-A personal experience with nutrition and exercise-

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Back to posting... Serge Nubret pt.1

So I have been real busy the last 2 weeks with my best friends wedding and other obligations. I have been doing the 5 meals a day thing for about a month now and have nothing particularly special about it and find it a sort of a pain to make time to eat all the time. I do enjoy cooking but it really plays havoc with my social life trying to eat every 3 hours with my standard foods.

I am also going to pay tribute to my favorite bodybuilder in this posting. A young Nubret with a young Arnold.
The reasons why I appreciate Nubret so much are numerous. He was originally born and raised in Guadeloupe where he began lifting at 19. His first inspiration was upon seeing Steve Reeves, who is probably one of the greatest. Serge, not reading popular magazines of the day, learned that high volume moderate weight training built great mass. By the age of 21, with 2 years of training he had won the title Mr. Guadeloupe twice.

Serge is one of the most open and honest bodybuilder there ever was. He takes much time to explain to other posters many things that are beneficial and what one should focus on.

It is interesting to me that he always strictly claims to never using steroids. Even at the age of 68 when almost every other bodybuilder from his period has admitted to it. I am not saying that he is telling the truth but, he was very unique in the way that he trained as well as ate.

He would nearly always train in a fasted state. He never ate breakfast and would consume 1 to 3 huge meals a day, commonly consuming up to 3 to 4 kilos of red meat along with rice & beans. This makes him fairly unique in terms of bodybuilders. He is also big on eating real whole "mother's food". He also claims to train the same way he always has and that is based on VOLUME.

*On my homepage and to the right, there is a page labeled Words of Wisdom from Serge Nubret In it are quotes from him that I have gathered that I feel are very important.


  1. Nice post Riley. I remember reading on an interview with Martin Berkhan somebody mention about Nubret and how he ate 1 meal a day. I wasn't sure how accurate that statement was but it seems like sometimes he did eat 1 meal a day. Anyways I think his build looks better than Arnolds but obviously they both look very strong.

  2. Hey Chris,
    I am going to due several parts on Monsieur Nubret as he has a fascinating style, story and longevity in the sport.

    How has your recovery from the milk diet/thrush/orange juice experiment been going?

    My experiment with the small/frequent meals I think is coming to an end today and I am going back to a small breakfast with a large lunch and supper. I just feel much better and much more satisfied eating that way. It also feels much more natural.

  3. Hey Riles,
    I went back to 3 mixed meals recently as well, I was finding the extra amount of food with 5 meals was hard to get down. I think my digestion is somewhat better with more time between meals.

  4. Have you read Medhi's site at stronglifts.com? Always thought he put together a good site on lift form and nutritional info (high cal).

  5. I had to stop drinking the orange juice because it was making my acne pretty bad so instead I've been eating one red apple a day with no bad signs of any kind.

    I started last week a version of the leangains 16/8 Intermittent fasting to see if I would recomp my body. Of course I'm sticking to eating whole foods and on my higher carb days It's still mostly potatoes and some rice. Although I'm also trying to raise protein in the expense of fat so basically I try to eat around 2-2.5 pounds of meat a day with the rest of my daily food either being mostly carbs on workout days and less carbs and more fat on rest days.

    However, I am not counting calories and basically just eating till hunger, which is naturally making me want to eat more on workout days than on rest days so that's good.

    So far I have only lost 3 pounds but my body looks a lot better from what it was after I finished the milk diet, plus I've still been able to increase my lifts so that's good too.

    Thrush is the same as always so that kinda sucks, not sure If i'll ever know how to get rid of it.

    Anyways, I'll definitely keep checking in on your blog this summer to read more about your findings on Serge, in fact I might have to do some of my own research on him since he seems to be an example of achieving a strong/ripped body without the need of supplements or drugs.

  6. Nice post Riles. Nubret is my favorite bodybuilder and it was really awesome for a legend like him to go online and answer hundreds of questions for free. Have you read all of his threads, he seems like a really cool guy. Definitely one of the genetic elite.

    I definitely like his high volume training style. Regarding meal frequency, he found what worked for him and stuck with it. This is what most other people need to do, but they prefer to follow what worked for someone else instead. There is no magic in meal frequency, but some will do better on more frequent feedings, and some on less frequent. Most people would have to divide up the amount of foood he was consuming over the day to get it all down. Notice that he did eat very clean.

