. We all buy into this magic formula with diuretics, water manipulation, sodium manipulation, carb depleting and loading etc. If you are in shape, you can make very minor changes, and get the final “look” without risking going flat, being depleted, and looking stringy and flat. To fill out I slightly increase carbs the last few days based on the person’s appearance, and slightly lower sodium without lowering water consumption. I prefer to not use diuretics at all.
What is the most challenging aspect of dieting clients?
People who come to me that have been on starvation diets, done too much cardio, not eaten enough carbs or fat for a long a long period of time, etc. This is very hard to turnaround, and takes time. Their bodies have basically been in perceived starvation mode for so long there leptin signaling is broken, their livers don’t do a good job of converting inactive thyroid hormone to its active version, and their BMR is at a snail’s pace. The only way to fix this is to gradually increase calories, which initially does not make the person look better.
What supplements do you reccommend the most to your clients?
Intraworkout high grade casein hydrolysate and low osmalality carb such as branch cyclic dextrin. Also I do like r-ALA a lot for liver health, it’s antioxidant prowess, and insulin receptor sensitizing effect (glucose disposal agent). A high quality fish oil is also a useful heath supplement. That’s about it.
What is the oddest question you have ever been asked by a client?
Well I often get guys who ask me how to fix their libido. Their chem use zaps it, and they think I have some magic formula to fix it. When I worked at the bank I would get emails from guys asking me about this, and I was like WTF dude, don’t you think a huge bank like this would have software to pick up words like boner and erection? From women, I have been asked if leg pressing would make a clitoris bigger once. I have no clue where this came from, and pretty much crapped my pants when she asked me. Then of course you get the “Well I thought Long John Silver’s cod” was ok to use as my fish.
Do you also provide training programs to clients? If so, how do you determine the best program for each individual?
This is something I take great pride in. I have built about 15 very detailed 12 week programs that you would just have to see, to see all the detail and planning that goes into it. I am continually building new ones based on my continued learning and creativity. So far I haven’t had any IFBB Pros stop my training once they started it (hopefully not jinxing myself). I know many coaches say they offer training, but they don’t, at least not what I would call training. I determine the best program based on a questionnaire the client fills out, that asked quite a bit about health, training, nutrition, etc history.
What formula do you use to determine how many macro nutrients to give each client?
I don’t really use a set macro. If I did, I would say 1.25 to 1.5 grams of protein per lb, .4 to .5 grams of fat per pound, and carbs would vary based on size and metabolism, activity level, etc.
Do you have clients manipulate water prior to getting onstage? If so how?
I prefer to not do anything drastic with water as it is a recipe for disaster. This is going to vary, and will be based on a trial run we do, not just a set formula that I think will work on everyone. I might increase water the day before, I might lower it. Just depends on the person.
What is the best way for potential clients to reach you?
Via my website at http://mountaindogdiet.com/