  7. Chris,
    That is interesting about the apple and orange juice. I like the taste of apples better anyway personally.

    I like the sounds of your leangains plan. In my opinion, that should work well. I have done something similar in the past(albeit I was super low carb at the time) and it worked really well. The only reason I stopped was to explore other diets.

    I think that the milk definitely had you holding onto water. Its probably the same reason that bodybuilders since the 40's would drop milk from their diet to get better defined.

  8. JT,
    I have read all of Serge's posts several times and I refer back to them occasionally. I feel that he is really onto something with his program and I am proof of that as well as others that have followed or applied his principles.

    I disagree with you about the meal frequency only because I have experienced the difference personally. I think that also eating most of your calories post workout is very anabolic and has great potential. He ate extremely cleanly which is another reason why I pay respect to him because he is proof of what happens when you eat whole natural foods. Although he does have good genetics I feel that these are expressed because of the whole foods that his parents ate as well as he grew up on.

  9. also Chris,
    What time of day do you break your fast? Do you break it before or after training/soccer?

  10. Riles,
    Like I have said before, I spent years doing IF, starting with the Warrior Diet about 12 years ago. I personally never had any physique benefits at all, but I think it is possible that it might work better for some people. I did find IF more easy to comply with without effort, frequent feedings take more discipline and determination if you want to do it right. 99.99% of people with great physiques eat 5-6 meals a day so this is something to take into consideration, and ALL of the top bodybuilding coaches in the world would advise you to do the same. Also, now it seems that many of the researchers are thinking that pre-workout nutrition is more anabolic than post-workout.

    I think you should follow Serge's training program and diet exactly as he wrote it. You will have to be an eating machine to put down 5-6 pounds of meat in 1 sitting along with a whole pot of rice and beans. Do you think you can do it? I think that would be an awesome experiment and you would get some good results. Just make sure you stick with it for at least a year and do it 100% before you change to something else so that you can give yourself the greatest chance for success.

  11. It's summer time so I'm not playing soccer, I take a break and be lazy and just golf + lift. So what I do is I break my fast with a small meal of 50 grams protein and 50 grams carbs at 1230 then I go lift at 230-300 then when I finish I have a big post workout meal and then at 8 I will have another big dinner. Don't really snack in between at all but I promised myself that I won't be too obsessive about it, meaning if a few friends want to go get ice cream then I'll probably join them once a week or so

  12. JT,
    You are absolutely right that just about every top level physique eats 5-6 meal a day. I actually kind of lied as I am still eating 5 meals each day except for some days when I have less available time and eat a larger meal to make up for the missed smaller ones.
    My feeling about the warrior diet is that it is good for people who are not active and who don't bother to eat clean, low-sugar foods. I think the fasting allows them to use the large amounts of glycogen they have stored in their livers and frees up fatty acids to be burned.
    You are also correct about the potential for pre-workout foods, I just recently was reading about the Anaconda Protocol.

    If I was able to afford 5+ lbs of meat aday, I would surely attempt something like Serge's. Right now though, my budget is for about 2lbs of lean beef a day.

  13. Riles,
    Good to hear you are still sticking to your program and doing what works. You will get results as long as you stick to it.

    Don't fall for the Anaconda marketing man, it is just marketing with a little "research" added in. I think the whole peri-workout nutrition thing is all over-hyped my the supplement companies. What is really important is what you take in over a 24 hour period 7 days a week. The only thing that may make a difference is that having a drink during your workout may keep your blood sugar up and allow you to work harder for longer.

    I don't think the warrior diet or any other type of IF offers much in the form of benefits, especially if you are interested in physique and athletic performance. Most fat people eat that way by default, not eating all day and then binging at night. Even the creator of the Warrior Diet, Ori has changed and now has small feedings through the day. All the other people who claim they are doing IF are not, they are just skipping breakfast and eating most of their calories at night like most of the "normal" people I know.

    If you can eat 2 lbs in 1 sitting on a regular basis then you are a lot more hardcore than I am! The only time I have been that hungry is when I was dieting for an extended period of time.

  14. I'm mixed on peri workout myself. If you're drinking raw milk during workout then you don't need to eat anything post workout for a couple hours. Based on the exercise physiology book I read fast digesting carbs like fruits and refined sugars decrease your exercises performance by 20% if you consume them during workout. You need slow releasing carbs with a starch structure and attached to fiber such as rice and potatoes. Though they take between 2-4 hours to digest so it's good to have a pre workout meal 2-4 hours before workout. If you consume them during workout it doesn't help with your performance since they take so long to digest but it does leave plenty of glycogen in your system for healing and recovery later on in the day. Like starches raw milk's lactose takes longer to digest so it would be good as apart of a peri workout drink. It's high in minerals/electrolytes and liquid so it's a superior thirst quencher/athletic aid over gatorade or water. Cold packed unheated unfiltered honey is another good carb source. As is brown rice syrup. Though a starch is only good to consume if it's been broken down through the process of heating or fermentation.

  15. JT,
    I know what you mean about the marketing, especially for their "superior" products. I just thought that it was pretty interesting.

    I personally feel the same way as you about the Warrior Diet, in that it is much better to eat a couple of small meals and then a large meal at the end. At one point, I did the Warrior diet by fasting for 20 hours and than ate 1 dozen eggs and drank a gallon of regular milk in the 4 hour period lol.

    I normally eat 1 pound at the most at one meal. But maybe that is something I can work up to.

    I have a question for you, and I am not necessarily thinking about doing it any time soon,purely out of curiosity. But, have you ever tried a cyclical keto diet? As in very low carb 5-6 days with a carb re-feed one day. I was just reading some stuff by Dan Duchaine (the Steroid Guru) and thought it was interesting.

  16. Dan,
    Does your exercise physiology book say why it would cause a decrease in performance by consuming sugars? Most athletes I know personally, do just that.

  17. I had the book shipped to me from the library and already gave it back so I can't remember "why". Though it has to do with how fast the simple carbs digest and it's affect it has when it gets into the bloodstream before it's converted to glucose. That and refined carbs leech b vitamins maybe even minerals during absorption. Strangely enough the book recommended gatorade even though gatorade too has simple carbs in it. Gatorade was specially formulated but that doesn't mean anything to me since it's basicly just refined simple carbs.

  18. Riles,
    Yeah, I have tried the cyclical ketogenic diet and it sucked. But, for someone using a lower carb diet, once they reach supercomp adding in large calorie spikes with carbs like in the cycle diet would be necessary to maintain a high level of performance.

    I personally would only do 2 diets if my goal was optimal body compostion. If my goals was to lose fat and maintain or even gain a little muscle and I didn't have any emotional issues with food then I would do the Cycle diet. If my goal was to put on muscle then I would eat 5-6 clean meals divided up over the day like 99% of all bodybuilders do.

    Forget about all the fad diets like IF, paleo, CKD, etc...

  19. JT,
    I think you are dead on with what you said. Hope you don't mind me pickin' your brain, I like to get other people's perspectives on all things/

    I am curious, I can't remember if you said before, but had you ever run the cycle diet the way it is laid out in the dvd?

    I am just thinking down the road right now... Once a person has maintained an amount of muscle they are happy with, at that point they could cycle diet to lean out, correct?

  20. Hi there,
    it's me again with a bunch of questions, but I guess those will probably the last.
    About the biceps/triceps workout:

    Standing BB Curl: In my gym there are straight and kinda M-shaped bars like this. During my first workout I went for a straight one, because it felt more intuitive to me, but I'm thinking that the M-shaped one may be easier on the hands during the last part of the actual lift (not the descent). What's your take on this?

    Same thing about the rope extension: There are several handles to choose from. One that is straight, one that kinda bent and another which is basically a rope with a round knob at the end. Which one would you recommend? Does it make a difference?

    Incline DB Curl: What would be the best way to time the left arm and right arm movement. Should I lift one arm, while lowering the other or should I lift one arm, lower it down again, lift the other arm and so on.

    And one last thing: You are talking about using moderate weights, for example at the first to sets of the press behind the neck. How moderate is moderate? I'm starting to think that using slightly lighter weights first may be beneficial, to get into the movement, fire up the central nervous system and putting all the power into the last two sets without stressing my muscles too much before. Could be wrong there, though.

  21. No problem with the questions. I love helping fellow weight lifters out when I can.

    #1 - The bar you are referring to is called a EZ-Curl bar here in the states. I personally like using a straight bar the best, but if straight bothers your wrist(which it does for many people) the EZ-Bar works almost the same. Some say it is better, some say it is worse. It is good to vary it up if you dont have severe pain.

    #2 With the extensions, it is the same kind of situation. Each attachment will give a little different focus on the 3 heads of the Tricep. I like to switch it up and one workout use 1 for all my sets and then next time use a different for all my sets.

    #3 I either alternate them so that at about 1/2 way through the movement they are at the same level(hope that makes sense) or I raise and lower both at the same time.

    #4 When I think of a Moderate Weight, I think of one that I can perform the required number of reps+1-3 if really pushed. Yes, It is definitely better to start a little too light in weight(you can always add an extra set if need be). Using a lighter warm-up allows you to focus on the movement and warm the muscle and joints up, as well as condition the CNS for the upcoming requirements.

    Any other questions, just ask.

  22. Riles,
    I haven't done that type of cycle diet before. i will get into in the future whenever I am at the point I am big enough. It will also have to be when O don't have to travel so much and can be really strict with my diet during the week.

    You will need to get a lot bigger than you want to be before dieting down. So if you want to be 220 pounds lean, then you would have to get up to a bulked up 250-260 pounds and hold that for a while. Then you could lean up, maintain, and refine on the cycle diet.

  23. Hey Riles, I thought I might stop by and see if you had any advice for me. Since I started using more of Peat's dietary advice my energy levels have been increasing. I think I now have enough to start working out again. I'm one of those people who are seriously underweight. Do you know of any good programs for men who are about 10-15 pounds underweight? I've tried the milk diet with no weight gain. I've read about GOMAD and read Riptoe's Starting Strength. I've tried heavy weights once a week, and then I tried it twice a week. I guess the only thing I haven't tried is the standard high volume training with lots of separate meals. For high volume training, is it a better idea to stick with 5 or 6 compound exercises, or to break up the body? I always assumed that isolating muscles wouldn't help me with general weight gain (I"m not looking for a body building physique), but I've had friends who had great results with the 'standard' program. I'm starting to realize that I was just as paleo brainwashed as the vegans are about their programs.

  24. Andrew,
    Thanks for stopping by. Good to hear that your energy is getting better. I have found that most people do not exceed at gaining much muscle mass from Starting Strength. There is just not enough volume to cause hypertrophy.
    Basically I subscribe to the theory of *amount of work performed in x amount of time* is what produces the most hypertrophy. By this I mean, preforming the most amount of work in a set amount of time. The most efficient why to do this is with moderate weight,8-10 reps and for 4-6 sets.
    Generally speaking I think a split routine is the most efficient way to train. How they body parts are split up definitely depends on your schedule. I think you could easily gain 15lbs of muscle if you consumed enough protein and calories.

  25. Hi Riles, and JT-
    I'm wondering if either of you have any recommendations on Scott Abel DVDs/MP3s to order. I don't want to drop a whole lot of money.

    Right now healing metabolism and feeling good are my main focuses. Perhaps in a few months I will start hitting the gym again. I have not been in several months, since I decided to start healing.

    What I'm looking for:
    -I am very interested in information and will soak it up like a sponge. Any special knowledge Abel has would be interesting.
    -I don't really have a lot of fat mass (that I can tell) from HED. I'd mostly be interested in bringing in the belly a bit and adding a little bit of definition. I don't like the overly built look.
    -I wouldn't want to spend more than 2 or 3 sessions in the gym a week. I have other hobbies, interests, and obligations.

  26. Aaron,
    Thanks for stopping by. Good on you for getting the metabolism up and running properly.
    I have only purchased Scott's Cycle Diet DVD as I feel that much of his stuff is a bit over priced for me. If you send me an email, I will share with you a link to my Cycle Diet DVD on viral video.

    Depending on your goals, you could definitely make 2 to 3 sessions a week work.

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